Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 3, 2017, Proper 17, Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 3:1-15)

Yahweh mysteriously appears to Moses in the burning bush at Mt. Sinai, identifying himself as the God of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has heard the cry of his oppressed people back in Egypt and now he is going to send Moses to deliver the captives, leading them out to the Promised Land. The name by which he wishes to be known to them is simply “I AM WHO I AM”.

Psalm (105:1-6, 23-26, 45c)

The Psalmist encourages the people to remember Yahweh’s miracles and judgments and, while taking care to look to him alone, make his deeds known among the nations. He caused Israel to grow mightily even while persecuted in Egypt and sent Moses to deliver them so that they might serve him faithfully.

Second Reading (Romans 12:9-24)

St. Paul exhorts the Christian community to have genuine love for one another and serve the Lord faithfully especially when under persecution. Instead of taking revenge on their enemies themselves they are to put it into God’s hands, knowing that good will ultimately triumph over evil.

Gospel (Matthew 16:21-28)

Right after he had praised Peter for recognizing him as Messiah Jesus rebukes him for not understanding that suffering and death are ahead for both Messiah and his disciples. We are not to seek to save our lives, but to deny ourselves and follow Jesus, remembering that he will repay many times over in the resurrection.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• It is God who saves us, not we ourselves

• Doing good will triumph over evil

• Suffering is to be expected as part of the Christian life

• Relief from suffering is in God’s hands

• We are to follow in God’s ways in all circumstances, loving God, fellow Christians and our enemies

• The need to remain faithful, especially under pressure to conform to this world

Based on the Alternative Set of Readings

First Reading (Jeremiah 15:15-21)

Jeremiah makes his case to Yahweh, asking that his persecutors suffer retribution. He claims to have been faithful but his suffering is growing worse, making him wonder if Yahweh will fail him. Yahweh, on the other hand, sees a need for Jeremiah to turn back to God in order to be restored to his calling and delivered from his foes.

Psalm (26:1-8)

Because he has been faithful in his walk, the Psalmist expects vindication from Yahweh. He even challenges Yahweh to test him in his innocence. He has not kept company with sinners, but has joined the procession of praise and thanksgiving around the altar instead. He loves the house of God because of the divine presence that is gloriously evident there.

Second Reading (Romans 9:1-5)

St. Paul exhorts the Christian community to have genuine love for one another and serve the Lord faithfully especially when under persecution. Instead of taking revenge on their enemies themselves they are to put it into God’s hands, knowing that good will ultimately triumph over evil.

Gospel (Matthew 14:13-21)

Right after he had praised Peter for recognizing him as Messiah Jesus rebukes him for not understanding that suffering and death are ahead for both Messiah and his disciples. We are not to seek to save our lives, but to deny ourselves and follow Jesus, remembering that he will repay many times over in the resurrection.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

• It is God who saves us, not we ourselves

• Doing good will triumph over evil

• Suffering is to be expected as part of the Christian life

• Relief from suffering is in God’s hands

• We are to follow in God’s ways in all circumstances, loving God, fellow Christians and our enemies

• The need to remain faithful, especially under pressure to conform to this world

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

Readings for April16,2017 Year A Resurrection of the Lord

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Acts 10: 34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6
  • Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Second Reading

  • Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10: 34-43

Gospel

  • John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

The apostle Peter, having received a vision revealing the acceptability of even unclean animals for sacrifice, addresses the Roman centurion Cornelius to the effect that God rejects no nationality. Peter briefly relates the story of Jesus, including his death and resurrection, emphasizing simply that he is Lord and judge of all, and everyone who believes in him receives salvation. The Psalmist has just experienced rescue from death and recognizes that YAHWEH has answered his prayer. Feeling like a rejected stone now become the chief cornerstone, he calls on everyone to give thanks for the steadfast love of the God of his salvation. St. Paul exhorts the Colossians, on the basis of their incorporation into the risen Christ, to set their minds on things above. They have already died to earthly things and will share in his glory when he comes again. John tells how Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb and runs to tell Peter and the other disciple. They run to see and find only the death garments lying there. After they go home, Mary encounters the risen Lord, recognizing him only when he calls her name. She is told to tell the others that he will soon be ascending to the Father. She hurries to obey.

