Today’s Epistle – Saturday Before reading is Galatians 3:8-12
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Today’s Gospel – Saturday Before reading is Luke 13:18-29
Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.” And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.
Today’s Epistle reading is Galatians 5:22-6:2
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 16:10-15
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Saints and Feasts celebrated today
Forefeast of the Nativity of our Lord
Troparion — Tone 4
Prepare, O Bethlehem, for Eden has been opened to all!
Adorn yourself, O Ephratha, for the tree of life blossoms forth from the Virgin in the cave!
Her womb is a spiritual paradise planted with the Divine Fruit:
If we eat of it, we shall live forever and not die like Adam.
Christ comes to restore the image which He made in the beginning!
Kontakion — Tone 2
He who holds the earth in the hollow of His hand
now is beheld in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling bands.
We offer pre-festal hymns to His Mother, who maternally rejoices
having held to her bosom the Son of God.
Virgin Martyr Juliana of Nicomedia, and 50 men and 130 women with her
Troparion — Tone 4
All-blameless bride and venerable trophy-bearer,
You are wedded to the Word of the immortal Father, O glorious Juliana.
For having wisely disdained your mortal bridegroom,
You strove beyond nature to destroy the serpent,
And now you delight in the joys of your Bridegroom!
Kontakion — Tone 1
You were a beautiful virgin, wise Juliana,
and as your soul was wounded with divine love,
your body was also pierced with the wounds of martyrdom adorning you as a bride of Christ and His martyr.
Now as you dwell in the heavenly bridal chamber,
you pray for us all.
Additional Saints and Feasts (without hymns):
- Repose of Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow, Wonderworker of All Russia
- Saint Juliana, Princess of Vyazma
- Blessed Procopius of Vyatka the Fool-For-Christ
- Martyr Themistocles of Myra in Lycia
- Venerable Macarius the Faster, Abbot of the Khakhuli Monastery
Today’s Fasting Guidelines
Fast Day (Wine and Oil Allowed). Wine and oil are allowed. Refrain from meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.