Old Testament: Jeremiah (8:18-9:1)
My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick. Hark, the cry of my poor people from far and wide in the land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” (“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images, with their foreign idols?”) “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored? O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!
- Verse 16: Babylonian armies have already come to destroy Judah and Jerusalem.
- The actual invasion was most likely already started when these verses were written.
- This was a deeply personal tragedy for Jeremiah with the destruction of his people.
- Jeremiah questions if God has abandoned Israel.
- And why isn’t God healing his people.
The Response: Psalm (79:1-9)
1 O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance;
they have profaned your holy temple; *
they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble.
2 They have given the bodies of your
servants as food for the birds of the air, *
and the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the field.
3 They have shed their blood like water on every side of Jerusalem, *
and there was no one to bury them.
4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors, *
an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 How long will you be angry, O Lord? *
will your fury blaze like fire for ever?
6 Pour out your wrath upon the heathen who have not known you *
and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your Name.
7 For they have devoured Jacob *
and made his dwelling a ruin.
8 Remember not our past sins;
let your compassion be swift to meet us; *
for we have been brought very low.
9 Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your Name; *
deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name’s sake.
- This demonstrates a cry for help in times of serious trouble.
- Part of liturgy of guilt after the destruction of Israel in 587 BCE.
- These verses use the “They – You” pattern.
- They question when will God take actions against the Babylonians.
The Epistle: 1 Timothy (2:1-7)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
- This is the start of the “pastoral letters.” (Timothy and Titus)
- These letters were most likely written by Paul’s followers. (“Deutero-Pauline)
- Timothy had a Greek father and Jewish mother — a perfect candidate to be a disciple.
- Jesus is portrayed as the link between God and humanity.
- These verses were probably written around 70-80 AD.
The Gospel: Luke (16:1-13)
Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
- Jesus is speaking both to his disciples and to the Pharisees.
- It is all about the relationship to wealth. (mammon)
- This is another story about someone who spends frivolously.
- The master is calling for an audit of the manager.
- Scholars have struggled to find where complementing a dishonest manager fits into Jesus teachings.
- This story is only in Luke.
- The word mammon comes from Aramaic and the root is thought to mean “Amen.”
- In other words it is something you put your trust in.
- There is also the pattern in these verses of “lesser than the greater.”