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St Lawrence
Catholic Church, Edenbridge
St Lawrence Edenbridge
Telephone: 01732 862256
Email: info@stlawrence.org.uk

Following in His steps

The thoughts of Father Benedict as we follow in Christ's footsteps

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  • POPE'S MESSAGE MESSAGE ON THE WORLD DAY FOR THE POOR 2021

    23rd January 2021

    MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
    FOR THE XXIX WORLD DAY OF THE SICK 2021


    "You have but one teacher and you are all brothers" (Mt 23:8). A trust-based relationship to guide care for the sick

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    The celebration of the XXIX World Day of the Sick on 11 February 2021, the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, is an opportunity to devote special attention to the sick and to those who provide them with assistance and care both in healthcare institutions and within families and communities. We think in particular of those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, the effects of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. To all, and especially to the poor and the marginalized, I express my spiritual closeness and assure them of the Church's loving concern.

    1. The theme of this Day is drawn from the Gospel passage in which Jesus criticizes the hypocrisy of those who fail to practise what they preach (cf. Mt 23:1-12). When our faith is reduced to empty words, unconcerned with the lives and needs of others, the creed we profess proves inconsistent with the life we lead. The danger is real. That is why Jesus uses strong language about the peril of falling into self-idolatry. He tells us: "You have but one teacher and you are all brothers"(v. 8).

    Jesus' criticism of those who "preach but do not practise" (v. 3) is helpful always and everywhere, since none of us is immune to the grave evil of hypocrisy, which prevents us from flourishing as children of the one Father, called to live universal fraternity.

    Before the needs of our brothers and sisters, Jesus asks us to respond in a way completely contrary to such hypocrisy. He asks us to stop and listen, to establish a direct and personal relationship with others, to feel empathy and compassion, and to let their suffering become our own as we seek to serve them (cf. Lk 10:30-35).

    2. The experience of sickness makes us realize our own vulnerability and our innate need of others. It makes us feel all the more clearly that we are creatures dependent on God. When we are ill, fear and even bewilderment can grip our minds and hearts; we find ourselves powerless, since our health does not depend on our abilities or life's incessant worries (cf. Mt 6:27).

    Sickness raises the question of life's meaning, which we bring before God in faith. In seeking a new and deeper direction in our lives, we may not find an immediate answer. Nor are our relatives and friends always able to help us in this demanding quest.

    The biblical figure of Job is emblematic in this regard. Job's wife and friends do not accompany him in his misfortune; instead, they blame him and only aggravate his solitude and distress. Job feels forlorn and misunderstood. Yet for all his extreme frailty, he rejects hypocrisy and chooses the path of honesty towards God and others. He cries out to God so insistently that God finally answers him and allows him to glimpse a new horizon. He confirms that Job's suffering is not a punishment or a state of separation from God, much less as sign of God's indifference. Job's heart, wounded and healed, then makes this vibrant and touching confession to the Lord: "I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you" (42:5).

    3. Sickness always has more than one face: it has the face of all the sick, but also those who feel ignored, excluded and prey to social injustices that deny their fundamental rights (cf. Fratelli Tutti, 22). The current pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in our healthcare systems and exposed inefficiencies in the care of the sick. Elderly, weak and vulnerable people are not always granted access to care, or in an equitable manner. This is the result of political decisions, resource management and greater or lesser commitment on the part of those holding positions of responsibility. Investing resources in the care and assistance of the sick is a priority linked to the fundamental principle that health is a primary common good. Yet the pandemic has also highlighted the dedication and generosity of healthcare personnel, volunteers, support staff, priests, men and women religious, all of whom have helped, treated, comforted and served so many of the sick and their families with professionalism, self-giving, responsibility and love of neighbour. A silent multitude of men and women, they chose not to look the other way but to share the suffering of patients, whom they saw as neighbours and members of our one human family.

    Such closeness is a precious balm that provides support and consolation to the sick in their suffering. As Christians, we experience that closeness as a sign of the love of Jesus Christ, the Good Samaritan, who draws near with compassion to every man and woman wounded by sin. United to Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be merciful like the Father and to love in particular our frail, infirm and suffering brothers and sisters (cf. Jn 13:34-35). We experience this closeness not only as individuals but also as a community. Indeed, fraternal love in Christ generates a community of healing, a community that leaves no one behind, a community that is inclusive and welcoming, especially to those most in need.

    Here I wish to mention the importance of fraternal solidarity, which is expressed concretely in service and can take a variety of forms, all directed at supporting our neighbours. "Serving means caring ... for the vulnerable of our families, our society, our people" (Homily in Havana, 20 September 2015). In this outreach, all are "called to set aside their own wishes and desires, their pursuit of power, before the concrete gaze of those who are most vulnerable... Service always looks to their faces, touches their flesh, senses their closeness and even, in some cases, 'suffers' that closeness and tries to help them. Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people" (ibid.).

    4. If a therapy is to be effective, it must have a relational aspect, for this enables a holistic approach to the patient. Emphasizing this aspect can help doctors, nurses, professionals and volunteers to feel responsible for accompanying patients on a path of healing grounded in a trusting interpersonal relationship (cf. New Charter for Health Care Workers [2016], 4). This creates a covenant between those in need of care and those who provide that care, a covenant based on mutual trust and respect, openness and availability. This will help to overcome defensive attitudes, respect the dignity of the sick, safeguard the professionalism of healthcare workers and foster a good relationship with the families of patients.

    Such a relationship with the sick can find an unfailing source of motivation and strength in the charity of Christ, as shown by the witness of those men and women who down the millennia have grown in holiness through service to the infirm. For the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection is the source of the love capable of giving full meaning to the experience of patients and caregivers alike. The Gospel frequently makes this clear by showing that Jesus heals not by magic but as the result of an encounter, an interpersonal relationship, in which God's gift finds a response in the faith of those who accept it. As Jesus often repeats: "Your faith has saved you".

    5. Dear brothers and sisters, the commandment of love that Jesus left to his disciples is also kept in our relationship with the sick. A society is all the more human to the degree that it cares effectively for its most frail and suffering members, in a spirit of fraternal love. Let us strive to achieve this goal, so that no one will feel alone, excluded or abandoned.

    To Mary, Mother of Mercy and Health of the Infirm, I entrust the sick, healthcare workers and all those who generously assist our suffering brothers and sisters. From the Grotto of Lourdes and her many other shrines throughout the world, may she sustain our faith and hope, and help us care for one another with fraternal love. To each and all, I cordially impart my blessing.

    Rome, Saint John Lateran, 20 December 2020,
    Fourth Sunday of Advent

    Franciscus

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • POPE FRANCIS' MESSAGE ON WORLD MISSION SUNDAY 2020

    20th October 2020

    MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
    FOR WORLD MISSION DAY 2020

    Here am I, send me (Is 6:8)

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    I wish to express my gratitude to God for the commitment with which the Church throughout the world carried out the Extraordinary Missionary Month last October. I am convinced that it stimulated missionary conversion in many communities on the path indicated by the theme: "Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World".

