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Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt


Just as the fourth Sunday in Lent was dedicated to Saint John Climacus, the model of ascetics, this fifth Sunday celebrates Saint Mary of Egypt, the model of penitents.  In her youth she lived a desolate and sinful way of life in Alexandria.  Drawn by curiosity, she journeyed with some pilgrims to Jerusalem, arriving in time for the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross.  But when she tried to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the others, an invisible force thrust her back to the threshold.  This happened three or four times.  Brought to sudden contrition by this strange experience, she prayed all night with tears to the Mother of God, and next morning she found to her joy that she could enter the church without difficulty.  After venerating the Cross, she left Jerusalem on that same day, made her way over the Jordan River, and settled as a solitary in a remote region of the desert.  Here for forty-seven years she remained, hidden from the world, until she was eventually found by the monk Zosimas, who was able to bring her Communion shortly before her death.


The following readings below are for Sunday, March 29, 2020:

Today's Epistle reading [Hebrews 9.11-14]

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.  For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.



The Gospel reading for today [Mark 10.32-45]:

And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.  And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise."

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."  And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?"  And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."  But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking.  Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"  And they said to him, "We are able."  And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."  And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.  And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."