Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent

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Richert, Scott P. "Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent." ThoughtCo, Mar. 14, 2017, thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-fifth-week-of-lent-4120642. Richert, Scott P. (2017, March 14). Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-fifth-week-of-lent-4120642 Richert, Scott P. "Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-fifth-week-of-lent-4120642 (accessed September 26, 2017).
The Gospels on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
The Gospels are displayed on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
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The Old Covenant With Israel Is Fulfilled in the New Covenant of Christ

The Gospels on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
The Gospels are displayed on the coffin of Pope John Paul II, May 1, 2011. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Easter is only two weeks away. Until the introduction of the new liturgical calendar in 1969, these final two weeks of Lent were known as Passiontide, and they commemorated the increasing revelation of Christ's divinity, as well as His movement toward Jerusalem, which He enters on Palm Sunday and where His Passion will take place starting on the night of Holy Thursday.

Interpreting the Old Testament in Light of the New

Even after the revision of the liturgical calendar, we can still see this shift in focus in the Church's other liturgical celebrations. The Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent, drawn from the Office of the Readings, part of the official prayer of the Catholic Church known as the Liturgy of the Hours, are no longer drawn from the accounts of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land, as they were earlier in Lent. Instead, they come from the Letter to the Hebrews, in which Saint Paul interprets the Old Testament in light of the New.

If you've ever had trouble understanding just how the Old Testament relates to our life as Christians, and how the historical journey of the Israelites is a type of our spiritual journey in the Church, the readings for this week and for Holy Week will help to make everything clear. If you haven't been following along in the scripture readings for Lent, there's no better time to start than now.

The readings for each day of the Fifth Week of Lent, found on the following pages, come from the Office of the Readings, part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church.

02
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Scripture Reading for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday)

Albert of of Sternberk's pontifical, Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic
Albert of of Sternberk's pontifical, Strahov Monastery Library, Prague, Czech Republic. Fred de Noyelle/Getty Images

The Son of God Is Higher Than the Angels

Lent is drawing to a close, and, in this final week before Holy Week, we turn from the story of the Exodus to the Letter to the Hebrews. Looking back over salvation history, Saint Paul interprets the Old Testament in light of the New. In the past, revelation was incomplete; now, in Christ, everything is revealed. The Old Covenant, revealed through the angels, was binding; the New Covenant, revealed through Christ, Who is higher than the angels, is even more so.

Hebrews 1:1-2:4 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the figure of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high. Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they.

For to which of the angels hath he said at any time, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee?

And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith: And let all the angels of God adore him.

And to the angels indeed he saith: He that maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

And: Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of thy hands are the heavens. They shall perish, but thou shalt continue: and they shall all grow old as a garment. And as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: but thou art the selfsame, and thy years shall not fail.

But to which of the angels said he at any time: Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool?

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?

Therefore ought we more diligently to observe the things which we have heard, lest perhaps we should let them slip. For if the word, spoken by angels, became steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward: How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? which having begun to be declared by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. God also bearing them witness by signs, and wonders, and divers miracles, and distributions of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

03
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Scripture Reading for Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Man thumbing through a Bible
Man thumbing through a Bible. Peter Glass/Design Pics/Getty Images

Christ Is True God and True Man

All of Creation, Saint Paul tells us in this reading from Hebrews, is subject to Christ, through Whom it was made. But Christ is both beyond this world and of it; He became man so that He might suffer for our sake and draw all Creation to Him. By sharing in our nature, He overcame sin and opened for us the gates of heaven.

Hebrews 2:5-18 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

For God hath not subjected unto angels the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place hath testified, saying: What is man, that thou art mindful of him: or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels: thou hast crowned him with glory and honour, and hast set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast subjected all things under his feet.

For in that he hath subjected all things to him, he left nothing not subject to him. But now we see not as yet all things subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that, through the grace of God, he might taste death for all.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, who had brought many children into glory, to perfect the author of their salvation, by his passion. For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one. For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: I will declare thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the church will I praise thee.

And again: I will put my trust in him.

And again: Behold I and my children, whom God hath given me.

Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil: And might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude. For no where doth he take hold of the angels: but of the seed of Abraham he taketh hold. Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful priest before God, that he might be a propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that, wherein he himself hath suffered and been tempted, he is able to succour them also that are tempted.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

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Scripture Reading for Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

A gold-leaf Bible
A gold-leaf Bible. Jill Fromer/Getty Images

Our Faith Must Be Like Christ's

In this reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, Saint Paul reminds us of Christ's own faithfulness to His Father. He contrasts that faithfulness with the unfaithfulness of the Israelites, whom God rescued from slavery in Egypt but who still turned against Him and were therefore unable to enter the Promised Land.

We should take Christ as our model, so that our faith will save us.

Hebrews 3:1-19 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus: Who is faithful to him that made him, as was also Moses in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of greater glory than Moses, by so much as he that hath built the house, hath greater honour than the house. For every house is built by some man: but he that created all things, is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be said: But Christ as the Son in his own house: which house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and glory of hope unto the end.

Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith: To day if you shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation; in the day of temptation in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me, proved and saw my works, Forty years: for which cause I was offended with this generation, and I said: They always err in heart. And they have not known my ways, As I have sworn in my wrath: If they shall enter into my rest.

Take heed, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, to depart from the living God. But exhort one another every day, whilst it is called to day, that none of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ: yet so, if we hold the beginning of his substance firm unto the end.

While it is said, To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in that provocation.

