January 30, 2011
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
FIRST READING: Micah 6:1-8
The LORD said to his people:
Come and present your case to the hills and mountains.
2Israel, I am bringing charges against you
I call upon the mountains and the earth’s firm foundation
to be my witnesses.
3My people, have I wronged you in any way at all?
Please tell me.
4I rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to be your leaders.
5Don’t forget the evil plans of King Balak of Moab
or what Balaam son of Beor said to him.
Remember how I, the LORD, saved you many times
on your way from Acacia to Gilgal.
6What offering should I bring when I bow down to worship
the LORD God Most High?
Should I try to please himc by sacrificing calves a year old?
7Will thousands of sheep or rivers of olive oil
make God satisfied with me?
Should I sacrifice to the LORD my first-born child
as payment for my terrible sins?
8The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
“See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God.”
PSALMODY: Psalm 15
1Who may stay in God’s temple
or live on the holy mountain of the LORD?
2Only those who obey God and do as they should.
They speak the truth 3and don’t spread gossip;
they treat others fairly and don’t say cruel things.
4They hate worthless people,
but show respect for all who worship the LORD.
And they keep their promises, no matter what the cost.
5They lend their money without charging interest,
and they don’t take bribes to hurt the innocent.
Those who do these things will always stand firm.
SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
18The message about the cross doesn’t make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God’s power at work. 19As God says in the Scriptures,
“I will destroy the wisdom of all who claim to be wise.
I will confuse those who think they know so much.”
20What happened to those wise people? What happened to those experts in the Scriptures? What happened to the ones who think they have all the answers? Didn’t God show that the wisdom of this world is foolish? 21God was wise and decided not to let the people of this world use their wisdom to learn about him.
Instead, God chose to save only those who believe the foolish message we preach. 22Jews ask for miracles, and Greeks want something that sounds wise. 23But we preach that Christ was nailed to a cross. Most Jews have problems with this, and most Gentiles think it is foolish. 24Our message is God’s power and wisdom for the Jews and the Greeks that he has chosen. 25Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else.
26My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families. 27But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame.
28What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important. 29God did all this to keep anyone from bragging to him. 30You are God’s children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy. 31So if you want to brag, do what the Scriptures say and brag about the Lord.
GOSPEL: Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down. Jesus’ disciples gathered around him, 2and he taught them:
3God blesses those people who depend only on him.
They belong to the kingdom of heaven!
4God blesses those people who grieve.
They will find comfort!
5God blesses those people who are humble.
The earth will belong to them!
6God blesses those people who want to obey him
more than to eat or drink.
They will be given what they want!
7God blesses those people who are merciful.
They will be treated with mercy!
8God blesses those people whose hearts are pure.
They will see him!
9God blesses those people who make peace.
They will be called his children!
10God blesses those people
who are treated badly for doing right.
They belong to the kingdom of heaven.
11God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.