Sometimes preaching in a lectionary church is like being Philip in Acts 8—the Spirit plucks us up and drops us where ever she darn well pleases. It is necessarily this way, certainly. Between the thematic requirements of the seasons of the church year and the sheer length of the four Gospels spread out over 156 Sundays, there is no way we can read all four in their entirety in three years. So, we skip stuff. Especially in Year B, as we try to mash the shortest Gospel, Mark, together with the other Gospel, John, together in some supposedly coherent way.
Season after Pentecost | 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Wisdom of Solomon 1:16-2:1, 12-22 or Jeremiah 11:18-20 (Psalm 54); James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37 | Semi-continuous first reading: Proverbs 31:10-31 (Psalm 1)
Proverbs 31 used to be a standard at funerals. That was before we realized that womanly virtue meant more than giving a husband bragging rites in the city gates. I use to think it my pastoral duty to root out both masculine and feminine stereotypes in liturgy, hymnody and scripture. Now I’m not so sure.