Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

November 21, 2020

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple Luke 10:38-42 - Now as they went on their way, [Jesus] entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." (RSV)

Are you sitting at the Lord's feet? - Mary came and sat at his feet. This was as through she were sitting on firm ground at the feet of him who had forgiven the sinful woman her sins (Luke 7:38). She had put on a crown in order to enter into the kingdom of the Firstborn. She had chosen the better portion, the Benefactor, the Messiah himself. This will never be taken away from her. Martha’s love was more fervent than Mary’s, for before He had arrived there, she was ready to serve him. “Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” When He came to raise Lazarus to life, she ran and came out first. (St. Ephreim the Syrian)

Why does the Church place this Gospel reading about Martha and Mary (a different Mary than Mary, the Mother of God) before us on the Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple? Because it’s all about discipleship. Mary, the Mother of God, is the first and foremost disciple of Christ.

Scripture Readings:

  • Vespers: Exodus 40:1-5,9,10,16,34,35, 1 Kings 7:51;8:1,3-7,9-11, Ezekiel 43:27-44:4
  • Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56
  • Divine Liturgy: Hebrews 9:1-7,  Luke 10:38-42; 11:27,28

The Icon is of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple. According to tradition, Saints Joachim and Anna were childless, and vowed to the Lord that if a child were born to them they would dedicate the child to His service. Their prayers were answered and Mary was born. When the Holy Virgin reached the age of three her parents fulfilled their vow and brought Mary to the Temple. It was feared that Mary would not have the strength to climb the fifteen steps to the sanctuary (where only the high priests could enter) but when she was put on the first step the Lord gave her strength and she was able to quickly climb all fifteen steps. The High Priest, at the leading of the Holy Spirit, led her into the Holy of Holies, where only he entered once a year to make a sacrificial blood offering. Mary’s relatives and friends – and all those in the Temple – were astonished. Read a commentary by Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica on this feast of the Mother of God.

On November 14th, at the conclusion of the Feast of the Holy Apostle Philip the Church began "Philip's Fast" (also known as "Nativity Fast" and "Advent"). Praying through 40 days!


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Teachings of Christ

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Feasts & Fasts

December
6 - St Nicholas the Wonderworker and Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
9 (8) - The Conception of the Most Holy Mother of God by the Righteous Anna
12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe
13 - Second Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Forefathers)
20 - Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Fathers)
24 - Christmas Eve
25 - The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ
26 - Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God, Boxing Day (Canada)
27 - Sunday after Christmas: Commemoration of the Holy Righteous David the King, Joseph the Betrothed, and James the Brother of the Lord, First-Martyr and Archdeacon Stephen
28 - 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
29 - 14,000 Infants (the Holy Innocents) Slain by Herod at Bethlehem

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"And the second commandment of the Teaching; 2. Thou shalt not commit murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not commit paederasty, thou shalt not commit fornication, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not practise magic, thou shalt not practise witchcraft, thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten."

Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume VII, Apostolic Teachings and Constitutions, Chapter II. - The Second Commandment: Gross Sin Forbidden.