Readings for Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle B
From Contemporary English Version © 1995, American Bible Society.
September 2, 2012
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Pr. 17, L 22))
FIRST READING: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Israel, listen to these laws and teachings! If you obey them, you will live, and you will go in and take the land that the LORD is giving you. He is the God your ancestors worshiped, 2and now he is your God. I am telling you everything he has commanded, so don’t add anything or take anything away.
-8No other nation has laws that are as fair as the ones the LORD my God told me to give you. If you faithfully obey them when you enter the land, you will show other nations how wise you are. In fact, everyone that hears about your laws will say, “That great nation certainly is wise!” And what makes us greater than other nations? We have a God who is close to us and answers our prayers.
9You must be very careful not to forget the things you have seen God do for you. Keep reminding yourselves, and tell your children and grandchildren as well.
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: James 1:17-27
17Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing. 18He wanted us to be his own special people, and so he sent the true message to give us new birth.
19My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. 20If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. 21You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.
22Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.
26If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. 27Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.
GOSPEL: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Some Pharisees and several teachers of the Law of Moses from Jerusalem came and gathered around Jesus. 2They noticed that some of his disciples ate without first washing their hands.
3The Pharisees and many others obey the teachings of their ancestors. They always wash their hands in the proper way before eating. 4None of them will eat anything they buy in the market until it is washed. They also follow a lot of other teachings, such as washing cups, pitchers, and bowls.
5The Pharisees and teachers asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples obey what our ancestors taught us to do? Why do they eat without washing their hands?”
You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said,
“All of you praise me with your words,
but you never really think about me.
7It is useless for you to worship me,
when you teach rules made up by humans.”
8You disobey God’s commands in order to obey what humans have taught..
14Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God.
21Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.