Selected Scripture Readings

March 25, 2018
EPISTLE: Philippians (4: 4-9)

Brothers and Sisters! Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, Rejoice! Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near. Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus. Finally, my brothers, your thoughts should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise. Live according to what you have learned and accepted, what you have heard me say and seen me do. Then will the God of peace be with you.

GOSPEL: John (12: 1-18)

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the village of Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they gave him a banquet, at which Martha served. Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary brought a pound of costly perfume made from genuine aromatic nard, with which she anointed Jesus’ feet. Then she dried his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the ointment’s fragrance. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one about to hand him over), protested: “Why was not this perfume sold? It could have brought three hundred silver pieces, and the money have been given to the poor.” (He did not say this out of concern for the poor, but because he was a thief. He held the purse, and used to help himself to what was deposited there.) To this Jesus replied: “Leave her alone. Let her keep it against the day they prepare me for burial. The poor you always have with you, but me you will not always have.” The great crowd of Jews discovered he was there and came out, not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. The fact was, the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus too, because many Jews were going over to Jesus and believing him on account of Lazarus. The next day the great crowd that had come for the feast heard that Jesus was to enter Jerusalem, so they got palm branches and came out to meet him. They kept shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” Jesus found a donkey and mounted it, in accord with Scripture: “Fear not, O daughter of Zion! Your king approaches you on a donkey’s colt.” (At first, the disciples did not understand all this, but after Jesus was glorified they recalled that the people had done to him precisely what had been written about him.) The crowd that was present when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead kept testifying to it. The crowd came out to meet him because they had heard he had performed this sign.

April 01, 2018
EPISTLE: Acts (1: 1-8)

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.”

GOSPEL: John (1: 1-17)

In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was in God’s presence, and the Word was God. He was present to God in the beginning, through him all things came into being, and apart from him nothing came to be Whatever came to be in him, found life, life for the light of men. The light shines on in darkness, a darkness that did not overcome it. There was a man named John sent by God, who came as a witness to testify to the light, so that through him all men might believe. But only to testify to the light, for he himself was not the light. The real light which gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and through him the world was made, yet the world did not know who he was. To his own he came, yet his own did not accept him. Any who did accept him he empowered to become children of God. These are they who believe in his name. Begotten not by blood, nor by carnal desire, nor by man’s willing it, but by God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory; the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love. John testified to him by proclaiming: “This is he of whom I said, The one who comes after me ranks ahead of me, for he was before me.“ Of his fullness we have all had a share -- love following upon love. For while the law was given through Moses, this enduring love came through Jesus Christ

April 08, 2018
EPISTLE: Acts (5: 12 - 20)

In those days through the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders occurred among the people. By mutual agreement they used to meet in Solomon's Portico. No one else dared to join them, despite the fact that the people held them in great esteem. Nevertheless more and more believers, men and women in great numbers, we continually added to the Lord. The people carried the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mattresses, so that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. Crowds from the towns around Jerusalem would gather, too, bringing their sick and those who were troubled by unclean spirits, all of whom were cured. The high priest and all his supporters (that is, the party of the Sadducees), filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles and threw them into the public jail. During the night, however, and angel of the Lord opened the gates of the jail, led them forth and said, "Go out now and take your place in the temple precincts and preach to the people all about this new life."

GOSPEL: John (20: 19 -31)

On the evening of the first day of the week, even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them. "Peace be with you," he said. "When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. At the sight of the Lord the disciples rejoiced. "Peace be with you," he said again. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Then he breathed on them and said: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound." It happened that one of the Twelve, Thomas (the name means "Twin"), was absent when Jesus came. The other disciples kept telling him; "We have seen the Lord!" His answer was, "I will never believe it without probing the nail prints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into his side. A week later, the disciples were once more in the room, and this time Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before them. "Peace be with you," he said; then to Thomas: "Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!" Thomas said in response, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus then said to him: "You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and have believed." Jesus performed many other signs as well -- signs not recorded here -- in the presence of his disciples. But these have been recorded to help you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that through this faith you may have life in his name.

