Daily Readings for Friday August 25,2017

Reading 1, 2 Mac 7:1-9 : The martydom of seven brothers

1 It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords, to partake of unlawful swine's flesh.
2 One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, "What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers."
3 The king fell into a rage, and gave orders that pans and caldrons be heated.
4 These were heated immediately, and he commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out and that they scalp him and cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on.
5 When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly, saying,
6 "The Lord God is watching over us and in truth has compassion on us, as Moses declared in his song which bore witness against the people to their faces, when he said, `And he will have compassion on his servants.'"
7 After the first brother had died in this way, they brought forward the second for their sport. They tore off the skin of his head with the hair, and asked him, "Will you eat rather than have your body punished limb by limb?"
8 He replied in the language of his fathers, and said to them, "No." Therefore he in turn underwent tortures as the first brother had done.
9 And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws."


Reading 2, Acts 7:54-60 : The martydom of Stephen.

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him.
55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;
56 and he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God."
57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him.
58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
60 And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.


Reading 3, Heb 11:32-12:2 : Witness to faith through suffering.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets --
33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.
36 Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated --
38 of whom the world was not worthy -- wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 


Gospel, Mt 10:16-25 : Suffering for the sake of Christ.

16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues,
18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles.
19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour;
20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;
22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.
24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master;
25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Be-el'zebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.


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