Day of Pentecost, May 20, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 2:1-21)

On the Day of Pentecost Jesus’ followers are filled with the Holy Spirit as he promised. Their room is overwhelmed by wind and fire and they begin to proclaim God’s power in languages understood by astonished foreign pilgrims. Peter explains this as the arrival of the age to come.

Psalm (104:24-34, 35b)

The Psalm celebrates the wisdom of YAHWEH in the creation and sustaining of all things, both animate and inanimate. He accomplishes this by means of his Spirit and the Psalmist responds with heartfelt praise.

Second Reading (Romans 8:22-27)

Paul depicts the whole creation, including Christians who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groaning in expectant anticipation of adoption and redemption. This requires patient hope for what is not yet seen, aided by the same Spirit who sympathetically intercedes with the Father.

Gospel (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)

Jesus promises the Spirit to his disciples as he prepares to go to his Father. In his absence the Spirit, also from the Father, will testify on his behalf. The Spirit will glorify Jesus, showing how he alone is the key to dealing with sin, effecting righteousness and executing judgment.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Holy Spirit is “the God who creates”
  • The coming of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of a (new) creation
  • The Holy Spirit is given in order to enable the Church’s witness to the Christ-event
  • The Holy Spirit is Christ-with-us
  • The Holy Spirit continues the mission of the ascended Jesus

 Based on the Alternate Readings

 First Reading (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

YAHWEH assures the defeated and exiled Jewish people that he will restore them fully to their Land, using the image of a valley full of scattered bones that come back to life. He has Ezekiel prophesy over the bones to begin the process, showing that it will be done by the Spirit.

Psalm (104:24-34, 35b)

The Psalm celebrates the wisdom of Yahweh in the creation and sustaining of all things, both animate and inanimate. He accomplishes this by means of his Spirit and the Psalmist responds with heartfelt praise.

 Second Reading (Acts 2:1-21)

On the Day of Pentecost Jesus’ followers are filled with the Holy Spirit as he promised. Their room is overwhelmed by wind and fire and they begin to proclaim God’s power in languages understood by astonished foreign pilgrims. Peter explains this as the arrival of the age to come.

Gospel (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)

Jesus promises the Spirit to his disciples as he prepares to go to his Father. In his absence the Spirit, also from the Father, will testify on his behalf. The Spirit will glorify him, showing how he alone is the key to dealing with sin, effecting righteousness and executing judgment.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Holy Spirit is “the God who creates”
  • The coming of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning of a (new) creation
  • The Holy Spirit is given in order to enable the Church’s witness to the Christ-event
  • The Holy Spirit continues the mission of the ascended Jesus

 

 

 

Ascension Day, May 10, 2018, Year B (Or observed Sunday, May 13, 2018)

If you are not using the Ascension Day lections on Sunday May 13, 2018, please see Lection Connection for the Seventh Sunday in Easter.

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 1:1-11)

After his resurrection Jesus teaches his disciples about the kingdom of God for forty days. As he tells them to wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit to enable them to be witnesses even to the ends of the earth, he is lifted up into a cloud with a promise that he will return in the same way.

Psalm (47)

All peoples are urged to sing praises to YAHWEH who is king over all the earth. Indeed, the princes of the peoples are to gather as the children of Abraham.

Alternate Psalm (93)

YAHWEH is the everlasting king of creation, his creation. He is far more majestic than even the awesome thunder of the heavens or the crashing waves of the sea. His laws are sure and his house is holy.

Second Reading (Ephesians 1:15-23)

Having heard of the faith and love of the Ephesians, Paul gives thanks and prays that they will know the rich hope to which they are called. God will do this, whose power raised Jesus from the dead and seated him on high over all other authorities as the head of the church, his body.

Gospel (Luke 24:44-53)

In his last resurrection appearance Jesus shows his disciples how the Scriptures predicted his suffering and rising. Witnesses to this, they are to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in his name even to the ends of the earth. With that he blesses them and ascends into heaven.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The ascension of Jesus to the Father marks the end of his earthly ministry
  • The ascension of Jesus reveals his true position as the authoritative Son of God, sharing in the divine majesty
  • Jesus’ followers are to carry the gospel of the kingdom to all the earth and all its inhabitants
  • Jesus is both the focus of Scripture and the key to its interpretation

Seventh Sunday in Easter, May 13, 2018, Year B

Here are the lections for Ascension Day if being used for Sunday, May 13, 2018

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 1:15-17, 21-26)

Luke relates how, following the ascension of Jesus, the early Christian community chose Matthias to replace Judas in the band of apostles. By betraying Jesus, Judas had turned aside to his own way.

Psalm (1)

As the first entry in the Psalter, this Psalm appropriately sets before the reader the two ways of living: God’s or that of the wicked. God’s way results in fruitfulness and stability while the wicked are like useless chaff that is blown away in the wind.

