Second Sunday after Pentecost, June 3, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use 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 (2 Corinthians 4:5-12)

Paul emphasizes that any glory and power seen in his or our ministry is merely a reflection of Jesus within us. Even in our many shortcomings and sufferings we manage to reflect this inner treasure, showing him to be the source of life in us.

Gospel (Mark 2:23-3:6)

On a Sabbath, Jesus’ disciples harvest a bit of grain to eat while he heals a man’s hand. Watching Pharisees see this as breaking the law but, to their dismay, Jesus shows that the law as written was to be a benefit to us and then even claims superiority over it.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The Word of God often has a disturbing quality
  • God is interested in the heart, not in exterior matters
  • Humility is the best attitude to have toward God and his Word
  • God is pleased to use broken vessels to do his work

Based on the Alternative Readings

First Reading (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)

As they are about to enter the Promised Land, Moses reminds the Israelites of the law to not work on the Sabbath. It applies to their animals and slaves as well. For they too were slaves before the Lord set them free from their terrible labour and oppression.

Psalm 81:1-10

The Psalmist calls upon Israel to celebrate the Lord their God on their holy days because he freed them from terrible labour and oppression in Egypt. Now they should listen to him alone and have no other gods, for he will bless them with all they need.

Second Reading (2 Corinthians 4:5-12)

Paul emphasizes that any glory and power seen in his or our ministry is merely a reflection of that of Jesus within us. Even in our many shortcomings and sufferings we manage to reflect this inner treasure, thus proving that he, not ourselves, is responsible.

Gospel (Mark 2:23-3:6)

On a Sabbath Jesus’ disciples harvest a bit of grain to eat while he heals a man’s hand. Watching Pharisees regard all this as breaking the law but, to their anger, Jesus shows that the law as written was intended to be beneficial and then claims superiority over it.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Sabbath relief from labour is a reminder that we are no longer slaves
  • God’s laws are meant for our benefit, not as labourious demands
  • God is interested in the heart more than in exterior matters
  • The spirit of the law is as important, perhaps more important, than the letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Joel 2:1-2, 12-17)

Through the prophet Joel YAHWEH warns of an impending “Day of the Lord” and pleads with his people to return to him in sincerity of heart. He calls for a fast that goes beyond mere outward observance and relies instead on YAHWEH’s steadfast love and mercy.

Psalm (51:1-17)

The Psalmist, deeply aware of his own sinfulness, realizes that what he truly needs is a new spirit, a new heart. A merciful and loving YAHWEH grants these to those who sincerely and humbly offer him a broken and repentant spirit.

Second Reading (2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10)

St. Paul pleads with the Corinthians to get right with God through Christ who has taken our sin upon himself and shares with us the righteousness of God. This is the day of salvation for which the apostle has worked, suffered, and, paradoxically, been blessed.

Gospel (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21)

Jesus teaches that practicing our religion in order to impress others reveals only that the things of heaven are not of ultimate importance to us. Hearts truly oriented to God will be content to do these things in secret, knowing that his blessings await in due course.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The poverty of superficial religious observance
  • God looks upon the heart
  • The necessity of a changed heart in order to please God
  • Good deeds issue from good souls and not the other way round
  • The true fast is of the heart
  • A little humility goes a long way

Based on the Alternative First Reading

First Reading (Isaiah 58:1-12)

Isaiah voices YAHWEH’s displeasure with a people who seek to draw near to him through fasting while not observing his ways. A true fast, one that will ultimately lead to Israel’s restoration, is caring for those in need and bringing injustice to an end.

Psalm (51:1-17)

The Psalmist, deeply aware of his own sinfulness, realizes that what he truly needs is a new spirit, a new heart. A merciful and loving YAHWEH grants these to those who sincerely and humbly offer him a broken and repentant spirit.

Second Reading (2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10)

St. Paul pleads with the Corinthians to get right with God through Christ who has taken our sin upon himself and shares with us the righteousness of God. This is the day of salvation for which the apostle has worked, suffered, and, paradoxically, been blessed.

