Wednesday: 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 20:33-44

As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out;¹ and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, says the Lord God. I will make you pass under the staff, and will bring you within the bond of the covenant. I will purge out the rebels among you, and those who transgress against me; I will bring them out of the land where they reside as aliens, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: Go serve your idols, everyone of you now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.

For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, says the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land; there I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred things. As a pleasing odor I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples, and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations.¹ You shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your ancestors. There you shall remember your ways and all the deeds by which you have polluted yourselves; and you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name's sake, not according to your evil ways, or corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, says the Lord God.

¹This idea is repeated in Paul's description of how we are the temple of the living God, found in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 7:27-34

So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.

Cut off your hair and throw it away;
raise a lamentation on the bare heights,
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
the generation that provoked his wrath.

For the people of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord; they have set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, defiling it. And they go on building the high place of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire—which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter: for they will bury in Topheth until there is no more room. The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the animals of the earth; and no one will frighten them away. And I will bring to an end the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bride and bridegroom in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for the land shall become a waste.

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 Gospel Lesson: Luke 6:6-11

There are parallel passages at Matthew 12:9-14 and Mark 3:1-6.

On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

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: Jesus heals the man with a withered hand by Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib, [Public domain], cropped to delete text and border extended using Photoshop by Gilbertson 11 August 2016, via Wikimedia Commons

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

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