Epistle • Ecclesiasticus 51:1-8, 12
Lesson from the Book of Ecclesiasticus.
[The Church in unity with the Virgin martyrs offers to the Lord praise and thanksgiving.]
I will give glory to Thee, O Lord, O King, and I will praise Thee, O God my Savior. I will give glory to Thy Name: for Thou hast been a helper and protector to me, and hast preserved my body from destruction, from the snare of an unjust tongue, and from the lips of them that forge lies; and in the sight of them that stood by Thou hast been my helper.
And Thou hast delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of Thy Name, from them that did roar, prepared to devour; out of the hands of them that sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions which compassed me about; from the oppression of the flame which surrounded me, and in the midst of the fire I was not burnt: from the depth of the belly of hell, and from an unclean tongue, and from lying words, from an unjust king, and from a slanderous tongue.
My soul shall praise the Lord even to death: because Thou, O Lord our God, deliverest them that wait for Thee, and savest them out of the hands of the nations.
Gospel • Matthew 25:1-13
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
[The parable of the ten virgins. They that were ready went in with the heavenly Bridegroom to the Eternal Banquet.]
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The Kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps, went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise; but the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Now, whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, lord, open to us. But he answering, said: Amen, I say to you, I know you not.
Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
Read a Brief Summary: St. Agnes - Virgin, Martyr