Saint Mary Magdalene

Mary of Magdala near Capernaum was one of several women who followed Jesus and ministered to him in Galilee. The Gospel according to Luke records that Jesus “went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out” (Luke 8:1-2). The Gospels tell us that Mary was healed by Jesus, followed him, and was one of those who stood near his cross at Calvary.

Mary Magdalene’s life was changed radically by Jesus’ healing. Her ministry of service and steadfast companionship, even as a witness to the crucifixion, has through the centuries been an example of the faithful ministry of women to Christ. All four Gospels name Mary as one of the women who went to the tomb to mourn and to care of Jesus’ body in burial. Her weeping for the loss of her Lord strikes a common chord with the grief of all others over the death of loved ones. Jesus’ tender response to her grief – meeting her in the garden, revealing himself to her by calling her name – makes her the first witness to the risen Lord. She is given the command, ” go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17). As the first messenger of the resurrection, she tells the disciples, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18).

In the Eastern Churches, Mary is venerated as isapostolos: equal to the Apostles. Eastern tradition holds that Mary went to Ephesus with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John the Evangelist, and that there she died and was buried. Willibald, the eighth century English monk who traveled widely through the Christian world, saw the traditional site of her tomb. Her feast has been kept in the West since the eighth century, and her popularity in England is reflected in the nearly two hundred ancient dedications of churches and her universal appearance in medieval sanctoral calendars. The universities of both Oxford and Cambridge have colleges dedicated to her.

taken from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980), alt.,
with additions from The Oxford Dictionary of Saints

The Collect

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lesson
Judith 9:1,11-14

Then Judith fell upon her face and put ashes on her head and uncovered the sackcloth she was wearing; and at the very time when that evening’s incense was being offered in the house of God in Jerusalem, Judith cried out to the Lord with a loud voice and said:

“For your power depends not upon numbers, or your might upon men of strength; for you are God of the lowly, helper of the oppressed, upholder of the weak, protector of the forlorn, Savior of those without hope. Hear, O hear me, God of my father, God the inheritance of Israel, Lord of heavne and earth, Creator of the waters, King of all our creation, hear my prayer! Make my deceitful words to be their wound and stripe, for they have planned cruel things against your covenant and against your consecrated house and against the top of Zion and against the house possessed by your children. And cause your whole nation and tribe to know and understand that you are God, the God of all power and might and that there is no other who protects the people of Israel but you alone!”

Psalm 42:1-7
Quemadmodum

As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *
so longs my soul for you, O God.

My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; *
when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

My tears have been my food day and night, *
while all day long they say to me,
“Where now is your God?”

I pour out my soul when I think on these things: *
how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God,

With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, *
among those who keep holy-day.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *
and why are you so disquieted within me?

Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

The Epistle
2 Corinthians 5:14-18

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

The Gospel
John 20:11-18

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

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The Lesson, Epistle, and Gospel are taken from the English Standard Version Bible. The Collect and Psalm are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (1979).

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Macrina, Monastic and Teacher, 379

Macrina was born around the year 327, the daughter of Basil the Elder and Emmelia, both of whom were later revered as saints, and the elder sister of Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. She was known as Macrina the Younger to distinguish her from her paternal grandmother, who was known as Macrina the Elder. The elder Macrina had lived during the days of the persecution of the emperor Diocletian, and she and her husband had fled into hiding, living into the time of the emperor Constantine and the legalization of Christianity and eventual imperial favor given to the Christian religion.

Macrina was sought after as a bride because of her beauty, her wisdom, and her illustrious birth. She was betrothed at the age of twelve, after the custom of the day. Upon the early death of her betrothed, she refused all other suitors, devoting herself to a life of virginity, asceticism, and prayer. When her brother Basil returned home from the university at Athens, an accomplished rhetoritician puffed up with youthful pride and supercilious disdain for the local officials, Macrina took him in hand, deflating his ego and persuading him to forsake earthly glory and imperial office for the work and ministry of a bishop in Christ’s Church.

