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Judith - Chapter 13

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1 It grew late and his staff hurried away. Bagoas closed the tent from the outside, having shown out those who still lingered in his lord's presence. They went to their beds wearied with too much drinking,

2 and Judith was left alone in the tent with Holofernes who had collapsed wine-sodden on his bed.

3 Judith then told her maid to stay just outside the bedroom and wait for her to come out, as she did every morning. She had let it be understood she would be going out to her prayers and had also spoken of her intention to Bagoas.

4 By now everyone had left Holofernes, and no one, either important or unimportant, was left in the bedroom. Standing beside the bed, Judith murmured to herself: Lord God, to whom all strength belongs, prosper what my hands are now to do for the greater glory of Jerusalem;

5 now is the time to recover your heritage and to further my plans to crush the enemies arrayed against us.

6 With that she went up to the bedpost by Holofernes' head and took down his scimitar;

7 coming closer to the bed she caught him by the hair and said, 'Make me strong today, Lord God of Israel!'

8 Twice she struck at his neck with all her might, and cut off his head.

9 She then rolled his body off the bed and pulled down the canopy from the bedposts. After which, she went out and gave the head of Holofernes to her maid

10 who put it in her food bag. The two then left the camp together, as they always did when they went to pray. Once they were out of the camp, they skirted the ravine, climbed the slope to Bethulia and made for the gates.

11 From a distance, Judith shouted to the guards on the gates, 'Open the gate! Open! For the Lord our God is with us still, displaying his strength in Israel and his might against our enemies, as he has done today!'

12 Hearing her voice, the townsmen hurried down to the town gate and summoned the elders.

13 Everyone, great and small, came running down, since her arrival was unexpected. They threw the gate open, welcomed the women, lit a fire to see by and crowded round them.

14 Then Judith raised her voice and said, 'Praise God! Praise him! Praise the God who has not withdrawn his mercy from the House of Israel, but has shattered our enemies by my hand tonight!'

15 She pulled the head out of the bag and held it for them to see. 'This is the head of Holofernes, general-in-chief of the Assyrian army; here is the canopy under which he lay drunk! The Lord has struck him down by the hand of a woman!

16 Glory to the Lord who has protected me in the course I took! My face seduced him, only to his own undoing; he committed no sin with me to shame me or disgrace me.'

17 Overcome with emotion, the people all prostrated themselves and worshipped God, exclaiming with one voice, 'Blessings on you, our God, for confounding your people's enemies today!'

18 Uzziah then said to Judith: May you be blessed, my daughter, by God Most High, beyond all women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, who guided you to cut off the head of the leader of our enemies!

19 The trust which you have shown will not pass from human hearts, as they commemorate the power of God for evermore.

20 God grant you may be always held in honour and rewarded with blessings, since you did not consider your own life when our nation was brought to its knees, but warded off our ruin, walking in the right path before our God. And the people all said, 'Amen! Amen!'


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Daily Readings

August 22nd, 2019

Reading 1, Judges 11:29-39
Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 40:5, 7-8, 8-9, 10
Gospel, Matthew 22:1-14

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Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

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