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Baruch 5-6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 5

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
    put on forever the splendor of glory from God:
Wrapped in the mantle of justice from God,
    place on your head the diadem
    of the glory of the Eternal One.
For God will show your splendor to all under the heavens;
    you will be named by God forever:
    the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Rise up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
    look to the east and see your children
Gathered from east to west
    at the word of the Holy One,
    rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
    but God will bring them back to you
    carried high in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
    that every lofty mountain
    and the age-old hills be made low,
That the valleys be filled to make level ground,
    that Israel may advance securely in the glory of God.
The forests and every kind of fragrant tree
    have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
For God is leading Israel in joy
    by the light of his glory,
    with the mercy and justice that are his.

IV. Letter of Jeremiah

Chapter 6

A copy of the letter which Jeremiah sent to those led captive to Babylon by the king of the Babylonians, to tell them what God had commanded him:

For the sins you committed before God, you are being led captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians. When you reach Babylon you will be there many years, a long time—seven generations;[a] after that I will bring you back from there in peace. And now in Babylon you will see gods of silver and gold and wood, carried shoulder high, to cast fear upon the nations. [b]Take care that you yourselves do not become like these foreigners and let not such fear possess you. When you see the crowd before them and behind worshiping them, say in your hearts, “You, Lord, are the one to be worshiped!” For my angel[c] is with you, and he will keep watch on you.

Their tongues are smoothed by woodworkers; they are covered with gold and silver—but they are frauds, and cannot speak. People bring gold, as though for a girl fond of dressing up, and prepare crowns for the heads of their gods. Then sometimes the priests filch the gold and silver from their gods and spend it on themselves, 10 or give part of it to harlots[d] in the brothel. They dress them up in clothes like human beings, these gods of silver and gold and wood. 11 Though they are wrapped in purple clothing, they are not safe from rust and corrosion. 12 Their faces are wiped clean of the cloud of dust which is thick upon them. 13 Each has a scepter, like the human ruler of a district, but none can do away with those that offend against it. 14 Each has in its right hand an ax or dagger, but it cannot save itself from war or pillage. Thus it is known they are not gods; do not fear them.

15 As useless as a broken pot 16 are their gods, set up in their temples, their eyes full of dust from the feet of those who enter. 17 Their courtyards are walled in like those of someone brought to execution for a crime against the king; the priests reinforce their temples with gates and bars and bolts, so they will not be carried off by robbers. 18 They light more lamps for them than for themselves, yet not one of these can they see. 19 They are like any timber in the temple; their hearts, it is said, are eaten away. Though crawling creatures from the ground consume them and their garments, they do not feel it. 20 Their faces become sooty from the smoke in the temple. 21 Bats and swallows alight on their bodies and heads—any bird, and cats as well. 22 Know, therefore, that they are not gods; do not fear them.

23 Gold adorns them, but unless someone wipes away the corrosion, they do not shine; they felt nothing when they were molded. 24 They are bought at whatever price, but there is no spirit in them. 25 Since they have no feet, they are carried shoulder high, displaying to all how worthless they are; even those who worship them are put to shame 26 because, if they fall to the ground, the worshipers must pick them up. They neither move of themselves if one sets them upright, nor come upright if they are tipped over; offerings are set out for them as for the dead. 27 [e]Their priests sell their sacrifices for their own advantage. Likewise their wives cure some of the meat, but they do not share it with the poor and the weak; 28 women ritually unclean or at childbirth handle their sacrifices. From such things, know that they are not gods; do not fear them.

29 How can they be called gods? Women set out the offerings for these gods of silver and gold and wood, 30 and in their temples the priests squat with torn tunic and with shaven hair and beard, and with their heads uncovered. 31 They shout and wail before their gods as others do at a funeral banquet. 32 The priests take some of the clothing from their gods and put it on their wives and children. 33 [f]Whether these gods are treated well or badly by anyone, they cannot repay it. They can neither set up nor remove a king. 34 They cannot give anyone riches or pennies; if one fails to fulfill a vow to them, they will not exact it. 35 They neither save anyone from death, nor deliver the weak from the strong, 36 nor do they restore sight to the blind, or rescue anyone in distress. 37 The widow they do not pity, the orphan they do not help. 38 These gilded and silvered wooden statues are no better than stones from the mountains; their worshipers will be put to shame. 39 How then can it be thought or claimed that they are gods?

