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Weekly Bible Readings and Reflections 8th Sunday after PENTECOST 26th July 2020

READINGS 

Genesis 32:22-31: Jacob spends the night on the banks of the Jabbok River where he wrestles with a man until dawn. In the fight, Jacob is injured, leaving him with a limp, but he is also blessed and his name is changed to Israel.

Psalm 17:1-7, 16: A prayer for God to listen to and rescue the psalmist, who affirms his commitment to follow God’s ways and be faithful, and to trust in God’s willingness to answer his prayer.

Romans 9:1-8: Paul expresses his love and concern for his Jewish brothers and sisters, and celebrates the covenants, promises, law – and the Christ – that the Israelites received from God.

Matthew 14:13-21: Jesus tries to get some time to himself after hearing of John’s death, but the crowds find him, and end up, late in the day, in a remote place and without food. Jesus instructs the disciples to feed them, but they object that they only have few resources. Jesus then feeds the crowds with the disciples’ food, after which baskets of leftovers are gathered up.

 

 

THOUGHTS FOR THIS WEEK – 9th Sunday after PENTECOST 2nd August 2020

Feasting and covenants. These two ideas are always linked in Scripture and they signify God’s commitment to us and God’s invitation for us to be included in God’s family. While this is certainly Good News for us, it is also a huge challenge when we face the truth that we are to become agents of God’s covenant and carriers of God’s invitation.

This means both proclaiming and living out the inclusivity of the Kingdom and facing issues of hunger and poverty in our world and our communities.

These two ideas of Feasting and covenants that come together in this week’s readings are God’s covenant with God’s people, and the invitation to feast with God.

Of course, these are simply two ways of expressing God’s commitment to us, and of showing the care, compassion, faithfulness, grace and salvation of God that the psalmists celebrate and rely on. In Genesis, Jacob is visited by God and, in the struggle, is both wounded and blessed – which is always the case when we are touched by God in our broken world.

In Romans, Paul celebrates the Israelite people – the descendants of Jacob – to whom were given the invitation and the covenant, and expresses his longing for them to respond to God’s new invitation and new covenant in Christ.

Finally, in the Gospel, the crowds who come to Jesus discover that they are welcomed, taught and fed, discovering, truly, a new Moses in Christ – one who gives them both a new law and a new manna.

May we feast on God’s grace as we worship, and go out to create both physical and spiritual feasts at every chance we get.