Monday: Reflection on the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 27
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 22

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Habakkuk 1:5-17

Look at the nations, and see!
 Be astonished! Be astounded!
For a work is being done in your days
 that you would not believe if you were told.¹

For I am rousing the Chaldeans,
 that fierce and impetuous nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth
 to seize dwellings not their own.
Dread and fearsome are they;
 their justice and dignity proceed from themselves.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
 more menacing than wolves at dusk;
 their horses charge.
Their horsemen come from far away;
 they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
They all come for violence,
 with faces pressing forward;
 they gather captives like sand.
At kings they scoff,
 and of rulers they make sport.
They laugh at every fortress,
 and heap up earth to take it.
Then they sweep by like the wind;
 they transgress and become guilty;
 their own might is their god!

Are you not from of old,
 O Lord my God, my Holy One?
 You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgment;
 and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment.
Your eyes are too pure to behold evil,
 and you cannot look on wrongdoing;
why do you look on the treacherous,
 and are silent when the wicked swallow
 those more righteous than they?
You have made people like the fish of the sea,
 like crawling things that have no ruler.

The enemy brings all of them up with a hook;
 he drags them out with his net,
he gathers them in his seine;
 so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net
 and makes offerings to his seine;
for by them his portion is lavish,
 and his food is rich.
Is he then to keep on emptying his net,
 and destroying nations without mercy?

¹Paul quotes this verse in Acts 13:41, while preaching at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:26-41).

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Lamentations 1:16-22

For these things I weep;
 my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
 one to revive my courage;
my children are desolate,
 for the enemy has prevailed.

Zion stretches out her hands,
 but there is no one to comfort her;
the Lord has commanded against Jacob
 that his neighbors should become his foes;
Jerusalem has become
 a filthy thing among them.

The Lord is in the right,
 for I have rebelled against his word;
but hear, all you peoples,
 and behold my suffering;
my young women and young men
 have gone into captivity.

I called to my lovers
 but they deceived me;
my priests and elders
 perished in the city
while seeking food
 to revive their strength.

See, O Lord, how distressed I am;
 my stomach churns,
my heart is wrung within me,
 because I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword bereaves;
 in the house it is like death.

They heard how I was groaning,
 with no one to comfort me.
All my enemies heard of my trouble;
 they are glad that you have done it.
Bring on the day you have announced,
 and let them be as I am.

Let all their evil doing come before you;
 and deal with them
as you have dealt with me
 because of all my transgressions;
for my groans are many
 and my heart is faint.

Complementary Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes!
 Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me,
 “There is no help for you in God.”

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
 my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord,
 and he answers me from his holy hill.

I lie down and sleep;
 I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of ten thousands of people
 who have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord!
 Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
 you break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
 may your blessing be on your people!

Semi-continuous Psalm 137

By the rivers of Babylon—
 there we sat down and there we wept
 when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
 we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
 asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth,
 saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord's song
 in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
 let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
 if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
 above my highest joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
 the day of Jerusalem's fall,
how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
 Down to its foundations!”
O daughter Babylon, you devastator!
 Happy shall they be who pay you back
what you have done to us!
>Happy shall they be who take your little ones
 and dash them against the rock!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: James 1:2-11

James, the Brother of Our Lord

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

Year C Ordinary 27, Catholic Proper 27, RCL Proper 22: 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 rights reserved.

Image Credit: St James the Brother of the Lord by Tzangarolas Stephanos, via Wikimedia Commons

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

Roman Catholic Proper 22
Common Lectionary Proper 17

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Proverbs 21:1-4, 24-26

The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
 he turns it wherever he will.
All deeds are right in the sight of the doer,
 but the Lord weighs the heart.
To do righteousness and justice
 is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
 the lamp of the wicked—are sin.
The proud, haughty person, named “Scoffer,”
 acts with arrogant pride.
The craving of the lazy person is fatal,
 for lazy hands refuse to labor.
All day long the wicked covet,
 but the righteous give and do not hold back.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 2:1-3, 14-22

The word of the Lord came to me, saying: Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord:

I remember the devotion of your youth,
 your love as a bride,
how you followed me in the wilderness,
 in a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the Lord,
 the first fruits of his harvest.
All who ate of it were held guilty;
 disaster came upon them,
   says the Lord.

Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
 Why then has he become plunder?
The lions have roared against him,
 they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
 his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
Moreover, the people of Memphis and Tahpanhes
 have broken the crown of your head.
Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the Lord your God,
 while he led you in the way?
What then do you gain by going to Egypt,
 to drink the waters of the Nile?
Or what do you gain by going to Assyria,
 to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
Your wickedness will punish you,
 and your apostasies will convict you.
Know and see that it is evil and bitter
 for you to forsake the Lord your God;
 the fear of me is not in you,
   says the Lord God of hosts.

For long ago you broke your yoke
 and burst your bonds,
 and you said, “I will not serve!”
On every high hill
 and under every green tree
 you sprawled and played the whore.
Yet I planted you as a choice vine,
 from the purest stock.
How then did you turn degenerate
 and become a wild vine?
Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap,
 the stain of your guilt is still before me,
   says the Lord God.

Complementary Psalm 112

Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
 who greatly delight in his commandments.
Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
 the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
 and their righteousness endures forever.
They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
 they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
 who conduct their affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
 they will be remembered forever.
They are not afraid of evil tidings;
 their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
 in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
 their righteousness endures forever;
 their horn is exalted in honor.¹

The wicked see it and are angry;
 they gnash their teeth and melt away;
 the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

¹Paul quotes this in 2 Corinthians 9:1-15, where he is urging the Corinthians to give generously to the collection for the Jerusalem church.

Semi-continuous Psalm 81:1, 5b, 10-16

Sing aloud to God our strength;
 shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

“I am the Lord your God,
 who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
O pen your mouth wide and I will fill it.”

“But my people did not listen to my voice;
 Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
 to follow their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me,
 that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
 and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
 and their doom would last forever.
I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
 and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Matthew 20:20-28

There is a parallel passage at Mark 10:35-45.

Christ Teaches Humility

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Year C Ordinary 22, Catholic Proper 22, Common Lectionary Proper 17: 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 rights reserved.

Image Credit: Lauder, Robert Scott, 1803-1869. Christ Teaches Humility, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN [retrieved August 17, 2016]. Original source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_Teacheth_Humility.jpg.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Third Sunday in Lent

Exodus 19:16-25 There was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. From the top of Mount Sinai, the Lord summoned Moses. Then the Lord said, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to the Lord to look; otherwise many of them will perish.”

Mark 9:2-8 Mark’s account of the Transfiguration.

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The Transfiguration

2 Kings 2:1-12 Elisha asks Elijah for a double portion of his spirit. Elijah says that he will receive it if he sees him when he is taken. Elisha sees a chariot of fire and Elijah ascending into heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 It is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Mark 9:2-9 Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

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The Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany

Isaiah 40:21-31 Even youths will faint and be weary, but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

1 Corinthians 9:16-23 I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

Mark 1:29-39 Jesus cures Peter’s and Andrew’s mother-in-law and many others. He goes to a deserted place to pray, then told Peter and his companions that he must proclaim the message throughout Galilee.

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Monday: Reflection on the Fourth Sunday in Epiphany

Numbers 22:1-21 Balak, king of Moab, sends emissaries to Balaam, asking that he come to curse the Israelites. Balaam refuses once. The second time God tells him to go, but to do only as he is instructed.

Acts 21:17-26 Paul met with James and the elders, and related the things God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. They told Paul of reports he urged Jews not to observe the law, and asked him to go through the rite of purification to show that he observed it.

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The Third Sunday in Epiphany

Jonah 3:1-5, 10 At God’s instruction, Jonah cried out in Nineveh “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” The people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth. When God saw how they turned from their evil ways, God did not bring the calamity on them.

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short. For the present form of this world is passing away.

Mark 1:14-20 Jesus calls for repentance. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John are called by Jesus.

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