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

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 10:44-48)

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

Psalm (98)

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

Second Reading (1 John 5:1-6)

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

Gospel (John 15:9-17)

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

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

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

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

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 4:5-12)

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

Psalm (23)

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

Second Reading (1 John 3:16-24)

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

Gospel (John 10:11-18)

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

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

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

 

 

 

 

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

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Acts 3:12-19)

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

Psalm (4)

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

Second Reading (1 John 3:1-7)

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

Gospel (Luke 24:36b-48)

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

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

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

 

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

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

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set and Alternates

First Reading (Acts 10: 34-43)

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

Alternate First Reading (Isaiah 25:6-9)

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

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

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

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

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

Alternate Second Reading (Acts 10:34-43)

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

Gospel (John 20:1-18)

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

Alternate Gospel (Mark 16:1-8)

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

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Friday, March 30, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

YAHWEH tells of his coming Servant who will undergo humiliation, rejection and great injustice. Like a sacrificial lamb he will silently bear the sins of many and make them whole. Assigned to the grave, in the end he will be vindicated and exalted in triumph.

Psalm (22)

Encircled by enemies like raging beasts, the Psalmist despairs in God’s seeming absence. Melting with fear as lots are cast for his clothes, he still trusts that he will be delivered so mightily that the nations, the dead, and posterity itself will come to serve YAHWEH.

Second Reading (Hebrews 10:16-25)

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.

Alternate Second Reading (Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9)

The writer of Hebrews exults in our having such an approachable and sympathetic high priest as Jesus, tested in every way but without sin. Facing death, he begged God to save him but in the end submitted to his will and became the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel (John 18:1-19:42)

Quoting both Jesus himself and Scripture, John stresses how God is in control of Jesus’ trials and crucifixion. Pilate, knowing Jesus innocent, gives in to the raging crowd and he is crucified. Soldiers cast lots for his tunic while Jesus gives up his life and is buried.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Suffering and troubles do not signify the absence of God
  • As high priest Jesus offers himself, both priest and victim.
  • The profound and mysterious love of God for us sinners
  • The cost of our salvation to God and his Son
  • Conforming to God’s will comes with a cost
  • All we like sheep have gone astray

Based on the Alternate Second Reading

First Reading (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

YAHWEH tells of his coming Servant who will undergo humiliation, rejection and great injustice. Like a sacrificial lamb he will silently bear the sins of many and make them whole. Assigned to the grave, in the end he will be vindicated and exalted in triumph.

Psalm (22)

Encircled by enemies like raging beasts, the Psalmist despairs in God’s seeming absence. Melting with fear as lots are cast for his clothes, he still trusts that he will be delivered so mightily that the nations, the dead, and posterity itself will come to serve YAHWEH.

Second Reading (Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9)

The writer of Hebrews exults in our having such an approachable and sympathetic high priest as Jesus, tested in every way but without sin. Facing death, he begged God to save him but in the end submitted to his will and became the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel (John 18:1-19:42)

Quoting both Jesus himself and Scripture, John stresses how God is in control of Jesus’ trials and crucifixion. Pilate, knowing Jesus innocent, gives in to the raging crowd and he is crucified. Soldiers cast lots for his tunic while Jesus gives up his life and is buried.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Suffering and troubles do not signify the absence of God
  • The profound and mysterious love of God for us sinners
  • The cost of our salvation to God and his Son
  • Conforming to God’s will comes with a cost
  • All we like sheep have gone astray
  • The humanity of Christ is our salvation

Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 18, 2018, Year B

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

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

YAHWEH tells the people he will establish a new covenant with them, different from that established at Sinai but which they did not keep. This time all will be forgiven them and everyone will know YAHWEH personally, the law being written on their hearts.

Psalm (51:1-12)

The Psalmist acknowledges his sinfulness, begging forgiveness on the basis of God’s steadfast love and mercy, even though there is just cause for punishment. He desires an inner transformation so that he may keep God’s laws by means of his Spirit within.

Alternate Psalm (119:9-16)

The Psalmist, apparently a young person, delights in the ways of YAHWEH and states his desire to follow the divine laws. To do this he must continue to treasure them in his heart and meditate on them day and night so that they cannot be forgotten or ignored.

 Second Reading (Hebrews 5:5-10)

The writer tells us that Melchizedek, a mysterious priest-king who encountered Abraham long ago, represents the eternal high priesthood to which Jesus belongs. Learning obedience through suffering, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel (John 12:20-33)

Jesus characterizes his death as his glorification. He will die as a seed must in order to bear fruit, and so must his followers. A voice from heaven tells him that the Father will be glorified in his death. When he is lifted up, Jesus says, all people will be drawn to him.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Following Jesus involves a death to our previous way of life
  • Human beings always fall short of obeying God in their own strength
  • Jesus brings a new and personal way to relate to God, not based on the law but on grace
  • We need a transformed heart in order to truly follow God’s commandments

 

Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 11, 2018, Year B

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

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Numbers 21:4-9)

The Israelites, impatient in the wilderness, again complain to Moses about lacking food and water. YAHWEH sends deadly snakes among them and many die before they repent. Moses erects a bronze snake and when people look to it they are healed.

Psalm (107:1-3, 17-22)

The Psalmist urges praise to YAHWEH for his enduring love and amazing works. The redeemed were gathered from afar and, although some were afflicted to the point of death due to their sin, they were restored by YAHWEH’s word when they called to him.

Second Reading (Ephesians 2:1-10)

St. Paul tells the Ephesians that, once dead because of their sins, they have been resurrected by God’s mercy and love alone. This rich new life with Christ engenders good works in this life and will continue to unfold throughout eternity.

Gospel (John 3:14-21)

Jesus says that when he is lifted up, those who look to him in faith will move from death to eternal life. This is God’s intention for everyone, but evildoers hate the light. Those who do come to the light reveal that the ability to do what is true is actually God’s work.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Following Jesus is a matter of life and death
  • New life in Christ leads to good works, not the other way around
  • The critical importance of looking to God/Christ for salvation
  • God can transform death into life
  • God can transform symbols of death into agents of life
  • There are only two ways of life

 

 

 

Third Sunday in Lent, March 4, 2018, Year B

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

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Exodus 20:1-17)

The people listen on Mount Sinai as YAHWEH gives the 10 Commandments for the first time. He begins recounting his saving them from slavery in Egypt and demands their allegiance to him alone and then lays out how he wants them to live as his people.

Psalm (19)

The Psalmist insists that the heavens wordlessly speak volumes in glory to God. Like the circling sun warms the earth each day so the law of YAHWEH revives our soul, lightens our way and exposes our faults. It is both essential and delightful to the faithful heart.

Second Reading (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

St. Paul reflects on the great paradox of the Cross: it seems a sign of weakness to Jews seeking signs of God’s power, and foolishness to Greeks seeking human wisdom. However, to those called, it actually demonstrates God’s supreme power and wisdom.

Gospel (John 2:13-22)

Jesus enters the Temple and is angry at the way it has become a busy market of people selling animals for sacrifice. His disciples then recall prophecy that Messiah was to have such zeal for God’s house. Jesus then speaks mysteriously of his body as the Temple.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • The overarching wisdom and power of God
  • In our weakness and foolishness, we are lost in the world without divine guidance
  • Holiness is demanded of those who would draw close to God
  • God’s way is a delight to those he has called but a puzzle to those living only on a worldly plane
  • The evidence of God’s wisdom and power is all around for those with eyes to see

 

 

 

Second Sunday in Lent, Feb. 25, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16)

YAHWEH guarantees to the childless and elderly Abram that the covenant will result in him having many descendants, including nations and kings. His name becomes Abraham and Sarai becomes Sarah, the mother of the son from whom all these will come.

Psalm (22:23-31)

The Psalmist calls all Israel to join him in glorifying YAHWEH who has delivered him from affliction. The ends of the earth will do so as well, for he has dominion over the nations and even the dead will praise him. One generation shall tell of his deeds to another.

Second Reading (Romans 4:13-25)

The promise of God to Abraham, that he would be the father of many nations, was given because of his faith, not his performance of the law. Resting simply on grace, the sure promise includes all who share his faith in the God who also raised up Jesus.

Gospel (Mark 8:31-38)

After Peter’s recognition of his being Messiah, Jesus teaches that he will suffer and be rejected by Jewish leaders but rise again after three days. Peter objects and rebukes him but Jesus affirms that to follow him means to lose one’s life in order to save it.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God’s promises depend on him, not upon us
  • The mission of God is directed to all of humanity
  • Suffering and loss provides opportunity for God’s deliverance
  • God brings new life to the dead things in our lives

Based on the Alternate Readings

First Reading (Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16)

YAHWEH guarantees to the childless and elderly Abram that the covenant will result in him having many descendants, including nations and kings. His name becomes Abraham and Sarai becomes Sarah, the mother of the son from whom all these will come.

Psalm (22:23-31)

The Psalmist calls all Israel to join him in glorifying YAHWEH who has delivered him from affliction. The ends of the earth will do so as well, for he has dominion over the nations and even the dead will praise him. One generation shall tell of his deeds to another.

Second Reading (Romans 4:13-25)

The promise of God to Abraham, that he would be the father of many nations, was given because of his faith, not his performance of the law. Resting simply on grace, the sure promise includes all who share his faith in the God who also raised up Jesus.

Gospel (Mark 9:2-9)

After identifying himself as the suffering Messiah and puzzling his disciples, Jesus is transfigured, appearing in dazzling white between Moses and Elijah. A voice from heaven affirms him as his beloved Son, to whom all should listen.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • God’s promises depend on him, not upon us
  • The mission of God is directed to all of humanity
  • Both the Father and the Son are at the centre of faith
  • Praise of God/Jesus arises even from the dead
  • The blessing arising from God’s confirmation of his promises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Sunday in Lent, Feb. 18, 2018, Year B

Please see How to Use Lection Connection

Full lections can be read here.

Based on the Readings as Set

First Reading (Genesis 9:8-17)

After Noah, his family and the animals safely emerged from the ark, God made a covenant with them that he would not again destroy the earth with a flood. He said he would remember this covenant every time he saw its sign, a rainbow in the clouds.

Psalm (25:1-10)

Knowing that he can trust in the steadfast love and mercy of YAHWEH, the Psalmist looks to him, asking to be led in his truth and forgiven his youthful sins. YAHWEH will lead the sinner and the humble into his paths of faithful love as they keep his covenant.

Second Reading (1 Peter 3:18-22)

Christ the righteous one died for sinners to bring them to God. Made alive in the spirit, he then preached to the captive spirits of those lost in Noah’s flood. Those saved in the ark, however, prefigured our baptism. Christ is now gloriously ascended and sovereign over all.

Gospel (Mark 1:9-15)

When John baptizes Jesus a heavenly voice identifies him as God’s Beloved Son. The Spirit then drives him into the wilderness where Satan tempts him for forty days. After, Jesus begins preaching repentance and belief in the good news of the impending arrival of God’s kingdom.

CONNECTION SUGGESTIONS

  • Salvation and judgment: two sides of the same coin
  • God’s covenants with his creatures reflect his constancy and love
  • Water as an instrument of judgment and/or salvation
  • Forty days mark a new beginning in our relationship with God