November 23, 2014
Luke 12:16-21 - And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' And he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, `Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (RSV – Gospel for the Ninth Sunday of Luke)
St. Cyril of Alexandria – It is true that a man’s life does not come from his possessions or from have an overabundance of them. He is who is rich toward God is very blessed and has glorious hope. Who is he? Evidently, one who does not love wealth but instead loves virtue, and to whom few things are sufficient (see Luke 10:42). It is one whose hand is open to the needs of those in poverty, according to his means and the utmost of his ability. He gathers in the storehouses that are above and lays up treasures in heaven. Such a man will find the interest of his virtue and the reward of his right and blameless life.
The Icon is of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple (November 21st). According to Holy Tradition, Saints Joachim and Anna were childless, and vowed to the Lord that if a child were born to them they would dedicate the child to His service. Their prayers were answered and Mary was born. When the Holy Virgin reached the age of three her parents fulfilled their vow and brought Mary to the Temple. It was feared that Mary would not have the strength to climb the fifteen steps to the sanctuary (where only the high priests could enter) but when she was put on the first step the Lord gave her strength and she was able to quickly climb all fifteen steps. The High Priest, at the leading of the Holy Spirit, led her into the Holy of Holies, where only he entered once a year to make a sacrificial blood offering. Mary’s relatives and friends – and all those in the Temple – were astonished.
On November 14th, at the conclusion of the Feast of the Holy Apostle Philip the Church began "Philip's Fast" (also known as "Nativity Fast" and "Advent"). Praying through 40 days!