Day 66 – March 7, 2022

Deuteronomy 17-19; Psalm 58; Proverbs 12:6–10; Mark 10:1–31

Deuteronomy 17-19

1 “You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God a young bull or sheep having any blemish or defect, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God.
2 “If there is found among you, within any of your cities the Lord your God gives you, a man or a woman who does evil before the Lord your God in transgressing His covenant, 3 and who went and served and worshiped different gods, either the sun, moon, or any ornamentation of heaven, which He did not command, 4 and it is told you, then you shall inquire diligently; and if it is indeed true that such an abomination happened in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out that man or woman; and you shall stone to death that man or woman with stones. 6 Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall put away their evil from among you.
8 “If there is some matter you are unable to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another, matters of controversy in your cities, then you shall arise and go up to the place the Lord your God chooses for His name to be called upon there. 9 So you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days and inquire of them; and they shall pronounce the judgment for you. 10 You shall do according to the sentence they pronounce upon you in that place the Lord your God chooses for His name to be called upon there. Thus you shall be very careful to do according to all they order you. 11 According to the law and the judgment in which they instruct you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence they pronounce upon you. 12 Now the man who acts arrogantly and will not obey the priest or the judge who may be there in those days, and who stands to minister in the name of the Lord your God, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel. 13 Then all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act impiously.
Setting Up Rulers
14 “If you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you inherit it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a ruler over me like the remaining nations around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a ruler over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as a ruler over yourself; you cannot set a foreigner over yourself, because he is not your brother. 16 Wherefore he shall not multiply a cavalry for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt; for the Lord said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart be changed; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. 18 Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his rule, that he shall write for himself a copy of this second law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 It shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all these commandments and ordinances, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left and may prolong his rule, he and his sons among the sons of Israel.
Caring for the Priests
1 “The priests, the Levites—all the tribe of Levi—shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; the burnt offerings of the Lord shall be their portion; these they shall eat. 2 Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as He said to them. 3 Now this shall be the judgment concerning the priests from the people, from those who offer sacrifices, whether it is a young bull or sheep: one shall give to the priest the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach. 4 The firstfruits of your grain, wine, and olive oil, and the firstfruit of the sheep’s fleece you shall give to him. 5 For the Lord your God chose him out of all your tribes to stand before the Lord your God, to minister and to bless in His name, he and his sons forever among the children of Israel. 6 So if a Levite comes from one of your cities, from where he dwells among all the children of Israel, as his soul desires, to the place the Lord chooses, 7 then he may minister in the name of the Lord his God, as do all his brethren the Levites who stand before the Lord. 8 They shall have equal portions to eat, besides what comes from the sale of his paternal inheritance.
Avoiding Wickedness
9 “Now if you enter the land the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to do the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who purifies his son or daughter in the fire, or one who practices divination, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord your God, and because of these abominations the Lord your God will destroy them before you. 13 You shall be perfect before the Lord your God. 14 For all these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.
The Promise of a Prophet
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you asked from the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let us not hear again the voice of the Lord our God, nor let us see this great fire any more, lest we die.’ 17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and I will put My word in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all I command Him. 19 Therefore, whatever man will not listen to whatever the Prophet speaks in My name, I will require it of him. 20 But whatever prophet speaks impiously in My name a word I have not ordered him to speak, or who speaks in the name of different gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 Now if you should say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 whatever word a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing the Lord has not spoken; the prophet spoke that word impiously; you shall stay away from him.
Cities of Refuge
1 “Now if the Lord your God removes the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you inherit them and dwell in their cities and in their houses, 2 you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of the land the Lord your God gives you. 3 You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the boundaries of your land the Lord your God divides into sections for you, that any manslayer may flee there. 4 Now this shall be the ordinance of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live: Whoever strikes his neighbor involuntarily, not having hated him hitherto up until now— 5 as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor, that he dies—he shall flee to one of these cities and live; 6 lest the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and strikes this soul, and he dies, though there was no judgment rendered that he should die, because he had not hated the victim hitherto up until now. 7 Therefore I command you this word, saying, ‘You shall separate three cities for yourself.’
8 “But if the Lord your God enlarges your territory in the manner He swore to your fathers, and the Lord gives you the land He promised to give to your fathers, 9 and if you hear and do all these commandments I command you today, to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways all your days, then you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three, 10 lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus the guilt of bloodshed be upon you. 11 But if there should be a man that hates his neighbor, and lies in wait for him, and rises against him, and strikes this soul, and he dies, and then this man flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hands of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall cleanse the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may be well with you.
Property Lines
14 “You shall not remove your neighbor’s boundaries your fathers established in your inheritance, which you will inherit in the land the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
15 “One witness shall not rise against a man about any injustice or offense or sin concerning which he may be guilty; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. 16 If an unjust witness rises against any man accusing him of impiety, 17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. 18 Thus the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is an unjust witness who has testified unjustly against his brother, 19 then you shall do to him in the manner he maliciously intended to do to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. 20 Then those who remain shall hear and be afraid, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity him: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Psalm 58

