Work in progress!

This is a commentary on the lectionary, not a commentary on the passages. The aim is to answer the question: Why was this passage chosen?

Note that there is often no ‘theme’ tying the readings together. (Many people persist in looking for one, even decades after the ASB.) Where readings are closely related, they are grouped together below. In many cases, however, a particular reading will not be related to other readings on the same day, but it will turn out to be part of a series on a particular book of the Bible running over several weeks. This principle of continuous (or semicontinuous) reading of Scripture is one of the key principles behind the lectionary.

Common Worship was introduced in the Church of England in 2000. It includes a Lectionary for Sundays, Principal Feasts and Holy Days, and Festivals, which provides a lectionary for three services on each of those days: Principal Service, Second Service, and Third Service (along with ‘Evening Prayer on the Eve’ for some occasions). This page covers the Principal Service Lectionary, which is drawn (with modifications) from the ecumenical Revised Common Lectionary (RCL).

Most of the comments below are ‘reverse engineered’ using the lectionary and a fair bit of guesswork, so they should not be taken as authoritative.

Work in progress!

  • Year A: hardly begun
  • Year B: hardly begun
  • Year C: complete from Easter Day onwards.
  • Festivals: hardly begun

The Bible and the lectionary

For the Gospels, Year A focuses on Matthew, Year B on Mark, and Year C on Luke. John is read in Years A, B and C, mostly during the seasons (especially Easter), but with some appearances in Ordinary Time in Year B (such as a summer series on John 6). During the Sundays in Ordinary Time (excluding the two before Lent), the readings in Matthew, Mark and Luke are sequential (semicontinuous), with just one exception (Year B, 3 before Advent, Mark 1.14-20). This covers the bulk of each gospel (Matthew 5-25, Mark 1-13 and Luke 5-21, plus a bit of 23). Material from Matthew 1-4, Mark 1 and Luke 1-4 is included in Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and Lent (along with extracts from other chapters), and the resurrection accounts are included during Easter. Note that the Passion narratives (Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15 and Luke 22-23), with one or two small exceptions, are included only on Palm Sunday, within the Liturgy of the Passion.

Acts is read only at the Baptism of Christ, between Easter Day and Pentecost, and on some Festivals.

Old Testament ‘Continuous’ readings after Trinity, cover the following books sequentially (but not completely):

  • Year A (Pentateuch): Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy 34
  • Year B (History and Wisdom): 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings (up to chapter 8), and selections from Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Esther and Job
  • Year C (Prophets): 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 5 (Elijah and Elisha), Amos, Hosea, Isaiah (briefly!), Jeremiah, Lamentations, Joel

New Testament readings after Trinity and before Advent cover the following books sequentially (but not completely):

  • Year A: Romans, Philippians and 1 Thessalonians
  • Year B: 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, James and Hebrews 1-10
  • Year C: Galatians, Colossians, Hebrews 11-13, Philemon, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and 2 Thessalonians

What about the rest of the Bible (apart from the Gospels and the Psalms)? As well as cameo appearances during seasons and Festivals, and ‘Related’ Old Testament readings after Trinity, the Bible is read systematically as follows:

  • Old Testament
    • Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jonah, Micah, Zephaniah and Malachi: included, but not in a systematic way
    • Judges, Ruth, Ezra, Obadiah, Nahum and Haggai: not included
    • 1 and 2 Chronicles: not included (outside Festivals)
    • Ecclesiastes, Habakkuk and Zechariah: once as a ‘Related’ reading
    • Isaiah: features prominently in Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, and at other times (not sequential)
  • New Testament
    • Acts: Easter season, Years A, B and C (vaguely sequential)
    • 1 Corinthians:
      • Year A: chapters 1-3 after Epiphany and in February
      • Year B: chapter 9 for two Sundays in February
      • Year C: chapters 12-13 for two Sundays in Epiphany, followed by chapter 15 for three Sundays in February
    • Titus: no systematic readings
    • 1 Peter: Easter season, Year A
    • 2 Peter: no systematic readings
    • 1 John: Easter season, Year B
    • 2 John, 3 John, Jude: not included
    • Revelation: Easter season, Year C (also three Sundays in Epiphany, Year B, not sequential)

Choosing between the readings

It is worth noting rule 5 at the top of the lectionary, which gives permission to extend the readings:

In a compact cycle of readings such as these, some passages have necessarily been abbreviated. When opportunity allows, the passages may be read in full. Verses in brackets may be included or omitted, as desired.