As Introductions

First Reading

The apostle Peter, having received a vision revealing the acceptability of even unclean animals for sacrifice, addresses the Roman centurion Cornelius to the effect that God rejects no nationality. Peter briefly relates the story of Jesus, including his death and resurrection, emphasizing simply that he is Lord and judge of all, and everyone who believes in him receives salvation.

Psalm

The Psalmist has just experienced rescue from death and recognizes that YAHWEH has answered his prayer. Feeling like a rejected stone now become the chief cornerstone, he calls on everyone to give thanks for the steadfast love of the God of his salvation.

New Testament

St. Paul exhorts the Colossians, on the basis of their incorporation into the risen Christ, to set their minds on things above. They have already died to earthly things and will share in his glory when he comes again.

Gospel

John tells how Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb and runs to tell Peter and the other disciple. They run to see and find only the death garments lying there. After they go home, Mary encounters the risen Lord, recognizing him only when he calls her name. She is told to tell the others that he will soon be ascending to the Father. She hurries to obey.

Based on the Alternative Readings

Jeremiah forecasts a great Day ahead for the destroyed and scattered tribes of Israel, a Day in which they shall be joyfully gathered together in the fruitful Land. This return to life is a result of YAHWEH’s everlasting love for his people and will stimulate fervent worship in Zion. The Psalmist has just experienced rescue from death and recognizes that YAHWEH has answered his prayer. Feeling like a rejected stone now become the chief cornerstone, he calls on everyone to give thanks for the steadfast love of the God of his salvation. The apostle Peter, having received a vision revealing the acceptability of even unclean animals for sacrifice, addresses the Roman centurion Cornelius to the effect that God rejects no nationality. Peter briefly relates the story of Jesus, including his death and resurrection, emphasizing simply that he is Lord and judge of all, and everyone who believes in him receives salvation. Matthew relates how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to Jesus’ tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. They encounter an angel in dazzling white who informs them that Jesus is risen and bids them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee where they will meet him. Jesus himself then greets the Marys and they fall before him in worship. Jesus tells them not to fear and to continue on their way with the angel’s message.

As Introductions

Old Testament

Jeremiah forecasts a great Day ahead for the destroyed and scattered tribes of Israel, a Day in which they shall be joyfully gathered together in the fruitful Land. This return to life is a result of YAHWEH’s everlasting love for his people and will stimulate fervent worship in Zion.

Psalm

The Psalmist has just experienced rescue from death and recognizes that YAHWEH has answered his prayer. Feeling like a rejected stone now become the chief cornerstone, he calls on everyone to give thanks for the steadfast love of the God of his salvation.

New Testament

The apostle Peter, having received a vision revealing the acceptability of even unclean animals for sacrifice, addresses the Roman centurion Cornelius to the effect that God rejects no nationality. Peter briefly relates the story of Jesus, including his death and resurrection, emphasizing simply that he is Lord and judge of all, and everyone who believes in him receives salvation.

Gospel

Matthew relates how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to Jesus’ tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. They encounter an angel in dazzling white who informs them that Jesus is risen and bids them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee where they will meet him. Jesus himself then greets the Marys and they fall before him in worship. Jesus tells them not to fear and to continue on their way with the angel’s message.

