Third Sunday following Pentecost,
Eve of the Fast of St. Gregory the Enlightener
 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the LORD has spoken:
“Sons have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
 The ox knows its owner,
and the ass its master’s crib;
but Israel does not know,
my people does not understand.”
 Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
sons who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the LORD,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
 Why will you still be smitten,
that you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and bleeding wounds;
they are not pressed out, or bound up,
or softened with oil.
 Your country lies desolate,
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
aliens devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens.
 And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.
 If the LORD of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomor’rah.
 Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomor’rah!
 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of he-goats.
 “When you come to appear before me,
who requires of you
this trampling of my courts?
 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies —
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
I am weary of bearing them.
 When you spread forth your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.
 Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness.
 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
 Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.
 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
 But then what return did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death.
 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.
 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat.
 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.”
 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him:
 how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
 Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless?
 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
 And if you had known what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
 For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America