Category Archives: Fraternity Study Programme

Readings for April’s study

LIFE-GIVING LOVE

Isaiah 53: 1-6
1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

John 3: 14-17
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

John 10: 14-18
14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

John 11: 1-53
1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6 So when he heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
10 But if any one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
11 Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead; 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary sat in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world.”

Jesus Weeps
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying quietly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.
32 Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; 34 and he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus to Life
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.”
43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

The Plot to Kill Jesus
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him; 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all; 50 you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim; and there he stayed with the disciples.

John 12: 20-25
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 13: 31-35
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified;
32 if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.’
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15: 9-14
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-7
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Philippians 2: 5-11
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1 John 4: 7-12
7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

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Readings for February’s study

FEEDING

I God Feeds His People

Exodus 15: 1 – 18
1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name. 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea; and his picked officers are sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of thy majesty thou overthrowest thy adversaries; thou sendest forth thy fury, it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of thy nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, `I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 “Who is like thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, majestic in holiness, terrible in glorious deeds, doing wonders? 12 Thou didst stretch out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 “Thou hast led in thy steadfast love the people whom thou hast redeemed, thou hast guided them by thy strength to thy holy abode. 14 The peoples have heard, they tremble; pangs have seized on the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling seizes them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of thy arm, they are as still as a stone, till thy people, O LORD, pass by, till the people pass by whom thou hast purchased. 17 Thou wilt bring them in, and plant them on thy own mountain, the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thy abode, the sanctuary, LORD, which thy hands have established. 18 The LORD will reign for ever and ever.”

1 Kings 17: 1 – 16
1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 And the word of the LORD came to him, 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, that is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD; he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

The Widow of Zarephath

8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Elijah.

1 Kings 19: 4 – 8
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree; and he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came again a second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you.” 8 And he arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

Psalm 78: 24 – 29
24 and he rained down upon them manna to eat, and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind;
27 he rained flesh upon them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas;
28 he let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their habitations.
29 And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.

Psalm 104: 14 – 15
14 Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth,
15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Isaiah 25: 6 – 8
6 On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. 7 And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.

II He Gives Food Through His Son

Mark 6: 34 – 44
34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late; 36 send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Mark 14: 22 – 25
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

John 6: 1 – 13
1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.

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Change to the April meeting

Due to the illness of the priest due to lead our retreat, the annual fraternity retreat has been postponed. The April meeting on Sunday 15th April will be a normal Sunday meeting, starting with Holy Mass at 12 noon in the Priory Church. We will not be meeting on Saturday 14th April.

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March 2012: Redeemer

The Scripture for the March community study.

Exodus 14: 13-30

13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be still.”
15 The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go on dry ground through the sea. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” 19 Then the angel of God who went before the host of Israel moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness; and the night passed without one coming near the other all night. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down upon the host of the Egyptians, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians, 25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel; for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”
26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” 27 So Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its wonted flow when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled into it, and the LORD routed the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore.

Exodus 15: 1-13

1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name. 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea; and his picked officers are sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of thy majesty thou overthrowest thy adversaries; thou sendest forth thy fury, it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of thy nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, `I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 “Who is like thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, majestic in holiness, terrible in glorious deeds, doing wonders? 12 Thou didst stretch out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 “Thou hast led in thy steadfast love the people whom thou hast redeemed, thou hast guided them by thy strength to thy holy abode.

Psalm 18: 1-19

1 I love thee, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death encompassed me, the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me, the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub, and flew; he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering around him, his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
12 Out of the brightness before him there broke through his clouds hailstones and coals of fire.
13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings, and routed them.
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare, at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16 He reached from on high, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
18 They came upon me in the day of my calamity; but the LORD was my stay.
19 He brought me forth into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Psalm 27: 1-6

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me, uttering slanders against me, my adversaries and foes, they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent, he will set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies round about me; and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.

Isaiah 35: 1-10

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 43: 1-7, 14-21

1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. 5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

14 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I will send to Babylon and break down all the bars, and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentations. 15 I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”
16 Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, 17 who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: 18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20 The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21 the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.

Isaiah 49: 8-13

8 Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered you, in a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages; 9 saying to the prisoners, `Come forth,’ to those who are in darkness, `Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways, on all bare heights shall be their pasture; 10 they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall smite them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. 11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be raised up. 12 Lo, these shall come from afar, and lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.” 13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted.

Isaiah 52: 7-10

7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 8 Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the LORD to Zion. 9 Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

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March study

IMG_4332

(The image is of vineyards in the Champagne region of France)

The images of vine and vineyard are found throughout the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, Israel is a luxuriant vine, lovingly tended by the Lord, and in the New, Christ, as true Israel, true vine, acts as the link between the Old Covenant and the New, the Gentiles grafted onto the rootstock of Israel.

