Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Reading (Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9)
 “Now, Isra’el, listen to the laws and rulings I am teaching you, in order to follow them, so that you will live; then you will go in and take possession of the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, is giving you.
 Look, I have taught you laws and rulings, just as Adonai my God ordered me, so that you can behave accordingly in the land where you are going in order to take possession of it.
 Therefore, observe them; and follow them; for then all peoples will see you as having wisdom and understanding. When they hear of all these laws, they will say, ‘This great nation is surely a wise and understanding people.’
 For what great nation is there that has God as close to them as Adonai our God is, whenever we call on him?  What great nation is there that has laws and rulings as just as this entire Torah which I am setting before you today?
 Only be careful, and watch yourselves diligently as long as you live, so that you won’t forget what you saw with your own eyes, so that these things won’t vanish from your hearts. Rather, make them known to your children and grandchildren —
Gospel (Matthew 5:17-19)
 “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete.
 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened.
 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tuesday, March 09, 2021
Reading (Daniel 3:25, 34-43)
 But he exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied up, walking around there in the flames, unhurt; and the fourth looks like one of the gods!” [33(4:30]“How great are his signs! How powerful his wonders! His kingdom lasts forever, and he rules all generations.
Gospel (Matthew 18:21-35)
 Then Kefa came up and said to him, “Rabbi, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times?”  “No, not seven times,” answered Yeshua, “but seventy times seven!
 Because of this, the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared with a king who decided to settle accounts with his deputies.  Right away they brought forward a man who owed him many millions;  and since he couldn’t pay, his master ordered that he, his wife, his children and all his possessions be sold to pay the debt.
But the servant fell down before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  So out of pity for him, the master let him go and forgave the debt.  “But as that servant was leaving, he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him some tiny sum. He grabbed him and began to choke him, crying, ‘Pay back what you owe me!’
 His fellow servant fell before him and begged, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’  But he refused; instead, he had him thrown in jail until he should repay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were extremely distressed; and they went and told their master everything that had taken place.
 Then the master summoned his servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt just because you begged me to do it.  Shouldn’t you have had pity on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
 And in anger his master turned him over to the jailers for punishment until he paid back everything he owed.  This is how my heavenly Father will treat you, unless you each forgive your brother from your hearts.”
Monday, March 08, 2021
Reading (2 Kings 5:1-15a)
 Na‘aman, commander of the king of Aram’s army, was highly respected and esteemed by his master; because through him Adonai had brought victory to Aram. But although he was a brave warrior, he also suffered from tzara‘at.
 Now on one of their raids into Isra’el’s territory, Aram carried away captive a little girl, who became a servant for Na‘aman’s wife.  She said to her mistress, “I wish my lord could go to the prophet in Shomron! He could heal his tzara‘at.”
 Na‘aman went in and told his lord, “The girl from the land of Isra’el said such-and-such.”  The king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Isra’el.” He set out, taking with him 660 pounds of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold and ten changes of clothes.
 He brought the king of Isra’el the letter, which said, “When this letter reaches you, you will see that I have sent my servant Na‘aman to you, so that you can heal his tzara‘at.”  When the king of Isra’el finished reading the letter, he tore his clothes.
“Am I God, able to kill and make alive,” he asked, “so that he sends me a man to heal of tzara‘at? You can see that he is only seeking an excuse to quarrel with me.”  But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Isra’el had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king: “Why did you tear your clothes?
Just have him come to me, and he will know that there is a prophet in Isra’el.”  So Na‘aman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.  Elisha sent a messenger to him, who said, “Go, and bathe in the Yarden seven times.
Your skin will become as it was, and you will be clean.”  But Na‘aman became angry and left, saying, “Here now! I thought for certain that he would come out personally, that he would stand, call on the name of Adonai his God and wave his hand over the diseased place and thus heal the person with tzara‘at.
 Aren’t Amanah and Parpar, the rivers of Dammesek, better than all the water in Isra’el? Why can’t I bathe in them and be clean?” So he turned and went off in a rage.  But his servants approached him and said, “My father!
If the prophet had asked you to do something really difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So, doesn’t it make even more sense to do what he says, when it’s only, ‘Bathe, and be clean’?”
 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Yarden, as the man of God had said to do; and his skin was restored and became like the skin of a child; and he became clean.
 Then, with his whole retinue, he returned to the man of God, went and stood before him, and said, “Well, I’ve learned that there is no God in all the earth except in Isra’el; therefore, please accept a present from your servant.”