 

Readings for April14,2017 Year A Good Friday

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Isaiah 52:13-53:12
  • Psalm 22

Second Reading

  • Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Gospel

  • John 18:1-19:42

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

YAHWEH speaks of his coming Servant who will undergo humiliation, rejection and great injustice. But like a sacrificial lamb he will bear the transgressions of many, suffering in silence on their behalf and making them whole. Although assigned to the grave, in the end he will find vindication, exaltation and triumph. The Psalmist is in despair because of his enemies, feeling as if surrounded by bulls or lions about to charge and God is nowhere to be seen! While he melts with fear they already cast lots for his clothes. However, at the same time he expresses a final confidence that YAHWEH does see and will act, resulting in praise resounding from all the nations and even the dead. The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as both priest and sacrificial victim who made a way for us to come to God with clean hearts. As a result we should continue to meet together in mutual encouragement towards love and good deeds. John’s account of the Passion stresses fulfillments of both Scripture and Jesus’ own words to show that God is in control of these events. Jesus is arrested and faces two Jewish authorities as well as Pilate. In bitter irony Peter denies him three times. In an effort to get to the truth Pilate questions a reluctant Jesus about the charge that he claims to be a king. Satisfied that Jesus is innocent of any crime against Rome he tries to release him after a good flogging but the crowd threatens to smear him as no friend of Caesar if he does so. He gives in and Jesus is crucified, the soldiers casting lots for his tunic. Pilate makes it known that it is Jesus’ claim to be king of the Jews that has condemned him. Jesus gives up his life and is buried nearby in a garden tomb.

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

Old Testament

YAHWEH speaks of his coming Servant who will undergo humiliation, rejection and great injustice. But like a sacrificial lamb he will bear the transgressions of many, suffering in silence on their behalf and making them whole. Although assigned to the grave, in the end he will find vindication, exaltation and triumph.

Psalm

The Psalmist is in despair because of his enemies, feeling as if surrounded by bulls or lions about to charge and God is nowhere to be seen! While he melts with fear they already cast lots for his clothes. However, at the same time he expresses a final confidence that YAHWEH does see and will act, resulting in praise resounding from all the nations and even the dead.

New Testament

The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as both priest and sacrificial victim who made a way for us to come to God with clean hearts. As a result we should continue to meet together in mutual encouragement towards love and good deeds.

Gospel

John’s account of the Passion stresses fulfillments of both Scripture and Jesus’ own words to show that God is in control of these events. Jesus is arrested and faces two Jewish authorities as well as Pilate. In bitter irony Peter denies him three times. In an effort to get to the truth Pilate questions a reluctant Jesus about the charge that he claims to be a king. Satisfied that Jesus is innocent of any crime against Rome he tries to release him after a good flogging but the crowd threatens to smear him as no friend of Caesar if he does so. He gives in and Jesus is crucified, the soldiers casting lots for his tunic. Pilate makes it known that it is Jesus’ claim to be king of the Jews that has condemned him. Jesus gives up his life and is buried nearby in a garden tomb.

Based on the Alternative Readings

YAHWEH speaks of his coming Servant who will undergo humiliation, rejection and great injustice. But like a sacrificial lamb he will bear the transgressions of many, suffering in silence on their behalf and making them whole. Although assigned to the grave, in the end he will find vindication, exaltation and triumph. The Psalmist is in despair because of his enemies, feeling as if surrounded by bulls or lions about to charge and God is nowhere to be seen! While he melts with fear they already cast lots for his clothes. However, at the same time he expresses a final confidence that YAHWEH does see and will act, resulting in praise resounding from all the nations and even the dead. The writer of Hebrews exults in having such an approachable high priest as Jesus who is able to sympathize with us, tested in every way but without sin. Facing death he pleaded for God to save but in the end submitted to his will and became the source of eternal salvation. John’s account of the Passion stresses fulfillments of both Scripture and Jesus’ own words to show that God is in control of these events. Jesus is arrested and faces two Jewish authorities as well as Pilate. In bitter irony Peter denies him three times. In an effort to get to the truth Pilate questions a reluctant Jesus about the charge that he claims to be a king. Satisfied that Jesus is innocent of any crime against Rome he tries to release him after a good flogging but the crowd threatens to smear him as no friend of Caesar if he does so. He gives in and Jesus is crucified, the soldiers casting lots for his tunic. Pilate makes it known that it is Jesus’ claim to be king of the Jews that has condemned him. Jesus gives up his life and is buried nearby in a garden tomb.

