Wednesday: Reflection on the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Message Bible translation, the fate of the rich in God's kingdom, background on Lazarus, information on Job's friends, and more.

Complementary Hebrew Scripture: Obadiah 17-21

But on Mount Zion there shall be those that escape,
 and it shall be holy;
and the house of Jacob shall take possession
 of those who dispossessed them.
The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
 the house of Joseph a flame,
 and the house of Esau stubble;
 they shall burn them and consume them,
and there shall be no survivor of the house of Esau;
   for the Lord has spoken.

Those of the Negeb shall possess Mount Esau,
 and those of the Shephelah the land of the Philistines;
they shall possess the land of Ephraim and the land of Samaria,
 and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
The exiles of the Israelites who are in Halah
 shall possess Phoenicia as far as Zarephath;
and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad
 shall possess the towns of the Negeb.
Those who have been saved
 shall go up to Mount Zion
 to rule Mount Esau;
 and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Job 32

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job's three friends because they had found no answer, though they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were older than he. But when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouths of these three men, he became angry.

Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite answered:

“I am young in years,
 and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
 to declare my opinion to you.
I said, ‘Let days speak,
 and many years teach wisdom.’
But truly it is the spirit in a mortal,
 the breath of the Almighty, that makes for understanding.
It is not the old that are wise,
 nor the aged that understand what is right.
Therefore I say, ‘Listen to me;
 let me also declare my opinion.’

“See, I waited for your words,
 I listened for your wise sayings,
 while you searched out what to say.
I gave you my attention,
 but there was in fact no one that confuted Job,
 no one among you that answered his words.
Yet do not say, ‘We have found wisdom;
 God may vanquish him, not a human.’
He has not directed his words against me,
 and I will not answer him with your speeches.

“They are dismayed, they answer no more;
 they have not a word to say.
And am I to wait, because they do not speak,
 because they stand there, and answer no more?
I also will give my answer;
 I also will declare my opinion.
For I am full of words;
 the spirit within me constrains me.
My heart is indeed like wine that has no vent;
 like new wineskins, it is ready to burst.
I must speak, so that I may find relief;
 I must open my lips and answer.
I will not show partiality to any person
 or use flattery toward anyone.
For I do not know how to flatter—
 or my Maker would soon put an end to me!”

Complementary Psalm 26

Vindicate me, O Lord,
 for I have walked in my integrity,
 and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
 test my heart and mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
 and I walk in faithfulness to you.

I do not sit with the worthless,
 nor do I consort with hypocrites;
I hate the company of evildoers,
 and will not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence,
 and go around your altar, O Lord,
singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
 and telling all your wondrous deeds.

O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell,
 and the place where your glory abides.
Do not sweep me away with sinners,
 nor my life with the bloodthirsty,
those in whose hands are evil devices,
 and whose right hands are full of bribes.

But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
 redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
 in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.

Semi-continuous Psalm 39

I said, “I will guard my ways
 that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
 as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was silent and still;
 I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
 my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
 then I spoke with my tongue:

“Lord, let me know my end,
 and what is the measure of my days;
 let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a few handbreadths,
 and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah
 Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
 they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

“And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
 My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
 Do not make me the scorn of the fool.
I am silent; I do not open my mouth,
 for it is you who have done it.
Remove your stroke from me;
 I am worn down by the blows of your hand.

“You chastise mortals
 in punishment for sin,
consuming like a moth what is dear to them;
 surely everyone is a mere breath. Selah

“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
 and give ear to my cry;
 do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest, an alien,
 like all my forebears.¹
Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
 before I depart and am no more.”

¹Peter refers to us as aliens when he discusses the need for us to conduct ourselves appropriately in the presence of non-Christians (1 Peter 2:11-12).

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus

“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from the scraps off the rich man's table. His friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance with Lazarus in his lap. He called out, “Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus got the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so that he can tell them the score and warn them so that won't end up here in this place to torment.’

“Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’

“‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’

“Abraham replied, ‘If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”(The Message)

Year B Ordinary 28 Wednesday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (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.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Passages ending with (The Message) are from The Message Ministry Edition: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright ©1993, 1994, 1995,, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Note: The links in the titles above take you to Amazon, where you can purchase them and benefit The Lectionary Company.

Image credit: The Rich Man and Lazarus by Leandro da Ponte Bassano via oceansbridge. This is a public domain image.

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