Gospel (Luke 4:24-30)
 Yes!” he said, “I tell you that no prophet is accepted in his home town.  It’s true, I’m telling you — when Eliyahu was in Isra’el, and the sky was sealed off for three-and-a-half years, so that all the Land suffered a severe famine, there were many widows;  but Eliyahu was sent to none of them, only to a widow in Tzarfat in the land of Tzidon.
 Also there were many people with tzara‘at in Isra’el during the time of the prophet Elisha; but not one of them was healed, only Na‘aman the Syrian.”  On hearing this, everyone in the synagogue was filled with fury.
 They rose up, drove him out of town and dragged him to the edge of the cliff on which their town was built, intending to throw him off.  But he walked right through the middle of the crowd and went away.
Sunday, March 07, 2021
First Reading (Exodus 20:1-20)
 Then God said all these words:  “I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.  “You are to have no other gods before me.  You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.
 You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,  but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.
 “You are not to use lightly the name of Adonai your God, because Adonai will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.  “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.
 You have six days to labor and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.
 For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.  “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.
 “Do not murder.  “Do not commit adultery.  “Do not steal.  “Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.  “Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
 All the people experienced the thunder, the lightning, the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled. Standing at a distance,  they said to Moshe, “You, speak with us; and we will listen.
But don’t let God speak with us, or we will die.”  Moshe answered the people, “Don’t be afraid, because God has come only to test you and make you fear him, so that you won’t commit sins.”
Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-31, 2:1-2)
 For the message about the execution-stake is nonsense to those in the process of being destroyed, but to us in the process of being saved it is the power of God.  Precisely because Jews ask for signs and Greeks try to find wisdom,  we go on proclaiming a Messiah executed on a stake as a criminal!
To Jews this is an obstacle, and to Greeks it is nonsense;  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, this same Messiah is God’s power and God’s wisdom!  For God’s “nonsense” is wiser than humanity’s “wisdom.” And God’s “weakness” is stronger than humanity’s “strength.”
 Just look at yourselves, brothers — look at those whom God has called! Not many of you are wise by the world’s standards, not many wield power or boast noble birth.
 But God chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise; God chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the strong;  and God chose what the world looks down on as common or regards as nothing in order to bring to nothing what the world considers important;  so that no one should boast before God.
 It is his doing that you are united with the Messiah Yeshua. He has become wisdom for us from God, and righteousness and holiness and redemption as well!  Therefore — as the Tanakh says — “Let anyone who wants to boast, boast about Adonai.”
[2:1] From: Sha’ul, called by God’s will to be an emissary of the Messiah Yeshua; and from brother Sosthenes  To: God’s Messianic community in Corinth, consisting of those who have been set apart by Yeshua the Messiah and called to be God’s holy people — along with everyone everywhere who calls on the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, their Lord as well as ours:
Gospel (John 2:13-25)
 It was almost time for the festival of Pesach in Y’hudah, so Yeshua went up to Yerushalayim.  In the Temple grounds he found those who were selling cattle, sheep and pigeons, and others who were sitting at tables exchanging money.
 He made a whip from cords and drove them all out of the Temple grounds, the sheep and cattle as well. He knocked over the money-changers’ tables, scattering their coins;  and to the pigeon-sellers he said, “Get these things out of here!
How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market?”  (His talmidim later recalled that the Tanakh says, “Zeal for your house will devour me.”)  So the Judeans confronted him by asking him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove you have the right to do all this?”
 Yeshua answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”  The Judeans said, “It took 46 years to build this Temple, and you’re going to raise it in three days?”  But the “temple” he had spoken of was his body.
 Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his talmidim remembered that he had said this, and they trusted in the Tanakh and in what Yeshua had said.  Now while Yeshua was in Yerushalayim at the Pesach festival, there were many people who “believed in his name” when they saw the miracles he performed.
 But he did not commit himself to them, for he knew what people are like —  that is, he didn’t need anyone to inform him about a person, because he knew what was in the person’s heart.
Saturday, March 06, 2021
Reading (Micah 7:14-15, 18-20)
 Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, who live alone, like a forest in the middle of a fertile pasture. Let them feed in Bashan and Gil‘ad, as they did in days of old.
 “As in the days when you came out of Egypt, I will show them wonders.”  Who is a God like you, pardoning the sin and overlooking the crimes of the remnant of his heritage? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in grace.
 He will again have compassion on us, he will subdue our iniquities. You will throw all their sins into the depths of the sea.  You will show truth to Ya‘akov and grace to Avraham, as you have sworn to our ancestors since days of long ago.
Gospel (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)
 The tax-collectors and sinners kept gathering around to hear Yeshua,  and the P’rushim and Torah-teachers kept grumbling. “This fellow,” they said, “welcomes sinners — he even eats with them!”
 So he told them this parable:  Again Yeshua said, “A man had two sons.  The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that will be mine.’ So the father divided the property between them.
 As soon as he could convert his share into cash, the younger son left home and went off to a distant country, where he squandered his money in reckless living.  But after he had spent it all, a severe famine arose throughout that country, and he began to feel the pinch.
 “So he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him any.
 “At last he came to his senses and said, ‘Any number of my father’s hired workers have food to spare; and here I am, starving to death!  I’m going to get up and go back to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you;  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired workers.” ’
 So he got up and started back to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him warmly.
 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son — ’  but his father said to his slaves, ‘Quick, bring out a robe, the best one, and put it on him; and put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet;  and bring the calf that has been fattened up, and kill it.
Let’s eat and have a celebration!  For this son of mine was dead, but now he’s alive again! He was lost, but now he has been found!’ And they began celebrating.  “Now his older son was in the field. As he came close to the house, he heard music and dancing.
 So he called one of the servants and asked, ‘What’s going on?’  The servant told him, ‘Your brother has come back, and your father has slaughtered the calf that was fattened up, because he has gotten him back safe and sound.’
 But the older son became angry and refused to go inside. “So his father came out and pleaded with him.  ‘Look,’ the son answered, ‘I have worked for you all these years, and I have never disobeyed your orders.
But you have never even given me a young goat, so that I could celebrate with my friends.  Yet this son of yours comes, who squandered your property with prostitutes, and for him you slaughter the fattened calf!’
 ‘Son, you are always with me,’ said the father, ‘and everything I have is yours.  We had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead but has come back to life — he was lost but has been found.’”
Friday, March 05, 2021
Reading (Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28)
 Now Isra’el loved Yosef the most of all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a long-sleeved robe.  When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they began to hate him and reached the point where they couldn’t even talk with him in a civil manner.
 After this, when his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s sheep in Sh’khem,  Isra’el asked Yosef, “Aren’t your brothers pasturing the sheep in Sh’khem? Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “Here I am.”
 The man said, “They’ve left here; because I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dotan.’” Yosef went after his brothers and found them in Dotan.  They spotted him in the distance, and before he had arrived where they were, they had already plotted to kill him.
 They said to each other, “Look, this dreamer is coming!  So come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these water cisterns here. Then we’ll say some wild animal devoured him. We’ll see then what becomes of his dreams!”
 But when Re’uven heard this, he saved him from being destroyed by them. He said, “We shouldn’t take his life.  Don’t shed blood,” Re’uven added. “Throw him into this cistern here in the wilds, but don’t lay hands on him yourselves.”
He intended to rescue him from them later and restore him to his father.  So it was that when Yosef arrived to be with his brothers, they stripped off his robe, the long-sleeved robe he was wearing,  and took him and threw him into the cistern (the cistern was empty; without any water in it).
 Then they sat down to eat their meal; but as they looked up, they saw in front of them a caravan of Yishma‘elim coming from Gil‘ad, their camels loaded with aromatic gum, healing resin and opium, on their way down to Egypt.
 Y’hudah said to his brothers, “What advantage is it to us if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?  Come, let’s sell him to the Yishma‘elim, instead of putting him to death with our own hands. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers paid attention to him.
 So when the Midyanim, merchants, passed by, they drew and lifted Yosef up out of the cistern and sold him for half a pound of silver shekels to the Yishma‘elim, who took Yosef on to Egypt.
Gospel (Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46)
 “Now listen to another parable. There was a farmer who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower; then he rented it to tenants and left.  When harvest-time came, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his share of the crop.
 But the tenants seized his servants — this one they beat up, that one they killed, another they stoned.  So he sent some other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them.
 Finally, he sent them his son, saying, ‘My son they will respect.’  But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’
 So they grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.  Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
 They answered him, “He will viciously destroy those vicious men and rent out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his share of the crop when it’s due.”
 Yeshua said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Tanakh, ‘The very rock which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone! This has come from Adonai, and in our eyes it is amazing’?
 Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to the kind of people that will produce its fruit!”  As the head cohanim and the P’rushim listened to his stories, they saw that he was speaking about them.
 But when they set about to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds; because the crowds considered him a prophet.
Thursday, March 04, 2021
Reading (Jeremiah 17:5-10)
Here is what Adonai says: “A curse on the person who trusts in humans, who relies on merely human strength, whose heart turns away from Adonai.
 He will be like a tamarisk in the ‘Aravah — when relief comes, it is unaffected; for it lives in the sun-baked desert, in salty, uninhabited land.  Blessed is the man who trusts in Adonai; Adonai will be his security.
