Today we read the Gospel from the 17th Sunday of Matthew Chapter 15: verses 21-28, concerning the woman of Canaan who approached Jesus as he came to the region of Tyre and Sidon. She had not been brought up by pious Jewish parents to practice the customs of the Jews and to believe in the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She was a Gentile of Canaanite stock, who were old enemies of the Jews.
Today we hear the Gospel for the 34th Sunday After Pentecost which is taken from Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the Talents. The reason for the Readings to now switch to Matthew instead of Luke as we have been hearing for so many weeks, is because Pascha is late this year. We also celebrate today, January 30, 2021, the Holy Feast of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom – the great Doctors of the Church, who played a pivotal role as influential bishops of the early Church in the shaping and development of Christian theology.
The gospel for this Sunday is prescribed for the 14th Sunday of Luke chapter 18:35-43, which tells of the blind beggar Bartimaeus, who laying by the road near Jericho hears a commotion of people as they were passing bye. Bartimaeus asks what is happening to which the people say, Jesus of Nazareth is passing bye. He then cries out, “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me!”, after which the people tell him to be quiet. He then cries out even louder: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Today is a very special day in the hagiography of the Orthodox Church for this day, January 17, is dedicated to the memory of St. Anthony the Great, the founder of Egyptian monasticism. St. Anthony viewed monastic life as a life centered on Christ and on such evangelical virtues as prayer, poverty, simplicity, chastity, humility, vigilant warfare against demons, fasting and love.
This Sunday, the Sunday following the Great Feast of Theophany, speaks to us in the gospel of St. Matthew Chapter 4 Verses 12-17 about the beginning of Jesus’ work and ministry in Galilee, that it was like a great light that began to shine on all. After all this, Theophany is the Feast of Lights. This is the fulfillment of the prophecy when Jesus went to the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali to begin his earthly ministry to the people who lived in darkness, but saw a great light! “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
This Sunday January 3, 2021 is called the Sunday Before the Feast of Theophany. The main theme of this Sunday is taken from the Gospel of St. Mark Chapter 1 verses 1 thru 8, which speaks to us in anticipation of the call (preparation) for a new beginning. The Evangelist Mark relates the adult life of Jesus, beginning with His Baptism in the River Jordan, as the gospel of good news of the salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ.
As we are about to celebrate the ringing in of the Civil New Year 2021 on January 1, we are reminded of the good news of the many instances of Christ’s life throughout the year. With the Feast of the Nativity of Christ (December 25), we now turn our attention to other events in his earthly life including his circumcision January 1st and shortly thereafter his baptism in the river Jordan.
This Sunday gospel tells us of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, the killing of the innocents in Bethlehem by Herod and Christ’s return to Nazareth. This Sunday is also dedicated to the memory of three ancestors of Christ, David the King, St. Joseph the Betrothed. his earthly father and St. Janes the Apostle, his brother.