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

Old Testament

YAHWEH speaks of his coming Servant who will undergo humiliation, rejection and great injustice. But like a sacrificial lamb he will bear the transgressions of many, suffering in silence on their behalf and making them whole. Although assigned to the grave, in the end he will find vindication, exaltation and triumph.

Psalm

The Psalmist is in despair because of his enemies, feeling as if surrounded by bulls or lions about to charge and God is nowhere to be seen! While he melts with fear they already cast lots for his clothes. However, at the same time he expresses a final confidence that YAHWEH does see and will act, resulting in praise resounding from all the nations and even the dead.

New Testament

The writer of Hebrews exults in having such an approachable high priest as Jesus who is able to sympathize with us, tested in every way but without sin. Facing death he pleaded for God to save but in the end submitted to his will and became the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel

John’s account of the Passion stresses fulfillments of both Scripture and Jesus’ own words to show that God is in control of these events. Jesus is arrested and faces two Jewish authorities as well as Pilate. In bitter irony Peter denies him three times. In an effort to get to the truth Pilate questions a reluctant Jesus about the charge that he claims to be a king. Satisfied that Jesus is innocent of any crime against Rome he tries to release him after a good flogging but the crowd threatens to smear him as no friend of Caesar if he does so. He gives in and Jesus is crucified, the soldiers casting lots for his tunic. Pilate makes it known that it is Jesus’ claim to be king of the Jews that has condemned him. Jesus gives up his life and is buried nearby in a garden tomb.

 

 

 

Readings for April13,2017 Year A Maundy Thursday

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

 

First Reading and Psalm

  • Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14
  • Psalm 116:1-2; 12-19

Second Reading

  • I Corinthians 11:23-26

Gospel

  • John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Full Readings as Set

YAHWEH informs Moses and Aaron that he is finally going to deliver the Israelites from Egypt by means of a last terrible plague. He instructs each family to slaughter and eat an unblemished lamb, putting its blood around the door of their home to ensure that they will be passed over when all the other first-born males in Egypt are destroyed. From now on this month is to be the first month of their year and they are to repeat this procedure forever on its fourteenth day to celebrate and remember their deliverance. Knowing his prayers have been heard, the Psalmist realizes that the best response is to orient his entire life toward YAHWEH, especially in giving thanks, paying his vows and lifting up the cup of salvation. St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that it was Jesus himself who instituted the Lord’s Supper. It is to be repeated in remembrance of his death on their behalf until he comes again. As Passover approaches Jesus realizes that his hour to die has now come. Although he will be returning to his Father, he will be leaving behind his beloved disciples. He washes their feet at supper, impressing upon them the need to serve one another in love, thereby demonstrating to everyone that they are indeed his disciples.

As Introductions and/or Bulletin Use

Old Testament

YAHWEH informs Moses and Aaron that he is finally going to deliver the Israelites from Egypt by means of a last terrible plague. He instructs each family to slaughter and eat an unblemished lamb, putting its blood around the door of their home to ensure that they will be passed over when all the other first-born males in Egypt are destroyed. From now on this month is to be the first month of their year and they are to repeat this procedure forever on its fourteenth day to celebrate and remember their deliverance.

Psalm

Knowing his prayers have been heard, the Psalmist realizes that the best response is to orient his entire life toward YAHWEH, especially in giving thanks, paying his vows and lifting up the cup of salvation.

New Testament

St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that it was Jesus himself who instituted the Lord’s Supper. It is to be repeated in remembrance of his death on their behalf until he comes again.

Gospel

As Passover approaches Jesus realizes that his hour to die has now come. Although he will be returning to his Father, he will be leaving behind his beloved disciples. He washes their feet at supper, impressing upon them the need to serve one another in love, thereby demonstrating to everyone that they are indeed his disciples.