    In this year marked by the suffering and challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the missionary journey of the whole Church continues in light of the words found in the account of the calling of the prophet Isaiah: "Here am I, send me" (6:8). This is the ever new response to the Lord's question: "Whom shall I send?" (ibid.). This invitation from God's merciful heart challenges both the Church and humanity as a whole in the current world crisis. "Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat... are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying 'We are perishing' (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this" (Meditation in Saint Peter's Square, 27 March 2020). We are indeed frightened, disoriented and afraid. Pain and death make us experience our human frailty, but at the same time remind us of our deep desire for life and liberation from evil. In this context, the call to mission, the invitation to step out of ourselves for love of God and neighbour presents itself as an opportunity for sharing, service and intercessory prayer. The mission that God entrusts to each one of us leads us from fear and introspection to a renewed realization that we find ourselves precisely when we give ourselves to others.

    In the sacrifice of the cross, where the mission of Jesus is fully accomplished (cf. Jn 19:28-30), God shows us that his love is for each and every one of us (cf. Jn 19:26-27). He asks us to be personally willing to be sent, because he himself is Love, love that is always "on mission", always reaching out in order to give life. Out of his love for us, God the Father sent his Son Jesus (cf. Jn 3:16). Jesus is the Father's Missionary: his life and ministry reveal his total obedience to the Father's will (cf. Jn 4:34; 6:38; 8:12-30; Heb 10:5-10). Jesus, crucified and risen for us, draws us in turn into his mission of love, and with his Spirit which enlivens the Church, he makes us his disciples and sends us on a mission to the world and to its peoples.

    "The mission, the 'Church on the move', is not a programme, an enterprise to be carried out by sheer force of will. It is Christ who makes the Church go out of herself. In the mission of evangelization, you move because the Holy Spirit pushes you, and carries you" (Senza di Lui non possiamo fare nulla: Essere missionari oggi nel mondo. Una conversazione con Gianni Valente, Libreria Editrice Vaticana: San Paolo, 2019, 16-17). God always loves us first and with this love comes to us and calls us. Our personal vocation comes from the fact that we are sons and daughters of God in the Church, his family, brothers and sisters in that love that Jesus has shown us. All, however, have a human dignity founded on the divine invitation to be children of God and to become, in the sacrament of Baptism and in the freedom of faith, what they have always been in the heart of God.

    Life itself, as a gift freely received, is implicitly an invitation to this gift of self: it is a seed which, in the baptized, will blossom as a response of love in marriage or in virginity for the kingdom of God. Human life is born of the love of God, grows in love and tends towards love. No one is excluded from the love of God, and in the holy sacrifice of Jesus his Son on the cross, God conquered sin and death (cf. Rom 8:31-39). For God, evil - even sin - becomes a challenge to respond with even greater love (cf. Mt 5:38-48; Lk 22:33-34). In the Paschal Mystery, divine mercy heals our wounded humanity and is poured out upon the whole universe. The Church, the universal sacrament of God's love for the world, continues the mission of Jesus in history and sends us everywhere so that, through our witness of faith and the proclamation of the Gospel, God may continue to manifest his love and in this way touch and transform hearts, minds, bodies, societies and cultures in every place and time.

    Mission is a free and conscious response to God's call. Yet we discern this call only when we have a personal relationship of love with Jesus present in his Church. Let us ask ourselves: are we prepared to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to listen to the call to mission, whether in our life as married couples or as consecrated persons or those called to the ordained ministry, and in all the everyday events of life? Are we willing to be sent forth at any time or place to witness to our faith in God the merciful Father, to proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, to share the divine life of the Holy Spirit by building up the Church? Are we, like Mary, the Mother of Jesus, ready to be completely at the service of God's will (cf. Lk 1:38)? This interior openness is essential if we are to say to God: "Here am I, Lord, send me" (cf. Is 6:8). And this, not in the abstract, but in this chapter of the life of the Church and of history.

    Understanding what God is saying to us at this time of pandemic also represents a challenge for the Church's mission. Illness, suffering, fear and isolation challenge us. The poverty of those who die alone, the abandoned, those who have lost their jobs and income, the homeless and those who lack food challenge us. Being forced to observe social distancing and to stay at home invites us to rediscover that we need social relationships as well as our communal relationship with God. Far from increasing mistrust and indifference, this situation should make us even more attentive to our way of relating to others. And prayer, in which God touches and moves our hearts, should make us ever more open to the need of our brothers and sisters for dignity and freedom, as well as our responsibility to care for all creation. The impossibility of gathering as a Church to celebrate the Eucharist has led us to share the experience of the many Christian communities that cannot celebrate Mass every Sunday. In all of this, God's question: "Whom shall I send?" is addressed once more to us and awaits a generous and convincing response: "Here am I, send me!" (Is 6:8). God continues to look for those whom he can send forth into the world and to the nations to bear witness to his love, his deliverance from sin and death, his liberation from evil (cf. Mt 9:35-38; Lk 10:1-12).

    The celebration of World Mission Day is also an occasion for reaffirming how prayer, reflection and the material help of your offerings are so many opportunities to participate actively in the mission of Jesus in his Church. The charity expressed in the collections that take place during the liturgical celebrations of the third Sunday of October is aimed at supporting the missionary work carried out in my name by the Pontifical Mission Societies, in order to meet the spiritual and material needs of peoples and Churches throughout the world, for the salvation of all.

    May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of Evangelization and Comforter of the Afflicted, missionary disciple of her Son Jesus, continue to intercede for us and sustain us.

    Rome, Saint John Lateran, 31 May 2020, Solemnity of Pentecost

    Franciscus

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • REOPENING OF SAINT LAWRENCE FOR MASSES ON THE 25TH AND 26TH JULY 2020

    11th July 2020

    Dear Esteemed Parishioner,

    Good evening and I hope this email meets you well? I wish to thank you for your love, patience, support, prayers for each other and seeking each other out at these extraordinary times.

    Please, I wish to share the following points with you. Kindly take note especially of the points made clearly below

    • It is important to reaffirm that, at present, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. Thus for this reason, Masses on Sundays will be at 9am, 10:15am and 5:00pm (Children's Liturgy will continue at 11:15am every Sunday). But also Masses at 10:00am on Wednesdays will stand out as a significant day in our parish, though coffee meetings will not hold. Please kindly reach out to me and indicate which mass you wish to attend as in individual or a family. I will respond by allocating a pew and space for you or your family
    • Please be aware that there will be a limit on the number of people who can attend Mass in our churches. This will determined locally in accordance with social distancing requirements. To this effect I have attached a little map of the sitting arrangements in the church. The sitting arrangements allow for 25 individuals, but 5 pews have been designated for families of four or more. So the family pews can accommodate 4 at the least. This makes room for an additional 20 persons, taking the capacity of our church to 45 at each mass.