Each service has the following readings:

  • Old Testament reading (or sometimes a reading from Acts),
  • psalm or canticle (usually a response to the first reading),
  • New Testament reading (from an epistle or Revelation), and
  • Gospel reading.

The psalm or canticle should normally be used, along with two or three of the other readings. When using just two of the other readings, Common Worship specifies:

When there are only two readings at the principal service and that service is Holy Communion, the second reading is always the Gospel reading. …

When the Principal Service Lectionary is used at a service other than Holy Communion, the Gospel reading need not always be chosen.

In addition, when the first reading is from Acts, it must be included as one of the readings.

Note that in Common Worship Holy Communion (Order One or Two), ‘Either one or two readings from Scripture precede the Gospel reading’, and ‘The psalm or canticle follows the first reading’. As the psalm or canticle is usually related to the Old Testament reading, this makes a lot of sense when that reading is used; it makes less sense when the Old Testament reading is omitted, because the psalm or canticle is often unrelated to the New Testament reading.

On the Sundays after Trinity, the Gospel reading and the New Testament reading follow separate tracks, and there are two alternative tracks for the Old Testament reading and the psalm, as explained in Common Worship:

Those under the heading ‘Continuous’ allow the Old Testament reading and its complementary psalm to stand independently of the other readings. Those under the heading ‘Related’ relate the Old Testament reading and the psalm to the Gospel reading.

Those who prefer the readings to cohere can have their wishes partially satisfied by opting for the ‘Related’ Old Testament reading (and psalm), which is related to the Gospel reading. But the cost of this is that it prevents the Old Testament from speaking so clearly with its own voice, and there is no ‘Related’ alternative reading from the New Testament.

Notes

Psalm references are to the Common Worship psalter. Where the versification is different in standard English versions of the Bible, this is indicated by ‘EV’. Quotations are drawn from the Common Worship psalter or the NRSV.

Depending on the day of the week for Christmas and Epiphany, and the date of Easter, lectionary provision for days marked with * might not be used in any given year. Other days might also be displaced for various reasons.

Further reading

Web resources

Advent

The First Sunday of Advent

The Second Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Christmas

Christmas Day

The First Sunday of Christmas

The Second Sunday of Christmas*

Epiphany

The Epiphany

The Baptism of Christ: The First Sunday of Epiphany

The Second Sunday of Epiphany

The Third Sunday of Epiphany

The Fourth Sunday of Epiphany*

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas)

Ordinary Time

Sunday between 4 and 10 February (Proper 1)*

(RCL ‘Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany’.)

Year C

  • 1 Corinthians 15.1-11, on the preaching of the resurrection, begins a three-part series on 1 Corinthians 15, covering most of the chapter. (NB: on Easter Day, verses 1-11 are read in Year B, and verses 19-26 in Year C.)
  • Luke 5.1-11 begins a semicontinuous series in Luke 5-21 (plus a bit of 23), which covers these three Sundays in February, and all the Sundays between Trinity and Advent. Jesus calls his first disciples. Isaiah 6.1-8 [9-13] continues the theme of calling, with the calling of Isaiah. Isaiah saw the Lord, ‘high and lofty’, in his heavenly temple, and Psalm 138 refers to God as ‘high’ and speaks of his ‘holy temple’.
    • Luke 5.12-16: see Mark 1.40-45.
    • Luke 5.17-26: see Mark 2.1-12.
    • Luke 5.27-32: see Matthew 9.9-13.
    • Luke 5.33-39: omitted, along with its parallels in Matthew 9.14-17 and Mark 2.18-22 (NB: RCL ‘Proper 3’).
    • Luke 6.1-11: see Mark 2.23-3.6.
    • Luke 6.12-16: see Matthew 9.35 – 10.8.

Sunday between 11 and 17 February (Proper 2)*

(RCL ‘Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany’, ‘Proper 1’.)

Year C

  • 1 Corinthians 15.12-20, on the resurrection of the dead, continues the series in 1 Corinthians 15.
  • Luke 6.17-26 continues the series in Luke, with the blessings and woes. Jeremiah 17.5-10 continues the theme (‘Cursed are those …’, ‘Blessed are those …’), as does Psalm 1 (‘Blessed are they …’, ‘As for the wicked …’).

