Saturday: Preparation for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here.

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Deuteronomy 27:1-10

Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged all the people as follows: Keep the entire commandment that I am commanding you today. On the day that you cross over the Jordan into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and cover them with plaster. You shall write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over, to enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. So when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, about which I am commanding you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall cover them with plaster. And you shall build an altar there to the Lord your God, an altar of stones on which you have not used an iron tool. You must build the altar of the Lord your God of unhewn stones. Then offer up burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God, make sacrifices of well-being, and eat them there, rejoicing before the Lord your God. You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very clearly.

Then Moses and the levitical priests spoke to all Israel, saying: Keep silence and hear, O Israel! This very day you have become the people of the Lord your God. Therefore obey the Lord your God, observing his commandments and his statutes that I am commanding you today.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Esther 3:1-15

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the officials who were with him. And all the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and did obeisance to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance. Then the king's servants who were at the king's gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king's command?” When they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai's words would avail; for he had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance to him, Haman was infuriated. But he thought it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, having been told who Mordecai's people were, Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.

In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur—which means “the lot” —before Haman for the day and for the month, and the lot fell on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not appropriate for the king to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued for their destruction, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king's business, so that they may put it into the king's treasuries.” So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. The king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, and the people as well, to do with them as it seems good to you.”

Then the king's secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language; it was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces, giving orders to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation, calling on all the peoples to be ready for that day. The couriers went quickly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion.

Complementary Psalm 19:7-14

The law of the Lord is perfect,
 reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
 making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
 rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
 enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
 enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
 and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
 even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
 and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is your servant warned;
 in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can detect their errors?
 Clear me from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
 do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
 and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
 O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Semi-continuous Psalm 124

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
 —let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
 when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
 when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
 the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
 the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord,
 who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
 from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
 and we have escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
 who made heaven and earth

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Matthew 5:13-20

[Jesus is speaking]

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.¹

Let Your Light Shine

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

¹There are parallel passages at Mark 9:50, which we will read tomorrow, and Luke 14:34-35.

Year B Ordinary 26 Saturday

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: Let Your Light Shine by an unidentified photographer via pxhere.com. This is a public domain image.

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