Scripture reading: Galatians 1:1‑10. Text: "Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10.
Text: "Then the disciples of John came to him (Jesus) saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?' And Jesus said to them, 'Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.'" Matthew 9:14‑15.
Scripture reading: John 18:28‑40. Text: "Pilate said to him (Jesus), 'What is truth?' After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, ‘I find no crime in him (Jesus).’" John 18:38.
Scripture reading: Matthew 10:16‑23. Text: "‘Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.’" Matthew 10:16.
Scripture reading: Luke 10:25‑37. Text: "‘NOW BY CHANCE a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him (the victim of the robbers) he passed by on the other side.’" Luke 10:31.
Scripture reading: John 15:12‑17. Text: "There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24, and "‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’” John 15:13.
Scripture reading: Matthew 18:15-17. Text: “To have lawsuits at all with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”
Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 15:1-11. Text: “Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12.
Scripture reading: Luke 3:1‑18. Text from Luke 3:15: "As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ," Revised Standard Version. "The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ." New International Version.
Text: "Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is Abel your brother?' He said, 'I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?'" Genesis 4:9 and "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.
Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12‑27. Text: ". . .and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:5.
Scripture reading: Exodus 20:1‑17. Text: "They asked Him (Jesus), 'Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?' But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 'Show me a coin. Whose LIKENESS and inscription has it?' They said, 'Caesar's'. He said to them, 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.'" Luke 20:21‑25.
Scripture reading: Isaiah 55:6-13. Text: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9.
Scripture reading: Hebrews 11:1‑12. Text: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. . . . And without faith it is impossible to please him (God). For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:1 and 6.
Scripture reading: Mark 12:28‑34. Text: "Jesus answered, 'The first (commandment) is . . . you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Mark 12:29‑31/a. Also: "And in His teaching He said, 'Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the pl…
Scripture reading: John 3:1‑15. Text: "Jesus answered (Nicodemus), 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. . . . Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew’."John 3:5‑7.
Scripture reading: Matthew 25:14‑30. Text: "‘For to everyone who has will be more given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’" Matthew 25:29.
This verse is one of those Bible passages which is considered a "hard text" because it is not easy one on which to present a clear and simple message. I would not dare to say that I know the perfect explanation, but using a few commentaries, we can get closer to the original idea that Jesus had in mind.
Scripture reading: Luke 16:19‑31. Text: "For I AM SURE (CONVINCED in the New International Version) that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38‑39. Revised Standard Version.
It needs no proof; just listen to the news and read the papers, life is a power struggle. In our Scripture reading we learn how the children of the first couple, Adam and Eve, had a sibling rivalry and how it ended in fratricide; Cain killed his brother Abel. It is an eternal challenge how to restore peace, how to facilitate reconciliation, how to foster forgiveness, and how to maintain patience and magnanimity.
Scripture reading: Matthew 25:31-46. Text: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.” 2 Corinthians 5:10.
Scripture reading: Galatians 5:1‑15. Text: "For FREEDOM Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 and "But he who looks into the perfect law, THE LAW OF LIBERTY, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing." James 1:25. (Emphasis mine).
Scripture reading: Luke 15:11‑32. Text: From the parable of the prodigal son, the older son is speaking, "'“But when the son of yours came (home), who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!” And he (the father) said to him (his older son), “Son you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.”'" Luke 15:30‑32.
Scripture reading: Acts of Apostles 2:1‑8, 11‑13. Text: Jesus is speaking to His disciples before His ascension: “‘But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.’” Acts of Apostles 1:8.
Scripture reading: Acts of Apostles 1:1-11. Text: “And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’” Acts of Apostles 1:10-11.