June 2 Devotional (2021)

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?


A prayer inspired by Blandina and Her Companions, Martyrs at Lyons, who the Church remembers on June 2nd

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we who keep the feast of The holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of thee, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


June 2, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings:   Numbers 6:22-27 / Mark 4:21-25 / Parables: More than stories


Invitatory

O Lord, open thou our lips. 

And our mouth shall show forth thy praise. 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn

“Ancient of Days, who sittest throned in glory”

By William Croswell Doane , 1832-1913

(1982 Hymnal # 363)



Morning Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

    hallowed be thy Name,

    thy kingdom come,

    thy will be done,

        on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

    as we forgive those

        who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

    and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

You are God: I praise you;* you are the Lord: I acclaim you; You are the eternal Father:* all creation worships you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:* Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son,* worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit,* advocate and guide. As these have been from the beginning,* so they are now and evermore shall be. Alleluia. 

(based on the Te Deum and Gloria) [1]
Russian icon of Aaron from the 17th century
(source)

Morning Reading: Numbers 6:22-27

Aaronic blessing

22 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24 The LORD bless you and keep you;

25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

Morning Lesson

The Aaronic Benediction

“After introducing new regulations for the camp (chs 1– 6), the Lord adds a blessing, showing His gracious favor toward the people. The threefold repetition of the divine name (cf Ps 24:8–10; 113:1; 136:1–3) anticipates the threefold name Jesus uses in Mt 28:19, the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity. See note, Mt 28:19. The first clause in each line of the benediction invokes God’s movement to His people; the second clause invokes His activities.” [2]

“The priests expressed God’s gracious attitude to the Israelites in a formula Aaron used when he “lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them” (Lv 9:22). The rite in Lv 9 was the consecration of the Aaronic priesthood. The specific occasion for the blessing in Nu 6 is not described. It perhaps concluded the regular services of the tabernacle. Its frequent use is demonstrated by echoes found in Psalms and by an inscription of the blessing on silver amulets found in a burial cave at Ketef Hinnom, Jerusalem.” [3]

Verse 25 says, the LORD make his face to shine upon you. “The Lord warned Moses that no man could see His face and live (Ex 33:20). When God sets His face against His enemies, they are destroyed or put to flight. But here, God’s face beams with gentle kindness so that His people are not harmed but blessed. Through the mercies and promises of the covenant, the people who were terrified by the Lord’s presence now begin to see Him for who He is.” [4]

Verse 26 says the LORD lift up his countenance upon you. These words are a Hebrew expression “for viewing someone favorably, as a smile turns the corners of the mouth upward. Same Hbr word used for ‘face’ (v 25 ) and for ‘countenance’… When God’s favor lights up His gaze on us, the result is peace, well-being, wholeness.” [5]

Verse 27 says, So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.

“More than 20 times since the exodus, Moses recorded the Lord’s claim ‘I am the LORD your God’… This bond of the covenant-promise, that Israel belongs to God and God to Israel, is made a regular part of the tabernacle services. Israel bears God’s name as a mark of His ownership, blessing, and protection.” [6]

“The Aaronic benediction is still repeated in Christian worship… Note that the divine name Yahweh is used three times in reference to the triune nature of God. What a blessing it is to know that God the Father blesses all aspects of our lives, that God the Son has redeemed us poor, miserable sinners, and that God the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel. He saves us by His name, applied to us in Holy Baptism ( Mt 28: 19 ) and invoked by us throughout our lives. • ‘I bind unto myself today The strong name of the Trinity By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three.’ Amen.” [7]



Midday Prayer

Renew in my heart, O God, the gift of your Holy Spirit, so that I may love you fully in all that I do and love all others as Christ loves me. May all that I do proclaim the good news that you are God with us. Amen.† [8]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;* sing praises to his Name, for it is lovely. 

Psalm 135:3

Midday Reading: Mark 4:21-25

Secrets come to light

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Oil Lamp sketch
By ArttuJuntunen
(source)

Midday Lesson

Shine your light

Christ’s question is Verse 21 is rhetorical; “it is obviously self-defeating to light a lamp and then hide it. Jesus’ followers are supposed to bring the light of the Gospel to the darkness surrounding them.” [9]

Jesus compared “His people to lamps set on a stand and by promising that faithfulness will be rewarded. It is a great pity, therefore, that so many Christians thwart God’s desire to bless faithfulness by failing to put their faith into practice wholeheartedly.” [10]

“Being the light of the world involves a close union with Christ, which finds expression in mercy, peace, and love. The heart of Christ should not be hidden through a lukewarm spiritual life.” [11]

