Sunday, October 20, 2019
                                                                      Lectionary 29, Year C

First Reading: Genesis 32:22-31

Returning to the home he had fled many years before after stealing his brother’s birthright and his father’s blessing, Jacob wrestles all night long with a divine adversary who ultimately blesses him and changes his name to “Israel,” a name that means “he wrestles with God.”

22The same night [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 27So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 29Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 31The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Semicontinuous First Reading: Jeremiah 31:27-34

After uttering many oracles of judgment, Jeremiah announces a day of hope when God will make a new covenant with Israel and Judah, a covenant written upon their hearts and sealed with God’s forgiveness.

27The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. 28And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. 29In those days they shall no longer say:
 “The parents have eaten sour grapes,
  and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
30But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.

31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more

Psalm: Psalm 121

My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (Ps. 121:2)

1I lift up my eyes | to the hills;
  from where is my | help to come?
2My help comes | from the Lord,
  the maker of heav- | en and earth.
3The Lord will not let your | foot be moved
  nor will the one who watches over you | fall asleep.
4Behold, the keep- | er of Israel
  will neither slum- | ber nor sleep; R
5the Lord watches | over you;
  the Lord is your shade at | your right hand;
6the sun will not strike | you by day,
  nor the | moon by night.
7The Lord will preserve you | from all evil
  and will | keep your life.
8The Lord will watch over your going out and your | coming in,
  from this time forth for- | evermore. R

Semicontinuous Psalm: Psalm 119:97-104

Your words are sweet to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. (Ps. 119:103)

97Oh, how I | love your teaching!
  All the day long it is | in my mind.
98Your commandment has made me wiser | than my enemies,
  for it is | always with me.
99I have more understanding than | all my teachers,
  for your decrees | are my study.
100I am wiser | than the elders,
  because I observe | your commandments. R
101I restrain my feet from every | evil way,
  that I may | keep your word.
102I do not turn aside | from your judgments,
  because you your- | self have taught me.
103How sweet are your words | to my taste!
  They are sweeter than honey | to my mouth.
104Through your commandments I gain | understanding;
  therefore I hate every | lying way. R


Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14--4:5

Paul continues his instruction of Timothy, his younger colleague in ministry, by emphasizing the importance of faithful teaching despite opposition.

14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
4:1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

Gospel: Luke 18:1-8

Jesus tells a parable of a hateful judge who is worn down by a widow’s pleas. Jesus is calling God’s people to cry out for justice and deliverance. For if an unethical judge will ultimately grant the plea of a persistent widow, how much more will God respond to those who call.

1Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ ” 6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”


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