Readings for November 1, 2016 Year C All Saints Day

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Lection Connection for Proper 26(31) can be found here.

First Reading and Psalm

  • Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
  • Psalm 149

Second Reading

  • Ephesians 1:11-23

Gospel

  • Luke 6:20-31

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Daniel is given a vision of four great kings or kingdoms that shall arise out of the earth. Each is visualized as a horrific “beast”, striking terror in the heart of the prophet. In spite of this threatening scenario, Daniel is assured that the kingdom will ultimately belong forever to the holy ones of God. The Psalm calls for praise to YAHWEH because he gives glorious victory to lowly Israel, setting it over the kings and nobles of the nations. Paul writes of the glorious inheritance we now have in Christ, rooted in the power exhibited in his resurrection and demonstrated in his being designated head over all things for us. While he is our head, we are his body and share in his fullness. In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes it is clear that things in the kingdom of God will be upside down from our normal experience. The lowly will be made great and vice versa. In the meantime we are called to embody a kind of upside down kingdom way of life, loving our enemies and treating them as we ourselves desire to be treated.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Daniel is given a vision of four great kings or kingdoms that shall arise out of the earth. Each is visualized as a horrific “beast”, striking terror in the heart of the prophet. In spite of this threatening scenario, Daniel is assured that the kingdom will ultimately belong forever to the holy ones of God.

Psalm

The Psalm calls for praise to YAHWEH because he gives glorious victory to lowly Israel, setting it over the kings and nobles of the nations.

New Testament

Paul writes of the glorious inheritance we now have in Christ, rooted in the power exhibited in his resurrection and demonstrated in his being designated head over all things for us. While he is our head, we are his body and share in his fullness.

Gospel

In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes it is clear that things in the kingdom of God will be upside down from our normal experience. The lowly will be made great and vice versa. In the meantime we are called to embody a kind of upside down kingdom way of life, loving our enemies and treating them as we ourselves desire to be treated.

 

Readings for October 30, 2016 Year C All Saints Day (Transferred)/Proper 26 (31)

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

All Saints Day (Transferred)

[See below for Year C Proper 26 (31)]

First Reading and Psalm

  • Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
  • Psalm 149

Second Reading

  • Ephesians 1:11-23

Gospel

  • Luke 6:20-31

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Daniel is given a vision of four great kings or kingdoms that shall arise out of the earth. Each is visualized as a horrific “beast”, striking terror in the heart of the prophet. In spite of this threatening scenario, Daniel is assured that the kingdom will ultimately belong forever to the holy ones of God. The Psalm calls for praise to YAHWEH because he gives glorious victory to lowly Israel, setting it over the kings and nobles of the nations. Paul writes of the glorious inheritance we now have in Christ, rooted in the power exhibited in his resurrection and demonstrated in his being designated head over all things for us. While he is our head, we are his body and share in his fullness. In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes it is clear that things in the kingdom of God will be upside down from our normal experience. The lowly will be made great and vice versa. In the meantime we are called to embody a kind of upside down kingdom way of life, loving our enemies and treating them as we ourselves desire to be treated.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Daniel is given a vision of four great kings or kingdoms that shall arise out of the earth. Each is visualized as a horrific “beast”, striking terror in the heart of the prophet. In spite of this threatening scenario, Daniel is assured that the kingdom will ultimately belong forever to the holy ones of God.

Psalm

The Psalm calls for praise to YAHWEH because he gives glorious victory to lowly Israel, setting it over the kings and nobles of the nations.

New Testament

Paul writes of the glorious inheritance we now have in Christ, rooted in the power exhibited in his resurrection and demonstrated in his being designated head over all things for us. While he is our head, we are his body and share in his fullness.

Gospel

In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes it is clear that things in the kingdom of God will be upside down from our normal experience. The lowly will be made great and vice versa. In the meantime we are called to embody a kind of upside down kingdom way of life, loving our enemies and treating them as we ourselves desire to be treated.

