1st Reading – Isaiah 55:10-11
Until the eighteenth century it was presumed that Isaiah of Jerusalem wrote all 66 chapters of the book under his name. At that time scholars maintained that chapters 40 through 66 were written by a different author who lived some 150 years after Isaiah, during the Babylonian exile. In the late nineteenth century a scholar put forth convincing arguments for yet a third author for chapters 56 through 66. Our reading for today comes from the concluding chapter of what is now referred to as Deutero- (or 2nd) Isaiah: the chapter which has been titled “Conclusion to the Book of Comfort.” Almost every major theme within chapters 40 through 54 is blended into this chapter with verses ten and eleven (our reading for today) being a concluding announcement of salvation.
2nd Reading – Romans 8:18-23
Last week we heard Saint Paul tell us that Christian life is lived in the Spirit and is destined for glory because Christian life is empowered by the Spirit. This week this theme is continued as he begins to describe our future glory.
Gospel – Matthew 13:1-23
Jesus is conducting His public ministry in Galilee. Between our reading of last week and today, Jesus has plucked ears of grain on the Sabbath, healed the man with the withered hand, and taught that His true relatives are those who are in the covenant with Him: “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Now He begins teaching in parables.