gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their
elders, their leaders, their judges and their officers. When they stood
in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people: "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: In times past your fathers, down to Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, dwelt beyond the River and served other gods.
But I brought your father Abraham from the region beyond the River and led him through the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac.
To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned the mountain region of Seir in which to settle, while Jacob and his children went down to Egypt.
"Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and smote Egypt with the prodigies which I wrought in her midst.
Afterward I led you out of Egypt, and when you reached the sea, the Egyptians pursued your fathers to the Red Sea with chariots and horsemen.
Because they cried out to the LORD, he put darkness between your people and the Egyptians, upon whom he brought the sea so that it engulfed them. After you witnessed what I did to Egypt, and dwelt a long time in the desert,
I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought against you, but I delivered them into your power. You took possession of their land, and I destroyed them (the two kings of the Amorites) before you.
Then Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, prepared to war against Israel. He summoned Balaam, son of Beor, to curse you;
but I would not listen to Balaam. On the contrary, he had to bless you, and I saved you from him.
Once you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho, the men of Jericho fought against you, but I delivered them also into your power.
And I sent the hornets ahead of you which drove them (the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites) out of your way; it was not your sword or your bow.
"I gave you a land which you had not tilled and cities which you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.
Praise the LORD, who is so good; God's love endures forever;
Praise the God of gods; God's love endures forever;
Praise the Lord of lords; God's love endures forever;
Who led the people through the desert, God's love endures forever;
Who struck down great kings, God's love endures forever;
Slew powerful kings, God's love endures forever;
And made their lands a heritage, God's love endures forever;
A heritage for Israel, God's servant, God's love endures forever.
Freed us from our foes, God's love endures forever;
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 19:3-12.
Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?"
He said in reply, "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female'
and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
They said to him, "Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?"
He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."
(His) disciples said to him, "If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."
He answered, "Not all can accept (this) word, but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."
"They are no longer two, but one flesh"
Lord our God,
look with kindness on N. and N., whom you have united in marriage,
and pour out your blessings upon them:
may they be united in one love
as they progress together towards one holiness of life.
May they rejoice to share in your creative love
and bring up their children together.
May they live in justice and charity,
showing your light to all who seek you.
May their household be ever open to the service of their brothers and sisters
and may they be always ready to answer to their needs.
May they be strengthened by the joys and sacrifices of their life together
and bear witness to the Gospel.
May they have a long life together, without misfortune or sickness,
and may the work of both be blessed.
May they see their children grow up in peace
and enjoy the support of a happy family.
May they come at last, with all those who have gone before them,
to the dwelling where their love will last eternally.
N. and N., and all you who are present here,
may God the all-powerful bless you,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
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