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Selected Scripture Readings

May 17, 2020
EPISTLE: Acts (16: 16-34)

In those days as we were on our way out to the place of prayer that we met a slave girl who had a clairvoyant spirit. She used to bring substantial profit to her masters by fortune telling. The girl began to follow Paul and the rest of us shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God; they will make known to you a way of salvation.’’ She did this for several days until finally Paul became annoyed, turned around, and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you, come out of her!’’ Then and there the spirit left her. When her masters saw that their source of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the main square before the local authorities. They turned them over to the magistrate with this complaint: “These men are agitators disturbing the peace of our city! Furthermore, they are Jews, which means they advocate customs which are not lawful for us Romans to adopt or practice. The crowd joined in the attack on them and the magistrates stripped them and ordered them to be flogged. After receiving many lashes they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was given instructions to guard them well. Upon receipt of these instructions he put them in maximum security, going so far as to chain their feet to a stake. About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as their fellow prisoners listened, a severe earthquake suddenly shook the place, rocking the prison to its foundations. Immediately all the doors flew open and everyone’s chains were pulled loose. The jailer woke up to see the prison gates wide open. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword to kill himself; but Paul shouted to him, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.’’ The jailer called for a light, then rushed in and fell trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. After a brief interval he led them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?’’Their answer was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, and all your household.’’ They proceeded to announce the word of God to him and to everyone in his house. At that late hour of the night he took them in and bathed their wounds; then he and his whole household were baptized. He led them up into his house, spread a table before them, and joyfully celebrated with his whole family his newfound faith in God.

GOSPEL: John (9: 1-3832-45)

At that time as Jesus walked along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, was it his sin or that of his parents that caused him to be born blind?” “Neither,” answered Jesus. “It was no sin, either of this man or of his parents. Rather, it was to let God’s works show forth in him. We must do the deeds of him who sent me while it is day. The night comes on when no one can work. While I am in the world I am the light of the world.” With that Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with his saliva, and smeared the man’s eyes with the mud. Then he told him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” (The name means “One who has been sent.” So the man went off and washed, and came back able to see. His neighbors and the people who had been accustomed to see him begging began to ask, “Isn’t this the fellow who used to sit and beg?” Some were claiming it was he; others maintained it was not but someone who looked like him. The man himself said, “I am the one.” They said to him then, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered: “That man they call Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes, telling me to go to Siloam and wash. When I did go and wash, I was able to see.” “Where is he?” they asked. He replied, “I have no idea.” Next, they took the man who had been born blind to the Pharisees. (Note that it was on a sabbath that Jesus had made the mud paste and opened his eyes.) The Pharisees, in turn, began to inquire how he had recovered his sight. He told them, “He put mud on my eyes. I washed it off, and now I can see.” This prompted some of the Pharisees to assert, “This man cannot be from God because he does not keep the sabbath.” Others objected, “If a man is a sinner, how can he perform signs like these?” They were sharply divided over him. Then they addressed the blind man again: “Since it was your eyes he opened, what do you have to say about him?” “He is a prophet.” he replied. The Jews refused to believe that he had really been born blind and had begun to see, until they summoned the parents of this man who now could see. “Is this your son?” they asked, “and if so, do you attest that he was blind at birth? How do you account for the fact that now he can see?” The parents answered: “We know this is our son, and we know he was blind at birth. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we have no idea. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” (His parents answered in this fashion because they were afraid of the Jews, who had already agreed among themselves that anyone who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age -- ask him.”) A second time they summoned the man who had been born blind and said to him, “Give glory to God! First of all we know this man is a sinner.” “I do not know whether he is a sinner or not,” he answered. “I know this much; I was blind before; now I can see.” They persisted: “Just what did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” “I have told you once, but you would not listen to me,” he answered them. “Why do you want to hear it all over again? Do not tell me you want to become his disciples too?” They retorted scornfully: “You are the one who is that man’s disciple. We are disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses but we have no idea where this man comes from.” He came back at them: “Well, this is news! You do not know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not hear sinners, but that if someone is devout and obeys his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever gave sight to a person blind from birth. If this man were not from God, he could never have done such a thing.” “What!” they exclaimed, “You are steeped in sin from your birth, and you are giving us lectures?” With that they threw him out bodily. When Jesus heard of his expulsion, he sought him out and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” “You have seen him,” Jesus replied. “He is speaking to you now.” “I do believe, Lord.” he said.

May 21, 2020 - Ascension
EPISTLE: Acts (1: 1-12)

In my first account, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up to heaven, having first instructed the apostles he had chosen through the Holy Spirit. In the time after his suffering he showed them in many convincing ways that he was alive, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking to them about the reign of God. On one occasion when he met with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem: “Wait, rather, for the fulfillment of my Father’s promise, of which you have heard me speak. John baptized with water, but within a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’’ While they were with him they asked, “Lord, are you going to restore the rule to Israel now?’’ His answer was: “The exact time it is not yours to know. The Father has reserved that to himself. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you; then you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, yes, even to the ends of the earth.’’ No sooner had he said this than he was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took him from their sight. They were still gazing up into the heavens when two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,’’ they said, “why do you stand here looking up at the skies? This Jesus who has been taken from you will return, just as you saw him go up into the heavens.’’ After that they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet near Jerusalem -- a mere sabbath’s journey away.

