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First Reading: Song of Songs Chapter 1 and 2 and 3
Song of Solomon 1
1:1 Solomon's Song of Songs.
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth- for your love is more delightful than wine. 3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! 4 Take me away with you-let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.
We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine.
How right they are to adore you!
5 Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected. 7 Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock and where you rest your sheep at midday. Why should I be like a veiled woman beside the flocks of your friends?
8 If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the sheep and graze your young goats by the tents of the shepherds.
9 I liken you, my darling, to a mare harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh. 10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels. 11 We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver.
12 While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance. 13 My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts. 14 My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.
15 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.
16 How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.
17 The beams of our house are cedars; our rafters are firs.
Song of Solomon 2
I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
2 Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.
3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. 4 He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. 5 Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. 6 His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. 7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
8 Listen! My lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. 9 My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice. 10 My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. 11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. 12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."
14 My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. 15 Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
16 My lover is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. 17 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.
Song of Solomon 3
All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. 2 I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. 3 The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. "Have you seen the one my heart loves?" 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother's house, to the room of the one who conceived me. 5 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
6 Who is this coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant? 7 Look! It is Solomon's carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, 8 all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle, each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night. 9 King Solomon made for himself the carriage; he made it of wood from Lebanon. 10 Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior lovingly inlaid by the daughters of Jerusalem. 11 Come out, you daughters of Zion, and look at King Solomon wearing the crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced.
Second Reading: Galatians Chapter 4
4:1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different
from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians
and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children,
we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time
had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem
those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you
are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls
out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and
since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God-or rather are known by God-how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you [from us], so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:
"Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband."
28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son." 31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
SONG OF SOLOMON
The Song of Solomon was believed to be written by King Solomon about 900 B.C. Its content includes speeches in Hebrew poetry. It depicts the beauty and pure love between a man and a woman which develops into a mature undying relationship. More in-depth symbolism shows the relationship between Christ and his bride, the body of believers, which will be consummated at his return. The basic message is the purity and sacredness of love.
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