Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Eve of the Nativity Fast
 About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food;
 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child.
 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
 with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
 And this we will do if God permits.
 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
 if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.
 For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.
 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned.
 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
 You know the commandments: `Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’”
 And he said, “All these I have observed from my youth.”
 And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
 But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich.
 Jesus looking at him said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!
 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”
 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America