40 Even the Chaldeans themselves have no respect for them; for when they see a deaf mute, unable to speak, they bring forward Bel[g] and expect him to make a sound, as though he could hear. 41 They themselves are unable to reflect and abandon these gods, for they have no sense. 42 [h]And the women, with cords around them, sit by the roads, burning chaff for incense; 43 and whenever one of them is taken aside by some passerby who lies with her, she mocks her neighbor who has not been thought thus worthy, and has not had her cord broken. 44 All that is done for these gods is a fraud; how then can it be thought or claimed that they are gods?

45 They are produced by woodworkers and goldsmiths; they are nothing other than what these artisans wish them to be. 46 Even those who produce them are not long-lived; 47 how then can the things they have produced be gods? They have left frauds and disgrace to their successors. 48 For when war or disaster comes upon them, the priests deliberate among themselves where they can hide with them. 49 How then can one not understand that these are not gods, who save themselves neither from war nor from disaster? 50 Beings that are wooden, gilded and silvered, they will later be known for frauds. To all nations and kings it will be clear that they are not gods, but human handiwork; and that God’s work is not in them. 51 Is it not obvious that they are not gods?

52 [i]They set no king over the land, nor do they give rain. 53 They neither vindicate their own rights, nor do they rescue anyone wronged, for they are powerless. 54 They are like crows in midair. For when fire breaks out in the temple of these wooden or gilded or silvered gods, though the priests flee and are safe, they themselves are burned up in the fire like timbers. 55 They cannot resist a king or enemy forces. 56 How then can it be admitted or thought that they are gods?

They are safe from neither thieves nor bandits, these wooden and silvered and gilded gods. 57 Anyone who can will strip off the gold and the silver, and go away with the clothing that was on them; they cannot help themselves. 58 How much better to be a king displaying his valor, or a handy tool in a house, the joy of its owner, than these false gods; better the door of a house, protecting whatever is within, than these false gods; better a wooden post in a palace, than these false gods! 59 [j]The sun and moon and stars are bright, obedient in the task for which they are sent. 60 Likewise the lightning, when it flashes, is a great sight; and the one wind blows over every land. 61 The clouds, too, when commanded by God to proceed across the whole world, fulfill the command; 62 and fire, sent from on high to burn up the mountains and the forests, carries out its command. But these false gods are not their equal, whether in appearance or in power. 63 So it is unthinkable, and cannot be claimed that they are gods. They can neither execute judgment, nor benefit anyone. 64 Know, therefore, that they are not gods; do not fear them.

65 Kings they can neither curse nor bless. 66 They show the nations no signs in the heavens, nor do they shine like the sun, nor give light like the moon. 67 The beasts are better than they—beasts can help themselves by fleeing to shelter. 68 Thus is it in no way apparent to us that they are gods; so do not fear them.

69 For like a scarecrow in a cucumber patch, providing no protection, are their wooden, gilded, silvered gods. 70 Just like a thornbush in a garden on which perches every kind of bird, or like a corpse hurled into darkness, are their wooden, gilded, silvered gods. 71 From the rotting of the purple and the linen upon them, you can know that they are not gods; they themselves will in the end be consumed, and be a disgrace in the land. 72 Better the just who has no idols; such shall be far from disgrace!

Footnotes:

  1. 6:2 Seven generations: this number may be symbolic. If it is not, it may indicate the date of this composition by an author writing for his contemporaries for whom the conditions of the exile were still realities. He has multiplied the seventy years of Jer 29:10 by three or four.
  2. 6:4–72 This whole chapter is a sustained argument against the temptation to worship Babylonian gods. A pattern is repeated throughout the chapter: various reasons are set forth to prove that the idols in the Babylonian temples are not gods (e.g., they are weak, helpless, attended by unworthy ministers); each section is followed by an exhortation not to be deceived, not to worship them. Note the refrain at vv. 14, 22, 28, 39, 44, 51, 56, 64. Israelite religion was aniconic, i.e., it prohibited images; as elsewhere in the Old Testament (e.g., Is 42:17; 44:9–20), the polemic against idols here oversimplifies by identifying the god worshiped with the image that represents it.
  3. 6:6 My angel: the prophet assures the people that God’s watchful care is with them, just as he was with their ancestors during their journey to the promised land (Ex 23:20).
  4. 6:10 Harlots: cult prostitutes, common in some religions of the ancient Near East.
  5. 6:27–31 From the viewpoint of Jewish ritual law, the practices named here were grotesque and depraved; cf. Lv 12:2–8; 15:19–23.
  6. 6:33–39 All that the Babylonian gods cannot do, the true God does; they have neither power nor inclination to save those in need, unlike the God of Israel, who champions the cause of the weak over the strong, and who defends the widow and the orphan. Cf. 1 Sm 2:7; Ps 68:6; 146:7–9; Is 35:4–5.
  7. 6:40 Bel: cf. note on Jer 50:2.
  8. 6:42–43 Perhaps a reference to the Babylonian practice of cultic prostitution mentioned by Herodotus, the fifth-century Greek historian. The unbroken cord was a sign that this service had not yet been rendered.
  9. 6:52–53 Unlike the God of Israel, the Babylonian gods are unable to set up and depose kings, or to provide life-giving rain.
  10. 6:59–62 The elements of nature, obedient to God’s orders and accomplishing the divine purpose, are better than the Babylonian gods.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 27:1-15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 27

