The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of Modern English Version-, asks the question who should we love as our neighbor, and has more on the theme of love.

More information about the two complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, so that you and your children and your children's children, may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 1:1-18

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said,

“Do not press me to leave you
 or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
 where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
 and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
 there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
 and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”

When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

Complementary Psalm 119:1-8

Happy are those whose way is blameless,
 who walk in the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who keep his decrees,
 who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.
 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
 having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
 when I learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes;
 do not utterly forsake me.

Semi-continuous Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
 in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
 on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
 whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
 the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
 the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
 he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever,
 your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 9:11-14

But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Mark 12:28-34

The Pharisees and the Sadducees Come to Tempt Jesus

The Great Commandment
Mt 22:34-40; Lk 10:25-28

One of the scribes came near and heard them reasoning together. Perceiving that Jesus had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which of the is the first commandment of all?”

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’¹ This is the first commandment. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’² There is no commandment greater than these.”

The scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, that there is God, and there is no other but Him. To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength and to love one's neighbor as oneself is much more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask Him any question.

¹30 Dt 6:4-5   ²31 Lev 19:18 (MEV)

Year B Ordinary 31 Sunday

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.

Parallel passages are as indicated in Modern English Version (MEV), 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.


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Image credit: The Pharisees and the Sadducees Come to Tempt Jesus by James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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