Wine, and consequently vines and vineyards, were important in ancient Israel. Wine is an integral part of Jewish laws and traditions, and was drunk at most meals. The fermentation helped to preserve and purify the grape juice. However, wine is presented as both a blessing and a curse, the cup of joy that, when consumed to excess, leads to drunkenness and the potential to sin. There are few verses in the Bible that speak positively of drinking to excess.

Wine was medicine – mildly antiseptic, a mixture of wine and oil was used to clean and soothe wounds. It was used in rituals in Israel, in Egypt, and all around the Mediterranean area.

Vines and vineyards are evidence of a settled people – the wandering in the desert has ceased, and the house of Israel will be sticking around in order to tend the vines that it has planted. They have become a rooted people.

Isaiah 5 : 1-7

1Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. 6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry! (RSV)

This is presented as a lawsuit between the vineyard owner and the vineyard – the owner, the Lord, sets out the evidence of His loving-kindness in the first four verses. He dug the vineyard over, cleared it of stones, planted it with choice grapes, built a wtchtower and hewed a winepress, took every care with it, and still the choice vines produced wild grapes – small, bitter and inedible – instead of the quality grapes that the Lord expected after all His care.

So the Lord asks the men of Judah to judge between Him and His vineyard, and the verdict is “guilty,” and the punishment clear. The protective hedges and walls, the protection of the Lord, will be removed, and the vineyard shall be left to choke on wild briars and thorns, and be trampled by wild beasts. It is a warning and a call to repentance to the house of Israel and the men of Judah.

Verse 7 is a play on words that doesn’t translate into English. The Lord looked for mispat (justice), but found mispah (bloodshed); for sedaqa (righteousness), but found sa aqa, (a cry). It is also a foreshadowing of verses in the New Testament which will be discussed later.

Isaiah 27 : 2-6

2 In that day: “A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! 3 I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest any one harm it, I guard it night and day; 4 I have no wrath. Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would set out against them, I would burn them up together. 5 Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me.” 6 In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots, and fill the whole world with fruit. 7 (RSV)

The theme here is similar to the verses above. The vineyard is the Lord’s people, but here, instead of the Lord being angry at Israel producing bitter fruit, He is the protector of the vineyard, doing battle against the briars and thorns that threaten to engulf the vineyard. Israel is rooted in the soil, and protected by the Lord, and so can blossom and send out shoots.

Psalm 80 : 8 – 19

8 Thou didst bring a vine out of Egypt; thou didst drive out the nations and plant it.

9 Thou didst clear the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.

10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches;

11 it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River.

12 Why then hast thou broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?

13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.

14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,

15 the stock which thy right hand planted.

16 They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance!

17 But let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, the son of man whom thou hast made strong for thyself!

18 Then we will never turn back from thee; give us life, and we will call on thy name!

19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let thy face shine, that we may be saved!

This psalm is a lamentation, reflecting on the Lord’s previous care for His people, and their present troubles. Israel is a luxurious vine that stretches over all the land, providing shade and care for all. But the Lord has removed His protection, and the wall, the protection of the Lord, has been broken down, and the vines are under attack from people who an pluck its fruit, and from wild animals that trample and destroy.

The psalmist begs the Lord to turn back to his people, and vows that the people will return to the Lord.

Something else that struck me about these images of the walls being broken down, is that the walls needed to come down in order for the new covenant to be able to enter the Lord’s protection, that it’s not necessarily a sign of the Lord removing His protection from Israel.

John 15 : 1 – 11

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

St Martin, patron of winemakers and one of my favourite saints (I wonder why?)  should have read this passage more often. The story goes that in 345AD, St Martin was visiting a vineyard that belonged to his monastery, and left his donkey tied to one of the vines. The donkey started eating the vines, and chewed some of them right down to the trunk. However, the next year, the vines which had been eaten by the donkey were the most prolific in the vineyard.

Vines fruit best when they are pruned, and pruned hard, and if we are to bear good fruit in the world, we need the painful and necessary work of pruning which, in the long run, does not hurt the vine but brings it great benefits.

A vineyard is an interconnected thing, just as, ideally, the Church is interconnected. The fruiting stems are grafted onto a rootstock which supports the vine and protects it against disease – phylloxera, a pest which devastated the European vineyards in the 1800s, was defeated partly by grafting European vines onto American rootstock.

Roses are often planted in vineyards because they are susceptible to the same diseases and, like a canary in a mineshaft warns of the presence of toxic gases, so a rose warns of the presence of disease in the vineyard. Just so, Mary, the mystical rose, watches over and intercedes for the vines in her Son’s vineyard.

Christ’s disciples cannot bear fruit unless they abide in Christ, just as a vine cannot survive unless it has roots. The disciples’ love is rooted in the love of the Son for the Father, and of the Father for the Son. Those who do not abide in Christ do not bear fruit, and are cut off and burned, but those who abide in Christ bear much fruit and prove themselves to be Christ’s disciples – “by their fruits you shall know them,” and bring glory to God the Father.

