faith

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

Roman Catholic Proper 28
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 23

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Leviticus 14:33-53

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:

When you come into the land of Canaan, which I give you for a possession, and I put a leprous disease¹ in a house in the land of your possession, the owner of the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, “There seems to me to be some sort of disease in my house.” The priest shall command that they empty the house before the priest goes to examine the disease, or all that is in the house will become unclean; and afterward the priest shall go in to inspect the house. He shall examine the disease; if the disease is in the walls of the house with greenish or reddish spots, and if it appears to be deeper than the surface, the priest shall go outside to the door of the house and shut up the house seven days. The priest shall come again on the seventh day and make an inspection; if the disease has spread in the walls of the house, the priest shall command that the stones in which the disease appears be taken out and thrown into an unclean place outside the city. He shall have the inside of the house scraped thoroughly, and the plaster that is scraped off shall be dumped in an unclean place outside the city. They shall take other stones and put them in the place of those stones, and take other plaster and plaster the house.

If the disease breaks out again in the house, after he has taken out the stones and scraped the house and plastered it, the priest shall go and make inspection; if the disease has spread in the house, it is a spreading leprous disease in the house; it is unclean. He shall have the house torn down, its stones and timber and all the plaster of the house, and taken outside the city to an unclean place. All who enter the house while it is shut up shall be unclean until the evening; and all who sleep in the house shall wash their clothes; and all who eat in the house shall wash their clothes.

If the priest comes and makes an inspection, and the disease has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, the priest shall pronounce the house clean; the disease is healed. For the cleansing of the house he shall take two birds, with cedarwood and crimson yarn and hyssop, and shall slaughter one of the birds over fresh water in an earthen vessel, and shall take the cedarwood and the hyssop and the crimson yarn, along with the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slaughtered bird and the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. Thus he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the fresh water, and with the living bird, and with the cedarwood and hyssop and crimson yarn; and he shall let the living bird go out of the city into the open field; so he shall make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean.

¹This word is used for a variety of skin diseases. It is not clear what a leprous house would be.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 25:1-14

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah (that was the first year of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon), which the prophet Jeremiah spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, to this day, the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. And though the Lord persistently sent you all his servants the prophets, you have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear when they said, “Turn now, everyone of you, from your evil way and wicked doings, and you will remain upon the land that the Lord has given to you and your ancestors from of old and forever; do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.” Yet you did not listen to me, says the Lord, and so you have provoked me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, I am going to send for all the tribes of the north, says the Lord, even for King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these nations around; I will utterly destroy them, and make them an object of horror and of hissing, and an everlasting disgrace. And I will banish from them the sound of mirth and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall make slaves of them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.

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 1:13-18

Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

You are aware that all who are in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain; when he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me—may the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! And you know very well how much service he rendered in Ephesus.

Year C Ordinary 28, Catholic Proper 28, RCL Proper 23: 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: Guard the Good Treasure created on Recite.com by Michael Gilbertson (http://piccsy.com/post/view/7112850). This image may be used under the Creative Commons 2.5 Share Alike License.

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Wednesday: 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 2:12-20

“Alas for you who build a town by bloodshed,
 and found a city on iniquity!”
Is it not from the Lord of hosts
 that peoples labor only to feed the flames,
 and nations weary themselves for nothing?
But the earth will be filled
 with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
 as the waters cover the sea.

“Alas for you who make your neighbors drink,
 pouring out your wrath until they are drunk,
 in order to gaze on their nakedness!”
You will be sated with contempt instead of glory.
 Drink, you yourself, and stagger!
The cup in the Lord's right hand
 will come around to you,
 and shame will come upon your glory!
For the violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you;
 the destruction of the animals will terrify you—
because of human bloodshed and violence to the earth,
 to cities and all who live in them.

What use is an idol
 once its maker has shaped it—
 a cast image, a teacher of lies?
For its maker trusts in what has been made,
 though the product is only an idol that cannot speak!
Alas for you who say to the wood, “Wake up!”
 to silent stone, “Rouse yourself!”
 Can it teach?
See, it is gold and silver plated,
 and there is no breath in it at all.

But the Lord is in his holy temple;
 let all the earth keep silence before him!

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Lamentations 5:1-22

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us;
 look, and see our disgrace!
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
 our homes to aliens.
We have become orphans, fatherless;
 our mothers are like widows.
We must pay for the water we drink;
 the wood we get must be bought.
With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven;
 we are weary, we are given no rest.
We have made a pact with Egypt and Assyria,
 to get enough bread.
Our ancestors sinned; they are no more,
 and we bear their iniquities.
Slaves rule over us;
 there is no one to deliver us from their hand.
We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
 because of the sword in the wilderness.
Our skin is black as an oven
 from the scorching heat of famine.
Women are raped in Zion,
 virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes are hung up by their hands;
 no respect is shown to the elders.
Young men are compelled to grind,
 and boys stagger under loads of wood.
The old men have left the city gate,
 the young men their music.
The joy of our hearts has ceased;
 our dancing has been turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head;
 woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are sick,
 because of these things our eyes have grown dim:
because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate;
 jackals prowl over it.

