Thursday, February 11, 2021
Sts. Vartan the General and his companions, the 1036 Martyrs who died in the Battle of Avarayr
 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.
 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
and their departure was thought to be an affliction,
 and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
 For though in the sight of men they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
 like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
 In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
 They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord will reign over them for ever.
 Thus says the LORD:
“In a time of favor I have answered you,
in a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you
as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land,
to apportion the desolate heritages;
 saying to the prisoners, `Come forth,’
to those who are in darkness, `Appear.’
They shall feed along the ways,
on all bare heights shall be their pasture;
 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
 And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? — “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
 For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
 “Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!
 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
 “But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.
 “Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. “Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
 “Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America