A Reading from the Book of Proverbs (31: 10-31)
10 A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
she brings her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22 She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the city gates,
taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness
28 Her children rise up and call her happy
her husband too, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.
> This is a story about a very wealthy and powerful woman.
> Chapter 31 is about a non-Israelite kingdom – a poem taught by the king’s mother.
> It describes the type of woman he should wed.
> The verses are composed in acrostic form… the equivalent of A to Z in Hebrew.
> We really do not know why these verses appear in Proverbs.
> This is our final reading in Proverbs in this section of the lectionary.
1 Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2 Their delight is in the law of the Lord, *
and they meditate on his law day and night.
3 They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.
4 It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.
> This is an introduction to the Book of Psalms and some Bibles do not consider it the first chapter.
> It focuses on keeping Torah – God’s instructions to Israel.
> The reading starts off as a Beatitude: “Happy are they…;” “Blessed are they…”
A Reading from the Letter of James (3:13-4:3, 7-8a)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
> These verses pose the question of who is really wise in life.
> If you are wise, you will show it in your life.
> Cravings are credited as the reason many wars over the ages have been started.
> These tend to be selfish ambitions and wanting things that you cannot or should not have.
> The “wisdom” of God will save you from these cravings.
> Aristotle used the term of selfish ambitions to describe unscrupulous politicians.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark (9:30-37)
Jesus and his disciples passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
> These verses are largely about teaching on discipleship.
> The saying “The first shall be last and the last shall be first” is repeated elsewhere in the Gospel.
> At the time described by these writings, Jesus wanted to remain hidden from being known as the Messiah.
> He was to remain hidden until his time of resurrection.
> In reference to “on the way,” Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem and his disciples argue with each other on the way.
> The disputes the disciples are having end with Chapter 50 as Jesus announces, “Be at peace with on another.”