The Epistle reading for the third Sunday after Pentecost
Brothers and sisters, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have obtained access by faith to this grace in which we stand. And we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by His blood, will we be saved through Him from the wrath. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life.
The Epistle reading for the Birth of Saint John the Baptist
Brothers and sisters, salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers. The night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat because God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Once again, on Sunday we will celebrate our patronal feast day of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist. So above I am giving you two readings that the Church prescribes for us - for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost and for the Birth of Saint John.
Both happen to be from the same letter of Saint Paul to the Romans, even though from different chapters. These readings are not meant necessarily to have a connection, but there is an interesting line going through them.
In the first reading Saint Paul talks about us being justified and having access to God's grace by faith. While in the second, he exhorts us to "live honorably" and not to "pass judgment."
And these are the two aspects of our life - faith and works, which through the grace of God, lead us to salvation that was achieved by Christ spilling blood for us.
Yours in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest