Reflecting on the Fifteenth
Sunday after Pentecost
Year B

Daily Readings for Wednesday
September 8, 2021

Prayer

Holy Lord, maker of us all, 

you call us to love our neighbors as ourselves 

and teach us that faith without works is dead. 

Open us to the opportunities for ministry that lie before us, 

where faith and works and the need of our neighbor 

come together in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

 

Psalm 73:1-20

I saw the prosperity of the wicked

 

Truly God is good to the upright,

to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;

my steps had nearly slipped.

For I was envious of the arrogant;

I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pain;

their bodies are sound and sleek.

They are not in trouble as others are;

they are not plagued like other people.

Therefore pride is their necklace;

violence covers them like a garment.

Their eyes swell out with fatness;

their hearts overflow with follies.

They scoff and speak with malice;

loftily they threaten oppression.

They set their mouths against heaven,

and their tongues range over the earth.

Therefore the people turn and praise them,

and find no fault in them.

And they say, “How can God know?

Is there knowledge in the Most High?”

Such are the wicked;

always at ease, they increase in riches.

All in vain I have kept my heart clean

and washed my hands in innocence.

For all day long I have been plagued,

and am punished every morning.

If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,”

I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.

But when I thought how to understand this,

it seemed to me a wearisome task,

until I went into the sanctuary of God;

then I perceived their end.

Truly you set them in slippery places;

you make them fall to ruin.

How they are destroyed in a moment,

swept away utterly by terrors!

They are like a dream when one awakes;

on awaking you despise their phantoms.

 

Proverbs 14:1-9

Wisdom makes good sense

 

The wise woman builds her house,

but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Those who walk uprightly fear the Lord,

but one who is devious in conduct despises him.

The talk of fools is a rod for their backs,

but the lips of the wise preserve them.

Where there are no oxen, there is no grain;

abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

A faithful witness does not lie,

but a false witness breathes out lies.

A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,

but knowledge is easy for one who understands.

Leave the presence of a fool,

for there you do not find words of knowledge.

It is the wisdom of the clever to understand where they go,

but the folly of fools misleads.

Fools mock at the guilt offering,

but the upright enjoy God’s favor.

 

Matthew 17:14-21

Healing by faith

 

When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

 

 

Prayer

God, whose love streams like fresh water 

into the deserts of our hearts, 

you turn us from greed and partiality 

to healing and justice. 

Make us companions of those who long for your deliverance, 

and give us safe passage at the last 

into the land of your shalom. Amen.

 

Canticle: Isaiah 38:10-20

Prayer for health

 

I said: In the noontide of my days

I must depart;

I am consigned to the gates of Sheol

for the rest of my years.

I said, I shall not see the Lord

in the land of the living;

I shall look upon mortals no more

among the inhabitants of the world.

My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me

like a shepherd’s tent;

like a weaver I have rolled up my life;

he cuts me off from the loom;

from day to night you bring me to an end;

I cry for help until morning;

like a lion he breaks all my bones;

from day to night you bring me to an end.

Like a swallow or a crane I clamor,

I moan like a dove.

My eyes are weary with looking upward.

Lord, I am oppressed; be my security!

But what can I say? For he has spoken to me,

and he himself has done it.

All my sleep has fled

because of the bitterness of my soul.

Lord, by these things people live,

and in all these is the life of my spirit.

Oh, restore me to health and make me live!

Surely it was for my welfare

that I had great bitterness;

but you have held back my life

from the pit of destruction,

for you have cast all my sins

behind your back.

For Sheol cannot thank you,

death cannot praise you;

those who go down to the Pit cannot hope

for your faithfulness.

The living, the living, they thank you,

as I do this day;

fathers make known to children

your faithfulness.

The Lord will save me,

and we will sing to stringed instruments

all the days of our lives,

at the house of the Lord.

 

Judges 15:9-20

Samson slays the Philistines

 

Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah, and made a raid on Lehi. The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.” Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and they said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then have you done to us?” He replied, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” They said to him, “We have come down to bind you, so that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” Samson answered them, “Swear to me that you yourselves will not attack me.” They said to him, “No, we will only bind you and give you into their hands; we will not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.

 

When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him; and the spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached down and took it, and with it he killed a thousand men. And Samson said,

 

“With the jawbone of a donkey,

heaps upon heaps,

with the jawbone of a donkey

I have slain a thousand men.”

 

When he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and that place was called Ramath-lehi.

 

By then he was very thirsty, and he called on the Lord, saying, “You have granted this great victory by the hand of your servant. Am I now to die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” So God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came from it. When he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore it was named En-hakkore, which is at Lehi to this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

 

Matthew 17:14-21

Healing by faith

 

When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

 

 

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Prayer reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. Reproduced by permission.

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission. No further reproduction allowed without the written permission of Augsburg Fortress.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.