Sunday between 18 and 24 February (Proper 3)*

(RCL ‘Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany’, ‘Proper 2’.)

Year C

  • 1 Corinthians 15.35-38, 42-50 concludes the series in 1 Corinthians 15, with extracts from the section on the resurrection body. (15.51-58 is the reading for the following week in the RCL.)
  • Luke 6.27-38 continues the series in Luke (without a gap), and focuses on loving one’s enemies. (6.39-49 is the reading for the following week in the RCL, which is omitted in Common Worship: see discussion below. To fill in the gap, this week’s reading could be extended to 6.42 ‘when opportunity allows’.) Genesis 45.3-11, 15 is about Joseph’s love for his brothers, who had behaved like his enemies. Psalm 37.1-11, 40, 41 (EV: 1-11, 39, 40) calls us not to fret about evildoers.

The Second Sunday before Lent

Creation theme.

The addition of this creation-themed week means that ‘Proper 3’ in the RCL is not included. The Gospel readings from that week contain several famous sayings of Jesus:

  • Matthew 6.24-34…
    • Matthew 6.24 (‘No one can serve two masters’): see Luke 16.1-13.
    • Matthew 6.25-34 (‘do not worry’): set for this week. See also Harvest Thanksgiving.
  • Mark 2.13-22 (‘I have come to call not the righteous but sinners … new wine into old wineskins’). The parallel passage in Luke 5.27-38 is also omitted, but the other parallel in Matthew 9.9-17 is partially included in Matthew 9.9-13, 18-26, and the gap could easily be filled.
  • Luke 6.39-49…
    • 6.39 (‘Can a blind person guide a blind person?’): see Matthew 15.14, which is included in Matthew 15.[10-20] 21-28.
    • 6.40 (‘A disciple is not above the teacher’): see John 13.16, which is included on Maundy Thursday.
    • 6.41-42 (‘speck … log’): see Matthew 7.3-5, which is also omitted (last week’s reading could be extended to this point).
    • 6.43-44 (‘tree is known by its fruit’): see Matthew 7.16, 18, 20, which could be included by extending the reading from 7.21-29 to begin at verse 16.
    • 6.45 (‘it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks’): see Matthew 12.34-35 (which is omitted) and a near parallel in Mark 7.20-23, which is (mostly) included in Mark 7.1-8, 14, 15, 21-23.
    • 6.46 (‘Lord … do what I say’): see Matthew 7.21, which is included in 7.21-29.
    • 6.47-49 (‘house … without a foundation’): see Matthew 7.24-27, which is included in 7.21-29.

The Sunday next before Lent

(RCL ‘Last Sunday after the Epiphany’, or ‘Transfiguration Sunday’.)

Lent

Ash Wednesday

The First Sunday of Lent

The Second Sunday of Lent

The Third Sunday of Lent

The Fourth Sunday of Lent

May be ‘displaced’ by Mothering Sunday.

Mothering Sunday

The Fifth Sunday of Lent

Palm Sunday

Monday of Holy Week

Tuesday of Holy Week

Wednesday of Holy Week

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

Easter Eve

Easter

A reading from Acts is included at every service between Easter Day and Pentecost.

Gospel readings between Easter Day and Pentecost are exclusively from John’s Gospel (continuing to Trinity Sunday in Years B and C), except on Easter 3 in Years A and B, on Ascension Day, and except for the alternative readings for Easter Day (which duplicate those for the Easter Vigil). Furthermore, on Easter 5, 6 and 7 (and on Pentecost in Years B and C, and Trinity in Year C), the readings are from the ‘farewell discourse’ (John 13-17).

Easter Vigil

The readings are the same for Years A, B and C, except for the Gospel reading.

