The holy and glorious martyr Irene, at Thessalonica in Macedonia. Since she had hidden the sacred books in violation of the edict of Diocletian, she was taken to a public house of ill repute, then burned in a fire by order of the governor Dulecetius. It was under the same governor that her sisters Agape and Chionia had suffered previously.
O Jesus, your lamb Irene cries out to You with great love: O my Bridegroom, I long for You in great pain. I am crucified with you, and in baptism I am buried with You. I suffer for your sake in order to reign with You. I die for You in order to live in You. Accept me as an immaculate victim since I am immolated for your love. Through her intercession, O merciful One, save our souls.
Anointed with the sweetness of virginity, you were beautiful in your martyrdom, O virgin Irene. Robed in crimson from your blood, you exposed the lies of the godless. For this the Creator crowned you in triumph.
Acts 10:44 – 11:10
In those days, Peter had not finished these words when the Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter’s message. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were surprised that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, whom they could hear speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Peter put the question at that point, “What can stop these people who have received the Holy Spirit, even as we have, from being baptized with water?” So he gave orders that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. After this was done, they asked him to stay with them for a few days.
All through Judea the apostles and the brothers heard that Gentiles, too, had accepted the word of God. As a result, when Peter went up to Jerusalem some among the circumcised took issue with him, saying, “You entered the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” Peter then explained the whole affair to them step by step from the beginning: “I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when, in a trance, I saw a vision. An object like a big canvas came down; it was lowered down to me from the sky by its four corners. As I stared at it I could make out four-legged creatures of the earth, wild beasts, and reptiles, and birds of the sky. I listened as a voice said to me, ‘Get up, Peter! Slaughter, then eat.’ I replied: ‘Not for a moment, sir! Nothing unclean or impure has ever entered my mouth!’ A second time the voice from the heavens spoke out: ‘What God has purified you are not to call unclean.’ This happened three times; then the canvas with everything in it was drawn up again into the sky.”
John 8: 21-30
The Lord said to people coming to him: “I am going away. He will look for me but you will die in your sins. Where I am going you cannot come.” At this some of the Jews began to ask, “Does he mean to kill himself when he claims, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”
Jesus went on: “You belong to what is below; I belong to what is above. You belong to this world – a world which cannot hold me. That is why I said you would die in your sins. You will surely die in your sins unless you come to believe that I AM.”
“ Who are you, then?” they asked him. Jesus answered: “What I have been telling you from the beginning. I could say much about you in condemnation, but no, I only tell the world what I have heard from him, the truthful One who sent me.” They did not grasp that he was speaking to them of the Father. Jesus continued: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man he will come to realize that I AM and that I do nothing by myself. I say only what the Father has taught me. The One who sent me is with me. He has not deserted me since I always do what pleases him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, May 4 –