Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, October 8, 2017, Proper 22, Year A

Lection Connection for Canadian Thanksgiving can be found here.

 

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Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20)

The Ten Commandments are given for the first time as Yahweh speaks to Moses and Aaron on Mt. Sinai. These laws spell out the basics of how the people of Israel are to live in their relationships with their God, and with other people, providing divine boundaries for their conduct. The thunder and lightning etc. that issue from the heights, signify Yahweh’s presence and are meant to inspire compliance with his Law.

Psalm (19)

This meditation on the Law likens it to the awesome effect of the sun upon the earth each morning: as it revives the earth the Law revives the soul, allowing humankind to flourish. It brings to light what is right and enlightens us to see what is wrong. It even penetrates the dark recesses of our souls and exposes unknown errors. The Psalmist, desiring to be right with God, embraces and delights in his Law.

Second Reading (Philippians 3:4b-14)

St. Paul has come to the realization that his “fleshly” qualifications under the Law, while to his benefit, are mere rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection. Righteousness is from God and based on faith in Christ, not on our own efforts to satisfy the Law. Out of this reality Paul presses on for the prize of the heavenly call.

Gospel (Matthew 21:33-46)

Jesus tells Jewish leaders a parable about a landowner who gave his vineyard well-defended boundaries and everything needed to flourish and then rented it out while he went away. When he sent servants to collect his share of the harvest they were beaten or killed by the tenants. Finally he sent his son but even he was killed. When Jesus says another people will inherit the kingdom his listeners angrily realize that he is talking about how the nation had treated both himself and all of God’s prophets.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Divine boundaries are for our flourishing
  • Sin is destructive in its effect
  • The history of Israel demonstrates humanity’s inability to achieve righteousness through its own efforts
  • Christ is the key to God’s plan and eclipses all that came before
  • Righteousness is a gift and a blessing

Based on the Alternative Set of Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 5:1-7)

Isaiah relates the parable of how his “beloved” had planted a vineyard on a fertile hill guarded over by a watchtower, taking great care to see that it flourished. However it only yielded wild grapes, causing him to plan for its destruction by removing its defenses and allowing it to be trampled into waste ground. Isaiah says this is really about how Yahweh had established Israel expecting it to yield justice and righteousness but it had failed miserably.

Psalm (80:7-15)

The Psalmist yearns for Yahweh to restore the nation and save it from destruction. He points out that Israel was Yahweh’s own planting and it had flourished exceedingly for a time. So why have its protective walls been destroyed enabling it to be trampled by wild beasts?

Second Reading (Philippians 3:4b-14)

St. Paul has come to the realization that his “fleshly” qualifications under the Law, while to his benefit, are mere rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ and the power of his resurrection. Righteousness is from God and based on faith in Christ, not on our own efforts to satisfy the Law. Out of this reality Paul presses on for the prize of the heavenly call.

Gospel (Matthew 21:33-46)

Jesus tells Jewish leaders a parable about a landowner who gave his vineyard well-defended boundaries and everything needed to flourish and then rented it out while he went away. When he sent servants to collect his share of the harvest they were beaten or killed by the tenants. Finally he sent his son but even he was killed. When Jesus says another people will inherit the kingdom his listeners angrily realize that he is talking about how the nation had treated both himself and all of God’s prophets.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The history of Israel demonstrates humanity’s inability to achieve righteousness through its own efforts
  • God’s plan is for his people and all of humanity to flourish
  • Jesus Christ is the answer to Israel’s cries for God’s salvation
  • The history of Israel is critical to the understanding of the mission and ministry of Jesus

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