Readings for Thursday of the fourth week of Great Lent

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Prophecy

Genesis 32:1-30 ; Isaiah 28:14-22 ; Job 20:1-29 ; Daniel 6:1-27 [Arabic]

Genesis 32:1-30
So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, "This is God's camp." And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, "Speak thus to my lord Esau, "Thus your servant Jacob says: "I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.""'

Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him." So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. And he said, "If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape."

Then Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD who said to me, "Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you': I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. For You said, "I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude."'

So he lodged there that same night, and took what came to his hand as a present for Esau his brother: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milk camels with their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals. Then he delivered them to the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, "Pass over before me, and put some distance between successive droves." And he commanded the first one, saying, "When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, saying, "To whom do you belong, and where are you going? Whose are these in front of you?' then you shall say, "They are your servant Jacob's. It is a present sent to my lord Esau; and behold, he also is behind us."' So he commanded the second, the third, and all who followed the droves, saying, "In this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; and also say, "Behold, your servant Jacob is behind us."' For he said, "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me." So the present went on over before him, but he himself lodged that night in the camp.

And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks."

But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!"

So He said to him, "What is your name?"

He said, "Jacob."

And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed."

Then Jacob asked, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray."

And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there.

So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."



Isaiah 28:14-22

Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men,
        Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,
        Because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death,
        And with Sheol we are in agreement.
        When the overflowing scourge passes through,
        It will not come to us,
        For we have made lies our refuge,
        And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves."

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
        "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,
        A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
        Whoever believes will not act hastily.
        Also I will make justice the measuring line,
        And righteousness the plummet;
        The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
        And the waters will overflow the hiding place.
        Your covenant with death will be annulled,
        And your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
        When the overflowing scourge passes through,
        Then you will be trampled down by it.
        As often as it goes out it will take you;
        For morning by morning it will pass over,
        And by day and by night;
        It will be a terror just to understand the report."
        For the bed is too short to stretch out on,
        And the covering so narrow that one cannot wrap himself in it.
        For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim,
        He will be angry as in the Valley of Gibeon--
        That He may do His work, His awesome work,
        And bring to pass His act, His unusual act.
        Now therefore, do not be mockers,
        Lest your bonds be made strong;
        For I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts,
        A destruction determined even upon the whole earth.



Job 20:1-29
Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:
        "Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer,
        Because of the turmoil within me.
        I have heard the rebuke that reproaches me,
        And the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer.
        "Do you not know this of old,
        Since man was placed on earth,
        That the triumphing of the wicked is short,
        And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?
        Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens,
        And his head reaches to the clouds,
        Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse;
        Those who have seen him will say, "Where is he?'
        He will fly away like a dream, and not be found;
        Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
        The eye that saw him will see him no more,
        Nor will his place behold him anymore.
        His children will seek the favor of the poor,
        And his hands will restore his wealth.
        His bones are full of his youthful vigor,
        But it will lie down with him in the dust.
        "Though evil is sweet in his mouth,
        And he hides it under his tongue,
        Though he spares it and does not forsake it,
        But still keeps it in his mouth,
        Yet his food in his stomach turns sour;
        It becomes cobra venom within him.
        He swallows down riches
        And vomits them up again;
        God casts them out of his belly.
        He will suck the poison of cobras;
        The viper's tongue will slay him.
        He will not see the streams,
        The rivers flowing with honey and cream.
        He will restore that for which he labored,
        And will not swallow it down;
        From the proceeds of business
        He will get no enjoyment.
        For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor,
        He has violently seized a house which he did not build.
        "Because he knows no quietness in his heart,
        He will not save anything he desires.
        Nothing is left for him to eat;
        Therefore his well-being will not last.
        In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress;
        Every hand of misery will come against him.
        When he is about to fill his stomach,
        God will cast on him the fury of His wrath,
        And will rain it on him while he is eating.
        He will flee from the iron weapon;
        A bronze bow will pierce him through.
        It is drawn, and comes out of the body;
        Yes, the glittering point comes out of his gall.
        Terrors come upon him;
        Total darkness is reserved for his treasures.
        An unfanned fire will consume him;
        It shall go ill with him who is left in his tent.
        The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
        And the earth will rise up against him.
        The increase of his house will depart,
        And his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath.
        This is the portion from God for a wicked man,
        The heritage appointed to him by God."



Daniel 6:1-27
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God."

So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: "King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter." Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king's decree: "Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?"

The king answered and said, "The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter."

So they answered and said before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day."

And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed."

So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?"

Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you."

Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions--them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

Then King Darius wrote:

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.
        For He is the living God,
        And steadfast forever;
        His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,
        And His dominion shall endure to the end.
        He delivers and rescues,
        And He works signs and wonders
        In heaven and on earth,
        Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

Psalm

Psalm 12:7 [Arabic]

You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
 

Gospel

Mark 3:7-12 [Arabic]

But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him. So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him. For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him. And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, "You are the Son of God." But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.

 

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Pauline Epistle

1Corinthians 12:31-end ; 1Corinthians 14:1-1 [Arabic]

But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

 

Catholic Epistle

James 4:11-end ; James 5:1-3 [Arabic]

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.

 

Acts

Acts 4:19-31 [Arabic]

But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
        "Why did the nations rage,
        And the people plot vain things?
        The kings of the earth took their stand,
        And the rulers were gathered together
        Against the LORD and against His Christ.'

"For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

 

Synaxarium

The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna.

 

Psalm

Psalm 48:10-11 [Arabic]

        Your right hand is full of righteousness.
        Let Mount Zion rejoice,
        Let the daughters of Judah be glad,
        Because of Your judgments.

 

Gospel

Luke 18:35-43 [Arabic]

Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, "What do you want Me to do for you?"

He said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight."

Then Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

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