February 9, 2020
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 58:3-9a
Why have we fasted if you are not aware of it? Why have we inflicted pain on ourselves if you don’t pay attention?
Don’t you see that on the days you fast, you do what you want to do? You mistreat all your workers. Don’t you see that when you fast, you quarrel and fight and beat your workers? The way you fast today keeps you from being heard in heaven. Is this the kind of fasting I have chosen? Should people humble themselves for only a day? Is fasting just bowing your head like a cattail and making your bed from sackcloth and ashes? Is this what you call fasting? Is this an acceptable day to the Lord?
This is the kind of fasting I have chosen: Loosen the chains of wickedness, untie the straps of the yoke, let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke. Share your food with the hungry, take the poor and homeless into your house, and cover them with clothes when you see them naked. Don’t refuse to help your relatives.
Then your light will break through like the dawn, and you will heal quickly. Your righteousness will go ahead of you, and the glory of the Lord will guard you from behind. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. You will cry for help, and he will say, “Here I am!”
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
Brothers and sisters, when I came to you, I did not speak about God’s mystery lofty speech or wisdom. While I was with you I decided to deal with only one subject, Jesus Christ who was crucified. When I came to you I was weak. I was afraid and very nervous. I didn’t speak my message with persuasive intellectual arguments. I spoke my message with a show of spiritual power so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power.
However, we do use wisdom to speak to those who are mature. It is a wisdom that does not belong to this world or to the rulers of this world who are in power today and gone tomorrow. We speak about the mystery of God’s wisdom. It is a wisdom that has been hidden, which God had planned for our glory before the world began. None of the rulers of this world has known it. If they had they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
As Scripture says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
God has revealed those things to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. After all, who knows everything about a person except that person’s own spirit? In the same way no one has known everything about God except God’s Spirit. Now we did not receive the spirit that belongs to the world. Instead we received the Spirit who comes from God so that we could know the things which God has freely given us. We do not speak about these things using teachings that are based on intellectual arguments like people do. Instead we use the Spirit’s teachings. We explain spiritual things to those who have the Spirit.
A person who is not spiritual does not accept the teachings of God’s Spirit. He thinks they are nonsense. He can’t understand them because a person must be spiritual to evaluate them. Spiritual people evaluate everything but are subject to no one’s evaluation. “Who has known the mind of the Lord so that he can teach him?” However, we have the mind of Christ.
Holy Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-20
You are salt for the earth, but if salt loses its taste how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people.
You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Don’t ever think that I came to set aside Moses’ Teachings or the Prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to fulfill them. I can guarantee this truth: Until the earth and the heavens disappear neither a period nor a comma will disappear from the Scriptures before everything has come true. So whoever sets aside any command that seems unimportant and teaches others to do the same will be unimportant in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever does and teaches what the commands say will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. I can guarantee that unless you live a life that has God’s approval and do it more faithfully than the experts in Moses’ Teachings and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.