Year C Proper 26 (31)

First Reading and Psalm

  • Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
  • Psalm 119:137-144

Alternative First Reading and Psalm

  • Isaiah 1:10-18
  • Psalm 32:1-7

Second Reading

  • 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12

Gospel

  • Luke 19:1-10

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Crying out for YAHWEH to end his silence in the midst of Judah’s destruction, the prophet Habakkuk decides simply to listen for the divine word. He is assured both of a coming “end” for which he is to wait and also that it is through such faithfulness that the righteous will live. The Psalmist, although he is in the midst of serious trouble, exults in the life-giving quality of God’s word at every level of existence and pleads for fuller understanding. Paul praises the Thessalonians who are steadfast in the midst of suffering and persecution. Indeed, they are growing in faith and love through the power of God, bringing glory to the Lord Jesus. St. Luke tells the story of Zacchaeus who, in the midst of his sin, had a passion to see Jesus in spite of the obscuring throng. Up in the tree above the crowd he hears Jesus’ word and his life is transformed as he experiences the new life of God’s salvation.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Crying out for YAHWEH to end his silence in the midst of Judah’s destruction, the prophet Habakkuk decides simply to listen for the divine word. He is assured both of a coming “end” for which he is to wait and also that it is through such faithfulness that the righteous will live.

Psalm

The Psalmist, although he is in the midst of serious trouble, exults in the life-giving quality of God’s word at every level of existence and pleads for fuller understanding.

New Testament

Paul praises the Thessalonians who are steadfast in the midst of suffering and persecution. Indeed, they are growing in faith and love through the power of God, bringing glory to the Lord Jesus.

Gospel

St. Luke tells the story of Zacchaeus who, in the midst of his sin, had a passion to see Jesus in spite of the obscuring throng. Up in the tree above the crowd he hears Jesus’ word and his life is transformed as he experiences the new life of God’s salvation.

Based on the Alternative Readings

The prophet Isaiah compares the sin of Judah to that of Sodom and Gomorrah and calls the nation to right living as well as right religion. He offers the promise that, if the nation repents, its sins will be forgiven. The Psalmist rejoices in sins forgiven and even in the difficult times that inspired true repentance. YAHWEH is a hiding place in times of trouble for those who will look to him. Paul praises the Thessalonians who are steadfast in the midst of suffering and persecution. Indeed, they are growing in faith and love through the power of God, bringing glory to the Lord Jesus. St. Luke tells the story of Zacchaeus who, in the midst of his sin, had a passion to see Jesus in spite of the obscuring throng. Up in the tree above the crowd he hears Jesus’ word and his life is transformed as he experiences the new life of God’s salvation.

As Introductions

Old Testament

The prophet Isaiah compares the sin of Judah to that of Sodom and Gomorrah and calls the nation to right living as well as right religion. He offers the promise that, if the nation repents, its sins will be forgiven.

Psalm

The Psalmist rejoices in sins forgiven and even in the difficult times that inspired true repentance. YAHWEH is a hiding place in times of trouble for those who will look to him.

New Testament

Paul praises the Thessalonians who are steadfast in the midst of suffering and persecution. Indeed, they are growing in faith and love through the power of God, bringing glory to the Lord Jesus.

Gospel

St. Luke tells the story of Zacchaeus who, in the midst of his sin, had a passion to see Jesus in spite of the obscuring throng. Up in the tree above the crowd he hears Jesus’ word and his life is transformed as he experiences the new life of God’s salvation.

Readings for October 23, 2016 Year C Proper 25 (30)

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Joel 2:23-32
  • Psalm 65

Alternative First Reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 14:7-10
  • Psalm 84:1-7

Second Reading

  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18

Gospel

  • Luke 18:9-14

Full lections can be read here.

Connection Based on the Readings as Set

The prophet Joel is granted a vision of a coming age in which YAHWEH will exalt his humiliated people by means of extremely abundant material and spiritual blessings . Indeed his very Spirit will be poured upon them and “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved”! The Psalmist calls us to rejoice in “the God of our salvation” who delivers us from evil and whose powers of creation, especially in providing abundant water, enable the fruits of the earth to flourish. The apostle Paul looks forward to “that day” when, having been poured out for the sake of the Gospel, he, along with all who have looked for Jesus to appear, will receive the “crown of righteousness”. He knows that he will be rescued from all evil attacks and saved for the kingdom. Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector vividly illustrates the fact that God will exalt the truly humble and humiliate the falsely proud. It is the sinner who calls out to God for mercy who is saved, not the one who is confident in his own righteousness.