On the death of her father, Basil, Macrina and her mother formed a monastic community of women who devoted themselves to the feeding and care of the poor, the hungry, and the sick. Many of the women for whom they cared joined the community, as did women of worldly means. Macrina’s attention to her younger brothers both before and after the death of their parents led them to give her the affectionate (and descriptive) epithet, “the Teacher”. Three of the brothers, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Peter of Sebaste became bishops. Basil the Great became a leader in the development of Eastern monasticism. Another brother, Dios of Antioch, named in an ambiguous source, was the abbot of a monastery in Antioch, and founded another famous monastery in Constantinople.

Macrina ended her earthly life in the convent that she had founded on the family estate in Pontus, on July 19, 379. Her surviving brother, Gregory of Nyssa, attended her in her dying hours and wrote a moving account of her death in his Vita Macrimae Junioris (Life of Macrina the Younger), the chief source of knowledge of her life. Her ability as a theologian is attested in her dying prayer, as recorded by Gregory:

“You, O Lord have freed us from the fear of death. You have made the end of this life the beginning to us of true life. For a season you rest our bodies in sleep, and you awaken them again at the last trumpet. You give our earth, which you have fashioned with your hands, to the earth to keep in safety. One day you will take again what you have given, transfigurin with immortality and grace our mortal and unsightly remains. You have saved us from the curse and from sin, having become both for our sakes. You have broken the heads of the dragon who had seized us with his jaws, in the yawning gulf of disobedience. You have shown us the way of resurrection, having broken the gates of hell, and have brought to nothing him who had the power of death – the devil. You have given a sign to those who fear you in the symbol of the Holy Cross, to destroy the adversary and save our life.

“O God eternal, to Whom I have been attached from my mother’s womb, Whom my soul has loved with all its strength, to Whom I have dedicated both my flesh and my soul from my youth until now – give me an angel of light to conduct me to the place of refreshment, where is the water of rest, in the bosom of the holy Fathers. You who broke the flaming sword and restored to Paradise the man that was crucified with you and implored your mercies, remember me, too, in your kingdom; because I, too, was crucified with you, having nailed my flesh to the cross for fear of you, and of your judgments have I been afraid. Let not the terrible chasm separate me from your elect, nor let the slanderer stand against me in the way, nor let my sin be found before your eyes, if in anything I have sinned in word or deed or thought, led astray by the weakness of our nature. O One Who has the power on earth to forgive sins, forgive me, that I may be refreshed and may be found before you when I put off my body, without defilement on my soul. But may my soul be received into your spotless and undefiled hands, as an offering before you.”

Gregory records that after saying these words, she sealed her eyes and mouth and heart with the Cross. Gradually, because of the fever and the dryness of her mouth, she was unable to speak, and those with her could recognize that she was praying only by the trembling of her lips and the movements of her hands. When evening came, a light was brought in, and Macrina opened her eyes and looked toward the light, wanting to repeat the thanksgiving sung at the Lighting of the Lamps (the hymn Phos hilaron). Her voice failed, and she contented herself by repeating the hymn in her heart and by lifting up her hands, while her lips moved to the words. When she finished the prayer, she signed herself with the Cross, and “she drew a great deep breath and closed her life and her prayer together.”

prepared from various sources

The Collect

Merciful God, who called your servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of your grace and truth: Mercifully grant that we, following her example, may seek after your wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The propers for the commemoration of Macrina, Monastic and Teacher, are published on the Lectionary Page website.

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Elizabeth Ferard, Deaconess, 1883

Pliny the Younger attests to the existence of deaconesses in the church in Bithynia in the second century, and documents of the late third and fourth centuries (including the Didascalia and the Apostolic Constitutions) describe the ministry and duties of deaconesses, including assisting at the baptism of women and visiting and ministering to the sick. The ministry disappeared in the West and declined in the East for a number of centuries but was revived in the Lutheran Church in 1836, when Pastor Theodor Fliedner opened the first deaconess motherhouse at Kaiserswerth am Rhein.  In the following decades, other deaconess communities were founded in Lutheran population centers both in America and in Europe.