  • Genesis 1.1 – 2.4aPsalm 136.1-9, 23-26
  • Genesis 7.1-5, 11-18; 8.6-18; 9.8-13 (also the alternative first reading for Easter 4, spread over three weeks in Year A, Easter 4-6), picks up on the resurrection of Jesus being like passing through the waters of the flood. The dove points towards the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. Psalm 46
  • Genesis 22.1-18 (also the alternative alternative first reading for Easter 5, Years B and C) … Psalm 16
  • Exodus 14.10-31; 15.20, 21 (also the alternative first reading for Easter 2) draws on the connection between Israel passing through the Red Sea and Jesus passing through death to new life. The canticle Exodus 15.1b-13, 17, 18 continues the theme.
  • Isaiah 55.1-11 (also the alternative first reading for Easter 6, Year B) … Isaiah 12.2-6
  • Baruch 3.9-15, 32 – 4.4 (also the alternative first reading for Easter 5, Years B and C) … (Proverbs 8.1-8, 19-21; 9.4b-6 …) Psalm 19
  • Ezekiel 36.24-28 (also the alternative first reading for Easter 7) … Psalm 42, 43
  • Ezekiel 37.1-14 (also the alternative first reading for Easter 6, Year C, and Pentecost, Year B) … Psalm 143
  • Zephaniah 3.14-20 (also the alternative first reading for Easter 3) rejoices in God’s salvation, and in fortunes being restored. Psalm 98 rejoices in God’s salvation.
  • Romans 6.3-11 connects baptism with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Psalm 114 connects this with Israel coming out of Egypt and crossing the Jordan.

Year A

  • Matthew 28.1-10 (also the alternative Gospel reading for Easter Day) is Matthew’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb, and the appearance of the risen Jesus to the women.

Year B

  • Mark 16.1-8 (also the alternative Gospel reading for Easter Day) is Mark’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb.

Year C

  • Luke 24.1-12 (also the alternative Gospel reading for Easter Day) is Luke’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb.

Easter Day

Year A

  • Acts 10.34-43 (Years A, B and C) begins a (vaguely sequential) series in Acts, and features Peter telling Cornelius about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
  • Psalm 118.1-2, 14-24 (Years A, B and C) reflects the theme of resurrection: ‘I shall not die, but live … The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’.
  • John 20.1-18 (Years A, B and C) begins a series in John, and is John’s account of the discovery of the empty tomb, and the appearance of the risen Jesus to Mary Magdalene.
  • (For the alternative, Matthew 28.1-10, see Easter Vigil.)

Year B

  • Acts 10.34-43: see Year A.
  • Psalm 118.1-2, 14-24: see Year A.
  • John 20.1-18: see Year A.
  • (For the alternative, Mark 16.1-8, see Easter Vigil.)

Year C

  • Acts 10.34-43: see Year A.
  • (The alternative first reading, Isaiah 65.17-25 reflects the connection between resurrection and new creation.)
  • Psalm 118.1-2, 14-24: see Year A.
  • 1 Corinthians 15.19-26 is one of the portions of the chapter proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus (see also Year B, and the Year C Sundays in February).
  • John 20.1-18: see Year A.
  • (For the alternative, Luke 24.1-12, see Easter Vigil.)

The Second Sunday of Easter

Year A

  • (For the alternative first reading, Exodus 14.10-31; 15.20, 21, see Easter Vigil.)
  • John 20.19-31 (Years A, B and C) continues (directly) the series in John, with Jesus’ appearances on Easter evening and a week later.

Year B

  • (For the alternative first reading, Exodus 14.10-31; 15.20, 21, see Easter Vigil.)
  • John 20.19-31: see Year A.

Year C

  • Acts 5.27-32 continues the series in Acts, and recounts the apostles before the Sanhedrin, testifying to Jesus’ resurrection (with a mention of the Holy Spirit).
  • (For the alternative first reading, Exodus 14.10-31; 15.20, 21, see Easter Vigil.)
  • Psalm 118.14-29 largely duplicates last week’s psalm. Perhaps this is why an alternative is provided: Psalm 150, which is a joyful expression of praise for God’s mighty acts.
  • Revelation 1.4-8 begins a (sparse but sequential) series in Revelation, covering every ‘Sunday of Easter’.
  • John 20.19-31: see Year A.

The Third Sunday of Easter

Years A and B interrupt the Easter series in John with an excursion into Luke 24.

Year A

  • (For the alternative first reading, Zephaniah 3.14-20, see Easter Vigil.)

Year B

  • (For the alternative first reading, Zephaniah 3.14-20, see Easter Vigil.)

