prayer

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

Roman Catholic Proper 28
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 23

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Numbers 12:1-15

While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had indeed married a Cushite woman); and they said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth.

Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the entrance of the tent, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words:

When there are prophets among you,
I the Lord make myself known to them in visions;
I speak to them in dreams.
Not so with my servant Moses;
he is entrusted with all my house.¹

With him I speak face to face—clearly, not in riddles;
and he beholds the form of the Lord.

Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.

When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam had become leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam and saw that she was leprous. Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us for a sin that we have so foolishly committed. Do not let her be like one stillborn, whose flesh is half consumed when it comes out of its mother's womb.” And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her.” But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” So Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out on the march until Miriam had been brought in again.

¹Moses is called faithful in all God's house in Hebrews 3:2, part of a passage about Moses as a servant and Christ as a son.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 28

In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the Lord, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the Lord .s house, which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, says the Lord, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”

Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, and broke it. And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: This is how I will break the yoke of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.” At this, the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

Sometime after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: Go, tell Hananiah, Thus says the Lord: You have broken wooden bars only to forge iron bars in place of them! For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put an iron yoke on the neck of all these nations so that they may serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and they shall indeed serve him; I have even given him the wild animals. And the prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you made this people trust in a lie. Therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to send you off the face of the earth. Within this year you will be dead, because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord.”

In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.

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 Gospel Lesson: Luke 5:12-16

Christ Cleansing a Leper

There are parallel passages at Matthew 8:1-4 and Mark 1:40-45.

Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. “Go,” he said, “and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.” But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

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

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

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

Image Credit: Christ Cleansing a Leper by Jean-Marie Melchior Doze [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 27
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 22

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Habakkuk 2:12-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Complementary Psalm 3

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

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

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

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

Semi-continuous Psalm 137

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

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

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

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

The Accursed Fig Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revised Common Lectionary Proper 13
Roman Catholic Proper 18

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Writings: Ecclesiastes 3:16—4:8

Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?

Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive; but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person's envy of another. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Fools fold their hands
and consume their own flesh.
Better is a handful with quiet
than two handfuls with toil,
and a chasing after wind.

Again, I saw vanity under the sun: the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. “For whom am I toiling,” they ask, “and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Hosea 13:1-16

When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
 he was exalted in Israel;
 but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
And now they keep on sinning
 and make a cast image for themselves,
idols of silver made according to their understanding,
 all of them the work of artisans.
“Sacrifice to these,” they say.
 People are kissing calves!
Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
 or like the dew that goes away early,
like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
 or like smoke from a window.

Yet I have been the Lord your God
 ever since the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
 and besides me there is no savior.
It was I who fed you in the wilderness,
 in the land of drought.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
 they were satisfied, and their heart was proud;
 therefore they forgot me.
So I will become like a lion to them,
 like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs,
 and will tear open the covering of their heart;
there I will devour them like a lion,
 as a wild animal would mangle them.

I will destroy you, O Israel;
 who can help you?
Where now is your king,
 that he may save you?
 Where in all your cities are your rulers,
of whom you said,
 “Give me a king and rulers”?
I gave you a king in my anger,
 and I took him away in my wrath.

Ephraim's iniquity is bound up;
 his sin is kept in store.
The pangs of childbirth come for him,
 but he is an unwise son;
for at the proper time he does not present himself
 at the mouth of the womb.
Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
 Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are your plagues?
 O Sheol, where is your destruction?¹

 Compassion is hidden from my eyes.

Although he may flourish among rushes,
 the east wind shall come,a blast from the Lord,
 rising from the wilderness;
and his fountain shall dry up,
 his spring shall be parched.
It shall strip his treasury
 of every precious thing.
Samaria shall bear her guilt,
 because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword,
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
 and their pregnant women ripped open.

¹Paul quotes a form of this when he discusses what will happen when we become immortal in the afterlife. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

Complementary Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house,
 those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
 the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
 and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
 for he gives sleep to his beloved.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
 the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
 are the sons of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has
 his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
 when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Semi-continuous Psalm 60

O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses;
 you have been angry; now restore us!
You have caused the land to quake; you have torn it open;
 repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people suffer hard things;
 you have given us wine to drink that made us reel.

You have set up a banner for those who fear you,
 to rally to it out of bowshot.
Give victory with your right hand, and answer us,
 so that those whom you love may be rescued.
God has promised in his sanctuary:
 “With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
 and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
  Ephraim is my helmet;
 Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin;
 on Edom I hurl my shoe;
 over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
 Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
 You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
O grant us help against the foe,
 for human help is worthless.
With God we shall do valiantly;
 it is he who will tread down our foes.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Colossians 4:2-6

Praying at the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, so that I may reveal it clearly, as I should.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.

