St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Monday, February 21, 2022
words and the Word
the readings we miss this yearWhy are we missing Epiphany 8C? We’ve actually been pretty fortunate this year. In many years Easter comes so early that Lent begins sooner than it does this year. That means there are years when we miss a whole lot of the readings we have been privileged to hear and see this year. We have had seven of the eight possible weeks after Epiphany! Since Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 2, next Sunday is the Last Sunday after Epiphany – which always includes the story of Jesus’ transfiguration.
But the readings for the 8th Sunday shouldn’t be missed in any case. And I’m sharing both options for the first reading as well as the gospel. They all point in the same direction. See what you think.
The first reading is from a Jewish book of wisdom, sometimes called, Ecclesiasticus. It was written by Jesus Ben Sira, a scribe living in Jerusalem between 200-175 BC. Translated into Greek by his grandson, who was living in in Egypt. It is part of the canon of scripture in Roman Catholic and most Orthodox churches. It is not considered canonical in most churches that originate from the Reformation. For Anglican and Lutheran churches it is included in a separate section, but considered valuable for ethical and moral teaching.
When a sieve is shaken, the refuse appears; so do a person’s faults when he speaks. The kiln tests the potter’s vessels; so the test of a person is in his conversation. Its fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree; so a person’s speech discloses the condition of his mind. Do not praise anyone before he speaks, for this is the way people are tested.
As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorns, shall come up the cypress; instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Jesus told the people a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me takeout the speck in your eye, when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite; first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?
I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, and who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well-built. But the one who hear and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.
Requests for Prayer
Please pray for Sandy Sherry and all of her family as her Uncle Paul is dying.
Pray also for St James, Springfield as they grieve the loss of Father Jos, and as they also celebrate his election as bishop of Idaho, and as they begin to make plans to move into the future.