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Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost


St_John_in_Silence.jpeg
St. John in Silence [Central Russia, 19th c.]



On the 26th of September we commemorate the Repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian.   John was the son of Zebedee the fisherman and Salome the daughter of Joseph, the betrothed of the Holy Theotokos.  Called by the Lord Jesus, John immediately left his father and his fishermen’s nets, and, with his brother James, followed Christ.   From then on, he was not separated from his Lord until the end.   


With Peter and James, he was present at the raising of Jairus’ daughter and at the Transfiguration of the Lord.   At the Last Supper, he inclined his head on Jesus’ breast.  When all the other Apostles had abandoned the crucified Lord, John and the Holy Mother of God remained beneath the Cross.  In obedience to the Lord, he was as a son to the Holy Virgin, and carefully served and watched over her until her Dormition.   After her Dormition, John took his disciple Prochorus to preach the Gospel in Asia Minor. He lived and labored mostly in Ephesus.  By his inspired preaching and miracles, he converted many to Christianity and shook paganism to its foundation.  The embittered pagans bound him and sent him to Rome, to face Emperor Dometian, who had him tortured and flogged, but neither the bitterest poison he was given to drink, nor the boiling oil into which he was thrown, did him any harm.  This terrified the emperor, and, thinking he was immortal, Dometian sent him into exile to the island of Patmos.  There, Saint John converted many to Christianity by words and miracles and confirmed the Church of God.   He also wrote his Gospel and the Book of Revelation on Patmos.

In the time of the Emperor Nero, who granted freedom to all prisoners, John returned to Ephesus, where he lived for some time, confirming the work he had begun earlier.  He was over one hundred years old when he fell asleep in the Lord.  When his disciples later opened his grave, they did not find his body.  On May 8th of every year, a fine dust, fragrant and healing, rose from his grave.   After a long laborious and fruitful life on earth, this beloved disciple of Christ, a true pillar of the Church, took up his habitation in the joy of his Lord.


The Scripture readings we are offering today are those assigned to this feast, and not those of the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost.   In the Epistle reading John boldly writes: “If any one says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”   In the Gospel reading we hear the Lord, speaking from the Cross, entrusting his Mother and John to one another.

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The following readings below are for Sunday, September 26, 2021:


Today's Epistle reading [1 John 4.12-19]:

No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 
 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.  
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 
 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 
 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 
 In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. 
 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. 
 We love, because he first loved us.

 


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The Gospel reading for today [John 19.25-27, 21.24-25]:

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 
 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 
 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.  
This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. 
 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.