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Thursday, 17 August 2017 : Book of Joshua 3:7-10a.11.13-17.

Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses. Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to come to a halt in the Jordan when they reach the edge of the waters." So Joshua said to the Israelites, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD, your God." He continued: "This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst, who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. The ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth will precede you into the Jordan. When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the LORD, the Lord of the whole earth, touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow; for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank." The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan, with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them. No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan, which overflows all its banks during the entire season of the harvest, than the waters flowing from upstream halted, backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed, from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan; while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah disappeared entirely. Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho. While all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan until the whole nation had completed the passage.

Thursday, 17 August 2017 : Psalms 114(113A):1-2.3-4.5-6.

When Israel came forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from an alien people, Judah became God's holy place, Israel, God's domain. The sea beheld and fled; the Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams; the hills, like lambs of the flock. Why was it, sea, that you fled? O Jordan, that you turned back? You mountains, that you skipped like rams? You hills, like lambs of the flock?

Thursday, 17 August 2017 :

Thursday, 17 August 2017 : Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18:21-35.19:1.

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Thursday, 17 August 2017 : Commentary Saint Cyprian

The Lord demands that we ourselves forgive the debts of our debtors just as we, too, ask that our own be forgiven (Mt 6,12). We should know that we cannot receive what we ask with regard to our own sins unless we do the same for those who have sinned against us. And so Christ says elsewhere: “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,” (Mt 7,2). And the servant who, having been freed from all his debt, was unwilling to forgive that of his fellow servant was thrown into prison. Because he would not spare his fellow, he lost that for which his master had spared him. Christ establishes this even more forcibly in his precepts when he decrees that...: “When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your transgressions,” (Mk 11,25-26). When Abel and Cain first of all offered sacrifice, God did not look at their offerings but at their hearts (Gn 4,3f.). The one whose offering was pleasing to him was the one whose heart was pleasing to him. Abel, the peaceful and just one, by making his offering to God in innocence, taught others to come forward in the fear of God to offer their gift at the altar, with a simple heart, a sense of justice, harmony and peace. By offering sacrifice to God with such dispositions as these he merited to become a precious offering himself and to be the first to offer the witness of martyrdom. By the glory of his blood he prefigured the Lord's Passion because he possessed the Lord's righteousness and peace. Men like these are they who are crowned by the Lord and who will obtain justice along with him on the day of judgement.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 : Book of Deuteronomy 34:1-12.

Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the headland of Pisgah which faces Jericho, and the LORD showed him all the land-Gilead, and as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, the circuit of the Jordan with the lowlands at Jericho, city of palms, and as far as Zoar. The LORD then said to him, "This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that I would give to their descendants. I have let you feast your eyes upon it, but you shall not cross over." So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD, died as the LORD had said; and he was buried in the ravine opposite Beth-peor in the land of Moab, but to this day no one knows the place of his burial. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated. For thirty days the Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab, till they had completed the period of grief and mourning for Moses. Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands upon him; and so the Israelites gave him their obedience, thus carrying out the LORD'S command to Moses. Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. He had no equal in all the signs and wonders the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land, and for the might and the terrifying power that Moses exhibited in the sight of all Israel.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 : Psalms 66(65):1-3a.5a.8.16-17.

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise. Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!” Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam. Bless our God, you peoples; loudly sound his praise, Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what he has done for me. When I appealed to him in words, praise was on the tip of my tongue.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 :

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 : Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 18:15-20.

Jesus said to his disciples: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, (amen,) I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 : Commentary Saint Ephrem

Someone who celebrates alone in the heart of the wilderness, is a great assembly. If two together celebrate among the rocks, thousands and tens of thousands are present there. If three are gathered together, a fourth is among them. If there are six or seven together, twelve thousand thousand are assembled. If they range themselves in rank, they fill the firmament with prayer! If they be crucified on the rock, marked with a cross of light, the Church is constituted. When they come together, the Spirit hovers over their heads, When they end their prayer the Lord rises to serve his servants (Lk 12:37; Jn 13:4).