Thursday, December 31, 2020
Second Day of the Fast of Nativity
 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near.
 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? If the worshipers had once been cleansed, they would no longer have any consciousness of sin.
 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year.
 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.
 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings thou hast not desired,
but a body hast thou prepared for me;
 in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure.
 Then I said, `Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,’
as it is written of me in the roll of the book.”
 When he said above, “Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),
 then he added, “Lo, I have come to do thy will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.
 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
 then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet.
 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.”
 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country for a long while.
 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him some of the fruit of the vineyard; but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
 And he sent another servant; him also they beat and treated shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.
 And he sent yet a third; this one they wounded and cast out.
 Then the owner of the vineyard said, `What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; it may be they will respect him.’
 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’
 And they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?
 He will come and destroy those tenants, and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “God forbid!”
 But he looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: `The very stone which the builders rejected
has become the head of the corner’?
 Every one who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one it will crush him.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America