Isaac

Tuesday: Reflection on the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 19
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 14

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: 2 Chronicles 34:22-33

There is a parallel passage at 2 Kings 22:8-20, 23:1-3.

[The priest Hilkiah has found the book of the law in the temple as it is being restored. King Josiah has sent to inquire about the book.]

So Hilkiah and those whom the king had sent went to the prophet Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (who lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter) and spoke to her to that effect. She declared to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the Lord: I will indeed bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that was read before the king of Judah. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, so that they have provoked me to anger with all the works of their hands, my wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched. But as to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me, and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the Lord. I will gather you to your ancestors and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring on this place and its inhabitants.” They took the message back to the king.

Then the king sent word and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. The king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin pledge themselves to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem acted according to the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel, and made all who were in Israel worship the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord the God of their ancestors.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 24:1-13

Now the Lord is about to lay waste the earth and make it desolate,
 and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
 as with the slave, so with his master;
 as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
 as with the lender, so with the borrower;
 as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The earth shall be utterly laid waste and utterly despoiled;
 for the Lord has spoken this word.

The earth dries up and withers,
 the world languishes and withers;
 the heavens languish together with the earth.
The earth lies polluted
 under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws,
 violated the statutes,
 broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
 and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled,
 and few people are left.
The wine dries up,
 the vine languishes,
 all the merry-hearted sigh.
The mirth of the timbrels is stilled,
 the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
 the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
No longer do they drink wine with singing;
 strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
The city of chaos is broken down,
 every house is shut up so that no one can enter.
There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
 all joy has reached its eventide;
 the gladness of the earth is banished.
Desolation is left in the city,
 the gates are battered into ruins.
For thus it shall be on the earth
 and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
 as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is ended.

Complementary Psalm 89:1-18

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
 with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
 your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
 I have sworn to my servant David:
‘I will establish your descendants forever,
 and build your throne for all generations.’”
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
 your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
 Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
 great and awesome above all that are around him?
O Lord God of hosts,
 who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
 Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
 when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
 you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
 the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
The north and the south—you created them;
 Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
You have a mighty arm;
 strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
 steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

Semi-continuous Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me,
 “Flee like a bird to the mountains;
for look, the wicked bend the bow,
 they have fitted their arrow to the string,
 to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
“If the foundations are destroyed,
 what can the righteous do?”

The Lord is in his holy temple;
 the Lord's throne is in heaven.
 His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.
The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
 and his soul hates the lover of violence.
On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and sulfur;
 a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
 the upright shall behold his face.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 11:17-28

Heroes of Faith 2

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom he had been told, “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.”¹ He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead—and figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked blessings for the future on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, “bowing in worship over the top of his staff.” By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his burial. By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king's anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

¹Genesis 21:12

Year C Ordinary 19, Roman Catholic Proper 19, RCL Proper 14, Tuesday

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: Heroes of Faith 2 constructed by Michael Gilbertson from elements in Heroes of Faith 2 and Heroes of Faith 3 with permission from Mark Barry. Copyright © 2014 Mark Barry. See more of Mark's terrific work in English, Spanish, simplified Chinese, and Indonesian at visualunit.me.

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Monday: Reflection on the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 8, Roman Catholic Proper 13

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Torah: Genesis 24:34-41, 50-67

So he said, “I am Abraham's servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father's house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.’ I said to my master, ‘Perhaps the woman will not follow me.’ But he said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with you and make your way successful. You shall get a wife for my son from my kindred, from my father's house. Then you will be free from my oath, when you come to my kindred; even if they will not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.’”

Then Laban and Bethuel answered, “The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you anything bad or good. Look, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has spoken.”

When Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground before the Lord. And the servant brought out jewelry of silver and of gold, and garments, and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave to her brother and to her mother costly ornaments. Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When they rose in the morning, he said, “Send me back to my master.” Her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go.” But he said to them, “Do not delay me, since the Lord has made my journey successful; let me go that I may go to my master.” They said, “We will call the girl, and ask her.” And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.” So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“May you, our sister, become
 thousands of myriads;
may your offspring gain possession
 of the gates of their foes.”

Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 2 Kings 2:15-22

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. They said to him, “See now, we have fifty strong men among your servants; please let them go and seek your master; it may be that the spirit of the Lord has caught him up and thrown him down on some mountain or into some valley.” He responded, “No, do not send them.” But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, “Send them.” So they sent fifty men who searched for three days but did not find him. When they came back to him (he had remained at Jericho), he said to them, “Did I not say to you, Do not go?”

Now the people of the city said to Elisha, “The location of this city is good, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went to the spring of water and threw the salt into it, and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.

Complementary Psalm 140

Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
 protect me from those who are violent,
who plan evil things in their minds
 and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a snake's,
 and under their lips is the venom of vipers.¹

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
 protect me from the violent
 who have planned my downfall.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
 and with cords they have spread a net,
 along the road they have set snares for me.

I say to the Lord, “You are my God;
 give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.”
O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
 you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
 do not further their evil plot.

Those who surround me lift up their heads;
 let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
Let burning coals fall on them!
 Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
 let evil speedily hunt down the violent!

I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
 and executes justice for the poor.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
 the upright shall live in your presence.

¹Paul uses this phrase when he explains that none of us is righteous in Romans 3:9-20.

Semi-continuous Psalm 75

We give thanks to you, O God;
 we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.

At the set time that I appoint
 I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
 it is I who keep its pillars steady.
I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
 and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
 or speak with insolent neck.”

