faith

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.

Image Credit: Faith by Marshmellowpuff, downloaded from deviantart.com licensed under Creative Commons 4.0. See more of her art at her Deviant art page.

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Revised Common Lectionary Proper 11
Roman Catholic Proper 16

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Torah: Genesis 13:1-18

So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together, and there was strife between the herders of Abram's livestock and the herders of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.

Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward; thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.¹ I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.

This verse is referred to at least twice in the New Testament. First at Acts 7:5 in Stephen's defense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53. then again in Galatians 3:15-18, where Paul shows that Christ is Abraham's heir.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 5:18-27

Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
 Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
 as if someone fled from a lion,
 and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
 and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
 and gloom with no brightness in it?
I hate, I despise your festivals,
 and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
 I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
 I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
 I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
 and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwan your star-god, your images that you made for yourselves; therefore I will take you into exile beyond Damascus, says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.¹

¹Stephen quotes these verses (Acts 7:42-43) in hisdefense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:1-53.

Complementary Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
 Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
 and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
 and do no evil to their friends,
 nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
 but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
 and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Semi-continuous Psalm 52

Why do you boast, O mighty one,
 of mischief done against the godly?
 All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor,
 you worker of treachery.
You love evil more than good,
 and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that devour,
 O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;
 he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
 he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous will see, and fear,
 and will laugh at the evildoer, saying
“See the one who would not
 take refuge in God,
but trusted in abundant riches,
 and sought refuge in wealth!”

But I am like a green olive tree
 in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
 forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
 because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
 I will proclaim your name, for it is good.

Ephesians-3-14.jpg

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Year C Ordinary 16 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 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.

Image Credit: Mosiac image of the Transfiguration downloaded from http://www.pravoslavie.ru/foto/image13300.htm

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Thursday: Preparation for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 10
Roman Catholic Proper 15

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Torah: Genesis 41:14-36

Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was hurriedly brought out of the dungeon. When he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not I; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the banks of the Nile; and seven cows, fat and sleek, came up out of the Nile and fed in the reed grass. Then seven other cows came up after them, poor, very ugly, and thin. Never had I seen such ugly ones in all the land of Egypt. The thin and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows, but when they had eaten them no one would have known that they had done so, for they were still as ugly as before. Then I awoke. I fell asleep a second time and I saw in my dream seven ears of grain, full and good, growing on one stalk, and seven ears, withered, thin, and blighted by the east wind, sprouting after them; and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears. But when I told it to the magicians, there was no one who could explain it to me.”

Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh's dreams are one and the same; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, as are the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind. They are seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. After them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; the famine will consume the land. The plenty will no longer be known in the land because of the famine that will follow, for it will be very grievous. And the doubling of Pharaoh's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Now therefore let Pharaoh select a man who is discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land, and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plenteous years. Let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and lay up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for The land against the seven years of famine that are to befall the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Twelve Prophets: Amos 1:1-2:3

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

And he said:

The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds wither,
and the top of Carmel dries up.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Damascus,
 and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have threshed Gilead
 with threshing sledges of iron.
So I will send a fire on the house of Hazael,
 and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.
I will break the gate bars of Damascus,
 and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,
 and the one who holds the scepter rom Beth-eden;
 and the people of Aram shall go into exile to Kir,
   says the Lord.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Gaza,
 and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they carried into exile entire communities,
 to hand them over to Edom.
So I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza,
 fire that shall devour its strongholds.
I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod,
 and the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon;
I will turn my hand against Ekron,
 and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,
   says the Lord God.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Tyre,
 and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they delivered entire communities over to Edom,
 and did not remember the covenant of kinship.
So I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre,
 fire that shall devour its strongholds.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Edom,
 and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because he pursued his brother with the sword
 and cast off all pity;
he maintained his anger perpetually,
 and kept his wrath forever.
So I will send a fire on Teman,
 and it shall devour the strongholds of Bozrah.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of the Ammonites,
 and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead
in order to enlarge their territory.
So I will kindle a fire against the wall of Rabbah,
 fire that shall devour its strongholds,
with shouting on the day of battle,
 with a storm on the day of the whirlwind;
then their king shall go into exile,
 he and his officials together,
   says the Lord.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Moab,
 and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because he burned to lime
 the bones of the king of Edom.
So I will send a fire on Moab,
 and it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth,
and Moab shall die amid uproar,
 amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet;
I will cut off the ruler from its midst,
 and will kill all its officials with him,
   says the Lord.

Complementary Psalm 25:1-10

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
 do not let me be put to shame;
 do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
 let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
 teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
 for you are the God of my salvation;
 for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
 for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
 according to your steadfast love remember me,
 for your goodness' sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
 therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
 and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
 for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Semi-continuous 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.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: James 2:14-26

James.jpg

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

Year C RCL Proper 10, Catholic Proper 15, Ordinary 15 Thursday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1985 by Consultation on Common Texts.