1 For the End; corrupt not; by David; for a pillar inscription, when Saul sent and watched his house, that he might kill him.
2 Rescue me from my enemies, O God,
And redeem me from those who rise up against me.
3 Deliver me from the workers of lawlessness
And save me from men of blood.
4 For behold, they hunt for my soul;
Mighty men set upon me.
Neither is it for my lawlessness, nor for my sin, O Lord;
5 I run without lawlessness, and keep a straight path;
Rise up and meet me, and see.
6 And You, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Give heed, and examine all the Gentiles;
Do not be merciful to all who work lawlessness.
7 They shall return at evening,
And hunger like dogs; and they shall encircle the city.
8 Behold, they shall speak with their mouth,
And a sword is in their lips; for they say, “Who hears?”
9 But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them;
You shall hold all the nations in contempt.
10 O my strength, I shall keep watch with You,
For You are my protector, O God.
11 As for my God, His mercy shall go before me;
God will show it to me among my enemies.
12 Do not kill them, lest they forget my people;
Scatter them by Your power,
And bring them down, O Lord my protector.
13 For the sin of their mouth, for the word of their lips,
Let them also be taken in their arrogance;
And from their vow of evil and lie, their end will be proclaimed
14 In a wrath of destruction, and let them be no more;
And they shall know God is Jacob’s Lord,
And the Lord of the ends of the earth.
15 They shall return at evening, and hunger like dogs;
And they shall encircle the city.
16 They shall be scattered to and fro so as to eat,
But if they are not satisfied, they shall also grumble.
17 But I will sing of Your power,
And greatly rejoice in Your mercy in the morning;
For You are my protector,
And my refuge in the day of my affliction.
18 You are my helper; I will sing to You;
For You, O God, are my protector;
You are my mercy, O my God.

Proverbs 12:6–10

6 The words of the ungodly are deceitful,
But the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
7 If he does not turn, an ungodly man is destroyed,
But the houses of the righteous remain.
8 The mouth of a man of understanding is praised by a man,
But the slothful of heart are treated with contempt.
9 It is better for a man in dishonor to serve himself
Than for him to surround himself with honor while in need of bread.
10 A righteous man has compassion on the lives of his cattle,
But the affections of the ungodly are without mercy.

Mark 10:1–31

1 Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again.
2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’
7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
8 ‘and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.
9 “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter.
11 So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.
12 “And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13 Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
16 And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
19 “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
With God All Things Are Possible

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!
25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
28 Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,
30 “who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

2 Replies to “Day 66 – March 7, 2022”

  1. Wow, Fr. Alexis, would you post that quote by Fr. Schmemman about children? Thank you!

    1. Here’s the quote:

      I believe that if we had to define this in one word that word would be “wholeness.” A child does not yet know the fragmentation of life into past, present, and future, … He is completely in the present; he is totally in the fullness of everything that is now, be it joy, be it grief. He is completely in joy, which is why people speak about “childlike” laughter and about a “childlike” smile; he can be completely in grief and sadness, and this is why we speak about the tears of child, and thus, why a child so easily and unreservedly cries and laughs. A child is whole not only in relation to time, but in relation to all of life; he gives himself to everything with his entire being; he does not understand the world by deliberation, through analysis, or through one of his particular emotions, but with his whole being without reservation-and this is why the world is open to him in all of its dimensions. If in his eyes the animals are speaking, the trees are suffering or rejoicing, the sun is smiling, and an empty matchbox can miraculously appear as a car, or a plane, or a house, or whatever, this is not because he is silly or immature, but because open and given to him at the highest level is this feeling of the miraculous depth and connectedness of everything with everything. He has the gift of full indwelling with the world and with life.

      And in growing up, we indeed hopelessly lose all of this. First of all we lose this very wholeness. In our mind and consciousness the world disintegrates to its constituent parts, and outside of this profound interconnection all these elements become isolated, and in their isolation become limited, unidimensional, and boring. We are beginning to understand more and more, but less and less to truly comprehend. We are beginning to acquire knowledge about everything, but no longer have a real communion with anything.

      But this miraculous connection of everything with everything, this possibility of seeing the other in everything, this possibility of a full giving of oneself and connectedness, this inner openness, this trust in everything, -this is in fact the feeling of divine depth, of divine beauty, of the divine essence of everything, this is in fact the direct experience of God, who is all in all! And this whole divine reality can only be perceived with an understanding that is whole, and this is the meaning of “Be like children.”

      (Fr Alexander Schmemann, TRADITION ALIVE, pp 253-255)

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