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 will praise thee, O lord, with my whole heart: for thou hast heard the words of my mouth. I will sing praise to thee in the sight of his angels:
2 I will worship towards thy holy temple, and I will give glory to thy name. For thy mercy, and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy holy name above all.
3 In what day soever I shall call upon thee, hear me: thou shall multiply strength in my soul.
7 If I shall walk in the midst of tribulation, thou wilt quicken me: and thou hast stretched forth thy hand against the wrath of my enemies: and thy right hand hath saved me.
8 The Lord will repay for me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: O despise not the work of thy hands.
GOSPEL: Matthew 7: 7 - 12
7 Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.
8 For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone?
10 Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent?
11 If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?
12 All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them. For this is the law and the prophets.