Time in the Word
Pentecost 23 - Proper 25
October 17-22, 2016
In Humble Repentance, Faith Lives by Grace and Mercy and Is Exalted by God in Christ.
Collect for the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty and everlasting God, You are always more ready to hear than we to pray and always ready to give more than we either desire or deserve. Pour down on us the abundance of Your mercy; forgive us those things of which our conscience is afraid; and give us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask except by the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect for the Feast of St Luke, the holy Evangelist (18 October): Almighty God, our Father, Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of the soul. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for humility: O God, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for the blessedness of heaven: Almighty, everlasting God, You gave Your only Son to be a High Priest of good things to come. Grant unto us, Your unworthy servants, to have our share in the company of the blessed for all eternity; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Proper 25 Almighty and everlasting Good, You are always more ready to hear than we are to pray and always read to give more than we either desire or deserve. Pour down on us the abundance of Your mercy; forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid; and give us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask except by the merits of Jesus Christ Your Lord.
Jesus tells a parable “to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (Luke 18:9). In this parable the Pharisee unjustly boasted before God on the basis of his own merits, whereas the tax collector intently prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). That poor miserable sinner trusted Christ, and he went “down to his house justified, rather than the other” (Luke 18:14). So do little children, “even infants,” come to Jesus with their need, and they “receive the kingdom of God” through faith (Luke 18:15–17). For “the one who humbles himself will be exalted,” but “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled” (Luke 18:14). That is why “the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard” (Gen 4:3–4). St. Paul’s life, “poured out as a drink offering,” was another sacrifice like Abel’s (2 Tim 4:6). The Lord stood by Paul and strengthened him, that “the message might be fully proclaimed” (2 Tim 4:17). It is by that Gospel message of Christ that we “have loved His appearing” and as repentant sinners pray to “the Lord, the righteous judge” by faith (2 Tim 6:8).
Monday, 17 October 2016—Psalm 56:10–13; antiphon, Psalm 56:3—In whom shall we place our trust? The Introit tells us, in God . . . in the LORD. The word ‘LORD’ is in all capitals in your Bible because it reflects the covenant name of God, Yahweh. The LORD is the One who keeps His covenants, keeps His promises. After man sinned, He promised to send a Savior (Gen 3:15), and kept that promise by sending His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, into the world to atone for sin. He has delivered my soul from death . . . that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016—Psalm 5—Psalm 5 may also be from the time of Absalom’s rebellion when David’s enemies spread vicious lies to discredit him. The first half of the psalm declares that the godly have access to the LORD in prayer, but the wicked are excluded from his presence. How is it that we are reckoned godly in the sight of the Lord? By trusting in His promises, especially the promise of redemption through Christ Jesus. The second half of the psalm contrasts the lying tongues of the wicked with the praising tongues of God’s people.
Wednesday, 19 October 2016—Genesis 4:1–15—The Lord accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but rejected Cain’s. Why? Was it because Abel offered up an animal sacrifice, whilst Cain offered grain? No, for that would indicate salvation by some sort of law of good works. Rather, God saw the intent and condition of each man’s heart. Hebrews 11: 4 tells us, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.” God accepts us solely on the basis of faith, not our works.
Thursday, 20 October 2016—2 Timothy 4:6–8, 16–18—The reading from St Paul’s second letter to Timothy fits in well with the other readings. Paul confidently asserts that he will receive the crown of righteousness on the Day of Judgement. Why? Because of his great works in laboring for the cause of the Gospel? By no means! Paul asserts, I have kept the faith. But even this is not of his own doing, for he goes on to say, the Lord stood by me and strengthened me.
We who have faith in the Lord’s promises can also say, with Paul, the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever.
Friday, 21 October 2016—Luke 18:9–17—The Pharisee placed the hope of his salvation in himself and his good works, confidently declaring to the Lord, the righteous Judge of the universe, God, I thank you that I am not like other men, an extortionist, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get. But our works can never save us. They fall far short of God’s standard of perfect holiness (Lev 19:2; James 2:10). We must humble ourselves before the Lord, as did the publican, and cry out, God, be merciful to me, a sinner, as we do in the Kyrie. The Lord hears the prayers of those who trust in Him and humble themselves before Him. Like the tax collector, we go home from the Divine Service justified, having received the full forgiveness of all our sins.
Saturday, 22 October 2016—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is In God, My Faithful God (LSB #745). Where shall we turn, where shall we place our trust in the face of adversity, whether physical or spiritual? In God, my faithful God. Because we know that God has redeemed us from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil by the blessed death of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, we can confidently face all adversity, and proclaim, Dear Lord, we all adore You, we sing for joy before You.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.