Readings for fourth Sunday of Christmas Fast

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Psalm

Psalm 95:10-12 [Arabic]

For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
        And said, "It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
        And they do not know My ways.'
        So I swore in My wrath,
        "They shall not enter My rest.'|"
 

Gospel

Mk 3:28-35 [Arabic]

"Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"-- because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."
But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

 

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Pauline Epistle

Rom 9:6-33 [Arabic]

But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son."
And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
As He says also in Hosea:
        "I will call them My people, who were not My people,
        And her beloved, who was not beloved."
        "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
        "You are not My people,'
        There they shall be called sons of the living God."
Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
        "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
        The remnant will be saved.
        For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
        Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth."
And as Isaiah said before:
        "Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
        We would have become like Sodom,
        And we would have been made like Gomorrah."
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written:
        "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
        And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

 

Catholic Epistle

1Jn 2:24-33 [Arabic]

Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us--eternal life.
These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

 

Acts

Acts 7:8-22 [Arabic]

Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.
"And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph's family became known to the Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people. So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers. And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.
"But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt till another king arose who did not know Joseph. This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father's house for three months. But when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

 

Synaxarium

The Martyrdom of 150 Men and 24 Women from Ansena.

 

Psalm

Psalm 80:1-3 [Arabic]

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
        You who lead Joseph like a flock;
        You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!
        Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
        Stir up Your strength,
        And come and save us!
        Restore us, O God;
        Cause Your face to shine,
        And we shall be saved!

 

Gospel

Lk 1:57-80 [Arabic]

Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered and said, "No; he shall be called John."
But they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name." So they made signs to his father--what he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, "What kind of child will this be?" And the hand of the Lord was with him.
Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
        "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
        For He has visited and redeemed His people,
        And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
        In the house of His servant David,
        As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
        Who have been since the world began,
        That we should be saved from our enemies
        And from the hand of all who hate us,
        To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
        And to remember His holy covenant,
        The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
        To grant us that we,
        Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
        Might serve Him without fear,
        In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
        "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
        For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
        To give knowledge of salvation to His people
        By the remission of their sins,
        Through the tender mercy of our God,
        With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
        To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
        To guide our feet into the way of peace."
So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

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