The Old Testament reading is taken from Nehemiah, chapter 8, verses1-4 & 8-12.
The achievements of Ezra and Nehemiah in the crucial years following the return of their decimated Nation from exile are notable. Without the teaching of the law, without the invincible faith and fearless action of these two leaders, it is doubtful if a distinctive Jewish religion and community- with all that means for the world through the birth and death of Christ- could have survived.
8 1 all the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.
2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
4 Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.
8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear[a] and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’
11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, ‘Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.’
12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God
The Epistle is taken from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians, chapter 3, verses 12-17
Becoming a Christian means a definite break with the old selfish way of life. It means determination to let the new life which is in us govern all we think and say and do. It means a permanent resolve to become like Christ, to take on his character. His life- his love and forgiveness- is our model. His word shapes our thinking.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew, chapter 24, verses 30-35
30 ‘Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[a] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[b] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 ‘Now learn this lesson from the fig-tree: as soon as its twigs become tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[c] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