Monday: Reflection on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 13
Roman Catholic Proper 18

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ecclesiastes 2:1-17

I said to myself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But again, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.

The wise have eyes in their head,
but fools walk in darkness.

Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. Then I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?” And I said to myself that this also is vanity. For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Hosea 11:12—12:14

Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
 and the house of Israel with deceit;
but Judah still walks with God,
 and is faithful to the Holy One.
Ephraim herds the wind,
 and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
 they make a treaty with Assyria,
 and oil is carried to Egypt.

The Lord has an indictment against Judah,
 and will punish Jacob according to his ways,
 and repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he tried to supplant his brother,
 and in his manhood he strove with God.
He strove with the angel and prevailed,
 he wept and sought his favor;
he met him at Bethel,
 and there he spoke with him.
The Lord the God of hosts,
 the Lord is his name!
But as for you, return to your God,
 hold fast to love and justice,
 and wait continually for your God.

A trader, in whose hands are false balances,
 he loves to oppress.
Ephraim has said, “Ah, I am rich,
 I have gained wealth for myself;¹

in all of my gain no offense has been found in me
 that would be sin.”
I am the Lord your God
 from the land of Egypt;
 I will make you live in tents again,
 as in the days of the appointed festival.

I spoke to the prophets;
 it was I who multiplied visions,
 and through the prophets I will bring destruction.
In Gilead there is iniquity,
 they shall surely come to nothing.
In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls,
 so their altars shall be like stone heaps
 on the furrows of the field.
Jacob fled to the land of Aram,
 there Israel served for a wife,
 and for a wife he guarded sheep.
By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt,
 and by a prophet he was guarded.
Ephraim has given bitter offense,
 so his Lord will bring his crimes down on him
 and pay him back for his insults.

¹This verse is quoted in the message to the church at Laodicea, found in Revelation 3:14-22.

Complementary Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house,
 those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
 the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
 and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
 for he gives sleep to his beloved.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
 the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
 are the sons of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has
 his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
 when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Semi-continuous Psalm 60

O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses;
 you have been angry; now restore us!
You have caused the land to quake; you have torn it open;
 repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people suffer hard things;
 you have given us wine to drink that made us reel.

You have set up a banner for those who fear you,
 to rally to it out of bowshot.
Give victory with your right hand, and answer us,
 so that those whom you love may be rescued.
God has promised in his sanctuary:
 “With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
 and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
  Ephraim is my helmet;
 Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin;
 on Edom I hurl my shoe;
 over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
 Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
 You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
O grant us help against the foe,
 for human help is worthless.
With God we shall do valiantly;
 it is he who will tread down our foes.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Colossians 3:18—4:1

Saint Paul

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality. Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, for you know that you also have a Master in heaven.

Year C Ordinary 18, RCL Proper 13, Catholic Proper 18 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: The Apostle Paul by Rembrandt, a public domain image, via Wikimedia Commons.

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