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A reading from the book of Sirach

My child, if you are to aspire to serve the Lord, prepare for an ordeal.  Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.  Cling to him and so not leave him, so that you may be honoured at the end of days.  Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, since gold is tested in the fire, and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation.

Trust him and he will uphold you, follow a straight path and hope in him.  You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; do not turn aside, for fear you fall.  You who fear the Lord, trust him, and you will not be robbed of your reward.  You who fear the Lord, hope for those good gifts of his everlasting peace and mercy.

The Word of the Lord.