Babylonian exile

The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 28
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 23

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 5:1-5, 7-15c

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman's wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” And the king of Aram said “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”

But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha's house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.  Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7

These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Complementary Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!
 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
 in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
 studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work,
 and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
 the Lord is gracious and merciful.¹

He provides food for those who fear him;
 he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
 in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
 all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever,
 to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
 he has commanded his covenant forever.
 Holy and awesome is his name.²

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
 all those who practice it have a good understanding.
 His praise endures forever.

¹The second part of this verse is repeated in James 5:11, in a passage about patience and suffering
²This verse is alluded to in Luke 1:49-50, part of the
Magnificat.

Semi-continuous Psalm 66:1-12

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
 sing the glory of his name;
 give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
 Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you,
 sing praises to your name.”

Come and see what God has done:
 he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land;
 they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
 who rules by his might forever,
 whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
 let the rebellious not exalt themselves.

Bless our God, O peoples,
 let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living,
 and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us;
 you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
 you laid burdens on our backs;
you let people ride over our heads;
 we went through fire and through water;
 yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 2 Timothy 2:8-15

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 17:11-19

As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

Year C Ordinary 28, Catholic Proper 28, RCL Proper 23: Sunday

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: Cleansing of the Ten Lepers from the Codex Aureus Epternacensis [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

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

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 18:19-25; 19:1-7

There are parallel passages at Isaiah 37:21-38 and 2 Chronicles 32:20-21.

The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? See, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.”

When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 20:1-18

Now the priest Pashhur son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. Then Pashhur struck the prophet Jeremiah, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the Lord. The next morning when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, The Lord has named you not Pashhur but “Terror-all-around.” For thus says the Lord: I am making you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies while you look on. And I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon; he shall carry them captive to Babylon, and shall kill them with the sword. I will give all the wealth of this city, all its gains, all its prized belongings, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies, who shall plunder them, and seize them, and carry them to Babylon. And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house, shall go into captivity, and to Babylon you shall go; there you shall die, and there you shall be buried, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.

O Lord, you have enticed me,
 and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
 and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long;
 everyone mocks me.
For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
 I must shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the Lord has become for me
 a reproach and derision all day long.
If I say, “I will not mention him,
 or speak any more in his name,”
then within me there is something like a burning fire
 shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
 and I cannot.
For I hear many whispering:
 “Terror is all around!
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
All my close friends
 are watching for me to stumble.
“Perhaps he can be enticed,
 and we can prevail against him,
 and take our revenge on him.”
But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
 therefore my persecutors will stumble,
 and they will not prevail.
They will be greatly shamed,
 for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
 will never be forgotten.
O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,
 you see the heart and the mind;
let me see your retribution upon them,
  for to you I have committed my cause.

Sing to the Lord;
 praise the Lord!
 For he has delivered the life of the needy
 from the hands of evildoers.

Cursed be the day
 on which I was born!
The day when my mother bore me,
 let it not be blessed!
Cursed be the man
 who brought the news to my father, saying,
“A child is born to you, a son,”
 making him very glad.
Let that man be like the cities
 that the Lord overthrew without pity;
let him hear a cry in the morning
 and an alarm at noon,
because he did not kill me in the womb;
 so my mother would have been my grave,
 and her womb forever great.
Why did I come forth from the womb
 to see toil and sorrow,
 and spend my days in shame?

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 Gospel Lesson: Luke 18:18-30

There are parallel passages at Matthew 19:16-30 and Mark 10:17-31.

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler

A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.¹’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for mt0he sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

¹These are from the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21).

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

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version Bible, copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image Credit: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image. Creative Commons 0 license

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Fourth Sunday in Epiphany

Jeremiah 29:1-14 For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me. I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Mark 5:1-20 Another telling of the Gerasene (or Gadarene) demoniac miracle

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Tuesday: Reflection on the First Sunday in Advent

Micah 4:6-13 From Babylon God will rescue and redeem you.

Revelation 18:1-10 Babylon is fallen! Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins.

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