Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 3, 2017, Proper 17, Year A

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Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 3:1-15)

Yahweh mysteriously appears to Moses in the burning bush at Mt. Sinai, identifying himself as the God of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has heard the cry of his oppressed people back in Egypt and now he is going to send Moses to deliver the captives, leading them out to the Promised Land. The name by which he wishes to be known to them is simply “I AM WHO I AM”.

Psalm (105:1-6, 23-26, 45c)

The Psalmist encourages the people to remember Yahweh’s miracles and judgments and, while taking care to look to him alone, make his deeds known among the nations. He caused Israel to grow mightily even while persecuted in Egypt and sent Moses to deliver them so that they might serve him faithfully.

Second Reading (Romans 12:9-24)

St. Paul exhorts the Christian community to have genuine love for one another and serve the Lord faithfully especially when under persecution. Instead of taking revenge on their enemies themselves they are to put it into God’s hands, knowing that good will ultimately triumph over evil.

Gospel (Matthew 16:21-28)

Right after he had praised Peter for recognizing him as Messiah Jesus rebukes him for not understanding that suffering and death are ahead for both Messiah and his disciples. We are not to seek to save our lives, but to deny ourselves and follow Jesus, remembering that he will repay many times over in the resurrection.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• It is God who saves us, not we ourselves

• Doing good will triumph over evil

• Suffering is to be expected as part of the Christian life

• Relief from suffering is in God’s hands

• We are to follow in God’s ways in all circumstances, loving God, fellow Christians and our enemies

• The need to remain faithful, especially under pressure to conform to this world

Based on the Alternative Set of Readings

First Reading (Jeremiah 15:15-21)

Jeremiah makes his case to Yahweh, asking that his persecutors suffer retribution. He claims to have been faithful but his suffering is growing worse, making him wonder if Yahweh will fail him. Yahweh, on the other hand, sees a need for Jeremiah to turn back to God in order to be restored to his calling and delivered from his foes.

Psalm (26:1-8)

Because he has been faithful in his walk, the Psalmist expects vindication from Yahweh. He even challenges Yahweh to test him in his innocence. He has not kept company with sinners, but has joined the procession of praise and thanksgiving around the altar instead. He loves the house of God because of the divine presence that is gloriously evident there.

Second Reading (Romans 9:1-5)

St. Paul exhorts the Christian community to have genuine love for one another and serve the Lord faithfully especially when under persecution. Instead of taking revenge on their enemies themselves they are to put it into God’s hands, knowing that good will ultimately triumph over evil.

Gospel (Matthew 14:13-21)

Right after he had praised Peter for recognizing him as Messiah Jesus rebukes him for not understanding that suffering and death are ahead for both Messiah and his disciples. We are not to seek to save our lives, but to deny ourselves and follow Jesus, remembering that he will repay many times over in the resurrection.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• It is God who saves us, not we ourselves

• Doing good will triumph over evil

• Suffering is to be expected as part of the Christian life

• Relief from suffering is in God’s hands

• We are to follow in God’s ways in all circumstances, loving God, fellow Christians and our enemies

• The need to remain faithful, especially under pressure to conform to this world

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