Third Sunday after the Epiphany, January 24, 2021

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Jonah 3:1-5, 10)

The Lord comes to Jonah again, sending him to the great foreign city of Nineveh to warn its inhabitants of impending judgment. He does so and they sincerely repent, causing God to spare them.

Psalm (62:5-12)

The Psalmist puts his hope in God alone, the rock upon whom he rests for salvation and refuge. Other humans are of no help and riches, ill-gotten or not, provide false confidence. Only God has the power to make things right.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Because God’s future is fast arriving, says St. Paul to the Christians at Corinth, they should live accordingly. All their normal relationships, losses, successes, all their buying and selling, should not distract them from the urgency of the times.

Gospel (Mark 1:14-20)

Jesus begins his public ministry with the announcement that the long-awaited time has arrived, issuing a call to repent and believe the good news that the kingdom of God is near. Simon, James and John respond immediately to his invitation to follow him.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• The call to repentance is an expression of God’s mercy entrusted to his servants
• The call to follow Jesus interrupts our patterns of living
• The urgency of the Gospel resets our priorities
• There is nothing more important than being in relationship with God and in tune with his activity

 

 

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, January 17, 2021

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (1 Samuel 3:1-10, [11-20])

Toward the end of the rule of the judges, the word of the Lord unexpectedly comes to the boy Samuel who was serving under Eli the priest. It is a challenging message for the budding prophet as it concerns the Lord’s coming punishment upon Eli and his sons.

Psalm (139:1-6, 13-18)

The Psalmist celebrates the fact that the Lord not only knows him inside out, but also wondrously formed him in his mother’s womb knowing what plans he had for him. Such a God far exceeds the Psalmist’s ability to fully comprehend.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

In stressing the freedom of Christians, Paul takes care to point out that not all things are beneficial. He is especially concerned about sexual sins because they violate the body, which is made for the Lord, for his glory, and is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel (John 1:43-51)

After responding to Jesus’ call, Philip tells Nathaniel that he has found the Expected One. After Jesus shows that he had intimate prior knowledge of him he believes and is told that he will come to understand more about the true identity of the Son of Man.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• The call of God
• God makes himself known (reveals himself)
• We are personally known and cared for by the Lord
• The Lord orders our life for his purposes
• Bodily existence is spiritually significant

The Epiphany, January 6, 2021

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 60:1-6)

Isaiah informs Israel that, while things are indeed dark at present, the glory of the Lord will one day shine upon them. Indeed, the nations will be attracted and bring gifts, including gold and frankincense, to a joyfully reunited and thriving nation.

Psalm (72:1-7, 10-14)

The Psalm is a prayer for the king, that he may rule in justice and righteousness, defending the poor and crushing the oppressor. May the kings of the nations bring him tribute and gifts, bowing down and serving him. May he live forever!

Second Reading (Ephesians 3:1-12)

St. Paul speaks of the mystery, now revealed especially in his own apostleship, of how Gentiles are to be included in the people of God. This was always God’s purpose in sending Jesus, to whom anyone at all can come simply by faith.

Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12)

Scholars from the East tell King Herod of another king whose birth was marked by a star. Following it to Bethlehem, they find and worship the child, giving him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Warned in a dream, they avoid a jealous Herod and start home.

 

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The nations come to the King bearing gifts (no nation left behind)
  • The inclusion of the Gentiles in the plan of God
  • The time of fulfillment is breaking upon us with the birth of Jesus
  • The sheer enormity of the Christ-event
  • Gifts for a King?

Baptism of the Lord (First Sunday after Epiphany), January 10, 2021

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Genesis 1:1-5)

In the beginning, God commands light to burst upon the formless earth and the dark waters of the deep where God’s wind was moving. He declares the light good and names it “day” and the darkness “light”, evening and morning forming the first day.

Psalm (29)

The Psalmist calls all heavenly beings to worship Yahweh for his glory and strength, seen in his voice shaking the earth. 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 19:1-7)

When Paul first arrives at Ephesus, he encounters a group of disciples who have been baptized into John’s baptism. He explains that John encouraged faith in Jesus and when they were baptized in Jesus’ name, they received the Holy Spirit.

Gospel (Mark 1:4-11)

John appears in the wilderness baptizing throngs for the forgiveness of sins. He points to another who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. When he baptizes Jesus, the Holy Spirit descends and a heavenly voice declares him “my Son with whom I am well-pleased.”

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• The Holy Spirit as creator
• Water and the Holy Spirit
• The awesome creative power of God
• God speaks and things happen
• Jesus is the one, and no other

 

Second Sunday after Christmas Day, January 3, 2021

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Jeremiah 31:7-14)

Jeremiah calls the remnant of Israel to celebrate the fact that the Lord will ransom and redeem them from their disastrous exile. The nations will see him gather his sheep and restore them to the Land, numerous, healthy and prosperous, under his fatherly care.

Psalm (147:12-20)

The Psalmist exhorts Israel to praise the Lord who gives them both protection and peace. Through his commanding word all of nature provides for their needs. The divine word is also expressed in his beneficial laws given uniquely to them, of all the nations.