 He will be like a tree planted near water; it spreads out its roots by the river; it does not notice when heat comes; and its foliage is luxuriant; it is not anxious in a year of drought
but keeps on yielding fruit.
“The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it?  I, Adonai, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve.”
Gospel (Luke 16:19-31)
 “Once there was a rich man who used to dress in the most expensive clothing and spent his days in magnificent luxury.  At his gate had been laid a beggar named El‘azar who was covered with sores.
 He would have been glad to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table; but instead, even the dogs would come and lick his sores.  In time the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Avraham’s side; the rich man also died and was buried.
 “In Sh’ol, where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Avraham far away with El‘azar at his side.  He called out, ‘Father Avraham, take pity on me, and send El‘azar just to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, because I’m in agony in this fire!’
 However, Avraham said, ‘Son, remember that when you were alive, you got the good things while he got the bad; but now he gets his consolation here, while you are the one in agony.
 Yet that isn’t all: between you and us a deep rift has been established, so that those who would like to pass from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
 “He answered, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house,  where I have five brothers, to warn them; so that they may be spared having to come to this place of torment too.’
 But Avraham said, ‘They have Moshe and the Prophets; they should listen to them.’  However, he said, ‘No, father Avraham, they need more. If someone from the dead goes to them, they’ll repent!’
 But he replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moshe and the Prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!’”
Wednesday, March 03, 2021
Reading (Jeremiah 18:18-20)
 Then they said, “Let’s develop a plan for dealing with Yirmeyahu. Torah won’t be lost from the cohanim, or counsel from the wise, or words from the prophets. So come, let’s destroy him with slander; and meanwhile, we won’t pay attention to anything he says.”
 Pay attention to me, Adonai! Listen to what my opponents are saying!  Is good to be repaid with evil? For they have dug a pit [to trap] me. Remember how I stood before you and spoke well of them, in order to turn your anger away from them?
Gospel (Matthew 20:17-28)
 As Yeshua was going up to Yerushalayim, he took the twelve talmidim aside by themselves and said to them, as they went on their way,  “We are now going up to Yerushalayim, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the head cohanim and Torah-teachers.
They will sentence him to death  and turn him over to the Goyim, who will jeer at him, beat him and execute him on a stake as a criminal. But on the third day, he will be raised.”  Then Zavdai’s sons came to Yeshua with their mother. She bowed down, begging a favor from him.
 He said to her, “What do you want?” She replied, “Promise that when you become king, these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left.”  But Yeshua answered, “You people don’t know what you are asking.
Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We can.”  He said to them, “Yes, you will drink my cup. But to sit on my right and on my left is not mine to give, it is for those for whom my Father has prepared it.”
 Now when the other ten heard about this, they were outraged at the two brothers.  But Yeshua called them and said, “You know that among the Goyim, those who are supposed to rule them become tyrants, and their superiors become dictators.
 Among you, it must not be like that. On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must become your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave!  For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve — and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Tuesday, March 02, 2021
Reading (Isaiah 1:10, 16-20, 27-28, 31)
 Hear what Adonai says, you rulers of S’dom! Listen to God’s Torah,
you people of ‘Amora!  “Wash yourselves clean! Get your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing evil,  learn to do good!
Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend orphans, plead for the widow.  “Come now,” says Adonai, “let’s talk this over together. Even if your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow; even if they are red as crimson, they will be like wool.
 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land;  but if you refuse and rebel, you will be eaten by the sword”; for the mouth of Adonai has spoken.  Tziyon will be redeemed by justice; and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
 “Rebels and sinners together will be broken and those who abandon Adonai be consumed.  The strong will be like tinder and [the idol’s] maker like a spark; both will burn together, and no one will put them out.”
Gospel (Matthew 23:1-12)
 Then Yeshua addressed the crowds and his talmidim:  “The Torah-teachers and the P’rushim,” he said, “sit in the seat of Moshe.  So whatever they tell you, take care to do it. But don’t do what they do, because they talk but don’t act!
 They tie heavy loads onto people’s shoulders but won’t lift a finger to help carry them.  Everything they do is done to be seen by others; for they make their t’fillin broad and their tzitziyot long,  they love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues,  and they love being greeted deferentially in the marketplaces and being called ‘Rabbi.’
 “But you are not to let yourselves be called ‘Rabbi’; because you have one Rabbi, and you are all each other’s brothers.  And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father.’ because you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
 Nor are you to let yourselves be called ‘leaders,’ because you have one Leader, and he is the Messiah!  The greatest among you must be your servant,  for whoever promotes himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.