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Forefeast of the Precious Cross
Saints, Feasts, and Readings for 7/31/2019

Saints and Feasts: Forefeast of the Precious Cross, Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea, Eudocimus the Righteous of Cappadocia, Dionysios the Righteous Martyr of Vatopaidi

Strict Fast


Epistle Reading: St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 7:12-24

Brethren, if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace. Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife? Only, let every one lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was any one at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Every one should remain in the state in which he was called. Were you a slave when called? Never mind. But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.
For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brethren, in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God.


Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:35-36;15:1-11

At that time, when the men of Gennesaret recognized Jesus, they sent round to all that region and brought to him all that were sick, and besought him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." He answered them, "And why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die.' But you say, 'If any one tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honor his father.' So, for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' " And he called the people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."


Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

Touched by Christ


I experienced an amazing awakening during our pilgrimage. Several things touched my heart, and you know me, I will spill these details, little by little, within my Sunday Liturgy sermons. Standing on the grounds where Christ walked and being at the sites where our Savior performed His miracles was most profound.


We entered the city of Nain. Our tour guide, Fr. Leondios (an Archimandrite of Greek descent), stumped me when he asked, “Who knows what happened here in Nain?” because he pronounced it “Nah-een.” When I realized where we were, I was provoked by the notion that this was where Christ raised the son of the widow from the dead. As He led His crowd into the city, He encountered the funeral procession and said to the grieving widow, “Don’t cry.” Two large groups, with two very different functions, collide at the city gates.


There is a lot to learn as we look at this collision. The first is a procession of death. It is the funeral of a young man that is the only son of his widowed mother. The second is comprised of Chris’s disciples and followers. One a procession of life and the other a procession of death.


The procession of death is exasperated by...


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