September 11, 2011
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
(Proper 19, Lectionary 24)
FIRST READING: Genesis 50:15-21
15After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers said to each other, “What if Joseph still hates us and wants to get even with us for all the cruel things we did to him?”
16So they sent this message to Joseph:
Before our father died, 17he told us, “You did some cruel and terrible things to Joseph, but you must ask him to forgive you.”
Now we ask you to please forgive the terrible things we did. After all, we serve the same God that your father worshiped.
When Joseph heard this, he started crying.
18Right then, Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to the ground in front of him and said, “We are your slaves.”
19But Joseph told them, “Don’t be afraid! I have no right to change what God has decided. 20You tried to harm me, but God made it turn out for the best, so that he could save all these people, as he is now doing. 21Don’t be afraid! I will take care of you and your children.” After Joseph said this, his brothers felt much better.
PSALMODY: Psalm 103:[1-7] 8-13
[1With all my heart I praise the LORD,
and with all that I am I praise his holy name!
2With all my heart I praise the LORD!
I will never forget how kind he has been.
3The LORD forgives our sins, heals us when we are sick,
4and protects us from death.
His kindness and love are a crown on our heads.
5Each day that we live, he provides for our needs
and gives us the strength of a young eagle.
6For all who are mistreated, the LORD brings justice.
7He taught his Law to Moses
and showed all Israel what he could do.]
8The LORD is merciful! He is kind and patient,
and his love never fails.
9The LORD won’t always be angry and point out our sins;
10he doesn’t punish us as our sins deserve.
11How great is God’s love for all who worship him?
Greater than the distance between heaven and earth!
12How far has the LORD taken our sins from us?
Farther than the distance from east to west!
13Just as parents are kind to their children,
the LORD is kind to all who worship him,
SECOND READING: Romans 14:1-12
Welcome all the Lord’s followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don’t criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. 2Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. 3But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. 4What right do you have to criticize someone else’s servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right.
5Some of the Lord’s followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your own mind. 6Any followers who count one day more important than another day do it to honor their Lord. And any followers who eat meat give thanks to God, just like the ones who don’t eat meat.
7Whether we live or die, it must be for God, rather than for ourselves. 8Whether we live or die, it must be for the Lord. Alive or dead, we still belong to the Lord. 9This is because Christ died and rose to life, so that he would be the Lord of the dead and of the living. 10Why do you criticize other followers of the Lord? Why do you look down on them? The day is coming when God will judge all of us. 11In the Scriptures God says,
“I swear by my very life
that everyone will kneel down and praise my name!”
12And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do.
GOSPEL: Matthew 18:21-35
21Peter came up to the Lord and asked, “How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?”
Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! 23This story will show you what the kingdom of heaven is like:
One day a king decided to call in his officials and ask them to give an account of what they owed him. 24As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins. 25But he didn’t have any money to pay what he owed. The king ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all he owned, in order to pay the debt.
26The official got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you every cent I owe!” 27The king felt sorry for him and let him go free. He even told the official that he did not have to pay back the money.
28As the official was leaving, he happened to meet another official, who owed him a hundred silver coins. So he grabbed the man by the throat. He started choking him and said, “Pay me what you owe!”
29The man got down on his knees and began begging, “Have pity on me, and I will pay you back.” 30But the first official refused to have pity. Instead, he went and had the other official put in jail until he could pay what he owed
31When some other officials found out what had happened, they felt sorry for the man who had been put in jail. Then they told the king what had happened. 32The king called the first official back in and said, “You’re an evil man! When you begged for mercy, I said you did not have to pay back a cent. 33Don’t you think you should show pity to someone else, as I did to you?” 34The king was so angry that he ordered the official to be tortured until he could pay back everything he owed. 35That is how my Father in heaven will treat you, if you don’t forgive each of my followers with all your heart.