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Today's Scripture Readings

Saints, Feasts, and Readings for 1/09/2013

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Prayer Before Reading Holy Scripture

O Master Who loves mankind, illuminate our hearts with the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind to understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, that we may overcome all carnal desires, entering upon a spiritual life and understanding and acting in all things according to Your holy will. For You are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

Epistle Reading: Acts 6:8-15,7:1-5,47-60

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.

And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God."

And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.

They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law;

"for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us."

And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.

Then the high priest said, "Are these things so?"

And he said, "Men and brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran,

"and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'

"Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.

"And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.

"But Solomon built Him a house.

"However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

'Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the LORD, or what is the place of My rest?

Has My hand not made all these things?'

"You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.

"Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,

"who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it."

When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;

and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 21:33-42

"Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.

"Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.

"And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.

"Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.

"Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'

"But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.'

"And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.

"Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?"

They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons."

Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures: ' The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?

Saints and Feasts

Stephen, Archdeacon & First Martyr; Theodore the Confessor; Brothers Theophanes and Poietus; Afterfeast of the Nativity

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