Gospel (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21)

Jesus teaches that practicing our religion in order to impress others reveals only that the things of heaven are not of ultimate importance to us. Hearts truly oriented to God will be content to do these things in secret, knowing that his blessings await in due course.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The poverty of superficial religious observance
  • God looks upon the heart
  • The necessity of a changed heart in order to please God
  • Good deeds issue from good souls and not the other way round
  • The true fast is of the heart
  • A little humility goes a long way

Readings for June 25,2017 Year A Third Sunday after Pentecost

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Genesis 21:8-21
  • Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17

OR

  • Jeremiah 20:7-13
  • Psalm 69:7-10 (11-15), 16-18

Second Reading

  • Romans 6:1b-11

Gospel

  • Matthew 10:24-39

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

After Isaac, the son of promise is born, his mother Sarah wants Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her son Ishmael, Isaac’s half-brother. Although reluctant to do so, Abraham complies after assurances from God that all would be well. Indeed, God immediately saves them from certain death after hearing their cries in the desert. In a time of great need the Psalmist pleads with Yahweh for deliverance, confident of the steadfast love of the one true God for all those who cry out to him. St. Paul points out the implications of being united with Christ through our baptism into his death and resurrection. Firstly we die with him, putting to death our old self and its orientation to sin. Secondly we are raised to new life with him, alive to God and enabled to walk in his ways. The impulse to sin should be abhorrent to those who truly seek to follow Jesus. Jesus warns of a future in which his followers would come under persecution after publically proclaiming everything he said. But do not fear, the Father has his eye on even the tiniest bird that falls and he will watch over them. The command to follow Jesus takes precedence even over family and it will take deep commitment to remain faithful. But even in death they will find new life.

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

First Reading

After Isaac, the son of promise is born, his mother Sarah wants Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her son Ishmael, Isaac’s half-brother. Although reluctant to do so, Abraham complies after assurances from God that all would be well. Indeed, God immediately saves them from certain death after hearing their cries in the desert.

Psalm

In a time of great need the Psalmist pleads with Yahweh for deliverance, confident of the steadfast love of the one true God for all those who cry out to him.

Second Reading

St. Paul points out the implications of being united with Christ through our baptism into his death and resurrection. Firstly we die with him, putting to death our old self and its orientation to sin. Secondly we are raised to new life with him, alive to God and enabled to walk in his ways. The impulse to sin should be abhorrent to those who truly seek to follow Jesus.

Gospel

Jesus warns of a future in which his followers would come under persecution after publically proclaiming everything he said. But do not fear, the Father has his eye on even the tiniest bird that falls and he will watch over them. The command to follow Jesus takes precedence even over family and it will take deep commitment to remain faithful. But even in death they will find new life.

Based on the Alternative Readings

Jeremiah complains to Yahweh because of the persecution he has suffered at the hands of his fellow Israelites for delivering an unwelcome message. He has had no choice because it is the word of the LORD and he has been compelled to proclaim it. In this he is aware that Yahweh is with him and will prevail. The Psalmist itemizes the negative things that have happened to him because of his faithfulness to Yahweh, including the estrangement of his family. At the same time he is prayerfully trusting in the steadfast love of the LORD for deliverance. St. Paul points out the implications of being united with Christ through our baptism into his death and resurrection. Firstly we die with him, putting to death our old self and its orientation to sin. Secondly we are raised to new life with him, alive to God and enabled to walk in his ways. The impulse to sin should be abhorrent to those who truly seek to follow Jesus. Jesus warns of a future in which his followers would come under persecution after publically proclaiming everything he said. But do not fear, the Father has his eye on even the tiniest bird that falls and he will watch over them. The command to follow Jesus takes precedence even over family and it will take deep commitment to remain faithful. But even in death they will find new life.

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

First Reading

Jeremiah complains to Yahweh because of the persecution he has suffered at the hands of his fellow Israelites for delivering an unwelcome message. He has had no choice because it is the word of the LORD and he has been compelled to proclaim it. In this he is aware that Yahweh is with him and will prevail.

Psalm

The Psalmist itemizes the negative things that have happened to him because of his faithfulness to Yahweh, including the estrangement of his family. At the same time he is prayerfully trusting in the steadfast love of the LORD for deliverance.

Second Reading

St. Paul points out the implications of being united with Christ through our baptism into his death and resurrection. Firstly we die with him, putting to death our old self and its orientation to sin. Secondly we are raised to new life with him, alive to God and enabled to walk in his ways. The impulse to sin should be abhorrent to those who truly seek to follow Jesus.