    We therefore need to reflect carefully on how and when we might be able to attend Mass. We cannot return immediately to our customary practices. This next step is not, in any sense, a moment when we are going 'back to normal.'

    • Kindly think carefully about how and when you wish to return to Mass. As you will notice, I have added a mass to Sunday (9am) and adjusted 10am to 10:15am. Nonetheless, given there is no Sunday obligation, I kindly ask you to consider the possibility of attending Mass on a weekday (Monday, Wednesday or Friday). This will ease the pressure of numbers for Sunday celebrations and allow a gradual return to the Eucharist for more people.
    • Moving forward, there will still be many people who cannot attend Mass in person. We therefore shall continue to live-streaming Sunday and weekday Masses, both for those who remain shielding and vulnerable, and also for those unable to leave home because of advanced age or illness.
    • When we return to Mass there will some differences in how the celebration takes place. For the time being, there will be no congregational singing and Mass will be shorter than usual. None of this detracts from the centrality of our encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist. I kindly ask everyone to respect and follow the guidance/instructions in our church.
    • The Sacrament of Reconciliation resumes on Saturday 18th July at 5:15pm in the church.

    ...... Each Parishioner is to attend mass wearing a face mask. Please this is essential.

    ....... Please once you get to the door, sanitise your hands before going to your designated seat. You will equally receive some wipes sanitizer to clean up where you sit after mass. Please make sure you clean where you have sat or knelt at mass.

    ....... Church toilets, Children's room, and parish room will not be in use.

    ....... During the mass, the Stewards will invite parishioners on each pew to step forward for communion or to receive a blessing, maintaining the social distance rules.

    ........ Once the mass is over, parishioners are advised to sit calmly and allow the stewards to invite you to leave the church in an orderly fashion through the exit door by the tabernacle.

    ....... The offertory will be at the end of mass with a basket at the exit door where you may drop your offering

    ....... Readers will sanitize before and after reading (Provisions will be made for you)

    ....... the Chalice will not be in use for parishioners, thus only one Eucharistic minister will be needed at weekend masses. The Eucharistic minister shall sanitise before and after administering the Eucharist to parishioners.

    • Please if you have questions regarding the reception of any of the sacraments, kindly contact the Fr Benedict Via email or a phone Call.
    • THERE WILL BE A ZOOM MEETING OF PARISHIONERS ON THE 18TH JULY 2020, TO CLARIFY OR RESPOND TO ANY QUESTIONS. PLEASE IF YOU ARE FREE, KINDLY ATTEND. See the link below (IT IS IN THE EMAIL SENT TO YOU)


    Prayer to Mary, Mother of Hope

    Mary, Mother of hope, accompany us on our journey!
    Teach us to proclaim the living God;
    help us to bear witness to Jesus, the one Saviour;
    make us kindly towards our neighbours,
    welcoming to the needy, concerned for justice,
    impassioned builders of a more just world;
    intercede for us as we carry out our work in history,
    certain that the Father's plan will be fulfilled.
    Dawn of a new world,
    show yourself the Mother of hope and watch over us!
    Watch over the Church in Europe:
    may she be transparently open to the Gospel;
    may she be an authentic place of communion;
    may she carry out fully her mission of
    proclaiming, celebrating and serving the Gospel of hope for the peace and joy of all.
    Queen of Peace, Protect the men and women of the third millennium!
    Watch over all Christians: may they advance confidently on the path of unity,
    as a leaven of harmony for the continent.
    Watch over young people: the hope of the future,
    may they respond with generosity to the call of Jesus.
    Watch over the leaders of nations:
    may they be committed to building a common house
    which respects the dignity and rights of every person.
    Mary, give us Jesus!
    Grant that we may follow him and love him!
    He is the hope of the Church, of Europe and of all humanity!
    He lives with us, in our midst, in his Church!
    With you we say: "Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev 22:20).
    May the hope of glory which he has poured into our hearts bear fruits of justice and peace! ( St John Paul II, Ecclesia in Europa, 125)

    MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU PREPARE TO RETURN TO THE PHYSICAL CONGREGATION AT THE HOLY MASS.

    YOUR SERVANT PRIEST,

    FR BENEDICT

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • REOPENING OF ST LAWRENCE EDENBRIDGE

    20th June 2020

    BASIC RULES FOR OPENING OUR CHURCH

    The entry and exit doors should be clearly identified In and Out.

    Anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms should be asked not to enter.

    Toilets may not be used.

    These Church openings are only for Individual Prayer and no communal prayers, confessions or any other sacraments are to be arranged.

    The Blessed Sacrament may be exposed on the main Altar. With the Blessed Sacrament exposed before the Church opens and remaining until the Church is closed.

    Doors and Windows are to be opened throughout the period and appropriately held open avoiding need by Parishioners to touch them.

    There should be Hand Gel of no less than 65% Alcohol should be available at the entrance and another Hand Gel available at the exit. Clear signage to request parishioners to sanitise their hands on entry and exit should be on display.

    There is no access to Sacristy for anyone other than the Priest.

    Cordon off those seats not to be used and clearly mark out seats to be used to maintain the 2 M social distancing rule. Maximum capacity is to be maintained at 10 people at any one time.

    People to be encouraged not to overstay to avoid lengthy queues.

    Parishioners are prohibited from bringing their own candles.

    Physical veneration of Statues and shrines is not permitted.

    All Shared printed materials including Mass Books, Hymn Books, Devotional items etc are to be removed from sight.

    Only limited single use material is to be made available and parishioners should be instructed to take it away with them.

    Any printed material left by a parishioner will be removed and safely discarded.

    The Team of Stewards and Cleaners are to be briefed as follows:



    STEWARDS

    Neither Stewards nor Cleaners should be classed as clinically vulnerable, self-isolating or shielding.

    Stewards: One steward is to be present at the Front door and the other Steward at the Exit Door at all times the Church is open.

    At least 2 Stewards should be present at all times.

    Stewards should complete an inspection of the premises before opening, to ensure all facilities and equipment are in place and that the Church is compliant.

    Stewards must be given copy of Guidance about Re-Opening of Churches and abide by those instructions.

    Stewards must maintain all social distancing instructions as for others and insure Parishioners are made aware of the instructions to which they must abide.

    Stewards must not shake hands, hug or otherwise break any of the rules whilst in attendance. Stewards should not eat, drink or touch their face, unless they have immediately washed their hands beforehand.

    Stewards should ensure any cuts or graze on their hands are covered complete with waterproof dressings.

    Parish Priest must hold a record or Rota showing who was on duty at any given time, and also keep in the Parish Office, with the rota, the names and contact details of all stewards.

    One of the Stewards could be the Parish Priest but importantly all stewards must be already known to the Parish Priest and be current volunteers in the parish.



    CLEANERS

    Cleaners must be briefed on "Catch it, kill it, bin it" and effective hand hygiene.

    Cleaners must be given copy of Guidance on Re-Opening of Catholic Churches for Individual Prayer and abide by those instructions.

    Cleaners will wear plastic gloves and aprons when cleaning.

    Disposable cloths or paper towels will be used for cleaning.

    Any items left by parishioners will be placed into separate plastic sacks and be removed to lost property

    All cleaners should practice decontamination when returning home by changing clothing and appropriate bathing or showering before mixing with members of their household.



    Items needed

    Hand Sanitisers X 2

    Face Masks X 2 per group of Stewards

    Gloves for all entering church (if possible) and certainly for all Stewards and Cleaners.

    Aprons for all Cleaners

    Entrance and Exit Signage

    COVID-19 Awareness Poster to be displayed at entrance and exit

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY MESSAGE OF POPE FRANCIS, 2020.

    23rd May 2020

    MESSAGE-OF-POPE-FRANCIS-FOR-THE-54th-WORLD-COMMUNICATIONS-DAY_20200124.pdf

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • NOVENA TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

    22nd May 2020

    novena to the Holy Sprit.pdf 

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

    29th March 2020

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • Gospel According to Luke: Chapters 12 to 22. Days Twelve to Twenty Two

    21st December 2019

    CHAPTER 12

    1 Meanwhile the people had gathered in their thousands so that they were treading on one another. And he began to speak, first of all to his disciples. 'Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees -- their hypocrisy.

    2 Everything now covered up will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.

    3 For this reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed from the housetops.

    4 'To you my friends I say: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.

    5 I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, he is the one to fear.

    6 Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not one is forgotten in God's sight.

    7 Why, every hair on your head has been counted. There is no need to be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows.

    8 'I tell you, if anyone openly declares himself for me in the presence of human beings, the Son of man will declare himself for him in the presence of God's angels.

    9 But anyone who disowns me in the presence of human beings will be disowned in the presence of God's angels.

    10 'Everyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven, but no one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven.

    11 'When they take you before synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say,

    12 because when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.'

    13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.'

    14 He said to him, 'My friend, who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?'

    15 Then he said to them, 'Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when someone has more than he needs.'

    16 Then he told them a parable, 'There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land,

    17 thought to himself, "What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops."

    18 Then he said, "This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them,

    19 and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time."

    20 But God said to him, "Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?"

    21 So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.'

    22 Then he said to his disciples, 'That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it.

    23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

    24 Think of the ravens. They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouses and no barns; yet God feeds them. And how much more you are worth than the birds!

    25 Can any of you, however much you worry, add a single cubit to your span of life?

    26 If a very small thing is beyond your powers, why worry about the rest?

    27 Think how the flowers grow; they never have to spin or weave; yet, I assure you, not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of them.

    28 Now if that is how God clothes a flower which is growing wild today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he look after you, who have so little faith!

    29 But you must not set your hearts on things to eat and things to drink; nor must you worry.

    30 It is the gentiles of this world who set their hearts on all these things. Your Father well knows you need them.

    31 No; set your hearts on his kingdom, and these other things will be given you as well.

    32 'There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.

    33 'Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth destroy it.

    34 For wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart will be too.

    35 'See that you have your belts done up and your lamps lit.

    36 Be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks.

    37 Blessed those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. In truth I tell you, he will do up his belt, sit them down at table and wait on them.

    38 It may be in the second watch that he comes, or in the third, but blessed are those servants if he finds them ready.

    39 You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house.

    40 You too must stand ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.'

    41 Peter said, 'Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?'

    42 The Lord replied, 'Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy steward whom the master will place over his household to give them at the proper time their allowance of food?

    43 Blessed that servant if his master's arrival finds him doing exactly that.

    44 I tell you truly, he will put him in charge of everything that he owns.

    45 But if the servant says to himself, "My master is taking his time coming," and sets about beating the menservants and the servant-girls, and eating and drinking and getting drunk,

    46 his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.

    47 'The servant who knows what his master wants, but has got nothing ready and done nothing in accord with those wishes, will be given a great many strokes of the lash.

    48 The one who did not know, but has acted in such a way that he deserves a beating, will be given fewer strokes. When someone is given a great deal, a great deal will be demanded of that person; when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected.

    49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!

    50 There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!

    51 'Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

    52 For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three;

    53 father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'

    54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does.

    55 And when the wind is from the south you say it's going to be hot, and it is.

    56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?

    57 'Why not judge for yourselves what is upright?

    58 For example: when you are going to court with your opponent, make an effort to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the officer and the officer have you thrown into prison.

    59 I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.'

    Chapter 13

    1 It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them,

    2 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than any others, that this should have happened to them?

    3 They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.

    4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell, killing them all? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem?

    5 They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.'

    6 He told this parable, 'A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none.

    7 He said to his vinedresser, "For three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?"

    8 "Sir," the man replied, "leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it:

    9 it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down." '

    10 One Sabbath day he was teaching in one of the synagogues,

    11 and there before him was a woman who for eighteen years had been possessed by a spirit that crippled her; she was bent double and quite unable to stand upright.

    12 When Jesus saw her he called her over and said, 'Woman, you are freed from your disability,'

    13 and he laid his hands on her. And at once she straightened up, and she glorified God.

    14 But the president of the synagogue was indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, and he addressed all those present saying, 'There are six days when work is to be done. Come and be healed on one of those days and not on the Sabbath.'

    15 But the Lord answered him and said, 'Hypocrites! Is there one of you who does not untie his ox or his donkey from the manger on the Sabbath and take it out for watering?

    16 And this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has held bound these eighteen years -- was it not right to untie this bond on the Sabbath day?'

    17 When he said this, all his adversaries were covered with confusion, and all the people were overjoyed at all the wonders he worked.

    18 He went on to say, 'What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with?

    19 It is like a mustard seed which a man took and threw into his garden: it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air sheltered in its branches.'

    20 Again he said, 'What shall I compare the kingdom of God with?

    21 It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.'

    22 Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem.

    23 Someone said to him, 'Sir, will there be only a few saved?' He said to them,

    24 'Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

    25 'Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door, saying, "Lord, open to us," but he will answer, "I do not know where you come from."

    26 Then you will start saying, "We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets,"

    27 but he will reply, "I do not know where you come from; away from me, all evil doers!"

    28 'Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrown out.

    29 And people from east and west, from north and south, will come and sit down at the feast in the kingdom of God.

    30 'Look, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.'

    31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go away,' they said. 'Leave this place, because Herod means to kill you.'

    32 He replied, 'You may go and give that fox this message: Look! Today and tomorrow I drive out devils and heal, and on the third day I attain my end.

    33 But for today and tomorrow and the next day I must go on, since it would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.

    34 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!

    35 Look! Your house will be left to you. Yes, I promise you, you shall not see me till the time comes when you are saying: Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord!'

