|"The Importunate Neighbour" -- by William Holman Hunt|
FIRST READING: Malachi 3: 13 - 20
13 Your words have been unsufferable to me, saith the Lord.
14 And you have said: What have we spoken against thee? You have said: He laboureth in vain that serveth God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked sorrowful before the Lord of hosts?
15 Wherefore now we call the proud people happy, for they that work wickedness are built up, and they have tempted God and are preserved.
16 Then they that feared the Lord spoke every one with his neighbour: and the Lord gave ear, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that fear the Lord, and think on his name.
17 And they shall be my special possession, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do judgment: and I will spare them, as a man spareth his son that serveth him.
18 And you shall return, and shall see the difference between the just and the wicked: and between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.
19 For behold the day shall come kindled as a furnace: and all the proud, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall set them on fire, saith the Lord of hosts, it shall not leave them root, nor branch.
20 But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd.
1 Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence.
2 But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off: and all whatsoever he shall do shall prosper.
4 Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish.
5 And he said to them: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and shall say to him: Friend, lend me three loaves,
6 Because a friend of mine is come off his journey to me, and I have not what to set before him.
7 And he from within should answer, and say: Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 Yet if he shall continue knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend; yet, because of his importunity, he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth.
9 And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.
10 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
11 And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion?
13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?