Paul

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

Roman Catholic Proper 29
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 24

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 54:11-17

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
 I am about to set your stones in antimony,
 and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
 your gates of jewels,
 and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
 and great shall be the prosperity of your children.
¹

In righteousness you shall be established;
 you shall be far from oppression,
  for you shall not fear;
 and from terror,
  for it shall not come near you.

If anyone stirs up strife,
 it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
 shall fall because of you.

See it is I who have created the smith
 who blows the fire of coals,
 and produces a weapon fit for its purpose;
I have also created the ravager to destroy.

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper,
 and you shall confute every tongue
  that rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
 and their vindication from me, says the Lord.

¹Jesus quotes this verse in response to the Jews who are hostile to him (John 6:41-51).

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 26:1-15

At the beginning of the reign of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, this word came from the Lord: Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord; speak to them all the words that I command you; do not hold back a word. It may be that they will listen, all of them, and will turn from their evil way, that I may change my mind about the disaster that I intend to bring on them because of their evil doings. You shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to heed the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently—though you have not heeded—then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.

The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”

Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “It is the Lord who sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. Now therefore amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will change his mind about the disaster that he has pronounced against you. But as for me, here I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will be bringing innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Complementary Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
 who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
 he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
 will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
 the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
 nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
 he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
 your going out and your coming in
 from this time on and forevermore.

Semi-continuous Psalm 119:97-104

Oh, how I love your law!
 It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
 for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
 for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
 for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
 in order to keep your word.
I do not turn away from your ordinances,
 for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
 sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
 therefore I hate every false way.

New Testament Lesson: Acts 17:22-34

Altar to an unknown god

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription,

‘To an unknown god.’

What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’¹; as even some of your own poets have said,

‘For we too are his offspring.’²

Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

¹From the Cretan philosopher Epimendies   ²From the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus

Year C Ordinary 29, Catholic Proper 29, RCL Proper 24: Thursday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: Image by Ashibaka (own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 28
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 23

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 5:15-19a

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!” He urged him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman said, “If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the Lord. But may the Lord pardon your servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant on this one count.” He said to him, “Go in peace.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 29:8-23

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let the prophets and the diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, says the Lord.

For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon's seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Because you have said, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,” Thus says the Lord concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who live in this city, your kinsfolk who did not go out with you into exile: Thus says the Lord of hosts, I am going to let loose on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like rotten figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be an object of cursing, and horror, and hissing, and a derision among all the nations where I have driven them, because they did not heed my words, says the Lord, when I persistently sent to you my servants the prophets, but they would not listen, says the Lord. But now, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: I am going to deliver them into the hand of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, and he shall kill them before your eyes. And on account of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” because they have perpetrated outrage in Israel and have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them; I am the one who knows and bears witness, says the Lord.

Complementary Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
 when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock
 that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
 a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me abide in your tent forever,
 find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
 you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Prolong the life of the king;
 may his years endure to all generations!
May he be enthroned forever before God;
 appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
So I will always sing praises to your name,
 as I pay my vows day after day.

Semi-continuous Psalm 102:1-17

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
 in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
 answer me speedily in the day when I call.
For my days pass away like smoke,
 and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
 I am too wasted to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
 my bones cling to my skin.
I am like an owl of the wilderness,
 like a little owl of the waste places.
I lie awake;
 I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
 those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread,
 and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger;
 for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
My days are like an evening shadow;
 I wither away like grass.

But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
 your name endures to all generations.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
 for it is time to favor it;
 the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold its stones dear,
 and have pity on its dust.
The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
 and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion;
 he will appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
 and will not despise their prayer.

New Testament Lesson: Acts 26:24-29

The Apostle Paul Explains The Tenets Of Faith In The Presence Of King Agrippa, His Sister Berenice, And The Proconsul Festus

While Paul was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!” But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. Indeed the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am certain that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.”

Year C Ordinary 28, Catholic Proper 28, RCL Proper 23: 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: The Apostle Paul Explains The Tenets Of Faith In The Presence Of King Agrippa, His Sister Berenice, And The Proconsul Festus by Vasily Surikov [Public Domain] via WikiArt.org.

