Sunday, September 23rd, 2018
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:8--3:11
ollowing the call of the prophet to speak the word of God, this passage relates in vivid imagery the need to consume the word until it is fully assimilated by the prophet.
8You, mortal, hear what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you. 9I looked, and a hand was stretched out to me, and a written scroll was in it. 10He spread it before me; it had writing on the front and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
3:1He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. 2So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. 3He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.
4He said to me: Mortal, go to the house of Israel and speak my very words to them. 5For you are not sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel—6not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. 7But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. 8See, I have made your face hard against their faces, and your forehead hard against their foreheads. 9Like the hardest stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not fear them or be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 10He said to me: Mortal, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart and hear with your ears; 11then go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them. Say to them, “Thus says the Lord God“; whether they hear or refuse to hear.
Psalm: Psalm 119:33-40
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes.
33Teach me, O Lord, the way | of your statutes,
and I shall keep it | to the end.
34Give me understanding, and I shall | keep your teaching;
I shall keep it with | all my heart.
35Lead me in the path of | your commandments,
for that is | my desire.
36Incline my heart to | your decrees
and not to | unjust gain.
37Turn my eyes from be- | holding falsehood;
give me life | in your way.
38Fulfill your promise | to your servant,
which is for | those who fear you.
39Turn away the reproach | that I dread,
because your judg- | ments are good.
40Behold, I long for | your commandments;
by your righteousness en- | liven me.
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:4-10
The author of this letter is eager to show God’s love for sinners. God reaches into the deathly snare of sin and death in order to draw us out into life with Christ. This act is nothing less than the gift of God’s mercy.
4God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13
Regarded as a traitor to his people and an oppressor of the poor, this tax collector follows Jesus and then offers him hospitality. In the sharing of a meal Jesus reveals his mission: to serve God’s mercy.
9As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
10And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”