Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
FIRST READING: Jeremiah 20:7-13
7 O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.
8 For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. 9 If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. 10 For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side!
“Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my close friends, watching for my fall.
“Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.” 11 But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me.
They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. 12 O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind,[a] let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.
13 Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.
1 Save me, O God, *
for the waters have come up even to my neck.
2 I sink down in the deep mire, where there is no ground; *
I have come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me.
3 I am weary of crying; my throat is dry; *
my sight fails me from waiting so long for my God.
4 Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; *
those who are my enemies, and would destroy me wrongfully, are mighty.
5 They bid me restore things I never took. *
O God, you know my foolishness, and my faults are not hidden from you.
6 Let not those who trust in you, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed because of me; *
let not those who seek you be confounded through me, O God of Israel.
7 Surely for your sake have I suffered reproach; *
shame has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my brethren, *
unknown to my mother’s children,
9 Because zeal for your house has consumed me, *
and the reproaches of those who reproached you have fallen upon me.
10 I wept, and humbled myself with fasting, *
but that was turned to my reproach.
11 I put on sackcloth also, *
and I became a byword among them.
12 Those who sit in the gate speak against me, *
and the drunkards make songs about me.
13 But, Lord, I make my prayer to you *
in an acceptable time.
14 Hear me, O God, in the multitude of your mercy, *
even in the truth of your salvation.
15 Take me out of the mire, lest I sink; *
O let me be delivered from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters.
SECOND READING: Romans 5:15-19
15 For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass[a] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness[b] leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
GOSPEL: Matthew 10:16-33 : Persecution Will Come
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant[a] above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign[b] those of his household.
Have No Fear
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[c] 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[d] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
CHALLENGE: Have you prayed the Collect (PRAYER) in earnest anticipation? Are you willing to do whatever God asks to bear fruit in His Kingdom as His Community?
NOTES FROM THE ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE
JEREMIAH 20:7-18 This is the song of complaint that Jeremiah offers to God from prison. Although tempted to neglect his call as a prophet, Jeremiah cannot help but act on it (v. 9).
20:13 A burst of exaltation in the midst of depression. Jeremiah exemplifies the attitude of hope found among martyrs. In facing evil persecution, the saints were always aware of the overwhelming power and authority of God.
PSALM 69: 69:1 prophesies the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ (the End, v. 1) and the changes it would bring about (concerning things that shall be changed, v. 1). The changes His Passion would bring are noted throughout the psalm. Examples are: (1) the Church would become a house of prayer for all peoples (v. 9; (2) the cross would bear our reproaches against God (v. 9)
ROMANS 5:15-17 Just as immortality is far superior to mortality, so also the grace of Christ exceeds the death we inherited from Adam. For by grace, not only is Adam's sin covered, but the sins of the whole world are covered as well. In other words, justification in Christ far exceeds condemnation through Adam (v. 16). As we all inherited Adam's mortality (v. 15), we shall all inherit Christ's immortality. This saving gift (v. 15) must be received through faith. Though all will be raised, some will be raised to eternal life while others will be raised to eternal judgment (Jn 5:28, 29).
5:18 One Man's righteous act refers primarily to Christ's death and Resurrection, but also to His incarnate life as a whole, which reunites human nature with God. Justification: See notes at 3:24; 5:1.
5:19 Many were made sinners refers to man's subjection to mortality and becoming prone to sin. It does not mean that man inherits the guilt of Adam's sin, nor does it mean that our sinning is completely inevitable. However, the first thing damaged in Adam's nature was his will, and in our corrupted state, this weakened will is prone to falling into sin.
Christ has two wills, one human and one divine. His human will is totally and willingly subject to the divine will. Through Christ's obedience, healing is brought to man's human will.
Therefore, many are made righteous and are able by grace to participate in God's righteousness. Indeed, many saints become so filled with grace that they pass extensive periods of time without sinning, for they allow the healing power of Christ to fill their human will.
MATTHEW 10:16 Jesus instructs the disciples to be wise as serpents so that they might not be unnecessarily wounded and that they might take all advantage in the spread of the gospel. He also tells them to be as harmless as doves so that they should not retaliate against those who do them wrong, and should be blameless in their witness of the gospel.
10:23 Persecution must not cause the disciple to quit, but simply to move forward in his mission. According to St. John Chrysostom, before the Son of Man comes is not a reference to the Second Coming, but merely means that before the disciples could visit all the cities in Palestine, Christ would rejoin them, thus more quickly ending the hostility they would encounter.
10:26 Them: persecutors of the disciples (see v. 17). Do not fear is repeated three times (vv. 26, 28, 31) to embolden the witness of the gospel in the face of adversity. Christian believers, then and today, must neither be intimidated by persecution nor fail in their mission to preach.