The Second Sunday of Lent: Year B

Offering One’s Life

  • Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
  • Psalm 22:22-30
  • Romans 4:13-25
  • Mark 8:31-38

What does it mean to live with full faith and trust in God’s promises, when the reality of what we see and hear appear to be at odds with those promises? In today’s readings the patriarch Abraham and the disciples of Jesus are confronted with such a dilemma when the fulfillment of God’s promises is not what they expected.

The Covenant with Abraham depended upon faithful obedience rather than on a system of rules.”Hoping against hope” (Genesis 17:18), Abraham became the father of many nations despite his age and the barrenness of Sarah – indeed, he is the father of all who come to trust in God. Continue reading

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The First Sunday in Lent: Year B

Turning away from evil

  • Genesis 9:8-17
  • Psalm 25:1-9
  • 1 Peter 3:18-22
  • Mark 1:9-15

Today our readings plunge us into Lent with reminders of the waters of creation and the waters of our baptism. We enter this holy season reminded of our need for conversion and the invitation God continually gives us to turn toward God and renounce Satan. Our Baptismal Rite tells us, “There is one Body and one Spirit. There is one hope in God’s call to us” (BCP 299) and those who are about to be baptized (or their parents and sponsors) are asked, “Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?” (BCP 302). Continue reading

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The Last Sunday after the Epiphany: Year B

The Transfiguration of our Lord

  • 2 Kings 2:1-12
  • Psalm 50:1-6
  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
  • Mark 9:2-9

In every account (Mark 9:2-10; Matthew 17:1-13; Luke 9:28-36, 44-45), Jesus’ transfiguration immediately follows Peter’s confession and the disciples’ first lesson about Jesus’ course of shame, suffering and final vindication. In Christ’s way, belief lays the foundation for sight. The transfiguration could no more have preceded the confession of faith than could Jesus’ resurrection have preceded his crucifixion. Continue reading

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Ash Wednesday: Prepare

English: Ashes imposed on the forehead of a Ch...

Lent begins in ashes. On Ash Wednesday we are reminded of our mortality and sin. It is not a time for groveling; rather, it is a time for reality, for genuine humility, for repentance and forgiveness and renewed commitment to following the ways of Jesus. Lent is a season of preparation, preparing to Jesus’ passion and death for us and then to Easter.

Lord, who throughout these forty days for us didst fast and pray, teach us with thee to mourn our sins and close by thee to say. The Hymnal 1982, #142 Continue reading

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The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany: Year B

The power to heal

  • Isaiah 40:21-31
  • Psalm 147:1-12, 21c
  • 1 Corinthians 9:16-23
  • Mark 1:29-39

Here at the beginning of history’s central event – the advent of Jesus Christ – Mark records the healing of a mother-in-law. Mark sandwiches this event between the exorcising of a demon in the midst of Jewish worship (our reading last week) and huge crowds bringing other demon-possessed and physically ill people. Peter’s mother-in-law shows the proper response to Jesus’ touch: service prompted by gratitude and devotion.

What Jesus has done in the synagogue spreads like a firestorm. The people could hardly wait for the Sabbath to end, as signaled by the first three visible stars. So at sunset, a flood of people come to Jesus, carrying or leading their sick, confused and maimed friends and family members. With compassion and power Jesus responds. Many can speak with a semblance of power, but few are able to follow through with deeds of power. Jesus produces results. Continue reading

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The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany: Year B

Power over evil

  • Deuteronomy 18:15-20
  • Psalm 111
  • 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
  • Mark 1:21-28

Jesus had the power to drive out evil from the lives of people. It today’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum, with Jesus teaching on the Sabbath in the synagogue. A man was suffering from an unclean spirit that recognized Jesus as the Holy One of God. The spirit obeyed Jesus’ command to leave the man. “He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” Continue reading

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The Third Sunday after the Epiphany: Year B

Fish Stories

  • Jonah 3:1-5, 10
  • Psalm 62:6-12
  • 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
  • Mark 1:14-20

Words that connect today’s readings do not seem connected at all: fish, risk and urgency. We hear the familiar story of Jesus calling his disciples to make them “fishers of men.” Paul has faced a reversal in his life, sharing with the church in Corinth that “The appointed time has grown short” (1 Corinthians 7:29). The urgency is to follow the bidding of the Lord, because “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near . . .” (Mark 1:15).

Jonah has been given a message of great urgency. Ninevah had become the worlds’ greatest obstacle to the establishment of justice. Conquest and greed from the Assyrian Empire had made it a great city through aggression, cruelty and exploitation. Jonah was not quite willing to take up his task when called upon by God, but eventually he was compelled to deliver God’s message. Continue reading

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