punishment for Judah

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

Roman Catholic Proper 27
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 22

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Twelve Prophets: Habakkuk 1:5-17

Look at the nations, and see!
 Be astonished! Be astounded!
For a work is being done in your days
 that you would not believe if you were told.¹

For I am rousing the Chaldeans,
 that fierce and impetuous nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth
 to seize dwellings not their own.
Dread and fearsome are they;
 their justice and dignity proceed from themselves.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
 more menacing than wolves at dusk;
 their horses charge.
Their horsemen come from far away;
 they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
They all come for violence,
 with faces pressing forward;
 they gather captives like sand.
At kings they scoff,
 and of rulers they make sport.
They laugh at every fortress,
 and heap up earth to take it.
Then they sweep by like the wind;
 they transgress and become guilty;
 their own might is their god!

Are you not from of old,
 O Lord my God, my Holy One?
 You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgment;
 and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment.
Your eyes are too pure to behold evil,
 and you cannot look on wrongdoing;
why do you look on the treacherous,
 and are silent when the wicked swallow
 those more righteous than they?
You have made people like the fish of the sea,
 like crawling things that have no ruler.

The enemy brings all of them up with a hook;
 he drags them out with his net,
he gathers them in his seine;
 so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net
 and makes offerings to his seine;
for by them his portion is lavish,
 and his food is rich.
Is he then to keep on emptying his net,
 and destroying nations without mercy?

¹Paul quotes this verse in Acts 13:41, while preaching at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:26-41).

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Lamentations 1:16-22

For these things I weep;
 my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me,
 one to revive my courage;
my children are desolate,
 for the enemy has prevailed.

Zion stretches out her hands,
 but there is no one to comfort her;
the Lord has commanded against Jacob
 that his neighbors should become his foes;
Jerusalem has become
 a filthy thing among them.

The Lord is in the right,
 for I have rebelled against his word;
but hear, all you peoples,
 and behold my suffering;
my young women and young men
 have gone into captivity.

I called to my lovers
 but they deceived me;
my priests and elders
 perished in the city
while seeking food
 to revive their strength.

See, O Lord, how distressed I am;
 my stomach churns,
my heart is wrung within me,
 because I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword bereaves;
 in the house it is like death.

They heard how I was groaning,
 with no one to comfort me.
All my enemies heard of my trouble;
 they are glad that you have done it.
Bring on the day you have announced,
 and let them be as I am.

Let all their evil doing come before you;
 and deal with them
as you have dealt with me
 because of all my transgressions;
for my groans are many
 and my heart is faint.

Complementary Psalm 3

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

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

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

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

Semi-continuous Psalm 137

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

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

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

New Testament Epistle Lesson: James 1:2-11

James, the Brother of Our Lord

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the field; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. It is the same way with the rich; in the midst of a busy life, they will wither away.

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

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

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

Image Credit: St James the Brother of the Lord by Tzangarolas Stephanos, via Wikimedia Commons

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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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