Polycarp: Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156

Thursday, February 23, 2017Friday, February 23, 2018Saturday, February 23, 2019
The Collect: 

Rite I:
O God, the maker of heaven and earth, who didst give to thy venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Savior, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, after his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Rite II:
O God, the maker of heaven and earth, you gave your venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Savior, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, following his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Testament: 
Numbers 23:5-12

5The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.’ 6So he returned to Balak, who was standing beside his burnt-offerings with all the officials of Moab. 7Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Balak has brought me from Aram,
   the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
“Come, curse Jacob for me;
   Come, denounce Israel!”
8 How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
   How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?
9 For from the top of the crags I see him,
   from the hills I behold him;
Here is a people living alone,
   and not reckoning itself among the nations!
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,
   or number the dust-cloud of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
   and let my end be like his!’

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.’ 12He answered, ‘Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?’

Psalm: 
Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
       from where is my help to come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, *
       the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved *
       and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
4 Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
       shall neither slumber nor sleep;
5 The LORD himself watches over you; *
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand,
6 So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
       nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; *
       it is he who shall keep you safe.
8 The LORD shall watch over your going out and your coming in, *
       from this time forth for evermore.

Epistle: 
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

1When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Gospel: 
Matthew 20:20-23

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. 21And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ 22But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’