Tuesday: Reflection on the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 21
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Ezekiel 20:18-32

I said to their children in the wilderness, Do not follow the statutes of your parents, nor observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I the Lord am your God; follow my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances, and hallow my sabbaths that they may be a sign between me and you, so that you may know that I the Lord am your God. But the children rebelled against me; they did not follow my statutes, and were not careful to observe my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live; they profaned my sabbaths. Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. But I withheld my hand, and acted for the sake of my name, so that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, because they had not executed my ordinances, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their ancestors’ idols. Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live. I defiled them through their very gifts, in their offering up all their firstborn, in order that I might horrify them, so that they might know that I am the Lord.

Therefore, mortal, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In this again your ancestors blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing odors, and there they poured out their drink offerings. (I said to them, What is the high place to which you go? So it is called Bamah to this day.) Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your ancestors and go astray after their detestable things? When you offer your gifts and make your children pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be consulted by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord God, I will not be consulted by you.

What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, “Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 7:16-26

[God is speaking to Jeremiah.]

As for you, do not pray for this people, do not raise a cry or prayer on their behalf, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? says the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own hurt? Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: My anger and my wrath shall be poured out on this place, on human beings and animals, on the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.” Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but, in the stubbornness of their evil will, they walked in their own counsels, and looked backward rather than forward. From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did.

Complementary Psalm 109:21-31

But you, O Lord my Lord,
 act on my behalf for your name's sake;
 because your steadfast love is good, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy,
 and my heart is pierced within me.
I am gone like a shadow at evening;
 I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees are weak through fasting;
 my body has become gaunt.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
 when they see me, they shake their heads.

Help me, O Lord my God!
 Save me according to your steadfast love.
Let them know that this is your hand;
 you, O Lord, have done it.
Let them curse, but you will bless.
 Let my assailants be put to shame; may your servant be glad.
May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
 may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle.
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
 I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
 to save them from those who would condemn them to death.

Semi-continuous Psalm 10

Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
 Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—
 let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.

For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart,
 those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord.
In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”;
 all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Their ways prosper at all times;
 your judgments are on high, out of their sight;
 as for their foes, they scoff at them.
They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved;
 throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.”

Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
 under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.
They sit in ambush in the villages;
 in hiding places they murder the innocent.

Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
 they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;
they lurk that they may seize the poor;
 they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.
They stoop, they crouch,
 and the helpless fall by their might.
They think in their heart,
 “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
 do not forget the oppressed.
Why do the wicked renounce God, and say in their hearts,
 “You will not call us to account”?

But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,
 that you may take it into your hands;
the helpless commit themselves to you;
 you have been the helper of the orphan.

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers;
 seek out their wickedness until you find none.
The Lord is king forever and ever;
 the nations shall perish from his land.

O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;
 you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
 to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,
 so that those from earth may strike terror no more.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 3:7-13

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of the holy one, the true one,
 who has the key of David,
 who opens and no one will shut,
who shuts and no one opens:

“I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but are lying—I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. If you conquer, I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God; you will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

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: Licensed image from Shutterstock, Copyright: Pikoso.kz, Image ID:239072095

Year C Ordinary 21, Catholic Proper 21, RCL Proper 16: Tuesday

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