 

 

Readings for April 9, 2017 Year A Liturgy of the Passion

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Isaiah 50:4-9a.
  • Psalm 31:9-16

Second Reading

  • Philippians 2:5-11

Gospel

  • Matthew 26:14-27:66

Alternative Gospel

  • Matthew 27:11-54

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

Isaiah envisions YAHWEH’s obedient Servant under assault: enduring insults, spitting and being struck. He is determined not to flinch from his duty and does not waver from his conviction that YAHWEH is his help and will vindicate him. In comparison his adversaries fade into insignificance. Under serious affliction from all those around him, the Psalmist is driven to tears, misery and extreme physical weakness. Realizing this has happened because of his faithfulness, he remains confident that YAHWEH will deliver him. St. Paul encourages the Philippians to be like Jesus who, although divine, humbled himself and endured a demeaning death, and to keep in mind that, in the end, he was exalted by God to be Lord of all. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ last hours, betrayal, Last Supper, Gethsemane, desertion, trials, abuses, mockings, crucifixion and death, is marked by a strong sense that this is all part of God’s plan. Jesus himself struggles to submit to his destiny but throughout the narrative he illustrates that he willingly does so, refusing to exercise his rights and power as the Son of God. His innocence and evident majesty is sharply underlined by the fraud and weakness of his accusers.

As Introductions and/or for Bulletin Use

Old Testament

Isaiah envisions YAHWEH’s obedient Servant under assault: enduring insults, spitting and being struck. He is determined not to flinch from his duty and does not waver from his conviction that YAHWEH is his help and will vindicate him. In comparison his adversaries fade into insignificance.

Psalm

Under serious affliction from all those around him, the Psalmist is driven to tears, misery and extreme physical weakness. Realizing this has happened because of his faithfulness, he remains confident that YAHWEH will deliver him.

New Testament

St. Paul encourages the Philippians to be like Jesus who, although divine, humbled himself and endured a demeaning death, and to keep in mind that, in the end, he was exalted by God to be Lord of all.

Gospel

Matthew’s account of Jesus’ last hours, betrayal, Last Supper, Gethsemane, desertion, trials, abuses, mockings, crucifixion and death, is marked by a strong sense that this is all part of God’s plan. Jesus himself struggles to submit to his destiny but throughout the narrative he illustrates that he willingly does so, refusing to exercise his rights and power as the Son of God. His innocence and evident majesty is sharply underlined by the fraud and weakness of his accusers.

Based on the Alternative Readings

Isaiah envisions YAHWEH’s obedient Servant under assault: enduring insults, spitting and being struck. He is determined not to flinch from his duty and does not waver from his conviction that YAHWEH is his help and will vindicate him. In comparison his adversaries fade into insignificance. Under serious affliction from all those around him, the Psalmist is driven to tears, misery and extreme physical weakness. Realizing this has happened because of his faithfulness, he remains confident that YAHWEH will deliver him. St. Paul encourages the Philippians to be like Jesus who, although divine, humbled himself and endured a demeaning death, and to keep in mind that, in the end, he was exalted by God to be Lord of all. St. Matthew’s accounts of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, his mocking by the soldiers and the crucifixion itself, all highlight the tension and misunderstanding over his being “King of the Jews”. His innocence and evident majesty is sharply underlined by the jealousy of his accusers and the weakness of the governor. Ending with the climactic recognition of the centurion that he had just crucified the Son of God, the reader is left in no doubt regarding the true identity of Jesus.

As Introductions and/or for Bulletin Use

Old Testament

Isaiah envisions YAHWEH’s obedient Servant under assault: enduring insults, spitting and being struck. He is determined not to flinch from his duty and does not waver from his conviction that YAHWEH is his help and will vindicate him. In comparison his adversaries fade into insignificance.

Psalm

Under serious affliction from all those around him, the Psalmist is driven to tears, misery and extreme physical weakness. Realizing this has happened because of his faithfulness, he remains confident that YAHWEH will deliver him.

New Testament

St. Paul encourages the Philippians to be like Jesus who, although divine, humbled himself and endured a demeaning death, and to keep in mind that, in the end, he was exalted by God to be Lord of all.