    CHAPTER 14

    1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone to share a meal in the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely.

    2 Now there in front of him was a man with dropsy,

    3 and Jesus addressed the lawyers and Pharisees with the words, 'Is it against the law to cure someone on the Sabbath, or not?'

    4 But they remained silent, so he took the man and cured him and sent him away.

    5 Then he said to them, 'Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a Sabbath day without any hesitation?'

    6 And to this they could find no answer.

    7 He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this,

    8 'When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited,

    9 and the person who invited you both may come and say, "Give up your place to this man." And then, to your embarrassment, you will have to go and take the lowest place.

    10 No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, "My friend, move up higher." Then, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured.

    11 For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be raised up.'

    12 Then he said to his host, 'When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relations or rich neighbours, in case they invite you back and so repay you.

    13 No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;

    14 then you will be blessed, for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.'

    15 On hearing this, one of those gathered round the table said to him, 'Blessed is anyone who will share the meal in the kingdom of God!'

    16 But he said to him, 'There was a man who gave a great banquet, and he invited a large number of people.

    17 When the time for the banquet came, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, "Come along: everything is ready now."

    18 But all alike started to make excuses. The first said, "I have bought a piece of land and must go and see it. Please accept my apologies."

    19 Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please accept my apologies."

    20 Yet another said, "I have just got married and so am unable to come."

    21 'The servant returned and reported this to his master. Then the householder, in a rage, said to his servant, "Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame."

    22 "Sir," said the servant, "your orders have been carried out and there is still room."

    23 Then the master said to his servant, "Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and press people to come in, to make sure my house is full;

    24 because, I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall have a taste of my banquet." '

    25 Great crowds accompanied him on his way and he turned and spoke to them.

    26 'Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple.

    27 No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.

    28 '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?

    29 Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, anyone who saw it would start making fun of him and saying,

    30 "Here is someone who started to build and was unable to finish."

    31 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 was advancing against him with twenty thousand?

    32 If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace.

    33 So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple without giving up all that he owns.

    34 'Salt is a good thing. But if salt itself loses its taste, what can make it salty again?

    35 It is good for neither soil nor manure heap. People throw it away. Anyone who has ears for listening should listen!'

    CHAPTER 15

    1 The tax collectors and sinners, however, were all crowding round to listen to him,

    2 and the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'

    3 So he told them this parable:

    4 'Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it?

    5 And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders

    6 and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost."

    7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.

    8 'Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it?

    9 And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, I have found the drachma I lost."

    10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.'

    11 Then he said, 'There was a man who had two sons.

    12 The younger one said to his father, "Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me." So the father divided the property between them.

    13 A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

    14 'When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch;

    15 so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.

    16 And he would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating but no one would let him have them.

    17 Then he came to his senses and said, "How many of my father's hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger!

    18 I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;

    19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men."

    20 So he left the place and went back to his father. 'While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him.

    21 Then his son said, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son."

    22 But the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

    23 Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we will celebrate by having a feast,

    24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found." And they began to celebrate.

    25 'Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing.

    26 Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about.

    27 The servant told him, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the calf we had been fattening because he has got him back safe and sound."

    28 He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out and began to urge him to come in;

    29 but he retorted to his father, "All these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed any orders of yours, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends.

    30 But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property -- he and his loose women -- you kill the calf we had been fattening."

    31 'The father said, "My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours.

    32 But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found." '

    CHAPTER 16

    1 He also said to his disciples, 'There was a rich man and he had a steward who was denounced to him for being wasteful with his property.

    2 He called for the man and said, "What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer."

    3 Then the steward said to himself, "Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed.

    4 Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes."

    5 'Then he called his master's debtors one by one. To the first he said, "How much do you owe my master?"

    6 "One hundred measures of oil," he said. The steward said, "Here, take your bond; sit down and quickly write fifty."

    7 To another he said, "And you, sir, how much do you owe?" "One hundred measures of wheat," he said. The steward said, "Here, take your bond and write eighty."

    8 'The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.'

    9 'And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into eternal dwellings.

    10 Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great.

    11 If then you are not trustworthy with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches?

    12 And if you are not trustworthy with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

    13 'No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.'

    14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and jeered at him.

    15 He said to them, 'You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as upright in people's sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed in human eyes is loathsome in the sight of God.

    16 'Up to the time of John it was the Law and the Prophets; from then onwards, the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it.

    17 'It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for one little stroke to drop out of the Law.

    18 'Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery, and the man who marries a woman divorced by her husband commits adultery.

    19 'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day.

    20 And at his gate there used to lie a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores,

    21 who longed to fill himself with what fell from the rich man's table. Even dogs came and licked his sores.

    22 Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham's embrace. The rich man also died and was buried.

    23 'In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace.

    24 So he cried out, "Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames."

    25 Abraham said, "My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony.

    26 But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to prevent those who want to cross from our side to yours or from your side to ours."

    27 'So he said, "Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father's house,

    28 since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too."

    29 Abraham said, "They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them."

    30 The rich man replied, "Ah no, father Abraham, but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent."

    31 Then Abraham said to him, "If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead."

    CHAPTER 17

    1 He said to his disciples, 'Causes of falling are sure to come, but alas for the one through whom they occur!

    2 It would be better for such a person to be thrown into the sea with a millstone round the neck than to be the downfall of a single one of these little ones.

    3 Keep watch on yourselves! 'If your brother does something wrong, rebuke him and, if he is sorry, forgive him.

    4 And if he wrongs you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, "I am sorry," you must forgive him.'

    5 The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith.'

    6 The Lord replied, 'If you had faith like a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea," and it would obey you.

    7 'Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, "Come and have your meal at once"?

    8 Would he not be more likely to say, "Get my supper ready; fasten your belt and wait on me while I eat and drink. You yourself can eat and drink afterwards"?

    9 Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told?

    10 So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, "We are useless servants: we have done no more than our duty." '

    11 Now it happened that on the way to Jerusalem he was travelling in the borderlands of Samaria and Galilee.

    12 As he entered one of the villages, ten men suffering from a virulent skin-disease came to meet him. They stood some way off

    13 and called to him, 'Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.'

    14 When he saw them he said, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' Now as they were going away they were cleansed.

    15 Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice

    16 and threw himself prostrate at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan.

    17 This led Jesus to say, 'Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they?

    18 It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.'

    19 And he said to the man, 'Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.'

    20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, he gave them this answer, 'The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation

    21 and there will be no one to say, "Look, it is here! Look, it is there!" For look, the kingdom of God is among you.'

    22 He said to the disciples, 'A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of man and will not see it.

    23 They will say to you, "Look, it is there!" or, "Look, it is here!" Make no move; do not set off in pursuit;

    24 for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of man when his Day comes.

    25 But first he is destined to suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.

    26 'As it was in Noah's day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of man.

