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.

 

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