The Old Testament Lesson
The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Jeremiah 24:1-10
The LORD showed me two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the LORD. This was after King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem King Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the artisans, and the smiths, and had brought them to Babylon. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the LORD said to me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" I said, "Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten." Then the word of the LORD came to me: Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. But thus says the LORD: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who live in the land of Egypt. I will make them a horror, an evil thing, to all the kingdoms of the earth-- a disgrace, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they are utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their ancestors.
The Epistle Lesson
The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Romans 9:19-33
You will say to me then, "Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they shall be called children of the living God." And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively." And as Isaiah predicted, "If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah." What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."
The Holy Gospel Lesson
The Holy Gospel is written in John 9:1-17
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know." They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, "What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened." He said, "He is a prophet."
Psalm 31 In te, Domine, speravi
1 In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me.
3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
4 Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, for you are my tower of strength.
5 Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O LORD, O God of truth.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols, and I put my trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy; for you have seen my affliction; you know my distress.
8 You have not shut me up in the power of the enemy; you have set my feet in an open place.
9 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat and my belly.
10 For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed.
11 I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbors, a dismay to those of my acquaintance; when they see me in the street they avoid me.
12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am as useless as a broken pot.
13 For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around; they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.
14 But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD. I have said, "You are my God.
15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
16 Make your face to shine upon your servant, and in your loving-kindness save me."
17 LORD, let me not be ashamed for having called upon you; rather, let the wicked be put to shame; let them be silent in the grave.
18 Let the lying lips be silenced which speak against the righteous, haughtily, disdainfully, and with contempt.
19 How great is your goodness, O LORD! which you have laid up for those who fear you; which you have done in the sight of all for those who put their trust in you.
20 You hide them in the covert of your presence from those who slander them; you keep them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD! for he has shown me the wonders of his love in a besieged city.
22 Yet I said in my alarm, "I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes." Nevertheless, you heard the sound of my entreaty when I cried out to you.
23 Love the LORD, all you who worship him; the LORD protects the faithful, but repays to the full those who act haughtily.
24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.
Psalm 35 Judica, Domine
1 Fight those who fight me, O LORD; attack those who are attacking me.
2 Take up shield and armor and rise up to help me.
3 Draw the sword and bar the way against those who pursue me; say to my soul, "I am your salvation."
4 Let those who seek after my life be shamed and humbled; let those who plot my ruin fall back and be dismayed.
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the LORD drive them away.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the LORD pursue them.
7 For they have secretly spread a net for me without a cause; without a cause they have dug a pit to take me alive.
8 Let ruin come upon them unawares; let them be caught in the net they hid; let them fall into the pit they dug.
9 Then I will be joyful in the LORD; I will glory in his victory.
10 My very bones will say, "LORD, who is like you? You deliver the poor from those who are too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them."
11 Malicious witnesses rise up against me; they charge me with matters I know nothing about.
12 They pay me evil in exchange for good; my soul is full of despair.
13 But when they were sick I dressed in sack-cloth and humbled myself by fasting.
14 I prayed with my whole heart, as one would for a friend or a brother; I behaved like one who mourns for his mother, bowed down and grieving.
15 But when I stumbled, they were glad and gathered together; they gathered against me; strangers whom I did not know tore me to pieces and would not stop.
16 They put me to the test and mocked me; they gnashed at me with their teeth.
17 O Lord, how long will you look on? rescue me from the roaring beasts, and my life from the young lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great congregation; I will praise you in the mighty throng.
19 Do not let my treacherous foes rejoice over me, nor let those who hate me without a cause wink at each other.
20 For they do not plan for peace, but invent deceitful schemes against the quiet in the land.
21 They opened their mouths at me and said, "Aha! we saw it with our own eyes."
22 You saw it, O LORD; do not be silent; O Lord, be not far from me.
23 Awake, arise, to my cause! to my defense, my God and my Lord!
24 Give me justice, O LORD my God, according to your righteousness; do not let them triumph over me.
25 Do not let them say in their hearts, "Aha! just what we want!" Do not let them say, "We have swallowed him up."
26 Let all who rejoice at my ruin be ashamed and disgraced; let those who boast against me be clothed with dismay and shame.
27 Let those who favor my cause sing out with joy and be glad; let them say always, "Great is the LORD, who desires the prosperity of his servant."
28 And my tongue shall be talking of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.