New Revised Standard Version
Scripture Summary for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost – Year C (Sept 22)
Reflections by Rev. Shelley
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1: No wonder Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet. Here, in beautiful poetry, he laments the fate of his people. His joy is gone and he mourns and is filled with dismay. Can the Lord really have left Zion? Is there no king at court? Is there no balm in Gilead? Jeremiah longs to be made of water - a fountain, a spring – so that he might weep night and day for his fellow citizens.
Psalm 79:1-9: This is a time of national crisis in Israel. Their country is in a deplorable condition. God's holy Temple has been defiled and the city has been attacked by enemy nations. The streets run with blood and the dead bodies lie unburied. So the psalmist cries to God for deliverance. How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? He asks God not to remember the sins of the people. Instead, he requests that God concentrate on God's own attributes. Do this for us because you are the God of our salvation. Do it for the glory of your name. Forgive our sins for your name's sake.
I Timothy 2:1-7: God's desire is that everyone be saved. A way of salvation has been provided through Jesus Christ. St. Paul has heard this message and it has changed his life. He shares his personal response to this by reminding people to pray. These must be prayers for everyone. He believes that this good news has also given him a new vocation. He is now a herald and an apostle, bringing the news of salvation to Gentiles.
Luke 16:1-13: In this difficult parable Jesus seems to be commending a dishonest manager. The manager sees his own life in peril, so he shrewdly makes provision for his future. Jesus contrasts this man's ingenuity in handling life's problems with “the children of light's” seeming inability to be wise in our handling the message of eternal life. Could love of money and ease be part of the reason? “You cannot serve God and wealth”. Ouch.
Scripture Summary for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost – Year C (Sept 29)
Reflections by Rev. Shelley
Jeremiah 32: 1-3a, 6-15:This is one of my favourite stories. God would often command prophets to do strange actions to illustrate God's relationship with his people. God has already told Jeremiah that the army of Babylon will win over little Israel. The people will be taken into exile. In light of that pronouncement, God now asks Jeremiah to do something ludicrous. Buy a piece of land (that will soon be under Babylonian rule) and keep the deed. What a waste of money. That's carrying optimism way too far. Yet, as God brings judgement, God also wants the people not to lose heart. Redemption will arrive and one is to live and act on that reality as well.
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16: This is a psalm of trust in the Lord. God has become for the psalmist a refuge and a fortress. God will deliver the psalmist out of any kind of peril because God's follower loves God and knows God's name. God will rescue them and honour them. But even this psalm can be taken out of context. Verse 13 will be one of the scriptures that the devil will quote to Jesus as part of his wilderness temptations. “Do a party trick and throw yourself off the Temple roof” - God will then send his angels to rescue you. Jesus responds that to test God like that is not what is meant by these verses. We are to trust God, not tempt God.
I Timothy 6:6-19: This is a practical reminder that we are all mortal. We enter life with nothing, and we will leave it with no material goods. So don't love money more than people or the gospel. Be content with what you have, and spend your energy on the spiritual gifts and the energy that come from following Jesus. Jesus is the only immortal one, and this is the life that we are to pursue, for it will last forever. Our gospel rich man forgot this lesson, and he paid steeply for his inattentiveness.
Luke 16:19-31: ”If they don't listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead”. It's easy to think that people will believe if they see a miracle. Here, in a provocative parable (or is it a parable?) Jesus reminds us that it's the heart's attitude that determines whether the eye will be filled with faith. Jesus himself will rise from the dead; yet even that miracle will not convince everyone.