Scripture Readings (KJV)
Hebrews 7.18-25 (Epistle)
18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Luke 21.37-22.8 (Gospel)
37And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.
38And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.
1Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
2And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
3Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
4And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
5And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
6And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
7Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
8And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
Our Holy Father Xenophon, his wife Mary and their sons Arcadius and John (6th c.)
Xenophon was a wealthy senator in Constantinople during the reign of Justinian. He and his wife Mary had two sons, Arcadius and John, to whom they gave every advantage of education. When they were of age, Xenophon sent them both to study law in Berytus (Beirut). But the ship on which they set out was wrecked in a storm, and the two brothers were cast ashore, alive but separated, neither knowing whether the other had survived.
Both brothers gave thanks to God for their salvation and, newly conscious of the vanity of earthly things, both became monks: John in Tyre and Arcadius in Jerusalem. Two years later, having heard no news from his sons, Xenophon made inquiries and found that they had never arrived at Beirut, and that they had seemingly perished in a shipwreck. Giving thanks to God, who gives and takes away, both Xenophon and his wife Mary put on coarse garments and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, they met the spiritual father of Arcadius, who told them that both their sons were alive and that they would soon see them.
By God’s providence, John and Arcadius met one another at Golgotha and, joyfully reunited, spent some time serving Arcadius’ holy Elder. Two days later Xenophon and Mary, visiting the Elder, spent time with their two sons but did not recognize them until the Elder revealed their identity. The parents wept for joy and decided immediately to take up the monastic life themselves. Giving away their considerable wealth, the two entered monasteries in the Holy Land. Both parents and sons went far in the life of prayer, being granted the power to work miracles and foreknow future events.
St Ammonas of Egypt, disciple of St Anthony the Great (350)
“Saint Ammonas was a disciple of Saint Antony the Great and became his successor at the head of the hermits of the outer mountain of Pispir, after having spent fourteen years at Scetis in ceaseless prayer to the Lord to be granted victory over anger. He was afterwards consecrated bishop, probably by Saint Athanasius the Great. He possessed impassibility to the extent of being as though ignorant of the existence of evil, and incapable of passing judgment on anyone.
“One day some people came to ask him to settle a difference among them. The Saint responded by pretending to be insane, and answered a woman who treated him as a madman: ‘You don’t realize how much trouble I’ve given myself in the desert to acquire this madness and I have lost it today because of you!’ On another occasion when he was taken to visit a brother with a bad reputation, he sat on the barrel where [the erring brother’s] concubine was hiding while his accusers searched his cell in vain. Then, taking his leave of the unfortunate man, he simply said: ‘Brother, have a care for yourself!’
“When he was asked which deeds of ascesis are most pleasing to God, he replied: ‘Just sit in your cell and eat a little every day, always keeping the prayer of the Publican in your heart (Luke 18:13), and you can be saved.’ He also said that the fear of God begets moans and tears and these cause joy to arise in the soul, filling it with divine strength to do what is pleasing to God, and that this power from on high establishes us in the company of the Angels. Raised thus from height to height as we humbly pray to be delivered from sin, we shall (he said) receive as if of itself, revelation of the mysteries of God.” (Synaxarion)
Our Holy Mother Paula of Rome (404)
She was born in 347 to a noble family in Rome, and at age sixteen married Toxotius, a prominent nobleman. Though her husband was a pagan, he was devoted to her and gave her freedom to keep a Christian home and rear her children as Christians. They were blessed with five children. When she was thirty-two her husband died suddenly, and Paula resolved to turn her large house in Rome into a monastery. Later she traveled to the Holy Land with her spiritual father St Jerome (June 15). In Bethlehem she established two monasteries, one for women (where she dwelt) and one for St Jerome and his companions. Every day the nuns chanted the entire Psalter, which they were required to learn by heart. Paula was exceptionally austere in her fasting and lavish in her almsgiving, often giving away to the poor even the goods needed by her community for subsistence. She aided her spiritual father and brother Jerome in his controversies with Origen’s followers: St Jerome himself was hot-tempered, and St Paula often exhorted him to confront his enemies with patience and humility.
When she was fifty-six years old, she felt her death approaching, and heard Christ say to her ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone’ (Song of Songs 2:10-11). To this she replied ‘The time of harvest has come. I shall truly see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living,’ and gave up her soul joyfully. Her funeral was attended by throngs of monks, nuns and poor people, all of whom revered her as their mother and benefactress.