Sunday, March 17, 2013: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (43:16-21)



Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.”


> Looking to the future.

> Babylon has destroyed Jerusalem and everything looks hopeless.

> Starts with an image of the Exodus story.

> Forget about what God did in the past.

> God is about to do something even greater.

> Cosmic divisiveness… all of the world is affected.

> This section was probably written about 200 years after the original Isaiah (chapters 1-39).



Psalm 32

(Refrain will be sung by soloist and repeated by all)


Psalm 32


 Refrain: The Lord has done great things for us; 

                    we are filled with joy.


 1  When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, *

    then were we like those who dream.

2  Then was our mouth filled with laughter, *

     and our tongue with shouts of joy.


3  Then they said among the nations, *

    “The Lord has done great things for them.”

4  The Lord has done great things for us, *

    and we are glad indeed.


5  Restore our fortunes, O Lord, *

    like the watercourses of the Negev.

6  Those who sowed with tears *

    will reap with songs of joy.

7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, *

   will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.



> Probably written after the exile.  The people come back but they are not fully restored.

> The Negev is the southern desert in Israel.

> A watercourse is a dry gully or arroyo.



A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians (3:4b-14)


If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.


> Paul has been arguing with those Christians who say you must still obey the Jewish law.

> Most of those he was talking to were converts.

> Paul explains his background as he was a real Jew who followed the law blamelessly.

> However, he found something better… faith in Christ.

> He no longer has faith in just following the law.

> He is going the way of Jesus, since it was Jesus who led the way.

> Looking forward to the future in Christ.



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to John (12:1-8)


Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”


> Chapter 11 was the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

> There was also plotting to kill Lazarus.

> This story is about the anointing of Jesus before his entry into Jerusalem.

> It is a precursor to his death.

> If you discover the full context:  There will always be poor so you need to be generous with them.