In 1858, following the death of her invalid mother, Elizabeth Catherine Ferard was encouraged by Bishop Archibald Tait of London to explore a religious vocation by visiting Kaiserswerth am Rhein and other deaconess institutions in Germany. Three years later, in November 1861, she and a group of women dedicated themselves “to minister to the necessities of the Church, as servants in the Church”. On July 18, 1862, Elizabeth received a deaconess license from Bishop Tait, making her the first deaconess in the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion. She went on to found a community with a dual vocation of being deaconesses and religious sisters, working first in a poor parish in the King’s Cross area of London, and then moving to Notting Hill in 1873. When her health failed, she passed on the leadership to others and died on Easter Day in 1883.

To understand the ministry of the deaconess, we need only turn to Elizabeth’s own work, Of the Deaconess Office in General, where she writes:

“Deaconesses have, according to the apostolical regulations, the office of serving the Christian congregation as Phoebe served the Church at Cenchraea. To them is committed the care of the sick, the poor, the education of your children, and generally the help of the needy of whatever kind. And also it is their office to be helpers, either directly or indirectly, of the ministers of the Church.

“They must, therefore, have the qualities which the Apostle requires from deacons (Acts 6:8). They must first, be of good report; and second, be full of faith and good works.”

From Ferard’s deaconess community in London, deaconesses were eventually introduced into many Anglican Churches. The office of deaconess has disappeared in those Anglican Churches that ordain women to the diaconate, but the office has been maintained as a commissioned or consecrated lay ministry for women in a number of traditional Anglican Churches, including the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province in America.

taken from Celebrating the Saints and other sources

The Collect

Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Elizabeth Ferard, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at last we may with her attain to your eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836

William White was born in Philadelphia, March 24, 1747 and received his education at the college of that city, graduating in 1765. In 1770 he went to England, was ordained deacon on December 23 and priest on April 25, 1772. On his return home, he became assistant minister of Christ and St Peter’s, 1772-1779, and rector from that year until his death on July 17, 1836. He also served as chaplain of the Continental Congress from 1777 to 1789 and then of the United States Senate until 1800. Chosen unanimously as the first bishop of Pennsylvania in 1786, he traveled again to England for his consecration with Samuel Provoost, bishop-elect of New York. The two men were consecrated in the chapel of Lambeth Palace on Septuagesima Sunday, 1787, by the archbishops of Canterbury and of York and the bishops of Bath and Wells and of Peterborough.

Bishop White was the chief architect of the Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He was chosen Presiding Bishop at the inaugural General Convention in 1789 and again in 1795, serving in that office until his death. A wise overseer of the Church’s corporate life during its first generation, endowed with gifts of statesmanship and reconciling moderation, White was also a theologian of no mean ability. Among his protégés, in whose formation he played a large role, were such leaders of the Church’s next generation as John Henry Hobart, Jackson Kemper, and William Augustus Muhlenberg.

adapted from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980)

The Collect

O Lord, in a time of turmoil and confusion you raised up your servant William White, and endowed him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead your Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear our prayer, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry your people may be blessed and your will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The propers for the commemoration of William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, are published on the Lectionary Page website.

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Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099

The son of a Norman count, Henry of Seez, Osmund came to England in the wake of William the Conqueror, his mother’s half-brother. He became William’s chaplain until he was promoted to chancellor in 1072, obtaining in this office useful experience as an administrator.

In 1078 he succeeded Herman as bishop of Salisbury, a see that had been formed by uniting the dioceses of Sherborne and Ramsbury. The episcopal seat for the new diocese was at Old Sarum, where the cathedral was built in the same enclosure as the royal castle. Osmund completed and consecrated this cathedral and formed a chapter with its own constitution, which became a model of other English cathedrals. The Sarum Use, a local variation of the Roman rite which became widespread in medieval England and on which the first Book of Common Prayer (1549) was based, has been associated with Osmund, but it reached its definitive form under Richard le Poore, bishop of Salisbury from 1198 to 1228.

