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Proper 28 | Ordinary Time 33 | Pentecost 25 (Cycle C)

Sunday between November 13 and November 19 inclusive

The proclamation in most of the texts selected for next weekend is that God will soon act decisively to destroy rampant evil and those who remain faithful to God will survive because God will strengthen them. The parenesis is that the faithful must believe in God and that they must not be afraid. Until all of this occurs, the faithful must continue to be actively praising God and living in accordance with God’s good will for them.

Isaiah 12

The concept of the corporate personality of Israel is apparent in the two psalms (vv. 1-3, 4-6) that comprise this concluding portion of the Isaiah chapters 1-12 traditions. The nation, or remnants of the nation, will give thanks to the Lord as if they were one person on the day when the Lord forgives and restores them, as the context from 11:10 onward indicates. The hope expressed in 11:10–12:6 has been only partially realized even to this day for Israel.

Because of the nature of the reading, two persons should be involved in leadership roles. One person should provide a brief setting from Isaiah 11:10-16 and speak the liturgical rubrics 12:1a and 4a and the liturgical comment 12:3. The other person should speak or chant the psalm portions, turning toward a symbol of the presence of God for 12:1b-2 and stepping toward the congregation for 12:4b-6.

Isaiah 65:17-25 (as used also on Easter Day of this Series C)

In this text, the inspired writer joyfully proclaimed that soon the Lord God will recreate the sky and the earth for Jerusalem and for the Israelite people. For the people of God, there will be no more weeping and distress, and no longer will anyone die short of a long and fruitful life. No one will take from them the products of their labor. God will hear and will respond to help them even while they are still speaking! Wild and rapacious beasts will be gentle and eat grass along with oxen and lambs. The sky and the earth will be resurrected. The people of God will be resurrected. Prophecy will be resurrected. Everything conceivable will be resurrected, except an individual person who has died.

Psalm 98

In this psalm it is proclaimed that the Lord God has come to gain the victory over all evil forces on the earth. Not only the people of Israel, but also all of the other oppressed people of the earth and even nature itself are urged to join together in singing to the Lord a new, joyful song of praise and thankfulness, for they are all free. Evil no longer has any power over them.

Malachi 4:1-2a

All who are arrogant and all evildoers will be consumed as in an oven when the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Elijah will return on that day in order to gather the faithful together to protect them. After that day of judgment and destruction has passed, those who fear the name of the Lord will spring forth, like young calves released from their stalls, to skip and jump over the ashes of the wicked. The parenesis here is that those who fear the Lord should live in accordance with the instructions provided in the Torah.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

This text is almost entirely parenesis. While followers of Jesus wait for the expected future coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory, they are to follow the example set by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, working quietly to support themselves and gladly serving others without weariness or complaint. This example and admonition holds also, of course, for us today as we experience the conclusion of another Church Year cycle.

Luke 21:5-19

The catastrophic events that occurred during the unsuccessful attempts by Jews in Galilee and Judea to free themselves from the oppressive Roman occupation forces during the Jewish War of 66-72 CE fulfilled some, but not all, of the predictions recorded in this Luke 21:5-19 text. Followers of Jesus also suffered during this period, and were supported by the assurance provided by the words of Mark 13, Matthew 24:1-36, and Luke 21:5-36 that Jesus understood their situation and would give them courage and the ability to endure. Only Luke, however, has the strangely contradictory statement that “some of you will be put to death” in 21:16b, followed almost immediately in 21:18 by “But not a hair of your head will perish.” Perhaps the writer intended this to mean that even those who are put to death because of their faith will not perish.

The proclamation here is that Jesus will lead and guide his followers through very difficult times, and that most of them will endure and survive. The parenesis is that Jesus’ followers must believe and trust in Jesus regardless of how terrible their conditions may become. That same proclamation and that same parenesis are applicable for us today.

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Authors of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Norman A. Beck is the Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages and the Chairman of the Department of Theology, Philosophy, and Classical Languages at Texas Lutheran University
Dr. Norman A. Beck
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen