Fifteenth and last of the Judges of Israel, the prophet Samuel lived approximately eleven hundred years before Christ. Born in the tribe of Levi, son of Elkanah and Hannah, he was promised to the Lord by his till-then barren mother. At the age of twelve, Samuel had his first revelation from the Lord God. Samuel preached repentance to the children of Israel, and led the people to victory over the Philistines. Asked by the people to give them a king, he warned that God was the only true king of Israel, but they insisted. It was Samuel who anointed Saul son of Kish as the first king of Israel, and David son of Jesse as its second and greatest ruler. He died in Ramah and was buried there.
As we celebrate the memory of your prophet Samuel, O Lord, we implore You to save our souls through his prayers.
Like a precious gift you were given to God before your birth and you served Him like an angel from the time of your youth. You were made worthy to look into the future, O blessed one, and so we sing to you: O Samuel, prophet and servant of God.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
Brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and in which you stand firm. You are being saved by it at this very moment if you hold fast to it as I preached it to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. I handed on to you frst of all what I myself received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried and, in accordance with the Scriptures, rose on the third day; that he was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. After that he was seen by five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still alive, although some have fallen asleep. Next he was seen by me, as one born out of the normal course. I am the least of the apostles; in fact, because I persecuted the church of God, I do not even deserve the name. But by God’s favor I am what I am. This favor of his to me has not proved fruitless. Indeed, I have worked harder than all the others, not on my own but through the favor of God. In any case, whether it be I or they, this is what we preach and this is what you believed.
Matthew 19: 16-26
At that time a man came up to Jesus and said: “Teacher, what good must I do to possess everlasting life?” Jesus answered, “Why do you question me about what is good? There is One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not kill’; ‘You shall not commit adultery’; ‘You shall not steal’; ‘You shall not bear false witness’; ‘Honor you father and your mother’; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” The young man said to Jesus, “I have kept all these; what do I need to do further?” Jesus told him, “If you wish to seek perfection, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor. You will then have treasure in heaven. Afterwards come back and follow me.” Hearing these words, the young man went away sad, for his possessions were many.
Jesus said to his disciples: “I assure you, only with difficulty will a rich man enter into the kingdom of God. I repeat what I said: it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this they were completely overwhelmed, and exclaimed, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For man it is impossible; but for God all things are possible.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, August 19 –