Matthew 20 : 1 -16

1 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the labourers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, 12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”

To me, this text is a foreshadowing of the Last Judgement, and warns against several things – presuming that you are one of the hardest labourers, and worthy of a greater reward, presuming to tell the Lord what He can do with His own, and begrudging the Lord’s goodness to others.

God’s kindness and generosity goes the extra mile. He satisfies basic justice – that if you work, you should receive a wage, and then goes beyond basic justice, regardless of whether the recipient is “deserving” or not. The grace of God goes where it wills and cannot be confined to mere human ideas of the “deserving” and “undeserving.” Divine reward is not dependent on human labour and cannot be confined.

He doesn’t restrict the reward to the first people hired, but keeps going back to the marketplace, and hiring more people, to bring them into the vineyard so that they can work and then receive their wages.

Matthew 21 : 33 – 43

33 “Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; 35 and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. 37 Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.”

This text references the first text that we heard today – the Lord, the householder, planted a vineyard, Israel, and guarded it, and protected it, but the tenant farmers, the leaders of Israel, refused to pay what was owed to God, rejected the Prophets, rejected Christ, and so were punished and new tenants, the Church, were installed into the vineyard.

We see again the traditional representation of Israel as the vineyard, again in rebellion and rejection of the Lord, but the criticism is reserved for the Jewish leaders, not for Israel as a whole. The vineyard, the Jewish people, is not harmed, but the tenant farmers are.

Romans 11 : 17 – 24

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

I’m not quite sure what Paul was saying here – grafting cultivated olives onto a wild rootstock, I can understand, but any horticulturist will tell you that grafting wild olives onto a cultivated rootstock is a waste of time. Still, St Paul was a tentmaker, not a botanist.

There is a shift here from the image of Israel as vine to Israel as olive tree, but the olive was (and is), just as vital to life as the vine is – it provides oil for lamps, for cooking, for medicine (wounds were washed with a mixture of oil and wine). In many places round the Mediterranean, damaging an olive tree is a serious crime.

Paul is not saying here that the Jews are to be cast out, that their covenant with the Lord is over, but is saying that the Gentiles’ are grafted on to the Jews. Just as a vine stem cannot survive without the rootstock, so the grafted-on branches of the Gentiles cannot survive without the trunk of Judaism. And, again, we see reference to bad fruits – if the grafted-on branches do not bear good olives, they will be cut off and burned. But there is also forgiveness and mercy – what has been cut off can be grafted back in again.

Trees are interconnected organisms – the tree needs the leaves and the roots and the trunk in order to survive, and if one part is lost or damaged, the tree will be lost.

And I can’t possibly finish a talk about vines and vineyards without my favourite quote from a very dear saint: “Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.” St Thomas Aquinas, OP.

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January Study and the Dominican Seminar

Last year's Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

A number of members belonging to the Fraternity were away taking part at the 2011 Dominican Seminar which was about Blessed John Henry Newman. We await their reports with baited breath, but in the meantime the boys at GodzDogz have reported on that here. A good group turned up at St Dominic’s for the monthly meeting. Our monthly study focused on the notion of the priestly people. With Scripture readings from both the Old Testament and the New, we discussed the shift in the understanding of the priesthood from the Old Covenant to the New and why Christ’s sacrifice on the cross made him both high priest and sacrifice.

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March 2011: Vineyard and Vine

The Scripture for the March community study.

Israel: the Lord’s Vineyard

Isaiah 5 : 1-7

1 Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
2 He digged it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry! (RSV)

Isaiah 27 : 2-6

2 In that day: “A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! 3 I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest any one harm it, I guard it night and day; 4 I have no wrath. Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would set out against them, I would burn them up together. 5 Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me.”
6 In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots, and fill the whole world with fruit. 7 (RSV)

Psalm 80 : 8 – 19

8 Thou didst bring a vine out of Egypt; thou didst drive out the nations and plant it.
9 Thou didst clear the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches;
11 it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then hast thou broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine,
15 the stock which thy right hand planted.
16 They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance!
17 But let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, the son of man whom thou hast made strong for thyself!
18 Then we will never turn back from thee; give us life, and we will call on thy name!
19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts! let thy face shine, that we may be saved! (RSV)

II Christ: True Israel, True Vine

John 15 : 1 – 11

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (RSV)

III The Church: The Lord’s Vineyard

Matthew 20 : 1 -16

1 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the labourers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the labourers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, 12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” (RSV)

Matthew 21 : 33 – 43

33 “Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; 35 and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. 37 Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” (RSV)

Romans 11 : 17 – 24

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even the others, if they do not persist in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree. (RSV)

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