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9 August 2020

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity


FIRST READING (click to expand)

Isaiah 56.6-8

And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
and hold fast my covenant—
these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;

their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.

Thus says the Lord GOD,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
besides those already gathered.

PSALM (click to expand)

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,

that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.

SECOND READING (click to expand)

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of your ancestors’ disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

GOSPEL (click to expand)

The Holy Gospel according to St Matthew
15:10-20, 21-28

(Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.’
Then the disciples approached and said to him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees took offence when they heard what you said?’
He answered, ‘Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.’
But Peter said to him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’
Then he said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.’)

Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, ‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.’
But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urge
He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’
He answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’
She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’
Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’
And her daughter was healed instantly.


The Meaning of Life: Week Five



by Malcolm Guite

You bore for me the One who came to bless
And bear for all and make the broken whole.
You heard His call and in your open ‘yes’
You spoke aloud for every living soul.
Oh gracious Lady, child of your own child,
Whose mother-love still calls the child in me,
Call me again, for I am lost, and wild
Waves surround me now. On this dark sea
Shine as a star and call me to the shore.
Open the door that all my sins would close
And hold me in your garden. Let me share
The prayer that folds the petals of the Rose.
Enfold me too in Love’s last mystery
And bring me to the One you bore for me.


Sensuous God

Every morning, quite early, I go out from a still, quiet house into the garden to feed the birds and water plants and, out there, I am aware of so much movement, busyness, life.

John O’Donohue writes:

“The elemental presence of the divine is everywhere: wind, water, earth and fire witness to the urgency, passion and tactility of God. From these elements God fashioned the universe. It is not that God is reduced to a force of nature or that aspects of nature become mere images of God. Nature is divine raiment; the touch and flow and force of God touches us here but the divine presence is not exhausted by this. Both sensuousness of nature and our senses make the divine presence visible in the world. Nature was the first scripture; to be out in nature is to be near God. When we begin to awaken to the beauty which is the Sensuous God, we discover the holiness of our bodies and our earth.”


A prayer for 16th August

O God, how amazing that you chose an unknown, humble young girl to bear your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and that, through him, you came and dwelt among us on earth.
And how wonderful that, although surely shocked and even afraid at having been chosen, she said ‘Yes’.
She must have known the trouble that would lie ahead for her, yet she said ‘Yes’.
As we reflect on Mary, we are aware of how weak and ineffectual are our own efforts to emulate her obedience, her faith, her willingness and her courage.
She remained faithful despite the disbelief of those around her, their accusations, suspicions and harsh words.
We thank you for her example of trust, of steadfast love for you, of loyalty and of bravery.
Help us to be prepared for whatever you ask of us, however daunting the challenge you place before us. Make us aware, Lord God, of those things to which you would have us say ‘Yes’ and then give us the courage, loyalty and resilience to see them through.
This we ask for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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