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NRCS Inspirational, December 16, 2013

As we begin

the first day of our nine-day dawn

masses, we find it fitting and inspiring to share the

day’s reading. Tuus:

Pleasant Words Restated

Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,

the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with eyes uncovered:

how fair are your tents, O Jacob,

your encampments, O Israel! Like palm groves that stretch far away, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall have abundant water, his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. (Numbers 24:2-7, NRSV)

Balaam’s Fourth Oracle

So he uttered his oracle, saying:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,

the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God,

and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered:

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not neara star shall come out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the borderlands of Moab, and the territory of all the Shethites. (Numbers 15- 17, NRSV)

and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who

Psalter

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;

teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. (Psalm 25:4-9, NRSV)

Gospel:

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was

teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you

tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. (Matthew 21:23- 27, NRSV)