Readings: August 17, 2014, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

  • Isaiah 56:1, 6-7

     Salvation Is Just Around the Corner

   Thus says the Lord: “Guard my common good: do what’s right and do it in the right way.

For salvation is just around the corner, my setting-things-right is about to go into action.

   “And as for the outsiders who now follow me, working for me, loving my name, and wanting to be my servants, all who keep Sabbath and don’t defile it, holding fast to my covenant. I’ll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. They’ll be welcome to worship the same as the ‘insiders,’ to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar. Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people.”

  • Romans 11:11-32

Brothers and sisters: it’s you, the outsiders, that I’m concerned with now. Because my personal assignment is focused on the so-called outsiders, I make as much of this as I can when I’m among my Israelite kin, the so-called insiders, hoping they’ll realize what they’re missing and want to get in on what God is doing. If their falling out initiated this worldwide coming together, their recovery is going to set off something even better: mass homecoming!

   God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded. There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you. Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in.

  • Matthew 15:21-28

     Healing the People

From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, “Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit.”

Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, “Now she’s bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She’s driving us crazy.”

Jesus refused, telling them, “I’ve got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel.”

Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. “Master, help me.”

 He said, “It’s not right to take bread out of children’s mouths and throw it to dogs.”

 She was quick: “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.”

Jesus gave in. “Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well.

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