Lord, we pray that your grace
may always precede and follow us,
and make us continually to be given to all good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’ They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’ He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’
Truly, God is loving to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
Nevertheless, my feet were almost gone;
my steps had well-nigh slipped.
For I was envious of the proud;
I saw the wicked in such prosperity;
For they suffer no pains
and their bodies are sleek and sound;
They come to no misfortune like other folk;
nor are they plagued as others are;
Therefore pride is their necklace
and violence wraps them like a cloak.
Their iniquity comes from within;
the conceits of their hearts overflow.
They scoff, and speak only of evil;
they talk of oppression from on high.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
and their tongue ranges round the earth;
And so the people turn to them
and find in them no fault.
They say, ‘How should God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?’
Behold, these are the wicked;
ever at ease, they increase their wealth.
Is it in vain that I cleansed my heart
and washed my hands in innocence?
All day long have I been stricken
and chastened every morning.
If I had said, ‘I will speak as they do,’
I should have betrayed the generation of your children.
Then thought I to understand this,
but it was too hard for me,
Until I entered the sanctuary of God
and understood the end of the wicked:
How you set them in slippery places;
you cast them down to destruction.
How suddenly do they come to destruction,
perish and come to a fearful end!
As with a dream when one awakes,
so, Lord, when you arise you will despise their image.
When my heart became embittered
and I was pierced to the quick,
I was but foolish and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast in your presence.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You will guide me with your counsel
and afterwards receive me with glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing upon earth that I desire
in comparison with you.
Though my flesh and my heart fail me,
God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Truly, those who forsake you will perish;
you will put to silence the faithless who betray you.
But it is good for me to draw near to God;
in the Lord God have I made my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.