Elijah

Saturday: Preparation for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday: Preparation

The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 8, Roman Catholic Proper 13

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Torah: Deuteronomy 32:15-27, 39-43

[This is part of the Song of Moses.]

Jacob ate his fill;
 Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked.
 You grew fat, bloated, and gorged!
He abandoned God who made him,
 and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
They made him jealous with strange gods,
 with abhorrent things they provoked him.
They sacrificed to demons, not God,
 to deities they had never known,
to new ones recently arrived,
 whom your ancestors had not feared.
You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you;
 you forgot the God who gave you birth.

The Lord saw it, and was jealous;
 he spurned his sons and daughters.
He said: I will hide my face from them,
 I will see what their end will be;
for they are a perverse generation,
 children in whom there is no faithfulness.
They made me jealous with what is no god,
 provoked me with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with what is no people,
 provoke them with a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled by my anger,
 and burns to the depths of Sheol;
it devours the earth and its increase,
 and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
I will heap disasters upon them,
 spend my arrows against them:
wasting hunger,
 burning consumption,
 bitter pestilence.
The teeth of beasts I will send against them,
 with venom of things crawling in the dust.In the street the sword shall bereave,
 and in the chambers terror,
for young man and woman alike,
 nursing child and old gray head.
I thought to scatter them
 and blot out the memory of them from humankind;
but I feared provocation by the enemy,
 for their adversaries might misunderstand
and say, “Our hand is triumphant;
 it was not the Lord who did all this.”

See now that I, even I, am he;
 there is no god beside me.
I kill and I make alive;
 I wound and I heal;
 and no one can deliver from my hand.
For I lift up my hand to heaven,
 and swear: As I live forever,¹

when I whet my flashing sword,
 and my hand takes hold on judgment;
I will take vengeance on my adversaries,
 and will repay those who hate me.²

I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
 and my sword shall devour flesh—
with the blood of the slain and the captives,
 from the long-haired enemy.

Praise, O heavens, his people,
 worship him, all you gods!
For he will avenge the blood of his children,
 and take vengeance on his adversaries;
he will repay those who hate him,
 and cleanse the land for his people.³

¹In Revelation Chapter 10 an angel uses this language in swearing there will be no more delay.
²In
Romans 12:9-21 Paul says that part of being a true Christian is leaving vengeance to God.
³Paul quotes part of this verse when he asserts in
Romans 15:7-13 that the Gospel is for Jews and Gentiles.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 2 Kings 1:13-18; 2:3-5

Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. So the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. Look, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.” Then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he set out and went down with him to the king, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron,—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?—therefore you shall not leave the bed to which you have gone, but you shall surely die.”¹

So he died according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken. His brother, Jehoram succeeded him as king in the second year of King Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat of Judah, because Ahaziah had no son. Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.”

¹In Luke 9:51-56 James and John ask Jesus if they should cause fire to consume a Samaritan village that had rejected Jesus. Jesus rebuked them.

Complementary Psalm 16

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
 I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
 in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
 their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
 or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
 you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
 I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
 in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
 because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
 my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
 or let your faithful one see the Pit.¹

You show me the path of life.
 In your presence there is fullness of joy;
 in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.²

¹Paul quotes this verse (For you … the Pit) when he is preaching at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:26-41).
²Peter quotes this entire passage when he addresses the crowd at Pentecost (
Acts 2:14-36).

Semi-continuous Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God,
 that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
 in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
 my soul refuses to be comforted.

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
 I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work,
 and muse on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
 What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
 you have displayed your might among the peoples.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
 the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

When the waters saw you, O God,
 when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
 the very deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
 the skies thundered;
 your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
 your lightnings lit up the world;
 the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
 your path, through the mighty waters;
 yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
 by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 9:21-27

There are parallel passages at Matthew 16:21-28 and Mark 8:30-9:1.

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words, of them the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Year C Ordinary 13, Revised Common Lectionary Proper 8, Roman Catholic Proper 13 Saturday

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 right reserved.

