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Wed 19 December

19 December

First reading

Judges 13:2-7,24-25

'You will conceive and bear a son'

There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren, she had borne no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to this woman and said to her, ‘You are barren and have had no child. But from now on take great care. Take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For you will conceive and bear a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb. It is he who will begin to rescue Israel from the power of the Philistines.’ Then the woman went and told her husband, ‘A man of God has just come to me; his presence was like the presence of the angel of God, he was so majestic. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not reveal his name to me. But he said to me, “You will conceive and bear a son. From now on, take no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be God’s nazirite from his mother’s womb to his dying day.”’
The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and the Lord blessed him; and the spirit of the Lord began to move him.

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 70(71):3-6,16-17

Be a rock where I can take refuge,
 a mighty stronghold to save me;
 for you are my rock, my stronghold.
Free me from the hand of the wicked.

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
 my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
 from my mother’s womb you have been my help.

I will declare the Lord’s mighty deeds
 proclaiming your justice, yours alone.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
 and I proclaim your wonders still.

Gospel

Luke 1:5-25

'Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son'

In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron. Both were worthy in the sight of God, and scrupulously observed all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both getting on in years.
Now it was the turn of Zechariah’s section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the ritual custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense the whole congregation was outside, praying.
Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear. But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you must name him John. He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink. Even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the disobedient back to the wisdom that the virtuous have, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.’
Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’ Th

Tue 18 December

18 December

First reading

Jeremiah 23:5-8

I will raise a virtuous Branch for David

See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –
when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,
who will reign as true king and be wise,
practising honesty and integrity in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel dwell in confidence.
And this is the name he will be called:
The-Lord-our-integrity.

So, then, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when people will no longer say, “As the Lord lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt!” but, “As the Lord lives who led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the land of the North and from all the countries to which he had dispersed them, to live on their own soil.”

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 71(72):1-2,12-13,18-19

O God, give your judgement to the king,
 to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
 and your poor in right judgement.

For he shall save the poor when they cry
 and the needy who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak
 and save the lives of the poor.

Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel,
 who alone works wonders,
ever blessed his glorious name.
 Let his glory fill the earth.
Amen! Amen!

Gospel

Matthew 1:18-24

How Jesus Christ came to be born

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,

a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.


This site copyright © 1996-2018 Universalis Publishing Ltd.

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.

Mon 17 December

17 December

First reading

Genesis 49:2,8-10

Until he comes, the sceptre will not pass from Judah

Jacob called his sons and said:
‘Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen;
listen to Israel your father.
Judah, your brothers shall praise you:
you grip your enemies by the neck,
your father’s sons shall do you homage,
Judah is a lion cub,
you climb back, my son, from your kill;
like a lion he crouches and lies down,
or a lioness: who dare rouse him?
The sceptre shall not pass from Judah,
nor the mace from between his feet,
until he come to whom it belongs,
to whom the peoples shall render obedience.’

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 71(72):1-4,7-8,17

O God, give your judgement to the king,
 to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice
 and your poor in right judgement.

May the mountains bring forth peace for the people
 and the hills, justice.
May he defend the poor of the people
 and save the children of the needy.

In his days justice shall flourish
 and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
 from the Great River to earth’s bounds.

May his name be blessed for ever
 and endure like the sun.
Every tribe shall be blessed in him,
 all nations bless his name.

Gospel

Matthew 1:1-17

The ancestry of Jesus Christ, the son of David

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,
Perez was the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram was the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon was the father of Boaz, Rahab being his mother,
Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,
Obed was the father of Jesse;
and Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,
Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
Joram the father of Azariah,
Azariah was the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah;
and Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.
Then the deportation to Babylon took place.
After the deportation to Babylon:
Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor was the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Achim,
Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud was the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob;
and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;
of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore: fourteen from Abraham to David; fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

Sun 16 December

3rd Sunday of Advent

First reading

Zephaniah 3:14-18

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,
Israel, shout aloud!
Rejoice, exult with all your heart,
daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has repealed your sentence;
he has driven your enemies away.
The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst;
you have no more evil to fear.

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem:
Zion, have no fear,
do not let your hands fall limp.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you,
he will renew you by his love;
he will dance with shouts of joy for you
as on a day of festival.

