August 20, 2023

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • Genesis 45:1-15
    • Psalm 133
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
    • Psalm 67
  • Second reading
    • Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
  • Gospel
    • Matthew 15: 21-28

The first reading from Genesis:
Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest .God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there–since there are five more years of famine to come–so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.

And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.”

Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck.And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

The gospel from Matthew:
Jesus went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

This Sunday Pastor Stevenson spoke on two of our readings as read side-by-side and how they interact. In Genesis, last week in our Old Testament reading, Joseph was sold because his brothers were jealous over a coat made for Joseph by their father Jacob. This week Joseph had them and their father in his hands. Joseph did not seek revenge; instead he took a broad view. He said “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant of the earth and to save your lives …. and God has made me …lord of all Egypt.” In the gospel reading, Jesus’ not wanting to heal a child is His only biblical denial of a request in the Gospels. In His final exchange with the Canaanite mother of the tormented child, Jesus says “It is not fair …. to take the children’s food…” and then the mother says “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs …” God reaches beyond the community. Jesus says “Go tell all the nations and baptise all.” Pastor continues and tells us what we are to do.


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