June 8th, 2017

Thursday of Whitsunday (Feast of Pentecost)

First Reading: Num. 24:1-25

 1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorcery as at other times, but turned his face toward the desert. 2 When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him 3 and he uttered his oracle:
       "The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
       the oracle of one whose eye sees clearly,

 4 the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
       who sees a vision from the Almighty, [a]
       who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

 5 "How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob,
       your dwelling places, O Israel!

 6 "Like valleys they spread out,
       like gardens beside a river,
       like aloes planted by the LORD,
       like cedars beside the waters.

 7 Water will flow from their buckets;
       their seed will have abundant water.
       "Their king will be greater than Agag;
       their kingdom will be exalted.

 8 "God brought them out of Egypt;
       they have the strength of a wild ox.
       They devour hostile nations
       and break their bones in pieces;
       with their arrows they pierce them.

 9 Like a lion they crouch and lie down,
       like a lioness—who dares to rouse them?
       "May those who bless you be blessed
       and those who curse you be cursed!"

 10 Then Balak's anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, "I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times. 11 Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the LORD has kept you from being rewarded."

 12 Balaam answered Balak, "Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, 13 'Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LORD -and I must say only what the LORD says'? 14 Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come."

Balaam's Fourth Oracle
 15 Then he uttered his oracle:
       "The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
       the oracle of one whose eye sees clearly,

 16 the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
       who has knowledge from the Most High,
       who sees a vision from the Almighty,
       who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

 17 "I see him, but not now;
       I behold him, but not near.
       A star will come out of Jacob;
       a scepter will rise out of Israel.
       He will crush the foreheads of Moab,
       the skulls [b] of [c] all the sons of Sheth. [d]

 18 Edom will be conquered;
       Seir, his enemy, will be conquered,
       but Israel will grow strong.

 19 A ruler will come out of Jacob
       and destroy the survivors of the city."

Balaam's Final Oracles
 20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and uttered his oracle:
       "Amalek was first among the nations,
       but he will come to ruin at last."

 21 Then he saw the Kenites and uttered his oracle:
       "Your dwelling place is secure,
       your nest is set in a rock;

 22 yet you Kenites will be destroyed
       when Asshur takes you captive."

 23 Then he uttered his oracle:
       "Ah, who can live when God does this? [e]

 24 Ships will come from the shores of Kittim;
       they will subdue Asshur and Eber,
       but they too will come to ruin."

 25 Then Balaam got up and returned home and Balak went his own way.

Footnotes:Numbers 24:4 Hebrew Shaddai ; also in verse 16 Numbers 24:17 Samaritan Pentateuch (see also Jer. 48:45 the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain. Numbers 24:17 Or possibly Moab, / batter Numbers 24:17 Or all the noisy boasters Numbers 24:23 Masoretic Text; with a different word division of the Hebrew A people will gather from the north .

Second Reading: Lk. 23:1-25

 1Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ,[a] a king."

 3So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
      "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

 4Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."

 5But they insisted, "He stirs up the people all over Judea[b]by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here."

 6On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

 8When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

 13Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16Therefore, I will punish him and then release him."[c]

 18With one voice they cried out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!" 19(Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

 20Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

 22For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him."

 23But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Footnotes:Luke 23:2 Or Messiah; also in verses 35 and 39 Luke 23:5 Or over the land of the Jews Luke 23:16 Some manuscripts him." 17 Now he was obliged to release one man to them at the Feast.


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