September 28 Devotional (2021)

September 28, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: Zech 8:18-23 / Mat 18:6-9 / 1 John 2:18-25

Invitatory

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: Come let us

adore him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, 

* and to the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, 

* and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s 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.From our enemies defend us, O Christ;

        Graciously behold our afflictions.

With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts;

        Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.

Favorably with mercy hear our prayers;

        O Son of David, have mercy upon us.

Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ;

        Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.

The Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision” (Irish Folk Melody)

Lyrics:

1 Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;

naught be all else to me, save that thou art–

thou my best thought by day or by night,

waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

2 Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;

I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;

thou my great Father, I thy true son;

thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

3 Be thou my battle shield, sword for my fight;

be thou my dignity, thou my delight,

thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tow’r:

raise thou me heav’n-ward, O Pow’r of my pow’r. [1]


Morning Prayer from The Great Litany

From our enemies defend us, O Christ;

        Graciously behold our afflictions.

With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts;

        Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.

Favorably with mercy hear our prayers;

        O Son of David, have mercy upon us.

Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ;

        Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ. [2]

Short Verse

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.

Ephesians 1:18
Paolo Veronese, The Wedding at Cana, 1563
feasting

Morning Reading: Zechariah 8:18-23

The nations seek God in Jerusalem

18 And the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 19 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.

20 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts; I myself am going.’ 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. 23 Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

Morning Lesson

Fasting becomes joy

Chapter 8 of Zechariah “contains ten sections, each beginning with Thus says the Lord Almighty.” [3] The matter of fasting began back in Zechariah 7:1 and continues through 8:23. 

“As a result of God’s blessing on his obedient people, the former fasts will become feasts. The fast of the fourth month commemorated the breach of Jerusalem’s walls (Jer. 39:2). The fast of the fifth commemorated the temple destruction (2 Kin. 25:8). The fast of the seventh commemorated the slaying of Gedaliah (2 Kin. 25:25), and the fast of the tenth commemorated the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem (2 Kin. 25:1, 2).” [4] “Fasting becomes joy, gladness and feasting. Jerusalem will become a place for universal worship of God among all peoples (Is 2:3). Restored Judah has a mission to be light to the nations. This mission is fulfilled in Christ and now belongs to the Church.” [5]


Midday Prayer from The Great Litany

We humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and, for the glory of thy Name, turn from us all those evils that we most justly have deserved; and grant that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living, to thy honor and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [6]

Midday Intercession

[7]

Short Verse

“What is it you want to change? Your hair, your face, your body? Why? For God is in love with all those things and he might weep when they are gone.”

St. Catherine of Siena
[8]

Midday Reading: Matthew 18:6-9  

Causing others to stumble

6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Midday Lesson

The fury of the Law

“Little ones include all who have childlike humility and simplicity, all who are poor in spirit.” [9]

“The reference to mutilation,” in verse 8, “is an illustration of decisive action to avoid sin and does not advocate literal amputation. This also refers to harmful relationships that must be severed for the salvation of the parties (see Lk 14:26; 1Co 5:5).” [10]

“One need look no further than these words of Jesus to see how much the holy God hates sin. Here, the Law strikes us with all its fury. Who of us can say that our hand or foot or eye has not caused us to sin? We all deserve to be thrown into the hell of fire. Thank God that Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced for our iniquities and that His eyes beheld our sin in order to turn the Father’s face from it. By His wounds and precious death, we enter life. • Holy Father, I confess my sins of thought and word and deed. Forgive me for Jesus’ sake. Amen.” [11]


Eventide Prayer from The Great Litany

Almighty God, who hast promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in thy Son’s Name: We beseech thee mercifully to incline thine ear to us who have now made our prayers and supplications unto thee; and grant that those things which we have asked faithfully according to thy will, may be obtained effectually, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth of thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [12]

Short Verse

“He who goes about to reform the world must begin with himself, or he loses his labor.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola
[13]

Eventide Reading: 1 John 2:18-25

Anointed by the Holy One

18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to use—eternal life.

Eventide Lesson

Warning Concerning Antichrists

The last hour (v. 18) is “the eleventh hour” (Mt 20:6), the era of the New Covenant. It is “the present age, which began with the coming of Christ and is seen as the final era in salvation history; it is also called ‘the last days,’ ‘the end times,’ etc. Vigilance is necessary for Christians to remain faithful to Christ and to resist sin.” [14] 

In view here is the deception at hand, as opposed to being a prediction of the end of the world. The many antichrists (v. 18) – note that “antichrists” are only mentioned in the Epistles of 1 John and 2 John – are “heretics, through whom the Antichrist of the end times (1Th 2) is doing his spadework.” [15] As Didymus the Blind (313 – 398 A.D.) explained in his commentary on 1 John, “These things are not said of all who teach false doctrine but only of those who join a false sect after they have heard the truth. It is because they were once Christians that they are now called antichrists.” [16]

“Very early in the second century, on his way to martyrdom in Rome [sometime between 98 and 117 A.D.], Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote, ‘These are the last times [see 1 Co 7:29]. Let us then be ashamed and fear God’s patience so that it may not become condemnation for us. We should either fear the wrath to come or love the grace which is present, one of the two, just so that we may be found in CHrist Jesus for true life [see Acts 17:30; 1 Th 1:10]. Nothing should seem fitting to you apart from him in whom I bear my bonds as spiritual pearls. May I rise again in them by your prayer, in which I may always participate so that I may be found in the lot apportioned to the Ephesian Christians, who have always agreed with the apostles by the power of Jesus Christ.” [17]