Second Reading (1 John 5:9-13)

John tells us that believers, in coming to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, have responded to the testimony of God himself in their hearts. Only those who have the Son have eternal life and John has written to assure his readers that this is true of them.

Gospel (John 17:6-19)

Praying for his disciples, Jesus affirms the mutuality of relationship between them, his Father and himself. All he has given them was from the Father and they belong to both him and the Father. He asks for their safety as he sends them out into a wicked world.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The way of God stands in contrast to the way of the world (our own way)
  • The way of God leads to eternal benefits, while a wicked life leads to ruin
  • Jesus’ ministry does not end with his ascension but continues in those who are committed to follow him
  • Both God and Jesus identify with those who accept the testimony of the Father that Jesus is indeed his Son

Sixth Sunday in Easter, May 6, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 10:44-48)

To the astonishment of the Christian Jews who accompanied Peter to the house of Cornelius, the Holy Spirit immediately came upon all the Gentiles who were there listening. Accordingly, no one denied them baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

Psalm (98)

The Psalmist calls for a new song of praise to YAHWEH because of his marvelous victory, Israel’s vindication before all the earth. Even nature is called upon to join in the celebration. YAHWEH will judge the entire world and its peoples with perfect equity.

Second Reading (1 John 5:1-6)

John relates how those who believe in Jesus Christ are born of God and become his children, willingly obeying his commandments. In so doing, through their faith they participate in the victory of God over the world. The Spirit, who is truth, testifies to this.

Gospel (John 15:9-17)

Jesus declares that his love for us is grounded in the Father’s love for him and we remain in his love by keeping his commandments, especially by loving one another. He calls us his chosen “friends” in the know who bear fruit, not mere “servants”.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• God and his salvation are universal
• Love for God leads to obeying his commandments
• Through Jesus Christ, God has created a new relationship with his people
• All nations fall within the scope of God’s salvation.

Fifth Sunday in Easter, April 29, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 8:26-40)

After persecution scatters the early church, Philip encounters an Ethiopian traveller puzzling over a passage from Isaiah. It is about the crucifixion of Jesus, Philip explains, and shares the gospel more fully. The man is baptized and the Spirit carries Philip away.

Psalm (22:25-31)

Having expressed his terror at being in the hands of his enemies, the Psalmist now looks forward to YAHWEH’s deliverance. It will be so impressive that the whole world will turn to YAHWEH and even the dead will acknowledge him. It will be a story for the ages.

Second Reading (1 John 4:7-21)

John insists that Christian love for one another is non-negotiable: it arises out of God’s prior love for us, having sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for all sin. As we abide in him and he in us, God’s love is perfected in our mutual love and verified by the Spirit.

Gospel (John 15:1-8)

Jesus boldly claims that it is only through him that anyone can bear spiritual fruit. In the Father’s vineyard he is the true vine and we are the branches. We must remain in him or we will not be able to accomplish anything and our prayers will be fruitless.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Jesus is the only connection between God and humankind
  • Jesus’ death and resurrection connect the Old and New Testaments
  • The critical centrality of Jesus to the plan of God for our salvation, indeed, for our life as Christians
  • It’s all about Jesus
  • Stay connected to Jesus in order to stay connected to God

 

 

Fourth Sunday in Easter, April 22, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 4:5-12)

Peter and John are brought before the Jewish leaders and are questioned about their source of power to heal the lame man. Peter boldly tells them it was by the name of Jesus, whom they crucified but God raised up. Salvation can come by no other name.

Psalm (23)

The Psalmist sees YAHWEH as a good shepherd who looks after his flock, abundantly providing for them even in difficult circumstances. Goodness and mercy characterize a life lived in his fold.

Second Reading (1 John 3:16-24)

Genuine godly love for our needy fellow believers follows the example of Jesus who died for us. It is action that counts, not words. This demonstrates a relationship with Jesus that is confirmed by the Spirit. It is Jesus’ own commandment to love one another.

Gospel (John 10:11-18)

Jesus depicts himself as a committed shepherd who willingly dies for his sheep because he identifies so intimately with them, much as he does with his Father. Other sheep will also be gathered into the same fold to be under the same shepherd.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Jesus leads and provides for his followers
  • Following Jesus requires a serious commitment to sacrificial love
  • Identification with Jesus, taking his name, requires the putting aside of all other ultimate commitments
  • The death of Jesus did not end his presence among his followers
  • The self-giving love of God expressed in Jesus’ death and resurrection should be evident in the common life of the Christian community

 

 

 

 

Third Sunday in Easter, April 15, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 3:12-19)

To those who had seen Peter heal a lame man near the temple, he proclaims that it was due to faith in the risen Jesus, the same one they had rejected and killed. The prophets had predicted this but if they now repented and turned to God they would be forgiven.

