Eternal truth that has endured from ancient times
In an age when many people think truth is relative, the knowledge that there is such a thing as absolute truth, is comforting. The freedom that comes with the knowledge that we are able to embrace teachings that are a continuation of an unbroken line dating back to Apostolic times, is liberating. As Orthodox Christians, we are not faced with the troubling task of interpreting the scriptures anew, or deciding moral and dogmatic teachings for ourselves, or trying to make our faith relevant for this age. Rather, we can immerse ourselves in the knowledge that we have embraced the Mind of the Ancient Universal Church.
We haven’t had to reinvent the Faith, because we have aligned ourselves with the Church that is both ancient, and relevant for the modern seeker. We know the Church’s teachings are not based on the finite mind, or the imagination of our own fallen nature, but the eternal truth that has endured from ancient times.
It is comforting to know the Church has remained true to her inheritance for some two thousand years. It is liberating to know ancient Christian dogmas, ways of worship, and moral teachings, are guiding our lives, just as they have for two thousand years.
Truth is not relative, but is absolute. There is no greater freedom than to be able to receive, as our own, the transcending truth that has made saints, from ancient times. There is no greater freedom, than being able to embrace the absolute truth that has transcended time, space, culture, and race. No greater joy than to be counted as belonging to Christ, and having joined ourselves to the very Church He founded.
Love in Christ,
Thursday January 23, 2020 / January 10, 2020
32nd Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
St. Gregory of Nyssa (395).
Venerable Dometian, bishop of Melitene (601).
St. Theophan the Recluse, bishop of Tambov (1894).
Venerable Marcian, presbyter of Constantinople (471).
Venerable Paul, abbot of Obnora (Vologda) (1429), and his disciple St. Macarius, abbot of Pisma Monastery.
Venerable Antipas of Valaam (1882).
New Hieromartyr Zenobius priest (1920).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1930).
New Hieromartyr Anatolius metropolite of Odessa (1938).
Woman Hieromartyr Arsenia abbess (1939).
Venerable Macarius of Pisemsk and Kostroma (14c).
Blessed Theosebia the Deaconess (385), sister of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nyssa.
Venerable Ammon of Nitria, monk (5th c.).
Venerable Antipas of Galapodeshti, Romania and Valaam Monastery (1882) (Romania).
Martyred Elder Ephraim and six incorrupt monks of Obnora (1538).
The Scripture Readings
Jesus the True Shepherd
10 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
Jesus the Good Shepherd
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Qualities Needed in Trials
19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Doers—Not Hearers Only
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
With God All Things Are Possible
23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”