But you, O Lord, reign forever;
 your throne endures to all generations.
Why have you forgotten us completely?
 Why have you forsaken us these many days?
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored;
 renew our days as of old—
unless you have utterly rejected us,
 and are angry with us beyond measure.

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 Gospel Lesson: Mark 11:12-14, 20-24

The Accursed Fig Tree

There is a parallel passage at Matthew 21:18-22.

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Year C Ordinary 27, Catholic Proper 27, RCL Proper 22: Wednesday

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

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

Image Credit: The Accursed Fig Tree by James Tissot, via wikiart.org

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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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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 1:1-4; 2:1-4

The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
 and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
 and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrong-doing
 and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
 strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
 and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
 therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

I will stand at my watchpost,
 and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
 and what he will answer concerning my complaint.

Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
 make it plain on tablets,
 so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
 it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
 it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud!
 Their spirit is not right in them,
 but the righteous live by their faith.¹

¹This passage is quoted in Hebrews 10:37-38, a call to persevere. The last phrase (the righteous live by their faith) is quoted in Romans 1:17, about the power of the Gospel, in Galatians 3:11 about law and faith, and pervades Hebrews 11:1-12:2, about the faith of our forefathers.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Lamentations 1:1-6

How lonely sits the city
 that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become,
cshe that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.

She weeps bitterly in the night,
 with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers
 she has no one to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
 they have become her enemies.

Judah has gone into exile with suffering
 and hard servitude;
she lives now among the nations,
 and finds no resting place;
her pursuers have all overtaken her
 in the midst of her distress.

The roads to Zion mourn,
 for no one comes to the festivals;
all her gates are desolate,
 her priests groan;
her young girls grieve,
 and her lot is bitter.

Her foes have become the masters,
 her enemies prosper,
because the Lord has made her suffer
 for the multitude of her transgressions;
her children have gone away,
 captives before the foe.

From daughter Zion has departed
 all her majesty.
Her princes have become like stags
 that find no pasture;
they fled without strength
 before the pursuer.

Complementary Psalm 37:1-9

Do not fret because of the wicked;
 do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
 and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
 so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
 trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
 and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
 do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
 over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
 Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
 but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

Semi-continuous Psalm 137

(The alternate reading, Lamentations 3:19-26, is below.)

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!

Lamentations 3:19-26

(The alternate reading, Psalm 137, is above.)

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
 is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
 and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
 and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
 his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
 great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul.
 “therefore I will hope in him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
 to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
 for the salvation of the Lord.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

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

I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 17:5-10

An old mulberry tree

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

Year C Ordinary 27, Catholic Proper 27, RCL Proper 22: 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: Old Mulberry Tree by Claude Millau, via Flickr.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 26
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 21

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Proverbs 28:3-10

A ruler who oppresses the poor
 is a beating rain that leaves no food.
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
 but those who keep the law struggle against them.
The evil do not understand justice,
 but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
Better to be poor and walk in integrity
 than to be crooked in one's ways even though rich.
Those who keep the law are wise children,
 but companions of gluttons shame their parents.
One who augments wealth by exorbitant interest
 gathers it for another who is kind to the poor.
When one will not listen to the law,
 even one's prayers are an abomination.
Those who mislead the upright into evil ways
 will fall into pits of their own making,
 but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 23:23-32

Am I a God near by, says the Lord, and not a God far off? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!” How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back—those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? They plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal. Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the Lord. Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? See, therefore, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who steal my words from one another. See, I am against the prophets, says the Lord, who use their own tongues and say, “Says the Lord.” See, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and who tell them, and who lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or appoint them; so they do not profit this people at all, says the Lord.

Complementary Psalm 146

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

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

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
 whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
 the sea, and all that is in them;¹

who keeps faith forever;
 who executes justice for the oppressed;
 who gives food to the hungry.

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

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

¹This phrase is echoed in Acts 4:23-31, where the believers pray for boldness, in Acts 14:13-18, where Paul and Barnabas react to being worshipped, and in Revelation 10:1-7, which says the mystery of God will be revealed when the seventh angel blows his trumpet.

Semi-continuous Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
 who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
 my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
 and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
 and under his wings you will find refuge;
 his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
 or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
 or the destruction that wastes at noonday.