Second Reading (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Paul joyfully recites the many blessings we have as people who have been made partakers in what Christ has done. We share in God’s glorious future: blameless, chosen, adopted, redeemed and forgiven. The Spirit within is our guarantee that of all of this is true.

 Gospel (John 1:1-18)

John tells us that with the Word of creation taking on flesh, God himself has come among us as light and life, as grace and truth. John the Baptist serves as witness but not all to whom the Word is sent receive him. Believers, conversely, are born of God and made his children.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• Celebrate: God has done so much for us
• God is with us in so many ways
• We owe everything to the Word of God
• Jesus is the final and ultimate Word of God
• God’s word accomplishes God’s purposes

 

 

The First Sunday after Christmas Day, December 27, 2020

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 61:10-62:3)

Isaiah is caught up in rejoicing over the vindication of Israel that is surely coming. She will appear gloriously clothed in righteousness and salvation, with a new name, and as a royal crown in the hand of the Lord. All the nations will see it.

Psalm (148)

The Psalmist calls upon all that composes heaven and earth, animate and inanimate, to worship the Lord in a crescendo of praise. His glory is unsurpassed, and he is raising up a mighty leader for his people.

Second Reading (Galatians 4:4-7)

Paul celebrates the fact that when the right time God sent his Son to be born under the Law in order that Gentiles might be adopted as God’s children. Recipients of the Spirit of the Son, they enjoy an intimate relationship with the Father, no longer slaves but heirs.

Gospel (Luke 2:22-40)

Simeon, a faithful Jew, recognizes the infant Jesus as Messiah and predicts that the child will be a light to the Gentiles while bringing glory to Israel and disturbing many. The prophet Anna then sees Jesus and speaks of him to those looking for God’s redemption.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• Great things of God are about to happen
• The Lord is the universal God
• Gentiles are included in the salvation brought by Christ
• Rejoice!
• The Christ-event fulfills the greatest expectations of Israel
• The Christ-event divides history into before and after

 

Christmas, December 24/25, 2020 – Propers I, II, and III

N.B. Years A, B, and C all use the same three sets of Readings. Propers II and III are alternatives to Proper I.

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Proper I

Full lections can be read here.

First Reading (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Isaiah, writing at a dark point in Israel’s history, sets forth a bright vision of a miraculous reversal of fortunes. A son born in David’s line will rule wisely over a kingdom of peace, justice and righteousness forever. As the Lord’s strong intention, it will all come to pass.

Psalm (96)

The Psalmist calls the nations to abandon their idols and sing in worship to the living God, Creator of all. He is coming to judge the peoples fairly and he is bringing salvation with him. As a result, even nature will join in a universal outpouring of praise.

Second Reading (Titus 2:11-14)

Paul declares that, through the death of Jesus Christ, God’s grace that is bringing salvation to all has come into a rebellious world. This same grace prepares us to live as godly inhabitants of that world as we await his final appearing at the end of the age.

Gospel (Luke 2:1-14 [15-20])

Luke tells how Jesus was born in the line and city of David to the praise of angels. They appear to a band of humble shepherds in glorious light, directing them to a simple manger. There they encounter the tiny Messiah whose coming had so stirred the angels.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• The arrival of God’s salvation
• Hoping in God’s salvation
• The universal and enduring significance of the birth of Jesus
• Nothing can frustrate the plan of God
• The Light shines in the darkness
• The grace of God is evident in his salvation

Proper II

Full lections can be read here.

First Reading (Isaiah 62:6-12)

Jerusalem will enjoy a reversal of its low estate when the Lord’s salvation comes. Her inhabitants, enabled to enjoy the fruits of their labour, will be known throughout the earth as a holy people, redeemed by the Lord, and living in a city no longer forsaken.

Psalm (97)

The Psalmist celebrates the fact that the Lord is king over the whole earth and calls all people to joyful thanksgiving. The nations behold his superior power and majesty over all other pretenders. His light dawns over the righteous, rescuing them from the wicked.

Second Reading (Titus 3:4-7)

The goodness and love of God has appeared and has saved us through the waters of rebirth and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It was through his mercy and not our own efforts that this occurred, making us heirs of eternal life through grace alone.

Gospel (Luke 2: [1-7], 8-20)

Luke tells how Jesus is born in the line and city of David to the praise of angels. They appear to a band of humble shepherds in glorious light, directing them to a simple manger. There they encounter the tiny Messiah whose coming had so stirred the angels.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• The arrival of God’s salvation
• Hoping in God’s salvation
• The universal and enduring significance of the birth of Jesus
• The Light shines in the darkness
• God lifts up the fallen who cannot save themselves
• The grace of God is evident in his salvation

Proper III

Full lections can be read here.

First Reading (Isaiah 52:7-10)

Jerusalem’s watchmen, seeing the Lord return with salvation for the ruined city, are exhorted to call her to joyful celebration. All nations will observe her people both comforted and redeemed as the Lord acts in sovereign power.