As Introductions

Old Testament

The prophet Joel is granted a vision of a coming age in which YAHWEH will exalt his humiliated people by means of extremely abundant material and spiritual blessings . Indeed his very Spirit will be poured upon them and “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved”!

Psalm

The Psalmist calls us to rejoice in “the God of our salvation” who delivers us from evil and whose powers of creation, especially in providing abundant water, enable the fruits of the earth to flourish.

New Testament

The apostle Paul looks forward to “that day” when, having been poured out for the sake of the Gospel, he, along with all who have looked for Jesus to appear, will receive the “crown of righteousness”. He knows that he will be rescued from all evil attacks and saved for the kingdom.

Gospel

Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector vividly illustrates the fact that God will exalt the truly humble and humiliate the falsely proud. It is the sinner who calls out to God for mercy who is saved, not the one who is confident in his own righteousness.

Connection Based on Alternative Readings

The prophet Jeremiah voices the appeal of a repentant people to a YAHWEH whose ears appear to be closed. They acknowledge responsibility for their distress and do not plead on the basis of any good in them. Instead, they point out that if YAHWEH does not save his covenant people his own great name will be disgraced. The Psalmist exults in the blessings of living in the presence of God, his temple and his city. He affirms that those who derive their strength from God alone are the happiest of all. The apostle Paul looks forward to “that day” when, having been poured out for the sake of the Gospel, he, along with all who have looked for Jesus to appear, will receive the “crown of righteousness”. He knows that he will be rescued from all evil attacks and saved for the kingdom. Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector vividly illustrates the fact that God will exalt the truly humble and humiliate the falsely proud. It is the sinner who calls out to God for mercy who is saved, not the one who is confident in his own righteousness.

As Introductions

Old Testament

The prophet Jeremiah voices the appeal of a repentant people to a YAHWEH whose ears appear to be closed. They acknowledge responsibility for their distress and do not plead on the basis of any good in them. Instead, they point out that if YAHWEH does not save his covenant people his own great name will be disgraced.

Psalm

The Psalmist exults in the blessings of living in the presence of God, his temple and his city. He affirms that those who derive their strength from God alone are the happiest of all.

New Testament

The apostle Paul looks forward to “that day” when, having been poured out for the sake of the Gospel, he, along with all who have looked for Jesus to appear, will receive the “crown of righteousness”. He knows that he will be rescued from all evil attacks and saved for the kingdom.

Gospel

Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector vividly illustrates the fact that God will exalt the truly humble and humiliate the falsely proud. It is the sinner who calls out to God for mercy who is saved, not the one who is confident in his own righteousness.

 

Readings for October 16, 2016 Year C Proper 24 (29)

Please see How to Use Lection Connection.

First Reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 31:27-34
  • Psalm 119:97-104

Second Reading

  • 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5

Gospel

  • Luke 18:1-8

Alternative First Reading and Psalm

  • Genesis 32:22-31
  • Psalm 121

Full lections can be read here.

Connection Based on the Readings as Set

Through Jeremiah YAHWEH promises a new covenant with Israel as the end result of his faithful watching over the beleaguered nation. While he may not have appeared to be listening while they suffered, all would be clear when he finally acted. In a new covenantal relationship he would put his law permanently in their hearts, forgiving and forgetting their past unfaithfulness. The Psalmist exults in the law of God, the practice of which makes him wiser than any of his enemies, teachers or elders. Such divine words are sweeter than honey itself. Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth. In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Through Jeremiah YAHWEH promises a new covenant with Israel as the end result of his faithful watching over the beleaguered nation. While he may not have appeared to be listening while they suffered, all would be clear when he finally acted. In a new covenantal relationship he would put his law permanently in their hearts, forgiving and forgetting their past unfaithfulness.

