Epistle • Ecclesiasticus 44:16-27; 45:3-20
Lesson from the Book of Ecclesiasticus.
[The Church applies to the Confessor Bishops the praises of the holy fathers.]
Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was not found the like to him who kept the law of the Most High. Therefore by an oath the Lord made him to increase among his people. He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord.
He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood: and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praise in His name, and to offer Him a worthy incense for an odor of sweetness.
Gospel • Matthew 25:14-23
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
[The parable of the talents is applied to Confessor Bishops.]
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: A man going into a far country called his servants, and delivered to them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey. And he that had received the five talents went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five. And in like manner he that had received the two gained other two. But he that had received the one, going his way, digged into the earth and hid his lords money.
But after a long time the lord of those servants came and reckoned with them. And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me, behold I have gained other two. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.