Sunday, July 21, 2019 Lectionary 16, Year C
Perhaps the church, at its best, is “all ears.” Almighty God urges the faithful, again and again, to “listen up!”—to heed the word from above. So it was with Abraham and Sarah, with Mary and Martha, and the early church at Colossae. So it is today as we join the assembly to hear the word of God, the words of life.
Prayer of the Day
Eternal God, you draw near to us in Christ, and you make yourself our guest. Amid the cares of our lives, make us attentive to your presence, that we may treasure your word above all else, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10a
The Lord visits Abraham and Sarah to tell them that the long—awaited promise of the birth of a child will be fulfilled for them in their old age.
1The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10aThen one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.”
Psalm: Psalm 15
Lord, who may abide upon your holy hill? (Ps. 15:1)
1Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle? Who may abide upon your holy hill? 2Those who lead a blameless life and do what is right, who speak the truth from their heart; 3they do not slander with the tongue, they do no evil to their friends; they do not cast discredit upon a neighbor. 4In their sight the wicked are rejected, but they honor those who fear the Lord. They have sworn upon their health and do not take back their word. 5They do not give their money in hope of gain, nor do they take bribes against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be overthrown.
Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-28
Sometimes Paul preaches with great attention to theological concepts. Here, however, Paul offers a mystical teaching, that the great mystery of God is “Christ in you.” Because Christ is present in the church, Christians share in his life, suffering, and glory.
15[Christ Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
21And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—23provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.
24I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 25I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. 27To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42
Jesus uses his visit to two sisters as an occasion to remind disciples that an important aspect of obedience is singleminded devotion to Jesus and his word.
38Now as [Jesus and his disciples] went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”