Psalm (98)

All nature is called to loudly celebrate the coming victory of the Lord on behalf of Israel. Every nation will observe the powerful vindication of his people, aware that he will act fairly and rightly as universal judge.

Second Reading (Hebrews 1:1-4, [5-12])

The author celebrates the fact that God has spoken through his Son, who, reflecting him perfectly, is both creator and heir of all things. Much superior to the worshipping angels at his birth, he has made purification for our sins and his kingdom is never ending.

Gospel (John 1:1-14)

John tells us that with the Word of creation taking on flesh, God himself has come among us as light and life. John the Baptist serves as witness but not all to whom the Word is sent receive him. Believers, conversely, are born of God and made his children.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• Creation, all over again/All things made new
• Announcing/giving witness to the Word
• The difference made by God’s arrival: it’s like night and day
• Celebrating new birth
• The universal significance of the coming of God’s salvation
• The nations will be aware of the coming of God’s salvation

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20, 2020

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16)

Having established his kingdom, David presumes that it would now be a good time to build a house for the Lord. Instead, the latter proposes to build a house for David, a line of descendants on the throne of Israel forever, ruling over a kingdom of lasting peace.

Psalm (Luke 1:46b-55)

In response to Elizabeth’s exuberant blessing of her and her unborn child, Mary praises God for exalting her so highly. She sees the same pattern in what happened to many in Israel’s past when God acted to honour his ancient promise to Abraham’s descendants.

OR

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26

After extolling the unending nature of the Lord’s love, the Psalmist celebrates the covenant made with David. Exalted to the throne of Israel and, calling the Lord “Father”, David was promised for sure that his descendants would rule forever.

Second Reading (Romans 16:25-27)

In closing his letter to the Romans Paul commends them to God. He reminds them again of his own role in revealing the mystery that Gentiles are as eligible as Jews to be part of God’s people. This exalted standing is based on the teaching of Jesus and the prophets.

Gospel (Luke 1:26-38)

Gabriel tells the virgin Mary that she will bear a son to be named Jesus who will occupy the throne of David forever and even be called the Son of God. Assured that this birth will be a work of God’s Spirit, her questioning confusion becomes humble acceptance.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• God is in the business of exalting the humble
• The fulfillment of prophecy in the coming of Jesus
• The unexpected nature of the Christ-event
• God directs all history to his purpose
• The two advents of our Lord
• God always honours his promises, in his own way, and in his own time

 

 

Third Sunday of Advent, December 13, 2020

Please see Using Lection Connection.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11)

Isaiah is anointed by Spirit of the Lord to announce the good news to Israel that all their calamities will be reversed. As the Lord clothes them with salvation and righteousness, as his blessed people they will display his glory before the nations.

Psalm (126)

Reflecting on those blessed occasions when Yahweh had restored Israel’s fortunes in the past, the Psalmist calls upon him once again to act in like manner. Although his people have sown with tears he is confident that they shall reap in joy under the Lord’s hand.

OR

Luke 1:47-55

In response to Elizabeth’s exuberant blessing of her and her unborn child, Mary praises God for exalting her so highly. She sees the same thing happening to many others as God acts to honor his age-old promise to Abraham’s descendants.

Second Reading (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24)

Paul sets out how to live in order to be ready for the coming of Jesus. Live a sound and blameless life, open to the Spirit and the prophets, rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks in all circumstances.

Gospel (John 1:6-8, 19-28)

John the Baptist appears in the wilderness as a witness to the coming light. In response to Jewish religious authorities John denies being the Messiah or even a prophet. Rather his baptism is but preparation for a much greater individual, shortly to make his arrival.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• God raises up the humble and oppressed
• Preparing for the arrival of the Lord
• The need for good news
• Confidence in God’s arrival, born of his past interventions, transforms the waiting time
• God’s people will endure suffering and trouble but are assured of ultimate relief in God’s time
• The joy of participating in the mission of God

 

 

 

Second Sunday of Advent, December 6, 2020

Please see Using Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 40:1-11)

The Lord has Isaiah comfort his people with the good news that the time of waiting is over and he is coming in great power to set things right. A voice in the wilderness will call for preparation. Unlike humans, both the Lord and his word are utterly dependable.

Psalm (85:1-2, 8-13)

Based on the Lord’s faithfulness in the past, the Psalmist is confident of the imminent arrival of his salvation, with his glory filling the restored land. Righteousness will go before him, preparing the way for an overflowing of love, peace and faithfulness.

Second Reading (2 Peter 3:8-15a)

Peter asserts that God is not bound by our concept of time. The Day of the Lord will surely come, dramatically and without warning, and usher in a whole new cosmos. Delay allows time for repentance and opportunity for holy living, hastening the Day.

Gospel (Mark 1:1-8)

John the Baptist appears in the wilderness, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy regarding events preceding the arrival of the Lord. John preaches a baptism of repentance, announcing the coming of one greater than him who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• Preparing the way of the Lord
• The coming of the Lord
• God and time
• The purpose of God’s delay
• Voices in the wilderness
• Good News and Bad News