Our holy fathers Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs, were brothers born in Thessalonica in the first half of the ninth century. Since Methodius had been a soldier among the Slavs in Macedonia, he was considered an excellent candidate for carrying the Gospel to the Khazars. After the invention of the first Slavonic alphabet by Cyril, they began translating the Gospel and liturgical books into Church Slavonic. At the invitation of Prince Rastislav, they went to Moravia to spread the Faith. They went to Rome at the invitation of the pope, and Cyril fell ill and died there on Feb. 14, 869. Methodius then returned to Moravia and continued his apostolic work until his death on April 6, 885.
As equals to the apostles and teachers of the Slavs, beg the Master of all to confirm us in the faith and in unity of heart, O Cyril and Methodius. Beg Him for peace in the world and mercy on our souls.
We honor those priests who gave us the Light, who opened the fountain of theology for us by translating the Holy Scriptures, thus starting a river from them that still runs today. We glorify you, O Cyril and Methodius, who stand in heaven before the throne of the Lord on high, and who pray so fervently for all of us.
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 with sorrow, for that would be harmful to you. Pray for us; we are confident that we have a good conscience, wishing, as we do, to act 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 the glory forever! Amen.
John 10: 9-16
The Lord said: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand — who is no shepherd nor owner of the sheep — catches sight of the wolf coming and runs away, leaving the sheep to be snatched and scattered by the wolf. That is because he works for pay; he has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me in the same way that the Father knows me and I know the Father; for these sheep I will give my life. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead them, too, and they shall hear my voice. There shall be one flock then, one shepherd.”
Acts 14:20b – 15:4
In those days, Paul left with Barnabas for Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news in that town and made numerous disciples, they retracted their steps to Lystra and Iconium first, then to Antioch. They gave their disciples reassurances, and encouraged them to preserve in the faith with this instruction: “We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God.” In each church they installed presbyters and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.
Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. After preaching the message in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had first been commended to the favor of God for the task they had now completed. On their arrival, they called the congregation together and related all that God had helped them accomplish, and how he opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. Then they spent some time there with the disciples.
Some men came down to Antioch from Judea and began to teach the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” This created dissension and much controversy between them and Paul and Barnabas. Finally it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some others should go up to see the apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem about this question.
The church saw them off and they made their way through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling everyone about the conversion of the Gentiles as they went. Their story caused great joy among the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by that church, as well as by the apostles and the presbyters, to whom they reported all that God has helped them accomplish.
John 9: 39-41, 10: 1-9
The Lord said to the people coming to him: “I came into this world to divide it, to make the sightless see and the seeing blind.” Some of the Pharisees around him picked this up, saying, “You are not calling us blind, are you?” To which Jesus replied: “If you were blind there would be no sin in that. ‘But we see,’ you say, and your sins remain. Truly I assure you: Whoever does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs in some other way is a thief and a marauder. The one who enters through the gate is shepherd of the sheep; the keeper opens the gate for him. The sheep hear his voice as he calls his own by name and leads them out. When he has brought out those that are his, he walks in front of them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will not follow a stranger; such a one they will flee, because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Even though Jesus used this figure with them, they did not grasp what he was trying to tell them. He therefore said to them again: “My solemn word is this: I am the sheepgate. All who came before me were thieves and marauders whom the sheep did not heed. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture.”
Wednesday, May 10 –