Wednesday: Reflection on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 13
Roman Catholic Proper 18

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8, 13-14

Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with the rain; in the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; when the doors on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low; when one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Hosea 14:1-9

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
 for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take words with you
 and return to the Lord;
say to him,
 “Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good,
 and we will offer
 the fruit of our lips.
“Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride upon horses;
 we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
“In you the orphan finds mercy.”

I will heal their disloyalty;
 I will love them freely,
 for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
 he shall blossom like the lily,
 he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.

His shoots shall spread out;
 his beauty shall be like the olive tree,
 and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
They shall again live beneath my shadow,
 they shall flourish as a garden;
they shall blossom like the vine,
 their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
 It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
 your faithfulness comes from me.
Those who are wise understand these things;
 those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
 and the upright walk in them,
 but transgressors stumble in them.

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 Gospel Lesson: Luke 12:22-31

Raven-lilies.jpg

There is a parallel passage at Matthew 6:25-34; 18-21.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! “And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”

Year C Ordinary 18, RCL Proper 13, Catholic Proper 18 Wednesday

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: Don't Worry Public Domain Pictures Net, modified by Michael Gilbertson using Photoshop to take out key and chain, imaged flipped horizontally. This is a public domain image.

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