Monday: Reflection on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 11
Roman Catholic Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Exodus 18:1-12

Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro took her back, along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been an alien in a foreign land”), and the name of the other, Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”). Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came into the wilderness where Moses was encamped at the mountain of God, bringing Moses’ sons and wife to him. He sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, with your wife and her two sons.” Moses went out to meet his father-in-law; he bowed down and kissed him; each asked after the other's welfare, and they went into the tent. Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardship that had beset them on the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in delivering them from the Egyptians.

Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because he delivered the people from the Egyptians, when they dealt arrogantly with them.” And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 7:1-6

This is what the Lord God showed me: he was forming locusts at the time the latter growth began to sprout (it was the latter growth after the king's mowings). When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,

“O Lord God, forgive, I beg you!
 How can Jacob stand?
 He is so small!”
The Lord relented concerning this;
 “It shall not be,” said the Lord.

This is what the Lord God showed me: the Lord God was calling for a shower of fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said,

“O Lord God, cease, I beg you!
 How can Jacob stand?
 He is so small!”
The Lord relented concerning this;
 “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.

Complementary Psalm 119:97-104

Oh, how I love your law!
 It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
 for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
 for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
 for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
 in order to keep your word.
I do not turn away from your ordinances,
 for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
 sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
 therefore I hate every false way.

Semi-continuous Psalm 119:17-32

Deal bountifully with your servant,
 so that I may live and observe your word.
Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
I live as an alien in the land;
 do not hide your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times.
You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
 who wander from your commandments;
take away from me their scorn and contempt,
 for I have kept your decrees.
Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
Your decrees are my delight, they are my counselors.

My soul clings to the dust;
 revive me according to your word.
When I told of my ways, you answered me;
 teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
 and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
 strengthen me according to your word.
Put false ways far from me;
 and graciously teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
 I set your ordinances before me.
I cling to your decrees, O Lord;
 let me not be put to shame.
I run the way of your commandments,
 for you enlarge my understanding.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Colossians 1:27—2:7

Heart.jpg

To them [God's saints] God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.

For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Year C Ordinary 16 Monday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: Sacred heart (Mosaic from the church of the Sacred Heart in Bushwood, MD) Image by Lawrence OP, downloaded from Flickr licensed under Creative Commons 2.0-by-nc-nd

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The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 11
Roman Catholic Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 18:1-10a

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on–since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 8:1-12

This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me,

“The end has come upon my people Israel;
 I will never again pass them by.
“The songs of the temple shall become wailings on that day,”
   says the Lord God;

“the dead bodies shall be many,
 cast out in every place. Be silent!”

Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
 and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying,
“When will the new moon be over
 so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
 so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
 and practice deceit with false balances,
buying the poor for silver
 and the needy for a pair of sandals,
 and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Shall not the land tremble on this account,
 and everyone mourn who lives in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
 and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?

On that day, says the Lord God,
 I will make the sun go down at noon,
 and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning,
 and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on all loins,
 and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
 and the end of it like a bitter day.

The time is surely coming, says the Lord God,
 when I will send a famine on the land;
not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water,
 but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
 and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
 but they shall not find it.

Complementary Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
 Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
 and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
 and do no evil to their friends,
 nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
 but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
 and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Semi-continuous Psalm 52

Why do you boast, O mighty one,
 of mischief done against the godly?
 All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor,
 you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good,
 and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that devour,
 O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;
 he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
 he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see, and fear,
 and will laugh at the evildoer, saying
“See the one who would not
 take refuge in God,
but trusted in abundant riches,
 and sought refuge in wealth!”

But I am like a green olive tree
 in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
 forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
 because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
 I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Colossians 1:15-28

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers–all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him–provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. I became its servant according to God's commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 10:38-42

Mary-Martha.jpg

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Year C Ordinary 16 Sunday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: Enghebrechtsz, Cornelis. Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN Original source: Wikimedia Commons

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Saturday: Preparation for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 11
Roman Catholic Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 14:1-16

In the days of King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim, these kings made war with King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea). Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and subdued the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in the hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the edge of the wilderness; then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and subdued all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar. Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar, four kings against five. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits; and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. So the enemy took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way; they also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram. When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and routed them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, and the women and the people.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 6:1-14

If ten people remain in one house, they shall die. And if a relative, one who burns the dead, shall take up the body to bring it out of the house, and shall say to someone in the innermost parts of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” the answer will come, “No.” Then the relative shall say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord.”

