Readings for Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle B
From Contemporary English Version © 1995, American Bible Society. August 26, 2012
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
(Proper 16, Lectionary 21)
FIRST READING: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
Joshua called the tribes of Israel together for a meeting at Shechem. He had the leaders, including the old men, the judges, and the officials, come up and stand near the sacred tent. 2Then Joshua told everyone to listen to this message from the LORD, the God of Israel:
Worship the LORD, obey him, and always be faithful. Get rid of the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River and in Egypt. 15But if you don’t want to worship the LORD, then choose right now! Will you worship the same idols your ancestors did? Or since you’re living on land that once belonged to the Amorites, maybe you’ll worship their gods. I won’t. My family and I are going to worship and obey the LORD!
16The people answered:
We could never worship other gods or stop worshiping the LORD. 17The LORD is our God. We were slaves in Egypt as our ancestors had been, but we saw the LORD work miracles to set our people free and to bring us out of Egypt. Even though other nations were all around us, the LORD protected us wherever we went. 18And when we fought the Amorites and the other nations that lived in this land, the LORD made them run away. Yes, we will worship and obey the LORD, because the LORD is our God.
PSALMODY: Psalm 34:15-22
15If you obey the LORD, he will watch over you
and answer your prayers.
16But God despises evil people,
and he will wipe them all from the earth,
till they are forgotten.
17When his people pray for help,
he listens and rescues them from their troubles.
18The LORD is there to rescue all
who are discouraged and have given up hope.
19The LORD’S people may suffer a lot,
but he will always bring them safely through.
20Not one of their bones will ever be broken.
21Wicked people are killed by their own evil deeds,
and if you hate God’s people you will be punished.
22The LORD saves the lives of his servants.
Run to him for protection, and you won’t be punished.
SECOND READING: Ephesians 6:10-20
10Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.
14Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.
18Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. 19Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. 20I was sent to do this work, and that’s the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should.
GOSPEL: John 6:56-69
56If you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you are one with me, and I am one with you.
57The living Father sent me, and I have life because of him. Now everyone who eats my flesh will live because of me. 58The bread that comes down from heaven isn’t like what your ancestors ate. They died, but whoever eats this bread will live forever.
59Jesus was teaching in a Jewish place of worship in Capernaum when he said these things.
60Many of Jesus’ disciples heard him and said, “This is too hard for anyone to understand.”
61Jesus knew that his disciples were grumbling. So he asked, “Does this bother you? 62What if you should see the Son of Man go up to heaven where he came from? 63The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are from that life-giving Spirit. 64But some of you refuse to have faith in me.” Jesus said this, because from the beginning he knew who would have faith in him. He also knew which one would betray him.
65Then Jesus said, “You cannot come to me, unless the Father makes you want to come. That is why I have told these things to all of you.”
66Because of what Jesus said, many of his disciples turned their backs on him and stopped following him. 67Jesus then asked his twelve disciples if they were going to leave him. 68Simon Peter answered, “Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life. 69We have faith in you, and we are sure that you are God’s Holy One.”