Monday: Reflection on the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here.

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Zechariah 6:9-15

The word of the Lord came to me: Collect silver and gold from the exiles—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah—who have arrived from Babylon; and go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak; say to him: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Here is a man whose name is Branch: for he shall branch out in his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. It is he that shall build the temple of the Lord; he shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. There shall be a priest by his throne, with peaceful understanding between the two of them. And the crown shall be in the care of Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah, as a memorial in the temple of the Lord.

Those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the Lord; and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Esther 4:1-17

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went through the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry; he went up to the entrance of the king's gate, for no one might enter the king's gate clothed with sackcloth. In every province, wherever the king's command and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther's maids and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed; she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king's eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what was happening and why. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king's gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and charge her to go to the king to make supplication to him and entreat him for her people.

Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai, saying, “All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—all alike are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for thirty days.” When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Complementary Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
 give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
 my King and my God,
 for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
 in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
 evil will not sojourn with you.
The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
 you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
 the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.

But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
 will enter your house,
I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
 because of my enemies;
 make your way straight before me.

For there is no truth in their mouths;
 their hearts are destruction;
their throats are open graves;
 they flatter with their tongues.
Make them bear their guilt, O God;
 let them fall by their own counsels;
because of their many transgressions cast them out,
 for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
 let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
 so that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
 you cover them with favor as with a shield.

Semi-continuous Psalm 140

Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
 protect me from those who are violent,
who plan evil things in their minds
 and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a snake's,
 and under their lips is the venom of vipers. Selah

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
 protect me from the violent
 who have planned my downfall.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
 and with cords they have spread a net,
 along the road they have set snares for me. Selah

I say to the Lord, “You are my God;
 give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.”
O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
 you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
 do not further their evil plot. Selah

Those who surround me lift up their heads;
 let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
Let burning coals fall on them!
 Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
 let evil speedily hunt down the violent!

I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
 and executes justice for the poor.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
 the upright shall live in your presence.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 1:3-9

Escape or Salvation?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Year B Ordinary 26 Monday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from The New Revised Standard Version, (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 right reserved.

Image credit: Escape or Salvation? by Anders Sandberg, via flickr.com. This image is used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

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