FIRST READING: Esther C: 12, 14 - 16, 23 - 25
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the Lord.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said: "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O Lord, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord, my God. "And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness.
PSALM: Psalms 138: 1 - 3, 7 - 8
1 I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise;
2 I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.
3 On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands.
GOSPEL: Matthew 7: 7 - 12
7 "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
9 Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.