For not from the east or from the west
 and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
but it is God who executes judgment,
 putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord ;there is a cup
 with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
 and all the wicked of the earth
 shall drain it down to the dregs.
But I will rejoice forever;
 I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
 but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 John 2:7-11

1-John-2-TW-Tmb-WS.jpg

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.

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

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: Image by StockSnap via Pixabay Creative Commons 0 license. cropped by Michael Gilbertson using Photoshop.

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Thursday: Preparation

The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 7
Roman Catholic Proper 12

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 56:9-12

All you wild animals, all you wild animals in the forest,
 come to devour!
Israel's sentinels are blind,
 they are all without knowledge;
they are all silent dogs
 that cannot bark;
dreaming, lying down,
 loving to slumber.
The dogs have a mighty appetite;
 they never have enough.
The shepherds also have no understanding;
 they have all turned to their own way,
 to their own gain, one and all.
“Come,” they say, “let us get wine;
 let us fill ourselves with strong drink.
And tomorrow will be like today, great beyond measure.”¹

¹This verse is quoted in 1 Corinthians 15:30-34, urging the Corinthians to sin no more.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Torah: Genesis 24:1-21

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.” The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.¹ But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.

Then the servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, taking all kinds of choice gifts from his master; and he set out and went to Aram-naharaim, to the city of Nahor. He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was toward evening, the time when women go out to draw water. And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. I am standing here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I shall say, ‘Please offer your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’ —let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”

Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, coming out with her water jar on her shoulder. The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me sip a little water from your jar.” “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

¹Stephen quotes this verse in his defense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53.

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.

[pspsa,

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: Romans 2:17-29

circumcision-of-the-heart-all.jpg

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.¹”

Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.

¹Isaiah 52:5 and Ezekiel 36:20 and 22

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

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 the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The New International Version Bible ® (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: Circumcision of the Heart from Prophetic Art by Gwen Meharg licensed under Creative Commons 2.5. See more of Gwen's art at Draw Near to God

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ruth 3:14-4:6

So Ruth lay at his feet until morning, but got up before one person could recognize another; for he said, “It must not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” Then he said, “Bring the cloak you are wearing and hold it out.” So she held it, and he measured out six measures of barley, and put it on her back; then he went into the city. She came to her mother-in-law, who said, “How did things go with you, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, ‘Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.”

No sooner had Boaz gone up to the gate and sat down there than the next-of-kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came passing by. So Boaz said, “Come over, friend; sit down here.” And he went over and sat down. Then Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here”; so they sat down. He then said to the next-of-kin, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our kinsman Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it, and say: Buy it in the presence of those sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, so that I may know; for there is no one prior to you to redeem it, and I come after you.” So he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead man, to maintain the dead man's name on his inheritance.” At this, the next-of-kin said, “I cannot redeem it for myself without damaging my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 24:11-27

Abraham's servant made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was toward evening, the time when women go out to draw water. And he said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. I am standing here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I shall say, ‘Please offer your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”

Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, coming out with her water jar on her shoulder. The girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin, whom no man had known. She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me sip a little water from your jar.” “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw, and she drew for all his camels. The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels, and said, “Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father's house for us to spend the night?” She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” She added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.” The man bowed his head and worshiped the Lord and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the way to the house of my master's kin.”

Complementary Psalm 94

O Lord, you God of vengeance,
 you God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
 give to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
 how long shall the wicked exult?

They pour out their arrogant words;
 all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
 and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the stranger,
 they murder the orphan,
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
 the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

Understand, O dullest of the people;
 fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations,
he who teaches knowledge to humankind,
 does he not chastise?
The Lord knows our thoughts,
 that they are but an empty breath.

Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord,
 and whom you teach out of your law,
giving them respite from days of trouble,
 until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not forsake his people;
 he will not abandon his heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
 and all the upright in heart will follow it.

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
 Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
 my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot is slipping,”
 your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
 your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
 those who contrive mischief by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous,
 and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
 and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will repay them for their iniquity
 and wipe them out for their wickedness;
 the Lord our God will wipe them out.

Semi-continuous Psalm 113

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
 praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
 from this time on and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
 the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
 and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God,
 who is seated on high,
who looks far down
 on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
 and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
 with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
 making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 5:9-16

widow.jpg

Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints' feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge. Besides that, they learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house; and they are not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their households, so as to give the adversary no occasion to revile us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows.

Year B Ordinary 32 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: Widow Streety and family. West Point, Miss. by Lewis Wickes Hine, 1874-1940, photographer, via picryl.com. This is a public domain image.

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

Complementary Joshua 2:1-14b Rahab, a prostitute, shelters Joshua’s spies.

Semi-continuous Proverbs 15:1-17 The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Both Hebrews 11:17-22 The faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

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Monday: Reflection on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Genesis 18:1-15 Abraham, at the oaks of Mamre, serves three, one of whom assures him that Sarah, even in her old age, will produce a son for them.

Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 11:14-21 David arranges for Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to die in a battle.

Both Philippians 4:10-20 Paul thanks the Philippians for their gifts, brought to him by Epaphroditus.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Genesis 48:8-19 Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons in the name of the God who has been his Shepherd.

Mark 6:30-34 A great crowd went to where Jesus and the disciples went to rest. Jesus saw they were like sheep without a shepherd and taught them many things.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Second Sunday in Lent

Genesis 22:1-19 God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice Isaac.

Hebrews 11:1-3, 13-19 Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

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