Osmund was known for his administration and for his scholarship. He had a great love for books and liked to copy them himself and to bind them with his own hands. According to the chronicler William of Malmesbury, he was known not only for his learning but for his purity also, for his strictness with himself and with others, and for a commendable lack of avarice and ambition at a time when these traits were common in Church and State. Osmund also promoted the veneration of Aldhelm, the Anglo-Saxon abbot of Malmesbury and bishop of Sherborne, accomplishing the translation of his relics to Old Sarum in 1078. This event marked the end of the period in which Aldhelm and other Anglo-Saxon saints had been under attack by the Normans and by Archbishop Lanfranc.

Osmund’s appointment to the see of Salisbury did not bring to an end his part in the administration of the kingdom, and he took part in collecting the information for William’s Domesday Book. He was present at the council of Sarum, when in April 1086 the results of the Domesday survey were presented to the king.

Osmund died on December 4, 1099, and was buried in his cathedral at Old Sarum. In 1226 his body and its tomb were translated to the new cathedral of Salisbury, a few miles away from Old Sarum. This translation is commemorated on July 16.

prepared from The Oxford Dictionary of Saints and Celebrating the Saints

The Collect

O God, our heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Osmund to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540

Benedict, abbot and founder of the monastic communities of Subiaco and Monte Cassino, and the author of the monastic Rule that bears his name, is the patriarch of western monasticism. The primary source for our knowledge of his life is Book II of the Dialogues of Gregory the Great. Benedict was born about 480 at Nursia in central Italy and studied at Rome, where the style of life disgusted him. Rome at this time was overrun by various barbarian tribes, and the period was one of considerable political instability (the western Roman Empire had come to an end in the latter half of the fifth century). The old Roman society of the West was breaking down, and the Germanic kingdoms of the early Middle Ages were emerging within the boundaries of the fallen empire. Benedict’s disgust with the manners and morals of Rome led him to leave the city before he completed his studies, and he withdrew to cave above Lake Subiaco, about forty miles west of Rome, where there was already at least one other hermit. After a time disciples joined Benedict, whom he organized into into a dispersed community whose life was probably semi-eremetical in character. He encountered local jealousy which is said to have caused an attempt to be made on his life, and he withdrew around 525 to Monte Cassino, near Naples, where he wrote the final version of his Rule. He does not appear ever to have been ordained or to have contemplated the founding of an “Order” of monks. He died sometime between 540 and 550 and was buried in the same grave as his sister, Scholastica.

Benedict incorporated much traditional monastic teaching from John Cassian, Basil the Great, and the Rule of the Master, but the enactments of these were often considerably modified by Benedict. His outlook was characterized by prudence and moderation realized within a framework of authority, obedience, stability, and community life. His great achievement was to produce a monastic way of life that was complete, orderly, and workable, in which work and prayer were integrated. The monks’ primary occupation was liturgical prayer, complemented by sacred reading and manual work of various kinds. Benedict’s own personality is reflected in his description of what kind of man the abbot should be: wise, discreet, flexible, learned in the law of God, but also a spiritual father to his community.

Both by its intrinsic qualities and by the favor granted it by emperors and other rulers and founders, the Rule came to be recognized as the fundamental monastic code of western Europe in the early Middle Ages. Its flexibility enabled it to be adapted to the needs of society, so that monasteries became centers of learning, agriculture, hospitality, and medicine in a way almost certainly unforeseen even by Benedict himself.

prepared from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980)
and The Oxford Dictionary of Saints

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, your precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of your servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord’s service; let your ears be open to our prayers; and prosper with your blessing the work of our hands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The propers for the commemoration of Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, are published on the Lectionary page website.

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles

The two great apostles whose ministry embrace the whole Jewish and Gentile worlds have been associated in Christian devotion since earliest times. The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is one of the oldest of the saints’ days, having been observed at least since 258, and it was of such importance in the Middle Ages that it marked a turning point in the time after Pentecost, as also did the days of Saint Lawrence (August 10) and Saint Michael (September 29).

