The forty holy martyrs, martyred at Sebaste in Armenia on a frozen lake. They were comrades , not in blood, but in faith and obedience to the will of their heavenly Father. At the time of the emperor Licinius, after binding and savage tortures, the martyrs were ordered to pass the night naked at the coldest time of winter in a swamp in the open air. They consummated their martyrdom by the breaking of their legs at crucifixion. The forty martyrs are: Cyrion(or Quirio), Candidus, Domnus, Hesychius, Heraclius, Smaragdus, Eunocius(or Eunicus), Valens, Vivianus, Claudius, Priscus, Theodulus, Eutychius, John, Xanthius, Helianus, Sisinius, Aggais, Aetius, Flavius, Acacius, Ecdicius, Lysimachus, Alexander, Elias, Gorgonius, Theophilus, Dometian, Gaius, Leontuis, Athanasius, Cyril, Sacerdon, Nicholas, Valerius, Philoctimon, Severian, Chudion, Aglaius, and Meliton.
O forty soldiers of Christ and honorable martyrs, you went through fire and water, O mighty warriors, and have come to live with the angels. Join them in praying to Christ for those who praise you. Glory to Him who strengthened you! Glory to Him who crowned you! Glory to Him who heals us through you!
You left the crowds of this world and joined the Master in heaven, O forty martyrs. Passing through fire and water, you reaped glory and honor in heaven, O blessed saints.
Hebrews 12: 1-10
Brothers and sisters: Since we for our part are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith. For the sake of the joy which lay before him he endured the cross, heedless of its shame. He has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Remember how he endures the opposition of sinners; hence do not grow despondent or abandon the struggle. In your fight against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Moreover, you have forgotten the encouraging words addressed to you as sons: “My sons, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord nor lose heart when he reproves you; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he receives.” Endure your trials as the disciples of God, who deals with you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you do not know the discipline of sons, you are not sons but bastards. If we respected our earthly fathers who corrected us, should we not all the more submit to the Father of spirits, and live? They disciplined us as seemed right to them, to prepare us for the short span of mortal life; but God does so for our true profit, that we may share his holiness.
Matthew 20: 1-16
The Lord told this parable: “The reign of God is like the case of the owner of an estate who went out at dawn to hire the workman for his vineyard. After reaching an agreement with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them out to his vineyard. He came out about midmorning and saw other men standing around the marketplace without work, so he said to them, ‘You too go along to my vineyard and I will pay you whatever is fair.’ At that they went away. He came out again around noon and did the same. Finally, going out in late afternoon he found others standing around. To these he said, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ ‘No one has hired us,’ they told him. He said, ‘You go to the vineyard too.’
When evening came the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workmen and give them their pay, but begin with the last group and end with the first.’ When those hired late in the afternoon came up they received a full day’s pay, and when the first group appeared they supposed they would get more; yet they received that same daily wage. Thereupon they complained to the owner, ‘This last group did only an hour’s work, but you have put them on the same basis as us who have worked a full day in the scorching heat.’ ‘My friend,’ he said to one in reply, ‘I do you no injustice. You agreed on the usual wage, did you not? Take your pay and go home. I intend to give this man who was hired last the same pay as you. I am free to do as I please with my money, am I not? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month: on that day
All the fountains of the great abyss burst forth
And the floodgates of the sky were opened.
For forty days and forty nights heavy rain poured down on the earth.
On the very same day, Noah and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japeth, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of Noah’s sons had entered the ark, together with every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, every kind of crawling thing that crawls on the earth, and every kind of bird. Pairs of all creatures in which there was the breath of life came to Noah into the ark. Those that entered were male and female; of all creatures they came, as God commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
The flood continued upon the earth for forty days. As the waters increased, they lifted the ark, so that it rose above the earth. The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth, but the ark floated on the surface of the waters. Higher and higher on the earth the waters swelled, until all the highest mountains under heaven were submerged. The waters swelled fifteen cubits higher than the submerged mountains. All creatures that moved on earth perished: birds, tame animals, wild animals, and all that teemed on the earth, as well as all humankind/ Everything on dry land with the breath of life in its nostrils died. The Lord wiped out every being on earth: human beings and animals, the crawling things and the birds of the air; all were wiped out from the earth. Only Noah and those with him in the ark were left.
And when the water had swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days, God remembered Noah and all the animals, wild and tame, that were with him in the ark. So god made a wind sweep over the earth, and the waters began to subside. The fountains of the abyss and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the downpour from the sky was held back. Gradually the waters receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred and fifty days, the waters had so diminished that, in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
The Proverbs of Solomon: A wise son gives his father joy, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.
Ill-gotten treasures profit nothing, but justice saves from death.
The Lord does not let the just go hungry, but the craving of the wicked he thwarts.
The slack hand impoverishes, but the busy hand brings riches.
A son who gathers in summer is a credit; a son who slumbers during harvest, a disgrace.
Blessings are for the head of the just; but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
The memory of the just serves as blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.
A wise heart accepts commands, but a babbling fool will be overthrown.
Whoever walks honestly walks securely, but one whose ways are crooked will fare badly.
One who winks at a fault causes trouble, but one who frankly reproves promotes peace.
The mouth of the just is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Hatred stirs up disputes, but love covers all offenses.
On the lips of the intelligent is found wisdom, but a rod for the back of one without sense.
The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool is imminent ruin.
The wealth of the rich is their strong city; the ruin of the poor is their poverty.
The labor of the just leads to life, the gains of the wicked, to futility.
Whoever follows instruction is in the path to life, but whoever disregards reproof goes astray. Whoever conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but those who restrain their lips do well.
Choice silver is the tongue of the just; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
The lips of the just nourish many, but the fools die for want of sense.
It is the Lord’s blessing that brings wealth, and no effort can substitute for it.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Wednesday, March 8 –