The Old Testament Lesson
The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Jeremiah 29:1-13
These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah, and the queen mother, the court officials, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the artisans, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom King Zedekiah of Judah sent to Babylon to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It said: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the LORD. For thus says the LORD: Only when Babylon's seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,
The Epistle Lesson
The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Romans 11:13-24
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.
The Holy Gospel Lesson
The Holy Gospel is written in John 11:1-27
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." But when Jesus heard it, he said, "This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God's glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them." After saying this, he told them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him." The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right." Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world."
Psalm 22 Deus, Deus meu
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?
2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; by night as well, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are the Holy One, enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
4 Our forefathers put their trust in you; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 They cried out to you and were delivered; they trusted in you and were not put to shame.
6 But as for me, I am a worm and no man, scorned by all and despised by the people.
7 All who see me laugh me to scorn; they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,
8 He trusted in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, if he delights in him.
9 Yet you are he who took me out of the womb, and kept me safe upon my mother's breast.
10 I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; you were my God when I was still in my mother's womb.
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.
12 Many young bulls encircle me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me.
13 They open wide their jaws at me, like a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint; my heart within my breast is melting wax.
15 My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.
16 Packs of dogs close me in, and gangs of evildoers circle around me; they pierce my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones.
17 They stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.
18 Be not far away, O LORD; you are my strength; hasten to help me.
19 Save me from the sword, my life from the power of the dog.
20 Save me from the lion's mouth, my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.
21 I will declare your Name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
22 Praise the LORD, you that fear him; stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel; all you of Jacob's line, give glory.
23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither does he hide his face from them; but when they cry to him he hears them.
24 My praise is of him in the great assembly; I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.
25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and those who seek the LORD shall praise him: "May your heart live for ever!"
26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations bow before him.
27 For kingship belongs to the LORD; he rules over the nations.
28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; all who go down to the dust fall before him.
29 My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they shall be known as the LORD'S for ever.
30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn the saving deeds that he has done.
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.
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.