The holy martyr Chrysanthus came from a pagan family who moved from Alexandria to Rome in the third century. He received a fine education, and among the books he read were those in which pagans discussed Christianity. The young man, however, wanted to read books written by Christians themselves. He finally managed to get a copy of the New Testament, which enlightened his rational soul. Seeking someone to instruct him in the Holy Scriptures, he found the presbyter Carpophoros hiding from persecution, and the saint received holy Baptism from him. After this, Chrysanthus began to preach the Gospel. His own father tried to turn him in for being a Christian, and finally, he married him to Daria, a priestess of Minerva. St. Chrysanthus managed to convert his wife to Christ, and the young couple agreed to live a celibate lives. After the death of his father, Chrysanthus and Daria began to live in separate houses. St Chrysanthus converted several young men to Christ, and many pious women gathered around St. Daria. The people of Rome complained to the eparch Celerinus that the saints were preaching celibacy and attracting too many young men and women to monasticism. St. Chrysanthus was sent to the tribune Claudius for torture. The emperor Numerian ordered Saints Chrysanthus and Daria be turned over to the executioners. After many cruel tortures, the martyrs were buried alive in the ground.
O Lord our God your holy martyrs have deserved the crown of immortality on account of their good fight. Armed with your strength, they have vanquished their persecutors and crushed Satan’s dreadful might. Through their supplications, O Christ our God, save our souls.
In your desire for the perfect Good, you pursued whatever good you saw. By your golden words, Chrysanthus, you led the glorious Daria to Christ. She endured many torments and shamed the enemy. We ask both of you to remember us who keep your memory.
Hebrews 6: 13-20
Brothers and sisters: When God made his promise to Abraham, he swore by himself, having no one greater to swear by, and said, “I will indeed bless you, and multiply you.” And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained what God had promised. Men swear by someone greater than themselves; an oath gives firmness to a promise and puts an end to all argument. God, wishing to give the heirs of his promise even clearer evidence that his purpose would not change, guaranteed it by oath, so that, by two things that are unchangeable, in which he could not lie, we who have taken refuge in him might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope which is placed before us. Like a sure and firm anchor, that hope extends beyond the veil through which Jesus, our forerunner, has entered on our behalf, being made high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Mark 9: 17-31
At that time a man approached Jesus and said: “Teacher, I have brought my son to you because he is possessed by a mute spirit. Whenever it sees him it throws him down; he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. Just now I asked your disciples to expel the spirit, but they were unable to do so.” Jesus replied by saying to the crowd, “What an unbelieving lot you are! How long must I remain with you? How long can I endure you? Bring the boy to me.” When they did so the spirit caught sight of Jesus and immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. Then Jesus questioned the father: “How long has this been happening to him?” “From childhood,” the father replied. “Often it throws him into the fire and into water. You would think it would kill him. If out of the kindness of your heart you can do anything to help us, please do!” Jesus said, “‘If you can’? Everything is possible to a man who trusts.” The boy’s father immediately exclaimed, “I do believe! Help my lack of trust!” Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, reprimanded the unclean spirit by saying to him, “Mute and death spirit, I command you: get out of him and never enter him again!” Shouting, and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out of him; the boy became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead.“ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet. When Jesus arrived at the house his disciples began to ask him privately, “Why is it that we could not expel it?“ He told them, “This kind you can drive out only by prayer.“
They left that district and began a journey through Galilee, but Jesus did not want anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples in this vein: “the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men who will put him to death; three days after his death he will rise.
Ephesians 5: 8-19
Brothers and sisters: Live as children of light. Light produces every kind of goodness and justice and truth. Be correct in your judgment of what pleases the Lord. Take no part in vain deeds done in darkness; rather, condemn them. It is shameful even to mention the things people do in secret; but when such deeds are condemned they are seen in the light of day, and all that appears is light. That is why we read: “Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Chrsit will give you light.”
Keep careful watch over your conduct. Do not act like fools, but like thoughtful men. Make the most of the present opportunity, for these are evil days. Do not continue in ignorance, but try to discern the will of the Lord. Avoid getting drunk on wine; that leads to debauchery. Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and inspired songs. Sing praise to the Lord with all your hearts.
Matthew 11: 27-30
The Lord said to his disciples: “Everything has been given over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son– and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, March 18 –