Thursday: Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 20
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 15

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: Joshua 7:1, 10-26

But the Israelites broke faith in regard to the devoted¹ things: Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things; and the anger of the Lord burned against the Israelites.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why have you fallen upon your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I imposed on them. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have acted deceitfully, and they have put them among their own belongings. Therefore the Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they turn their backs to their enemies, because they have become a thing devoted for destruction themselves. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you. Proceed to sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “There are devoted things among you, O Israel; you will be unable to stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you.” In the morning therefore you shall come forward tribe by tribe. The tribe that the Lord takes shall come near by clans, the clan that the Lord takes shall come near by households, and the household that the Lord takes shall come near one by one. And the one who is taken as having the devoted things shall be burned with fire, together with all that he has, for having transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and for having done an outrageous thing in Israel.’”

So Joshua rose early in the morning, and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. He brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken; and he brought near the clan of the Zerahites, family by family, and Zabdi was taken. And he brought near his household one by one, and Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” And Achan answered Joshua, “It is true; I am the one who sinned against the Lord God of Israel. This is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. They now lie hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. They took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites; and they spread them out before the Lord. Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, with the silver, the mantle, and the bar of gold, with his sons and daughters, with his oxen, donkeys, and sheep, and his tent and all that he had; and they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord is bringing trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him to death; they burned them with fire, cast stones on them, and raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore that place to this day is called the Valley of Achor.

1Devoted designates things separated and exclusively dedicated to God. The spoil of Jericho belonged solely to Yahweh. Israel met with defeat at Ai and thirty-six men were killed because Achan kept some of this spoil.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 2:5-11

O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord! For you have forsaken the ways of your people,
O house of Jacob.
Indeed they are full of diviners from the east
and of soothsayers like the Philistines,
and they clasp hands with foreigners.
Their land is filled with silver and gold,
and there is no end to their treasures;
their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.
Their land is filled with idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their own fingers have made.
And so people are humbled,
and everyone is brought low—
do not forgive them!
Enter into the rock,
and hide in the dust from the terror of the Lord,
and from the glory of his majesty.
The haughty eyes of people shall be brought low,
and the pride of everyone shall be humbled;
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

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 10:26-31

Hebrews 10:31

For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”¹ And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”;² It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

¹Deuteronomy 32:35   ²Deuteronomy 32:36, Psalm 135:14

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

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: Hebrews 10:31 created by Michael Gilbertson 3 August 2016 using Photoshop. Available under CC 2.5.

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