Monday: Reflection on the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 23
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 18

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 17:24-41

The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria in place of the people of Israel; they took possession of Samaria, and settled in its cities. When they first settled there, they did not worship the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them; they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there; let him go and live there, and teach them the law of the god of the land.” So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel; he taught them how they should worship the Lord.

But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived; the people of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the people of Cuth made Nergal, the people of Hamath made Ashima; the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. They also worshiped the Lord and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. So they worshiped the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. To this day they continue to practice their former customs.

They do not worship the Lord and they do not follow the statutes or the ordinances or the law or the commandment that the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel. The Lord had made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not worship other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, but you shall worship the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm; you shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to observe. You shall not worship other gods; you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not worship other gods, but you shall worship the Lord your God; he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” They would not listen, however, but they continued to practice their former custom.

So these nations worshiped the Lord, but also served their carved images; to this day their children and their children's children continue to do as their ancestors did.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 18:12-23

But they say, “It is no use! We will follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of our evil will.”

Therefore thus says the Lord:
Ask among the nations:
 Who has heard the like of this?
The virgin Israel has done
 a most horrible thing.
Does the snow of Lebanon leave
 the crags of Sirion?
Do the mountain waters run dry,
 the cold flowing streams?
But my people have forgotten me,
 they burn offerings to a delusion;
they have stumbled in their ways,
 in the ancient roads,
and have gone into bypaths,
 not the highway,
making their land a horror,
 a thing to be hissed at forever.
All who pass by it are horrified
 and shake their heads.
Like the wind from the east,
 I will scatter them before the enemy.
I will show them my back, not my face,
 in the day of their calamity.

Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah—for instruction shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us bring charges against him, and let us not heed any of his words.”

Give heed to me, O Lord,
 and listen to what my adversaries say!
Is evil a recompense for good?
 Yet they have dug a pit for my life.
Remember how I stood before you
 to speak good for them,
 to turn away your wrath from them.
Therefore give their children over to famine;
 hurl them out to the power of the sword,
let their wives become childless and widowed.
 May their men meet death by pestilence,
 their youths be slain by the sword in battle.
May a cry be heard from their houses,
 when you bring the marauder suddenly upon them!
For they have dug a pit to catch me,
 and laid snares for my feet.
Yet you, O Lord, know
 all their plotting to kill me.
Do not forgive their iniquity,
 do not blot out their sin from your sight.
Let them be tripped up before you;
 deal with them while you are angry.

Complementary Psalm 101

I will sing of loyalty and of justice;
 to you, O Lord, I will sing.
I will study the way that is blameless.
 When shall I attain it?

I will walk with integrity of heart
 within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
 anything that is base.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
 it shall not cling to me.
Perverseness of heart shall be far from me;
 I will know nothing of evil.

One who secretly slanders a neighbor
 I will destroy.
A haughty look and an arrogant heart
 I will not tolerate.

I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
 so that they may live with me;
whoever walks in the way that is blameless
 shall minister to me.
No one who practices deceit
 shall remain in my house;
no one who utters lies
 shall continue in my presence.
Morning by morning I will destroy
 all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all evildoers
 from the city of the Lord.

Semi-continuous Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire,
 and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
 and the rulers take counsel together,
 against the Lord and his anointed,¹
“Let us burst their bonds asunder,
 and cast their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
 the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
 and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
 today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
 and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
 and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
 be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
 with trembling³
kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
 for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.

¹These verses are quoted in Acts 4:23-31, where the believers pray for boldness.
²Paul quotes this verse when he is preaching at Antioch of Pisidia (
Acts 13:26-34)
³This phrase is repeated in what scholars think is an early hymn found in
Philippians 2:5-11.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 3:14—4:5


I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:

He was revealed in flesh,
vindicated in spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by God's word and by prayer.

Year C Ordinary 23, Catholic Proper 23, RCL Proper 18: Monday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, 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 right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and this copyright notice applies.

Image credit: St. Timothy by an anonymous icon writer, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image. Creative Commons 0 license.

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