January 22nd, 2019

Tuesday of Epiphany 2

First Reading: Joel 2:1-17

An Army of Locusts

 1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
       sound the alarm on my holy hill.
       Let all who live in the land tremble,
       for the day of the LORD is coming.
       It is close at hand-

 2 a day of darkness and gloom,
       a day of clouds and blackness.
       Like dawn spreading across the mountains
       a large and mighty army comes,
       such as never was of old
       nor ever will be in ages to come.

 3 Before them fire devours,
       behind them a flame blazes.
       Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
       behind them, a desert waste—
       nothing escapes them.

 4 They have the appearance of horses;
       they gallop along like cavalry.

 5 With a noise like that of chariots
       they leap over the mountaintops,
       like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
       like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

 6 At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;
       every face turns pale.

 7 They charge like warriors;
       they scale walls like soldiers.
       They all march in line,
       not swerving from their course.

 8 They do not jostle each other;
       each marches straight ahead.
       They plunge through defenses
       without breaking ranks.

 9 They rush upon the city;
       they run along the wall.
       They climb into the houses;
       like thieves they enter through the windows.

 10 Before them the earth shakes,
       the sky trembles,
       the sun and moon are darkened,
       and the stars no longer shine.

 11 The LORD thunders
       at the head of his army;
       his forces are beyond number,
       and mighty are those who obey his command.
       The day of the LORD is great;
       it is dreadful.
       Who can endure it?

Rend Your Heart

 12 "Even now," declares the LORD,
       "return to me with all your heart,
       with fasting and weeping and mourning."

 13 Rend your heart
       and not your garments.
       Return to the LORD your God,
       for he is gracious and compassionate,
       slow to anger and abounding in love,
       and he relents from sending calamity.

 14 Who knows? He may turn and have pity
       and leave behind a blessing—
       grain offerings and drink offerings
       for the LORD your God.

 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
       declare a holy fast,
       call a sacred assembly.

 16 Gather the people,
       consecrate the assembly;
       bring together the elders,
       gather the children,
       those nursing at the breast.
       Let the bridegroom leave his room
       and the bride her chamber.

 17 Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
       weep between the temple porch and the altar.
       Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD.
       Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
       a byword among the nations.
       Why should they say among the peoples,
       'Where is their God?' "

Second Reading: Rom. 11:1-24

The Remnant of Israel

 1I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3"Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"[a]? 4And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal."[b] 5So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.[c]

 7What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8as it is written:
   "God gave them a spirit of stupor,
      eyes so that they could not see
      and ears so that they could not hear,
   to this very day."[d] 9And David says:
   "May their table become a snare and a trap,
      a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
 10May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
      and their backs be bent forever."[e]

Ingrafted Branches

 11Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

 13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

 17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

 22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Footnotes:Romans 11:3 1 Kings 19:10,14 Romans 11:4 1 Kings 19:18 Romans 11:6 Some manuscripts by grace. But if by works, then it is no longer grace; if it were, work would no longer be work. Romans 11:8 Deut. 29:4; Isaiah 29:10 Romans 11:10 Psalm 69:22,23


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