Sunday, August 25, 2019

                                          Lectionary 21, Year C

First Reading: Isaiah 58:9b-14

The Lord promises those who have returned from exile that where justice and mercy prevail, the ruins will be rebuilt and light will rise in the darkness. It is a day for new beginnings.

9bIf you remove the yoke from among you,
  the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10if you offer your food to the hungry
  and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
 then your light shall rise in the darkness
  and your gloom be like the noonday.
11The Lord will guide you continually,
  and satisfy your needs in parched places,
  and make your bones strong;
 and you shall be like a watered garden,
  like a spring of water,
  whose waters never fail.
12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
  you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
 you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
  the restorer of streets to live in.

13If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
  from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;
 if you call the sabbath a delight
  and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
 if you honor it, not going your own ways,
  serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;
14then you shall take delight in the Lord,
  and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
 I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob,
  for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Semicontinuous First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-10

The call of the prophet Jeremiah does not depend either on Jeremiah’s abilities or his age. God will give him the words to speak. Even before Jeremiah was born, God appointed him a prophet to the nations, to minister in the difficult years before the Babylonian exile.

4Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
 and before you were born I consecrated you;
 I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7But the Lord said to me,
 “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
 for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
 and you shall speak whatever I command you.
8Do not be afraid of them,
 for I am with you to deliver you,
 says the Lord.”
9Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,
 “Now I have put my words in your mouth.
10See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
 to pluck up and to pull down,
 to destroy and to overthrow,
 to build and to plant.”

Psalm: Psalm 103:1-8

The Lord crowns you with mercy and steadfast love. (Ps. 103:4)

1Bless the Lord, | O my soul,
  and all that is within me, bless God’s | holy name.
2Bless the Lord, | O my soul,
  and forget not | all God’s benefits—
3who forgives | all your sins
  and heals all | your diseases;
4who redeems your life | from the grave
  and crowns you with steadfast | love and mercy; R
5who satisfies your desires | with good things
  so that your youth is renewed | like an eagle’s.
6O Lord, you provide | vindication
  and justice for all who | are oppressed.
7You made known your | ways to Moses
  and your works to the chil- | dren of Israel.
8Lord, you are full of compas- | sion and mercy,
  slow to anger and abounding in | steadfast love. R

Semicontinuous Psalm: Psalm 71:1-6

From my mother’s womb you have been my strength. (Ps. 71:6)

1In you, O Lord, have I | taken refuge;
  let me never be | put to shame.
2In your righteousness, deliver me and | set me free;
  incline your ear to | me and save me.
3Be my strong rock, a castle to | keep me safe;
  you are my crag | and my stronghold.
4Deliver me, my God, from the hand | of the wicked,
  from the clutches of the evildoer and | the oppressor. R
5For you are my hope, | O Lord God,
  my confidence since | I was young.
6I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother’s womb you have | been my strength;
  my praise shall be al- | ways of you. R

Second Reading: Hebrews 12:18-29

Using images of Moses from the Old Testament, the writer presents a striking vision of the new covenant of God made possible in Christ. There is no longer fear; only awe in the new promise in Christ into which we are invited.

18You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. 20(For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 26At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 29for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17

Jesus heals a woman on the sabbath, offering her a new beginning for her life. When challenged by a narrow reading of the sabbath command, Jesus responds by expanding “sabbath work” to include setting people free from bondage.

10Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

 

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