November 5 Devotional (2021)


November 5 Commemoration: Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah, Parents of John the Baptist

O God, who alone knits all infants in the womb, You chose improbable servants—old and childless—to conceive and parent the forerunner of Christ and, in so doing, demonstrated again Your strength in weakness. Grant us, who are as unlikely and unworthy as Zechariah and Elizabeth, the opportunity to love and serve You according to Your good and gracious will; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.


November 5, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: 

  • Psalm 127, Children a heritage from the Lord
  • Deuteronomy 15:1-11, Open your hand to the poor
  • Hebrews 9:15-28, The blood of the old covenant

Invitatory

God is the great Lord * Come, let us adore Him.

Opening Prayer

God, our God

To you we must awaken at the light.

As you arouse us from sleep,

Free our souls also from the slumber of our spirits,

That we may be contrite in our beds 

And mindful of our duty to you;

You reign forever and ever. Amen. [1]

Intercession

[2]

Hymn

“I’ve Found a Friend” by James Small

Morning Prayer

Confession

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen. [3]

Short Verse

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:8-9
Portraits of Two Children by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Morning Reading

Psalm 127, Children a heritage from the Lord

Unless the Lord builds the house,

those who build it labor in vain.

Unless the Lord guards the city,

the guard keeps watch in vain.

It is in vain that you rise up early

and go late to rest,

eating the bread of anxious toil;

for he gives sleep to his beloved.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,

the fruit of the womb a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior

are the sons of one’s youth.

Happy is the man who has

his quiver full of them.

He shall not be put to shame

when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Morning Lesson

Unless the Lord builds it

Psalm 127 is “credited to Solomon [and] may well be read with his advice in [Proverbs] concerning the building of the home and the value of children.” [4] This psalm “may refer to [Solomon’s] building of the temple. Solomon was considered the master builder in Israel.” [5]

St. Chrysostom wrote, “[I]t is not in the power of a human soul, when instructed with things so great, to be sufficient for keeping them [of himself]. And why? Because there are many robbers and thick darkness, and the devil is still at hand to plot against us; and we know not what is the hour, what the occasion for him to set on us. How then . . . shall we be sufficient for keeping them? ‘By the Holy Spirit’—that is if we have the Spirit with us, if we do not expel grace, he will stand by us. For, ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.’ This is our wall, this our castle, this our refuge. If therefore he dwells in us and is himself our guard, what need is there for the commandment? That we may hold him fast, may keep him and not banish him by our evil deeds.” [6]

Our houses and the families within them are God’s gifts. However, our walls are fragile and our rooms are empty without His blessing. The Lord leads us to value His gifts and to commit them to His watchful care. He will preserve us unto life everlasting. • Fill our homes with devout children, our heritage from You. Give us this faith and help us build our homes and families on the security of Your Word. Amen.” [7]


Midday Prayer

For Knowing And Loving God

O God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you: Help us so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [8]

Short Verse

Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:7-9
St. Lucy giving alms, Bernat Martorell, c. 1435

Midday Reading

Deuteronomy 15:1-11, Open your hand to the poor

1 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. 3 You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. 4 However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Midday Lesson

Be generous with others

“The laws concerning tithing, remission of debts, and release of slaves are addressed to free Israelites who owned land (14:22–15:23). These laws express a clear humanitarian concern for the economically disadvantaged (i.e., the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner). Israelites ought to offer tithes to God and to treat others generously because everything that they have in the land is a gift from the Lord. A portion of the harvest and the firstlings of the flock should be given back to the Lord, but the tithes given to the Lord may be consumed by not only the Levites but also by the poor. The instruction for the periodic release of slaves expresses the idea that in Israel, who are a people freed from slavery in Egypt, those who have had to sell themselves into slavery should not remain slaves forever. Among related laws are those requiring that refuge be given to slaves who have fled their masters; that interest not be demanded on loans; that people fulfill vows promised to the Lord; and that people not abuse the generosity of others by taking more grapes than they can eat when passing through a neighbor’s vineyard (23:16–17, 20–26). Protections for the poor include limits on what can be taken as a pledge for loans, and the requirement of paying a just wage in a timely manner (24:6, 10–15). The practice of leaving a portion of the harvest to be gleaned by the poor (24:19–22) is based on Israel’s experience in Egypt and has parallels in Exodus 23:10–11 and Leviticus 19:9–10; 23:22.” [9]


Eventide Prayer

Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in us and shed its light on those around us, and that by its brightness we may have a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [10]

Short Verse

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Isaiah 58:8

Eventide Reading

Hebrews 9:15-28, The blood of the old covenant

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Eventide Lesson

The sacrificial act of the Day of Atonement

“Hebrews contrasts the Day of Atonement (once every year for forgiveness) with the covenant ceremony (once at the beginning to establish the covenant). In Christ’s one sacrificial offering, He effects what all the sacrifices of the old covenant did not. He even covers those saints departed under the old covenant, that they might enter God’s presence as they had been promised.” [11] 

“The Greek word diatheke means both covenant (vv. 15, 18–20) and last will and testament (vv. 16, 17). As with a testament, a death (vv. 16, 17) is required to initiate its conditions. This death is a death to sinning; the new condition initiated by the testament is that of the resurrection, the reformation of our nature. As with a covenant, sprinkling with blood (v. 21) is necessary to consecrate all dedicated things into the covenantal reality. The locus of life is blood (Lv 17:11). So blood, our mortal life, is offered to God, who is life, and establishes us in a new relationship with Him (vv. 19-21).” [12]

“Why was the earthly sanctuary sprinkled with consecrated blood? Because it had to be cleansed, being of this mortal and corrupt realm, and it needed to be consecrated to God. The heavenly sanctuary, of course, never was unclean, but it did need worship to be inaugurated there.” [13]

“Hebrews moves back to the sacrificial act of the Day of Atonement (from vv. 11-14). The blood sprinkled here brings the life of the covenantal people into God’s presence: it reconciles God and man. The final reconciliation, the eternal one, is the presentation of Christ’s sacrificial blood (12:24) to God in heaven.” [14]

Compline Prayer

O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen. [15]


Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Morning Prayers. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 15). Crossway.

[2] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 609). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[3] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. 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. 79). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] A., E. E. (2016). Psalms. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 3832). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[5] Ibid. 4

[6] Chrysostom. (2019). Psalms. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1766). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[7] A., E. E. (2016). Psalms. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 3833). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[8] Occasional Prayers. (2019). In The Book of Common Prayer (PDF). The Anglican Church in North America. Retrieved at: http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/56-Occasional-Prayers.docx

[9] Senior, D., Collins, J. J., & Getty-Sullivan, M. A. (2016). Deuteronomy. In The Catholic study Bible: The New American Bible, revised edition, translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources (Third ed., p. 341). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[10] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office, Rite II. 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. 110). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[11] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Hebrews. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1695). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[12] Ibid. 11

[13] Ibid. 11

[14] Ibid. 11

[15] Episcopal Church. (1979). Ministration of the Sick. 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. 833). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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