See, the Lord commands,
 and the great house shall be shattered to bits,
 and the little house to pieces.
Do horses run on rocks?
 Does one plough the sea with oxen?
But you have turned justice into poison
 and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood—
you who rejoice in Lo-debar,
 who say, “Have we not by our own strength
taken Karnaim for ourselves?”
Indeed, I am raising up against you a nation,
 O house of Israel, says the Lord, the God of hosts,
and they shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath
 to the Wadi Arabah.

Complementary Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
 Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
 and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
 and do no evil to their friends,
 nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
 but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
 and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Semi-continuous Psalm 52

Why do you boast, O mighty one,
 of mischief done against the godly?
 All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor,
 you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good,
 and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that devour,
 O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;
 he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
 he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see, and fear,
 and will laugh at the evildoer, saying
“See the one who would not
 take refuge in God,
but trusted in abundant riches,
 and sought refuge in wealth!”

But I am like a green olive tree
 in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
 forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
 because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
 I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 8:4-10

A stained glass image for the parable of the sower from the Canterbury Cathedral.

A stained glass image for the parable of the sower from the Canterbury Cathedral.

There are parallel passages at Matthew 13:1-9 and Mark 4:1-9.

When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”

Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that

‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’”¹

¹Isaiah 6:9

Year C Ordinary 16 Saturday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version Bible, copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The New International Version Bible ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image Credit: A stained glass image for the parable of the sower from the Canterbury Cathedral. Image from Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0-by-nc-nd

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Revised Common Lectionary Proper 11
Roman Catholic Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 13:1-18

So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram's livestock and the herders of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.

Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward; thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.¹ I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.

This verse is referred to at least twice in the New Testament. First at Acts 7:5 in Stephen's defense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53. then again in Galatians 3:15-18, where Paul shows that Christ is Abraham's heir.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 5:18-27

Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
 Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
 as if someone fled from a lion,
 and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
 and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
 and gloom with no brightness in it?
I hate, I despise your festivals,
 and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
 I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
 I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
 I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
 and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images that you made for yourselves; therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.¹

¹Stephen quotes these verses (Acts 7:42-43) in hisdefense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53.

Complementary Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
 Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
 and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
 and do no evil to their friends,
 nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
 but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
 and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Semi-continuous Psalm 52

Why do you boast, O mighty one,
 of mischief done against the godly?
 All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor,
 you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good,
 and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that devour,
 O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;
 he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
 he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see, and fear,
 and will laugh at the evildoer, saying
“See the one who would not
 take refuge in God,
but trusted in abundant riches,
 and sought refuge in wealth!”

But I am like a green olive tree
 in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
 forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
 because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
 I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

Ephesians-3-14.jpg

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Year C Ordinary 16 Friday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image Credit: Mosiac image of the Transfiguration downloaded from http://www.pravoslavie.ru/foto/image13300.htm

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Thursday: Preparation for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 11
Roman Catholic Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 12:10-20

There are parallel passages at Genesis 20:1-18 and Genesis 26:1-11.

Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know well that you are a woman beautiful in appearance; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.”

When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. When the officials of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels. But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her, and be gone.” And Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him; and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 5:10-17

They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
 and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
Therefore, because you trample on the poor
 and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
 but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
 but you shall not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your transgressions,
 and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
 and push aside the needy in the gate.
Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
 for it is an evil time.

Seek good and not evil,
 that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
 just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good,
 and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
 will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord: In all the squares there shall be wailing;
 and in all the streets they shall say, “Alas! alas!”
They shall call the farmers to mourning,
 and those skilled in lamentation, to wailing;
in all the vineyards there shall be wailing,
 for I will pass through the midst of you,
   says the Lord.

Complementary Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
 Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
 and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
 and do no evil to their friends,
 nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
 but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
 and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Semi-continuous Psalm 52

Why do you boast, O mighty one,
 of mischief done against the godly?
 All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor,
 you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good,
 and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that devour,
 O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;
 he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
 he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see, and fear,
 and will laugh at the evildoer, saying
“See the one who would not
 take refuge in God,
but trusted in abundant riches,
 and sought refuge in wealth!”

But I am like a green olive tree
 in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
 forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
 because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
 I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 5:1-6

The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek

The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”¹

as he says also in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”²

¹Psalm 2:7   ²Psalm 110:4

Year C Ordinary 16 Thursday

Selections are from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version Bible, copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The New International Version Bible ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image Credit: The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek by Peter Paul Rubens, downloaded from Wikimedia Commons.

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 10
Roman Catholic Proper 15

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. There was a little city with few people in it. A great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. So I said, “Wisdom is better than might; yet the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heeded.”

