October 23 Gospel Reading

Matthew 13:54-58

54 And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Origen in Against Celsus Book VI said:

“Now who is there that is capable of giving even moderate attention to affairs – not merely among the believers on Jesus, but among the rest of mankind – that would not laugh at Celsus, on hearing that Jesus, who was born and brought up among the Jews, and was supposed to be the son of Joseph the carpenter, and who had not studied literature – not merely that of the Greeks, but not even that of the Hebrews – as the truth – loving Scriptures testify regarding Him…”

C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity:

“our faith is not a matter of hearing what (John or) Jesus said long ago and ‘trying to carry it out. Rather the real Son of God is at your side. (As you choose to walk with his spirit) (Gal. 5:25) he begins to turn you into the same kind of thing as himself …beginning to turn the tin soldier into a live (human being). The part of you that does not like (the change) is the part that is still tin.'”

From the Philokalia, Volume I. 46:

“How can someone with little or no faith be made to realize that an ant grows wings, a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, and many other strange and unexpected things happen in nature, so that in this way he shakes off the sickness of unbelief and despair, himself acquires wings, and buds in spiritual knowledge like a tree? ‘I am He’, says God, ‘who makes the dry tree flourish; I give life to the dry bones’ (cf. Ezek. 17:24; 37:1-14).

St. Gregory of Sinai in Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart. (135, p. 72) wrote:

“Prelest is today’s great enemy of truth, leading men to perdition; through prelest the darkness of ignorance, alienating men from God, has established its rule in the souls of the heedless. Three passions are its main offspring: unbelief, wickedness, and laziness, which engender and support one another. Unbelief is the teacher of wickedness, and wickedness is the companion of laziness which leads to total sloth. Or conversely, laziness gives birth to wickedness, as the Lord said: ‘Thou wicked and slothful servant’ (Matt. xxv. 26), and wickedness is the mother of unbelief, for every wicked man is unfaithful, and the unfaithful has no fear of God. Absence of the fear of God gives birth to laziness – the mother of negligence, which makes men neglect every good and commit every bad deed.”

Sinai, Icon with Annunciation, 12th Century

St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies, Book III, Ch. 22 said:

“…the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.”



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