Psalm or canticle

Isaiah 12

The rejoicing of a redeemed people

Truly, God is my salvation,
 I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
 he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
 from the wells of salvation.

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
 Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
 Declare the greatness of his name.

Sing a psalm to the Lord
 for he has done glorious deeds;
 make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
 for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Second reading

Philippians 4:4-7

The Lord is very near

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.
There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.

Gospel

Luke 3:10-18

'Someone is coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire'

When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’
A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’ As well as this, there were many other things he said to exhort the people and to announce the Good News to them.


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Sat 15 December

Saturday of the 2nd week of Advent

First reading

Ecclesiasticus 48:1-4,9-12

The prophet Elijah will come again

The prophet Elijah arose like a fire,
 his word flaring like a torch.
It was he who brought famine on the people,
 and who decimated them in his zeal.
By the word of the Lord, he shut up the heavens,
 he also, three times, brought down fire.
How glorious you were in your miracles, Elijah!
 Has anyone reason to boast as you have?
Taken up in the whirlwind of fire,
 in a chariot with fiery horses;
designated in the prophecies of doom
 to allay God’s wrath before the fury breaks,
to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children,
 and to restore the tribes of Jacob,
Happy shall they be who see you,
 and those who have fallen asleep in love.

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 79(80):2-3,15-16,18-19

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
 shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
 O Lord, come to our help.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
 look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
 the vine your right hand has planted.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
 the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again;
 give us life that we may call upon your name.

Gospel

Matthew 17:10-13

Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him

As they came down from the mountain the disciples put this question to Jesus, ‘Why do the scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True;’ he replied ‘Elijah is to come to see that everything is once more as it should be; however, I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’ The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.


This site copyright © 1996-2018 Universalis Publishing Ltd.

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.

Fri 14 December

Saint John of the Cross, Priest, Doctor

First reading

1 Corinthians 2:1-10

The wisdom that Gos predestined to be for our glory

Brothers, when I came to you, it was not with any show of oratory or philosophy, but simply to tell you what God had guaranteed. During my stay with you, the only knowledge I claimed to have was about Jesus, and only about him as the crucified Christ. Far from relying on any power of my own, I came among you in great ‘fear and trembling’ and in my speeches and the sermons that I gave, there were none of the arguments that belong to philosophy; only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit. And I did this so that your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God.
But still we have a wisdom to offer those who have reached maturity: not a philosophy of our age, it is true, still less of the masters of our age, which are coming to their end. The hidden wisdom of God which we teach in our mysteries is the wisdom that God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began. It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; we teach what scripture calls: the things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.
These are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 36(37):3-6,30-31

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
 then you will live in the land and be secure.
If you find your delight in the Lord,
 he will grant your heart’s desire.

Commit your life to the Lord,
 trust in him and he will act,
so that your justice breaks forth like the light,
 your cause like the noon-day sun.

The just man’s mouth utters wisdom
 and his lips speak what is right;
the law of his God is in his heart,
 his steps shall be saved from stumbling.

Gospel

Luke 14:25-33

Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple

Great crowds accompanied Jesus on his way and he turned and spoke to them. ‘If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, “Here is a man who started to build and was unable to finish.” Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.’


This site copyright © 1996-2018 Universalis Publishing Ltd.

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967

Thu 13 December

Saint Lucy, Virgin, Martyr

First reading

2 Corinthians 10:17-11:2

I arranged for you to marry Christ

If anyone wants to boast, let him boast of the Lord. It is not the man who commends himself that can be accepted, but the man who is commended by the Lord.
I only wish you were able to tolerate a little foolishness from me. But of course: you are tolerant towards me. You see, the jealousy that I feel for you is God’s own jealousy: I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband.

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 30(31):3-6,8,16-17

Be a rock of refuge for me,
 a mighty stronghold to save me,
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
 For your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.

Into your hands I commend my spirit.
 It is you who will redeem me, Lord.
As for me, I trust in the Lord:
 let me be glad and rejoice in your love.

My life is in your hands, deliver me
 from the hands of those who hate me.
Let your face shine on your servant.
 Save me in your love.

