Our venerable father Parthenius was the son of a deacon from the town of Melitopolis. As a child he remembered well the words of the Gospel and endeavored to fulfill them. He settled near a lake, where he fished. Then he sold the fish and distributed the money to the poor. By God’s providence he was chosen as bishop of Lampsacus. He cleansed the town of paganism, closed the idolatrous temples, built many churches and strengthened believers in the faith. Through prayer he healed every manner of illness and was particularly powerful over evil spirits. On one occasion when he wanted to cast out an evil spirit from an insane man, the evil spirit begged him not to do so. Parthenius said to him: “I will give you another man whom you can enter, and then him you can dwell.” The evil spirit asked him: “Who is this man?” “I am that man,” replied the saint. “Enter and dwell in me.” Upon hearing this, the evil spirit fled as though burned by fire, crying out: “How can I enter into the house of God?” St. Parthenius lived a long time and through his work manifested an abundant love for God and man. Pathenius entered into eternal rest of Christ in the fourth century.
God of our fathers, You always deal with us in Your kindness. Take not Your mercy away from us; but through your prayers guide our life in peace.
O God-wise Parthenius, you have received the grace of miracles. O God-bearing father, you have dispelled all the passions of the faithful, and you have cast out the evil spirits. Therefore, we praise you, the perfect contemplator of divine truths.
1 John 3: 9a-22
Dearly beloved: No one begotten of God acts sinfully because he remains of God’s stock; he cannot sin because he is begotten of God. That is the way to see who are God’s children, and who are the devil’s. No one whose actions are unholy belong to God, nor anyone who fails to love his brother.
This, remember, is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another. We should not follow the example of Cain who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because his own deeds were wicked while his brother’s were just. No need, then, brothers and sisters, to be surprised if the world hates you. That we have passed from death to life we know because we love the brethren. The man who does not love is among the living dead. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that eternal life abides in no murderer’s heart. The way we came to understand love was that He laid down His life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
I ask you, how can God’s love survive in a man who has enough of this world’s goods yet closes his heart to his brother when he sees him in need? Little children, let us love in deed and in truth and not merely talk about it.
This is our way of knowing we are committed to the truth and are at peace before him no matter what our consciences have nothing to charge us with; for God is greater than our hearts and all is known to him. Beloved, if our consciences have nothing to charge us with, we can be sure that God is with us and that we will receive at his hands whatever we ask.
Mark 14: 10-42
At that time Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priest to hand Jesus over to them. Hearing what he had to say, they were jubilant and promised to give him money. Judas for his part kept looking for an opportune way to hand Jesus over.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the paschal lamb, the disciples said to Jesus, “Where do you wish us to go and prepare the Passover supper for you?” He sent two of his disciples with the instructions: “Go into the city and you will come upon a man carrying a water jar. Follow him. Whatever house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ Then he will show you an upstairs room, spacious, furnished, and all in order. That is the place you are to get ready for us.” The disciples went off. When they reached the city they found it just as Jesus had told them, and they prepared the Passover supper.
As it grew dark Jesus arrived with the Twelve. They reclined at table, and in the course of the meal Jesus said, “I give you my word, one of you is about to betray me, yes, one who is eating with me.” They began to say to him sorrowfully, one by one, “Surely not I!” He said, “It is one of the Twelve – a man who dips into dish with me. The Son of Man is betrayed. It were better for him had he never been born.”
During the meal he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. “Take this,: he said, “this is my body.” He likewise took the cup, gave thanks and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many. I solemnly assure you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the reign of God.”
After singing songs of praise, they walked out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus then said to them: “Your faith in me shall be shaken, for Scripture has it, ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be dispersed.’ But after I am raised up, I will go to Galilee ahead of you.” Peter said to him, “Even though all are shaken in faith, it will not be that way with me.” Jesus answered, “I give you my assurance, this very night before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But Peter kept reasserting vehemently, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” They all said the same.
They went on to a place named Gethsemani. “Sit down here while I pray,” Jesus said to his disciples; at the same time he took along with him Peter, James, and John. Then he began to be filled with fear and distress. He said to them, “My heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.” He advanced a little and fell to the ground, praying that if it were possible this hour might pass him by. He kept saying, “Abba (O Father), you have the power to do all things. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you would have it, not as I.” When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Asleep, Simon? You could not stay awake for even an hour? Be on guard and pray that you may not be put to the test. The spirit is willing but nature is weak.” Going back again he began to pray in the same words. Once again he found them asleep on his return. They could not keep their eyes open, nor did they know what to say to him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Still sleeping? Still taking your ease? It will have to do. The hour is on us. You will see that the Son of Man is to be handed over to the clutches of evil men. Rouse yourselves and come along. See! My betrayer is near.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, February 6 –