For the sake of profit many sin,
    and the struggle for wealth blinds the eyes.
A stake will be driven between fitted stones—
    sin will be wedged in between buying and selling.
Unless one holds fast to the fear of the Lord,
    with sudden swiftness will one’s house be thrown down.

When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear;
    so do people’s faults when they speak.[a]
The furnace tests the potter’s vessels;
    the test of a person is in conversation.
The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had;
    so speech discloses the bent of a person’s heart.
Praise no one before he speaks,
    for it is then that people are tested.

If you strive after justice, you will attain it,
    and wear it like a splendid robe.
Birds nest with their own kind,
    and honesty comes to those who work at it.
10 A lion lies in wait for prey,
    so does sin for evildoers.

11 The conversation of the godly is always wisdom,
    but the fool changes like the moon.
12 Limit the time you spend among the stupid,
    but frequent the company of the thoughtful.
13 The conversation of fools is offensive,
    and their laughter is wanton sin.
14 Their oath-filled talk makes the hair stand on end,
    and their brawls make one stop the ears.
15 The wrangling of the proud ends in bloodshed,
    and their cursing is painful to hear.

Footnotes:

  1. 27:4–7, 11–15 The importance of effective speech is a favorite wisdom topic; e.g., cf. 20:1–8, 18–20; 22:27–23:15.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

John 17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 17

The Prayer of Jesus.[a] When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven[b] and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, [c]just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. [d]Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name[e] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, 10 and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. 12 When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. 14 I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 15 [f]I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. 17 Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.

20 “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am[g] they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. 26 I made known to them your name and I will make it known,[h] that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Footnotes:

  1. 17:1–26 Climax of the last discourse(s). Since the sixteenth century, this chapter has been called the “high priestly prayer” of Jesus. He speaks as intercessor, with words addressed directly to the Father and not to the disciples, who supposedly only overhear. Yet the prayer is one of petition, for immediate (Jn 17:6–19) and future (Jn 17:20–21) disciples. Many phrases reminiscent of the Lord’s Prayer occur. Although still in the world (Jn 17:13), Jesus looks on his earthly ministry as a thing of the past (Jn 17:4, 12). Whereas Jesus has up to this time stated that the disciples could follow him (Jn 13:33, 36), now he wishes them to be with him in union with the Father (Jn 17:12–14).
  2. 17:1 The action of looking up to heaven and the address Father are typical of Jesus at prayer; cf. Jn 11:41 and Lk 11:2.
  3. 17:2 Another possible interpretation is to treat the first line of the verse as parenthetical and the second as an appositive to the clause that ends v 1: so that your son may glorify you (just as…all people), so that he may give eternal life….
  4. 17:3 This verse was clearly added in the editing of the gospel as a reflection on the preceding verse; Jesus nowhere else refers to himself as Jesus Christ.
  5. 17:6 I revealed your name: perhaps the name I AM; cf. Jn 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19.
  6. 17:15 Note the resemblance to the petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “deliver us from the evil one.” Both probably refer to the devil rather than to abstract evil.
  7. 17:24 Where I am: Jesus prays for the believers ultimately to join him in heaven. Then they will not see his glory as in a mirror but clearly (2 Cor 3:18; 1 Jn 3:2).
  8. 17:26 I will make it known: through the Advocate.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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