Sunday – Pascha
John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own,[c] and His own[d] did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
From St. John Chrysostom:
He came then unto His own, not for His own good, but for the good of others. But whence did He Who fills all things, and is every where present, come? He came out of condescension to us, though in reality He had been in the world all along. But the world not seeing Him, because it knew Him not, He deigned to put on flesh. And this manifestation and condescension is called His advent. But the merciful God so contrives His dispensations, that we may shine forth in proportion to our goodness, and therefore He will not compel, but invites men, by persuasion and kindness, to come of their own accord: and so, when He came, some received Him, and others received Him not. He desires not an unwilling and forced service; for no one who comes unwillingly devotes himself wholly to Him. Whence what follows, And his own received him not. He here calls the Jews His own, as being his peculiar people; as indeed are all men in some sense, being made by Him. And as above, to the shame of our common nature, he said, that the world which was made by Him, knew not its Maker: so here again, indignant at the ingratitude of the Jews, he brings a heavier charge, viz. that His own received Him not.
Excerpts from Holy Week readings from the Old and New Testament
Holy Wednesday readings with the theme of healing and help:
James 5:10-16 Brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we call them blessed who showed endurance. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the accomplishment of the Lord: that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. Above all, my Brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” “No” so that you may not fall under condemnation. Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing hymns of praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous has a powerful effect.
At that time, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read?” And the lawyer answered, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.'” And Jesus said to him, “You have answered right; do this and you will live.”
But the lawyer, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan came to where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day, he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three do you think proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” The lawyer said,”The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Romans 15:1-7 Brethren, we then who are strong ought to bear with the weakness of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please his neighbor for the good purpose of building him up. For Christ did not please himself; but as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you fell on me.” For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, so that we through patience and through the encouragement of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and encouragement grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Brethren, now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But strive eagerly for the greater gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way. If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love does not envy; love is not conceited, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not irritable, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never comes to an end. But where there are prophecies, they will come to an end; where there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
Matthew 10:1, 5-8 At that time, Jesus called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits: to cast them out and to heal every disease and infirmity. These twelve Jesus sent out charging them: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick; cleanse the lepers; raise the dead; cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay.
2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1 Brethren, what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate from them, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and spirit and bring our holiness to perfection in the fear of God.
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