Wednesday of the Second Week in Lent 

Epistle  •  Esther 13:8-11, 15-17

Lesson from the Book of Esther.

[Prayer of Mardochai in favor of the Jewish people, whom the impious Aman had determined to destroy. He implored the Lord God of Israel to turn their sadness into joy. The Christian people in the same way are mourning in their Lenten penance and are looking forward to the holy joys of Easter.]

In those days Mardochai prayed to the Lord, saying: O Lord, Lord, Almighty King, for all things are in Thy power, and there is none that can resist Thy will, if Thou determine to save Israel. Thou hast made Heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of Heaven. Thou art Lord of all, and there is none that can resist Thy Majesty.

And now, O Lord, O King, O God of Abraham, have mercy on Thy people, because our enemies resolve to destroy us, and extinguish Thine inheritance. Despise not Thy portion, which Thou hast redeemed for Thyself out of Egypt. Hear my supplication, and be merciful to Thy lot and inheritance, and turn our mourning into joy, that we may live and praise Thy Name, O Lord, and shut not the mouths of them that sing to Thee, O Lord our God. 

Gospel  •  Matthew 20:17-28

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.  

[Jesus foretells His Passion and Resurrection. He will make us participants in His Resurrection, if we die to our sins.]

At that time, Jesus going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said to them: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again.

Then came to Him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of Him. Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to Him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left, in Thy kingdom. And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to Him: We can. He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on My right or left hand is not Mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by My Father.

And the ten, hearing it, were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them to Him, and said: You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are greater, exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you: but whosoever shall be the greater among you, let him be your minister: and he that will be first among you shall be your servant. Even as the Son of Man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many.