Poon Paregentan (Eve of Great Lent)
 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light;
 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?
 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin;
 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?
 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’
 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
 “Judge not, that you be not judged.
 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
 Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
 “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.
 “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
 For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
 Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?
 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.
 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
 Thus you will know them by their fruits.
 “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
 On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
 And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’
 “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;
 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
 And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;
 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
 “Cry aloud, spare not,
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
 Yet they seek me daily,
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
 `Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a rush,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the LORD?
 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.
“If you take away from the midst of you the yoke,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
 And the LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your desire with good things,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters fail not.
 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
 “If you turn back your foot from the sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the LORD honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
 then you shall take delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
 Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed;
 the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;
 let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.
 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
 As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions.
 One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables.
 Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him.
 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.
 One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind.
 He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
 None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.
 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
 So each of us shall give account of himself to God.
 Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean.
 If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
 So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.
 For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;
 he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
 Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats;
 it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble.
 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.
 But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
 “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
 “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
 “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
 Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
 Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread;
 And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
 And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;
 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
 “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,
 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.
 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America