The Season after Pentecost: Proper 11, Year A

Wheat or Weeds?

  • Genesis 28:10-19a
  • Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23 or Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
  • Romans 8:12-25
  • Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

It is an age-old question: why is there evil in the world? In the parable of the wheat and the weeds (King James Version = tares), Jesus suggests that both grow together until the harvest. With Paul, we long for the day that all creation will be set free from bondage and suffering. Having both weeds and wheat within us (like Jacob in today’s lesson from Genesis), we humbly place our hope in the promises of God and from the sustenance we receive at the Lord’s Table as we go forth to bear the fruit of justice. To do this we also must be willing to forgive.

Just like last week’s Gospel reading, Jesus again uses the metaphor of sowing and reaping, as he speaks of unfaithful and fallen individuals. Here he takes a stand for including doubters and obvious sinners. After Jesus tells this parable, his disciples come to him for an explanation. They are troubled, it is a parable of judgment. Continue reading

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The Season after Pentecost: Proper 10, Year A

Sow within us, God

  • Genesis 25:19-34
  • Psalm 119:105-112
  • Romans 8:1-11
  • Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

The Third Discourse of Matthew 13 consists of a number of parables on why some hear and accept the Gospel, while others reject it. This was an issue during the ministry of Jesus and continues to perplex the Church even now.

Today’s reading includes the Parable of the Sower and its interpretation. Jesus describes four kinds of soil that illustrate the different responses to the good news of God’s Kingdom fulfilled through him. Although it is referred to as the Parable of the Sower (also in Mark 4:1-9 and Luke 8:4-8), the story is actually about the soil in which the seeds are planted. The seeds themselves are good and represent the teachings of Jesus. It is the soil in which they are sown that determines what kind of harvest they bring forth. Continue reading

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The Season after Pentecost: Proper 9, Year A

The relief of following Jesus

  • Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
  • Psalm 45:11-18 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13
  • Romans 7:15-25a
  • Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Today’s Gospel offers familiar words of comfort, as it is said during the Holy Eucharist, Rite I (BCP 332): Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

This saying of Jesus was originally offered to Palestinian peasants, crushed by their inability to keep the Jewish Law. Paul also struggles with this in today’s reading from Romans. He feels two strong and opposing tendencies with his being. Without the new relationship of faith through Jesus, the regulations of the law only cause the tendency to break the law grow stronger. Continue reading

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Season After Pentecost, Proper 8: Year A

The Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio (1609)

Exploring Genesis in Ordinary Time

  • Genesis 22:1-14
  • Psalm 13
  • Romans 6:12-23
  • Matthew 10:40-42

We have now settled into the “green” in our liturgical calendar, having spent the Easter season in white, followed by the red of Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday. We are in Ordinary Time – the Season after Pentecost. Since Pentecost is a movable feast, depending on the date of Easter, our Sundays can also be followed in the lectionary by two categories: Proper (#) or Ordinary (#). Yes – it can be confusing! In liturgical terms, Proper means “The parts of the liturgy that vary according to the particular feast or season of the year.” Page 158 of the Book of Common Prayer discusses “Concerning the Proper of the Church Year.” 

There are many Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments during this season. Summertime can be a time to develop creative intergenerational programming that builds builds week upon week. Storytelling, enhanced by simple dramatics, creative writing, painting, and other experiences, can be fully explored. The “Common Lectionary” breaks away from the thematic harmony principle (which is another lectionary track that will not be followed on this site) of all the Sunday readings during this long season of the church year. Continue reading

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Season after Pentecost: Proper 7, Year A

5_simon_cyreneThe cost of discipleship

  • Genesis 21:8-21
  • Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
  • Romans 6:1b-11
  • Matthew 10:24-39

The disciples were sent out by Jesus to do nothing but make present God’s liberating power among the people. They heal the sick, preach release to the captives, and offer liberation to the oppressed. And what should they expect in return? No gratitude, no comfort, no welcome. They will be rejected flogged, vilified, called workers of the devil – just as Jesus was. No good deed goes unpunished for long. Just as the missionary disciples share Jesus’ mission and ministry, so will they share his persecution and martyrdom. There is a high cost of commitment to being a following of Jesus. Disciples must be prepared for conflict (10:34), family strife, and be ready, if necessary, to choose Jesus over the closest personal ties. Continue reading

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Trinity Sunday: Year A

The God who creates, redeems, and sanctifies is revealed to us in three persons.

  • Genesis 1:1-24a
  • Psalm 8 or Canticle 2 or Canticle 13
  • 2 Corinthians 12:11-13
  • Matthew 28:16-20

The relationship of love among the three persons of the Trinity serves as a model for communities baptized Christians living together in unity.

Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost. It has been part of the Church since 1334, when it was designated in commemoration of the doctrine of the Trinity, the belief that God is revealed to us in three persons existing in a mutual relationship of love. It is the total revelation of God: God the Father as Creator; God the Son as Redeemer; God the Holy Spirit as Sanctifier and Comforter. Our understanding of the Trinity arises from the biblical, creedal, and doctrinal statements that emerged from the creative struggles of theologians in the church to understand and talk about the nature of God. Continue reading

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The Day of Pentecost: Year A

Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus

Filled with the Holy Spirit

  • Acts of the Apostles 2:1-21
  • Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm 104:25-35, 37
  • Romans 8:22-27
  • John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

With the wind and tongues of fire, the Day of Pentecost is upon us, as we experience the glorious climax of the Easter season. The lessons for today manifest the creative power and presence of the Holy Spirit both in the Church and in our individual lives.

“It is to your advantage that I go away.” (John 16:7) These words must have greatly disturbed the disciples. They could not see any advantages in being separated from this one whom they loved. The “Advocate,” the Holy Spirit, who would not come unless Jesus went away, was only a vague notion to them. How could they imagine replacing the flesh-and-blood Jesus with something as nebulous as a spirit? So Jesus gave more concrete information about the work of the Holy Spirit in order to help the disciples grasp the reality of this Advocate who was to come. Continue reading

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