Gospel

St. Matthew’s accounts of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, his mocking by the soldiers and the crucifixion itself, all highlight the tension and misunderstanding over his being “King of the Jews”. His innocence and evident majesty is sharply underlined by the jealousy of his accusers and the weakness of the governor. Ending with the climactic recognition of the centurion that he had just crucified the Son of God, the reader is left in no doubt regarding the true identity of Jesus.

Readings for April 2, 2017 Year A Fifth Sunday in Lent

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm 130

Second Reading

  • Romans 8:6-11

Gospel

  • John 11:1-45

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

After the Jewish people were defeated and exiled to Babylon, YAHWEH shows a valley of scattered bones to the prophet Ezekiel and challenges him to believe that they could become living people again. As Ezekiel prophesies over the bones that is exactly what happens and YAHWEH explains how he is similarly going to put his Spirit into his people, bring them out of their grave of exile and restore them to the Promised Land. The Psalmist expresses his conviction that YAHWEH will indeed forgive his sins and, in spite of present troubles, he waits in hope for this to happen. He exhorts all Israel similarly to trust in YAHWEH’s steadfast love and promise of redemption. St. Paul sets before the Romans the two ways of life, one centred on what he calls “the flesh” and the other centred on the Holy Spirit. The former is opposed to God and because of sin is subject to death, while the latter embraces Christ and his righteousness, sharing in the resurrection life he imparts both now and in the age to come. Jesus delays going to heal his friend Lazarus because he knows that greater glory will come to God in the end and the faith of his own disciples and others will be established. Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, do not appreciate having to wait for Jesus because their brother dies in the meantime. But death does not have the final word. Not with Jesus.

As Introductions and/or for Bulletin Use

Old Testament

After the Jewish people were defeated and exiled to Babylon, YAHWEH shows a valley of scattered bones to the prophet Ezekiel and challenges him to believe that they could become living people again. As Ezekiel prophesies over the bones that is exactly what happens and YAHWEH explains how he is similarly going to put his Spirit into his people, bring them out of their grave of exile and restore them to the Promised Land.

Psalm

The Psalmist expresses his conviction that YAHWEH will indeed forgive his sins and, in spite of present troubles, he waits in hope for this to happen. He exhorts all Israel similarly to trust in YAHWEH’s steadfast love and promise of redemption.

New Testament

St. Paul sets before the Romans the two ways of life, one centred on what he calls “the flesh” and the other centred on the Holy Spirit. The former is opposed to God and because of sin is subject to death, while the latter embraces Christ and his righteousness, sharing in the resurrection life he imparts both now and in the age to come.

Gospel

Jesus delays going to heal his friend Lazarus because he knows that greater glory will come to God in the end and the faith of his own disciples and others will be established. Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, do not appreciate having to wait for Jesus because their brother dies in the meantime. But death does not have the final word. Not with Jesus.

 

 

Readings for March 26, 2017 Fourth Sunday in Lent Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • 1 Samuel 16:1-13
  • Psalm 23

Second Reading

  • Ephesians 5:8-14

Gospel

  • John 9:1-41

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

After Saul had failed as the first king of Israel, YAHWEH sent the prophet Samuel to Bethlehem and the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the next king. Both Samuel and Jesse were blind to the proper choice because they, unlike YAHWEH, could not see into the heart. Even though he seemed too young for the job, David the shepherd boy was finally selected and when Samuel anointed him he was filled with the Spirit. David depicts his relationship with YAHWEH in terms of a sheep who trusts that the shepherd knows what he is doing in spite of appearances. He provides water, food and shelter, even in circumstances that the sheep, with its limited vision, would see as extremely threatening. According to St. Paul, the Christian has passed from darkness to light, producing that which is good, right and true. Living in this way makes even the works of darkness visible in the light of Christ. In healing a man born blind Jesus graphically demonstrates that he is indeed the light of the world. The impenetrable darkness of the blind man is dispersed and when he recognizes Jesus as the Son of Man and believes in him, he comes even to see as God sees. The sighted Pharisees, on the other hand, demonstrate through their opposition to Jesus that they are the ones who are really blind and dwell in darkness.