    27 People were eating and drinking, marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all.

    28 It will be the same as it was in Lot's day: people were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,

    29 but the day Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and it destroyed them all.

    30 It will be the same when the day comes for the Son of man to be revealed.

    31 'When that Day comes, no one on the housetop, with his possessions in the house, must come down to collect them, nor must anyone in the fields turn back.

    32 Remember Lot's wife.

    33 Anyone who tries to preserve his life will lose it; and anyone who loses it will keep it safe.

    34 I tell you, on that night, when two are in one bed, one will be taken, the other left;

    35 when two women are grinding corn together, one will be taken, the other left.'

    36

    37 The disciples spoke up and asked, 'Where, Lord?' He said, 'Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.'

    CHAPTER 18

    1 Then he told them a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart.

    2 'There was a judge in a certain town,' he said, 'who had neither fear of God nor respect for anyone.

    3 In the same town there was also a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, "I want justice from you against my enemy!"

    4 For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, "Even though I have neither fear of God nor respect for any human person,

    5 I must give this widow her just rights since she keeps pestering me, or she will come and slap me in the face." '

    6 And the Lord said, 'You notice what the unjust judge has to say?

    7 Now, will not God see justice done to his elect if they keep calling to him day and night even though he still delays to help them?

    8 I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?'

    9 He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being upright and despised everyone else,

    10 'Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector.

    11 The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, "I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like everyone else, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here.

    12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get."

    13 The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

    14 This man, I tell you, went home again justified; the other did not. For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.'

    15 People even brought babies to him, for him to touch them; but when the disciples saw this they scolded them.

    16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.

    17 In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'

    18 One of the rulers put this question to him, 'Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'

    19 Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

    20 You know the commandments: You shall not commit adultery; You shall not kill; You shall not steal; You shall not give false witness; Honour your father and your mother.'

    21 He replied, 'I have kept all these since my earliest days.'

    22 And when Jesus heard this he said, 'There is still one thing you lack. Sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.'

    23 But when he heard this he was overcome with sadness, for he was very rich.

    24 Jesus looked at him and said, 'How hard it is for those who have riches to make their way into the kingdom of God!

    25 Yes, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God.'

    26 Those who were listening said, 'In that case, who can be saved?'

    27 He replied, 'Things that are impossible by human resources, are possible for God.'

    28 But Peter said, 'Look, we left all we had to follow you.'

    29 He said to them, 'In truth I tell you, there is no one who has left house, wife, brothers, parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God

    30 who will not receive many times as much in this present age and, in the world to come, eternal life.'

    31 Then taking the Twelve aside he said to them, 'Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of man is to come true.

    32 For he will be handed over to the gentiles and will be mocked, maltreated and spat on,

    33 and when they have scourged him they will put him to death; and on the third day he will rise again.'

    34 But they could make nothing of this; what he said was quite obscure to them, they did not understand what he was telling them.

    35 Now it happened that as he drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging.

    36 When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about,

    37 and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by.

    38 So he called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.'

    39 The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, 'Son of David, have pity on me.'

    40 Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him,

    41 'What do you want me to do for you?' 'Sir,' he replied, 'let me see again.'

    42 Jesus said to him, 'Receive your sight. Your faith has saved you.'

    43 And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God.

    CHAPTER 19

    1 He entered Jericho and was going through the town

    2 and suddenly a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance; he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man.

    3 He kept trying to see which Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd;

    4 so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.

    5 When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him, 'Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I am to stay at your house today.'

    6 And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.

    7 They all complained when they saw what was happening. 'He has gone to stay at a sinner's house,' they said.

    8 But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, 'Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.'

    9 And Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham;

    10 for the Son of man has come to seek out and save what was lost.'

    11 While the people were listening to this he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was going to show itself then and there.

    12 Accordingly he said, 'A man of noble birth went to a distant country to be appointed king and then return.

    13 He summoned ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds, telling them, "Trade with these, until I get back."

    14 But his compatriots detested him and sent a delegation to follow him with this message, "We do not want this man to be our king."

    15 'Now it happened that on his return, having received his appointment as king, he sent for those servants to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made by trading.

    16 The first came in, "Sir," he said, "your one pound has brought in ten."

    17 He replied, "Well done, my good servant! Since you have proved yourself trustworthy in a very small thing, you shall have the government of ten cities."

    18 Then came the second, "Sir," he said, "your one pound has made five."

    19 To this one also he said, "And you shall be in charge of five cities."

    20 Next came the other, "Sir," he said, "here is your pound. I put it away safely wrapped up in a cloth

    21 because I was afraid of you; for you are an exacting man: you gather in what you have not laid out and reap what you have not sown."

    22 He said to him, "You wicked servant! Out of your own mouth I condemn you. So you knew that I was an exacting man, gathering in what I have not laid out and reaping what I have not sown?

    23 Then why did you not put my money in the bank? On my return I could have drawn it out with interest."

    24 And he said to those standing by, "Take the pound from him and give it to the man who has ten pounds."

    25 And they said to him, "But, sir, he has ten pounds . . ."

    26 "I tell you, to everyone who has will be given more; but anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has.

    27 "As for my enemies who did not want me for their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence." '

    28 When he had said this he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

    29 Now it happened that when he was near Bethphage and Bethany, close by the Mount of Olives as it is called, he sent two of the disciples, saying,

    30 'Go to the village opposite, and as you enter it you will find a tethered colt that no one has ever yet ridden. Untie it and bring it here.

    31 If anyone asks you, "Why are you untying it?" you are to say this, "The Master needs it." '

    32 The messengers went off and found everything just as he had told them.

    33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said, 'Why are you untying it?'

    34 and they answered, 'The Master needs it.'

    35 So they took the colt to Jesus and, throwing their cloaks on its back, they lifted Jesus on to it.

    36 As he moved off, they spread their cloaks in the road,

    37 and now, as he was approaching the downward slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole group of disciples joyfully began to praise God at the top of their voices for all the miracles they had seen.

    38 They cried out: Blessed is he who is coming as King in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!

    39 Some Pharisees in the crowd said to him, 'Master, reprove your disciples,'

    40 but he answered, 'I tell you, if these keep silence, the stones will cry out.'

    41 As he drew near and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it

    42 and said, 'If you too had only recognised on this day the way to peace! But in fact it is hidden from your eyes!

    43 Yes, a time is coming when your enemies will raise fortifications all round you, when they will encircle you and hem you in on every side;

    44 they will dash you and the children inside your walls to the ground; they will leave not one stone standing on another within you, because you did not recognise the moment of your visitation.'

    45 Then he went into the Temple and began driving out those who were busy trading, saying to them,

    46 'According to scripture, my house shall be a house of prayer but you have turned it into a bandits' den.'

    47 He taught in the Temple every day. The chief priests and the scribes, in company with the leading citizens, tried to do away with him,

    48 but they could not find a way to carry this out because the whole people hung on his words.

