September 4, 2011
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
(Proper 18, Lectionary 23)
FIRST READING: Ezekiel 33:7-11
[The LORD said:]
7Ezekiel, I have appointed you to stand watch for the people of Israel. So listen to what I say, then warn them for me. 8When I tell wicked people they will die because of their sins, you must warn them to turn from their sinful ways. But if you refuse to warn them, you are responsible for their death. 9If you do warn them, and they keep sinning, they will die because of their sins, and you will be innocent.
10The LORD said:
Ezekiel, son of man, the people of Israel are complaining that the punishment for their sins is more than they can stand. They have lost all hope for survival, and they blame me. 11Tell them that as surely as I am the living LORD God, I don’t like to see wicked people die. I enjoy seeing them turn from their sins and live. So if the Israelites want to live, they must stop sinning and turn back to me.
PSALMODY: Psalm 119:33-40
33Point out your rules to me,
and I won’t disobey even one of them.
34Help me to understand your Law;
I promise to obey it with all my heart.
35Direct me by your commands!
I love to do what you say.
36Make me want to obey you, rather than to be rich.
37Take away my foolish desires,
and let me find life by walking with you.
38I am your servant!
Do for me what you promised to those who worship you.
39Your wonderful teachings protect me from the insults
that I hate so much.
40I long for your teachings.
Be true to yourself and let me live.
SECOND READING: Romans 13:8-14
8Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands. 9In the Law there are many commands, such as, “Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not want what belongs to others.” But all of these are summed up in the command that says, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 10No one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands.
11You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. 12Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. 13So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don’t go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don’t quarrel or be jealous. 14Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires.
GOSPEL: Matthew 18:15-20
[Jesus said to his disciples:]
15If one of my followers sins against you, go and point out what was wrong. But do it in private, just between the two of you. If that person listens, you have won back a follower. 16But if that one refuses to listen, take along one or two others. The Scriptures teach that every complaint must be proven true by two or more witnesses. 17If the follower refuses to listen to them, report the matter to the church. Anyone who refuses to listen to the church must be treated like an unbeliever or a tax collector.
18I promise you that God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth, but he will not allow anything you don’t allow. 19I promise that when any two of you on earth agree about something you are praying for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you.