Selected Scripture Readings

May 19, 2019
EPISTLE: Acts of Apostles (11:19-26, 29-30)

In those days those in the community who had been dispersed by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, making the message known to none but Jews. However, some men of Cyprus and Cyrene among them who had come to Antioch began to talk even to the Greeks, announcing the good news of the Lord Jesus to them. The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number of them believed and were converted to the Lord. News of this eventually reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, resulting in Barnabas’ being sent to Antioch. On his arrival he rejoiced to see the evidence of God’s favour. He encouraged them all to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord, since he himself was a good man filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Thereby large numbers were added to the Lord. Then Barnabas went off to Tarsus to look for Saul; once he had found him, he brought him back to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and instructed great numbers. It was in Antioch that the disciples were called Christians for the first time. This made the disciples determine to set something aside, each according to his means, and send it to the relief of brothers who lived in Judea. They did this, dispatching it to the presbyters in the care of Barnabas and Saul.

GOSPEL: John(4: 5-43)

At that time Jesus came to a Samaritan town named Shechem near the plot of land which Jacob had given to his son Joseph. This was the site of Jacob’s well. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down at the well. The hour was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.’’ (His disciples had gone off to the town to buy provisions.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew. How can you ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink?’’ (Recall that Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.) Jesus replied: “If only you recognized God’s gift, and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would have asked him instead, and he would have given you living water.’’ “Sir,’’ she challenged him, “you do not have a bucket and this well is deep. Where do you expect to get this flowing water? Surely you do not pretend to be greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it with his sons and his flocks?’’ Jesus replied: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty; no, the water I give shall become a fountain within him, leaping up to provide eternal life.’’ The woman said to him, “Give me this water, sir, so that I shall not grow thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’’ He said to her, “Go, call your husband, and then come back here.’’ “I have no husband,’’ replied the woman. “You are right in saying you have no husband!’’ Jesus exclaimed. “The fact is, you have had five, and the man you are living with now is not your husband. What you said is true.’’ “Sir,’’ answered the woman, “I can see you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you people claim that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship God.’’ Jesus told her: “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand, while we understand what we worship; after all, salvation is from the Jews. Yet an hour is coming, and is already here, when authentic worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth. Indeed, it is just such worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.’’ The woman said to him: “I know there is a Messiah coming. (This term means Anointed.) When he comes, he will tell us everything.’’ Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am he.’’ His disciples returning at this point, were surprised that Jesus was speaking with a woman. No one put a question, however, such as “What do you want of him?’’ or “Why are you talking with her?’’ The woman left her water jar and went off into the town. She said to the people: “Come and see someone who told me everything I ever did! Could this not be the Messiah?’’ At that they set out from the town to meet him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.’’ But he told them: “I have food to eat of which you do not know.’’ At this the disciples said to one another, “Do you suppose that someone has brought him something to eat?’’ Jesus explained to them: “Doing the will of him who sent me and bringing his work to completion is my food. Do you not have a saying: ‘Four months more and it will be harvest!’? Listen to what I say: Open your eyes and see! The fields are shining for harvest! The reaper already collects his wages and gathers a yield for eternal life, that sower and reaper may rejoice together. Here we have the saying verified: ‘One man sows; another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you had not worked for. Others have done the labour, and you have come into their gain.” Many Samaritans from that town believed in him on the strength of the woman’s word of testimony: “He told me everything I ever did.’’ The result was that, when these Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them awhile. So he stayed there two days, and through his own spoken word many more came to faith. As they told the woman: “No longer does our faith depend on your story. We have heard for ourselves, and we know that this really is the Saviour of the world.’’

May 26, 2019
EPISTLE: Actos Apostles (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: 1-38)

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.

June 2, 2019
EPISTLE: Actos of Apostles (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.”



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