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The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 28
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complementary Psalm 111

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

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

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

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

Semi-continuous Psalm 66:1-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 17:11-19

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

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

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

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

Roman Catholic Proper 24
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 19

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Amos 7:1-6

This is what the Lord God showed me: he was forming locusts at the time the latter growth began to sprout (it was the latter growth after the king's mowings). When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,

“O Lord God, forgive, I beg you!
 How can Jacob stand?
 He is so small!”
The Lord relented concerning this;
 “It shall not be,” said the Lord.

This is what the Lord God showed me: the Lord God was calling for a shower of fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said,

“O Lord God, cease, I beg you!
 How can Jacob stand?
 He is so small!”
The Lord relented concerning this;
 “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 5:1-17

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
 look around and take note!
Search its squares and see
 if you can find one person
who acts justly
 and seeks truth—
so that I may pardon Jerusalem.
Although they say, “As the Lord lives,”
 yet they swear falsely.
O Lord, do your eyes not look for truth?
You have struck them,
 but they felt no anguish;
you have consumed them,
 but they refused to take correction.
They have made their faces harder than rock;
 they have refused to turn back.

Then I said, “These are only the poor,
 they have no sense;
for they do not know the way of the Lord,
 the law of their God.
Let me go to the rich
 and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
 the law of their God.”
But they all alike had broken the yoke,
 they had burst the bonds.

Therefore a lion from the forest shall kill them,
 a wolf from the desert shall destroy them.
A leopard is watching against their cities;
 everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces—
because their transgressions are many,
 their rebellion is great.

How can I pardon you?
 Your children have forsaken me,
 and have sworn by those who are no gods.
When I fed them to the full,
 they committed adultery
 and trooped to the houses of prostitutes.
They were well-fed lusty stallions,
 each neighing for his neighbor's wife.
Shall I not punish them for these things?
   says the Lord;
and shall I not bring retribution
 on a nation such as this?

Go up through her vine-rows and destroy,
 but do not make a full end;
strip away her branches,
 for they are not the Lord's.
For the house of Israel and the house of Judah
 have been utterly faithless to me,
   says the Lord.
They have spoken falsely of the Lord,
 and have said, “He will do nothing.
No evil will come upon us,
 and we shall not see sword or famine.”
The prophets are nothing but wind,
 for the word is not in them.
Thus shall it be done to them!

Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
Because they have spoken this word,
I am now making my words in your mouth a fire,
 and this people wood, and the fire shall devour them.
I am going to bring upon you a nation from far away,
O house of Israel,
   says the Lord.
It is an enduring nation,
 it is an ancient nation,
a nation whose language you do not know,
 nor can you understand what they say.
Their quiver is like an open tomb;
 all of them are mighty warriors.
They shall eat up your harvest and your food;
 they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;
they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;
 they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;
they shall destroy with the sword
 your fortified cities in which you trust. (TLCO: NRSV, NLT)

Complementary Psalm 73

Truly God is good to the upright,
 to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
 my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant;
 I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pain;
 their bodies are sound and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
 they are not plagued like other people.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
 violence covers them like a garment.
Their eyes swell out with fatness;
 their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
 loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against heaven,
 and their tongues range over the earth.

Therefore the people turn and praise them,
 and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know?
 Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Such are the wicked;
 always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain I have kept my heart clean
 and washed my hands in innocence.
For all day long I have been plagued,
 and am punished every morning.

If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,”
 I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this,
 it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
 then I perceived their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places;
 you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
 swept away utterly by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes;
 on awaking you despise their phantoms.

When my soul was embittered,
 when I was pricked in heart,
I was stupid and ignorant;
 I was like a brute beast toward you.
Nevertheless I am continually with you;
 you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
 and afterward you will receive me with honor.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
 And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
 but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
 you put an end to those who are false to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
 I have made the Lord God my refuge,
 to tell of all your works.

Semi-continuous 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.¹

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;²

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.

¹Paul quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians 3:20, discussing divisions in the Corinthian church.
²Paul uses this verse in Romans 11:2, explaining that
Israel's rejection is not final.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 1:18-20

I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Year C Ordinary 24, Catholic Proper 24, RCL Proper 19: 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.

