Fourth Sunday following the Holy Cross
II Corinthians 13:5-13
 In that day men will regard their Maker, and their eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel;
 they will not have regard for the altars, the work of their hands, and they will not look to what their own fingers have made, either the Ashe’rim or the altars of incense.
 In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the Hivites and the Amorites, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation.
 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;
therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
and set out slips of an alien god,
 though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,
and make them blossom in the morning that you sow;
yet the harvest will flee away
in a day of grief and incurable pain.
 Ah, the thunder of many peoples,
they thunder like the thundering of the sea!
Ah, the roar of nations,
they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!
 The nations roar like the roaring of many waters,
but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away,
chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind
and whirling dust before the storm.
 At evening time, behold, terror!
Before morning, they are no more!
This is the portion of those who despoil us,
and the lot of those who plunder us.
II Corinthians 13:5-13
 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
 I hope you will find out that we have not failed.
 But we pray God that you may not do wrong — not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.
 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. What we pray for is your improvement.
 I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
 Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
 All the saints greet you.
 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,
 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?”
 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you a question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me.”
 And they argued with one another, “If we say, `From heaven,’ he will say, `Why then did you not believe him?’
 But shall we say, `From men’?” — they were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet.
 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America