Readings for the week of Oct. 21, 2018

The First Reading is from the book of Ecclesiastes, 5:10-20. Ecclesiastes is part of the section of the Bible called Wisdom Literature (Job through Song of Solomon). The writer of Ecclesiastes reflects on life, and tries to get the reader to accept one’s lot in life, and to trust God for all things.
In this section, the writer of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, King David’s son, warns against the striving to be rich – it is a frustrating and unsatisfying endeavor. The rich are never satisfied with what they have, and never have peace. Whereas the person who accepts whatever lot they have in life has learned to be happy with what they have, and to look to God for all blessings.
What occupies our time? Gathering more and more? Are we satisfied with what the Lord provides, or do we think we need more than His blessings?
Lord God, benevolent provider of all of our needs, open our eyes to see Your blessings in all of life, and move us to give You thanks for Your provision of all of our needs. Enable us to trust You, following the example of Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.

The psalm for today, 119:9-16, is part of the longest chapter in the Bible. The writer of Psalm 119 is one who loves the Word of God, and finds that the Word of God brings great blessings into his life. May we also love God’s Word and grow in Christ in and through it.
Lord Jesus, Word of God incarnate, keep our eyes fixed on You. Enable us to love You with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and our neighbors as ourselves. Let Your Holy Spirit work in our hearts so that we grow closer to You. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading is a continuation of reading through major sections of the book of Hebrews, and is recorded in Hebrews 4:1-13 (14-16). One of the major themes of Hebrews is to urge the readers of the letter not to fall away from faith. May we heed this message, and may we continue to grow in every way into Christ, the Head of the Church.
Notice the power of God’s Word, it is like a sword, and how it goes into the center of our being, and how it cuts out sin and evil in our lives and puts Christ in us. May we continually be in God’s Word.
Notice also that we have a great Advocate, Jesus Himself, Who has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Because He understands what we encounter in life, we can now come to God’s throne of grace in our time of need. Let us turn to the Lord at all times, including our times of need.
Holy Jesus, thank You for sending Your Word to us to keep us from falling away, and to cut out sin and evil in us. You are so gracious to us. Enable us to trust and turn to You in our time of need, to receive mercy and grace. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

Today’s Gospel, Mark 10:23-31, is a continuation of last week’s Gospel where a rich man came to Jesus, trying to earn his way into heaven. Notice the warning in today’s Gospel about riches, they can become a barrier to God in our lives. What place do possessions and money have in our lives? Are they a barrier to God and others? Or are they a blessing which enable us to have enough for our life and to share with others?
The disciples asked how anyone can be saved; notice Jesus’ words in vs. 27: human effort cannot save, only God can because all things are possible for Him. Where is our reliance on salvation? On our efforts, or on God’s grace and mercy?
Blessed Lord, we thank and praise You for the blessings we have received in life; all coming from Your gracious hand. Enable us always to give You thanks for Your blessings, and enable us to share these blessings with others so that they will turn to You in thanksgiving as well.
And Lord, enable us to trust You for eternal life, trusting in Your grace and mercy and not in our own efforts. Keep us ever mindful that Your grace and mercy are what we need because our efforts will always fall short. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

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