Gospel

Jesus warns of a future in which his followers would come under persecution after publically proclaiming everything he said. But do not fear, the Father has his eye on even the tiniest bird that falls and he will watch over them. The command to follow Jesus takes precedence even over family and it will take deep commitment to remain faithful. But even in death they will find new life.

Readings for June18, 2017 Year A Second Sunday after Pentecost

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Genesis 18:1-15 (21:1-7) or Exodus 19:2-8a
  • Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 or Psalm 100

Second Reading

  • Romans 5:1-8

Gospel

  • Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

YHWH appears to Abraham as he is being hospitable to three strangers. One of them states that Abraham’s wife Sarah will bear a son. Sarah secretly laughs at this idea because she is barren and far too old. (In due course Sarah does have a son and Abraham ironically names him Isaac, or “laughter”. Sarah acknowledges that YHWH has indeed brought her laughter at the last.) The Psalmist rejoices in YHWH who has set him free and saved him. Although he cannot possibly repay the debt he will fulfill his vows in the presence of YHWH’s people. St. Paul reminds the Romans that, having obtained peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, they now have hope of sharing in his glory. Even their sufferings, by producing endurance and character, have contributed to this hope. Furthermore, God’s love is already abundantly theirs through the presence of the Holy Spirit. In order to meet the overwhelming needs of the people of Israel Jesus sends out his disciples to extend his healing and preaching mission. (He instructs them to be totally dependent on others to provide both food and shelter. While they are like sheep among wolves the Holy Spirit will give them words to say when opposed by the authorities.)

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

First Reading

Yahweh appears to Abraham as he is being hospitable to three strangers. One of them states that Abraham’s wife Sarah will bear a son. Sarah secretly laughs at this idea because she is barren and far too old. (In due course Sarah does have a son and Abraham ironically names him Isaac, or “laughter”. Sarah acknowledges that Yahweh has indeed brought her laughter at the last.)

Psalm

The Psalmist rejoices in Yahweh who has set him free and saved him. Although he cannot possibly repay the debt he will fulfill his vows in the presence of Yahweh’s people.

Second Reading

St. Paul reminds the Romans that, having obtained peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, they now have hope of sharing in his glory. Even their sufferings, by producing endurance and character, have contributed to this hope. Furthermore, God’s love is already abundantly theirs through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel

In order to meet the overwhelming needs of the people of Israel Jesus sends out his disciples to extend his healing and preaching mission. (He instructs them to be totally dependent on others to provide both food and shelter. While they are like sheep among wolves the Holy Spirit will give them words to say when opposed by the authorities.)

Based on the Alternative Readings

Meeting with Yahweh on the mountain, Moses is told to remind the people of how Yahweh has carried them out of bondage in Egypt on eagles’ wings. In response they are to keep his covenant and be a priestly kingdom, his treasured possession out of all the nations. They promise as one to obey. The Psalmist calls upon the whole earth to rejoice in worshipping Yahweh who has made us and called us to be his people. He is the God who is good and whose love endures forever. St. Paul reminds the Romans that, having obtained peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, they now have hope of sharing in his glory. Even their sufferings, by producing endurance and character, have contributed to this hope. Furthermore, God’s love is already abundantly theirs through the presence of the Holy Spirit. In order to meet the overwhelming needs of the people of Israel Jesus sends out his disciples to extend his healing and preaching mission. (He instructs them to be totally dependent on others to provide both food and shelter. While they are like sheep among wolves the Holy Spirit will give them words to say when opposed by the authorities.)

 As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

First Reading

Meeting with Yahweh on the mountain, Moses is told to remind the people of how Yahweh has carried them out of bondage in Egypt on eagles’ wings. In response they are to keep his covenant and be a priestly kingdom, his treasured possession out of all the nations. They promise as one to obey.

Psalm

The Psalmist calls upon the whole earth to rejoice in worshipping Yahweh who has made us and called us to be his people. He is the God who is good and whose love endures forever.