Psalm

The Psalmist exults in the law of God, the practice of which makes him wiser than any of his enemies, teachers or elders. Such divine words are sweeter than honey itself.

New Testament

Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth.

Gospel

In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.

Connection Based on Alternative Readings

Jacob’s audacity and persistence in his wrestling bout with a mysterious “man” pays off with a profound blessing. His new name, Israel, reveals that he has been wrestling with God himself. It also hints at the nature of his descendants’ relationship with both God and humanity. The Psalmist knows where to look for help: to YAHWEH alone. It is he who “keeps” us: he will not sleep through our need, whatever that need might be. Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth. In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Jacob’s audacity and persistence in his wrestling bout with a mysterious “man” pays off with a profound blessing. His new name, Israel, reveals that he has been wrestling with God himself. It also hints at the nature of his descendants’ relationship with both God and humanity.

Psalm

The Psalmist knows where to look for help: to YAHWEH alone. It is he who “keeps” us: he will not sleep through our need, whatever that need might be.

New Testament

Paul reminds Timothy of the inspired nature of the Scriptures and their ability to form spiritually those willing to listen to them. Not listening guarantees wandering away from the truth.

Gospel

In the Gospel Jesus tells a parable in which a judge is forced to grant justice to an audacious widow by the sheer persistence of her asking. So it is that God will surely not resist the cry of the faithful who suffer. Justice delayed is not justice denied, but its delay poses a serious challenge to faith.

Readings for October 9, 2016 Year C Proper 23 (28) AND Thanksgiving Sunday (Canada) Year C

*Some readers may desire to use a portion of Lection Connection as a brief introduction to each passage as it is read in church. To make this easier please see “As Introductions” after each outline.

[See below for Year C Proper 23 (28)]

Thanksgiving Sunday

First Reading and Psalm

  • Deuteronomy 26:1-11
  • Psalm 100

Second Reading

  • Philippians 4:4-9

Gospel

  • John 6:25-35

Full lections can be read here.

Connection Based on the Readings as Set

Moses commands the Israelites, once they have arrived in the Promised Land, to bring its first fruits as an offering to YAHWEH while reciting the story of their deliverance from Egypt. In this way the harvest is to be celebrated as part of God’s abundant provision for his people. The Psalm could well be taken as providing a liturgical text for such a celebration, calling as it does for exuberant praise and thanksgiving for all of YAHWEH’s love and faithfulness. Paul begins the Philippians reading with another call to “Rejoice” while encouraging his readers to turn to God in prayer and thanksgiving instead of worrying about anything. This leads to a profound peace that can be maintained by focusing our thoughts and actions on all things good. In the Gospel Jesus is questioned by people who are focused on the wrong thing: food that perishes. In spite of their newly-filled bellies, they demand of Jesus a sign like the bread from heaven Moses gave their ancestors. In response Jesus claims to be the Father’s gift of “true bread from heaven”, the “bread of life”. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never thirst”. Clearly, he is the focus we should seek and the gift for which we should give thanks.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Moses commands the Israelites, once they have arrived in the Promised Land, to bring its first fruits as an offering to YAHWEH while reciting the story of their deliverance from Egypt. In this way the harvest is to be celebrated as part of God’s abundant provision for his people.

Psalm

The Psalm could well be taken as providing a liturgical text for such a celebration, calling as it does for exuberant praise and thanksgiving for all of YAHWEH’s love and faithfulness.

New Testament

Paul begins the Philippians reading with another call to “Rejoice” while encouraging his readers to turn to God in prayer and thanksgiving instead of worrying about anything. This leads to a profound peace that can be maintained by focusing our thoughts and actions on all things good.

Gospel

In the Gospel Jesus is questioned by people who are focused on the wrong thing: food that perishes. In spite of their newly-filled bellies, they demand of Jesus a sign like the bread from heaven Moses gave their ancestors. In response Jesus claims to be the Father’s gift of “true bread from heaven”, the “bread of life”. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never thirst”. Clearly, he is the focus we should seek and the gift for which we should give thanks.

