Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, August 5, 2018, Proper 13, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a)

The pregnant Bathsheba becomes David’s wife and gives birth to their son. Nathan tells David a parable of a rich man who stole a poor man’s lamb. Through it David is able to admit his sin in taking both Uriah’s wife and his life. He and his house will pay dearly.

Psalm (51:1-12)

The Psalmist admits both his inborn sinfulness and the sinful acts he has committed. He pleads that the Lord will have mercy upon him and grant him forgiveness and a clean heart. He begs for a new spirit within and a place in the presence of the Lord.

Second Reading (Ephesians 4:1-16)

St. Paul sets out the need for unity in the church, a unity requiring humility, gentleness and patience. To be fully formed in Christ, members of his body need to exercise their gifts of ministry to build the whole body into maturity of faith and knowledge.

Gospel (John 6:24-35)

Jesus sees that the crowd has come to him for earthly food, not for who he is. He uses the opportunity to portray himself as the true bread from heaven providing eternal life. Eager to hear more, he tells them that believers in him will never hunger or thirst.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Seeking to provide for the earthly appetites while ignoring spiritual ones leads to trouble
  • Humility is needed in order to recognize our true condition and need
  • Life in Christ is not a smooth and easy road and requires the help of our fellow travellers
  • The need for inner transformation as followers of Jesus

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15)

Not long out of Egypt, the Israelites complain to Moses and Aaron that they had been led out a land of plenty only to die of hunger in the wilderness. The Lord appears before them and provides manna and quail to meet their need and know that he is God.

Psalm (78:23-29)

The Psalmist celebrates the wilderness experience of Israel, when God miraculously and abundantly provided for the needs of his people. The bread of angels rained down upon them in the form of manna, and flesh in the form of quail.

Second Reading (Ephesians 4:1-16)

St. Paul sets out the need for unity in the church, a unity requiring humility, gentleness and patience. To be fully formed in Christ, members of his body need to exercise their gifts of ministry to build the whole body into maturity of faith and knowledge.

Gospel (John 6:24-35)

Jesus sees that the crowd has come to him for earthly food, not for who he is. He uses the opportunity to portray himself as the true bread from heaven providing eternal life. Eager to hear more, he tells them that believers in him will never hunger or thirst.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Seeking to provide for the earthly appetites while ignoring spiritual ones leads to trouble
  • Life in Christ is not a smooth and easy road and requires the help of our fellow travellers
  • Jesus provides for every need, earthly and heavenly
  • The people of God do not lack provision even though they may not see it because they are looking in the wrong direction

 

 

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, August 20, 2017, Proper 15, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Genesis 45:1-15)

Years after selling Joseph into slavery in Egypt, his brothers do not recognize him as the Egyptian government official in a position to save them in a time of famine. When he reveals himself to them they are filled with fear, but he reassures them, stating that it was God who sent him on ahead in order to preserve their whole family. They wept and talked together in a moving scene of reconciliation.

Psalm (133)

The Psalmist describes the blessing of family unity using two metaphors of excess: the anointing oil that had overflowed Aaron in connection with his consecration as high priest and the drenching dew on the mountains of Israel. In all of this benevolence can be glimpsed a picture of the rich blessing of Yahweh, life forever more.

Second Reading (Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32)

Paul reassures his readers that what he has been saying in no way implies God’s rejection of the Jewish people. It is true that their general negative response to the Gospel has opened the door for Gentiles but it must be remembered that both divisions of the human family have been disobedient but both have also been shown mercy.

Gospel (Matthew 15:[10-20], 21-28)

Concerning the distinctive Jewish food laws, Jesus emphasizes that true defilement originates in the sinful heart rather than from food taken into the mouth. Then he moves into Gentile territory where a local woman calls out to him to have mercy on her demon-possessed daughter. At first Jesus declines because, as he tells the disciples, he has been sent only to the Jewish people. But when he perceives her persistent faith he puts all that aside and heals her daughter.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• The blessing of family unity (including the human family)
• God’s providential care for his people
• The equality of Jew and Gentile in the kingdom of God
• Mercy (Grace) trumps disobedience
• The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart

Based on the Alternative Set of Readings

First Reading (Isaiah 56:1, 6-8)

The prophet Isaiah envisions Yahweh’s coming salvation as clearly including Gentiles as well as Israelites. Foreigners will come to worship on Mount Zion and the Temple will be known as a house of prayer for all nations. All those now considered outcasts, both Jew and Gentile, will be gathered together by Yahweh.

Psalm (67)

The Psalmist suggests that the abundant blessings of God upon Israel will lead to him being known throughout the nations and praise erupting from every corner. All the peoples will honour his name when they see the amazing harvests in Israel.

Second Reading (Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32)

Paul reassures his readers that what he has been saying in no way implies God’s rejection of the Jewish people. It is true that their general negative response to the Gospel has opened the door for Gentiles but it must be remembered that both divisions of the human family have been disobedient but both have also been shown mercy.

Gospel (Matthew 15:[10-20], 21-28)

Concerning the distinctive Jewish food laws, Jesus emphasizes that true defilement originates in the sinful heart rather than from food taken into the mouth. Then he moves into Gentile territory where a local woman calls out to him to have mercy on her demon-possessed daughter. At first Jesus declines because, as he tells the disciples, he has been sent only to the Jewish people. But when he perceives her persistent faith he puts all that aside and heals her daughter.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• The inclusion of the Gentiles in the plan of God
• The equality of Jew and Gentile in the kingdom of God
• Mercy (Grace) trumps disobedience
• The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart