Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 9, 2018, Proper 18, Year B

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Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23)

The writer sets out reasons for the rich to treat the poor with respect and dignity. In the end, both rich and poor are God’s creatures and a good name is far better than merely being rich. The Lord is on the side of the poor, defending them against injustice.

Psalm (125)

The Psalmist declares that the Lord surrounds his people like the unmoveable mountains that surround Jerusalem. Wickedness is to be banished from the Land and goodness rewarded. Evildoers will ultimately be expelled and Israel will be at peace.

Second Reading (James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17)

James challenges his readers to realize that loving their neighbour is inconsistent with favouritism toward the rich. The rich are the oppressors of the faithful while it is the poor who are rich in faith and deserve honour. Real faith produces good works, not just words.

Gospel (Mark 7:24-37)

Jesus hesitates to help a Gentile woman but then responds to her persistence and humility by healing her demon-possessed daughter. In another Gentile area he opens a man’s ears and loosens his tongue, to the astonishment and admiration of all.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Being rich is not a clear sign of God’s blessing
  • True riches are found in one’s faith in the God of both rich and poor
  • The poor have a special place in God’s heart
  • The love of God crosses barriers: rich and poor; Jew and Gentile
  • Actions speak louder than words

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 35:4-7a)

Describing a future time of redemption, Isaiah speaks of a terrible recompense for evildoers. But at that time the blind will see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the speech-impaired speak, as the wilderness is transformed by freshly abundant water.

Psalm (146)

The Psalmist encourages a life of praise to the Lord who keeps faith forever, unlike mortals whose help comes to an end. Creator of all, he provides food to the hungry, justice for the oppressed and recompense for the wicked. His reign is without end.

Second Reading (James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17)

James challenges his readers to realize that loving their neighbour is inconsistent with favouritism toward the rich. The rich are oppressors of the faithful while the poor are rich in faith and deserve honour. Real faith produces good works, not just words.

Gospel (Mark 7:24-37)

Jesus hesitates to help a Gentile woman but then responds to her persistence and humility by healing her demon-possessed daughter. In another Gentile area he opens a man’s ears and loosens his tongue to the astonishment and admiration of all.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Kingdom of God involves remarkable transformations back to the way things ought to be
  • The poor have a special place in God’s heart
  • The love of God crosses barriers: rich and poor; Jew and Gentile
  • Actions speak louder than words

 

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