Readings: August 18, 2013, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings from the Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10

   The city officials told the king, “Please, kill this man. He’s got to go! He’s ruining the resolve of the soldiers who are still left in the city, as well as the people themselves, by spreading these words. This man isn’t looking after the good of this people. He’s trying to ruin us!”

   King Zedekiah caved in: “If you say so. Go ahead, handle it your way. You’re too much for me.”

   So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malkijah the king’s son that was in the courtyard of the palace guard. They lowered him down with ropes. There wasn’t any water in the cistern, only mud. Jeremiah sank into the mud.

   Ebed-melek the Ethiopian, a court official, went immediately from the palace to the king and said, “My master, O king—these men are committing a great crime in what they’re doing, throwing Jeremiah the prophet into the cistern and leaving him there to starve. He’s as good as dead. There isn’t a scrap of bread left in the city.”

   So the king ordered Ebed-melek the Ethiopian, “Get three men and pull Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”

  • Hebrews 12:1-11

        Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

   Brothers and sisters:

   Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s /there/, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. /That/ will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

    In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed!

  • Luke 12:49-53

        To Start a Fire

    Jesus said to His disciples:  “I’ve come to start a fire on this earth—how I wish it were blazing right now! I’ve come to change everything, turn everything rightside up—how I long for it to be finished! Do you think I came to smooth things over and make everything nice? Not so. I’ve come to  disrupt and confront! From now on, when you find five in a house, it will be—

    Three against two, and two against three; Father against son, and son against father; Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; Mother-in-law against bride, and bride against mother-in-law.”

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