Word for the Week – Sunday, October 11, 2020 Lectionary 28, Year A
In Isaiah we are given a vision of the great feast to come, when God will wipe away death forever. In Jesus’ parable about a great banquet, those invited do not come, so the invitation is extended to others. In our liturgy God spreads a table before us. Even amid anxiety and hardship we rejoice in the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. With great joy we feast at the table of the Lord, and we go forth to share the wonderful invitation with others hungering and thirsting for the abundant life of God.
Prayer of the Day
Lord of the feast, you have prepared a table before all peoples and poured out your life with abundance. Call us again to your banquet. Strengthen us by what is honorable, just, and pure, and transform us into a people of righteousness and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 25:1-9
1O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. 2For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. 3Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. 4For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, 5the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled.
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. 7And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Psalm: Psalm 23
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. 2The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters. 3You restore my soul, O Lord, and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake. 4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Second Reading: Philippians 4:1-9
1My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14
1Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Theme for the Season of Pentecost (Autumn/November)
Teach me, Give me understanding, Lead me in spirit and truth
The season of Pentecost is long. From Easter to Advent, we spend time hearing stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, inspiring us to deeper faith and discipleship. We also learn about the struggles of God’s people throughout history, and the difficulty of building faith based on the seemingly impossible love and grace the Creator showers upon us.
Jesus teaches his disciples and followers through stories and parables. Most of the time, these illustrations of the Kingdom of God fly right over their heads… until Jesus takes the time to gently, clearly, and compassionately open their eyes and hearts to the wondrous love and grace shining right in front of their eyes.
This is true for us even today. As disciples of a risen Lord and Savior, we hear the stories of miracles, signs and wonders, and the everyday teachings of the Rabbi who gathers children at his feet. So often, we seek ways to stuff the Kingdom of God into our own molds. As we approach the end of the long Pentecost season, we are challenged to let God open our hearts to the amazing things he has in store for us. The Kingdom of God is here, today, all around us. May we be faithful disciples and stewards of God’s gifts of love and grace.
The theme for worship this season is a prayer, in three simple phrases. Teach me, give me understanding, and lead me in spirit and truth. May this prayer guide us in our study, inspire us in our worship, and fill us with God’s love and grace to share with the world.