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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 55 and 56
"Come, all you who are thirsty,come to the waters;and you who have no money,come, buy and eat!Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread,and your labor on what does not satisfy?Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me;hear me, that your soul may live.I will make an everlasting covenant with you,my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,a leader and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,because of the LORD your God,the Holy One of Israel,for he has endowed you with splendor."
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.This will be for the LORD's renown,for an everlasting sign,which will not be destroyed."
56:1 This is what the LORD says:
"Maintain justice and do what is right,for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this,the man who holds it fast,who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it,and keeps his hand from doing any evil."
3 Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say,"The LORD will surely exclude me from his people."And let not any eunuch complain,"I am only a dry tree."
4 For this is what the LORD says:
"To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant 5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters;I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. 6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him,to love the name of the LORD,and to worship him,all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar;for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." 8 The Sovereign LORD declares he who gathers the exiles of Israel:"I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."
9 Come, all you beasts of the field,come and devour, all you beasts of the forest! 10 Israel's watchmen are blind,they all lack knowledge;they are all mute dogs,they cannot bark;they lie around and dream,they love to sleep. 11 They are dogs with mighty appetites;they never have enough.They are shepherds who lack understanding;they all turn to their own way,each seeks his own gain. 12 "Come," each one cries, "let me get wine!Let us drink our fill of beer!And tomorrow will be like today,or even far better."
4:1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples
than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
11 "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
16 He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."
17 "I have no husband," she replied.
Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
26 Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."
32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
33 Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"
34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.
46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
48 "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
49 The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
50 Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour."
53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed.
54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.
SUPER HEROES OF THE BIBLE
JOHN THE BAPTIST
John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. He was born about six weeks before him. John was born with a mission to accomplish and he dedicated himself totally to that mission:
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, `Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Matthew 3:1-6)
John lived his life calling for repentance from the people to prepare them for Jesus. He lived a simple life and in humility thought of himself as unworthy to untie the shoes of his cousin, Jesus. In the end, because of his speaking the truth concerning King Herod, he was beheaded.
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