First Lesson: Amos 2:6 – End
Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;
That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:
And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.
Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.
Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.
And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord.
But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.
Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.
Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself:
Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself: neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself.
And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the Lord.
Canticle: Magnificat. St. Luke 1:46-55
Antiphon: Take that thine is.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, * and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded * the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth * all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; * and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him * throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; * he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek;.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Antiphon: Take that thine is and go thy way; for i am righteous, saith the Lord.
Second Lesson: Galatians 2:1 – 10
Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.
But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Canticle: Nunc dimittis. St. Luke 2:29-32
LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, * according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen * thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared * before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, * and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
A reading from a homily of St John Chrysostom:
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the Church at Cenchreae: she has been a helper to many people, including myself. What are you saying, Paul – a woman has been your assistant, and you are not ashamed, you do not blush to admit it? Far from being ashamed, he says, I am proud of it. My Master was not ashamed to have a woman as his mother.
After this Paul praises another woman, and for the same reason. Salute Priscilla and Aquila, he says. Notice the prominence given to the woman: they are a single couple, but the woman is placed before the man. Paul did not say Aquila and Priscilla, but Priscilla and Aquila. Who were they? Tent-makers, whose home was their workshop. But neither their trade nor their poverty was any barrier for Paul. On the contrary, the blessed Apostle requested their hospitality, preferring their house to any other in the city. Why did he do so? Not because of its pillars, its marble, its floor with mosaic decorations, its roof of gold, its numerous slaves, but rather be cause it was a house which was free from all these things. By hard and honest work this woman and her husband made their house a Church; they were neither grasping nor greedy, but content simply to earn their living. And for all these reasons Paul regarded their house as a suitable lodging.
And so that you may understand that he stayed there because he knew the virtue of this couple, listen to his next words: They risked their necks for my life; it is not only I myself who am grateful to them, but all the gentile Churches. Did you notice that nothing hindered them on the path of virtue, neither the fact that one was a woman, nor their trade, nor their poverty? Did you notice the warmth of their hospitality, and how they not only welcomed the Apostle to their table but would have shed their blood for him? For what matter if they were not actually killed? They did everything in their power; again and again they were ready at any time to die for Paul. For he did not say: They squandered their money on me, or they opened their house to me, but gave first place to what was greater than anything else, the sacrifice of life, so that he said in effect: They were willing even to die for me.
Priscilla and Aquila gave up their possessions, their bodies and their very lives. Do you realize what a great thing it is for a woman to love virtue, and for a man to live in poverty in a humble trade? Let us vie with them and follow their example. Let us also despise the goods of this world, and give everything we have to be among those whom God thinks well of. Then we too shall obtain the good things of the life to come, by the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom be glory to the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever. Amen.
St John Chrysostom, Last Homilies 5 (Bareille 20:513-5); Word in Season V.
And the Apostles Creed and the rest of the office.
O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.