Tuesday: Reflection on 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 28:58-29:1

If you do not diligently observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, fearing this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, then the Lord will overwhelm both you and your offspring with severe and lasting afflictions and grievous and lasting maladies. He will bring back upon you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were in dread, and they shall cling to you. Every other malady and affliction, even though not recorded in the book of this law, the Lord will inflict on you until you are destroyed. Although once you were as numerous as the stars in heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. And just as the Lord took delight in making you prosperous and numerous, so the Lord will take delight in bringing you to ruin and destruction; you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to possess. The Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other; and there you shall serve other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. Among those nations you shall find no ease, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a languishing spirit. Your life shall hang in doubt before you; night and day you shall be in dread, with no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, “If only it were evening!” and at evening you shall say, “If only it were morning!”—because of the dread that your heart shall feel and the sights that your eyes shall see. The Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt, by a route that I promised you would never see again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.

These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 3:1-7

Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.” She said to her, “All that you tell me I will do.”

So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had instructed her. When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and he was in a contented mood, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came stealthily and uncovered his feet, and lay down.

Complementary Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
 according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
 blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
 and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
 and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
 and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
 and blameless when you pass judgment.¹

Indeed, I was born guilty,
 a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;
 therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
 wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
 let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
 and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
 and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
 and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
 and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
 and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
 O God of my salvation,
 and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

O Lord, open my lips,
 and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
 if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
 rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
then you will delight in right sacrifices,
 in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
 then bulls will be offered on your altar.

¹Paul quotes the last part of this verse when writing of God and judgment in Romans 3:1-8.

Semi-continuous Psalm 18:20-30

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
 according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
 and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his ordinances were before me,
 and his statutes I did not put away from me.
I was blameless before him,
 and I kept myself from guilt.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
 according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
 with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
with the pure you show yourself pure;
 and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
For you deliver a humble people,
 but the haughty eyes you bring down.
It is you who light my lamp;
 the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
By you I can crush a troop,
 and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
 the promise of the Lord proves true;
 he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

New Testament Lesson: Acts 7:17-29

[Stephen is speaking at the Council.]

St. Stephen

“But as the time drew near for the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham, our people in Egypt increased and multiplied until another king who had not known Joseph ruled over Egypt. He dealt craftily with our race and forced our ancestors to abandon their infants so that they would die. At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before God. For three months he was brought up in his father's house; and when he was abandoned, Pharaoh's daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. So Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in his words and deeds.

“When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his relatives, the Israelites. When he saw one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. He supposed that his kinsfolk would understand that God through him was rescuing them, but they did not understand. The next day he came to some of them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you wrong each other?’ But the man who was wronging his neighbor pushed Moses aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’¹ When he heard this, Moses fled and became a resident alien in the land of Midian. There he became the father of two sons.”

[After his speech is finished, he is taken out and stoned to death.]

¹Exodus 2:14

Year B Ordinary 31 Tuesday

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.

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

Image credit: St. Stephen by Carlo Crivelli (circa 1435-circa 1495), via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image. The objects around St. Stephen's head and body are depictions of the rocks used to kill him.

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