    CHAPTER 20

    1 Now it happened that one day while he was teaching the people in the Temple and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came up, together with the elders,

    2 and spoke to him. 'Tell us,' they said, 'what authority have you for acting like this? Or who gives you this authority?'

    3 In reply he said to them, 'And I will ask you a question, just one. Tell me:

    4 John's baptism: what was its origin, heavenly or human?'

    5 And they debated this way among themselves, 'If we say heavenly, he will retort, "Why did you refuse to believe him?";

    6 and if we say human, the whole people will stone us, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.'

    7 So their reply was that they did not know where it came from.

    8 And Jesus said to them, 'Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.'

    9 And he went on to tell the people this parable, 'A man planted a vineyard and leased it to tenants, and went abroad for a long while.

    10 When the right time came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get his share of the produce of the vineyard. But the tenants thrashed him, and sent him away empty-handed.

    11 But he went on to send a second servant; they thrashed him too and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed.

    12 He still went on to send a third; they wounded this one too, and threw him out.

    13 Then the owner of the vineyard thought, "What am I to do? I will send them my own beloved son. Perhaps they will respect him."

    14 But when the tenants saw him they put their heads together saying, "This is the heir, let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours."

    15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 'Now what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?

    16 He will come and make an end of these tenants and give the vineyard to others.' Hearing this they said, 'God forbid!'

    17 But he looked hard at them and said, 'Then what does this text in the scriptures mean: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?

    18 Anyone who falls on that stone will be dashed to pieces; anyone it falls on will be crushed.'

    19 And the scribes and the chief priests would have liked to lay hands on him that very moment, because they realised that this parable was aimed at them, but they were afraid of the people.

    20 So they awaited their opportunity and sent agents to pose as upright men, and to catch him out in something he might say and so enable them to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor.

    21 They put to him this question, 'Master, we know that you say and teach what is right; you favour no one, but teach the way of God in all honesty.

    22 Is it permissible for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?'

    23 But he was aware of their cunning and said,

    24 'Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and title are on it?' They said, 'Caesar's.'

    25 He said to them, 'Well then, pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar -- and God what belongs to God.'

    26 They were unable to catch him out in anything he had to say in public; they were amazed at his answer and were silenced.

    27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no resurrection -- approached him and they put this question to him,

    28 'Master, Moses prescribed for us, if a man's married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother.

    29 Well then, there were seven brothers; the first, having married a wife, died childless.

    30 The second

    31 and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children.

    32 Finally the woman herself died.

    33 Now, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?'

    34 Jesus replied, 'The children of this world take wives and husbands,

    35 but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry

    36 because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are children of God.

    37 And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.

    38 Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him everyone is alive.'

    39 Some scribes then spoke up. They said, 'Well put, Master.'

    40 They did not dare to ask him any more questions.

    41 He then said to them, 'How can people maintain that the Christ is son of David?

    42 Why, David himself says in the Book of Psalms: The Lord declared to my Lord, take your seat at my right hand,

    43 till I have made your enemies your footstool.

    44 David here calls him Lord; how then can he be his son?'

    45 While all the people were listening he said to the disciples,

    46 'Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes and love to be greeted respectfully in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets,

    47 who devour the property of widows, and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.'

    CHAPTER 21

    1 Looking up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury;

    2 and he noticed a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins,

    3 and he said, 'I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them;

    4 for these have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in all she had to live on.'

    5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, he said,

    6 'All these things you are staring at now -- the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another; everything will be destroyed.'

    7 And they put to him this question, 'Master,' they said, 'when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that it is about to take place?'

    8 But he said, 'Take care not to be deceived, because many will come using my name and saying, "I am the one" and "The time is near at hand." Refuse to join them.

    9 And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be terrified, for this is something that must happen first, but the end will not come at once.'

    10 Then he said to them, 'Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

    11 There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines in various places; there will be terrifying events and great signs from heaven.

    12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized and persecuted; you will be handed over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and brought before kings and governors for the sake of my name

    13 -and that will be your opportunity to bear witness.

    14 Make up your minds not to prepare your defence,

    15 because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict.

    16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death.

    17 You will be hated universally on account of my name,

    18 but not a hair of your head will be lost.

    19 Your perseverance will win you your lives.

    20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise that it will soon be laid desolate.

    21 Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it.

    22 For this is the time of retribution when all that scripture says must be fulfilled.

    23 Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!

    24 'For great misery will descend on the land and retribution on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every gentile country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the gentiles until their time is complete.

    25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the turmoil of the ocean and its waves;

    26 men fainting away with terror and fear at what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.

    27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

    28 When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.'

    29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree and indeed every tree.

    30 As soon as you see them bud, you can see for yourselves that summer is now near.

    31 So with you when you see these things happening: know that the kingdom of God is near.

    32 In truth I tell you, before this generation has passed away all will have taken place.

    33 Sky and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    34 'Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will come upon you unexpectedly,

    35 like a trap. For it will come down on all those living on the face of the earth.

    36 Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to hold your ground before the Son of man.'

    37 All day long he would be in the Temple teaching, but would spend the night in the open on the hill called the Mount of Olives.

    38 And from early morning the people thronged to him in the Temple to listen to him.

    CHAPTER 22

    1 The feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was now drawing near,

    2 and the chief priests and the scribes were looking for some way of doing away with him, because they were afraid of the people.

    3 Then Satan entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was one of the Twelve.

    4 He approached the chief priests and the officers of the guard to discuss some way of handing Jesus over to them.

    5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money.

    6 He accepted and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them without people knowing about it.

    7 The day of Unleavened Bread came round, on which the Passover had to be sacrificed,

    8 and he sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and make the preparations for us to eat the Passover.'

    9 They asked him, 'Where do you want us to prepare it?'

    10 He said to them, 'Look, as you go into the city you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him into the house he enters

    11 and tell the owner of the house, "The Master says this to you: Where is the room for me to eat the Passover with my disciples?"

    12 The man will show you a large upper room furnished with couches. Make the preparations there.'

    13 They set off and found everything as he had told them and prepared the Passover.

    14 When the time came he took his place at table, and the apostles with him.

    15 And he said to them, 'I have ardently longed to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;

    16 because, I tell you, I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'

    17 Then, taking a cup, he gave thanks and said, 'Take this and share it among you,

    18 because from now on, I tell you, I shall never again drink wine until the kingdom of God comes.'

    19 Then he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'

    20 He did the same with the cup after supper, and said, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you.

    21 'But look, here with me on the table is the hand of the man who is betraying me.

    22 The Son of man is indeed on the path which was decreed, but alas for that man by whom he is betrayed!'

    23 And they began to ask one another which of them it could be who was to do this.

    24 An argument also began between them about who should be reckoned the greatest;

    25 but he said to them, 'Among the gentiles it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title Benefactor.

    26 With you this must not happen. No; the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves.

    27 For who is the greater: the one at table or the one who serves? The one at table, surely? Yet here am I among you as one who serves!

