Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 22, 2019, Year A

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Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 7:10-16)

Challenged by two attacking armies, King Ahaz hesitates to ask the Lord for a sign confirming Isaiah’s prophecy of victory. The Lord provides a sign anyway: soon after a young woman bears a special son named “Emmanuel”, Judah will be delivered.

Psalm (80:1-7, 17-19)

The Psalm is a plea to the Shepherd of Israel to put aside his anger with his sheep and restore them. The Psalmist asks that God’s right-hand man lead them to salvation and faithfulness. They will come back to life as the face of the Lord shines upon them.

Second Reading (Romans 1:1-7)

Paul reminds the Romans of his call to be an apostle to Gentiles such as them. While the Gospel was promised in the Jewish prophecies about their Messiah, grace has now been extended to all. Jesus’ resurrection has declared him Son of God and universal Lord.

Gospel (Matthew 1:18-25)

Joseph is directed by an angel to go through with his engagement to Mary because she is with child through the Holy Spirit. Her son is to be named Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins and, we are told, this is the fulfillment of the Emmanuel promise.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God of salvation is with us
  • Israel’s expectations of restoration looked to God to provide a saviour from amongst them
  • God’s own Son bears the promise and reality of resurrection
  • God’s salvation often arrives in an unexpected manner and usually exceeds all expectation

Third Sunday of Advent, December 15, 2019, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 35:1-10)

The prophet Isaiah foresees a new era when the Lord gloriously bursts into creation and rescues Israel. The parched land will blossom while the blind will see, the lame will walk and the deaf will hear. The Lord will provide a highway to Zion’s everlasting joy for those he ransomed.

Psalm (146:5-10)

The Psalmist declares happy all those whose hope is in the Lord because he will keep faith forever. He is the almighty creator and the one who lifts up all who are oppressed and brings down all who are wicked. He will reign in Zion forever.

Second Reading (James 5:7-10)

James encourages those looking for the Lord to be as patient as a farmer waiting for his crops. He assures them that since it will not be long before the judge arrives to set things right, they should remain in unity with one another and endure their sufferings like the prophets of old.

Gospel (Matthew 11:2-11)

The imprisoned John the Baptist sends his disciples to Jesus in order to confirm that he is the one to come. Jesus simply refers to the remarkable things they see, including the healing of the blind, the lame, and the deaf. The least in the kingdom, he says, is greater than even John.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • One day God will set things right at last with the return of Christ
  • The way to exaltation is through humility
  • Our present perspective on things is extremely limited
  • Taking God at his word requires patience and humility in the face of our present experience
  • Eyes have not seen and ears have not heard what God has prepared for those who love him, but they will

 

Based on the Alternative “Psalm”

First Reading (Isaiah 35:1-10)

The prophet Isaiah foresees a new era when the Lord gloriously bursts into creation and rescues Israel. The parched land will blossom while the blind will see, the lame will walk and the deaf will hear. The Lord will provide a highway to Zion’s everlasting joy for those he ransomed.

Alternative “Psalm” (Luke 1:46b-55)

In Mary’s Song, the Virgin praises God for raising her to become the mother of the Lord. She proclaims this to be part of the divine pattern of lifting up the humble and humbling the proud, as was promised in the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants.

Second Reading (James 5:7-10)

James encourages those looking for the Lord to be as patient as a farmer waiting for his crops. He assures them that since it will not be long before the judge arrives to set things right, they should remain in unity with one another and endure their sufferings like the prophets of old.

Gospel (Matthew 11:2-11)

The imprisoned John the Baptist sends his disciples to Jesus in order to confirm that he is the one to come. Jesus simply refers to the remarkable things they see, including the healing of the blind, the lame, and the deaf. The least in the kingdom, he says, is greater than even John.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • One day God will set things right at last with the return of Christ
  • The way to exaltation is through humility
  • Our present perspective on things is extremely limited
  • Taking God at his word requires patience and humility in the face of our present experience
  • Eyes have not seen and ears have not heard what God has prepared for those who love him, but they will

Second Sunday of Advent, December 8, 2019, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

 

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 11:1-10)

Through Isaiah, the Lord announces that the line of King David’s father Jesse will be revived with the coming of a righteous and just ruler endowed with the Spirit of God. The nations will notice when the poor and meek thrive and even the brutality of nature is transformed.

Psalm (72:1-7, 18-19)

The Psalmist prays that his current king, or perhaps a future king, will be a righteous judge who delivers the poor and punishes the oppressor. Long may his reign of prosperity, righteousness, and peace, endure. The Lord, whose glory already fills the earth, will accomplish all of this.

