Second Sunday after the Holy Cross,
Eve of the Fast of the Holy Cross of Varak
II Corinthians 10:18-11:10
 When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve,
 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased,
the insolent fury ceased!
 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked,
the scepter of rulers,
 that smote the peoples in wrath
with unceasing blows,
that ruled the nations in anger
with unrelenting persecution.
 The whole earth is at rest and quiet;
they break forth into singing.
 The cypresses rejoice at you,
the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
`Since you were laid low,
no hewer comes up against us.’
 Sheol beneath is stirred up
to meet you when you come,
it rouses the shades to greet you,
all who were leaders of the earth;
it raises from their thrones
all who were kings of the nations.
 All of them will speak
and say to you:
`You too have become as weak as we!
You have become like us!’
 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,
the sound of your harps;
maggots are the bed beneath you,
and worms are your covering.
 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
 You said in your heart,
`I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far north;
 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will make myself like the Most High.’
 But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the depths of the Pit.
 Those who see you will stare at you,
and ponder over you:
`Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
who shook kingdoms,
 who made the world like a desert
and overthrew its cities,
who did not let his prisoners go home?’
II Corinthians 10:18-11:10
 For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends.
 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!
 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.
 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
 For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.
 I think that I am not in the least inferior to these superlative apostles.
 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
 Did I commit a sin in abasing myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel without cost to you?
 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.
 And when I was with you and was in want, I did not burden any one, for my needs were supplied by the brethren who came from Macedo’nia. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine shall not be silenced in the regions of Acha’ia.
 And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again; and again, as his custom was, he taught them.
 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?”
 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.”
 But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.
 But from the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female.’
 `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.
 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter.
 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her;
 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America