Bible Readings for Sunday August 20, 2017

The First Reading, from Isaiah 56:1, 6-8, continues Isaiah’s words of comfort and hope. In this passage Isaiah proclaims the word of the Lord that even the Gentiles (anyone who is not ethnically an Israelite descendant of Abraham) will be gathered to Him. Notice that all Gentiles who follow the Lord will be welcome in His presence. This is Good News for us who are Gentile because we need to be brought back to the Lord, which He accomplishes through His Son Jesus, as Jesus reconciles us to God through His death and resurrection. Let us rejoice in God’s grace, and trust in His promises to bring us and keep us in His presence.
Gracious Lord, all thanks and praise to You that in Jesus You bring us into Yourself. Keep us faithful to You, always walking as Your children. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Today’s Psalm, 67:1-7, continues the theme of God’s grace and blessings for all people. Notice how God blesses all, and the response to God is thanksgiving and praise. Let us always remember that the blessings we have in life ultimately come from God, and let us give Him thanks and praise for His steadfast love and grace.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You! By Your Holy Spirit, enable us always to sing Your praise! Through Jesus we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading, Romans 11:1-2a, 13-15, 28-32, is a reminder that as Gentiles we have been brought to the Lord by grace and mercy. It is also a reminder that the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, the Jews, are in a special relationship with the Lord, and when they turn to Jesus in faith it will mean life from the dead! It is wonderful news that through Christ we have life from the dead, and that this message is for all people. Let us be faithful in proclaiming this message about Jesus so that others can be drawn to Him in faith.
Holy Spirit, all thanks and praise to You for calling us to faith in Jesus. Bless the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and Savior and draw more and more people to faith in Him. In Jesus’ Name, and for His sake, we pray. Amen.

In the Gospel for today, Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus is in the northern region around Lake Galilee. He is in an area heavily populated by Gentiles. As He travels, a Gentile woman approaches Him with an urgent request. At first Jesus ignores her, and then speaks harsh words to her, but eventually does fulfill her need for her daughter. This Gospel reminds us that Jesus came to seek and save the lost of all people, not just one group. Let us reach out with the Gospel of Jesus and draw all people to Him.
Lord Jesus, all thanks and praise to You that Your love is for all people. Enable us by the power of Your Holy Spirit to share the Gospel of salvation in You, and bring more and more people to You in faith. Amen.

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