Those who love me, I will deliver;
 I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
 I will be with them in trouble,
 I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
 and show them my salvation.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 2:1-10

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Year C Ordinary 26, Catholic Proper 26, RCL Proper 21: 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.

Image Credit: By Grace Unsplash image cropped and text added by Michael Gilbertson 13 September 2016. This is a public domain image. If reused, please credit The Lectionary Company.

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Friday: Preparation for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 20
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 15

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Former Prophets: 1 Samuel 5

When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod; then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon [the Philistine God] and placed it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off upon the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not step on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod, and he terrified and struck them with tumors, both in Ashdod and in its territory. And when the inhabitants of Ashdod saw how things were, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us; for his hand is heavy on us and on our god Dagon.” So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” The inhabitants of Gath replied, “Let the ark of God be moved on to us.” So they moved the ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But after they had brought it to Gath, the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great panic; he struck the inhabitants of the city, both young and old, so that tumors broke out on them. So they sent the ark of the God of Israel to Ekron. But when the ark of God came to Ekron, the people of Ekron cried out, “Why have they brought around to us the ark of the God of Israel to kill us and our people?” They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it return to its own place, that it may not kill us and our people.” For there was a deathly panic throughout the whole city. The hand of God was very heavy there; those who did not die were stricken with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 3:1-17

For now the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts,
 is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and staff—
all support of bread,
 and all support of water—
warrior and soldier,
 judge and prophet,
 diviner and elder,
captain of fifty
 and dignitary,
counselor and skillful magician
 and expert enchanter.
And I will make boys their princes,
 and babes shall rule over them.
The people will be oppressed,
 everyone by another
and everyone by a neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder,
 and the base to the honorable.

Someone will even seize a relative,
 a member of the clan, saying,
“You have a cloak;
 you shall be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
 shall be under your rule.”
But the other will cry out on that day, saying,
“I will not be a healer;
 in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
you shall not make me
 leader of the people.”
For Jerusalem has stumbled
 and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord,
 defying his glorious presence.

The look on their faces bears witness against them;
 they proclaim their sin like Sodom,
 they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
 For they have brought evil on themselves.
Tell the innocent how fortunate they are,
 for they shall eat the fruit of their labors.
Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are,
 for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
My people—children are their oppressors,
 and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you,
 and confuse the course of your paths.

The Lord rises to argue his case;
 he stands to judge the peoples.
The Lord enters into judgment
 with the elders and princes of his people:
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
 the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people,
 by grinding the face of the poor? says the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
 and walk with outstretched necks,
 glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
 tinkling with their feet;
the Lord will afflict with scabs
 the heads of the daughters of Zion,
 and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

Complementary Psalm 82

God has taken his place in the divine council;
 in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
 and show partiality to the wicked?
Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
 maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
 deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
 they walk around in darkness;
 all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods,
 children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
 and fall like any prince.”
¹

Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
 for all the nations belong to you!

¹Jesus quotes the first part of this verse in response to those who plan to stone him. The episode is in John 10:22-39.

Semi-continuous Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
 you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
 and come to save us!

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
 you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
 it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
 the mighty cedars with its branches;
it sent out its branches to the sea,
 and its shoots to the River.
Why then have you broken down its walls,
 so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
The boar from the forest ravages it,
 and all that move in the field feed on it.

Turn again, O God of hosts;
 look down from heaven, and see;
 have regard for this vine,
the stock that your right hand planted.
They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;
 may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
 the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you; give us life,
 and we will call on your name.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
 let your face shine, that we may be saved.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:32-39

The Soldier of Marathon announcing the Victory

But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet

“in a very little while,
the one who is coming will come and will not delay;¹ but my righteous one will live by faith.
My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.²”

But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.

¹Isaiah 26:20, Habakkuk 2:3   ² Habakkuk 2:4 (see Septuagint)

Year C Ordinary 20, Catholic Proper 20, RCL Proper 15, The Tenth Week After Pentecost: 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.

Image Credit: The Soldier of Marathon announcing the Victory Marble, 1834 By Jean-Pierre Cortot (French, 1787-1843), licensed under GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Monday: Reflection on the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Roman Catholic Proper 19
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 14

Complementary Hebrew Scripture: 2 Chronicles 33:1-17

There is a parallel passage at 2 Kings 21:1-18.

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign; he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had pulled down, and erected altars to the Baals, made sacred poles, worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.” He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He made his son pass through fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom, practiced soothsaying and augury and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. The carved image of the idol that he had made he set in the house of God, of which God said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever; I will never again remove the feet of Israel from the land that I appointed for your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them, all the law, the statutes, and the ordinances given through Moses.” Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that they did more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the people of Israel.

The Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they gave no heed. Therefore the Lord brought against them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh captive in manacles, bound him with fetters, and brought him to Babylon. While he was in distress he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. He prayed to him, and God received his entreaty, heard his plea, and restored him again to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord indeed was God.

Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, reaching the entrance at the Fish Gate; he carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them out of the city. He also restored the altar of the Lord and offered on it sacrifices of well-being and of thanksgiving; and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord the God of Israel. The people, however, still sacrificed at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 2:1-4

There is a parallel passage at Micah 4:1-3.

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house
 shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
 and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.  Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
 to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
 and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
 and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
 and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
 and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
 neither shall they learn war any more.

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 11:1-7

Heroes of Faith 1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain's. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.”¹ For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.

¹Genesis 5:24

Year C Ordinary 19, Roman Catholic Proper 19, RCL Proper 14, 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: Heroes of Faith 1 constructed by Michael Gilbertson from elements in Heroes of Faith 1 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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Tuesday: Reflection on the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 12
Roman Catholic Proper 17

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Esther 6:1—7:6

On that night the king could not sleep, and he gave orders to bring the book of records, the annals, and they were read to the king. It was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king's servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. So the king's servants told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” The king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?” Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” So Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king wishes to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and a horse that the king has ridden, with a royal crown on its head. Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble officials; let him robe the man whom the king wishes to honor, and let him conduct the man on horseback through the open square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.’” Then the king said to Haman, “Quickly, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to the Jew Mordecai who sits at the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse and robed Mordecai and led him riding through the open square of the city, proclaiming, “Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.”

Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate, but Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him, but will surely fall before him.” While they were still talking with him, the king's eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?” Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Hosea 6:1-10

“Come, let us return to the Lord;
 for it is he who has torn,
 and he will heal us;
he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
 on the third day he will raise us up,
 that we may live before him.¹

Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
 his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
 like the spring rains that water the earth.”

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
 What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
 like the dew that goes away early.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
 I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
 and my judgment goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
 the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.²

But at Adam they transgressed the covenant;
 there they dealt faithlessly with me.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
 tracked with blood.
As robbers lie in wait for someone,
 so the priests are banded together;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
 they commit a monstrous crime.
In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
 Ephraim's whoredom is there, Israel is defiled.

¹There is an allusion to this verse is Jesus' third foretelling of his death, found at Mark 10:32-34.
²Jesus quotes this verse in the call of Matthew, found at
Matthew 9:9-13.

Complementary Psalm 55:16-23

But I call upon God,
 and the Lord will save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
 I utter my complaint and moan,
 and he will hear my voice.

He will redeem me unharmed
 from the battle that I wage,
 for many are arrayed against me.
God, who is enthroned from of old,
 will hear, and will humble them—
because they do not change,
 and do not fear God.

My companion laid hands on a friend
 and violated a covenant with me
with speech smoother than butter,
 but with a heart set on war;
with words that were softer than oil,
 but in fact were drawn swords.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
 and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
 the righteous to be moved.

But you, O God, will cast them down
 into the lowest pit;
the bloodthirsty and treacherous
 shall not live out half their days.
But I will trust in you.

Semi-continuous Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God,
 our ancestors have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
 in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
 but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
 but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
 nor did their own arm give them victory;
but your right hand, and your arm,
 and the light of your countenance,
 for you delighted in them.

You are my King and my God;
 you command victories for Jacob.
Through you we push down our foes;
 through your name we tread down our assailants.
For not in my bow do I trust,
 nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes,
 and have put to confusion those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
 and we will give thanks to your name forever.

Yet you have rejected us and abased us,
 and have not gone out with our armies.
You made us turn back from the foe,
 and our enemies have gotten spoil.
You have made us like sheep for slaughter,
 and have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for a trifle,
 demanding no high price for them.

You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
 the derision and scorn of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations,
 a laughingstock among the peoples.
All day long my disgrace is before me,
 and shame has covered my face
at the words of the taunters and revilers,
 at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.

All this has come upon us,
 yet we have not forgotten you,
 or been false to your covenant.
Our heart has not turned back,
 nor have our steps departed from your way,
yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals,
 and covered us with deep darkness.
If we had forgotten the name of our God,
 or spread out our hands to a strange god,
would not God discover this?
 For he knows the secrets of the heart.
Because of you we are being killed all day long,
 and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.¹

Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
 Awake, do not cast us off forever!
Why do you hide your face?
 Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For we sink down to the dust;
 our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up, come to our help.

Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

¹Paul alludes to this verse in Romans 8:31-39, where he explains God's love in Christ Jesus.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Romans 9:30—10:4

Faith.jpg

What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written,

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble,
a rock that will make them fall,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”¹

Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

¹Isaiah 8:14 and 29:16

Year C Ordinary 17 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.

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.

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