All Physical Things are God’s Creation (Sat. Jan. 2)

The word of the day is “creature.”   As we begin a new secular year, we might consider the nature of the material world in which we live.  Yes, we live in the hope of a “better country,” our eternal inheritance.  But the material world, though subject to corruption, is not evil.  In our reading of 1 Timothy 3:14-4:5, St. Paul writes, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.  For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (vs. 4). The Law of Moses divided food and drink into qualities of “clean” and “unclean” as if they were intrinsically good or bad.  But the Lord said, “Not…

A Better and Heavenly Country (Fri., Jan.1)

Blessed Feast! The word of the day is “country.”  As we begin a new secular year, hardly anyone of us would like to go back to the difficulties of the past year.  We cling to the hope of a better year ahead.  This is in keeping with our reading of Hebrews 11:8, 11-16.   The apostle writes about those who spend their entire lives in hope. He says, “but now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (vs. 16). Our reading begins with Abraham’s call to leave his homeland “to go out to the place where he would receive his inheritance”…

Hang Onto the Shield of Faith (Thurs. Dec. 31)

The word of the day is “confidence.”  In times of trial, what do we need to endure?  Our reading of Hebrews 10:35-11:17 answers, “Therefore, do not cast away your confidence which has a great reward” (vs. 35). The Greek word that is translated as “confidence” is derived from the term for outspoken speech. From this, we get the thought of “boldness” (Strong’s #3954, 194).  Such assurance will see us through the ordeals that we face until we receive the reward of our determination. Do Not Cast Away Our Shield By all means, the apostle teaches that we must never “cast away” our confidence.  The author may have been thinking of the shield that soldiers in Greece and Rome carried into…

The End of Sacrifices for Sin (Wed. Dec. 30)

The word of the day is “sacrifice.” In today’s reading of Hebrews 10:1-18, the apostle announces the end of sacrifices for sin. He writes, “For by one offering He [Christ]  has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (vs. 14). Therefore, there is no longer any need for more offerings for sin.  All that is necessary for our redemption has been fulfilled. A One-Time Offering The apostle argues at length that the sacrifices of the Old Testament were ineffective because they had to be repeated again and again (vs. 11).  But Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was “once and for all” (10).  The proof of its efficacy was that Christ “sat down at the right hand of God” after He…

The Mediator of a New Covenant (Tues, Dec. 29)

The word of the day is “mediator.”  In our reading from Hebrews 9:8-10; 15-23, the apostle explains how Jesus Christ established the new covenant that promises our eternal inheritance.  Paul writes, “He is the Mediator of the new covenant by means of death…. That those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (vs. 15). St. John Chrysostom explains, “A mediator is not lord of the thing of which he is mediator, but the thing belongs to one person, and the mediator is another: for instance, the mediator of a marriage is not the bridegroom, but one who aids him who is about to be married” (NpFp1: 13). But what are the parties to the mediation of…

To Know Christ For Ourselves (Mon. Dec. 28)

Christ is born!  Glorify Him! The word of the day is “know.”  In our reading of Hebrews 8:7-15, the apostle refers to the new covenant that makes the old covenant between God and His Chosen People obsolete.   The people had broken the laws of the old covenant, which was written on stone.  But the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34)   had promised that God would make a new covenant (vs. 9) that would be written on the heart (vs. 10).  In that new relationship with God, no one would need to be taught to know the Lord.  All would know him, from the youngest to the oldest (vs. 11).  And in knowing Him, everyone would know His will and ways.  His laws…

The Gospel Not According to Man (Sun. Dec. 27)

Christ is born! Glorify Him! The word of the day is “revelation.”  In our reading of Galatians 1:11-19, St. Paul insists that the Gospel that he preaches did not come from any human source.  He writes, “I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation  of Jesus Christ (vs. 12). Paul declares that “His” Gospel was not “according to man” (vs. 11 OSB).  The Greek term for “according” means “to come down in place or time” (Strong’s  #2596, 128).  Thus, the Gospel did not come from any human being, nor was he taught it.  Accordingly, the Oxford Annotated Bible translates that “it is not of human origin” (vs. 11 OAB). Revealed in…

Sent in Humility: Manifested in Glory

Christ is born!  Glorify Him! The word of the day is “God.”   In our reading of 1 Timothy 6:11-16, St. Paul offers a doxology of praise to the Lord of lords and King of kings who is immortal, and invisible, and in glory hidden from human eyes. Pau’s hymn of glorifying God is appropriate for this day after the Feast of the Nativity.  On this second day of the Feast,  all that we have said and done now blend together in a song of honor, adoration, and worship of the “ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, and incomprehensive” God (“Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,”  St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1984). Lord of Lords, King of Kings The passage may have been a doxology…

God Sent Forth His Son (Fri. Dec. 25)

Christ is born!  Glorify Him! The word of the day is “sent.” On this glorious day, we hear Paul’s concise summary of the gospel in our reading of Galatians  4:4-7. He writes, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons” (vs. 4-5). How long did it take for the time to be filled up with hours, days and years and decades (Strong’s #4136, 204)?  How much suffering did the Chosen People endure as the centuries heaped up one on top of the others? How much perseverance did it take for the People…

A Different Kind of Kingdom (Thurs. Dec. 24)

Christ is born! Glorify Him! The word of the day is “kingdom.”  On the eve of the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, we hear of the identity of the child to be born and the significance of His birth. As our reading of Hebrews 1:1-12 begins, the apostle argues that the angels may be magnificent.  But the divine Son of God is greater than the most stupendous angel.  Through Him, the worlds were made. He was His Reign is Forever the agent of the Creator who laid the foundations of the earth.  In Him, the brightness of God’s glory shines.  With Him, there is no change or alteration. On Him, God has poured the anointing oil of kingship,…