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September 10, 2023

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Conflict is a part of relationships and life in community. Jesus’ words in today’s gospel are often used in situations having to do with church discipline. The prophet Ezekiel tells of warning the wicked to turn from their ways, and Paul reminds us that love is the fulfilling of the law. We gather in the name of Christ, assured that He is present among us with gifts of peace and reconciliation.

Almighty and eternal God, You know our problems and our weaknesses better than we ourselves. In Your love and by Your power help us in our confusion and, in spite of our weakness, make us firm in faith; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ezekiel 33:7-11
Psalm 119:33-40
Romans 13:8-14

Matthew 18:15-20

Festivals and Commemorations this week

The faithful are remembered on the day of their death, the day they are born anew in heaven. The "c" indicates an approximate date.

September 13  John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407
John was a priest in Antioch and an outstanding preacher. His eloquence earned him the nickname “Chrysostom” (“golden mouth”) but it also got him into trouble. As bishop of Constantinople he preached against corruption among the royal court. The empress, who had been his supporter, sent him into exile. His preaching style emphasized the literal meaning of scripture and its practical application. This interpretation stood in contrast to the common style at the time, which emphasized the allegorical meaning of the text.

September 14  Holy Cross Day
Helena, the mother of Constantine, made a pilgrimage to Israel to look for Christian holy sites. She found what she believed were the sites of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus, sites that modern archaeologists believe may be correct. Here Constantine built two churches. The celebration of Holy Cross Day commemorates the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection in 335.
   This day gives the church a chance to celebrate the victory of the cross with a festivity that would be out of place on Good Friday. Today alleluias are sung in thanksgiving for the tree of the cross, which Andrew of Crete described as “the trophy of God’s victory.” This week sing the hymn “Lift high the cross” (LBW 377).

September 16  Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, martyr, c. 258
Cyprian worked for the unity of the church and cared for his flock in North Africa during a time of great persecution. During Cyprian’s time as bishop many people had denied the faith under duress. In contrast to some who held the belief that the church should not receive these people back, Cyprian believed they ought to be welcomed into full communion after a period of penance. Cyprian insisted on the need for compassion in order to preserve the unity of the church. His essay “On the Unity of the Catholic Church” stressed the role of bishops in guaranteeing the visible, concrete unity of the church. Cyprian was also concerned for the physical well-being of the people under his care. He organized a program of medical care during a severe epidemic in Carthage.

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