Recently we can hardly pick up a newspaper without seeing headlines and articles about aggression in Syria. Our first reading today is from the part of our Bible called the Apocrypha, from part of the Book of Esther. It has to do with plots of aggression in Syria thousands of years ago. Those plots were planned against a group of Jewish exiles that included a young Jewish woman, Esther, who had been chosen to be the Queen of King Artaxerxes. The verses that are today’s First Reading give us some of Esther’s prayer that such a plot might not take place.