Second Reading

St. Paul reminds the Romans that, having obtained peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, they now have hope of sharing in his glory. Even their sufferings, by producing endurance and character, have contributed to this hope. Furthermore, God’s love is already abundantly theirs through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel

In order to meet the overwhelming needs of the people of Israel Jesus sends out his disciples to extend his healing and preaching mission. (He instructs them to be totally dependent on others to provide both food and shelter. While they are like sheep among wolves the Holy Spirit will give them words to say when opposed by the authorities.)

 

 

 

Readings for June 4, 2017 Year A Day of Pentecost

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Acts 2:1-21 or Numbers 11:24-30
  • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Second Reading

  • 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 or Acts 21:1-21

Gospel

  • John 20:19-23 or John 7:37-39

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

On the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus was crucified, his followers are filled with the Holy Spirit as promised. The place they are gathered is overwhelmed by the sound of a powerful wind while tongues of fire rest on each person and they begin to speak in other languages. Foreign Jews, in Jerusalem on pilgrimage, hear them and are astonished to learn of God’s power in their own language. Peter assures them that they are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy about the expected age to come. 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. St. Paul emphasizes that, while there is a wide variety of spiritual gifts, services, and activities, they all come from the one Lord and are for the common good. Just as our bodies are made up of very different parts, so the Spirit orders such variety into a unified whole. St. John tells of the initial post-resurrection appearance of Jesus on Easter evening in which he first bestows peace upon his disciples and then shows them his hands and his side. Finally, he breathes the Holy Spirit upon them and sends them into the world to continue his work of the forgiveness of sins.

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

First Reading

On the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus was crucified, his followers are filled with the Holy Spirit as promised. The place they are gathered is overwhelmed by the sound of a powerful wind while tongues of fire rest on each person and they begin to speak in other languages. Foreign Jews, in Jerusalem on pilgrimage, hear them and are astonished to learn of God’s power in their own language. Peter assures them that they are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy about the expected age to come.

Psalm

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

St. Paul emphasizes that, while there is a wide variety of spiritual gifts, services, and activities, they all come from the one Lord and are for the common good. Just as our bodies are made up of very different parts, so the Spirit orders such variety into a unified whole.

Gospel

St. John tells of the initial post-resurrection appearance of Jesus on Easter evening in which he first bestows peace upon his disciples and then shows them his hands and his side. Finally, he breathes the Holy Spirit upon them and sends them into the world to continue his work of the forgiveness of sins.

Based on the Alternative Readings (Using the second choice in each case)

In order to share the burden of leadership for the people of Israel in the wilderness, Yahweh bestows some of the Spirit Moses had been given on seventy elders gathered separately from the main camp. They begin to prophesy and when two who had remained in the camp do the same Moses comes under criticism. He responds by saying he wishes all of God’s people were given the Spirit. 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. On the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus was crucified, his followers are filled with the Holy Spirit as promised. The place they are gathered is overwhelmed by the sound of a powerful wind while tongues of fire rest on each person and they begin to speak in other languages. Foreign Jews, in Jerusalem on pilgrimage, hear them and are astonished to learn of God’s power in their own language. Peter assures them that they are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy about the expected age to come. Part of the celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles Jesus attended involved the joyful pouring of pure water on the Temple altar. He uses this opportunity to invite anyone who thirsts to come to him and have rivers of water flow out of them. He is describing the work of the Holy Spirit in each believer.

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

First Reading

In order to share the burden of leadership for the people of Israel in the wilderness, Yahweh bestows some of the Spirit Moses had been given on seventy elders gathered separately from the main camp. They begin to prophesy and when two who had remained in the camp do the same Moses comes under criticism. He responds by saying he wishes all of God’s people were given the Spirit.

Psalm

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

On the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus was crucified, his followers are filled with the Holy Spirit as promised. The place they are gathered is overwhelmed by the sound of a powerful wind while tongues of fire rest on each person and they begin to speak in other languages. Foreign Jews, in Jerusalem on pilgrimage, hear them and are astonished to learn of God’s power in their own language. Peter assures them that they are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy about the expected age to come.

Gospel

Part of the celebration of the Feast of the Tabernacles Jesus attended involved the joyful pouring of pure water on the Temple altar. He uses this opportunity to invite anyone who thirsts to come to him and have rivers of water flow out of them. He is describing the work of the Holy Spirit in each believer.