Year C

  • Acts 9.1-6 [7-20] continues the series in Acts, and describes Jesus’ activity after his resurrection and ascension in relation to Saul, bringing about a kind of death-to-life transformation.
  • (For the alternative first reading, Zephaniah 3.14-20, see Easter Vigil.)
  • Psalm 30 is a life-from-death psalm (perhaps reflecting Saul’s experience).
  • Revelation 5.11-14 continues the series in Revelation, and gives glory to the slain-but-living Lamb.
  • John 21.1-19 concludes the post-resurrection sub-series in John (extending the readings beyond John 20, unlike Years A and B).

The Fourth Sunday of Easter

The theme of Jesus as the shepherd dominates, with Gospel readings from John 10, and with Psalm 23 included every year. (This Sunday is sometimes known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’.)

Year A

  • (The alternative first reading, Genesis 7, begins a series on the flood in Genesis, expanding the alternative reading for Years B and C. The resurrection of Jesus is like passing through the waters of the flood.)
  • John 10.1-10 continues the series in John, and introduces the theme of the sheep and the shepherd (although Jesus here is the gate). Jesus has come to give life to the sheep. Psalm 23 continues the shepherd theme, and is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus, because of which we need not fear when we ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death’.

Year B

  • (For the alternative first reading, Genesis 7.1-5, 11-18; 8.6-18; 9.8-13, see Easter Vigil.)
  • John 10.11-18 continues the series in John, and says that Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life and takes it back up again. Psalm 23 continues the shepherd theme: see Year A.

Year C

  • Acts 9.36-43 continues the series in Acts, and shows that Jesus’ power to raise the dead is active through his apostle Peter. The resurrection leads to the growth of the church.
  • (For the alternative first reading, Genesis 7.1-5, 11-18; 8.6-18; 9.8-13, see Easter Vigil.)
  • John 10.22-30 continues the series in John, and says that Jesus gives life to his sheep. Psalm 23 continues the shepherd theme: see Year A. Revelation 7.9-17 continues the series in Revelation, and features the Lamb, whose blood has been shed, but who is alive, and is described as a shepherd.

The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Year A

  • (The alternative first reading, Genesis 8.1-19, continues the series on the flood in Genesis. The dove points towards the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost.)

Year B

  • (For the alternative first reading, Baruch 3.9-15, 32 – 4.4, or Genesis 22.1-18, see Easter Vigil.)

Year C

  • Acts 11.1-18 continues the series in Acts, recounting the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. Psalm 148 invites ‘all peoples’ and all creation to ‘Praise the Lord’.
  • (For the alternative first reading, Baruch 3.9-15, 32 – 4.4, or Genesis 22.1-18, see Easter Vigil.)
  • Revelation 21.1-6 continues the series in Revelation, featuring the end of death.
  • John 13.31-35 continues the series in John, and begins a series on the ‘farewell discourse’, which continues on Sundays until Pentecost. Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for his departure.

The Sixth Sunday of Easter

As the Sunday before the Rogation Days (the weekdays before Ascension Day), this is often observed as ‘Rogation Sunday’, with a focus on asking for God’s blessing on the crops. (‘Rogation’ comes from Latin rogare, to ask.)

Year A

  • (The alternative first reading, Genesis 8.20 – 9.17, concludes the series on the flood in Genesis.)

Year B

  • (For the alternative first reading, Isaiah 55.1-11, see Easter Vigil.)

Year C

  • Acts 16.9-15 continues the series in Acts, recounting Lydia’s conversion, as the risen Jesus opens her heart, and as the gospel advances into Europe.
  • (For the alternative first reading, Ezekiel 37.1-14, see Easter Vigil.)
  • Psalm 67 picks up the Rogation theme, asking for a good harvest, but also calls for the nations to praise God, which links with the reading from Acts.
  • Revelation 21.10, 22 – 22.5 continues the series on Revelation, focusing on the Holy City.
  • John 14.23-29 continues the series in John’s ‘farewell discourse’, looking ahead to the gift of the Spirit.
  • (The alternative, John 5.1-9, recounts the healing at the pool in Bethesda. Presumably there is a good reason for this.)

Ascension Day

  • Acts 1.1-11 recounts Jesus’ ascension.
  • (The alternative first reading, Daniel 7.9-14, has the Son of Man approaching the Ancient of Days and being given authority.)
  • Psalm 47 picks up the ascension theme (‘God has gone up’).
  • (The alternative, Psalm 93, celebrates the reign of ‘the Lord on high’.)
  • Ephesians 1.15-23 celebrates Christ’s ascension to the heavenly realms.
  • Luke 24.44-53 recounts Jesus’ ascension.

The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Year A

  • (For the alternative first reading, Ezekiel 36.24-28, see Easter Vigil.)
  • John 17.1-11 continues the series in John, and concludes the series in the ‘farewell discourse’, with the first section of Jesus’ prayer (see Years B and C).

Year B

  • (For the alternative first reading, Ezekiel 36.24-28, see Easter Vigil.)
  • John 17.6-19 continues the series in John’s ‘farewell discourse’, with the central section of Jesus’ prayer (see Years A and C).

Year C

  • Acts 16.16-34 continues the series on Acts (immediately from last Sunday), recounting the resurrection-like deliverance of Paul and Silas from prison. Psalm 97 echoes the reading from Acts with the earth shaking and people rejoicing.
  • (For the alternative first reading, Ezekiel 36.24-28, see Easter Vigil.)
  • Revelation 22.12-14, 16, 17, 20, 21 concludes the series on Revelation (in a somewhat redacted fashion). There is a mention of the Spirit, and a longing for Jesus’ return, echoing Ascension themes.
  • John 17.20-26 continues the series in John’s ‘farewell discourse’ with the concluding section of Jesus’ prayer (see Years A and B).

Day of Pentecost

Year A

  • Acts 2.1-21 (Years A, B and C) narrates the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost.
  • Psalm 104.26-36, 37b (Years A, B and C) includes ‘When you send forth your spirit, they are created’.
  • John 20.19-23 concludes the series in John …
  • (The alternative, John 7.37-39, …)

Year B

  • Acts 2.1-21: see Year A.
  • (For the alternative first reading, Ezekiel 37.1-14, see Easter Vigil.)
  • Psalm 104.26-36, 37b: see Year A.
  • John 15.26-27; 16.4b-15 continues the series in John, and concludes the series in the ‘farewell discourse’, … .

Year C

  • Acts 2.1-21: see Year A.
  • (The alternative first reading, Genesis 11.1-9, recounts Babel, of which Pentecost is something of a reversal.)
  • Psalm 104.26-36, 37b: see Year A.
  • Romans 8.14-17 is about the work of the Spirit.
  • John 14.8-17 [25-27] continues the series John’s ‘farewell discourse’, with Jesus’ promise of the Spirit.

Ordinary Time

Trinity Sunday

Year A

  • Psalm 8 (Years A and C) is about God’s glory being revealed in creation and redemption (this finds its climax when God is revealed as Trinity).

Year B

  • John 3.1-17 concludes the series in John …

Year C

  • Proverbs 8.1-4, 22-31 presents wisdom, personified, through whom God made the world, hinting towards the Trinity.
  • Psalm 8: see Year A.
  • Romans 5.1-5 is appropriate for Trinity Sunday: peace with God through Jesus Christ, and God’s love poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
  • John 16.12-15 concludes the series in John (and the series in the ‘farewell discourse’), and speaks of the Trinity, with Jesus speaking about the Spirit and about the Father.

Day of Thanksgiving for Holy Communion (Corpus Christi)

  • Genesis 14.18-20 describes Melchizedek bringing bread and wine.
  • Psalm 116.10-17 (EV: 12-19) mentions the ‘cup of salvation’ and offering ‘a sacrifice of thanksgiving’.
  • 1 Corinthians 11.23-26 is Paul’s account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper.
  • John 6.51-58 is about eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood.

Sunday between 24 and 28 May (Proper 3)*

See Sunday between 18 and 24 February.

