Wednesday: Reflection on the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 25
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 20

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Proverbs 21:10-16

The souls of the wicked desire evil;
 their neighbors find no mercy in their eyes.
When a scoffer is punished, the simple become wiser;
 when the wise are instructed, they increase in knowledge.
The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;
 he casts the wicked down to ruin.
If you close your ear to the cry of the poor,
 you will cry out and not be heard.
A gift in secret averts anger;
 and a concealed bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous,
 but dismay to evildoers.
Whoever wanders from the way of understanding
 will rest in the assembly of the dead.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 10:17-25

Gather up your bundle from the ground,
 O you who live under siege!

For thus says the Lord:
I am going to sling out the inhabitants of the land
at this time,
and I will bring distress on them,
so that they shall feel it.
Woe is me because of my hurt!
My wound is severe.
But I said, “Truly this is my punishment,
and I must bear it.”
My tent is destroyed,
and all my cords are broken;
my children have gone from me,
and they are no more;
there is no one to spread my tent again,
and to set up my curtains. For the shepherds are stupid,
and do not inquire of the Lord;
therefore they have not prospered,
and all their flock is scattered.

Hear, a noise! Listen, it is coming—
 a great commotion from the land of the north
to make the cities of Judah a desolation,
 a lair of jackals.

I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control,
 that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps.
Correct me, O Lord, but in just measure;
 not in your anger, or you will bring me to nothing.
Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not know you,
 and on the peoples that do not call on your name;
for they have devoured Jacob;
 they have devoured him and consumed him,
 and have laid waste his habitation.¹

¹Almost identical language is used in Psalm 76:6, which we read during the first half of the week. This sentence is also reflected in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, where Paul offers encouragement as they are suffering.

Complementary Psalm 12

Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
 the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
They utter lies to each other;
 with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
 the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail;
 our lips are our own—who is our master?”

“Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
 I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
 “I will place them in the safety for which they long.”
The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
 silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
 purified seven times.
You, O Lord, will protect us;
 you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
 as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Semi-continuous Psalm 106:40-48

Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
 and he abhorred his heritage;
he gave them into the hand of the nations,
 so that those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them,
 and they were brought into subjection under their power.
Many times he delivered them,
 but they were rebellious in their purposes,
 and were brought low through their iniquity.
Nevertheless he regarded their distress
 when he heard their cry.
For their sake he remembered his covenant,
 and showed compassion
 according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
He caused them to be pitied
 by all who held them captive.

Save us, O Lord our God,
 and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
 and glory in your praise.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
 from everlasting to everlasting.
And let all the people say, “Amen.”
 Praise the Lord!¹

¹Zechariah quotes this verse in Luke 1:68, part of his prophesy about John the Baptist.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 20:45–21:4

The Widow's Mite

Jesus denounces the scribes (called teachers of the law in many translations) at Matthew 23:1-36 and Mark 12:38-40.
There is a parallel passage about the widow's offering at
Mark 12:41-44, which we read on Saturday.

In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

Year C Ordinary 25, Catholic Proper 25, RCL Proper 20: Wednesday

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 Widow's Mite by James Tissot, downloaded via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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