Silas was sent by the apostles to the Churches of the gentiles together with Saints Paul and Barnabas. He earnestly fulfilled the office of preaching, full of the grace of God. (Acts 15:22) Silvanus helped both Peter and Paul (I Peter 5:12; II Corinthians 1:19), and became the first bishop of Salonica. Crescens was a fellow-worker with St. Paul (II Tim. 4:10) and then bishop in Galatia and missionary in Gaul. Epaenetus is mentioned by Paul (Rom. 16:7) and became bishop of Carthage.
Let us praise the apostles Silas, Silvanus, and their companions. They overcame the deceits of idolatry and taught the pagans for the faith. They pray unceasingly for those who keep their memory.
O Silas and Silvanus, you were two disciples of the Lord, two vines in the Lord’s vineyard producing clusters of virtue like grapes. You poured out for us the wine of salvation that fills the hearts of the faithful with joy and makes them celebrate your honorable memory. Obtain for us the remission of sins and transgressions.
Romans 13: 1-10
Brothers and sisters: Let everyone obey the authorities that are over him, for there is no authority except from God, and all authority that exists is established by God. As a consequence, the man who opposes authority rebels against the ordinance of God; those who resist thus shall draw condemnation down upon themselves. Rulers cause no fear when a man does what is right but only when his conduct is evil. Do you wish to be free from the fear of authority? Do what is right and you will gain its approval, for the ruler is God’s servant to work for your good. Only if you do wrong ought you to be afraid. It is not without purpose that the ruler carries the sword; he is God’s servant, to inflict his avenging wrath upon the wrongdoer. You must obey, then, not only to escape punishment but also for conscience’ sake. You pay taxes for the same reason, magistrates being God’s ministers who devote themselves to his service with unremitting care. Pay each one his due: taxes to whom taxes are due; toll to whom toll is due; respect and honor everyone who deserves them.
Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another. He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not murder; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and any other commandment there may be are all summed up in this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Lover never wrongs the neighbor, hence love is the fulfillment of the law.
Matthew 12: 30-37
The Lord said: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. That, I assure you, is why every sin, every blasphemy, will be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever says anything against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever says anything against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Declare a tree good and its fruit good or declare a tree rotten and its fruit rotten, one or the other, for you can tell a tree by its fruit. How can you utter anything good, you brood of vipers, when you are so evil? The mouth speaks whatever fills the mind. A good man produces good from his store of goodness; an evil man produces evil from his evil store. I assure you, on judgment day people will be held accountable for every unguarded word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Friday, July 29 –