Sunday, 11 March 2018 : Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose (Laetare Sunday) or Purple/Violet

2 Chronicles 36 : 14-16, 19-23

Furthermore, all the heads of the priesthood, and the people, too, were exceedingly unfaithful, following the disgusting example of the nations around them, and so they defiled the House which YHVH Himself had made holy. YHVH, the God of their ancestors, continued to send prophets to warn His people, since He had compassion on them and on His dwelling place.

But they mocked the messengers of Gos, ignored His words, and laughed at His prophets, until at last the anger of YHVH rose so high against His people that there was no further remedy. The Chaldeans burnt down the House of God, broke down the walls of Jerusalem, set fire to all its palaces, and destroyed everything of value in it.

The survivors were deported by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; they were to serve him and his descendants as slaves until the kingdom of Persia came to power. This is how the work of YHVH was fulfilled that He spoke through Jeremiah, “The land will lie desolate for seventy years, to make up for its Sabbath rests that have not been observed.”

And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to fulfil what He had said through the prophet Jeremiah, YHVH stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his kingdom : “Thus speaks Cyrus king of Persia : YHVH, the God of Heaven, Who has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, has ordered me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, in Judah. Now, all of you who belong to His people, go there; and may YHVH your God be with you.”

Alternative reading (Reading from Year A)

1 Samuel 16 : 1b, 6-7, 10-13a

YHVH asked Samuel, “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way to Jesse the Bethlehemite for I have chosen My king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came, Samuel looked at Eliab the older and thought, “This must be YHVH’s anointed.” But YHVH told Samuel, “Do not judge by his looks or his stature for I have rejected him. YHVH does not judge as man judges; humans see with the eyes; YHVH sees the heart.”

Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel who said, “YHVH has chosen none of them. But are all your sons here?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, tending the flock just now.” Samuel said to him, “Send for him and bring him to me; we shall not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

So Jesse sent for his youngest son and brought him to Samuel. He was a handsome lad with ruddy complexion and beautiful eyes. And YHVH spoke, “Go, anoint him for he is the one.” Samuel then took the horn of oil and anointed him in his brothers’ presence.

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