6th Ordinary Sunday: Deuteronomy 30:11-20; Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37 ~ from the heart

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening prayer:

All-seeing God, you alone judge rightly our inmost thoughts. Teach us to observe your law from the heart even as we keep it outwardly. Purify our desires, calm every anger, and reconcile us to one another. Then will our worship render you perfect praise.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.

A Reading from the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 30:11-20 (NLT)

“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

"Love" Sculpture in the snow.  (Robert Indiana, artist)

“Love” Sculpture in the snow.
(Robert Indiana, artist)

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

“But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34 (NLT)

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.

You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!

Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.

Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.
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A Reading from the Letters: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 (NLT)

Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God — his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.

A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 5:17-37 (NLT)

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

“But I warn you — unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

“When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Intercessions:

God of all wisdom, hear my prayer:

+ For all who follow Christ, that they may follow his example of right living…
+ For people who have fallen out with each other, that they may hear the Gospel call to make peace…
+ For those outside the fold, that they may be drawn in by the goodness of Christians…
+ For people facing difficult decisions, that God’s gift of wisdom may be given them…
+ For those suffering as a result of the bad weather, that they may have the help they need…
+ For my own needs and for the needs of those I love…
+ For those who have asked prayer…
+ For those who have died and those who mourn their loss that together they may share in all that God has prepared for those who love him.

Gracious God, you lead your people along the right path, hear my prayers and give us the help we need today, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Spiritual Song: City of God by Dan Schutte

Awake from your slumber, arise from your sleep / A new day is dawning for all those who weep.

The people in darkness have seen a great light. / The Lord of our longing has conquered the night.

Let us build the city of God; / May our tears be turned into dancing, / For the Lord Our light and our love / Has turned the night into day.

We are sons of the morning we are daughters of day / The One who has loved us has brightened our way.

The Lord of all kindness has called us to be / A light for His people: to set their hearts free.

God is light in Him there is no darkness / Let us walk in His light His children one and all

O Comfort my People . Make gentle your words / Proclaim to my city the day of her birth.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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