Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
READINGS FOR THE COMING WEEK
- First reading and Psalm
- Lamentations 1:1-6
- Lamentations 3:19-26 or Psalm 137
- Alternate First reading and Psalm
- Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
- Psalm 37:1-9
- Second reading
- 2 Timothy 1:1-14
- Luke 17:5-10
First reading from Habakkuk:
The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw. O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous– therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
I will stand at my watch post, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.
The second reading from Timothy:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God–whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did–when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. eHold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
The gospel from Luke:
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?
So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'”
Verse 1:4 of Habakkkuk “So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails: the wicked surround the righteous– therefore judgment comes forth perverted.” is important even though Habakkuk is called a minor prophet, the book having only three chapters. It is a deeply personal testimonial from a time when things were a mess. It is still a pertinent question. He sees evil and demands an answer. And the Lord answers “…..wait for it. It will surely come……..the righteous live by their faith.” Pastor Stevenson asks “What is faith?” In the gospel reading we read how Jesus answered the request “Increase our faith” with “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Faith is the ability to see truth, is the work of God, is given to us at baptism. We have the cross and the resurrection. In the second reading Paul writes to Timothy “Do not be ashamed then of the testimony about our Lord….but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God……..