Today’s Scripture Readings
Vespers, 1st Reading: Composite 10 – Genesis 17:15-17, 19; 18:11-14; 21:1-8
God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai thy wife, her name shall not be called Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her, and give thee a child by her; and I will bless him, and he shall become nations, and kings of nations shall come from him.” And Abraham fell on his face and said to himself, “Shall there be born a son to one who is a hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, give birth?” And God said to Abraham, “Yes. Behold, Sarah thy wife shall bear you a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac. I will establish My covenant with him, for an everlasting covenant.” Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in days. Sarah laughed to herself saying, “This has not as yet happened to me, even until now, and my lord is old.” And the Lord God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh to herself, saying, ‘Shall I then indeed bear? but I am old’? Shall anything be impossible that is spoken by God?” And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said. And she conceived, and bore Abraham a son in old age as the Lord God had spoken to him. And Abraham circumcised him on the eighth day, as the Lord God had commanded him. And Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “The Lord God has made laughter for me; for every one who hears shall rejoice with me.” And she said, “Who shall say to Abraham that Sarah suckles a child? Yet I have borne him a child in my old age.” And the child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.
Vespers, 2nd Reading: Composite 11 – Judges 13:2-8, 13-14, 17-18, 21
In those days, there was a certain man of the tribe of Dan, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and bore not. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren. But you shall conceive and bear a son. And now beware and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for lo, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be consecrated to God from the womb.” And the woman went and spoke to her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very bright. And he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son; and now, drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb, even until the day of his death.” Then Manoah prayed to God and said, “O Lord, let the man of God whom Thou didst send come again to us, and teach us what we are to do with the child that will be born.” And the angel of the Lord came to Manoah, and said, “Of all things that I said to your wife, let her keep. Let her eat nothing that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink.” And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, that, when your words come to pass, we may glorify you?” And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask concerning my name, whereas it is wonderful?” And the angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife.
Vespers, 3rd 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.”
Matins Gospel Reading: Luke 1:24-25, 57-68, 76, 80
Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people. Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.” But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” So they made signs to his father – what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him. Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
Epistle, Forerunner Reading: Romans 13:11-14:4
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
Gospel, Forerunner Reading: Luke 1:1-25, 57-68, 76, 80
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people. Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.” But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” So they made signs to his father – what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him. Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
Epistle Reading: Romans 2:28-3:18
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.” But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”? – as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known.” There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 6:31-34, 7:9-11
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Saints and Feasts celebrated today
- Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John
- Venerable Anthony the Abbot of Dymsk, Novgorod
- Righteous Youths John and Jacob (James) of Meniugi
- Seven Martyred Brothers: Orentius, Pharnacius, Eros, Firmus, Firminus,
Cyriacus, and Longinus, in Georgia
- St. Athanasius Parios
- Venerable Barlaam of Khutin
Today’s Fasting Guidelines
Today is Fast Free
No fasting restrictions