Scriptures ending with (TLCO) are a combination of two or more translations.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are from the New Living Translation Holy Bible, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Image Credit: Image of St. Timothy stained glass detail from St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P., downloaded from Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0-by-nc-nd Image modified by Michael Gilbertson using the Photoshop spot healing brush to delete cracks in the glass.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 24
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 19

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 6:1-6

When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 13:20-27

Lift up your eyes and see those who come from the north.
Where is the flock that was given you,
 your beautiful flock?
What will you say when they set as head over you
 those whom you have trained to be your allies?
Will not pangs take hold of you,
 like those of a woman in labor?
And if you say in your heart,
 “Why have these things come upon me?”
it is for the greatness of your iniquity
 that your skirts are lifted up,
 and you are violated.
Can Ethiopians change their skin
 or leopards their spots?
Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
I will scatter you like chaff
 driven by the wind from the desert.
This is your lot,
 the portion I have measured out to you, says the Lord,
because you have forgotten
 me and trusted in lies.
I myself will lift up your skirts over your face,
 and your shame will be seen.
I have seen your abominations,
 your adulteries and neighings,
your shameless prostitutions
 on the hills of the countryside.
Woe to you, O Jerusalem!
 How long will it be
 before you are made clean?

Complementary Psalm 51:1-10

Have mercy on me, O God,
 according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
 blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
 and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
 and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
 and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
 and blameless when you pass judgment.¹

Indeed, I was born guilty,
 a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;
 therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
 wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
 let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
 and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
 and put a new and right spirit within me.

¹This verse is quoted in Romans 3:4, a discussion about Jews and the Law.

Semi-continuous Psalm 14

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
 They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
 there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
 to see if there are any who are wise,
 who seek after God.
They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
 there is no one who does good,
 no, not one.¹

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
 who eat up my people as they eat bread,
 and do not call upon the Lord?

There they shall be in great terror,
 for God is with the company of the righteous.
You would confound the plans of the poor,
 but the Lord is their refuge.
O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
 When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
 Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

¹This passage is quoted in Romans 3:10-12, where Paul argues that none is righteous.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 1:1-11

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

1 Timothy 1:5

To Timothy, my loyal child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine, and not to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies that promote speculations rather than the divine training that is known by faith. But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

Year C Ordinary 24, Catholic Proper 24, RCL Proper 19: Thursday

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Footnotes in the Hebrew Scriptures that show where the passage is used in the Christian Scriptures are based on information from the The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) by David H. Stern, Copyright © 1998 and 2006 by David H. Stern, used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the CJB, the passage ends with (CJB) and this copyright notice applies.

Image credit: 1 Timothy 1:5 text added by by Michael Gilbertson using Photoshop 31 August 2016 to a heart-shaped cloud image by Prof. Bizzaro, downloaded from Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. The combined image may also be used under the CC 2.0 license; please credit The Lectionary Company.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 23
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 18

Complementary 2 Kings 18:9-18

There are parallel passages at Isaiah 36:1-3 and 2 Chronicles 32:1-9.

In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against Samaria, besieged it, and at the end of three years, took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel, Samaria was taken. The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, settled them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed.

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king's house. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller's Field. When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 19

Thus said the Lord: Go and buy a potter's earthenware jug. Take with you some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests, and go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. You shall say: Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to bring such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent, and gone on building the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as burnt-offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it enter my mind; Therefore the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter. And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth. And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and all shall eat the flesh of their neighbors in the siege, and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.

Then you shall break the jug in the sight of those who go with you, and shall say to them: Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, so that it can never be mended. In Topheth they shall bury until there is no more room to bury. Thus will I do to this place, says the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled like the place of Topheth—all the houses upon whose roofs offerings have been made to the whole host of heaven, and libations have been poured out to other gods.¹

When Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, he stood in the court of the Lord's house and said to all the people: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am now bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks, refusing to hear my words.

¹Stephen refers to this verse in Acts 7:42, part of his defense before the Sanhedrin ( Acts 7:1-53).

