Today’s Scripture Readings
Vespers, 1st Reading: Composite 8 – Isaiah 40, 41, 45, 48, 54
Thus saith the Lord: “Comfort, comfort My people,” says God. “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, you Priests, comfort her, for her humiliation is increased, her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for her sins. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight the paths of our God.’ “Go up to a high mountain, you who are proclaiming glad tidings to Zion, lift up your voice with strength, O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem. Lift it up, fear not! I the Lord God, I have heard the poor of Israel and will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the mountains, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the deserts pools of water, and the thirsty land springs of water. Let the heavens rejoice from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth bring forth, and let it sprout forth mercy and cause righteousness to shine forth also. “Declare this with a shout of joy, and let this be known, proclaim it to the end of the earth. Say, ‘The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob!’ And if they thirst, he shall lead them through the desert, He shall bring forth water for them out of the rock. Rejoice, O barren one who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry loud, you who have not been in travail! For more are the children of the desolate one than of her who has a husband.”
Vespers, 2nd Reading: Composite 9 – Malachi 3, 4
Thus saith the Lord Almighty: “Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee, and the Lord whom ye seek, shall come into His temple. But who can endure the day of His coming? For He is coming like the fire of a furnace and like the fuller’s herb; and He shall cleanse, refining and purifying, as it were, silver and gold. And He comes to you with judgment, and will be a swift witness against the evil ones and against adulterers, and against those who swear falsely by My name, against those who withhold the hireling’s wages, against those who oppress widows and beat orphans, against those who avoid judgment in favor of strangers, and against those who do not fear him,” saith the Lord Almighty. “For I am the Lord your God, and I change not; and you, the sons of Jacob, have turned aside from the law and have not kept it. Return to Me, therefore, and I will return to you,” saith the Lord Almighty. “And all nations shall call you blessed, and they shall understand that I am the Lord, who distinguishes between the righteous and between the transgressors on that day, in which I shall act to spare those who love Me. “Know, therefore, and remember the Law of Moses, My servant, as I commanded you at Horeb, the statutes and ordinances for all Israel. And behold, I will send to you Elijah the Tishbite before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes, who shall turn the heart of a father to his son, and the heart of a man to his neighbor, lest I come quickly and smite the earth,” saith the Lord Almighty, God, the Holy One of Israel.
Vespers, 3rd Reading: Composite 3 – Wisdom of Solomon 4, 5
The righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. The righteous man who has died will judge the ungodly who are living. For they will see the end of the righteous, and will not understand what was said about him; for the Lord will cast down the ungodly speechless to the ground and shake them from the foundations; they shall become desolate to the end; they will be in sorrows, and their memory will perish. For they will come with fear at the thought of their sins, and their iniquities shall stand against them to convict them. Then the righteous man will stand with great boldness before those who have afflicted him, and those who have made of no account his labors. Having seen it, they shall be troubled with much fear and they will be amazed at his most-glorious salvation. They will say within themselves in repentance, in anguish of spirit they will groan and say: “This was he whom we had sometimes in derision and a proverb of reproach – we fools! We accounted his life as madness, and his end to be without honor. How is he numbered among the sons of God? And why is his lot among the Saints? “Therefore, we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness did not illumine us, nor did the sun shine on us. We took our fill of the paths of lawlessness and destruction, and we walked impassable pathways, but the way of the Lord we have not known.”
6th Matins Gospel Reading: Luke 24:36-53
Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence. Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
Epistle, Forerunner Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:6-15
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
Gospel, Forerunner Reading: Matthew 11:2-15
And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Gospel Reading: Luke 15:11-32
Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”
Saints and Feasts celebrated today
- Sunday of the Prodigal Son
- First and second finding of the Honorable Head of the Holy Glorious
Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist of the Lord, John
- Venerable Erasmus of the Kiev Near Caves