Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases, . . .
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord,
or declare all his praise?
Blessed are they who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times!
Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;
help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory with your inheritance. . . .
So he saved them from the hand of the foe
and redeemed them from the power of the enemy. . . .
Then they believed his words;
they sang his praise. Psalm 103:1-3, 8-10; 106:1-5,10, 12
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, . . .
“If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So will the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. . . .
“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. . . .
“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, . . . Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.Deuteronomy 7:1-8, 17-19; 8:1–3, 11, 17-20
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ . . .
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. . . . So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:1-7, 16-20, 26-28, 32-42
That you may know that the Spirit of God is the same as the Holy Spirit, as we read also in the apostle:“No one speaking in the Spirit of God says anathema to Jesus; and no one can say, Lord Jesus, but in the Holy Spirit,” the apostle calls Him the Spirit of God. He called Him also the Spirit of Christ. . . . The same is, then the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of Christ. . . .
Receive now the saying of the Lord, that the same is the Holy Spirit who is the the Spirit of Truth, for you read in the end of [the Gospel of John]: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” And Peter teaches that the same is the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of the Lord when he says: “Ananias, why has it seemed good to you to tempt and lie to the Holy Spirit?”
And the Lord Himself made clear that the same who is the Spirit of the Father is the Holy Spirit when, according to Matthew, He said that we should not think about what we should say in times of persecution: “For it is not you that speaks, but the Spirit of your Father that speaks in you.” Again He says according to St. Luke: “Be not anxious how you shall answer or speak, for the Holy Spirit of God shall teach you in that hour what you ought to say.” So, though many are called spirits, as it is said,“Who makes His angels spirits,” yet the Spirit of God is but one. [St. Ambrose–4th century bishop of Milan, one of the four original doctors of the Church]
DAILY PRAYER for THURSDAY
O Lord Jesus Christ, true King of heaven and earth, You promised to
Your Church that the gates of hell would not prevail against her, and
You still cause Your Word to be preached and Your Holy Sacraments to
be administered among us. But ah! O Lord, the sins of Your people
obscure the majesty of Your bride. Your holy vineyard is trampled and
Your blessed sacrifice stands neglected. Many think themselves strong
and despise the life-giving food that You have ordained for Your holy
people, for the forgiveness of their sins.
Pardon all our arrogance and do not come to us in wrath to remove the
lamp of Your Word from before our eyes! O Lord, we pray You: visit
this vine, which You once established for Yourself, and renew us with
the sun of Your mercy and the water of eternal life.
Give us a great hunger for the food of Your true body and blood, and
let all Your faithful people ever be found in the apostles’ doctrine,
in the fellowship, in the breaking of Your bread, and in the prayers.
We implore You, O Lord, for our altar; that it may ever be a place
where the medicine of eternal life, the forgiveness of our sins,
strengthens us in body and soul; that disbelief and impenitence may
stay far from all who come there so that they may not eat and drink to
their own judgment.
O Eternal High Priest, let the fruit of Your Spirit grow in us, which
is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness,
and chastity. Cause us to live in holy conduct toward one another to
the glory of Your holy name, here in time and hereafter in eternity;
for You live and reign with the Father and the same Holy Spirit, one
God, now and forever. Amen.