The Third Sunday In LentThe Collect
We Beseech you, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of your humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of your Majesty, to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Ephesians 5:1-14
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.Therefore do not be partakers with them.For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."
The Gospel. Luke 11:14-28
And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled.But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. "Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven.But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. "If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. "And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges."But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you."When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace."But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters."When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' "And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order."Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. "And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
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