Blessed are all those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.
You shall eat the fruit of the toil of your hands; it shall go well with you, and happy shall you be. Your wife within your house
shall be like a fruitful vine; your children round your table, like fresh olive branches.
Thus shall the one be blest who fears the Lord.
The Lord from out of Zion bless you, that you may see Jerusalem in prosperity all the days of your life.
May you see your children’s children, and may there be peace upon Israel.
‘Many a time have they fought against me from my youth,’ may Israel now say;
‘Many a time have they fought against me from my youth, but they have not prevailed against me.’
The ploughers ploughed upon my back and made their furrows long. But the righteous Lord has cut the cords of the wicked in pieces. Let them be put to shame and turned backwards, as many as are enemies of Zion.
Let them be like grass upon the housetops, which withers before it can grow, So that no reaper may fill his hand, nor a binder of sheaves his bosom;
And none who go by may say,
‘The blessing of the Lord be upon you. We bless you in the name of the Lord.’
Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication. If you, Lord, were to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than the night watch for the morning, more than the night watch for the morning.
O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy; With him is plenteous redemption and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.
O Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not raised in haughty looks. I do not occupy myself with great matters, with things that are too high for me. But I have quieted and stilled my soul, like a weaned child on its mother’s breast; so my soul is quieted within me.
O Israel, trust in the Lord, from this time forth for evermore.
Malachi 1.1, 6-end
An oracle. The word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
A son honours his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honour due to me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due to me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food on my altar. And you say, ‘How have we polluted it?’ By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not wrong? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not wrong? Try presenting that to your governor; will he be pleased with you or show you favour? says the Lord of hosts. And now implore the favour of God, that he may be gracious to us. The fault is yours. Will he show favour to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. O that someone among you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and the food for it may be despised. ‘What a weariness this is’, you say, and you sniff at me, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in the flock and vows to give it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished; for I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name is reverenced among the nations.
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.
Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?’ He said to them, ‘It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.’
His disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’
God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.