Image credit: Triptych with the crucifixion, carrying of the cross and the deposition, by Master of the Virgo inter Virgines (fl. circa 1480-1495), via Wikimedia Commons

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Friday: Preparation for Sunday, June 30

Friday: Preparation

The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 8, Roman Catholic Proper 13

Complementary and Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 2 Kings 1:1-16

After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel.

Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay injured; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.” But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Get up, go to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Now therefore thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not leave the bed to which you have gone, but you shall surely die.’” So Elijah went.

The messengers returned to the king, who said to them, “Why have you returned?” They answered him, “There came a man to meet us, who said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him: Thus says the Lord: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not leave the bed to which you have gone, but shall surely die.’” He said to them, “What sort of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?” They answered him, “A hairy man, with a leather belt around his waist.” He said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. He went up and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king's order: Come down quickly!” But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. So the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. Look, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.” Then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he set out and went down with him to the king, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron,—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?—therefore you shall not leave the bed to which you have gone, but you shall surely die.”¹

¹In Luke 9:51-56 James and John ask Jesus if they should cause fire to consume a Samaritan village that had rejected Jesus. Jesus rebuked them.

Complementary Psalm 16

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
 I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
 in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
 their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
 or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
 you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
 I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
 in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
 because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
 my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
 or let your faithful one see the Pit.¹

You show me the path of life.
 In your presence there is fullness of joy;
 in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.²

¹Paul quotes this verse (For you … the Pit) when he is preaching at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:26-41).
²Peter quotes this entire passage when he addresses the crowd at Pentecost (
Acts 2:14-36).

Semi-continuous Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God,
 that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
 in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
 my soul refuses to be comforted.

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
 I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work,
 and muse on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
 What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
 you have displayed your might among the peoples.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
 the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

When the waters saw you, O God,
 when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
 the very deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
 the skies thundered;
 your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
 your lightnings lit up the world;
 the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
 your path, through the mighty waters;
 yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
 by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Galatians 4:8-20

Elemental Spirits in the form of angels

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.

Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What has become of the good will you felt? For I testify that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them. It is good to be made much of for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Year C Ordinary 13, Revised Common Lectionary Proper 8, Roman Catholic Proper 13 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 right reserved.

Image credit: Angel's Army by Guariento di Arpo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 7

Roman Catholic Proper 12

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 65:1-9

I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
 to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
 to a nation that did not call on my name.
I held out my hands all day long
 to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
 following their own devices;¹

a people who provoke me
 to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
 and offering incense on bricks;
who sit inside tombs,
 and spend the night in secret places;
who eat swine's flesh,
 with broth of abominable things in their vessels;
who say, “Keep to yourself,
 do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
 a fire that burns all day long.
See, it is written before me:
 I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their laps
their iniquities and their
 ancestors' iniquities together,
   says the Lord;
because they offered incense on the mountains
 and reviled me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
 full payment for their actions.
Thus says the Lord:
As the wine is found in the cluster,
 and they say, “Do not destroy it,
 for there is a blessing in it,”
so I will do for my servants' sake,
 and not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
 and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;
my chosen shall inherit it,
 and my servants shall settle there.

¹These verses are quoted in Paul's explanation that salvation is available to all, found in Romans 10:5-21.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 1 Kings 19:1-15

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.

But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.” He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.¹

He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.¹” Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.”

¹Paul quotes these verses in Romans 11:1-6, where he says that Israel's rejection is not final.

Complementary Psalm 22:19-28

But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
 O my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword,
 my life from the power of the dog!
 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.¹
I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
 in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
 All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
 stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor
 the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
 but heard when I cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
 my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
 those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
 May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember
 and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
 shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
 and he rules over the nations.

¹Paul alludes to this verse when he comments on his personal circumstances in 2 Timothy 4:16-18

Semi-continuous Psalms 42 and 43

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
 so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
 for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
 the face of God?
My tears have been my food
 day and night,
 while people say to me continually,
 “Where is your God?”

These things I remember,
 as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
 and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
 a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
 my help and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
 therefore I remember you from
the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
 from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
 at the thunder of your cataracts;
 all your waves and your billows
 have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
 and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock,
 “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
 because the enemy oppresses me?”
As with a deadly wound in my body,
 my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
 “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

Vindicate me, O God,
 and defend my cause
 against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
 deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
 why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
 because of the oppression of the enemy?

