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Below are the readings for the Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity, November 8, 2020.

These are for Year A in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

There are two options for the first reading and Psalm.

Emphases below are mine.

First reading and Psalm — Option One

Last week’s reading was about the beginning of Joshua’s leadership of the Israelites. Today’s is about his recollections of that leadership during his final meeting with the heads of the congregation of Israel. He died shortly thereafter.

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

24:1 Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.

24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors–Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor–lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.

24:3a Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan and made his offspring many.

24:14 “Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

24:15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

24:16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;

24:17 for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed;

24:18 and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”

24:19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.

24:20 If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.”

24:21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, we will serve the LORD!”

24:22 Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.”

24:23 He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”

24:24 The people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and him we will obey.”

24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.

The Psalm ties in well with Joshua’s entreaties to the Israelites to love and obey the Lord.

Psalm 78:1-7

78:1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,

78:3 things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.

78:4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

78:5 He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;

78:6 that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children,

78:7 so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.

First reading and Psalm — Option Two

One of the following four may be read. The Wisdom of Solomon is a book in the Catholic canon of the Bible.

Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16

6:12 Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her.

6:13 She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.

6:14 One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate.

6:15 To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding, and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care,

6:16 because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought.

Amos delivers the word of the Lord: His people must put away their idols along with their insincere worship and devote themselves to Him alone. Incidentally, James Comey used to have verse 24 posted on his Twitter feed; it was an anti-Trump message.

Amos 5:18-24

5:18 Alas for you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light;

5:19 as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake.

5:20 Is not the day of the LORD darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

5:21 I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

5:22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon.

5:23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.

5:24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

The next verses from the Wisdom of Solomon continue from the first.

Wisdom of Solomon 6:17-20

6:17 The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her,

6:18 and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,

6:19 and immortality brings one near to God;

6:20 so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.

This short Psalm of David’s is one we can pray in times of trouble or affliction.

Psalm 70

70:1 Be pleased, O God, to deliver me. O LORD, make haste to help me!

70:2 Let those be put to shame and confusion who seek my life. Let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire to hurt me.

70:3 Let those who say, “Aha, Aha!” turn back because of their shame.

70:4 Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. Let those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”

70:5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

Epistle

Readings from 1 Thessalonians continue. Paul discusses the afterlife and our Lord’s Second Coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.

4:15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.

4:16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Gospel

Readings from Matthew’s Gospel continue. Jesus taught the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids — also known as the Parable of the Ten Virgins or the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins — in the final days before the Crucifixion.

Matthew 25:1-13

25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

25:2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

25:3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;

25:4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

25:5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.

25:6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

25:7 Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.

25:8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

25:9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

25:10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.

25:11 Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’

25:12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’

25:13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The virgins, or bridesmaids, are allegories for the followers of Christ. The foolish ones have fallen away into spiritual weakness and sin. The wise have been prepared all along, expecting and waiting for the Bridegroom — Jesus — to appear.

Matthew Henry has an excellent commentary on this parable. He says the heart is the vessel; grace is the oil we must have in our vessel. We must use our time in this life profitably, to His honour and glory, so that we may be ready to meet Him one day.

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