Sunday, February 28, 2021
Third Sunday of Great Lent,
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
II Corinthians 6:1-7:1
 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God.
 And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles;
 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew,
 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot,
 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
 and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.
 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all.
 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
 “Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.
 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!
 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
 “But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.
 “Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. “Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
 “Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
 “But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.
 Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again.
 And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.
 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
 give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
 A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.
 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, `Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit;
 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
 “Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?
 Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:
 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
 But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
 I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones.
 All your sons shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the prosperity of your sons.
 In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
 If any one stirs up strife,
it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
shall fall because of you.
 Behold, I have created the smith
who blows the fire of coals,
and produces a weapon for its purpose.
I have also created the ravager to destroy;
 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper,
and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD
and their vindication from me, says the LORD.”
 “Ho, every one who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in fatness.
 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
 Behold, you shall call nations that you know not,
and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
 “Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and return not thither but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
 so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
 “For you shall go out in joy,
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off.”
II Corinthians 6:1-7:1
 Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.
 For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you,
and helped you on the day of salvation.”
Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
 We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,
 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,
 beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger;
 by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love,
 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;
 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;
 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as punished, and yet not killed;
 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
 Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide.
 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections.
 In return — I speak as to children — widen your hearts also.
 Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
 What accord has Christ with Be’lial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and move among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
 Therefore come out from them,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch nothing unclean;
then I will welcome you,
 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.
 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
 So he told them this parable:
 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?
 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’
 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’
 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons;
 and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them.
 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living.
 And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want.
 So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine.
 And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything.
 But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger!
 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;
 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘
 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
 And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
 But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet;
 and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry;
 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.
 “Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
 And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant.
 And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’
 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him,
 but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends.
 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’
 And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
 It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America