Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, February 2, 2020

Lection Connection for the Presentation of the Lord can be found here.

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Full lections can be read here.


Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Micah 6:1-8)

Micah pictures the Lord calling the mountains as witnesses to what he teaches wayward Judah. Do they not remember being brought out of Egypt to the Promised Land? It is not more ritual sacrifices that he requires, but humbly walking in his way of love and justice.

Psalm (Psalm 15)

The Psalmist points out that those who would dwell with the Lord must walk blamelessly, speaking and doing the truth no matter the cost.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Paul points out that the message of the cross contradicts the way spiritual truth is normally acquired. It is foolishness to Greeks seeking wisdom and weakness to Jews seeking powerful signs. The Lord alone saves and therefore no one can boast.

Gospel (Matthew 5:1-12)

Matthew recounts how Jesus, having ascended a mountain, teaches about the attitudes and actions that characterize those who will inherit the kingdom of God. He outlines a blessed life of meekness and humility which results in opposition and even persecution.


  • God’s ways are not our ways and can sometimes contradict them
  • God is the one to exercise spiritual power, while we are to follow him in humility
  • It is God who saves, not we ourselves
  • To walk humbly before our God is to put his ways above ours and to believe that he will indeed save us in spite of appearances to the contrary

Presentation of the Lord, Year A, February 2, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.


Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Malachi 3:1-4)

Malachi predicts a time when the Lord sends his messenger and appears in the temple as a refining fire to purify the people. Then the temple offerings, offered in righteousness, will be again be pleasing to the Lord.

Psalm (84)

The Psalmist exults in the many delights of living in the very presence of God. Those who derive their strength from God alone are the happiest of all. Their hearts embrace the ways into his divine presence. To be a humble doorkeeper in his house would be happiness itself.


Alternative Psalm (24:7-10)

The Psalmist calls for the gates of the Holy City to be lifted up so that the King of Glory may enter and take his place. Who is this king? It is the great and mighty Lord of Hosts.

Second Reading (Hebrews 2:14-18)

The writer explains the reasons why Jesus had to share our humanity in order to be both a proper high priest and a perfect sacrifice for our sins. In so doing he has destroyed both the devil and his power of death. Faithful through suffering, he can help those similarly tested.

Gospel (Luke 2:22-40)

Two faithful elders, Simeon and the prophet Anna, recognize the infant Jesus as the expected Messiah when he is presented in the temple. Both praise God for fulfilling his promise of deliverance for Israel but Simeon hints darkly that things will not go smoothly for the child.


  • The faithful exult in the presence of the Lord
  • The place where the awesome God meets with his people is to be revered
  • The salvation brought by Jesus fits into, but goes beyond the expectations of the Old Covenant
  • Our sin is the barrier to a right relationship with God: Jesus is our intermediary and sin-bearer



Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, January 26, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.


Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 9:1-4)

Isaiah, speaking at a time of great distress, declares that Galilee, although dominated by Gentiles and held in contempt, will be first to experience the glorious light of God’s liberation. It will be like the outnumbered Gideon’s utter defeat of a powerful enemy.

Psalm (27:1, 4-9)

The Psalmist declares his trust in the Lord who is his light and salvation and in whose presence he hopes to dwell concealed from his enemies. There, he will be sure to rise above them and be safe, if only the Lord will grant him a hearing.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:10-18)

Paul exhorts the Corinthians to live in the unity of the one in whose name they have been baptized. He himself is but a servant who was sent by Christ only to preach the message of the cross that, although seemingly foolish, actually saves by God’s power.

Gospel (Matthew 4:12-23)

Matthew tells us that when Jesus withdrew to Galilee, a region long under a Gentile cloud, he was fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy. There he begins to assemble his tiny band of disciples and through him God’s kingdom blessings begin to break out in the darkness.


  • God can use a few to accomplish amazing things
  • It is never us but “God in us” that furthers his mission in the world
  • The Lord is not indifferent to our times of distress and will act when it is best to do so
  • The Lord often chooses the “least” for his purposes
  • The Lord is made manifest in the changes for good that he brings about




Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A, January 19, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 49:1-7)

Isaiah speaks of the Lord’s chosen servant who is to turn Israel back to God and be used for his glory, manifesting the light of salvation to the nations. Presently despised, Israel will be so noticeably blessed that even foreign kings shall worship the Lord.

Psalm (40:1-11)

The Psalmist speaks as someone whom the Lord has rescued from the pit, set on a rock, and enabled to sing a new song that leads many to faith. It is not temple sacrifices that have saved him, but simply God’s love and mercy, and he now delights in his law.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:1-9)

St. Paul celebrates the grace of God that has been manifested to the Corinthians as part of the fellowship of Christ being instituted throughout the entire world. Through grace they have been enriched by having every spiritual gift poured out upon them.

Gospel (John 1:29-42)

John the Baptist appears as a mere servant pointing to a greater one to come. Seeing the Holy Spirit descend upon his cousin Jesus, John identifies him as both the Son and Lamb of God. Two of John’s disciples follow Jesus and then recruit Peter, or “the Rock”.


  • Grace is characteristic of the manifestation of the Lord
  • God uses those he has lifted up for his greater glory
  • The ones God has saved are set upon the surest of foundations
  • We cannot be silent about what God has done for us
  • When God’s people wholeheartedly proclaim God’s blessings, the whole world will be drawn to him

Baptism of the Lord, Year A, January 12, 2020

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.


Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 42:1-9)

The Lord will send his chosen servant to bring about universal justice. Unnoticed, a new era will dawn as he opens blind eyes and sets captives free. A covenant will be made in him, the light of the nations. All glory to the Lord who has declared it so.

Psalm (29)

The Psalmist calls all heavenly beings to worship the Lord for his glory and strength, as seen in his voice shaking the very earth itself. All in his temple cry “Glory!” to the eternal king who sits above the flood. May he bless his people with strength and peace.

Second Reading (Acts 10:34-43)

Peter, his own eyes now opened, tells Gentiles associated with Cornelius that Jesus is Lord of all. While he began his mission among the Jews after John’s baptism, his resurrection shows he is Judge of all humanity and forgives anyone who believes in him.

Gospel (Matthew 3:13-17)

John the Baptist defers to Jesus as his superior, but Jesus insists on undergoing baptism to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus’ baptism culminates with his being anointed with the divine Spirit and the voice of God proclaiming him as his beloved Son.


  • Jesus assumes God’s role as Judge and Redeemer
  • All that came before Jesus witnesses to him
  • Jesus’ appearance marks the beginning of the time of God’s final Salvation
  • Jesus’ baptism moves the divine plan from the old covenant to the new
  • The person of John the Baptist is important but not as great as Jesus, to whom he bore witness
  • Jesus’ messianic ministry begins after his baptism by John
  • The combination of the humble and the majestic in the life of Jesus