Thursday: Preparation for 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: Exodus 22:1-15

When someone steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, the thief shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. The thief shall make restitution, but if unable to do so, shall be sold for the theft. When the animal, whether ox or donkey or sheep, is found alive in the thief's possession, the thief shall pay double.

If a thief is found breaking in, and is beaten to death, no bloodguilt is incurred; but if it happens after sunrise, bloodguilt is incurred.

When someone causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets livestock loose to graze in someone else's field, restitution shall be made from the best in the owner's field or vineyard.

When fire breaks out and catches in thorns so that the stacked grain or the standing grain or the field is consumed, the one who started the fire shall make full restitution.

When someone delivers to a neighbor money or goods for safekeeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor's house, then the thief, if caught, shall pay double. If the thief is not caught, the owner of the house shall be brought before God, to determine whether or not the owner had laid hands on the neighbor's goods.

In any case of disputed ownership involving ox, donkey, sheep, clothing, or any other loss, of which one party says, “This is mine,” the case of both parties shall come before God; the one whom God condemns shall pay double to the other.

When someone delivers to another a donkey, ox, sheep, or any other animal for safekeeping, and it dies or is injured or is carried off, without anyone seeing it, an oath before the Lord shall decide between the two of them that the one has not laid hands on the property of the other; the owner shall accept the oath, and no restitution shall be made. But if it was stolen, restitution shall be made to its owner. If it was mangled by beasts, let it be brought as evidence; restitution shall not be made for the mangled remains.

When someone borrows an animal from another and it is injured or dies, the owner not being present, full restitution shall be made. If the owner was present, there shall be no restitution; if it was hired, only the hiring fee is due.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 1:18-22

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

So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them,

“Call me no longer Naomi,
 call me Mara,
 for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.
I went away full,
 but the Lord has brought me back empty
why call me Naomi
 when the Lord has dealt harshly with me,
 and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

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;¹

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!

¹This passage is used in Acts, when the believers pray for boldness (Acts 4:23-31), and when Paul and Barnabas prevent the people of Lystra from offering them sacrifices (Acts 14:8-20) as well as in Revelation, when a voice speaking to John instructs him to prophesy in many nations (Revelation 10:1-11).

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 9:1-12

Holy of Holies

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot speak now in detail.

Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent to carry out their ritual duties; but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right.

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.

Year B Ordinary 31 Thursday

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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 that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information 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, 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.

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Image credit: Holy of Holies image by Daniel Ventura, "Degem Mischan made by Michael Osnis", via Wikimedia Commons

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