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

Roman Catholic Proper 26
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 21

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Hosea 10:9-15

Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel;
 there they have continued.
 Shall not war overtake them in Gibeah?
I will come against the wayward people to punish them;
 and nations shall be gathered against them
 when they are punished for their double iniquity.

Ephraim was a trained heifer
 that loved to thresh,
 and I spared her fair neck;
but I will make Ephraim break the ground;
 Judah must plow;
 Jacob must harrow for himself.
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
  reap steadfast love;
 break up your fallow ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
 that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

You have plowed wickedness,
 you have reaped injustice,
 you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your power
 and in the multitude of your warriors,
therefore the tumult of war shall rise against your people,
 and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle
 when mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
 because of your great wickedness.
At dawn the king of Israel
 shall be utterly cut off.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 32:36-44

Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, “It is being given into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence”: See, I am going to gather them from all the lands to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation; I will bring them back to this place, and I will settle them in safety. They shall be my people, and I will be their God.¹ I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for all time, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, never to draw back from doing good to them; and I will put the fear of me in their hearts, so that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing good to them, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.

For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good fortune that I now promise them. Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, It is a desolation, without human beings or animals; it has been given into the hands of the Chaldeans. Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, of the hill country, of the Shephelah, and of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, says the Lord.

¹This sentence is repeated in 2 Corinthians 6;16, in a passage about the Temple of the Living God.

Complementary Psalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
 from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
 I shall never be shaken.

How long will you assail a person,
 will you batter your victim, all of you,
 as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.
 They take pleasure in falsehood;
they bless with their mouths,
 but inwardly they curse.

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
 for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
 my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
 my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
 pour out your heart before him;
 God is a refuge for us.
Those of low estate are but a breath,
 those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
 they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no confidence in extortion,
 and set no vain hopes on robbery;
 if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Once God has spoken;
 twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
 according to their work.¹

¹This verse is quoted in Romans 2:6, in a passage about the righteous judgment of God, and in 2 Timothy 4:14, in a warning about Alexander.

Semi-continuous Psalm 119:49-56

Remember your word to your servant,
 in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my distress,
 that your promise gives me life.
The arrogant utterly deride me,
 but I do not turn away from your law.
When I think of your ordinances from of old,
 I take comfort, O Lord.
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
 those who forsake your law.
Your statutes have been my songs
 wherever I make my home.
I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
 and keep your law.
This blessing has fallen to me,
 for I have kept your precepts.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: James 5:1-6

Coin minted by Herod Agrippa I

Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.

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

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

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

Image Credit: Coin minted by Herod Agrippa I, by http://www.cngcoins.com, via Wikimedia Commons, used under GNU 1.2 license.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 22
Common Lectionary Proper 17

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Proverbs 18:6-12

A fool's lips bring strife,
 and a fool's mouth invites a flogging.
The mouths of fools are their ruin,
 and their lips a snare to themselves.
The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
 they go down into the inner parts of the body.
One who is slack in work
 is close kin to a vandal.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
 the righteous run into it and are safe.
The wealth of the rich is their strong city;
 in their imagination it is like a high wall.
Before destruction one's heart is haughty,
 but humility goes before honor.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 12:1-13

[Jeremiah]

You will be in the right, O Lord,
 when I lay charges against you;
 but let me put my case to you.
Why does the way of the guilty prosper?
 Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
 they grow and bring forth fruit;
you are near in their mouths
 yet far from their hearts.
But you, O Lord, know me;
 You see me and test me—my heart is with you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
 and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn,
 and the grass of every field wither?
For the wickedness of those who live in it
 the animals and the birds are swept away,
 and because people said, “He is blind to our ways.”

[God]

If you have raced with foot-runners
 and they have wearied you,
 how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you fall down,
 how will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?
For even your kinsfolk and your own family,
 even they have dealt treacherously with you;
 they are in full cry after you;
do not believe them,
 though they speak friendly words to you.

I have forsaken my house,
 I have abandoned my heritage;
I have given the beloved of my heart
 into the hands of her enemies.
My heritage has become to me
 like a lion in the forest;
she has lifted up her voice against me—
 therefore I hate her.
Is the hyena greedy for my heritage at my command?
 Are the birds of prey all around her?
Go, assemble all the wild animals;
 bring them to devour her.
Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard,
 they have trampled down my portion,
they have made my pleasant portion
 a desolate wilderness.
They have made it a desolation;
 desolate, it mourns to me.
The whole land is made desolate,
 but no one lays it to heart.
Upon all the bare heights in the desert
 spoilers have come;
for the sword of the Lord devours
 from one end of the land to the other;
 no one shall be safe.
They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns,
 they have tired themselves out but profit nothing.
They shall be ashamed of their harvests
 because of the fierce anger of the Lord.