O send out your light and your truth;
 let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
 and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
 to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
 O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
 my help and my God.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Galatians 3:23-29

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 8:26-39

There are parallel passages at Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-20.

Tormented-figure-Tmb-WS.jpg

Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Year C Ordinary 12, Revised Common Lectionary Proper 7, Roman Catholic Proper 12, 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 right reserved.

Image Credit: Master of the Furies. Tormented Figure, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55481 [retrieved June 12, 2016]. Original source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Master_of_the_Furies_-_Tormented_Figure_-_Walters_71435.jpg.

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Saturday:Preparation for Pentecost

2 Kings 2:1-15a

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

Elijah and Elisha By unknown artist from Carl Poellath's atelier

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him at a distance, they declared, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” They came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
 In wisdom you have made them all;
 the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
 creeping things innumerable are there,
 living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
 and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you
 to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
 when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
 when you take away their breath, they die
 and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
 may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
 who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

Luke 1:5-17

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Year C Pentecost Saturday

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 right reserved.

Image credit: Elias by unknown artist from Carl Poellath's atelier in Schrobenhausen. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Monday: Reflection on the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Former Prophets: 1 Kings 17:8-16

Elijah-Widow.jpg

Then the word of the Lord came to him [Elijah] saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Psalm 56

Be gracious to me, O God,
  for people trample on me;
all day long foes oppress me;
 my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many fight against me.
O Most High, when I am afraid,
 I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
 in God I trust;
I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?

All day long they seek to injure my cause;
 all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk,
 they watch my steps.
As they hoped to have my life,
 so repay them for their crime;
in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

You have kept count of my tossings;
 put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will retreat in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
 in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid.
 What can a mere mortal do to me?

My vows to you I must perform, O God;
 I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
 and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
 in the light of life.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
 nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God's except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.

Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord
 so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

Year C Epiphany 4 Monday

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: Elijah and the Widow of Zarapath by Jan Victors via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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The Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 1 Kings 17:8-16

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of the New International Version, summaries of the week's readings, a wish that the church could settle the meaning of justification, widows, and faith that moves mountains.

More information about the two complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.” She said to her, “All that you tell me I will do.”

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Complementary Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
 I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
 in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
 on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
 whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
 the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
 who executes justice for the oppressed;
 who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
 the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
 he upholds the orphan and the widow,
 but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever,
 your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Semi-continuous Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house,
 those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
 the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
 and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
 for he gives sleep to his beloved.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
 the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
 are the sons of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has
 his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
 when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 9:24-28

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.¹

¹The last phrase (from so Christ) is an allusion to Isaiah 53:12.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Mark 12:38-44

The Pennies of the Poor Widow

There are parallel passages denouncing the scribes at Matthew 23:1-36 and Luke 20:45-47.
There is a parallel passage about the widow's offering at
Luke 21:1-4.

As Jesus taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and 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 sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Year B Ordinary 32 Sunday

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.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the Complete Jewish Bible (Updated) (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 the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version (MEV) , 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.
Additional citations of Hebrew Scripture used in Christian Scripture, when not found in the NIV, are from the NET Bible. Scriptures designated (NET) are from the Net Bible-New English Translation ® copyright © 2005 by Biblical Studies Press, LLC (www.bible.org) used by permission. All rights reserved.

Image credit: The Pennies of the Poor Widow by Paulus Lesire via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Monday: Reflection on the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary 1 Kings 17:1-16 Elijah predicts a drought and God sends him to the widow of Zarephath.

Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 15:13-31 David flees Jerusalem in the face of Absalom’s revolt.

Both Ephesians 5:1-14 Renounce pagan ways and live as children of the light.

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The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary 1 Kings 19:4-8 An angel brings food and water to Elijah.

Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 David laments Absalom’s death.

Both Ephesians 4:25-5:2 We should forgive one another, as Christ has forgiven us.

Both John 6:35, 41-51 Jesus says, “I am the bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.”

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