Friday: Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 20
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 15

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 1 Samuel 5

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod; then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon [the Philistine God] and placed it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off upon the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and struck them with tumors, both in Ashdod and in its territory. And when the inhabitants of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is heavy on us and on our god Dagon.” So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” The inhabitants of Gath replied, “Let the ark of God be moved on to us.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But after they had brought it to Gath, the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic; he struck the inhabitants of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. So they sent the ark of the God of Israel to Ekron. But when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “Why have they brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people?” They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there; those who did not die were stricken with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 3:1-17

For now the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts,
 is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and staff—
all support of bread,
 and all support of water—
warrior and soldier,
 judge and prophet,
 diviner and elder,
captain of fifty
 and dignitary,
counselor and skillful magician
 and expert enchanter.
And I will make boys their princes,
 and babes shall rule over them.
The people will be oppressed,
 everyone by another
and everyone by a neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
 and the base to the honorable.

Someone will even seize a relative,
 a member of the clan, saying,
“You have a cloak;
 you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
 shall be under your rule.”
But the other will cry out on that day, saying,
“I will not be a healer;
 in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
you shall not make me
 leader of the people.”
For Jerusalem has stumbled
 and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
 defying his glorious presence.

The look on their faces bears witness against them;
 they proclaim their sin like Sodom,
 they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
 For they have brought evil on themselves.
Tell the innocent how fortunate they are,
 for they shall eat the fruit of their labors.
Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are,
 for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
My people—children are their oppressors,
 and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you,
 and confuse the course of your paths.

The Lord rises to argue his case;
 he stands to judge the peoples.
The Lord enters into judgment
 with the elders and princes of his people:
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
 the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people,
 by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
 and walk with outstretched necks,
 glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
 tinkling with their feet;
the Lord will afflict with scabs
 the heads of the daughters of Zion,
 and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

Complementary Psalm 82

God has taken his place in the divine council;
 in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
 and show partiality to the wicked?
Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
 maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
 deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
 they walk around in darkness;
 all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods,
 children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
 and fall like any prince.”

Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
 for all the nations belong to you!

¹Jesus quotes the first part of this verse in response to those who plan to stone him. The episode is in John 10:22-39.

Semi-continuous Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
 and come to save us!

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
 you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
 it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
 the mighty cedars with its branches;
it sent out its branches to the sea,
 and its shoots to the River.
Why then have you broken down its walls,
 so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
The boar from the forest ravages it,
 and all that move in the field feed on it.

Turn again, O God of hosts;
 look down from heaven, and see;
 have regard for this vine,
the stock that your right hand planted.
They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;
 may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
 the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you; give us life,
 and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:32-39

The Soldier of Marathon announcing the Victory

But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet

“in a very little while,
the one who is coming will come and will not delay;¹ but my righteous one will live by faith.
My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.²”

But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.

¹Isaiah 26:20, Habakkuk 2:3   ² Habakkuk 2:4 (see Septuagint)

Year C Ordinary 20, Catholic Proper 20, RCL Proper 15, The Tenth Week After Pentecost: Friday

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 Soldier of Marathon announcing the Victory Marble, 1834 By Jean-Pierre Cortot (French, 1787-1843), licensed under GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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