warning

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

Roman Catholic Proper 29
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 24

Complementary Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 54:11-17

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
 I am about to set your stones in antimony,
 and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
 your gates of jewels,
 and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
 and great shall be the prosperity of your children.
¹

In righteousness you shall be established;
 you shall be far from oppression,
  for you shall not fear;
 and from terror,
  for it shall not come near you.

If anyone stirs up strife,
 it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
 shall fall because of you.

See it is I who have created the smith
 who blows the fire of coals,
 and produces a weapon fit for its purpose;
I have also created the ravager to destroy.

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper,
 and you shall confute every tongue
  that rises against you in judgment.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
 and their vindication from me, says the Lord.

¹Jesus quotes this verse in response to the Jews who are hostile to him (John 6:41-51).

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 26:1-15

At the beginning of the reign of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, this word came from the Lord: Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord; speak to them all the words that I command you; do not hold back a word. It may be that they will listen, all of them, and will turn from their evil way, that I may change my mind about the disaster that I intend to bring on them because of their evil doings. You shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to heed the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently—though you have not heeded—then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.

The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king's house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”

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.”

Complementary Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
 who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
 he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
 will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
 the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
 nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
 he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
 your going out and your coming in
 from this time on and forevermore.

Semi-continuous Psalm 119:97-104

Oh, how I love your law!
 It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
 for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
 for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
 for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
 in order to keep your word.
I do not turn away from your ordinances,
 for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
 sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
 therefore I hate every false way.

New Testament Lesson: Acts 17:22-34

Altar to an unknown god

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription,

‘To an unknown god.’

What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’¹; as even some of your own poets have said,

‘For we too are his offspring.’²

Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

¹From the Cretan philosopher Epimendies   ²From the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus

Year C Ordinary 29, Catholic Proper 29, RCL Proper 24: 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 Ashibaka (own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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

Roman Catholic Proper 23
Revised Common Lectionary Proper 18

Complementary 2 Kings 18:9-18

There are parallel passages at Isaiah 36:1-3 and 2 Chronicles 32:1-9.

In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria came up against Samaria, besieged it, and at the end of three years, took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel, Samaria was taken. The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, settled them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed his covenant—all that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed.

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. King Hezekiah of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” The king of Assyria demanded of King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king's house. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts that King Hezekiah of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller's Field. When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

Semi-continuous Hebrew Scripture from the Latter Prophets: Jeremiah 19

Thus said the Lord: Go and buy a potter's earthenware jug. Take with you some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests, and go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. You shall say: Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am going to bring such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent, and gone on building the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as burnt-offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it enter my mind; Therefore the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter. And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth. And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at; everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its disasters. And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and all shall eat the flesh of their neighbors in the siege, and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.

Then you shall break the jug in the sight of those who go with you, and shall say to them: Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, so that it can never be mended. In Topheth they shall bury until there is no more room to bury. Thus will I do to this place, says the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth. And the houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah shall be defiled like the place of Topheth—all the houses upon whose roofs offerings have been made to the whole host of heaven, and libations have been poured out to other gods.¹

When Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, he stood in the court of the Lord's house and said to all the people: Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: I am now bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, because they have stiffened their necks, refusing to hear my words.

¹Stephen refers to this verse in Acts 7:42, part of his defense before the Sanhedrin ( Acts 7:1-53).

Semi-continuous Psalm 2

Why do the nations conspire,
 and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
 and the rulers take counsel together,
 against the Lord and his anointed,¹
saying,
“Let us burst their bonds asunder,
 and cast their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
 the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
 and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
 today I have begotten you.
²
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
 and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
 and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
 be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
 with trembling³
kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
 for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.

¹These verses are quoted in Acts 4:23-31, where the believers pray for boldness.
²Paul quotes this verse when he is preaching at Antioch of Pisidia (
Acts 13:26-34)
³This phrase is repeated in what scholars think is an early hymn found in
Philippians 2:5-11.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 4:6-16

The Martyrdom of St. Timothy

If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

These are the things you must insist on and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Year C Ordinary 23, Catholic Proper 23, RCL 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.

Parallel passages are as indicated in the Modern English Version Bible, copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. When text is taken from the MEV, the passage ends with (MEV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image Credit: The Martyrdom of St. Timothy by an anonymous Byzantine Empire icon writer via Wikimedia Commons, This is a public domain image. Note: Cropped by Michael Gilbertson 24 August 2016. Creative Commons 0 license.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from The Former Prophets: Judges 9:7-15

[Just before this scene, Abimelech has killed all of Jotham's brothers and persuaded the people of Shechem to make him king, in part with a bribe of seventy pieces of silver which he used to hire worthless and reckless fellows.]

When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you lords of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

The trees once went out
 to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree,
 ‘Reign over us.’
The olive tree answered them,
 ‘Shall I stop producing my rich oil
  by which gods and mortals are honored,
  and go to sway over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the fig tree,
 ‘You come and reign over us.’
But the fig tree answered them,
 ‘Shall I stop producing my sweetness
  and my delicious fruit,
  and go to sway over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the vine,
 ‘You come and reign over us.’
But the vine said to them,
 ‘Shall I stop producing my wine
  that cheers gods and mortals,
  and go to sway over the trees?’
So all the trees said to the bramble,
 ‘You come and reign over us.’
And the bramble said to the trees,
 ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you,
  then come and take refuge in my shade;
 but if not, let fire come out of the bramble
  and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’”

Psalm 20

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

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

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

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

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 John 2:18-28

Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.

I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.

Year C Lent 5 Tuesday

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

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

Image credit: Jotham from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum, published by Guillaume Rouille (1518?-1589) via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Exodus 13:3-10 The Festival of Unleavened Bread

Semi-continuous Judges 6:1-10 A prophet calls out Israel for its disobedience.

Both Matthew 16:5-12 Jesus uses the figure of leaven to warn the apostles to beware of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary Jeremiah 21:11-14 Judah will be punished by fire for its evil deeds.

Semi-continuous 1 Samuel 15:10-23 Saul disobeys God’s command to utterly destroy the Amalekites.

Both Revelation 21:22-22:5 From the throne flows the river of the water of life, and on either side is the tree of life, which yields twelve kinds of fruit, one in each month.

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Wednesday: Reflection on the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Complementary: Ezekiel 33:7-20 I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. The righteousness of the righteous will not save them when they transgress; the wickedness of the wicked will not make them stumble if they turn from their wickedness.

Semi-continuous: Jeremiah 31:10-14 I will turn their mourning into joy, and I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

Both: John 5:19-40 The hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

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