Hebrews 2:11-18
Luke 1:24-38

Hebrews 2:11-18

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanityso that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Luke 1:24-38

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

 Today is one of the most wonderful feasts in the Orthodox church:  The Feast of the Annunciation when the angel came to the Virgin Mary and told her she was going to conceive of the Holy Spirit the Savior of all Mankind (all humanity).  Rightly startled, she asked how it was going to happen and it was explained.
One of the most wonderful things about this event is that the Virgin had a right to say “no”.  God does not force us to do things we don’t want to do, yet He has hope in us.

Daily Reading, Apologie, And Determinations

First of all, here are the readings for today:

March 23, 2017


Isaiah 28:14-22
Genesis 10:32-11:9
Proverbs 13:19-14:6

Orthros: Isaiah 28:14-22

Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
who rule this people in Jerusalem.
You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death,
with the realm of the dead we have made an agreement.
When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
it cannot touch us,
for we have made a lie our refuge
and falsehood our hiding place.”

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;
the one who relies on it
will never be stricken with panic.
I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line;
hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie,
and water will overflow your hiding place.
Your covenant with death will be annulled;
your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand.
When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by,
you will be beaten down by it.
As often as it comes it will carry you away;
morning after morning, by day and by night,
it will sweep through.”

The understanding of this message
will bring sheer terror.
The bed is too short to stretch out on,
the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.
The Lord will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim,
he will rouse himself as in the Valley of Gibeon—
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.
Now stop your mocking,
or your chains will become heavier;
the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me
of the destruction decreed against the whole land.

Vespers OT1: Genesis 10:32-11:9

These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Vespers OT2: Proverbs 13:19-14:6

A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but fools detest turning from evil.

Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Trouble pursues the sinner,
but the righteous are rewarded with good things.

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,
but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

An unplowed field produces food for the poor,
but injustice sweeps it away.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

The righteous eat to their hearts’ content,
but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly,
but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride,
but the lips of the wise protect them.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,
but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.

An honest witness does not deceive,
but a false witness pours out lies.

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.

 And here is where I apologize:  The flu knocked me down for most of February and just when I’m beginning to feel OK there, I ended up with some sort of viral sinus/ear infection thing that has laid me low for the last two weeks.  Just this past Friday, my arthritis flared up and…well, it was bad.  It was so bad all I could do was hang on, take what meds I could, and ride it out.  Friday was a very exhausting day.
Since Friday, my ear – I can hear out of one well and the other not-so-much – has popped and cracked, ached and hurt so much I have, again been super exhausted.  Hopefully the remainder of this week will be better.

Readings For Today, March 12


Hebrews 1:10-2:3
Mark 2:1-12

Hebrews 1:10-2:3

He also says,

“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.”

To which of the angels did God ever say,

“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet”?

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

Mark 2:1-12

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Today’s Scripture Reading And A Little Note

Today’s Scripture readings are:

Isaiah 4:2-5:7
Genesis 3:21-4:7
Proverbs 3:34-4:22

It hit me last night as I was falling asleep, as things will sometimes do, that I hadn’t explained why the readings are mostly from the Old Testament for a good portion of Lent.  The reason is actually quite simple:  Because the readings show how the knowledge of Christ’s coming was foretold in the Tanakh, which is the collection of the Hebrew writings used prior to Christ’s ascension and the collection of the writings we now call the New Testament of the Church.

Just A Mere Bout In Arthritis

There was no posting of daily readings yesterday because my arthritis is seriously acting up on me due to the change in weather:  It was warm, now it’s cold and has even spit some snow today.  Thankfully I am in a warm house with lovely covers for my legs and a handwarmer I often use to help keep my feet warm.  So, here is yesterday’s daily Bible readings as well as today’s.  Thank you, everyone, for understanding.

Isaiah 2:11-21
Genesis 2:4-19
Proverbs 3:1-18
Matthew 7:7-11

Today’s readings:

Isaiah 3:1-14
Genesis 2:20-3:20
Proverbs 3:19-34
John 15:1-7