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First Reading for the Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Ezekiel 18:21-28

Summary: The Lord emphasizes His desire for the wicked to repent and live, promising life to those who forsake sin for righteousness. Conversely, righteousness is no shield for those who turn to sin, underscoring God's impartial justice and mercy.

God's Mercy and Justice

Thus says the Lord GOD:

If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.

Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live?

None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die.

You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”

Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?

When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

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