Complementary Psalm 112

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 4:7-11

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The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay

God has given you each a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do this with the strength and energy that God supplies, Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (NLT)

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

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

Image Credit: Created by Communpedia Tribal, via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under GFDL.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 22
Common Lectionary Proper 17

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Writings: Proverbs 15:13-17

A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance,
 but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.
 The mind of one who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
 All the days of the poor are hard,
but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
 Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is
than a fatted ox and hatred with it.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 11:1-17

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Cursed be anyone who does not heed the words of this covenant, which I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron-smelter, saying, Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God, that I may perform the oath that I swore to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day. Then I answered, “So be it, Lord.”

And the Lord said to me: Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of an evil will. So I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.

And the Lord said to me: Conspiracy exists among the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their ancestors of old, who refused to heed my words; they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. Therefore, thus says the Lord, assuredly I am going to bring disaster upon them that they cannot escape; though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them. Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they will never save them in the time of their trouble. For your gods have become as many as your towns, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.

As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done vile deeds? Can vows and sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult? The Lord once called you, “A green olive tree, fair with goodly fruit”; but with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. The Lord of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.

Complementary Psalm 112

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 3:8-12

Humiliity-3.jpg

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. For
“Those who desire life,
 to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil,
 and their lips from speaking deceit.
let them turn away from evil and do good;
 let them seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
 and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against evildoers.”¹

¹This is a paraphrase of Psalm 34:14-16


Year C Ordinary 22, Catholic Proper 22, Common Lectionary Proper 17: Thursday

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

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

Image credit: Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

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The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 8

Roman Catholic Proper 13

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21

Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.”

So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from The Former Prophets: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

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: Galatians 5:1, 13-25

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.¹” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

¹Leviticus 19:18. The entire chapter is concerned with what it takes to be holy.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 9:51-62

There is a parallel passage about would-be followers of Jesus at Matthew 8:19-22.

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When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Year C Ordinary 13, Revised Common Lectionary Proper 8, Roman Catholic Proper 13 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 right reserved.

Image credit: Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel) the Elder via Wikimedia Commons

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The Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 1:4-10

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy;’
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.”

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,

“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

Psalm 71:1-6

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
 let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
 incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
 a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
 from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
 my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
 it was you who took me from my mother's womb.
My praise is continually of you.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

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If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 4:21-30

Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph's son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Year C Epiphany 4 Sunday

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.

1 Corinthians 13 via deviantart.com, text art by A.G. Butler, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution No Commercial-No Derivatives.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Second Sunday After Epiphany

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Writings: Song of Solomon 4:1-8

How beautiful you are, my love,
 how very beautiful!
Your eyes are doves
 behind your veil.
Your hair is like a flock of goats,
 moving down the slopes of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes
 that have come up from the washing,
all of which bear twins,
 and not one among them is bereaved.
Your lips are like a crimson thread, and
 your mouth is lovely.
Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate
 behind your veil.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
 built in courses;
on it hang a thousand bucklers,
 all of them shields of warriors.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
 twins of a gazelle,
 that feed among the lilies.
Until the day breathes
 and the shadows flee,
I will hasten to the mountain of myrrh
 and the hill of frankincense.
You are altogether beautiful, my love;
 there is no flaw in you.
Come with me from Lebanon, my bride;
 come with me from Lebanon.
Depart from the peak of Amana,
 from the peak of Senir and Hermon,
from the dens of lions,
 from the mountains of leopards.

Psalm 145

I will extol you, my God and King,
 and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you,
 and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
 his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall laud your works to another,
 and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
 and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
 and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
 and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
 slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
 and his compassion is over all that he has made.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
 and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
 and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
 and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
 and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The Lord is faithful in all his words,
 and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling,
 and raises up all who are bowed down.
You open your hand,
 satisfying the desire of every living thing.
Their eyes look to you,  and you give them food in due season.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
 and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
 to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
 he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
 but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
 and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 1:3-17

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

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

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

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy 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.

Christ at the Cross by Carl Heinrich Bloch via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

Year C Epiphany 2 Tuesday

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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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