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Selected Scripture Readings

May 13, 2021 - 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 16, 2021
EPISTLE: Acts (20: 16 - 18, 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 23, 2021 - Pentecost Sunday

EPISTLE: Acts (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.”


May 30, 2021 - All Saints Sunday

EPISTLE: Hebrews (11: 33 - 12: 2)

Brothers and Sisters! All who by faith conquered kingdoms, did what was just, obtained the promises; they broke the jaws of lions, put out raging fires, escaped the devouring sword; though weak they were made powerful, became strong in battle, and turned back foreign invaders. Women received back their dead through resurrection. Others were tortured and would not receive deliverance, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Still others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point; they went about garbed in the skins of sheep or goats, needy, afflicted, tormented. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered about in deserts and on mountains, they dwelt in caves and in holes of the earth. Yet despite the fact that all of these were approved because of their faith, they did not obtain what had been promised. God had made a better plan, a plan which included us. Without us, they were not to be made perfect. Therefore, since we for our part are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith.


GOSPEL: Matthew (10: 32 - 33, 37 - 38, 19: 27-30)

The Lord said to his disciples: “Whoever acknowledges me before men I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. Whoever disowns me before men I will disown before my Father in heaven. Whoever loves father or mother, son or daughter, more than me is not worthy of me. He who will not take up his cross and come after me is not worthy of me.” Then it was Peter’s turn to say to him: “Here we have put everything aside to follow you. What can we expect from it?” Jesus said to them, “I give you my solemn word, in the new age when the Son of Man takes his seat upon a throne befitting his glory, you who have followed me shall likewise take your places on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Moreover, everyone who has given up home, brothers or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake will receive many times as much and inherit everlasting life. Many who are first shall come last, and the last shall come first.”




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