by Fr. Dmitri, New Zealand
31 July 2010 (24 Epip; 24 Abib)
Nothing doth countervail a faithful friend, and his
excellency is invaluable.
Do not walk after your own desires, but restrain your appetites.
A little that a righteous man hath is better than
the riches of many wicked.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not
wanting to make her a public example, was minded
to put her away secretly. But while he thought about
these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him.
So long as the heart is not modest, it keeps wandering
aimlessly, for modesty keeps the heart in concentration.
(Isaac the Syrian)
This is the sign of Christianity, namely, humility.
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never
die; Believeth thou this?
We ought to believe and seek the Lord.
The Apostles have obtained this blessing. They saw
Him, and this means that they have struggled to
know the Lord; they served, and this means that
the fruit of their struggle was manifested.
(St. Ambrose of Milan)
The wise lover regards not so much the gift of Him,
who loves as the love of Him Who gives.
(Imitation of Christ)
Truly, there is nothing greater than humility, because
nothing can defeat it.
(S. Dorotheos the Antiochian)
Nothing makes the person fall but his pride. Love
moves the person to walk ahead and go up, but
pride pushes him to fall.
Friendship constitutes accounting for those in exile,
a fortune for the poor, a remedy for the sick, and a life for the dead.
It provides pleasure for those who are well, strength
for the weak, and a reward for the strong.
Loving Father, grant us the great grace to form true
Christian friendships. May our friends help one another
to lead good lives and attain the Happiness of those who serve You.
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing. (Heb.5:11)
The writer obviously regards the Old Testament Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God Himself, full of figures and anticipations of the true realities of God's purpose.
We need to know to whom this Book is written. The writer clearly contrasts the state in which his readers are with what they have been, what they ought to be, and what they seem to be in danger of becoming.
As Christians, they were slothful and despondent. They have lost their initial enthusiasm for the faith. They have failed to grow or to progress and are seriously deficient in spiritual understanding and discernment. (Heb 5:11; 6:12; 3:6; 10:23; 5:12-14)
They need afresh to be exhorted to imitate the faith of those who have gone before. They tend to be easily carried away by new and strange teachings; some think these were Gnostic in character and similar to those which troubled the church in Colossae.
They are in danger of coming short of God's promise and drifting away from the things they have heard. They are even in danger of completely abandoning the faith in deliberate and persistent apostasy. (Heb 13:7; 13:9; 4:1; 2:1; 3:12; 10:26)
Particularly as those who had once been zealous adherents of Judaism, and they had been disappointed in Christianity, as it brought to them no visible earthly kingdom. So Paul has to give them a Scripture and Bible Study.
1. The amazing revelation and salvation given by God to men in Christ.
2. The true heavenly and eternal character of the blessings, thus freely offered to the faithful.
3. The place of suffering and patient endurance by faith in the pathway of God's purpose, and in God's discipline for all of His children.
4. The awful judgement that will befall any knowing all this, and still reject it.
The Epistle is full of exhortations, challenges and warnings. Do we place ourselves in the same condition as the Hebrews? Do we know the meaning of the Plan of Salvation?
To Thee be glory and praise, now and for ever; unto Ages of Ages.
Evening: Psalm 68:3 & 35, Matt.10:16-23.
Morning: Psalm 97: 11-12; Mark 13:9-13.
Liturgy: Heb.12:3-14; 1 Peter 4:12-19; Acts 7:44-8:1;
Psalm 34:19-20; Gospel Luke 11:53-12:12.
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