Gospel

Matthew 25:1-13

The wise and foolish virgins

Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.” At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’


This site copyright © 1996-2018 Universalis Publishing Ltd.

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.

Wed 12 December

Wednesday of the 2nd week of Advent, or Our Lady of Guadalupe

First reading

Isaiah 40:25-31

The Lord strengthens the powerless

‘To whom could you liken me
and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look.
Who made these stars
if not he who drills them like an army,
calling each one by name?
So mighty is his power, so great his strength,
that not one fails to answer.

How can you say, Jacob,
how can you insist, Israel,
‘My destiny is hidden from the Lord,
my rights are ignored by my God’?
Did you not know?
Had you not heard?

The Lord is an everlasting God,
he created the boundaries of the earth.
He does not grow tired or weary,
his understanding is beyond fathoming.
He gives strength to the wearied,
he strengthens the powerless.
Young men may grow tired and weary,
youths may stumble,
but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength,
they put out wings like eagles.
They run and do not grow weary,
walk and never tire.

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 102(103):1-4,8,10

My soul, give thanks to the Lord
 all my being, bless his holy name.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord
 and never forget all his blessings.

It is he who forgives all your guilt,
 who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
 who crowns you with love and compassion.

The Lord is compassion and love,
 slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He does not treat us according to our sins
 nor repay us according to our faults.

Gospel

Matthew 11:28-30

My yoke is easy and my burden light

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’


This site copyright © 1996-2018 Universalis Publishing Ltd.

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.

Tue 11 December

Tuesday of the 2nd week of Advent, or Saint Damasus I, Pope

First reading

Isaiah 40:1-11

Consolations from the heart of Jerusalem

‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain,
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice commands, ‘Cry!’
and I answered, ‘What shall I cry?’”
– ‘All flesh is grass
and its beauty like the wild flower’s.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on them.
(The grass is without doubt the people.)
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God remains for ever.’

Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’

Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.
|Is 40:2; Zc 1:16-17
℟. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 95(96):1-3,10-13

O sing a new song to the Lord,
 sing to the Lord all the earth.
O sing to the Lord, bless his name.
 Proclaim his help day by day.

Tell among the nations his glory
 and his wonders among all the peoples.
Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’
 He will judge the peoples in fairness.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad,
 let the sea and all within it thunder praise,
let the land and all it bears rejoice,
 all the trees of the wood shout for joy
at the presence of the Lord for he comes,
 he comes to rule the earth.

With justice he will rule the world,
 he will judge the peoples with his truth.

Gospel

Matthew 18:12-14

The one lost sheep gives him more joy than the ninety-nine that did not stray

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go in search of the stray? I tell you solemnly, if he finds it, it gives him more joy than do the ninety-nine that did not stray at all. Similarly, it is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.’


This site copyright © 1996-2018 Universalis Publishing Ltd.

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & To

Mon 10 December

Monday of the 2nd week of Advent

First reading

Isaiah 35:1-10

The return of the redeemed through the desert

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.

The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.

Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.

‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;

for water gushes in the desert,
streams in the wasteland,
the scorched earth becomes a lake,
the parched land springs of water.

The lairs where the jackals used to live
become thickets of reed and papyrus...

And through it will run a highway undefiled
which shall be called the Sacred Way;
the unclean may not travel by it,
nor fools stray along it.

No lion will be there
nor any fierce beast roam about it,
but the redeemed will walk there,
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.

They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.
|Is 35:3-5
℟. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart: Be strong, fear not!

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 84(85):9-14(Advent)

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
 a voice that speaks of peace,
 peace for his people.
His help is near for those who fear him
 and his glory will dwell in our land.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;
 justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
 and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper
 and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
 and peace shall follow his steps.

Gospel

Luke 5:17-26

'Your sins are forgiven you: get up and walk'

Jesus was teaching one day, and among the audience there were Pharisees and doctors of the Law who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judaea and from Jerusalem. And the Power of the Lord was behind his works of healing. Then some men appeared, carrying on a bed a paralysed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him. But as the crowd made it impossible to find a way of getting him in, they went up on to the flat roof and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ The scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. ‘Who is this man talking blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ But Jesus, aware of their thoughts, made them this reply, ‘What are these thoughts you have in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven you” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But to prove to you

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