Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Epistle • Isaias 58:9-14
Lesson from the Prophet Isaias.
[We must struggle by solemn fast and by works of charity against our passions, and the Lord will give us rest, and will fill our souls with brightness.]
Thus saith the Lord God: If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger and to speak that which profiteth not. When thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday. And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail.
And the places that have been desolate for ages shall be built in thee: thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, turning the paths into rest.
If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thine own will in My holy day, and call the Sabbath delightful and the holy of the Lord glorious, and glorify Him, while thou dost not thine own ways, and thine own will is not found, to speak a word: then shalt thou be delighted in the Lord, and I will lift thee up above the high places of the earth, and will feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob thy father. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Gospel • Mark 6:47-56
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Mark.
[The rough sea and the contrary winds are a figure of our passions. In this hard struggle Jesus will come to our help as He did to the Apostles and heal our bodies and our souls by fasting, as He healed all the sick in the land of Genesareth.]
At that time, when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and Jesus alone on the land. And seeing His disciples laboring in rowing (for the wind was against them), and about the fourth watch of the night He cometh to them, walking upon the sea: and He would have passed by them. But they, seeing Him walking upon the sea, thought it was an apparition, and they cried out. For they all saw Him, and were troubled.
And immediately He spoke with them, and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I, fear ye not. And He went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased. And they were far more astonished within themselves: for they understood not concerning the loaves: for their heart was blinded. And when they passed over, they came into the land of Genesareth and set to the shore.
And when they were gone out of the ship, immediately they knew Him: and running through that whole country, they began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard He was. And whithersoever He entered, into towns or into villages or cities, they laid the sick in the streets and besought Him that they might touch but the hem of His garment, and as many as touched Him were made whole.