APRIL 15, 2018
EPISTLE: Acts (6: 1 - 7)

In those days, as the number of disciples grew, the ones who spoke Greek complained that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food, as compared with the widows of those who spoke Hebrew. The Twelve assembled the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Look around among your own number, brothers, for seven men acknowledged to be deeply spiritual and prudent, and we shall appoint them to this task. This will permit us to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word.” The proposal was unanimously accepted by the community. Following this they selected Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit; Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, who had been a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who first prayed over them and then imposed hands on them. The word of God continued to spread, while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased. There were many priests among those who embraced the faith.

GOSPEL: Mark (15: 43 - 16: 8)

At that time Joseph from Arimathea arrived--a distinguished member of the Sanhedrin. He was another who looked forward to the reign of God. He was bold enough to seek an audience with Pilate and urgently requested the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that Jesus should have died so soon. He summoned the centurion and inquired whether Jesus was already dead. Pilate released the corpse to Joseph. Then, having bought a linen shroud, Joseph took him down, wrapped him the linen, and laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of rock. Finally he rolled a stone across the entrance of the tomb. Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where he had been laid. When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought perfumed oils with which they intended to go and anoint Jesus. Very early, just after sunrise, on the first day of the week they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked, they found that the stone had been rolled back (It was a huge one.) On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting at the right, dressed in a white robe. This frightened them thoroughly, but he reassured them: “You need not be amazed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was crucified. He has been raised up; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. Go now and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee, where you will see him just as he told you.’ “ They made their way out and fled from the tomb bewildered and trembling: and because of their great fear, they said nothing to anyone.

April 22, 2018
EPISTLE: Acts (9: 32-42 )

In those days Peter was making numerous journeys, he went -- among other places -- to God’s holy people living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you! Get up and make your bed.’’ The man got up at once. All the inhabitants of Lydda and Sharon, upon seeing him, were converted to the Lord. Now in Joppa there was a certain woman convert named Tabitha (in Greek Dorcas, meaning a gazelle). Her life was marked by constant good deeds and acts of charity. At about that time she fell ill and died. They washed her body and laid it out in an upstairs room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples who had heard that Peter was there sent two men to him with the urgent request, “Please come over to us without delay.’’ Peter set out with them as they asked. Upon his arrival they took him upstairs to the room. All the widows came to him in tears and showed him the various garments Dorcas had made when she was still with them. Peter first made everyone go outside; then he knelt down and prayed. Turning to the dead body, he said, “Tabitha, stand up.’’ She opened her eyes, then looked at Peter and sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her to her feet. The next thing he did was to call in those who were believers and the widows to show them that she was alive. This became known all over Joppa, and because of it, many came to believe in the Lord.

GOSPEL: John (5: 1 - 15)

At that time Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Pool there is a place with the Hebrew name Bethesda. It’s five porticoes were crowded with sick people lying there blind, lame or disabled, waiting for the movement of the water. For from time to time an angel of the Lord used to come down into the pool; and the water was stirred up, so the first one to get in was healed of whatever sickness he had had. There was one man who had been sick for thirty eight years. Jesus, who knew he had been sick a long time, said when he saw him lying there, “Do you want to be healed?’’ “Sir,’’ the sick man answered, “I do not have anyone to plunge me into the pool once the water has been stirred up. By the time I get there, someone else has gone in ahead of me.’’ Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your mat and walk!’’ The man was immediately cured; he picked up his mat and began to walk. The day was a sabbath. Consequently, some of the Jews began telling the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath, and you are not allowed to carry the mat around.’’ He explained, “It was the man who cured me who told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ‘‘ “This person who told you to pick it up and walk,’’ they asked, “who is he?’’ The man who had been restored to health had no idea who it was. The crowd in that place was so great that Jesus had been able to slip away. Later on, Jesus found him in the temple precincts and said to him: “Remember, now, you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you.’’ The man went off and informed the Jews that Jesus was the one who had cured him.

This page was last updated March 22, 2018
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