Wednesday 4 March 2020
First Reading – John 3:16-21
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Second Reading – St Polycarp Epistle to the Philippians Chapter 7 and 8
Who: Polycarp resided in Asia Minor as bishop of Smyrna and sent an epistle to the Philippians around AD 120-140. Polycarp was martyred around AD 155. He was believed to be a discipline of St John the theologian. His famous final words prior to his death are “Eighty and six years have I served Christ, nor has He ever done me any harm. How, then, could I blaspheme my King who saved Me?….I bless Thee for deigning me worthy of this day and this hour that I may be among Thy martyrs and drink the cup of my Lord Jesus Christ.”
Chapter 7. For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist; 1 John 4:3 and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from Jude 3 the beginning; watching unto prayer, 1 Peter 4:7 and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplications the all-seeing God not to lead us into temptation, Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41 as the Lord has said: The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38
Chapter 8. Persevere in hope and patience
Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, who bore our sins in His own body on the tree, 1 Peter 2:24 who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, 1 Peter 2:22 but endured all things for us, that we might live in Him. 1 John 4:9 Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:16 for His name’s sake, let us glorify Him. For He has set us this example 1 Peter 2:21 in Himself, and we have believed that such is the case.
O God, give us the strength to be faithful to you and preserve to the end, like your servant St Polycarp. Amen.