Year C Ordinary 18, RCL Proper 13, Catholic Proper 18 Tuesday

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

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

Image Credit: A Man Prays at the Western Wall, Image by David Shankbone, via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0

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Friday: Preparation for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week's blog post is here. It has a review of The Amplified Bible, a chance to think about our own blindness, and summaries and links for the lessons through Wednesday.

More information about the complementary and semi-continuous series is here: Which Series?

Complementary Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 26:12-24

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

Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” And some of the elders of the land arose and said to all the assembled people, “Micah of Moresheth, who prophesied during the days of King Hezekiah of Judah, said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts,

Zion shall be plowed as a field;
 Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
and the mountain of the house a wooded height.¹’

Did King Hezekiah of Judah and all Judah actually put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and did not the Lord change his mind about the disaster that he had pronounced against them? But we are about to bring great disaster on ourselves!”

There was another man prophesying in the name of the Lord, Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied against this city and against this land in words exactly like those of Jeremiah. And when King Jehoiakim, with all his warriors and all the officials, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death; but when Uriah heard of it, he was afraid and fled and escaped to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Achbor and men with him to Egypt, and they took Uriah from Egypt and brought him to King Jehoiakim, who struck him down with the sword and threw his dead body into the burial place of the common people.

But the hand of Ahikam son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah so that he was not given over into the hands of the people to be put to death.

¹Micah 3:12

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture: Nehemiah 1:1-11

The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capital, one of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They replied, “The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.”

When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments; let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned. We have offended you deeply, failing to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place at which I have chosen to establish my name.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great power and your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!”

At the time, I was cupbearer to the king.

Complementary Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
 we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
 and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
 “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
 and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
 like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
 reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
 bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
 carrying their sheaves.

Semi-continuous Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22

I will bless the Lord at all times;
 his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
 let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
 and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
 and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to him, and be radiant;
 so your faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
 and was saved from every trouble.
The angel of the Lord encamps
 around those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good;¹
 happy are those who take refuge in him.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
 but the Lord rescues them from them all.
He keeps all their bones;
 not one of them will be broken.²
Evil brings death to the wicked,
 and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
 none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

¹Peter uses this phrase in his instructions to believers in 1 Peter 2:1-10, which is our Monday Epistle Lesson.
²In
John 19:31-37 (part of the recounting of the crucifixion), this scripture is fulfilled. Ordinarily, when the soldiers grew weary of watching their crucified victims, they would break their femurs, which hastened death. Jesus died before this was done.

New Testament Lesson: Hebrews 7:11-22

Christ the Eternal High Priest

Now if perfection had been attainable through the levitical priesthood—for the people received the law under this priesthood—what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising according to the order of Melchizedek, rather than one according to the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

It is even more obvious when another priest arises, resembling Melchizedek, one who has become a priest, not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of him,

“You are a priest forever,
 according to the order of Melchizedek.”¹

There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God.

This was confirmed with an oath; for others who became priests took their office without an oath, but this one became a priest with an oath, because of the one who said to him,

“The Lord has sworn
 and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever’”—¹

accordingly Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.

Both of these quotations are from Psalm 110:4. Here is the complete Psalm 110.

Year B Ordinary 30 Friday

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 with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books (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.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

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Image credit: Christ the Eternal High Priest, image by Fr. Lawrence, OP of a stained-glass window from St Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, CA, via flickr.com. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution, No Derivatives, No Commercial Use license.

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Monday: Reflection on the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Jeremiah 50:1-7 Babylon will be overthrown, and the people will return to God.

Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 7:18-29 David’s prayer of gratitude to God.

Both Hebrews 13:17-25 Jesus is the Great Shepherd.

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Friday: Preparation for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Jeremiah 7:16-26 Jeremiah is told not to pray for the people, for they did not obey God’s voice.

Semi-continuous 2 Samuel 3:1-12 Abner pledges his support to David, abandoning Saul.

Both 2 Corinthians 10:7-11 Paul asserts his authority.

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Monday: Reflection on the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary 1 Samuel 16:14-23 David calms Saul’s evil spirit.

Semi-continuous 1 Samuel 7:3-15 The people return to God, and Samuel is judge over Israel.

Both Revelation 20:1-6 The first resurrection will be of the faithful.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 3:1-10 Peter and John, in the name of Jesus, heal a man lame from birth.

Luke 22:24-30 As I am a servant, so you should be also. Then you will eat at my table in heaven.

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