Saints and Readings

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Thursday 18th April 2024

Lenten Fast: strict fast

Thursday of the Great Canon of St. Andrew

Today we commemorate:
St. John the Righteous, disciple of St. Gregory of Decapolis (9th C). St. Euthymius the Enlightener of Karelia (1435), and SS Anthony and Felix of St. Nicholas monastery in Karelia. St. Cosmas, bishop of Chalcedon, and his fellow-ascetic St. Auxentius (820). New martyr John the New of Epirus (1526).
British Isles and Ireland:
St. Laserian of Innismurray and Arran (639). St. Deicola, abbot of Bosham (7th C). St. Cogitosus of Kildare (8th C). SS. Bitheus and Genocus (6th C).

Today's Readings:
Isaiah 42:5-16; Genesis 18:20-33; Proverbs 16:17-17:17


Isaiah 42:5-16
Thus says the Lord who made heaven and ordered it, who gave substance to the earth and what is in it, who granted breath to the people on it and spirit to those walk there, ‘I, the Lord God, have called you in righteousness, and I shall hold your hand and strengthen you. I have given you as a covenant for the nation, as a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from their fetters and from the prison house those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord God, that is my name. My glory I shall give to no other nor my virtue to graven images. Behold, the things that were from the beginning have come, and the new things that I declare to you. Even before I declare them they are made known to you.’ Sing to the Lord a new song, you who are his dominion. Glorify his name from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea and sail upon it, the isles and those who inhabit them. Rejoice you wilderness, villages and hamlets, and those who live in Kedar. The inhabitants of Petra will rejoice, and they will shout from the top of the mountains. In the islands they will give glory to God and declare his praises. The Lord God of hosts will go forth and crush war. He will stir up jealousy and shout with might against his enemies. I have held my peace, but shall I always be silent and restrain myself? I have suffered like a woman in labour. I shall amaze and wither all at once. I shall turn rivers into islands and dry up the marshland. I shall bring the blind by a way they do not know and lead them in paths of which they are unaware. I shall turn darkness into light for them, and make what is crooked straight. I shall do this, and not forsake them.’

Genesis 18:20-33
The Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is increasing and their sins are very great. I shall go down and see whether or not they are behaving according to the outcry against them that reaches me, so that I shall know.’ The men turned away from there and went to Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. And Abraham approached and said, ‘Surely you will not destroy the righteous with the ungodly, so that the righteous will be like the ungodly? If there should be fifty righteous in the city, will you destroy them? Will you not spare the whole place for the sake of the fifty righteous, if they are there? By no means will you do as you have said and destroy the righteous with the ungodly. By no means will the righteous be treated like the ungodly. Will you, the judge of the whole earth, not do what is right?’ And the Lord said, ‘If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I shall spare the whole place for their sake.’ And Abraham said in reply, ‘Now I have begun to speak to the Lord, I who am but earth and ashes. But if the fifty righteous should be reduced by five, will you destroy the whole city because of the five?’ And he said, ‘If I find there forty-five I shall not destroy it.’ And he spoke yet again to him and said, ‘But what if forty should be found there?’ And he said, ‘I shall not destroy it for the sake of the forty.’ And he said, ‘May I speak, Lord? What if thirty should be found there?’ And he said, ‘I shall not destroy it if I find thirty there.’ And he said, ‘Since I must speak to the Lord, what if twenty should be found there?’ And he said, ‘I shall not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.’ And he said, ‘May I speak just once more, Lord? What if ten should be found there?’ And he said, ‘I shall not destroy it for the sake of the ten.’ When he had finished speaking with Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his place.

Proverbs 16:17-17:17
The paths of life turn away from evil, and length of life are the ways of righteousness. Whoever accepts discipline will benefit, and the one who heeds rebukes will become wise. Whoever keeps watch over his ways preserves his own soul, and the one who loves his life will restrain his mouth. Pride precedes disaster, and foolishness before calamity. Better the one who is gentle and humble than those who share spoils with the proud. Those who are skilful in business find benefit, but the one who trusts in God is most blessed. The wise and knowledgeable are called worthless, and those who speak pleasantly are heard the most. Understanding is a fountain of life for those who possess it, but the discipline of fools is bad. The heart of the wise knows what comes from the mouth, and they carry knowledge on their lips. Good words are honeycombs, and their sweetness heals the soul. There are ways that seem right to a man, but they end by looking into the depths of Hades. A man who labours, labours for himself and drives destruction from him, but the perverse carry destruction in their own mouth. A foolish man digs up evil for himself, and lays up fire on his own lips. A perverse man spreads mischief; he kindles evil with a torch of deceit and splits apart friends. A lawless man is a trial to friends and leads them into ways which are not good, with staring eyes they devise perversities and with their lips they spell out every evil; they are furnaces of iniquity. Old age is a crown of honour, and it is reached by the paths of righteousness. A man slow to anger is better than a strong one, and the one who controls his spirit is better than those who conquer a city. Every evil falls into the laps of the ungodly, but everything righteous is from the Lord. Better is a morsel with pleasure and in peace, than a house of plenty of good things with unrighteous sacrifices and strife. An intelligent servant will rule over foolish masters and share the dividends among his brothers. As silver and gold are refined in a furnace, so are the hearts of those chosen by the Lord. The evil heed the tongue of transgressors, but the righteous pay no attention to false lips. Those who laugh at the poor provoke their maker, and those who rejoice at the destruction of another will not be held guiltless; but those who have compassion will find mercy. Children’s children are the crown of the aged, and their fathers are the boast of children. The faithful have a world full of possessions, but the faithless not even a penny. Faithful lips will not suit a fool, nor lying lips the righteous. Instruction is a gracious reward for those who use it, and wherever they turn they will prosper. Those who conceal wrongdoings seek friendship, but those who hate concealing them divide friends and family. A threat breaks the heart of the wise, but a fool, even when flogged, will not understand. Everyone who is evil stirs up disputes, but the Lord will send a merciless angel against them. Anxiety will befall an intelligent man, but fools will contemplate evil. Evil will never depart from the house of those who return evil for good. Righteous rule gives power to words, but sedition and strife precede poverty. Those who judge the unjust to be just, and the just to be unjust, are unclean and an abomination to God. What good are riches to a fool, for the brainless cannot buy wisdom. Those who raise their own house high are looking for disaster, and those who are too perverse to learn will fall into evil. Have a friend for every occasion, and let brothers be useful when needed; they were born for this purpose.

The text and chapter and verse references of the Old Testament readings are those of the Septuagint