The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded
than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
but one bungler destroys much good.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Twelve Prophets: Amos 5:1-9

Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:
Fallen, no more to rise,
 is maiden Israel;
forsaken on her land,
 with no one to raise her up.

For thus says the Lord God:
The city that marched out a thousand
 shall have a hundred left,
and that which marched out a hundred
 shall have ten left.

For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel:
Seek me and live;
 but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter into Gilgal
or cross over to Beer-sheba;
 for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
 and Bethel shall come to nothing.

Seek the Lord and live,
 or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire,
 and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.
Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood,
 and bring righteousness to the ground!

The one who made the Pleiades and Orion,
 and turns deep darkness into the morning,
 and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea,
 and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
 the Lord is his name,
who makes destruction flash out against the strong,
 so that destruction comes upon the fortress.

Complementary Psalm 25:11-20

For your name's sake, O Lord,
 pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who are they that fear the Lord?
 He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity,
 and their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
 and he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
 for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
 for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
 and bring me out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
 and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
 and with what violent hatred they hate me.
O guard my life, and deliver me;
 do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

Semi-continuous Psalm 7

O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
 save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
or like a lion they will tear me apart;
 they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.

O Lord my God, if I have done this,
 if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my ally with harm
 or plundered my foe without cause,
then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
 trample my life to the ground,
 and lay my soul in the dust.

Rise up, O Lord, in your anger;
 lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
 awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,
 and over it take your seat on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
 judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
 and according to the integrity that is in me.

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
 but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
 O righteous God.
God is my shield,
 who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
 and a God who has indignation every day.

If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;
 he has bent and strung his bow;
he has prepared his deadly weapons,
 making his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil,
 and are pregnant with mischief,
 and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out,
 and fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
 and on their own heads their violence descends.

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
 and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Matthew 25:31-46

Least-of-These.jpg

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Year C RCL Proper 10, Catholic Proper 15, Ordinary 15 Wednesday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1985 by Consultation on Common Texts.

Image credit: The Vanderbilt Digital Library, which credits the original image to Craig Stephen, Flickr Creative Commons, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0

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Tuesday: Reflection on the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 10
Roman Catholic Proper 15

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Proverbs 19:1-17

Better the poor walking in integrity
 than one perverse of speech who is a fool.
Desire without knowledge is not good,
 and one who moves too hurriedly misses the way.
One's own folly leads to ruin,
 yet the heart rages against the Lord.
Wealth brings many friends,
 but the poor are left friendless.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
 and a liar will not escape.
Many seek the favor of the generous,
 and everyone is a friend to a giver of gifts.
If the poor are hated even by their kin,
 how much more are they shunned by their friends!
When they call after them, they are not there.
To get wisdom is to love oneself;
 to keep understanding is to prosper.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
 and the liar will perish.
It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
 much less for a slave to rule over princes.
Those with good sense are slow to anger,
 and it is their glory to overlook an offense.
A king's anger is like the growling of a lion,
 but his favor is like dew on the grass.
A stupid child is ruin to a father,
 and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
House and wealth are inherited from parents,
 but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
Laziness brings on deep sleep;
 an idle person will suffer hunger.
Those who keep the commandment will live;
 those who are heedless of their ways will die.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
 and will be repaid in full.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Twelve Prophets: Amos 4:6-13

I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
 and lack of bread in all your places,
yet you did not return to me,
   says the Lord.

And I also withheld the rain from you
 when there were still three months to the harvest;
I would send rain on one city,
 and send no rain on another city;
one field would be rained upon,
 and the field on which it did not rain withered;
so two or three towns wandered to one town
 to drink water, and were not satisfied;
yet you did not return to me,
   says the Lord.

I struck you with blight and mildew;
 I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards;
 the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees;
yet you did not return to me,
   says the Lord.

I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
 I killed your young men with the sword;
I carried away your horses;
and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
yet you did not return to me,
   says the Lord.

I overthrew some of you,
 as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
 and you were like a brand snatched from the fire;
yet you did not return to me,
   says the Lord.

Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
 because I will do this to you,
 prepare to meet your God, O Israel!

For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind,
 reveals his thoughts to mortals,
makes the morning darkness,
 and treads on the heights of the earth—
 the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!¹

The same thought is in Revelation 19:6.

