Salt is good

Listen to the Daily Reading for November 15, 2016,

St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians 2:20-23; 3:1-3

BRETHREN, if with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

The Gospel according to Luke 14:25-35

At that time, great multitudes accompanied Jesus; and he turned and said to them, “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace. So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Guria, Shamuna, and Habib, Martyrs and Confessors of Edessa

Of these most illustrious Martyrs of the city of Edessa in Syria, Guria and Shamuna contested during the reign of Diocletian, in 288; after many tortures, they were cast into prison, then beheaded. Saint Habib, a deacon, contested in the days of Licinius, in the year 316, and was burned alive; he was buried with Saints Guria and Shamuna. The three have one common feast, and it is always together that they are portrayed in icons and invoked by the faithful.On account of a renowned miracle they worked, they are invoked for help in marital difficulties. A certain Goth had come with the Roman army to Edessa and was quartered in the house of a pious widow named Sophia. The Goth asked Sophia for the hand of her daughter, Euphemia; after resisting for a long time, Sophia at last agreed. When it was time for the army to return home, Sophia made the Goth vow by the power in the holy Martyrs Shamuna, Guria, and Habib, to keep Euphemia as the apple of his eye. As he was nearing his home, however, the treacherous man revealed to Euphemia that he already had a wife. Euphemia was compelled to serve the Goths wife, who dealt with her mercilessly. After extreme sufferings, which included being sealed alive in a tomb and left there to die, Euphemia was miraculously conveyed to Edessa, to the very shrine of the holy Martyrs whose surety they had taken, and was reunited with her mother through their holy prayers.

Apolytikion of Martyrs Gouria, Shamuna, and Habib

Since Thou hast given us the miracles of Thy holy Martyrs as an invincible battlement, by their entreaties, scatter the counsels of the heathen, O Christ our God, and strengthen the faith of Orthodox Christians, since Thou alone art good and the Friend of man.

Kontakion of Martyrs Gouria, Shamuna, and Habib

Ye gained from on high * much grace, O wise, all-lauded Saints; * and thus, ye protect * all them found in ordeals and trials; * for this cause, O Martyrs, did ye save a young woman from bitter death, * in that ye are in very truth * the glory of Edessa and joy of all.

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