Assyria

Friday: Preparation for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 27
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 22

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 19:8-20, 35-37

There is a parallel passage about Hezekiah's prayer at Isaiah 37:14-20.
There is a parallel passage about the death of the Assyrians at
2 Chronicles 32:20-23.

The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. When the king heard concerning King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, “See, he has set out to fight against you,” he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus shall you speak to King Hezekiah of Judah: Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. See, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my predecessors destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?”

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, I pray you, from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.”

Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I have heard your prayer to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria.

That very night the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Nineveh. As he was worshiping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 52:12-30

In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord, the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. All the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile some of the poorest of the people and the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the artisans. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil.

The pillars of bronze that were in the house of the Lord, and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried all the bronze to Babylon. They took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the ladles, and all the vessels of bronze used in the temple service. The captain of the guard took away the small bowls also, the firepans, the basins, the pots, the lampstands, the ladles, and the bowls for libation, both those of gold and those of silver. As for the two pillars, the one sea, the twelve bronze bulls that were under the sea, and the stands, which King Solomon had made for the house of the Lord, the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weighing. As for the pillars, the height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, its circumference was twelve cubits; it was hollow and its thickness was four fingers. Upon it was a capital of bronze; the height of the one capital was five cubits; latticework and pomegranates, all of bronze, encircled the top of the capital. And the second pillar had the same, with pomegranates. There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates encircling the latticework numbered one hundred.

The captain of the guard took the chief priest Seraiah, the second priest Zephaniah, and the three guardians of the threshold; and from the city he took an officer who had been in command of the soldiers, and seven men of the king's council who were found in the city; the secretary of the commander of the army who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land who were found inside the city. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And the king of Babylon struck them down, and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah went into exile out of its land.

This is the number of the people whom Nebuchadrezzar took into exile: in the seventh year, three thousand twenty-three Judeans; in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he took into exile from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty-two persons; in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadrezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took into exile of the Judeans seven hundred forty-five persons; all the persons were four thousand six hundred.

Complementary Psalm 37:1-9

Do not fret because of the wicked;
 do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
 and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
 so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
 trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
 and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
 do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
 over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
 Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
 but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

Semi-continuous Canticle from The Writings: Lamentations 3:19-26

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
 is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
 and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
 and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
 his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
 great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul.
 “therefore I will hope in him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
 to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
 for the salvation of the Lord.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 2:12-29

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword:

“I know where you are living, where Satan's throne is. Yet you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in me even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication. So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze:

“I know your works—your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice fornication and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her fornication. Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call ‘the deep things of Satan,’ to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden; only hold fast to what you have until I come. To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end,
 I will give authority over the nations;
 to rule them with an iron rod,
  as when clay pots are shattered—
even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

Year C Ordinary 27, Catholic Proper 27, RCL Proper 22: Friday

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: Proverbs 12:1 created by Michael Gilbertson on Recite.com 9/20/16. This image may be used under CC 3.0 by NC-ND.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 27
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 22

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 18:1-8, 28-36

There are parallel passages at 2 Chronicles 29:1-2, 2 Chronicles 31:1, 20-21, and 2 Chronicles 32:9-19.

In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord just as his ancestor David had done. He removed the high places, broke down the pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him, or among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. The Lord was with him; wherever he went, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. He attacked the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered its land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”

But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king's command was, “Do not answer him.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 52:1-11

There are parallel passages at 2 Kings 24:18-20, 25:1-21, 2 Chronicles 36:11-20, and Jeremiah 39:1-10.

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign; he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. Indeed, Jerusalem and Judah so angered the Lord that he expelled them from his presence.

Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and they laid siege to it; they built siegeworks against it all around. So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine became so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city wall; and all the soldiers fled and went out from the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king's garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. They went in the direction of the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered, deserting him. Then they captured the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him. The king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and also killed all the officers of Judah at Riblah. He put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in fetters, and the king of Babylon took him to Babylon, and put him in prison until the day of his death.

