Monday: Reflection on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 12
Roman Catholic Proper 17

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Esther 5:1-14

On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, opposite the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne inside the palace opposite the entrance to the palace. As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor and he held out to her the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. The king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. While they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Esther said, “This is my petition and request: If I have won the king's favor, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and then I will do as the king has said.”

Haman went out that day happy and in good spirits. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai; nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh, and Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the ministers of the king. Haman added, “Even Queen Esther let no one but myself come with the king to the banquet that she prepared. Tomorrow also I am invited by her, together with the king. Yet all this does me no good so long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate.” Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits.” This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Hosea 2:14—3:5

Therefore, I will now allure her,
 and bring her into the wilderness,
 and speak tenderly to her.
From there I will give her her vineyards,
 and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she shall respond as in the days of her youth,
 as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My Baal.” For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.

I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.

On that day I will answer, says the Lord,
 I will answer the heavens
 and they shall answer the earth;
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
 and they shall answer Jezreel;
 and I will sow him for myself in the land.
And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah,
 and I will say to Lo-ammi, “You are my people”;
 and he shall say, “You are my God.”

The Lord said to me again, “Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer of barley and a measure of wine. And I said to her, “You must remain as mine for many days; you shall not play the whore, you shall not have intercourse with a man, nor I with you.” For the Israelites shall remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the Israelites shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; they shall come in awe to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

Complementary Psalm 55:16-23

But I call upon God,
 and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
 I utter my complaint and moan,
 and he will hear my voice.

He will redeem me unharmed
 from the battle that I wage,
 for many are arrayed against me.
God, who is enthroned from of old,
 will hear, and will humble them—
because they do not change,
 and do not fear God.

My companion laid hands on a friend
 and violated a covenant with me
with speech smoother than butter,
 but with a heart set on war;
with words that were softer than oil,
 but in fact were drawn swords.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
 and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
 the righteous to be moved.

But you, O God, will cast them down
 into the lowest pit;
the bloodthirsty and treacherous
 shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you.

Semi-continuous Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God,
 our ancestors have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
 in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
 but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
 but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
 nor did their own arm give them victory;
but your right hand, and your arm,
 and the light of your countenance,
 for you delighted in them.

You are my King and my God;
 you command victories for Jacob.
Through you we push down our foes;
 through your name we tread down our assailants.
For not in my bow do I trust,
 nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes,
 and have put to confusion those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
 and we will give thanks to your name forever.

Yet you have rejected us and abased us,
 and have not gone out with our armies.
You made us turn back from the foe,
 and our enemies have gotten spoil.
You have made us like sheep for slaughter,
 and have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for a trifle,
 demanding no high price for them.

You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
 the derision and scorn of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations,
 a laughingstock among the peoples.
All day long my disgrace is before me,
 and shame has covered my face
at the words of the taunters and revilers,
 at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.

All this has come upon us,
 yet we have not forgotten you,
 or been false to your covenant.
Our heart has not turned back,
 nor have our steps departed from your way,
yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals,
 and covered us with deep darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God,
 or spread out our hands to a strange god,
would not God discover this?
 For he knows the secrets of the heart.
Because of you we are being killed all day long,
 and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.¹

Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
 Awake, do not cast us off forever!
Why do you hide your face?
 Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For we sink down to the dust;
 our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up, come to our help.

Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

¹Paul alludes to this verse in Romans 8:31-39, where he explains God's love in Christ Jesus.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Colossians 2:16—3:1

Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”? All these regulations refer to things that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Year C Ordinary 17 Monday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (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 rights reserved.

Image Credit: Sunlight image by Tomwsulcer via via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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