The Season after Pentecost: Year C, Proper 17

A call to compassion and a warning against pride

Christians are urged to love their fellow Christians by showing hospitality, remembering those in prison or those who are being mistreated, keeping the marriage bond intact, being content with what one has, honoring leaders and teachers and following their examples.

Jesus tells a parable that illustrates humility. He also says, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.” We will be blessed because they cannot repay. True hospitality consists of taking care of those in need for the sake of the kingdom and expecting nothing in return. Continue reading

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The Season after Pentecost: Year C, Proper 16

Jesus brings God’s new covenant to the world

  • Jeremiah 1:4-10
  • Psalm 71:1-6
  • Hebrews 12:18-29
  • Luke 13:10-17

Today’s Gospel tells the story of Jesus healing a bent-over, crippled woman on the sabbath. Rather than rejoicing at the blessing received by the woman, the official in the place of worship protests Jesus’s trespass against one traditional understanding of sabbath regulations. Jesus sharply contrasts these rules with the kindness routinely shown to animals, shaming the official and causing all to marvel at his words and deeds. God’s saving activity cannot be bound by narrow legalism. Once again the crowds rejoice as Jesus bests his opponents.  Continue reading

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The Season after Pentecost: Year C, Proper 15

fire_01Fire & Clouds 

  • Isaiah 5:1-17
  • Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18
  • Hebrews 11:29-12:2
  • Luke 12:49-56

Today’s readings focus on fire and judgment. While the passage last Sunday from Luke spoke of being ready for God’s Kingdom that will come when we least expect it, today Jesus speaks of the end of an age and the need for repentance. Jesus recalls the fire of judgment of which John the Baptist spoke (3:9, 16-17). Jesus expresses the intensity with which he approaches the death foreordained for him at his baptism.

The immediate effect of Jesus’ mission will not be peace, but division. It is warning that the coming of God’s new world will bring division and conflict. Continue reading

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The Season after Pentecost: Proper 14, Year C

nuevo08Righteousness through Faith

  • Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
  • Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24
  • Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
  • Luke 12:32-40

This Sunday begins a four week, semi-continuous reading of Hebrews 11-13. The writer of Hebrews calls the followers of Christ to faith and describes faith as that which gives assurance to our hopes and convinces us of realities we do not see.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

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The Season after Pentecost: Proper 13, Year C

RichManRichness of God

  • Hosea 11:1-11
  • Psalm 107:1-9, 43
  • Colossians 3:1-11
  • Luke 12:12-21

God satisfies our hunger and thirst for all good things. Using the imagery of a parent caring for a child, Hosea describes God’s love for Israel. God taught them to walk, held them, healed them, fed them, and “led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love” (v. 4)

Luke also draws attention to God’s grace and love by distinguishing between the life consumed by the acquiring of possessions and the one that is “rich toward God.” Here a man addresses Jesus as “teacher,” and asks him to act as an arbitrator in a dispute over a family inheritance. It was a common practice to ask a rabbi or religious man to act as a judge on issues of what constitutes right conduct. Then, as now, disputes about inheritances could tie up property for indefinite periods of time and cause long-lasting conflict among the parties involved. Continue reading

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The Season after Pentecost, Proper 12: Year C

zzoransFaithfulness

  • Hosea 1:2-10
  • Psalm 85
  • Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)
  • Luke 11:1-13

Jesus teaches his disciples to pray and tells them to ask, and they will receive, to knock, and the door will be opened to them. If they, who are sinful human beings, know how to give their children good gifts, how much more will their heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask?

The first portion of today’s Gospel contains the words of the prayer that many Christians know as “the Lord’s Prayer.” The first phrases are addressed to God as Father, a tender, caring parent who invites us to come close. They acknowledge God’s holiness: God’s divine nature is worthy of worship. God’s name (representative of God’s true character) is therefore “hallowed,” or revered, because it transcends our limited nature. The establishment of God’s kingdom is both the goal of prayer and the lens through which the remaining petitions are to be viewed. Continue reading

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The Season after Pentecost: Proper 11, Year C

Martha-&-MaryTo “Do” and To “Act”

  • Amos 8:1-12
  • Psalm 52
  • Colossians 1:15-28
  • Luke 10:38-42

In today’s Gospel reading, an occasion of hospitality sets the context for teaching on the balance between doing and reflecting. After Jesus’ exchange with the lawyer last week (Luke 10:25-37), he and his disciples continue on their way to a village, where Jesus is welcomed into the home of a woman named Martha.

While Martha was occupied with providing hospitality for her guest, her sister Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying” (v. 39). Exasperated by the lack of assistance from her sister, Martha complained to Jesus that Mary had left her to do all the work by herself. Jesus replied that Martha is “worried and distracted by many things” (v. 41), while only one thing is truly needed. In this, “Mary has chosen the better part” (v. 42). Continue reading

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