Complementary Psalm 37:1-9

Do not fret because of the wicked;
 do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
 and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
 so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
 trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
 and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
 do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
 over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
 Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
 but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

Semi-continuous Canticle from The Writings: Lamentations 3:19-26

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
 is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
 and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
 and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
 his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
 great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul.
 “therefore I will hope in him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
 to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
 for the salvation of the Lord.

New Testament Lesson: Revelation 2:8-11

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life:

“I know your affliction and your poverty, even though you are rich. I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever conquers will not be harmed by the second death.¹”

¹In Matthew 20:18 Jesus warns that God can destroy both the body and the soul in hell. There is a vision in Revelation 20:12 that on the day of judgment all the dead will rise and evil ones will be thrown into a lake of fire to suffer a second death.

Year C Ordinary 27, Catholic Proper 27, RCL Proper 22: 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: The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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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
saying,
“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.
²
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

Timothy

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, www.messianicjewish.net. 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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Tuesday: Reflection on the Second Sunday in Advent

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Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 19:18-25

Isaiah-19.jpg

On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of the Sun.

On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the center of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; when they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior, and will defend and deliver them. The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians; and the Egyptians will know the Lord on that day, and will worship with sacrifice and burnt offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing; they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their supplications and heal them.

On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.”

Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
 we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
 and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
 “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
 and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
 like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
 reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
 bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
 carrying their sheaves.

New Testament Scripture Epistle Lesson: 2 Peter 1:2-15

May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

Therefore I intend to keep on reminding you of these things, though you know them already and are established in the truth that has come to you. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Year C Advent 2 Tuesday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (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 right reserved.

Image credit: All Religions Temple, A building and cultural center build by the local artist Ildar Xanov, image by Maarten, via Wikimedia.org. This image is used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 17:5-18

Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria; for three years he besieged it. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria. He placed them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced. The people of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the Lord their God. They built for themselves high places at all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city; they set up for themselves pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree; there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. They did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger; they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.” Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” They would not listen but were stubborn, as their ancestors had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their ancestors, and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false; they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did. They rejected all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; they made a sacred pole, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah alone.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ecclesiastes 1:1-18

The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
 vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What do people gain from all the toil
 at which they toil under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
 but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun goes down,
 and hurries to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south,
 and goes around to the north;
round and round goes the wind,
 and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
 but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
 there they continue to flow.
All things are wearisome;
 more than one can express;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
 or the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
 and what has been done is what will be done;
 there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
 “See, this is new”?
It has already been,
 in the ages before us.
The people of long ago are not remembered,
 nor will there be any remembrance
of people yet to come
 by those who come after them.

I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

What is crooked cannot be made straight,
 and what is lacking cannot be counted.

I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.

For in much wisdom is much vexation,
 and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.

Complementary Psalm 54

Save me, O God, by your name,
 and vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
 give ear to the words of my mouth.

For the insolent have risen against me,
 the ruthless seek my life;
they do not set God before them. Selah

But surely, God is my helper;
 the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
 In your faithfulness, put an end to them.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
 I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
 and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Semi-continuous Psalm 1

Happy are those
 who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
 or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
 and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted
 by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
 and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
 but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
 nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
 but the way of the wicked will perish.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Matthew 23:29-39

Murder of Zechariah

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah*, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.¹

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”²

*According to the New Interpreter's Bible commentary, Matthew has misidentified the Zechariah who was murdered. The one who was murdered (at the order of King Joash) is the son of Jehoida. The murder is described in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22.
¹There is a parallel passage at
Luke 11:47-52.    ²There is a parallel passage at Luke 13:34-35.

Year B Ordinary 25 Saturday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from The New Revised Standard Version, (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 right reserved.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) is used are from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: Murder of Zechariah by William Hole via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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

Complementary Isaiah 10:12-20 Arrogant Assyria is judged.

Semi-continuous Proverbs 29 A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds back.

Both John 7:25-36 Many in the crowd believed that Jesus is the Messiah.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday: Preparation for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary: Zephaniah 2:13-15 God will stretch out God’s hand against the north and destroy Assyria.

Semi-continuous: Exodus 16:22-30 God declares a say of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath.

Both: Matthew 19:23-30 Jesus said to his disciples, “It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

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