Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)
Scripture Readings*: Jeremiah 2:4-13, Psalm 103:1-8, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14
With language familiar to court law, God challenges Israel for finding any fault with Him. Lacking gratitude for what God had already done, and intent on pursuing their own desires – including the worship of Baal (a false god), they failed to see even the goodness of the fertile land.
Jeremiah singles out their leaders for condemnation because he understood the influence of those in positions of leadership.
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
The author stresses the importance of teaching and example in the lives of leaders (v.7). It is not sufficient to have right doctrine (orthodoxy) if we fail to practice what we teach (orthopraxy).
Luke 14:1, 7-14
Places of honor at banquets were those closest to the host (v.11). The spiritual principle is clear. Don’t push for glory. Let God honor you. Jesus offers us an application in which we can be guaranteed honor: Invite the poor, lame, and those less fortunate than ourselves. You see, God is concerned for the poor. We should also demonstrate that love.
Franklin Covey tells us to “begin with the end in mind.” Today’s readings encourage us to do the same. In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, he reminds Christians to “remember your leaders… consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Jesus also offers a pathway to achieving honor.
Paradoxically, greatness is only seen and achieved through humility. Examining the lives of those who have “finished strong” in the faith reveals flawed humans – individuals who have made mistakes. But for those with teachable hearts and humble spirits, God uses failures to teach and refine. If we are truly learning, we are then quick to extend a hand of grace to those who are in a state of brokenness.
With each lesson, we are invited to “move up higher” until we ultimately find ourselves in the very presence of our Lord – the place of true honor.
Prayer for Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost – Gracious Father, create in me a clean heart that loves you more dearly, hearing and obeying your command to love and serve in Your Name; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C