|The Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13:1-9|
Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set out to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them. At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus, "Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?" They also asked them this, "What are the names of the men who are building this building?" But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until a report reached Darius and then answer was returned by letter in reply to it. The copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and his associates the envoys who were in the province Beyond the River sent to King Darius; they sent him a report, in which was written as follows: "To Darius the king, all peace! May it be known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built of hewn stone, and timber is laid in the walls; this work is being done diligently and prospers in their hands. Then we spoke to those elders and asked them, 'Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?' We also asked them their names, for your information, so that we might write down the names of the men at their head. This was their reply to us: 'We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. But because our ancestors had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia. However, King Cyrus of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt. Moreover, the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem and had brought into the temple of Babylon, these King Cyrus took out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. He said to him, "Take these vessels; go and put them in the temple in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its site." Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem; and from that time until now it has been under construction, and it is not yet finished.' And now, if it seems good to the king, have a search made in the royal archives there in Babylon, to see whether a decree was issued by King Cyrus for the rebuilding of this house of God in Jerusalem. Let the king send us his pleasure in this matter."
After this I looked, and there in heaven a door stood open! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." At once I was in the spirit, and there in heaven stood a throne, with one seated on the throne! And the one seated there looks like jasper and carnelian, and around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Around the throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes, with golden crowns on their heads. Coming from the throne are flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God; and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal. Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come." And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"
Psalm 45 Eructavit cor meum
1 My heart is stirring with a noble song; let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
2 You are the fairest of men; grace flows from your lips, because God has blessed you for ever.
3 Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, in your pride and in your majesty.
4 Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth and for the sake of justice.
5 Your right hand will show you marvelous things; your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.
6 The peoples are falling at your feet, and the king's enemies are losing heart.
7 Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom; you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
8 Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
9 All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
10 Kings' daughters stand among the ladies of the court; on your right hand is the queen, adorned with the gold of Ophir.
11 Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; forget your people and your father's house.
12 The king will have pleasure in your beauty; he is your master; therefore do him honor.
13 The people of Tyre are here with a gift; the rich among the people seek your favor."
14 All glorious is the princess as she enters; her gown is cloth-of-gold.
15 In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
16 With joy and gladness they are brought, and enter into the palace of the king.
17 In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; you shall make them princes over all the earth.
18 I will make your name to be remembered from one generation to another; therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever."
Psalm 47 Omnes gentes, plaudite
1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with a cry of joy.
2 For the LORD Most High is to be feared; he is the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdues the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet.
4 He chooses our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
5 God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of the ram's-horn.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is King of all the earth; sing praises with all your skill.
8 God reigns over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the peoples have gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham.
10 The rulers of the earth belong to God, and he is highly exalted.
Psalm 48 Magnus Dominus
1 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised; in the city of our God is his holy hill.
2 Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth, is the hill of Zion, the very center of the world and the city of the great King.
3 God is in her citadels; he is known to be her sure refuge.
4 Behold, the kings of the earth assembled and marched forward together.
5 They looked and were astounded; they retreated and fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there; they writhed like a woman in childbirth, like ships of the sea when the east wind shatters them.
7 As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God; God has established her for ever.
8 We have waited in silence on your loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of your temple.
9 Your praise, like your Name, O God, reaches to the world's end; your right hand is full of justice.
10 Let Mount Zion be glad and the cities of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments.
11 Make the circuit of Zion; walk round about her; count the number of her towers.
12 Consider well her bulwarks; examine her strongholds; that you may tell those who come after.
13 This God is our God for ever and ever; he shall be our guide for evermore.
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.