Our venerable and divinely inspired father, Anthony the Great, was Egyptian by birth, who went into the desert during the reign of Constantine the Great, in the year 312. Living to the age of 105, he died in 356. He was a friend of St. Paul the Hermit and was one of the founders of the cenobitical life.
Father Anthony, you imitated Elijah in his zeal, and you followed John the Baptist in his holy way of life. You took up your abode in the desert and strengthened the world by your prayers. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
You rejected the troubles of this world, most venerable Anthony, and spent your life in peace by imitating John the Baptist. With him, we exalt your name; for you are a perfect example of good conduct.
Hebrews 13: 17-21
Brothers and sisters: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over you as men who must render an account. So act that they may fulfill their task with joy, not sorrow, for that would be harmful to you. Pray for us; we are confident that we may have a good conscience. Wishing, as we do, to ask rightly in every respect. I Especially ask your prayers that I may be restored to you very soon. May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. Through Jesus Christ may he carry out in you all that is pleasing to him. To Christ be glory forever! Amen.
At that time, coming down the mountain with the twelve, Jesus stopped at a level stretch where there were many of his disciples; a large crowd of people was with them from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coast of Tyre and Sidon, people who came to hear him and be healed of this diseases. Those who were troubles with unclean spirits were cured; indeed, the whole crowd was trying to touch him because power went out from him which cured all.
Then, raising his eyes to his disciples, he said: “Blest are you poor, the reign of God is yours. Blest are you who hunger; you shall be filled. Blest are you who are weeping; you shall laugh. Blest shall you be when men hate you, and proscribe your name as evil because of the Son of Man. On the day they do so, rejoice and exult, for your reward shall be great in heaven.”
James 3: 1-10
Brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers; you should realize that those of us who do so will be called to the stricter account. All of us fall short in many respects. If a person is without fault in speech he is a man in the fullest sense, because he can control his entire body. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, guide the rest of their bodies. It is the same with ships: however large they are, and despite the fact that they are driven by fierce winds, they are directed by very small rudders on whatever course the steersman’s impulse may select. The tongue is something like that. It is a small member, yet it makes great pretensions.
See how tiny the spark is that sets a huge forest ablaze! The tongue is such a flame. It exists among our members as a whole universe of malice. The tongue defiles the entire body. Its flames encircle our course from birth, and its fire is kindled by hell. Every form of life, four-footed or winged, crawling or swimming, can be tamed, and has been tamed, by mankind; the tongue no man can tame. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We use it to say, “Praised be the Lord and Father”; then we use it to curse men, though they are made in the likeness of God. Blessing and curse come out of the same mouth. This ought not to be, my brothers and sisters!
Mark 11: 11-24
At that time Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple precincts. He inspected everything there, but since it was already late in the afternoon, he went out to Bethany accompanied by the Twelve. The next day when they were leaving Bethany he felt hungry. Observing a fig tree some distance off, covered with foliage, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. Then addressing it he said, “Never again shall anyone eat of your fruit!” His disciples heard all this.
When they reached Jerusalem he entered the temple precincts and began to drive out those who were engaged in buying and selling. He overturned the money-changers’ tables and the stall of the men selling doves; moreover, he would not permit anyone to carry things through the temple area.
Then he began to teach them: “Does not Scripture have it, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’? But you have turned it into a den of thieves.” The chief priests and the scribes heard of this and began to look for a way to destroy him. They were at the same time afraid of him because the whole crowd was under the spell of his teaching. When evening drew on, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. Early next morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered up.” In reply Jesus told them: “Put your trust in God. I solemnly assure you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no inner doubts but believes that what he says will happen, shall have it done for him. I give you my word, if you are ready to believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, it shall be done for you.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, January 16 –