Verse 19 says, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. According to St. Andreas of Crete (650 – July 4, 712 or 726 or 740 A.D.) in his Catena (Catenae), “John says this because there were some people who had become teachers but had subsequently departed from the truth in order to follow the blasphemies of their own minds. But even if they were once among us, John adds, they were never really part of us, since if they had been, they would have stayed with us.” [18] Furthermore, “being on the roll of the Church, even receiving the sacraments, is not enough. We must continue in our belief and manifest the fruit of faith.” [19]

In verse 20, John wrote, But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. The word anointed (criso in Greek) “recalls the coronation of kings and the ordination of priests in the OT, which activated the spiritual gifts and energies needed for their offices.” [20] In light of this spiritual anointing of the Holy Ghost, John continued, I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Note the word lie. “This was the heresy of Simon [Magnus], which said that Jesus and the Christ were two different people. According to [Simon Magnus], Jesus was a man, the son of Mary, but Christ descended from heaven in the form of a dove at the Jordan. John therefore condemns those who think like that and brands their belief with the name of the devil. There were still others who made a distinction between the Father and some nameless deity beyond him, whom they called the Father of Christ. These too denied Jesus, saying that he was a mere man and did not have the nature of God” (St. Andreas of Crete). [21]

In regards to theology, “the issues are: (1) Does God the Father have a consubstantial Son? (2) Is the Man Jesus the same Person as God the Son? These, of course, are two basic issues of Christology: that Jesus Christ is one divine Person in two natures.” [22]

John continued (v. 23), No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. As St. Bede (673 – 26 May 735) explained, “John is looking for a confession of faith which involves the heart, as well as confessing in both word and deed. He is saying the same thing as the apostle Paul when he wrote [in 1Co 12:3]: ‘No one can say that Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit,’ which means that unless the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do so, we cannot serve Christ with perfect faith and action.” [23] Therefore, wrote St. Bede,“Follow with all your heart that faith and that teaching which you have received from the apostles at the beginning of the church, for only this will make you partakers of divine grace.” [24]

“Fundamental to the Christian Faith is the belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. To know Christ is to know God the Father since God the Son is the perfect reflection of the Father.” [25] Thankfully, Christians have within them the Holy One. Therefore, “Christians have the certainty of faith because we have received the grace of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit at Baptism.” [26]

“True Christians abide in Christ through faith in Him and all His teachings . There are many antichrists, false teachers who infiltrate the Church and attempt to draw Christians away from the true Christ. There is great danger for us if we do not know the Scriptures well and are unable to recognize false teachers. In God’s Word and by His Spirit, we have everything we need to tell the difference between the truth and a lie. We already have all that we need to be certain of our eternal life. • Heavenly Father, keep us steadfast in Your Word, and ever guard us from the deceptions of the many antichrists who seek to lead us away from Your Son, who is forever true God and true man. Amen.” [27]

Compline Prayer

O God, eternal Light, Splendor of the stars, Clearness of the night, boundless Enlightener of the darkness, grant us to pass this night in security and peace, and if we have this day collected any stain of sin, in pity and mercy, forgive. Hear our prayers and grant our request; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

  • Mozarabic Rite, translation from A Book of Prayers: …Ancient and Modern, Ed. Charles Leffingwell. P. 24-25 [28]

Citations:

[1] Translator: Mary E. ByrneMary Elizabeth Byrne, M. A. (J. 2, & Versifier: Eleanor H. Hull(no biographical information available about Eleanor H. Hull.) Go to person page > (n.d.). Be thou my vision. Hymnary.org. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://hymnary.org/text/be_thou_my_vision_o_lord_of_my_heart

[2] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 154-155). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

[3] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Zechariah. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (2018). Zechariah. In Holy Bible Nkjv Study Bible, Personal Size: Full-color Edition (Kindle, Third, p. 5644). essay, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

[5] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Zechariah. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[6] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 155). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

[7] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 687). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[8] St. Catherine of Siena. (n.d.). TOP 25 quotes BY St. Catherine Of SIENA (of 106): A-Z Quotes. A. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.azquotes.com/author/17881-St_Catherine_of_Siena

[9] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Matthew. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1333-1334). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Ibid. 9, P. 1334

[11] A., E. E. (2016).Matthew. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 6571). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[12] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 153). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

[13] St. Ignatius of Loyola. (n.d.). TOP 25 quotes By Ignatius OF Loyola (of 97): A-Z Quotes. A. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.azquotes.com/author/9092-Ignatius_of_Loyola

[14] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 John. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3777). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[15] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 John. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1731). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[16] Didymus the Blind. (2019). 1 John. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3539). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[17] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 John. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1731). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[18] Andrew of Crete. (2019). 1 John. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3530). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[19] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 John. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1731). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[20] Ibid, 19

[21] Andrew of Crete. (2019). 1 John. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3530). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[22] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). 1 John. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1731). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[23] Bede the Venerable. (2019). 1 John. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3530). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[24] Ibid. 23

[25] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 John. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3777). Downers Grove,, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[26] Ibid. 25

[27] A., E. E. (2016). 1 John. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 8658). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[28] Stratman, P. (2001). Evening Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 20). Rossway.

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