Psalm (4)

The Psalmist appeals to God for help, the God who has heard and answered him before. He counsels patience and trust when YAHWEH is silent, remembering how he has always abundantly provided all things necessary in the past.

Second Reading (1 John 3:1-7)

By calling us his children God shows his love for us, even though we are not yet all we shall be when we are finally in his presence. This hope leads us to purify ourselves by doing right and abiding in the sinless one, who came to take away sin.

Gospel (Luke 24:36b-48)

Jesus appears to all of his disciples after walking with two on the road to Emmaus. He offers proof that he is not a ghost and shows them how the Messiah was to suffer and be raised. They are witnesses to these things, preaching repentance among the nations.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Jesus’ followers are to continue and expand his mission, preaching repentance and forgiveness in his name
  • Salvation and forgiveness from sin are based on the work of Christ on the Cross
  • Beyond the grave, Jesus is still present to the believer
  • The key to the interpretation of Scripture is Jesus Christ himself
  • The resurrection of Jesus is God’s ultimate answer to the prayer and patience of his people

 

Second Sunday in Easter, April 8, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 4:32-35)

God’s grace is powerfully upon the earliest group of believers as they share all things in common and sell their own possessions. The apostles oversee the distribution of the proceeds and deliver powerful witness to the resurrection of Jesus.

Psalm (133)

The Psalmist rhapsodizes over the rich experience of families living in harmony. He likens it to the copious anointing oil poured over Aaron, the brother of Moses and the first in the line of Israel’s priests. It is the blessing of life forevermore.

Second Reading (1 John 1:1-2:2)

John insists that his message is unchanged, based on a personal encounter with the risen Lord and for our mutual fellowship with both Son and Father. If we confess our sins we have pardon in Jesus, our atoning sacrifice and advocate with the Father.

Gospel (John 20:19-31)

On Easter evening Jesus appears to his disciples and breathes the Holy Spirit on them, sending them into the world to continue his mission. A week later, he convinces a doubting Thomas and blesses those who believe without actually seeing themselves.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • A natural part of the new Christian reality is life in harmonious community with fellow believers
  • Grace enables harmonious living within the community of believers
  • The resurrection of Jesus is attested by the personal witness of those who encountered him in risen form
  • The resurrection of Jesus brings new and abundant life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gospel (John 20:19-31)

In two post-resurrection appearances Jesus first bestows peace upon his disciples and then shows them his hands and his side.

 

 

Resurrection of the Lord (Easter), April 1, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection. If used as an introduction during worship, a suggested format can be found here.

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set and Alternates

First Reading (Acts 10: 34-43)

Peter tells the Roman Cornelius that God accepts all who fear him, regardless of nationality, and then informs him about Jesus. His death and resurrection reveal him as the universal Lord and judge of all, and everyone who believes in him receives salvation.

Alternate First Reading (Isaiah 25:6-9)

YAHWEH promises that he will provide a sumptuous feast for all peoples on Mt. Zion, destroying the shroud of death that threatens them now. He will wipe away all tears and remove the disgrace of Israel. Their long wait for his salvation will be over.

Psalm (118:1-2, 14-24)

The Psalmist has experienced YAHWEH’S punishment and then, in answer to prayer, a last minute rescue from death. The gates of righteousness are now thrown open and the rejected stone has now become the cornerstone. It is the day of YAHWEH’S salvation.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

St. Paul reminds his readers of the cornerstone of his preaching and their faith. Christ died for our sins, was buried and then raised, as Scripture predicts. He appeared to all the apostles, including Paul, the last and the least, as an example of pure grace.

Alternate Second Reading (Acts 10:34-43)

Peter tells the Roman Cornelius that God accepts all who fear him, regardless of nationality, and then informs him about Jesus. His death and resurrection reveal him as the universal Lord and judge of all, and everyone who believes in him receives salvation.

Gospel (John 20:1-18)

Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb and runs to tell Peter and another disciple. Both race to find only the burial garments inside. Mary alone encounters the risen Lord who wants her to tell the others that he will soon be ascending. She hurries to obey.

Alternate Gospel (Mark 16:1-8)

Mary Magdalene and two other women take burial spices to anoint Jesus but find his tomb unexpectedly open. Inside, they are alarmed by a man in white who assures them that Jesus is gone to Galilee and they are to tell the disciples. Thunderstruck, they fail to do so.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The unexpected grace of God crosses all kinds of barriers
  • The resurrection of Jesus has implications for all humanity as Lord of all
  • The resurrection of Jesus is a turning point in history itself
  • The resurrection of Jesus turns everything upside down.
  • The resurrection of Jesus opens the gate of life to all who would believe
  • The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of Christian faith