Sixth Sunday after Pentecost,
Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration
 For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts,
is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
stay and staff,
the whole stay of bread,
and the whole stay of water;
 the mighty man and the soldier,
the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,
 the captain of fifty
and the man of rank,
the counselor and the skilful magician
and the expert in charms.
 And I will make boys their princes,
and babes shall rule over them.
 And the people will oppress one another,
every man his fellow
and every man his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
and the base fellow to the honorable.
 When a man takes hold of his brother
in the house of his father, saying:
“You have a mantle;
you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
shall be under your rule”;
 in that day he will speak out, saying:
“I will not be a healer;
in my house there is neither bread nor mantle;
you shall not make me
leader of the people.”
 For Jerusalem has stumbled,
and Judah has fallen;
because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD,
defying his glorious presence.
 Their partiality witnesses against them;
they proclaim their sin like Sodom,
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil upon themselves.
 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them,
for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.
 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
for what his hands have done shall be done to him.
 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry
 in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.
 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
 If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
 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,
 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.
 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
 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.
 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
 As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
 Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”
 And he said, “Bring them here to me.”
 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America