Image Credit: Image from https://vimeo.com/53450533, Part of a series by the Athey Creek Church: https://vimeo.com/atheycreek

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Thursday: Preparation for Sunday June 30

Thursday: Preparation

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

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Torah: Leviticus 9:22-10:11

Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them; and he came down after sacrificing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the offering of well-being. Moses and Aaron entered the tent of meeting, and then came out and blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

Now Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his censer, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered unholy fire before the Lord, such as he had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said,

‘Through those who are near me
 I will show myself holy,
and before all the people
 I will be glorified.’”

And Aaron was silent.

Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, “Come forward, and carry your kinsmen away from the front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” They came forward and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had ordered. And Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not dishevel your hair, and do not tear your vestments, or you will die and wrath will strike all the congregation; but your kindred, the whole house of Israel, may mourn the burning that the Lord has sent. You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the anointing oil of the Lord is on you.” And they did as Moses had ordered.

And the Lord spoke to Aaron: Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting, that you may not die; it is a statute forever throughout your generations. You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them through Moses.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 1 Kings 22:29-40, 51-53

There is a parallel passage at 2 Chronicles 18:28-34.

So the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle. Now the king of Aram had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, “Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.” When the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is surely the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him; and Jehoshaphat cried out. When the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. But a certain man drew his bow and unknowingly struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate; so he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around, and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” The battle grew hot that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans, until at evening he died; the blood from the wound had flowed into the bottom of the chariot. Then about sunset a shout went through the army, “Every man to his city, and every man to his country!”

So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; they buried the king in Samaria. They washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria; the dogs licked up his blood, and the prostitutes washed themselves in it, according to the word of the Lord that he had spoken. Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house that he built, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? So Ahab slept with his ancestors; and his son Ahaziah succeeded him.

Ahaziah son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat of Judah; he reigned two years over Israel. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and mother, and in the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served Baal and worshiped him; he provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done.

Complementary Psalm 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 13:5-10

Examine Yourself

Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed. But we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect. So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

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

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

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

Image credit: The Desperate Man by Gustave Courbet via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 0 license.

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Monday: Reflection on the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Exodus 40:1-15

Model of the Tabernacle

The Lord spoke to Moses: On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. You shall put in it the ark of the covenant, and you shall screen the ark with the curtain. You shall bring in the table, and arrange its setting; and you shall bring in the lampstand, and set up its lamps. You shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the covenant, and set up the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle. You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. You shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court. Then you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it shall become holy. You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar shall be most holy. You shall also anoint the basin with its stand, and consecrate it. Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting, and shall wash them with water, and put on Aaron the sacred vestments, and you shall anoint him and consecrate him, so that he may serve me as priest. You shall bring his sons also and put tunics on them, and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests: and their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout all generations to come.

Psalm 20

The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
 The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary,
 and give you support from Zion.
May he remember all your offerings,
 and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. Selah

May he grant you your heart's desire,
 and fulfill all your plans.
May we shout for joy over your victory,
 and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
 he will answer him from his holy heaven
 with mighty victories by his right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
 but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
 but we shall rise and stand upright.

Give victory to the king,
 O Lord; answer us when we call.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:19-25

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Year C Lent 5 Monday

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

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

Image credit: Image By Daniel Ventura. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Share Alike license via Wikimedia Commons. Degem Mischan made by Michael Osnis.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Third Sunday in Advent

Hebrew Scripture Reading from the Twelve Prophets: Amos 6:1-8

Alas for those who are at ease in Zion,
 and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
the notables of the first of the nations,
 to whom the house of Israel resorts!
Cross over to Calneh, and see;
 from there go to Hamath the great;
 then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than these kingdoms?
 Or is your territory greater than their territory,
O you that put far away the evil day,
 and bring near a reign of violence?

Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
 and lounge on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock,
 and calves from the stall;
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
 and like David improvise on instruments of music;
who drink wine from bowls,
 and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
 but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile,
 and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.

The Lord God has sworn by himself
(says the Lord, the God of hosts):
I abhor the pride of Jacob
 and hate his strongholds;
 and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.

Canticle from The Latter Prophets: Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely God is my salvation;
 I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
 he has become my salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:
Give thanks to the Lord,
 call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
 proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
 let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
 for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Generosity Alms

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints—and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,

“The one who had much did not have too much,
 and the one who had little did not have too little.”¹

¹A paraphrase of Exodus 16:18

Year C Advent 3 Thursday

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

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

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

Image credit: Generosity Alms by Pixabay user MoiCitoyen, via Pixabay. This is a public domain image.

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