|Saint Paul in Prison, Rembrandt c. 1627|
The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.
~ John 4:23
As I start this day, oh Lord, I wonder: How will this day be different from any other day? Has my faith in you grown into a stale routine, or will I grow this day, closer to you than I have ever been?
Shake me up, Holy God! Rattle the door of my cage, set off my smoke detector, ring my doorbell until I answer the door! Let me read your Word until something new sinks in; let me pray until I hear your voice, until all smugness has given way to gratitude. By the power of your Holy Spirit, renew me afresh in your Word and power, today and every day, energizing me in your great commission. In Christ's name, I pray. Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
O Holy One, we call to you and name you as eternal, ever-present, and boundless in love. Yet there are times, O God, when we fail to recognize you in the dailyness of our lives. Sometimes shame clenches tightly around our hearts, and we hide our true feelings. Sometimes fear makes us small, and we miss the chance to speak from our strength. Sometimes doubt invades our hopefulness, and we degrade our own wisdom.
Holy God, in the daily round from sunrise to sunset, remind us again of your holy presence hovering near us and in us. Free us from shame and self-doubt. Help us to see you in the moment-by-moment possibilities to live honestly, to act courageously, and to speak from our wisdom.
The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 19:24-43
[David and Mephibosheth Meet]
Mephibosheth grandson of Saul came down to meet the king; he had not taken care of his feet, or trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes, from the day the king left until the day he came back in safety. When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, "Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?" He answered, "My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said to him, 'Saddle a donkey for me, so that I may ride on it and go with the king.' For your servant is lame. He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. For all my father's house were doomed to death before my lord the king; but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to appeal to the king?" The king said to him, "Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land." Mephibosheth said to the king, "Let him take it all, since my lord the king has arrived home safely."
[David’s Kindness to Barzillai]
Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. The king said to Barzillai, "Come over with me, and I will provide for you in Jerusalem at my side." But Barzillai said to the king, "How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? Today I am eighty years old; can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king recompense me with such a reward? Please let your servant return, so that I may die in my own town, near the graves of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do for him whatever seems good to you." The king answered, "Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you; and all that you desire of me I will do for you." Then all the people crossed over the Jordan, and the king crossed over; the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way. Then all the people of Israel came to the king, and said to him, "Why have our kindred the people of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all David's men with him?" All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, "Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?" But the people of Israel answered the people of Judah, "We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king?" But the words of the people of Judah were fiercer than the words of the people of Israel.
The Second Reading is taken from Acts 24:24-25:12
[Paul Held in Custody]
Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus. And as he discussed justice, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity, I will send for you." At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul, and for that reason he used to send for him very often and converse with him. After two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus; and since he wanted to grant the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.
[Paul Appeals to the Emperor]
Three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem where the chief priests and the leaders of the Jews gave him a report against Paul. They appealed to him and requested, as a favor to them against Paul, to have him transferred to Jerusalem. They were, in fact, planning an ambush to kill him along the way. Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea, and that he himself intended to go there shortly. "So," he said, "let those of you who have the authority come down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them accuse him." After he had stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea; the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he arrived, the Jews who had gone down from Jerusalem surrounded him, bringing many serious charges against him, which they could not prove. Paul said in his defense, "I have in no way committed an offense against the law of the Jews, or against the temple, or against the emperor." But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, asked Paul, "Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and be tried there before me on these charges?" Paul said, "I am appealing to the emperor's tribunal; this is where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you very well know. Now if I am in the wrong and have committed something for which I deserve to die, I am not trying to escape death; but if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to the emperor." Then Festus, after he had conferred with his council, replied, "You have appealed to the emperor; to the emperor you will go."
The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 12:35-44
[The Question about David’s Son]
While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet."' David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?" And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.
[Jesus Denounces the Scribes]
As he taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
[The Widow’s Offering]
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
Psalm 140 Eripe me, Domine
1 Deliver me, O LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent,
2 Who devise evil in their hearts and stir up strife all day long.
3 They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adder's poison is under their lips.
4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who are determined to trip me up.
5 The proud have hidden a snare for me and stretched out a net of cords; they have set traps for me along the path.
6 I have said to the LORD, "You are my God; listen, O LORD, to my supplication.
7 O Lord GOD, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant the desires of the wicked, O LORD, nor let their evil plans prosper.
9 Let not those who surround me lift up their heads; let the evil of their lips overwhelm them.
10 Let hot burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the mire, never to rise up again."
11 A slanderer shall not be established on the earth, and evil shall hunt down the lawless.
12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the poor and render justice to the needy.
13 Surely, the righteous will give thanks to your Name, and the upright shall continue in your sight.
Psalm 142 Voce mea ad Dominum
1 I cry to the LORD with my voice; to the LORD I make loud supplication.
2 I pour out my complaint before him and tell him all my trouble.
3 When my spirit languishes within me, you know my path; in the way wherein I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
4 I look to my right hand and find no one who knows me; I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for me.
5 I cry out to you, O LORD; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living."
6 Listen to my cry for help, for I have been brought very low; save me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
7 Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your Name; when you have dealt bountifully with me, the righteous will gather around me.
Psalm 141 Domine, clamavi
1 O LORD, I call to you; come to me quickly; hear my voice when I cry to you.
2 Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
3 Set a watch before my mouth, O LORD, and guard the door of my lips; let not my heart incline to any evil thing.
4 Let me not be occupied in wickedness with evildoers, nor eat of their choice foods.
5 Let the righteous smite me in friendly rebuke; let not the oil of the unrighteous anoint my head; for my prayer is continually against their wicked deeds.
6 Let their rulers be overthrown in stony places, that they may know my words are true.
7 As when a plowman turns over the earth in furrows, let their bones be scattered at the mouth of the grave.
8 But my eyes are turned to you, Lord GOD; in you I take refuge; do not strip me of my life.
9 Protect me from the snare which they have laid for me and from the traps of the evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I myself escape.
Psalm 143 Domine, exaudi
1 LORD, hear my prayer, and in your faithfulness heed my supplications; answer me in your righteousness.
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for in your sight shall no one living be justified.
3 For my enemy has sought my life; he has crushed me to the ground; he has made me live in dark places like those who are long dead.
4 My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is desolate.
5 I remember the time past; I muse upon all your deeds; I consider the works of your hands.
6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul gasps to you like a thirsty land.
7 O LORD, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me; do not hide your face from me or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning, for I put my trust in you; show me the road that I must walk, for I lift up my soul to you.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD, for I flee to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God; let your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 Revive me, O LORD, for your Name's sake; for your righteousness' sake, bring me out of trouble.
12 Of your goodness, destroy my enemies and bring all my foes to naught, for truly I am your servant.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayer of the Day
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
~ Saint Francis of Assisi
Prayer for Mercy
Heavenly Father, true God, who sent Your beloved Son to seek the wandering sheep, I have sinned against heaven and before You; receive me like the Prodigal Son, and clothe me with the garment of innocence, of which I was deprived by sin. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner, in the name of Christ. Amen.
A Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
Palermo, Festa dell' Immacolata
Palermo, Festa dell' Immacolata
Alleluia! Christ has risen.
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Amen.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.