Semi-continuous Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire,
 and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
 and the rulers take counsel together,
 against the Lord and his anointed,¹
saying,
“Let us burst their bonds asunder,
 and cast their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
 the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
 and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
 today I have begotten you.
²
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
 and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
 and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
 be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
 with trembling³
kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
 for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.

¹These verses are quoted in Acts 4:23-31, where the believers pray for boldness.
²Paul quotes this verse when he is preaching at Antioch of Pisidia (
Acts 13:26-34)
³This phrase is repeated in what scholars think is an early hymn found in
Philippians 2:5-11.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 4:6-16

The Martyrdom of St. Timothy

If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

These are the things you must insist on and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

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

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

Image Credit: The Martyrdom of St. Timothy by an anonymous Byzantine Empire icon writer via Wikimedia Commons, This is a public domain image. Note: Cropped by Michael Gilbertson 24 August 2016. Creative Commons 0 license.

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The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper Twenty-three
Revised Common Lectionary Proper Eighteen

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 18:1-11

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

Complementary Psalm 1

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

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

Semi-continuous Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
 you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
 and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
 O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
 and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
 it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
 you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
 Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
 intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days
 that were formed for me,
 when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
 How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
 I come to the end—I am still with you.

New Testament Lesson: Philemon

Philemon and Apphia

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 14:25-33

There is a parallel passage at Matthew 10:37-38.

Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

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

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

Image Credit: Philemon and Apphia, from the Vanderbilt Divinity Library [retrieved August 24, 2016]. Vanderbilt credits the original source as Wikimedia Commons. From Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 23
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 18

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Deuteronomy 7:12-26

If you heed these ordinances¹, by diligently observing them, the Lord your God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty that he swore to your ancestors; he will love you, bless you, and multiply you; he will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock, in the land that he swore to your ancestors to give you. You shall be the most blessed of peoples, with neither sterility nor barrenness among you or your livestock. The Lord will turn away from you every illness; all the dread diseases of Egypt that you experienced, he will not inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. You shall devour all the peoples that the Lord your God is giving over to you, showing them no pity; you shall not serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

If you say to yourself, “These nations are more numerous than I; how can I dispossess them?” do not be afraid of them. Just remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. Moreover, the Lord your God will send the pestilence against them, until even the survivors and the fugitives are destroyed. Have no dread of them, for the Lord your God, who is present with you, is a great and awesome God. The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to make a quick end of them, otherwise the wild animals would become too numerous for you. But the Lord your God will give them over to you, and throw them into great panic, until they are destroyed. He will hand their kings over to you and you shall blot out their name from under heaven; no one will be able to stand against you, until you have destroyed them. The images of their gods you shall burn with fire. Do not covet the silver or the gold that is on them and take it for yourself, because you could be ensnared by it; for it is abhorrent to the Lord your God. Do not bring an abhorrent thing into your house, or you will be set apart for destruction like it. You must utterly detest and abhor it, for it is set apart for destruction.

¹The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 16:14—17:4

Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt,” but “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their ancestors.

I am now sending for many fishermen, says the Lord, and they shall catch them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. For my eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from my presence, nor is their iniquity concealed from my sight. And I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.

O Lord, my strength and my stronghold,
my refuge in the day of trouble,
to you shall the nations come
from the ends of the earth and say:
Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies,
worthless things in which there is no profit.
Can mortals make for themselves gods?
Such are no gods!

“Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.”

The sin of Judah is written with an iron pen; with a diamond point it is engraved on the tablet of their hearts, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their sacred poles, beside every green tree, and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your sin throughout all your territory. By your own act you shall lose the heritage that I gave you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.

Complementary Psalm 1

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

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

Semi-continuous Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
 you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
 and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
 O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
 and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
 it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
 you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
 Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
 intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days
 that were formed for me,
 when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
 How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
 I come to the end—I am still with you.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Colossians 4:7-17

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts; he is coming with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you about everything here.

Tychicus

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him. And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills. For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord.”

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

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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: Tychicus, detail from a larger icon downloaded from via Wikimedia Commons, cropped and then further altered by Michael Gilbertson to delete figures on either side of Tychicus, 24 August 2016. If reposted, please credit The Lectionary Company for the modifications. This image is in the public domain. Creative Commons 0 license.

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