    28 'You are the men who have stood by me faithfully in my trials;

    29 and now I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father conferred one on me:

    30 you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

    31 'Simon, Simon! Look, Satan has got his wish to sift you all like wheat;

    32 but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail, and once you have recovered, you in your turn must strengthen your brothers.'

    33 'Lord,' he answered, 'I would be ready to go to prison with you, and to death.'

    34 Jesus replied, 'I tell you, Peter, by the time the cock crows today you will have denied three times that you know me.'

    35 He said to them, 'When I sent you out without purse or haversack or sandals, were you short of anything?'

    36 'No, nothing,' they said. He said to them, 'But now if you have a purse, take it, and the same with a haversack; if you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one,

    37 because I tell you these words of scripture are destined to be fulfilled in me: He was counted as one of the rebellious. Yes, what it says about me is even now reaching its fulfilment.'

    38 They said, 'Lord, here are two swords.' He said to them, 'That is enough!'

    39 He then left to make his way as usual to the Mount of Olives, with the disciples following.

    40 When he reached the place he said to them, 'Pray not to be put to the test.'

    41 Then he withdrew from them, about a stone's throw away, and knelt down and prayed.

    42 'Father,' he said, 'if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.'

    43 Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength.

    44 In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly, and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.

    45 When he rose from prayer he went to the disciples and found them sleeping for sheer grief.

    46 And he said to them, 'Why are you asleep? Get up and pray not to be put to the test.'

    47 Suddenly, while he was still speaking, a number of men appeared, and at the head of them the man called Judas, one of the Twelve, who went up to Jesus to kiss him.

    48 Jesus said, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss?'

    49 His followers, seeing what was about to happen, said, 'Lord, shall we use our swords?'

    50 And one of them struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear.

    51 But at this Jesus said, 'That is enough.' And touching the man's ear he healed him.

    52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and captains of the Temple guard and elders who had come for him, 'Am I a bandit, that you had to set out with swords and clubs?

    53 When I was among you in the Temple day after day you never made a move to lay hands on me. But this is your hour; this is the reign of darkness.'

    54 They seized him then and led him away, and they took him to the high priest's house. Peter followed at a distance.

    55 They had lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and Peter sat down among them,

    56 and as he was sitting there by the blaze a servant-girl saw him, peered at him, and said, 'This man was with him too.'

    57 But he denied it. 'Woman, I do not know him,' he said.

    58 Shortly afterwards someone else saw him and said, 'You are one of them too.' But Peter replied, 'I am not, my friend.'

    59 About an hour later another man insisted, saying, 'This fellow was certainly with him. Why, he is a Galilean.'

    60 Peter said, 'My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.' At that instant, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed,

    61 and the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered the Lord's words when he had said to him, 'Before the cock crows today, you will have disowned me three times.'

    62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

    63 Meanwhile the men who guarded Jesus were mocking and beating him.

    64 They blindfolded him and questioned him, saying, 'Prophesy! Who hit you then?'

    65 And they heaped many other insults on him.

    66 When day broke there was a meeting of the elders of the people, the chief priests and scribes. He was brought before their council,

    67 and they said to him, 'If you are the Christ, tell us.' He replied, 'If I tell you, you will not believe,

    68 and if I question you, you will not answer.

    69 But from now on, the Son of man will be seated at the right hand of the Power of God.'

    70 They all said, 'So you are the Son of God then?' He answered, 'It is you who say I am.'

    71 Then they said, 'Why do we need any evidence? We have heard it for ourselves from his own lips.'

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

  • ADVENT CHALLENGE IN THE YEAR OF THE WORD OF GOD; Day Seven

    11th December 2019

    1 When he had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he went into Capernaum.

    2 A centurion there had a servant, a favourite of his, who was sick and near death.

    3 Having heard about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to him to ask him to come and heal his servant.

    4 When they came to Jesus they pleaded earnestly with him saying, 'He deserves this of you,

    5 because he is well disposed towards our people; he built us our synagogue himself.'

    6 So Jesus went with them, and was not very far from the house when the centurion sent word to him by some friends to say to him, 'Sir, do not put yourself to any trouble because I am not worthy to have you under my roof;

    7 and that is why I did not presume to come to you myself; let my boy be cured by your giving the word.

    8 For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, "Go," and he goes; to another, "Come here," and he comes; to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.'

    9 When Jesus heard these words he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, 'I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith as great as this.'

    10 And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health.

    11 It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people.

    12 Now when he was near the gate of the town there was a dead man being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople was with her.

    13 When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her and said to her, 'Don't cry.'

    14 Then he went up and touched the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, 'Young man, I tell you: get up.'

    15 And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

    16 Everyone was filled with awe and glorified God saying, 'A great prophet has risen up among us; God has visited his people.'

    17 And this view of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside.

    18 The disciples of John gave him all this news, and John, summoning two of his disciples,

    19 sent them to the Lord to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect someone else?'

    20 When the men reached Jesus they said, 'John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, "Are you the one who is to come or are we to expect someone else?" '

    21 At that very time he cured many people of diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and gave the gift of sight to many who were blind.

    22 Then he gave the messengers their answer, 'Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, those suffering from virulent skin-diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the good news is proclaimed to the poor;

    23 and blessed is anyone who does not find me a cause of falling.'

    24 When John's messengers had gone he began to talk to the people about John,

    25 'What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No! Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Look, those who go in magnificent clothes and live luxuriously are to be found at royal courts!

    26 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet:

    27 he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you to prepare your way before you.

    28 'I tell you, of all the children born to women, there is no one greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.'

    29 All the people who heard him, and the tax collectors too, acknowledged God's saving justice by accepting baptism from John;

    30 but by refusing baptism from him the Pharisees and the lawyers thwarted God's plan for them.

    31 'What comparison, then, can I find for the people of this generation? What are they like?

    32 They are like children shouting to one another while they sit in the market place: We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn't dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn't cry.

    33 'For John the Baptist has come, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, "He is possessed."

    34 The Son of man has come, eating and drinking, and you say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners."

    35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.'

    36 One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee's house and took his place at table,

    37 suddenly a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment.

    38 She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

    39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is and what sort of person it is who is touching him and what a bad name she has.'

    40 Then Jesus took him up and said, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.' He replied, 'Say on, Master.'

    41 'There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty.

    42 They were unable to pay, so he let them both off. Which of them will love him more?'

    43 Simon answered, 'The one who was let off more, I suppose.' Jesus said, 'You are right.'

    44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, 'You see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair.

    45 You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in.

    46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.

    47 For this reason I tell you that her sins, many as they are, have been forgiven her, because she has shown such great love. It is someone who is forgiven little who shows little love.'

    48 Then he said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.'

    49 Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, 'Who is this man, that even forgives sins?'

    50 But he said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'

    Author: Benedict Fadoju

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