For some who heard did provoke: but not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. And with whom was he offended forty years? Was it not with them that sinned, whose carcasses were overthrown in the desert? And to whom did he swear, that they should not enter into his rest: but to them that were incredulous? And we see that they could not enter in, because of unbelief.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

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Scripture Reading for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Prest With Lectionary
A priest with a lectionary. undefined

Christ the High Priest Is Our Hope

We can be strong in our faith, Saint Paul tells us, because we have reason to hope: God has sworn His fidelity to His people. Christ, through His death and resurrection, has returned to the Father, and He now stands before Him as the eternal high priest, interceding on our behalf.

Hebrews 6:9-20 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

But, my dearly beloved, we trust better things of you, and nearer to salvation; though we speak thus. For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work, and the love which you have shewn in his name, you who have ministered, and do minister to the saints. And we desire that every one of you shew forth the same carefulness to the accomplishing of hope unto the end: That you become not slothful, but followers of them, who through faith and patience shall inherit the promises.

For God making promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom he might swear, swore by himself, Saying: Unless blessing I shall bless thee, and multiplying I shall multiply thee. And so patiently enduring he obtained the promise.

For men swear by one greater than themselves: and an oath for confirmation is the end of all their controversy. Wherein God, meaning more abundantly to shew to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have the strongest comfort, who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us. Which we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, and which entereth in even within the veil; Where the forerunner Jesus is entered for us, made a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

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Scripture Reading for Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Old Bible in Latin
Old Bible in Latin. Myron/Getty Images

Melchizedek, a Foretaste of Christ

The figure of Melchizedek, king of Salem (which means "peace"), foreshadows that of Christ. The Old Testament priesthood was an hereditary one; but Melchizedek's lineage was not known, and he was regarded as a man of great age who might never die. Therefore, his priesthood, like Christ's, was seen as eternal, and Christ is compared to him to stress the never-ending nature of His priesthood.

Hebrews 7:1-10 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

For this Melchisedech was king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him: To whom also Abraham divided the tithes of all: who first indeed by interpretation, is king of justice: and then also king of Salem, that is, king of peace: Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened unto the Son of God, continueth a priest for ever.

Now consider how great this man is, to whom also Abraham the patriarch gave tithes out of the principal things. And indeed they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is to say, of their brethren: though they themselves also came out of the loins of Abraham. But he, whose pedigree is not numbered among them, received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction, that which is less, is blessed by the better.

And here indeed, men that die, receive thithes: but there he hath witness, that he liveth. And (as it may be said) even Levi who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham: For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedech met him.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

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Scripture Reading for Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Old Bible in English
Old Bible in English. Godong/Getty Images

The Eternal Priesthood of Christ

Saint Paul continues to expand on the comparison between Christ and Melchizedek. Today, he points out that a change in the priesthood signals a change in the Law. By birth, Jesus was not eligible for the Old Testament priesthood; yet He was a priest nonetheless—indeed, the last priest, since the New Testament priesthood is simply a participation in Christ's eternal priesthood.

Hebrews 7:11-28 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

If then perfection was by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchisedech, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?

For the priesthood being translated, it is necessary that a translation also be made of the law. For he, of whom these things are spoken, is of another tribe, of which no one attended on the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprung out of Juda: in which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

And it is yet far more evident: if according to the similitude of Melchisedech there ariseth another priest, Who is made not according to the law of a carnal commandment, but according to the power of an indissoluble life: For he testifieth: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech.

There is indeed a setting aside of the former commandment, because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof: (For the law brought nothing to perfection,) but a bringing in of a better hope, by which we draw nigh to God.

And inasmuch as it is not without an oath, for the others indeed were made priests without an oath; But this with an oath, by him that said unto him: The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever.

By so much is Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

And the others indeed were made many priests, because by reason of death they were not suffered to continue: But this, for that he continueth for ever, hath an everlasting priesthood, whereby he is able also to save for ever them that come to God by him; always living to make intercession for us.

For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily (as the other priests) to offer sacrifices first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, in offering himself. For the law maketh men priests, who have infirmity: but the word of the oath, which was since the law, the Son who is perfected for evermore.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

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Scripture Reading for Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

St. Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral
St. Chad Gospels at Lichfield Cathedral. Philip Game/Getty Images

The New Covenant and the Eternal Priesthood of Christ

As we prepare to enter Holy Week, our Lenten readings now draw to a close. Saint Paul, in the Letter to the Hebrews, sums up our entire Lenten journey through the Exodus of the Israelites: The Old Covenant is passing away, and a New one has come. Christ is perfect, and so is the covenant that He establishes. Everything that Moses and the Israelites did was simply a foretaste and promise of the New Covenant in Christ, the eternal High Priest Who is also the eternal Sacrifice.

Hebrews 8:1-13 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of majesty in the heavens, a minister of the holies, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man.

For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is necessary that he also should have some thing to offer. If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest: seeing that there would be others to offer gifts according to the law, who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things. As it was answered to Moses, when he was to finish the tabernacle: See (saith he) that thou make all things according to the pattern which was shewn thee on the mount. But now he hath obtained a better ministry, by how much also he is a mediator of a better testament, which is established on better promises.

For if that former had been faultless, there should not indeed a place have been sought for a second. For finding fault with them, he saith:

Behold, the days shall come, saith the Lord: and I will perfect unto the house of Israel, and unto the house of Juda, a new testament: Not according to the testament which I made to their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt: because they continued not in my testament: and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the testament which I will make to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my laws into their mind, and in their heart will I write them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least to the greatest of them: Because I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more.

Now in saying a new, he hath made the former old. And that which decayeth and groweth old, is near its end.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Richert, Scott P. "Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent." ThoughtCo, Mar. 14, 2017, thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-fifth-week-of-lent-4120642. Richert, Scott P. (2017, March 14). Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-fifth-week-of-lent-4120642 Richert, Scott P. "Scripture Readings for the Fifth Week of Lent." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/scripture-readings-fifth-week-of-lent-4120642 (accessed September 26, 2017).