Second Reading (Romans 15:4-13)

St. Paul urges the Romans to live in harmony, especially in giving glory to God. They should imitate Jesus, who has welcomed them, as Gentiles, into his kingdom. This was foreseen in the ancient promises of Scripture which looked to the line of Jesse for the hope of the nations.

Gospel (Matthew 3:1-12)

Matthew tells us that the appearance of John the Baptist is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s word regarding the forerunner of the Lord. John insists that what God demands is true repentance and warns that one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and the fire of judgment is coming.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Lord uses both establishment and outsider types to fulfill his plan
  • Jesus is the hope of the nations
  • The arrival of the Kingdom of God is good news and bad news because Jesus is both universal king and judge
  • Jesus is the expected Davidic king and judge
  • It is all according to Plan

First Sunday after Christmas, December 30, 2018, Year C

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Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (1 Samuel 2:18-20, 36)

Hannah made young Samuel a new sacred robe each year and brought it to him in Jerusalem when she and her husband went to the yearly sacrifice. Eli the priest would bless her and pray that she might have more children. Meanwhile, Samuel grew physically, socially and spiritually.

Psalm (148)

The Psalmist enthusiastically calls on all the elements of both heaven and earth to praise the Lord who has created them all, animate and inanimate together. Now he has raised up a horn for his faithful people, a mighty deliverer to save them at last.

Second Reading (Colossians 3:12-17)

Paul instructs the Christians at Colossae in how to live together harmoniously as God’s beloved and chosen people. Led by deep concern for others and shunning self-interest, they are to instruct and discipline one another in the word of Christ, always giving thanks to the Father.

Gospel (Luke 2:41-52)

Every year Jesus and his parents go to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. At age twelve he goes missing and they find him in the temple maturely engaging Israel’s teachers and claiming that it is his Father’s house. He returns with them where he grows physically, socially and spiritually.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Youth is not a barrier to being used by God
  • We should be open to instruction from one another in the Word of God
  • The Lord is in his house
  • The importance of a loving family life, natural and supernatural

Nativity of the Lord – Proper I, December 25, 2018, Year C

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Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Isaiah, writing at a dark point in Israel’s history, sets forth a bright vision of 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 passionate desire, it will come to pass.

Psalm (96)

The Psalmist calls the nations to abandon their idols and sing in worship to the Lord, as 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)

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

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

St. 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

 

 

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, 2018, Year C

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Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Micah 5:2-5a)

The prophet Micah declares that Israel’s ruler will come, as promised, from the smallest clan of Judah in the little town of Bethlehem. They will be bereft until a woman has given birth to a son and his people return. He shall shepherd them securely in the peace and strength of the Lord.

Psalm/Canticle ([Magnificat] Luke 1:46b-55)

Mary praises God for raising her from obscurity to become the mother of the Lord. She sees this as part of God’s pattern of lifting up the lowly and needy and putting down the proud and rich. This is a pattern rooted in the covenant promise made to Abraham and his descendants.

Second Reading (Hebrews 10:5-10)

The coming of Christ means the end to the old sacrifices and offerings as his body is offered once for all instead. Those sacrifices and offerings under the law were unable to please God and it was his will to send Christ into the world that through his body we might be truly sanctified.

Gospel (Luke 1:39-45)

After Gabriel’s visit, Mary hurries to her cousin Elizabeth who is indeed pregnant. Her child leaps for joy at Mary’s greeting and Elizabeth herself is filled with the Holy Spirit. She tells Mary that her baby is blessed, as is she, because she had believed the word of the Lord.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God has not lost sight of the humble and lowly
  • Mary, as a humble believer in God’s word, is lifted up
  • Part of God’s lifting up of the humble involves the sacrifice of his Son.
  • The promises of God are sure

OR

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Micah 5:2-5a)

The prophet Micah declares that Israel’s ruler will come, as promised, from the smallest clan of Judah in the little town of Bethlehem. They will be bereft until a woman has given birth to a son and his people return. He shall shepherd them securely in the peace and strength of the Lord.

Psalm (80:1-7)

The Psalmist, aware of Yahweh’s displeasure with his people, asks him three times to shine his face upon them that they might be saved. They have suffered greatly but Yahweh remains in their midst and will surely respond to their calls upon his name.

Second Reading (Hebrews 10:5-10)

The coming of Christ means the end to the old sacrifices and offerings as his body is offered once for all instead. Those sacrifices and offerings under the law were unable to please God and it was his will to send Christ into the world that through his body we might be truly sanctified.

