St. Sabas, Abbott

Born in Cappadocia, Sabas is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the monks of Palestine, and is considered one of the founders of Eastern monasticism.

After an unhappy childhood in which he was abused and ran away several times, Sabas finally sought refuge in a monastery. While family members tried to persuade him to return home, the young boy felt drawn to monastic life. Although the youngest monk in the house, he excelled in virtue.

At age 18 he traveled to Jerusalem, seeking to learn more about living in solitude. Soon he asked to be accepted as a disciple of a well-known local solitary, though initially he was regarded as too young to live completely as a hermit. Initially, Sabas lived in a monastery, where he worked during the day and spent much of the night in prayer. At the age of 30 he was given permission to spend five days each week in a nearby remote cave, engaging in prayer and manual labor in the form of weaving baskets. Following the death of his mentor, Saint Euthymius, Sabas moved farther into the desert near Jericho. There he lived for several years in a cave near the brook Cedron. A rope was his means of access. Wild herbs among the rocks were his food. Occasionally men brought him other food and items, while he had to go a distance for his water.

Some of these men came to him desiring to join him in his solitude. At first he refused. But not long after relenting, his followers swelled to more than 150, all of them living in individual huts grouped around a church, called a laura.

The bishop persuaded a reluctant Sabas, then in his early 50s, to prepare for the priesthood so that he could better serve his monastic community in leadership. While functioning as abbot among a large community of monks, he felt ever called to live the life of a hermit. Throughout each year—consistently in Lent—he left his monks for long periods of time, often to their distress. A group of 60 men left the monastery, settling at a nearby ruined facility. When Sabas learned of the difficulties they were facing, he generously gave them supplies and assisted in the repair of their church.

Over the years Sabas traveled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church. At the age of 91, in response to a plea from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sabas undertook a journey to Constantinople in conjunction with the Samaritan revolt and its violent repression. He fell ill and soon after his return, died at the monastery at Mar Saba. Today the monastery is still inhabited by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Saint Sabas is regarded as one of the most noteworthy figures of early monasticism.


Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26

19 Yea, O people in Zion who dwell at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your cattle will graze in large pastures;
24 and the oxen and the asses that till the ground will eat salted provender, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.
25 And upon every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.
26 Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the hurt of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.


Matthew 9:35--10:1, 5, 6-8

5 For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise and walk'?
6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he then said to the paralytic -- "Rise, take up your bed and go home."
7 And he rose and went home.
8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
38 pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.


Psalms 147:1-6

1 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is seemly.
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our LORD, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The LORD lifts up the downtrodden, he casts the wicked to the ground.


Lord, help me to be faithful in serving You and Your people

Saturday 5th Dec 2020
1st Week of Advent
Is. 30:19-21,23-26; Ps 147(146):1-2,3-4,5-6;
Mt. 9:35 -- 10:1-15a,6-8


The Israelites had been following their own way and were suffering. The prophet assured them that God had not forgotten them. God would listen to their cry and would be merciful and continue to guide them. God would provide rain for their crops, food for their animals, and abundant water.

The Israelites were going through difficult times, but as they turned to God, God would be faithful to the people whom God had chosen and blessed.

Jesus was proclaiming the good news and healing people, for he had compassion on them. Jesus realised that he needed others to continue his ministry. He asked the disciples to pray for more labourers.

Then Jesus empowered the disciples and sent them to proclaim the good news and to heal. They were to do all of this for the Israelites without receiving any payment. It is very enlightening to note that Jesus asked the disciples to pray for more labourers before sending them.

It is a lesson for us as we often ask the Lord for something and then realise God is sending us to do the work!

Lord, help me to be faithful in serving You and Your people.