Complementary Psalm 25:11-20

For your name's sake, O Lord,
 pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who are they that fear the Lord?
 He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity,
 and their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
 and he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
 for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
 for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
 and bring me out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
 and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
 and with what violent hatred they hate me.
O guard my life, and deliver me;
 do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

Semi-continuous Psalm 7

O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
 save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
or like a lion they will tear me apart;
 they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.

O Lord my God, if I have done this,
 if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my ally with harm
 or plundered my foe without cause,
then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
 trample my life to the ground,
 and lay my soul in the dust.

Rise up, O Lord, in your anger;
 lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
 awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,
 and over it take your seat on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
 judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
 and according to the integrity that is in me.

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
 but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
 O righteous God.
God is my shield,
 who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
 and a God who has indignation every day.

If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;
 he has bent and strung his bow;
he has prepared his deadly weapons,
 making his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil,
 and are pregnant with mischief,
 and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out,
 and fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
 and on their own heads their violence descends.

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
 and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 John 3:11-17

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Year C RCL Proper 10, Catholic Proper 15, Ordinary 15 Tuesday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1985 by Consultation on Common Texts.

Image credit: Background image by Joaquim Alves Gaspar A Mother and Daughter retrieved from via Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0 Share Alike license. The combined image is also available under the same license. Please credit The Lectionary Company.

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Monday: Reflection on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 10
Roman Catholic Proper 15

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Job 24:1-8

[Job is answering Eliphaz.]

“Why are times not kept by the Almighty,
 and why do those who know him never see his days?
The wicked remove landmarks;
 they seize flocks and pasture them.
They drive away the donkey of the orphan;
 they take the widow's ox for a pledge.
They thrust the needy off the road;
 the poor of the earth all hide themselves.
Like wild asses in the desert
 they go out to their toil,
scavenging in the wasteland
 food for their young.
They reap in a field not their own
 and they glean in the vineyard of the wicked.
They lie all night naked, without clothing,
 and have no covering in the cold.
They are wet with the rain of the mountains,
 and cling to the rock for want of shelter.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Twelve Prophets: Amos 3:9-4:5

Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod,
 and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt,
and say, “Assemble yourselves on Mount Samaria,
 and see what great tumults are within it,
 and what oppressions are in its midst.”
They do not know how to do right, says the Lord,
 those who store up violence and
robbery in their strongholds.
Therefore thus says the Lord God:
An adversary shall surround the land,
 and strip you of your defense;
 and your strongholds shall be plundered.

Thus says the Lord: As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who live in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed.

Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob,
 says the Lord God, the God of hosts:
On the day I punish Israel for its transgressions,
 I will punish the altars of Bethel,
and the horns of the altar shall be cut off
 and fall to the ground.
I will tear down the winter house as well as the summer house;
 and the houses of ivory shall perish,
and the great houses shall come to an end,
   says the Lord.

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan
 who are on Mount Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
 who say to their husbands, “Bring something to drink!”
The Lord God has sworn by his holiness:
 The time is surely coming upon you,
when they shall take you away with hooks,
 even the last of you with fishhooks.
Through breaches in the wall you shall leave,
 each one straight ahead;
 and you shall be flung out into Harmon,
   says the Lord.

Come to Bethel—and transgress;
 to Gilgal—and multiply transgression;
bring your sacrifices every morning,
 your tithes every three days;
bring a thank-offering of leavened bread,
 and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;
for so you love to do, O people of Israel!
   says the Lord God.

Complementary Psalm 25:11-20

For your name's sake, O Lord,
 pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who are they that fear the Lord?
 He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity,
 and their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
 and he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
 for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
 for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
 and bring me out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
 and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
 and with what violent hatred they hate me.
O guard my life, and deliver me;
 do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

Semi-continuous Psalm 7

O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
 save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
or like a lion they will tear me apart;
 they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.

O Lord my God, if I have done this,
 if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my ally with harm
 or plundered my foe without cause,
then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
 trample my life to the ground,
 and lay my soul in the dust.

Rise up, O Lord, in your anger;
 lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
 awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,
 and over it take your seat on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
 judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
 and according to the integrity that is in me.

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
 but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
 O righteous God.
God is my shield,
 who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
 and a God who has indignation every day.

If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;
 he has bent and strung his bow;
he has prepared his deadly weapons,
 making his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil,
 and are pregnant with mischief,
 and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out,
 and fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
 and on their own heads their violence descends.

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
 and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: James 2:1-7

Lazarus.jpg

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

Year C RCL Proper 10, Catholic Proper 15, Ordinary 15 Monday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1985 by Consultation on Common Texts.

Image credit: An anonymous 17th century Russian icon, downloaded form Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0

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