Gospel (Luke 1:39-55)

After Gabriel’s visit, Mary hurries to her cousin Elizabeth who is indeed pregnant. Her child leaps in joy at Mary’s greeting and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. Mary praises God for lifting up lowly Israel, fulfilling the covenant made with Abraham and his descendants forever.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God has not lost sight of the humble and lowly
  • Mary, as a humble believer in God’s word, is lifted up
  • Part of God’s lifting up of the humble involves the sacrifice of his Son.
  • The promises of God are sure

 

Third Sunday of Advent, December 16, 2018, Year C

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Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Zephaniah 3:14-20)

The prophet Zephaniah calls upon Israel to rejoice because, in his vision, he sees the Lord turn away her enemies. Israel should not fear because her true King will arrive victoriously, bring the exiles home and change the people’s shame as outcasts into the praise of nations.

Psalm/Canticle (Isaiah 12:2-6)

The prophet Isaiah proclaims his trust in the Lord, who is his strength and salvation. And Israel will draw from this same well, giving thanks and praising the Lord among the nations for what he has done for them. Exult O royal Zion, for your Holy One is in your midst!

Second Reading (Philippians 4:4-7)

Paul encourages the Philippians to be always rejoicing in the Lord. They should be known for their gentleness, knowing the Lord is near. Looking to him in prayer, they will know the deep peace of having their hearts and minds protected by presence of Christ.

Gospel (Luke 3:7-18)

John has distain for those who are coming to him for baptism but who fail to exhibit true repentance in their lives by changing their behaviour. Merely being Jews is not enough to escape the coming judgment. He points to a greater one coming to baptize with the Holy Spirit.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The coming of the Lord is both judgment and salvation
  • Greater things are coming
  • Preparing for Jesus involves trust and righteous living, the keys to true peace
  • Knowing the Lord is coming should affect the way we live

 

Second Sunday of Advent, December 9, 2018, Year C

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Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Malachi 3:1-4)

The prophet Malachi speaks of a time when temple worship is corrupt, but the Lord takes action, sending a messenger of the covenant before him. The messenger will act like a purifying and refining fire, reforming the priesthood and restoring righteous worship to the temple.

Psalm/Canticle (The Song of Zechariah-Luke 1:68-79)

Upon the miraculous birth of his son John, Zechariah prophesies by the Spirit that the Lord is about to fulfill the ancient promise of salvation through the line of David. John’s role is to prepare Messiah’s way as the time of salvation dawns, banishing darkness and bringing peace.

Second Reading (Philippians 1:3-11)

Paul continues to pray for his converts in Philippi, confident that God will continue his good work in and through them. He longs to see them filled with knowledge, producing a crop of righteousness through Christ, ready for the Day of his return. All this will be to God’s glory.

Gospel (Luke 3:1-6)

John the son of Zechariah appears in the wilderness around the Jordan river and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He is fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy of one who will prepare the way for the salvation of the Lord that is coming in the sight of all humanity.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • John the Baptist
  • Preparing the way of the Lord
  • Salvation is of the Lord
  • Righteousness as preparation for the coming of the Lord

 

First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018, Year C

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Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Jeremiah 33:14-16)

In the last days of Judah, just before the nation went into exile and the line of David removed from the throne, the prophet Jeremiah has a startling word from the Lord. He says that a Day is coming when Judah and Israel will be restored under a righteous Davidic king ruling in justice.

Psalm (25:1-10)

The Psalmist turns to the Lord for protection asking for knowledge of his ways and to be led in his truth. He acknowledges his sin and makes his appeal based only on God’s mercy and love. He is the one who leads humble sinners in his blessed ways as they keep faith with him.

Second Reading (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13)

St. Paul is excited about the possibility of seeing the Thessalonians and asks the Lord to guide his way. He asks for their love for all to increase just as his has for them. And so that they might be blameless when Jesus comes, he prays that their hearts may be strengthened in holiness.

Gospel (Luke 21:25-36)

Jesus talks of fearful signs in the heavens and on the earth before the Son of Man comes in great glory. These things will indicate that the kingdom of God is near. He gives his word on it, urging us to live accordingly and to pray for strength both to escape and to stand before him.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Day of the Lord marks both an end and a beginning
  • The anticipation of the return of Christ should positively affect the way we live
  • Jesus will be coming as Judge of all the earth
  • Jesus is the expected Davidic king
  • God will make a way where none seems possible

 

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 24, 2017, Year B

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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 Yahweh. Instead, Yahweh 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 thing happening to many others as God acts to honor his age-old promise to Abraham’s descendants.

OR

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26

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

Second Reading (Romans 16:25-27)

In closing his letter to the Romans St. Paul commends them to God. Paul reminds them again of his role in revealing the mystery that Gentiles are as eligible as Jews to be included in 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 named Jesus who will occupy the throne of David forever and even be called the Son of God. She is assured that this birth will be a work of God’s Spirit, transforming her questioning confusion into 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 history to his purpose
  • The two advents of our Lord