GOSPEL: Luke (24: 36-53)

At that time, Jesus, having been raised from the dead, stood in the midst of his apostles and said to them, “Peace to you.’’ In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you disturbed? Why do such ideas cross your mind? Look at my hands and my feet; it is really I. Touch me, and see that a ghost does not have flesh and bones as I do.’’ As he said this he showed them his hands and feet. They were still incredulous for sheer joy and wonder, so he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?’’ They gave him a piece of cooked fish, which he took and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “Recall those words I spoke to you when I was still with you: everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and psalms had to be fulfilled.’’ Then he opened their minds to the understanding of the Scriptures. He said to them: “Thus it is written that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. In his name, penance for the remission of sins is to be preached to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of this. See, I send down upon you the promise of my Father. Remain here in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’’ Then he led them out near Bethany, and with hands upraised, blessed them. As he blessed, he left them, and was taken up to heaven. They fell down to do him reverence, then returned to Jerusalem filled with joy. There they were to be found in the temple constantly, speaking the praises of God.

May 24, 2020

EPISTLE: Acts (10: 16-28, 28-36)

In those days Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so as not to lose time in Asia, for he was eager to get to Jerusalem by the feast of Pentecost if at all possible. Paul sent word from Miletus to Ephesus, summoning the presbyters of that church. When they came to him, he delivered this address: ''Keep watch over yourselves, and over the whole flock the Holy Spirit has given you to guard. Shepherd the church of God, which he has acquired at the price of his own blood. I know that when I am gone, savage wolves will come among you who will not spare the flock. From your own number, men will present themselves distorting the truth and leading astray any who follow them. Be on guard, therefore. Do not forget that for three years, night and day, I never ceased warning you individually even to the point of tears. I commend you now to the Lord, and to that gracious word of his which can enlarge you, and give you a share among all who are consecrated to him. Never did I set my heart on anyone's silver of gold or envy the way he dressed. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have served both my needs and those of my companions. I have always pointed out to you that is by such hard work that you must help the weak. You need to recall the words of the Lord Jesus himself, who said: 'There is more happiness in giving than receiving.' ''

GOSPEL: John (17: 1 - 13)

At that time Jesus looked up to heaven and said: ''Father, the hour has come! Give glory to your Son that your Son may give glory to you, inasmuch as you have given him authority over all mankind, that he may bestow eternal life on those you gave him. Eternal life is this, to know you, the only true God, and him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ. I have given you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. Do you now, Father, give me glory at your side, a glory I had with you before the world began. I have made your name known to those you gave me out of the world. These men you gave me were yours; they have kept your word. Now they realize that all that you gave me comes from you. I entrusted to them the message you entrusted to me. They have known that in truth I came from you, they have believed it was you who sent me. For these I pray -- not for the world but for these you have given me, for they are really yours. Just as all that belongs to me is yours, so all that belongs to you is mine. It is in them that I have been glorified. I am in the world no more, but these are in the world as I come to you. O Father most holy, protect them with your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. As long as I was with them, I guarded them with your name which you gave me. I kept careful watch, and not one of them was lost, none but him who was destined to be lost -- in fulfillment of Scripture. Now, however, I come to you; I say all this while I am still in the world that they may share my joy completely.”


May 31, 2020

EPISTLE: Acts of Apostles (2: 1 - 11)

When the day of Pentecost came it found them gathered in one place. Suddenly from up in the sky there came a noise like a strong, driving wind which was heard all through the house where they were seated. Tongues as of fire appeared which parted and came to rest on each of them. All were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit prompted them. Staying in Jerusalem at the time were devout Jews of every nation under heaven. These heard the sound, and assembled in a large crowd. They were much confused because each one heard these men speaking his own language. The whole occurrence astonished them. They asked in utter amazement, “Are not all of these men who are speaking Galileans? How is it that each of us hears them in his native tongue? We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. We live in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the regions of Libya around Cyrene. There are even visitors from Rome -- all Jews, or those who have come over to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs too. Yet each of us hears them speaking in his own tongue about the marvels God has accomplished.”


GOSPEL: John (7: 37 - 52, 8:12)

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me; let him drink who believes in me. Scripture has it: ‘From within him rivers of living water shall flow.’ “ (Here he was referring to the Spirit, whom those that came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit as yet, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.) Some in the crowd who heard these words began to say, “This must be the Prophet.” Others were claiming, “He is the Messiah.” But an objection was raised: “Surely the Messiah is not to come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah, being of David’s family, is to come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” In this fashion the crowd was sharply divided over him. Some of them even wanted to apprehend him. However, no one laid hands on him. When the temple guards came back, the chief priests and Pharisees asked them, “Why did you not bring him in?” “No man ever spoke like that before,” the guards replied. “Do not tell us you too have been taken in!” the Pharisees retorted. “You do not see any of the Sanhedrin believing him, do you? Or the Pharisees? Only this lot, that knows nothing about the law -- and they are lost anyway!” One of their own number, Nicodemus (the man who had come to him), spoke up to say, “Since when does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts?” Do not tell us you are a Galilean too,” they taunted him. “Look it up. You will not find the Prophet coming from Galilee.” Jesus spoke to them once again: “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness; no, he shall possess the light of life.”

This page was last updated May 13, 2020
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