In verse 23, Jesus said, If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. With this, He called His disciples to listen carefully to what He was about to say. Jesus exhorted [vv. 24-25] His disciples to “attentive listening and discriminating response. We must not only hear, but hear properly. More will be given to those who respond to Christ with open hearts; they will grow in understanding.” [12] As St. Mark the Ascetic (5th century) wrote, “Do the good you know, and what you do not know will be revealed to you.” [13]



Eventide Prayer

O holy God, as evening falls remain with us, remember our good deeds and forgive our failings. Help us to reflect upon and live according to your covenant of love. Be with our lonely and elderly sisters and brothers in the evening of their lives. May all who long to see you face to face know the comfort of your presence. This we ask in union with Simeon and Anna and all who have gone before us blessing and proclaiming you by the fidelity of their lives. Amen. 

– THE NEW COMPANION TO THE BREVIARY [14]

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 

Alleluia!

Short Verse

For your Name’s sake, O LORD,* forgive my sin, for it is great. 

Psalm 25:10
The Lord of the Parables
By Jeorge Cocco
(source)

Eventide Reading 

Parables: More than stories

“Although Jesus lived among a story telling-people, His approach to instruction was still unusual. His stories were memorable, but they were not transparent. People heard them but did not necessarily understand them. They are clearer to us because of the apostle Paul’s writings, but few of the first hearers understood them. Even though ‘with many such parables He spoke the word’ (Mark 4:33), at one point the disciples asked in frustration, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ (Matt. 13:10). The disciples did not grasp the stories any better than the rest of the crowd.” [15]

“Jesus’ answer to the disciples reveals much about the purpose of His teaching. He quoted Isaiah 6:9, 10 to demonstrate that those with physical sight and hearing may still not be able to perceive the truths presented to them. For Isaiah, the ‘dullness’ or hardness of the human heart directly affects spiritual insight and understanding. People need to soften their hearts, humble themselves before God, and honestly seek the truth in order to find it.” [16]

“Jesus’ stories are like wrapped gifts. The packaging of the story can either distract or captivate. But unless the package is opened, the gift itself remains unseen. Likewise unless one seeks the core of the parable – its truth and application – the lessons will remain hidden.” [17]

“When unwrapped, Jesus’ stories include powerful multiple applications. The same parable can strike people in different ways. For example… [t]he parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) will affect a father in quite a different way than it does a rebellious younger son or a jealous older brother.” [18]

“When Jesus taught in Jerusalem during His last week, His parables focused on the acceptance or rejection of Him. This time even the priests and the Pharisees ‘perceived that He was speaking of them’ (Matt. 21:45). They were stung by Jesus’ parables, and they despised Him and His message. But they were unwilling to give up their pride, learn at Jesus’ feet, and seek the forgiveness they so desperately needed. They sensed they would not appreciate what they found if they unwrapped the parables, so they refused to seek the truth any further. In doing this, they perfectly conformed to Isaiah’s description of people with dull hearts, hardness of hearing, and closed eyes. These religious leaders who should have been leading the people into the truth were the very ones who were the most blind to it.” [19]

Compline Prayer

Now the light has gone away, 

     Savior, listen while I pray.

Asking Thee to watch and keep 

     and to send me quiet sleep.

Jesus, Savior, wash away 

     all that has been wrong today.

Help me every day to be 

     good and gentle, more like Thee.

Let my near and dear ones be 

     always near and dear to Thee.

Oh bring me and all I love 

     to Thy happy home above.

Amen.


Devotionals compiled/written by S.P. Rogers

Citations:

[1] Tickle, P. (2000). June. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 5). New York, NY: Image Books.

[2] A., E. E. (2016). Numbers. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 1278). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[3] Ibid. 2, P. 1278-1279

[4] Ibid. 2, P. 1279

[5] Ibid. 2, P. 1279

[6] Ibid. 2, P. 1279

[7] Ibid. 2, P. 1279

[8] Tickle, P. (2000). June. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 56). New York, NY: Image Books.

[9] A., E. E. (2016). Mark. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 7186). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[10] Ibid. 9

[11] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Mark. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3000). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[12] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Mark. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1365). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[13] Ibid. 12

[14] Tickle, P. (2000). June. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 92). New York, NY: Image Books.

[15] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2007). Mark. In NKJV study Bible: New King James Version (Second ed., p. 1556). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[16] Ibid. 15

[17] Ibid. 15

[18] Ibid. 15

[19] Ibid. 15

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