Sixth Sunday of Easter; 9 May 2021; Easter 6B (RCL); Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17.
Last week, we read the image of the vine in John’s Gospel, and this week’s reading continues on from there. The whole purpose of Jesus’ command that we love one another as he has loved us is so that we might be fruitful. John never does tell us what fruitfulness looks like, and so leaves it open for each community to discover for itself what is good and ripe and juicy.
Continue reading “The fruit of love”
Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday); 25 April 2021; Easter 4B (RCL); Acts 4:5-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18.
Good Shepherd Sunday conjures images of Jesus with a lamb across his shoulders (this was in fact one of the earliest known depictions of Jesus in the Roman Catacombs). The trouble with this image is that we, the sheep, remain passive. The language in today’s readings suggests that we should be anything but passive.
Continue reading “Trust”
Third Sunday of Easter; 18 April 2021; Easter 3B (RCL); Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48.
Several of the resurrection appearances of Jesus involve food, specifically fish. In the passage just before this one in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus walks with two of the disciples (who fail to recognize him) from Jerusalem to Emmaus. When they arrive, they prevail upon him to join them for supper, and when he blesses the bread and breaks it, their eyes are opened, and they recognize him (from whence comes the allusion in the collect). His actions in blessing the bread are similar to his actions in the feeding miracles in the wilderness.
Continue reading “Food for the journey”
Second Sunday of Easter; 11 April 2021; Easter 2B (RCL); Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; John 20:19-31.
We call him “Doubting Thomas” but he doesn’t doubt; he refuses to believe. And when, at last, he sees (and touches?) the wounds, Jesus doesn’t say (as our translation has it), “Do not doubt, but believe;” he says instead (a better translation of the Greek), “Do not be untrusty, but trusty.” And that after Thomas has ascribed to Jesus the ‘highest’ title so far in John’s Gospel: My Lord and my God.
Continue reading “Resurrected wounds”
Fifth Sunday in Lent; 21 March 2021; Lent 5B (RCL); Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-13; Hebrews 5:5-10; John 12:20-33.
This is a strange little passage in John’s Gospel, and for that and other reasons, I think it is the heart of the Gospel, the hinge on which John’s Gospel turns. Certain Greeks (what were Greeks doing at the Passover Festival in Jerusalem, anyway?) make known to Philip (a good Greek name) that they wish to see Jesus. Philip goes to Andrew (another good Greek name — also Philip and Andrew are the two disciples named in the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes), and the two of them go to Jesus to tell him there are some Greeks who want to see him. Jesus replies, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Huh? What has one to do with the other?
Continue reading “Now is the hour”
Third Sunday in Lent; Lent 3B (RCL); Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22.
Christians often think that when Jesus “cleansed” the temple, he was simply getting rid of corrupt practices not associated with the worship of God. In fact, he is directly challenging the temple institution. People traveling to the great festivals would need to buy animals for sacrifice upon arrival, and to contribute to the Temple treasury, they would need to exchange their Roman coinage for Temple coinage. This activities were require for proper worship.
Continue reading “Cleaning house”
Second Sunday in Lent; 28 February 2021; Lent 2B (RCL); Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30; Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38.
For Paul, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus inaugurated the final phase of God’s plan for Israel. Israel was to judge the world and establish God’s reign on earth. But Israel had misunderstood God’s purposes, thinking they applied only to Israel as God’s chosen people. Instead, Paul believed, Israel was to be a light to the nations, working salvation for the whole world.
Continue reading “To save your life”
First Sunday in Lent; 21 February 2021; Lent 1B (RCL); Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-9; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15.
The temptation story in Mark’s Gospel seems rather truncated compared to Matthew and Luke, until one remembers that Mark wrote his account first. Matthew and Luke added Q material to Mark’s account, as well as some of their own material. But they leave out an interesting detail. Mark mentions that Jesus was with the wild beasts.
Continue reading “A new covenant”
Fourth Sunday of Epiphany; 31 January 2021; Epiphany 4B (RCL); Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28.
I find this passage from Mark’s Gospel to be rather frustrating. Jesus teaches as one having authority, but Mark doesn’t give us the content of his teaching, just the crowd’s response to it. We do get an exorcism, which is really the first public act of Jesus’ ministry. And it happens in the synagogue at Capernaum. What point is Mark making?
Continue reading “Authority”
Third Sunday after Epiphany; 24 January 2021; Epiphany 3B (RCL); Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:6-14; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20.
All of the readings for this week seem short and abrupt, and leave more unsaid than they say. We get only a tiny piece of the story of Jonah — his second call. We miss his running away to Tarshish, the three days in the belly of the fish, and then it leaves off the end of the story — Jonah being angry about the plant. All we get is his short sermon to Nineveh.
Continue reading “God’s call”