New Revised Standard Version
Scripture Summary for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost - Year A (Sept 6)
Exodus 12:1-14: Here Moses and Aaron are given instructions for the Passover night's feast. A lamb without blemish is to be slain and eaten and its blood sprinkled on the home's door. When God's angel “passes over” and sees the blood; judgement will be averted. This will be the night that the Hebrews escape from Egypt. God commanded that they remember and celebrate this night in perpetuity. As Christians we celebrate this feast each Sunday as we remember the perfect Lamb of God slain for the sin of the world so that all can go free.
Psalm 149: The Psalmist invites us to praise God with a new song in the assembly of the faithful. Israel is to praise God because God is not only her creator, but also her king. This praise comes with singing and dancing. This great God exults with joy over the people as well.
Romans 13:8-14: St. Paul gives practical advice on how to live in Christian community. The only debt we are to owe each other is the debt of love. All the commandments can be summed up in the phrase “love your neighbour as yourself”. In the same way that we dress ourselves each morning, here we are asked to put on the armour of light. Instead of quarrelling and jealousy, we are to put on Jesus Christ.
Matthew 18:15-20: In this passage Jesus also gives us a practical method to show our Christian love to each other when disputes arise. We always go the one-on-one private route first. This preserves a person's dignity and prevents gossip. Only if this meeting is unsuccessful do we add one or two others; finally bringing the wisdom of the full church if needed. These interpersonal relations are not to be taken lightly as our earthly actions are linked to heavenly realities. But Jesus promises that he will be with us – even if only two or three are involved.
Scripture Summary for 15th after Pentecost - Year A (Sept 13)
Exodus 14:19-31: After God's final mighty miracle, the Egyptian Pharaoh lets the Israelite slaves leave his country. As soon as this decision is made, he regrets it. Why lose all your slaves in one fell swoop? So the masters pursue their slaves into the wilderness. The army is deployed and the Israelites are caught between water, mountains and advancing armed men in chariots. Once again God performs a miracle. A path through the sea is opened and the slaves make their way through on dry land. When the Egyptians decide to follow their escaping “property” into the sea, they are lost.
Exodus 15: 1b-11, 20-21: As happens a few times in the Hebrew Scripture, a straight telling of a narrative is preceded or followed by a poetic rendition of the same events. See Genesis 1 & 2. Here Moses (or Miriam) composes a song about their deliverance & immediately takes up the tambourine to sing it. They were close to disaster – either to be killed by the army in the wilderness, or taken back into slavery. God arrived just in time and saved them. God is worthy of worship.
Romans 14:1-12: Here Paul's letter to the church in Rome continues with his very practical advice on how to live together in harmony in the church. We must welcome all those who are weak in faith, not so that we can quarrel with them and teach them to have right opinions, but so that we can together learn what God wants to teach each one of us. People are going to have different opinions on how to live out their spirituality. We are not to be judgemental. God alone is the judge of each one of his children. We all belong to the Lord.
Matthew 18:21-35: Peter comes to Jesus with a question: “How many times do I have to forgive someone who sins against me? As many as seven times?” Maybe he was hoping that Jesus would say, no – only three; four at the most. Jesus responds with the perfect number – 70 times 7 – as many times as sin happens. Jesus then tells a parable about a king who longed to forgive the entire debt of his servants. One owed him more than he could ever pay back – he would need to be sold into slavery forever to pay back the debt. When the servant begged for mercy, the king forgave the entire amount. . Then the same servant went out & saw a guy who owed him 10 bucks. The man begged for mercy, but the servant had him thrown in prison. The end of the parable is sobering.
Scripture Summary for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost – Year A (Sept 20)
Exodus 16:2-15: Complaining is the order of the day today. The Israelites have been miraculously rescued from slavery by the Lord. They are now unhappy with the lack of food in the desert - “better that we be back in slavery – the food was good and plentiful”. Despite their complaining, God still deals generously with his people. He provides them with daily food - “manna” each day that can be made into bread, and quails that would give them protein. But they would need to trust God each day to provide this food. An easy task? Or a hard one?
Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21: Here King David is praising God as his King. Every day for all eternity he will praise God's name. He invites all to praise God so that the next generation can hear of God's mighty works. God is near to all who call on him and ready to help them. He watches over all who love Him.
Philippians 1: 21-30:. Paul is in prison, about to be executed. Yet he is able to say, “For to me, living is Christ, and dying is gain”. He is willing to die for his Lord. But if he is allowed to live, he will make his life count for Christ. And he will do it with joy.
Matthew 20: 1-16: Our gospel reading today is also about complaining. Jesus tells a parable about the kingdom of God being like a landowner who hires day workers. He makes an agreement with these workers to pay them the daily rate. Later in the day there are still people needing work so that they can make enough money to live. The landowner hires them as well. At the end of the day, they both get the same daily wage. The first set of workers complain because they now think they should be making more money than the late hires. (It's a parable about God's abundant mercy and generosity).
Scripture Summary for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost – Year A (Sept 27)
Exodus 17:1-7: The Israelites are still journeying through the wilderness – complaining about the lack of water. They cry to Moses, and Moses cries to God. Moses is then given an unusual command. “Strike the rock at Horeb, and out of it will come water for the people to drink”. St. Paul sees this as an early picture of Christ – the rock that will be struck and living water will burst forth – enough to nourish us all (I Corinthians 10:4).
Psalm 78: 1-4, 12-16: Once again the Psalmist reminds us of the “journey through stages” that the Israelites made through the wilderness. The ancestors told their story and it must be shared with the children. The sea was divided, the clouds led the way, and rocks produced water. God did all these miracles to bring frreedom to God's people.
Philippians 2:1-13: The man in prison, about to be executed, writes the most encouraging words to the recipients of this letter. St. Paul looks at the selfless love of Christ who “gave up all the privileges of the Godhead” to become a servant to, and the Saviour of the world he had created. With Christ as his Lord and his example, Paul reminds us to live from this source of power and love.
Matthew 21:23-32: The religious leaders come to question Jesus on where he gets his authority. It is a hostile question and Jesus responds to it with a question of his own. Then, as He often does, Jesus tells a story. It's a story about how the people whom the world considers big time sinners are getting into God's kingdom before the religious leaders. These religious leaders now begin to plot Jesus' death.