In holy baptism God makes saints out of sinners. In holy communion God forgives the sins of all the saints. In the assembly today we give thanks for all the saints “who from their labors rest,” who have fought the good fight, who have gained the crown. In the same breath we petition our God for the strength to hear and to heed the admonitions of the Lord Jesus in today’s gospel. Recalling that we have been sealed by the Spirit and sustained by the Savior’s body and blood, we keep on keeping on as God gives us breath, to the praise of God’s glory.
Readings and Psalm
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
The holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom
Sing the Lord’s praise in the assembly of the faithful. (Ps. 149:1)
God raised Christ from the dead and made him head over all the church
Jesus speaks blessings and woes
First Reading: Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
The book of Daniel was written in the second century bce, when the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes was severely persecuting the Jews. Daniel’s vision of the four beasts serves to proclaim the message that human kings will come and go, but the kingdom will ultimately belong to God and to God’s people.1In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream: 2I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, 3and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.
15As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. 16I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: 17“As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. 18But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.”
Psalm: Psalm 149
Sing the Lord’s praise in the assembly of the faithful. (Ps. 149:1)1Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord| a new song,
God’s praise in the assembly | of the faithful.
2Let Israel rejoice | in their maker;
let the children of Zion be joyful | in their ruler.
3Let them praise their maker’s | name with dancing;
let them sing praise with tambou- | rine and harp.
4For the Lord takes pleasure | in the people
and adorns the | poor with victory.
5Let the faithful re- | joice in triumph;
let them sing for joy | on their beds.
6Let the praises of God be | in their throat
and a two-edged sword | in their hand,
7to wreak vengeance | on the nations
and punishment | on the peoples,
8to bind their | kings in chains
and their nobles with | links of iron,
9to inflict on them the judg- | ment decreed;
this is glory for all God’s faithful ones. | Hallelujah!
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:11-23
After giving thanks for the faith of the Ephesians, Paul prays that they might understand the wisdom, hope, and power of God that is embodied in Jesus Christ.11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Gospel: Luke 6:20-31
In echoes of
the prophet Isaiah and Mary’s song of praise, Jesus reveals surprising
things about who enjoys blessing and who endures woe. He invites his
disciples to shower radical love, blessing, forgiveness, generosity, and
trust, even to enemies and outsiders.20Then [Jesus] looked up at his disciples and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
24“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
25“Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
27“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.”