Year C Proper 23 (28)

First reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
  • Psalm 66:1-12

Alternate First reading and Psalm

  • 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
  • Psalm 111

Second reading

  • 2 Timothy 2:8-15

Gospel

  • Luke 17:11-19

Full lections can be read here.

Connection Based on the Readings as Set

Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles in Babylon encourages them to treat this time not as a mournful interlude to be endured but as a time to settle down and prosper. They are to build houses, take wives and have families as normal. Even more, they are actually to seek the welfare of the city of their captivity because if it is blessed, they will be blessed as well. The Psalmist calls the whole earth to acknowledge and worship God because of his greatness seen in all his works, especially his deliverance of the Israelite nation from Egypt as well as its continued existence. Paul, himself suffering in captivity, carries on his ministry as normal, encouraging Timothy based on the Christian’s identification with Jesus who himself died but rose again, guaranteeing our own eventual resurrection. Timothy is charged with imparting this message to his congregation simply and in a straightforward manner that avoids wrangling over words. The Gospel tells how Jesus healed ten lepers but only the “foreigner”, blessed along with the Jews, returned to give praise to God the God of Israel.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles in Babylon encourages them to treat this time not as a mournful interlude to be endured but as a time to settle down and prosper. They are to build houses, take wives and have families as normal. Even more, they are actually to seek the welfare of the city of their captivity because if it is blessed, they will be blessed as well.

Psalm

The Psalmist calls the whole earth to acknowledge and worship God because of his greatness seen in all his works, especially his deliverance of the Israelite nation from Egypt as well as its continued existence.

New Testament

Paul, himself suffering in captivity, carries on his ministry as normal, encouraging Timothy based on the Christian’s identification with Jesus who himself died but rose again, guaranteeing our own eventual resurrection. Timothy is charged with imparting this message to his congregation simply and in a straightforward manner that avoids wrangling over words.

Gospel

The Gospel tells how Jesus healed ten lepers but only the “foreigner”, blessed along with the Jews, returned to give praise to God the God of Israel.

Connection Based on the Alternative Readings

A young daughter of Israel, seeking the welfare of her captor Naaman, commander of the Aramean army, tells him about the prophet Elisha back in Samaria who could cure his leprosy. Naaman is not only cured once he follows the straightforward word of the prophet, but he also comes to faith in the God of Israel. A foreigner truly blessed! The Psalmist calls for thanks to be given to YAHWEH for his wonderful works. Those works, especially redeeming Israel and giving the Law, have gained him great renown. To have faith in YAHWEH is to be on the path of wisdom. Paul, himself suffering in captivity, carries on his ministry as normal, encouraging Timothy based on the Christian’s identification with Christ Jesus who himself died but rose again, guaranteeing our own eventual resurrection. Timothy is charged with imparting this message to his congregation simply and in a straightforward manner that avoids wrangling over words. The Gospel tells how Jesus healed ten lepers but only the “foreigner”, blessed along with the Jews, returned to give praise to God the God of Israel.

As Introductions

Old Testament

A young daughter of Israel, seeking the welfare of her captor Naaman, commander of the Aramean army, tells him about the prophet Elisha back in Samaria who could cure his leprosy. Naaman is not only cured once he follows the straightforward word of the prophet, but he also comes to faith in the God of Israel. A foreigner truly blessed!

Psalm

The Psalmist calls for thanks to be given to YAHWEH for his wonderful works. Those works, especially redeeming Israel and giving the Law, have gained him great renown. To have faith in YAHWEH is to be on the path of wisdom.

New Testament

Paul, himself suffering in captivity, carries on his ministry as normal, encouraging Timothy based on the Christian’s identification with Jesus who himself died but rose again, guaranteeing our own eventual resurrection. Timothy is charged with imparting this message to his congregation simply and in a straightforward manner that avoids wrangling over words.

Gospel

The Gospel tells how Jesus healed ten lepers but only the “foreigner”, blessed along with the Jews, returned to give praise to God the God of Israel.

