LECTIONARY 26 EZEKIEL 18:1-4, 25-32; PSALM 25:1-9; PHILIPPIANS 2-1:13; MATTHEW 21:23-32.
Jesus’ parable about two sons who don’t do what they say reveals surprises in the reign of God, such as prostitutes and tax collectors going before others into God’s kingdom. In the reading from Ezekiel the people question whether the ways of the Lord are unfair; instead they are to repent and turn to the Lord. Paul urges us to look to Christ as a model of humility, looking to the interests of others above our own. Nourished by the broken bread and shared cup, we offer our lives for the sake of our needy world.
LECTIONARY 27 ISAIAH 5:1-7; PSALM 80:7-15 PHIIPPIANS 3:4b-14; MATTHEW 21:33-46.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable of the vineyard, an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. For Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Grafted onto Christ the vine at baptism, we are nourished with wine and bread, that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.
LECTIONARY 28 ISAIAH 25:1-9; PSALM 23;: PHILIPPIANS 4:1-9; MATTHEW 22:1-14.
In Isaiah we are given a vision of the great feast to come, when God will wipe away death forever. In Jesus’ parable about a great banquet, those invited do not come, so the invitation is extended to others. In our liturgy God spreads a table before us. Even amid anxiety and hardship we rejoice in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. With great joy we feast at the table of the Lord, and we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.
LECTIONARY 29 ISAIAH 45:1--4:7; PSALM 96:1-9 [10-13]; 1 THESSALONIANS 1:1-10; MATTHEW 22:15-22.
In today’s first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. To gather for worship reminds us that our ultimate allegiance is to God rather than to any earthly authority. Created in the image of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world.
LECTIONARY 30 LEVITICUS 19:1--2, 15-18; PSALM 1; 1 THESSALONIANS 2:1-8; MATTHEW 22:34-46.
Jesus’ summary of the law in today’s gospel echoes our first reading from Leviticus. We are called not only to love God with heart, soul, and mind, but also to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is out of such deep care that Paul shares the gospel with the Thessalonian community. In the confession of sins, we acknowledge that we have not loved God, neighbor, and self; yet we gather to hear the word of forgiveness and to be strengthened by word and meal to be signs of God’s love and mercy in the world the sake of the world.