As Introductions and/or for Bulletin Use

Old Testament

After Saul had failed as the first king of Israel, YAHWEH sent the prophet Samuel to Bethlehem and the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the next king. Both Samuel and Jesse were blind to the proper choice because they, unlike YAHWEH, could not see into the heart. Even though he seemed too young for the job, David the shepherd boy was finally selected and when Samuel anointed him he was filled with the Spirit.

Psalm

David depicts his relationship with YAHWEH in terms of a sheep who trusts that the shepherd knows what he is doing in spite of appearances. He provides water, food and shelter, even in circumstances that the sheep, with its limited vision, would see as extremely threatening.

New Testament

According to St. Paul, the Christian has passed from darkness to light, producing that which is good, right and true. Living in this way makes even the works of darkness visible in the light of Christ.

Gospel

In healing a man born blind Jesus graphically demonstrates that he is indeed the light of the world. The impenetrable darkness of the blind man is dispersed and when he recognizes Jesus as the Son of Man and believes in him, he comes even to see as God sees. The sighted Pharisees, on the other hand, demonstrate through their opposition to Jesus that they are the ones who are really blind and dwell in darkness.

 

Readings for Sunday, March 19, 2017 Third Sunday in Lent Year A

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

 

First Reading and Psalm

  • Exodus 17:1-7
  • Psalm 95

Second Reading

  • Romans 5:1-11

Gospel

  • John 4:5-42

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

After experiencing a miraculous escape from Egypt at the hand of YAHWEH, the people of Israel bitterly complain to Moses that they will now suffer and die because there is no water for them in the wilderness. In spite of this lack of faith, YAHWEH commands Moses to strike a rock with his staff in order to provide life-giving water for his people. The Psalmist calls the people of God to worship him with thanksgiving because of who he is and what he has done for them. He warns them not to be like their ancestors who dared to test YAHWEH by complaining in the wilderness and then were barred from the Promised Land. St. Paul marvels at the grace of God who saved us through Christ while we were still weak, while we were still sinners and enemies. This work of the Holy Spirit enables our sufferings to produce, in turn, endurance, character and a hope that does not disappoint. When Jesus encounters a woman at a well in alien Samaria, he offers her, both a sinner and an enemy, the kind of water that produces eternal life. Through their conversation she comes to recognize him as Messiah and goes home to share the good news with her neighbours. When his disciples try to get Jesus to eat, he teaches them that true food is to do the work of God. He then stays in the area to preach the word to the Samaritans made receptive through the testimony of the woman.

As Introductions

Old Testament

After experiencing a miraculous escape from Egypt at the hand of YAHWEH, the people of Israel bitterly complain to Moses that they will now suffer and die because there is no water for them in the wilderness. In spite of this lack of faith, YAHWEH commands Moses to strike a rock with his staff in order to provide life-giving water for his people.

Psalm

The Psalmist calls the people of God to worship him with thanksgiving because of who he is and what he has done for them. He warns them not to be like their ancestors who dared to test YAHWEH by complaining in the wilderness and then were barred from the Promised Land.

New Testament

St. Paul marvels at the grace of God who saved us through Christ while we were still weak, while we were still sinners and enemies. This work of the Holy Spirit enables our sufferings to produce, in turn, endurance, character and a hope that does not disappoint.

Gospel

When Jesus encounters a woman at a well in alien Samaria, he offers her, both a sinner and an enemy, the kind of water that produces eternal life. Through their conversation she comes to recognize him as Messiah and goes home to share the good news with her neighbours. When his disciples try to get Jesus to eat, he teaches them that true food is to do the work of God. He then stays in the area to preach the word to the Samaritans made receptive through the testimony of the woman.