 

Readings for October 2, 2016 Year C Proper 22 (27)

First Reading and Psalm Substitute

  • Lamentations 1:1-6
  • Lamentations 3:19-26

Second Reading

  • 2 Timothy 1:1-14

Gospel

  •  Luke 17:5-10

Alternative A: First Reading and Psalm

  • Lamentations 1:1-6
  • Psalm 137

Alternative B: First Reading and Psalm

  • Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
  • Psalm 37:1-9

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

The writer of Lamentations is eloquent in his sad description of a ruined and desolate Jerusalem, once majestic among the nations. He notes simply that this has all come about because of unfaithfulness to YAHWEH. In the Psalm Substitute the same author records his deep pain at Judah’s fate but calls to mind that YAHWEH is faithful (unlike Judah?) and his salvation is worth waiting for. Paul, himself suffering for being faithful, trusts in Christ for his ultimate vindication. In this light he urges Timothy to be faithful as well, guarding the treasure of the message of grace. In the Gospel Jesus reminds his disciples that, in contrast to spectacular feats of spiritual power, no less than the humble performance of our calling is what is required of us. This is what true faithfulness looks like.

Based on Alternative A

The writer of Lamentations is eloquent in his sad description of a ruined and desolate Jerusalem, once majestic among the nations. He notes simply that this has all come about because of unfaithfulness to YAHWEH. The Psalmist bitterly resents the conquerors’ demands for entertainment from the captives. Blaming only the Babylonians for the disaster, he can only call on YAHWEH to execute terrible revenge upon them. Paul, himself suffering for being faithful, trusts in Christ for his ultimate vindication. In this light he urges Timothy to be faithful as well, guarding the treasure of the message of grace. In the Gospel Jesus reminds his disciples that, in contrast to spectacular feats of spiritual power, no less than the humble performance of our calling is what is required of us. This is what true faithfulness looks like.

Based on Alternative B

Crying out for YAHWEH to end his silence in the midst of Judah’s destruction, the prophet Habakkuk decides simply to listen for the divine word. He is assured both of a coming “end” for which he is to wait and also that it is through such faithfulness that the righteous will live. “Just wait” is also the counsel of the YAHWEH to the Psalmist who agonizes over the triumph of the wicked all around him. Faithfulness will lead to inheriting the land. Paul, himself suffering for being faithful, trusts in Christ for his ultimate vindication. In this light he urges Timothy to be faithful as well, guarding the treasure of the message of grace. In the Gospel Jesus reminds his disciples that, in contrast to spectacular feats of spiritual power, no less than the humble performance of our calling is what is required of us. This is what true faithfulness looks like.

Readings for September 25, 2016 Year C Proper 21 (26)

First Reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
  • Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16

Second Reading

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-19

Gospel

  • Luke 16:19-31

Alternative First Reading and Psalm

  • Amos 6:1a, 4-7
  • Psalm 146

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Because of his refusal to be a “good news” prophet Jeremiah finds himself under house arrest as Jerusalem is fatally besieged by Babylon’s armies. Understanding that this is the end of the world as he knows it, he may have been inclined to resist the word of the LORD that he purchase soon to be worthless property in his home town. After doing so, however, he is assured that he has made an excellent long-term investment because YAHWEH will restore prosperity to the land. The Psalmist assures us that those who take refuge in YAHWEH will experience the wonderful richness of his salvation. St. Paul warns Timothy that the priority of pursuing wealth leads to spiritual ruin, while the pursuit of righteousness will end in the “life that really is life” when Jesus Christ is finally made manifest. In the Gospel Jesus vividly illustrates this same truth through his story of the rich man and Lazarus. In so doing he teaches that riches can so blind us to spiritual realities that even someone sent from beyond the grave cannot get our attention!

Based on the Alternative Readings

Amos decries the rich who are “at ease in Zion” even as the nation disintegrates around them. Instead of grieving over the coming disaster they are blinded by their enjoyment of material wealth. They will therefore be the first to go into exile and oblivion. The Psalmist would agree: the way of the wicked will come to ruin. But he adds that God will bless the faithful, first with the hope of his reign and then with its realization.

