Thursday of the First Week in Lent
Epistle • Ezechiel 18:1-9
Lesson from the Prophet Ezechiel.
[If we will reject the evil deeds of our life and practice perfectly the Christian law of penance and charity, God will give us His grace and everlasting reward.]
In those days the word of the Lord came to me, saying: What is the meaning that you use among you this parable as a proverb in the land of Israel, saying: The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the teeth of the children are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, this parable shall be no more to you a proverb in Israel.
Behold all souls are Mine: as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, the same shall die. And if a man be just and do judgment and justice, and hath not eaten upon the mountains nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel: and hath not defiled his neighbors wife, nor come near to a menstruous woman: and hath not wronged any man, but hath restored the pledge to the debtor:
hath taken nothing away by violence: hath given his bread to the hungry and hath covered the naked with a garment: hath not lent upon usury, nor taken any increase: hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity and hath executed true judgment between man and man: hath walked in My commandments and kept My judgments, to do truth: he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord Almighty.
Gospel • Matthew 15:21-28
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.
[If we practice the Christian law of penance and charity, our prayer will be granted as was that of the woman who belonged to the accursed race of Canaan, but whose faith was great.]
At that time Jesus went forth, and retired into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to Him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil. Who answered her not a word.
And His disciples came and besought Him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us. And He answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel.
But she came and adored Him, saying: Lord, help me. Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children and to cast it to the dogs. But she said: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters. Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt. And her daughter was cured from that hour.