Scripture Speaks : Reaping the Harvest

Possible response:  Lord Jesus, help me stay focused on doing what You ask of me, not on the outcome.

First Reading (Read Isa 66:10-14c)

This reading comes from a portion of Isaiah’s prophecy in which he foretells a great restoration of Jerusalem, home to God’s covenant people.  This would come after its utter devastation from Babylonian conquest, punishment for sin.  Jerusalem will be a place of delight, abundance, comfort, and joy.  When was this fulfilled?  It began to be fulfilled in our Gospel reading, when Jesus sent His disciples out to cure the sick and preach about the coming of Jesus.  That was a time when “the Lord’s power shall be known to His servants.”  The prophecy continues to be fulfilled not in the earthly, geographic city of modern-day Jerusalem but in the worldwide Church, the kingdom of God’s covenant people that stretches over all the earth.  This kingdom pushes  back and defeats Satan wherever it flourishes; its members are safe and blessed as a child in his mother’s arms.  Not for nothing do we call the Church our “Mother.”

Possible response:  Heavenly Father, thank You for keeping Your promise to restore and renew a home for Your people, all the way from the Garden of Eden and into eternity.

Psalm (Read Ps 66:1-7, 16, 20)

When we work through our lectionary readings, we certainly have cause for joy, don’t we?  If we comprehend how momentous it is that Jesus came to fulfill God’s promises of old and to build a secure kingdom that will stretch into eternity, we will want to join the psalmist and say, “Come and see the works of God, His tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.”  That is precisely what the 72 disciples experienced on their thrilling missionary journey.  Understanding this, we are quite ready to sing:  “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.”

Possible response:  The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings.  Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read Gal 6:14-18)

St. Paul shows us, from the inside, what it is like when men called by God to preach the Gospel live their vocation in the right way.  His “boasting” was not about himself and his authority.   His only boast was that, through the Cross, “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  St. Paul didn’t care about success as men measure it.  He did not care about the “rules” of religion only for their own sake.  He knew that what matters is being “a new creation” in Christ, living in faithful obedience to the Lord.  The Galatian Christians had come under the influence of critics of St. Paul, who tried to convince them they must keep the ordinances of the Old Covenant, like circumcision, in order to be saved.  About them he says, “Let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.”  In that day, slaves were “marked” to show possession by their owners.  St. Paul’s many physical persecutions had left “marks” on him.  They were living proof of his slavery to the Lord—just the kind of life we would expect of a name written in heaven.

Possible response:  St. Paul, pray for us to live as you did—slaves of Christ, new creations in Him.

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Gayle Somers is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Phoenix and has been writing and leading parish Bible studies since 1996. She is the author of three bible studies, Galatians: A New Kind of Freedom Defended (Basilica Press), Genesis: God and His Creation and Genesis: God and His Family (Emmaus Road Publishing). Gayle and her husband Gary reside in Phoenix and have three grown children.

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