The holy apostle Jude was one of the Twelve apostles of Christ and descended from King David and Solomon, and was the son of Righteous Joseph the Betrothed by his first wife. Tradition says that when St. Joseph returned from Egypt, he began to divide his possessions among his sons. He wanted to allot a share to Christ the Savior, born miraculously and incorruptibly from the All-Pure Virgin Mary. Joseph’s other sons were opposed to this because Jesus was born of another mother. Only James, later called “The Brother of God,” offered to share his portion with Him. Later, Jude came to believe in Christ the Savior as the awaited Messiah, and he followed Him and was chosen as one of the twelve apostles. Mindful of his sin, the Apostle Jude considered himself unworthy to be called the Lord’s brother, and in his Epistle he calls himself merely the brother of James. The holy apostle Jude died as a martyr around the year 80 near Mt. Ararat in Armenia, where he was crucified and pierced by arrows.
We recognize that you are one of the Lord’s relatives and a strong martyr who for the faith trampled on lies. We have come to praise you in a sacred manner, O Jude, as we celebrate your holy memory and make our plea; Forgive our sins by the might of your prayers.
You were a chosen disciple with a firm purpose, an invincible pillar of the Church of Christ. You preached the word about Christ to the pagans, telling them to believe in the one God. Therefore, you have been exalted by Him and graced with the gift of healing. You cure the ills of those who hasten to you, O praiseworthy apostle Jude.
Jude 1: 1-10
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who have been called by God; who have found love in God the Father and have been guarded safely in Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be yours in ever greater measure.
I was already fully intent on writing you, beloved, about the salvation we share. But now I feel obliged to write and encourage you to fight hard for the faith delivered once for all to the saints. Certain individuals have recently wormed their way into your midst, godless types, long ago destined for the condemnation I shall describe. They pervert the gracious gift of our God to sexual excess and deny Jesus Christ, our only master and Lord.
I wish to remind you of certain things, even though you may already be very well aware of them. The Lord first rescued his people from the land of Egypt but later destroyed those who refused to believe. There were angels, too, who did not keep to their own domain, who deserted their dwelling place. These the Lord has kept in perpetual bondage, shrouded in murky darkness against the judgment of the great day Sodom, Gomorrah, and the towns there abouts indulged in lust, just as those angels did; they practiced unnatural vice. They are set before us to dissuade us, as they undergo a punishment of eternal fire.
Similarly, these visionaries pollute the flesh; they spurn God’s dominion and revile the angelic beings. Even the archangel Michael, when his case with the devil was being judged – a dispute over Moses’ body– did not venture to charge him with blasphemy. He simply said, “May the Lord punish you.” These people, however, not only revile what they have no knowledge of but are corrupted through the very things they know by instinct, like brute animals.
John 14: 21-24
The Lord said to his disciples: “He who obeys the commandments he has from me is the man who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said to Jesus, “Lord, why is it that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered: “Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words. Yet the word you hear is not mine; it comes from the Father who sent me.”
Romans 9: 18 – 33
Brothers and sisters: God has mercy on whom he wishes, and whom he wishes he makes hard-hearted. You will say to me, “Why, then, does he find fault? For who can oppose his will?” Friend, who are you to answer God back? Does something molded say to its molder, “Why did you make me like this?” Does a potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for a lofty purpose and another for a humble one? What if God, wishing to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels fit for wrath, ready to be destroyed, and did so in order to make known the riches of his glory towards the vessels for mercy – which he prepared for glory – I am speaking about us whom he called, not only from among the Jews, but from among the Gentiles.
As it says in the Book of Hosea: “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and those who were not loved I will call ‘Beloved’; in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ but they shall be called sons of the living God.” Isaiah cries out, referring to Israel, “Though the number of Israelites should be as the sands of the sea, only the remnants will be saved, for quickly and decisively will the Lord execute sentence upon the earth.” It is just as Isaiah predicted: “Unless the Lord of hosts had left us a remnant, we should have become as Sodom, we should be like Gemorrah.”
How, then, shall we put it? That the Gentiles, who were not seeking justice, attained it – the justice which comes from faith – while Israel, seeking a law from which justice would come, did not arrive at that law? And why did it not? Because justice comes from faith, not from works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, as Scripture says: “Behold, I am placing in Zion a stone to make men stumble and a rock to make them fall; but he who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Matthew 11: 2-15
At that time when John, in prison, heard about the works Christ was performing, he sent a message by his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you ‘He who is to come’ or do we look for another?” In reply, Jesus said to them: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind will recover their sight, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them. Blest is the man who finds no stumbling block in me.”
As the messengers set off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out to the wasteland to see–a reed swaying in the wind? Tell me, what did you go out to see–someone luxuriously dressed? Remember, those who dress luxuriously are to be found in royal palaces. Why then did you go out–to see a prophet? A prophet indeed, and something more! It is about this man that Scripture says, “I send my messenger ahead of you to prepare your way before you.’
“I solemnly assure you, history has known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptizer. Yet the least born into the kingdom of God is greater than he. From John the Baptizer’s time until now the kingdom of God has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. All the prophets as well as the law spoke prophetically until John. If you are prepared to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who was certain to come. Heed carefully what you hear!”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Sunday, June 18 –