 

Readings for September 18, 2016 Year C Proper 20 (25)

First Reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
  • Psalm 79:1-9

Second Reading

  • 1 Timothy  2:1-7

Gospel

  • Luke 16:1-13

Alternative First Reading and Psalm

  • Amos 8:4-7
  • Psalm 113

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

Jeremiah is overwhelmed by the disaster that is coming down upon the nation of Judah, a disaster brought on by YAHWEH himself because of persistent covenant unfaithfulness. The prophet identifies strongly with the suffering of the people even while reminding them of their culpability. The Psalmist finds himself in similar circumstances with the nation suffering a devastating defeat at the hand of the nations. He, too, recognizes a justly angry YAHWEH behind the ruination but pleads for God’s help and forgiveness “for the glory of your name”. St. Paul’s sense of urgency originates with God’s desire that everyone be “saved” (from sin’s “ruin and destruction” [5:9]) on the basis of the ransom provided by the mediator himself, Jesus Christ. The parable in the Gospel also underscores the need to act appropriately and urgently in the light of coming judgment, especially in the use of material things for the kingdom. We need to extremely shrewd in such matters because they have the power to master us and turn us from our true Master.

Based on the Alternative Readings

Amos champions the cause of the poor and needy in Israel who are the victims of those who have sold out to material gain. Such people simply cannot wait for the religious observances to be finished so that they can get back to their exploitive practices. YAHWEH sees and will not forget whom they serve and what they have done. The Psalmist exults in the God who indeed sees from on high but who also acts to save the downtrodden.

 

Readings for Year C Proper 19 (24) (September 11, 2016)

First Reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
  • Psalm 14

Alternate First Reading and Psalm

  • Exodus 32:7-14
  • Psalm 51:1-10

Second Reading

  • 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Gospel

  • Luke 15:1-10

Full lections can be read here

Based on the Readings as Set

Jeremiah records Yahweh’s lament that he finds his people so “skilled in doing evil” that a terrible judgment is inevitable. The prophet has a vision of the resulting devastation but also notes Yahweh’s promise that “I will not make a full end”. Grace shines through. The Psalmist makes a similar observation regarding the sin of humanity and predicts a similar result. At the same time he affirms that “God is with the company of the righteous.” Grace shines through. St. Paul is amazed that grace has overflowed even to him, the foremost of sinners. Grace shines through. Finally, the circle is complete as Jesus focuses not on the depth of human sin but on the intense joy of heaven at the repentance of a single sinner! Grace shines through.

Based on the Alternative Readings

In the face of all the ugliness of Israel’s sin in the very shadow of the Almighty at Sinai, grace shines through. Moses intervenes and persuades Yahweh to change his mind and not destroy the nation then and there. The Psalmist admits that he is a born sinner but knows that God can create a clean heart within him. Grace shines through.

 

Readings for Year C Proper 18 (23) (September 4, 2016)

First reading and Psalm

  • Jeremiah 18:1-11
  • Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Alternate First reading and Psalm

  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Psalm 1

Second reading

  • Philemon 1:1-21

Gospel

  • Luke 14:25-33

Full lections can be read at: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu

Based on the readings as set

Perhaps the most urgent connection this week is the idea that God has an absolute claim upon us. Jeremiah uses the stark image of the potter in perfect command of his clay to make this perfectly clear. The psalmist makes the same point but deepens by noting that God’s creature is more properly seen as the human being in all his or her amazing intricacy: not just clay but an actual reflection of the exalted Creator. Paul sends the slave Onesimus back to his master Philemon but appeals to him on the basis of the prior claim of Christ to treat him as a brother and perhaps even to set him free. If some of these images seem extreme, Jesus, ups the ante by insisting that true allegiance to him demands that our natural attachment to our own family is to be considered “hatred” in comparison.

Based on the alternative readings

Both the Deuteronomy passage and the Psalm make the additional but critical point that acknowledging God’s absolute claim upon us is not merely to bow to his superiority but to take the first step toward the abundant life for which we were created in the first place. There is nothing arbitrary about the laws of God.