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First Reading: Proverbs Chapter 29 and 30

Proverbs 29

A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed — without remedy.
2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;when the wicked rule, the people groan.
3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
4 By justice a king gives a country stability,but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.
5 Whoever flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his feet.
6 An evil man is snared by his own sin,but a righteous one can sing and be glad.
7 The righteous care about justice for the poor,but the wicked have no such concern.
8 Mockers stir up a city,but wise men turn away anger.
9 If a wise man goes to court with a fool,the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
10 Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.
11 A fool gives full vent to his anger,but a wise man keeps himself under control.
12 If a ruler listens to lies,all his officials become wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:The LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.
14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,his throne will always be secure.
15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom,but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,but the righteous will see their downfall.
17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace;he will bring delight to your soul.
18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;but blessed is he who keeps the law.
19 A servant cannot be corrected by mere words;though he understands, he will not respond.
20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste?There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 If a man pampers his servant from youth,he will bring grief in the end.
22 An angry man stirs up dissension,and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
23 A man's pride brings him low,but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.
24 The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy;he is put under oath and dare not testify.
25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,but it is from the LORD that man gets justice.
27 The righteous detest the dishonest;the wicked detest the upright.

Proverbs 30

30:1 Sayings of Agur

The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh — an oracle:
This man declared to Ithiel,to Ithiel and to Ucal:
2 "I am the most ignorant of men;I do not have a man's understanding. 3 I have not learned wisdom,nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. 4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down?Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands?Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak?Who has established all the ends of the earth?What is his name, and the name of his son?Tell me if you know!
5 "Every word of God is flawless;he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his words,or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;do not refuse me before I die: 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;give me neither poverty nor riches,but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?'Or I may become poor and steal,and so dishonor the name of my God.
10 "Do not slander a servant to his master,or he will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11 "There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers; 12 those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth; 13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty,whose glances are so disdainful; 14 those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth,the needy from among mankind.
15 "The leech has two daughters.'Give! Give!' they cry.
"There are three things that are never satisfied,four that never say, 'Enough!': 16 the grave, the barren womb,land, which is never satisfied with water,and fire, which never says, 'Enough!'
17 "The eye that mocks a father,that scorns obedience to a mother,will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley,will be eaten by the vultures.
18 "There are three things that are too amazing for me,four that I do not understand: 19 the way of an eagle in the sky,the way of a snake on a rock,the way of a ship on the high seas,and the way of a man with a maiden.
20 "This is the way of an adulteress:She eats and wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong.'
21 "Under three things the earth trembles,under four it cannot bear up: 22 a servant who becomes king,a fool who is full of food, 23 an unloved woman who is married,and a maidservant who displaces her mistress.
24 "Four things on earth are small,yet they are extremely wise: 25 Ants are creatures of little strength,yet they store up their food in the summer; 26 coneys are creatures of little power,yet they make their home in the crags; 27 locusts have no king,yet they advance together in ranks; 28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,yet it is found in kings' palaces. 29 "There are three things that are stately in their stride,four that move with stately bearing: 30 a lion, mighty among beasts,who retreats before nothing; 31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat,and a king with his army around him.
32 "If you have played the fool and exalted yourself,or if you have planned evil,clap your hand over your mouth! 33 For as churning the milk produces butter,and as twisting the nose produces blood,so stirring up anger produces strife."

Second Reading: Luke Chapter 2

Luke 2

2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
33 The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49 "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Bible Background



Part 1 of 3

Luke is the third gospel. It is the most complete look at the life of Jesus. Luke uses eyewitnesses as sources for his writings. He stresses Jesus' humanity and compassion as well as the power of the Holy Spirit and of prayer. The main them is: Jesus Christ as the perfect man. It was written particulary for Greeks who delighted in wisdom, beauty and system. Luke, therefore, tells the story of Jesus, unfolding his development in a systematic manner, setting the facts in chronological order in a manner not attempted by the other writers. Luke was an artist with the pen, drawing the portrait of Jesus as the perfect man. He followed up by writing the book of Acts.


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