Day 53 – February 22, 2021

Exodus 3; Psalm 48:1–10; Proverbs 10:1–6; Mark 3:20–35

Exodus 3

The Burning Bush

1 Now Moses was tending the sheep of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. Then he led them to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2 Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he saw the bush burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.†

3 So Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not consumed.”†

4 When therefore the Lord saw him turn aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses! Moses!” Then he said, “Here I am.”†

5 So He said, “Do not come any closer. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”†

6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses then hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.†

7 Then the Lord said, “Indeed, I have seen the affliction of My people in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrow.†

8 So I came down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Gergesites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the affliction with which the Egyptians oppress them.

10 Come now, I will send you to Pharaoh, to bring My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt?”

12 Then God said to Moses, “I will be with you, and this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 So Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I go to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I tell them?”

14 Then God said to Moses, “I AM the Existing One.” He also said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Existing One sent me to you.’ ”†

15 Moreover God said to Moses again, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and My memorial to all generations.

16 Go then, and gather the elders of the children of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—appeared to me, saying, “I have surely looked upon you and all the things that happened to you in Egypt;

17 and I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Gergesites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.’ ”

18 “Then they will heed your voice; and you shall go, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, ‘The God of the Hebrews met with us; and now, let us go three days’ journey into the desert to sacrifice to our God.’

19 But I know Pharaoh the king of Egypt will not let you go, not even by a mighty hand.

20 Thus I will stretch out My hand and strike the Egyptians with all My wonders which I will work among them; and after that he will let you go.

21 Then I will give this people grace in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty-handed.

22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Psalms 48

1 For the End; a psalm for the sons of Korah. †

2 Hear this, all you nations; Give ear, all you inhabitants of the world, 

3 Both earthborn and the sons of men, Rich and poor together. 

4 My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the meditation of my heart, understanding; 

5 I will incline my ear to a parable; I will open my riddle on the harp. 

6 What should I fear in an evil day? The lawlessness at my heel surrounds me. 

7 Those who trusted in their power And those who boast in the abundance of their wealth, 

8 A brother does not redeem; shall a man redeem? He will not give his ransom to God 

9 And the price of his soul’s redemption. 

10 And he rested forever, and shall live to the end, Because he will not see decay when he sees wise men die.

Proverbs of Solomon 10

The Wisdom of Solomon

1 A wise son makes his father glad, But a son without discernment is a grief to his mother.† 

2 Treasures do not benefit lawless men, But righteousness delivers from death.† 

3 The Lord will not let the soul of the righteous man starve, But He overthrows the life of the ungodly.† 

4 Poverty humbles a man, But the hands of courageous men enrich others.† 

5 A son who is instructed will be wise, And he will use a man without discernment as a servant. 

6 A son with understanding is kept safe from the heat, But a lawless son is blasted by the wind at harvest time.†

Mark 3

A House Divided

20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.†

21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”

23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?

24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.

27 No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.

28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;†

29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—

30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Jesus’ True Kinsmen

31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.†

32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”

33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?”

34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!

35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”

2 Replies to “Day 53 – February 22, 2021”

  1. Dear Fr Alexis,
    The Burning Bush, as a “type” for Mary, illustrates her ever virginity. Someone recently asked me about the physical birth of Jesus, asserting that it was a “supernatural” birth, meaning that Jesus was not born via his mother’s birth canal. My reply was that He indeed was born in the normal physical way, but without travail to the Theotokos. I’m not sure I have a complete understanding of this question. What are the teachings of the Church Fathers on this subject? Thanks, and may God Grant you Many Years!

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    1. You are correct, Stephen. This is a more specific explanation than my comment that “the Theotokos gave birth to Christ and was not harmed by the divine fire.” It is like the hymn that is sung during Matins and many other times as well, “More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim. Thou who without corruption…” Again here as well corruption refers to her ever-virginity. The fathers do not not speak too much about the burning bush as a “type” of Mary though St John of Damascus says, “The burning bush was an image of God’s mother…” We see it moreso in the hymnology of the Church such as in the Akathist as well as the 2nd Tone Saturday Doxastikon: “At the coming of grace, the shadow of the law passed away. Just as the bush that burned was not consumed, so have you given birth and remained a virgin. Instead of a pillar of fire, the Sun of Righteousness shone forth; instead of Moses, Christ, the salvation of our souls appeared.” But there is also there sense of paradox that Divinity can come in touch with humanity and not destroy the humanity. We hear that in the communion prayers as well: “I tremble as I receive the Fire, lest I be burned as wax and as grass. O dread mystery! O divine compassion! How is it that I who am but clay partake of the divine Body and Blood and am made incorruptible?” This more general meaning of the Burning Bush is also implied. St Symeon the new Theologian prayed this in preparation for communion: “And taking courage from the wealth of Thy benefactions to us, rejoicing and trembling at once, I partake of Fire, I that am grass. And, strange wonder! I am bedewed without being consumed, as the bush of old burned without being consumed.” It is a beautiful image.

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