Readings for Sunday, March 12, 2017 Second Sunday in Lent

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

First Reading and Psalm

  • Genesis 12:1-4a
  • Psalm 121

Second Reading

  • Romans 4:1-5; 13-17

Gospel

  • John 3:1-17

Alternative Gospel

  • Matthew 17:1-9

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

After YAHWEH had frustrated the building of the Tower of Babel and had scattered people throughout the earth, he spoke a startling word to Abram in Haran. He told him to leave his country and allow himself to be directed to another. There he would become a great and blessed nation that would in turn be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. The Psalmist draws our attention to the fact that it is only YAHWEH who is our genuine help. As creator and ever-present one, he protects and keeps us from all evil and danger. St. Paul sees that grace is at work in the great promises that God made to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. These cannot depend on his or their keeping of the law because in this they (and we) have failed. Rather it depends on God and his word alone and, as Abraham discovered, it is simply by trusting in him that we are made right with him. It is a gift. In response to Nicodemus, Jesus makes the startling claim that we need to be born again from above in order to enter God’s kingdom. This is a mysterious working of the Spirit and it happens to those who simply put their trust in the word and work of Jesus, the one who has come from heaven for the salvation of the whole world.

As Introductions

Old Testament

After YAHWEH had frustrated the building of the Tower of Babel and had scattered people throughout the earth, he spoke a startling word to Abram in Haran. He told him to leave his country and allow himself to be directed to another. There he would become a great and blessed nation that would in turn be a blessing to all the nations of the earth.

Psalm

The Psalmist draws our attention to the fact that it is only YAHWEH who is our genuine help. As creator and ever-present one, he protects and keeps us from all evil and danger.

New Testament

St. Paul sees that grace is at work in the great promises that God made to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. These cannot depend on his or their keeping of the law because in this they (and we) have failed. Rather it depends on God and his word alone and, as Abraham discovered, it is simply by trusting in him that we are made right with him. It is a gift.

Gospel

In response to Nicodemus, Jesus makes the startling claim that we need to be born again from above in order to enter God’s kingdom. This is a mysterious working of the Spirit and it happens to those who simply put their trust in the word and work of Jesus, the one who has come from heaven for the salvation of the whole world.

Based on the Alternative Readings

After YAHWEH had frustrated the building of the Tower of Babel and had scattered people throughout the earth, he spoke a startling word to Abram in Haran. He told him to leave his country and allow himself to be directed to another. There he would become a great and blessed nation that would in turn be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. The Psalmist draws our attention to the fact that it is only YAHWEH who is our genuine help. As creator and ever-present one, he protects and keeps us from all evil and danger. St. Paul sees that grace is at work in the great promises that God made to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. These cannot depend on his or their keeping of the law because in this they (and we) have failed. Rather it depends on God and his word alone and, as Abraham discovered, it is simply by trusting in him that we are made right with him. It is a gift. Six days after first teaching his disciples about his impending death, Jesus goes up into a mountain with an inner circle. There, his face blazing like the sun and his clothes becoming a brilliant white, he is transformed. When he is joined by Moses and Elijah, the greatest figures of the Old Testament, Peter wants to erect shelters for all three but a voice from heaven makes it clear that it is Jesus alone who warrants their full attention as the Son of God.

As Introductions

Old Testament

After YAHWEH had frustrated the building of the Tower of Babel and had scattered people throughout the earth, he spoke a startling word to Abram in Haran. He told him to leave his country and allow himself to be directed to another. There he would become a great and blessed nation that would in turn be a blessing to all the nations of the earth.

Psalm

The Psalmist draws our attention to the fact that it is only YAHWEH who is our genuine help. As creator and ever-present one, he protects and keeps us from all evil and danger.

New Testament

St. Paul sees that grace is at work in the great promises that God made to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. These cannot depend on his or their keeping of the law because in this they (and we) have failed. Rather it depends on God and his word alone and, as Abraham discovered, it is simply by trusting in him that we are made right with him. It is a gift.

Gospel

Six days after first teaching his disciples about his impending death, Jesus goes up into a mountain with an inner circle. There, his face blazing like the sun and his clothes becoming a brilliant white, he is transformed. When he is joined by Moses and Elijah, the greatest figures of the Old Testament, Peter wants to erect shelters for all three but a voice from heaven makes it clear that it is Jesus alone who warrants their full attention as the Son of God.