You may find it helpful to read the weekly passages before each Sunday’s Worship service.
Sunday, Oct. 1 Jesus’ parable about two sons who don’t do what they say reveals surprises in the reign of God, such as prostitutes and tax collectors going before others into God’s kingdom. In the reading from Ezekiel the people question whether the ways of the Lord are unfair; instead they are to repent and turn to the Lord. Paul urges us to look to Christ as a model of humility, looking to the interests of others above our own. Nourished by the broken bread and shared cup, we offer our lives for the sake of our needy world.
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 The fairness of God’s way
Psalm 25:1-9 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love. (Ps. 25:6)
Philippians 2:1-13 C hrist humbled to the point of death on a cross
Matthew 21:23-32 A parable of doing God’s will
Sunday, Oct. 8 In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable of the vineyard, an image of Israel, the prophets’ mission, and Christ’s death. For Christians, the vineyard also speaks of God’s love poured out in the blood of Christ, given to us for the forgiveness of sin. Grafted onto Christ the vine at baptism, we are nourished with wine and bread, that we may share Christ’s sufferings and know the power of his resurrection.
Isaiah 5:1-7 The song of the vineyard
Psalm 80:7-15 Look down from heaven, O God; behold and tend this vine.
Philippians 3:4b-14 Nothing surpasses the value of knowing Christ
Matthew 21:33-46 The parable of the vineyard owner’s son
Sunday, Oct. 15 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 that 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.
Isaiah 25:1-9 The feast of victory
Psalm 23 You prepare a table before me, and my cup is running over. (Ps. 23:5)
Philippians 4:1-9 Rejoice in the Lord always
Matthew 22:1-14 The parable of the unwelcome guest at the wedding feast
Sunday, Oct. 22 In today’s first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. To gather for worship reminds us that our ultimate allegiance is to God rather than to any earthly authority. Created in the image of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world.
Isaiah 45:1-7 An earthly ruler as the instrument of God’s will
Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13] Ascribe to the Lord honor and power. (Ps. 96:7)
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Thanksgiving for the church at Thessalonica
Matthew 22:15-22 A teaching on giving to the emperor and to God
Sunday, Oct. 29 Jesus’ summary of the law in today’s gospel echoes our first reading from Leviticus. We are called not only to love God with heart, soul, and mind, but also to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is out of such deep care that Paul shares the gospel with the Thessalonian community. In the confession of sins, we acknowledge that we have not loved God, neighbor, and self; yet we gather to hear the word of forgiveness and to be strengthened by word and meal to be signs of God’s love and mercy in the world.
Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 Holiness revealed in acts of justice
Psalm 1 Their delight is in the law of the Lord. (Ps. 1:2)
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 The apostle’s tender care for the Thessalonians
Matthew 22:34-46 Two great commandments: love for God and neighbor