Simon, a son of Jonah, later called Cephas or Peter (Aramaic and Greek for “rock”), was probably born in Bethsaida of Galilee. He was a fisherman, working in partnership with the sons of Zebedee. He was married, and his mother-in-law, whom Jesus cured of a fever, lived with them; later he took his wife on his missionary travels. It is likely that he and his brother Andrew, as well as the apostle John, were among the followers of John the Baptist before they joined Jesus. Peter has a special place among the apostles. He was not only one of the inner circle with James and John, but he was often the speaker for the Twelve as a whole, and his name invariably was put at the head of the lists of the apostles. After the resurrection, Peter was the first of the Twelve to see the risen Lord, and he clearly acted as the leader, taking the initiative in the selection of Matthias, explaining the events of Pentecost to the assembled crowd, performing miracles, and making decisions.

Peter turned increasingly to missionary work, chiefly among the Jews [though it was he who baptized the first Gentile believers, Cornelius and his household], and the leadership of the church in Jerusalem passed to James the brother of Jesus. Peter was active in Samaria and in the towns of Lydda, Joppa, and Caesarea in Palestine. Of his later missionary travels, little is known in detail, but tradition has connected his name with Antioch, Corinth, and Rome, and his stay, at least in the first of these, is confirmed by the New Testament. Although the Scriptures are silent about the latter part of his life, the weight of tradition (Clement, Ignatius, Dionysus, Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, and others) makes it probable that Peter left Antioch about the year 55 and later went to Rome and suffered martyrdom there ca. 64.

Saul, later to be known by the Greek form of his name, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was born in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. He probably attended a local synagogue school, and he studied with the rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem. He learned the trade of the tentmaker, and apparently at times supported himself by it. He was a Roman citizen and was “Hellenized” and cosmopolitan in outlook, but he was also a Pharisee and an ardent defender of the Jewish law and way of life. He persecuted the new and disruptive sect of Christians, and he was present at the stoning of Saint Stephen the deacon (see December 26).

After his conversion, perhaps about the year 34 or 35, he became a vigorous evangelist of the new faith. Because of the wealth of material in his preserved letters and in the Acts of the Apostles, probably more is known about the life of Paul that about the life of any other leader of the church in the apostolic period.

Paul began his missionary work in Syria and continued it in Asia Minor, Cyprus, Greece, and Macedonia. In some places he stayed only a short time; in others much longer. Ephesus was his home for two and a half years. On several occasions in his travels, he visited Jerusalem, and on his final visit there, perhaps about the year 55, he was arrested, tried before Felix the governor on the charge of provoking riots, and kept in prison for two years. He appealed his case to the emperor, and the account in Acts ends with Paul in the capital city of the empire, awaiting his hearing.

According to tradition, Paul made Rome his headquarters, traveled [west], possibly to Spain, and was killed in the imperial capital during the persecution under Nero. Paul’s traditional symbol is a sword, by which he was beheaded.

From the earliest days it has been believed that Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom on the same day, June 29, in the year 67, although some accounts give the year as 68 or the date as February 22. Traditions assert that Peter was crucified upside down on Vatican Hill (because he said that he was not worthy to die in the same way as his Lord) and that Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded near the Via Ostia, south of Rome. Saint Peter’s Basilica and Saint Paul’s Outside-the-Walls are said to contain the tombs of the two apostles; their skulls are said to be preserved in the church of Saint John Lateran, the cathedral of the city of Rome. The pope’s claim to primacy is in large measure based on his being the bishop of the city in which Peter and Paul died.

taken from the New Book of Festivals and Commemorations
(Dr Philip H. Pfatteicher)

The Collect

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lesson
Ezekiel 34:11-16

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Psalm 87
Fundamenta ejus

On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded; *
the LORD loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are spoken of you, *
O city of our God.

I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me; *
behold Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia:
in Zion were they born.

Of Zion it shall be said, “Everyone was born in her, *
and the Most High himself shall sustain her.”

The LORD will record as he enrolls the peoples, *
“These also were born there.”

The singers and the dancers will say, *
“All my fresh springs are in you.”

The Epistle
2 Timothy 4:1-8

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

The Gospel
John 21:15-19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

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The icon of Saint Peter and Saint Paul is taken from Aidan Hart’s gallery of icons and is reproduced here with his generous permission.

Because June 29 (the usual date for the feast of St Peter and St Paul) falls on a Sunday this year, the feast is transferred to June 30, the nearest open day in the calendar.

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