Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B   16 comments

Above:  The Calling of St. Matthew, by Hendrick ter Brugghen

Sit Down and Eat

NOT OBSERVED IN 2018

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Hosea 2:14-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

Therefore, I will now allure her,

and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her.

From there I will give her vineyards,

and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.

There she shall respond as in the days of her youth,

as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

On that day, says the LORD, you will call me,

My husband,

and no longer will you call me,

My Baal.

For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more.  I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.  And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.  I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD.

Psalm 103:1-13, 22 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits.

3 He forgives all your sins,

and heals all your infirmities;

4 He redeems your life from the grave

and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness.

5 He satisfies you with good things,

and your youth is renewed like an eagle’s.

The LORD executes righteousness

and judgment for all who are oppressed.

7 He made his ways known to Moses

and all his works to the children of Israel.

The LORD is full of compassion and mercy,

slow to anger and of great kindness.

He will not always accuse us,

nor will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

11 For as the heavens are as high above the earth,

so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our sins from us.

13 As a father cares for his children,

so does the LORD care for those who fear him.

22  Bless the LORD, all you works of his,

in all places of his dominion;

bless the LORD, O my soul.

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (New Revised Standard Version):

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we?  You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.  Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Mark 2:13-22 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them.  As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him,

Follow me.

And he got up and followed him.

And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples–for there were many who followed him.  When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples,

Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?

When Jesus heard this, he said to them,

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him,

Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?

Jesus said to them,

The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they?  As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

The Collect:

Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who care for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/eighth-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-a/

Mark 2:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/week-of-1-epiphany-saturday-year-1/

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/week-of-2-epiphany-monday-year-1/

Matthew 9 (Parallel to Mark 2):

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/week-of-proper-8-saturday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/week-of-proper-8-friday-year-1/

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/proper-5-year-a/

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/third-day-of-lent/

Luke 5 (Parallel to Mark 2):

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/fourth-day-of-lent/

2 Corinthians 3:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/week-of-proper-5-wednesday-year-1/

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The passage from Hosea occurs in the context of a condemnation of national idolatry and the pronouncement of punishment for it.  Monotheism did not come easily or quickly to the Hebrews of the Old Testament.  In fact, pagan fertility cults held much appeal.  With that in mind, note, O reader, the references to fertility that YHWH promises to give in the context of divine graciousness.  There is even the likening of a relationship with God to a marriage.  “You have sinned,” God says, “and I will discipline you accordingly.  Then I will show mercy on you.”

Speaking of mercy, Jesus ate with notorious sinners, including literal tax thieves.  He even called one of them to join his inner circle.   This extraordinary gesture of grace, of acting based on the potential of person’s future, reflected the Spirit, which gives life.  Scribes, of course, objected vocally, but Jesus argued well against their case.  He would have welcomed them at the table, too, if they had sat down.

The difference between the scribes and the notorious sinners was that the latter recognized their need for grace.  Already being outcasts, they had no prestige to lose.  Too often we human beings cling tenaciously to poor substitutes for God.  These might be deities from competing religions.  Or they might be money or possessions or social status or some combination of these.  None of them fills the God-shaped hole, however.

May we lay our pretenses aside and sit down with Jesus.

KRT

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16 responses to “Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

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