Sunday between 29 May and 4 June (Proper 4)*

Year C

  • 1 Kings 18.20, 21 [22-29] 30-39 begins a long (chronological) series on the prophets, which lasts until the end of Ordinary Time. The series has between zero and four weeks on Elijah (depending on the date of Easter, and out of sequence), followed by two weeks each for Elisha (the first of which is the transition from Elijah), Amos, Hosea and Isaiah, nine weeks in Jeremiah and Lamentations, and a final week in Joel. This reading begins the Elijah/Elisha series in 1 and 2 Kings, with Elijah on Mount Carmel. Psalm 96 contrasts the Lord with idols.
  • Galatians 1.1-12 begins a semicontinuous series in Galatians, with Paul’s preaching of the gospel.
  • Luke 7.1-10 continues the series in Luke (from Proper 3), with the centurion’s faith. The ‘Related’ reading from 1 Kings 8.22-23, 41-43 asks God to answer the prayers of foreigners, while the ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 96.1-9 (part of the ‘Continuous’ psalm), invites the whole earth to draw near to the Lord.

Sunday between 5 and 11 June (Proper 5)*

Year C

  • 1 Kings 17.8-16 [17-24] continues the series on the prophets and in 1 and 2 Kings (out of sequence, presumably to give some connections with the Gospel reading), and tells of Elijah providing for the widow in Zaraphath [and raising her son: see the Gospel reading]. Psalm 146 rejoices in the Lord’s provision for the orphan and widow.
  • Galatians 1.11-24 continues the series in Galatians, overlapping slightly with the previous section. Paul recounts his calling.
  • Luke 7.11-17 continues the series in Luke (without a gap), and tells of Jesus raising the widow’s son in Nain. The ‘Related’ reading, 1 Kings 17.17-24 (also the optional section of the ‘Continuous’ reading) tells of Elijah raising the widow’s son in Zaraphath. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 30 thanks God for raising the psalmist ‘from the dead’.
    • Luke 7.18-35: see Matthew 11.2-19, which is mostly covered on two separate occasions by Matthew 11.2-11 and 16-19.

Sunday between 12 and 18 June (Proper 6)*

Year C

  • 1 Kings 21.1-10 [11-14] 15-21a continues the series on the prophets and in 1 and 2 Kings, with Naboth’s vineyard. Psalm 5.1-8 is a plea to God in the face of ‘the bloodthirsty and deceitful’.
  • Galatians 2.15-21 continues the series in Galatians, on justification by faith.
  • Luke 7.36 – 8.3 continues the series in Luke, with Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman, who had been forgiven. The ‘Related’ reading, 2 Samuel 11.26 – 12.10, 13-15 is about David being forgiven for his sin. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 32, is about the blessing of forgiveness.
    • Luke 8.4-15: partially covered by Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23
    • Luke 8.16-18: omitted.
    • Luke 8.19-21: see Mark 3.20-35.
    • Luke 8.22-25: set for 2 before Lent, and also covered in Mark 4.35-41.

Sunday between 19 and 25 June (Proper 7)*

Year C

  • 1 Kings 19.1-4 [5-7] 8-15a continues the series on the prophets and in 1 and 2 Kings (out of sequence, for some reason), with Elijah fleeing to Horeb. Psalms 42, 43 reflect Elijah’s troubled state and his longing for God.
  • Galatians 3.23-29 continues the series in Galatians, on being children of God together.
  • Luke 8.26-39 continues the series in Luke, with Jesus restoring the demon-possessed man. The ‘Related’ reading, Isaiah 65.1-9 is about God holding out his hands to those who ‘sit inside tombs’ and ‘eat swine’s flesh’. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 22.19-28 praises God for his deliverance, and calls the nations to worship.
    • Luke 8.40-56: see Matthew 9.9-13, 18-26 and Mark 5.21-43.
    • Luke 9.1-9: see Mark 6.1-13 and 6.14-29.
    • Luke 9.10-17: see Matthew 14.13-21 and John 6.1-21.
    • Luke 9.18-27: see Mark 8.27-31.
    • Luke 9.18-20: see Matthew 16.13-20.
    • Luke 9.21-27: see Matthew 16.21-28 and Mark 8.31-38.
    • Luke 9.28-43a: set for the Sunday next before Lent.
    • Luke 9.43b-48: see Mark 9.30-37.
    • Luke 9.49-50: see Mark 9.38-50.

Sunday between 26 June and 2 July (Proper 8)

Year C

  • 2 Kings 2.1-2, 6-14 continues the series on the prophets and in 1 and 2 Kings, and is about Elijah being taken into heaven and the water dividing before Elijah and Elisha. (Perhaps coincidentally, there is a link with Luke 9:51, which speaks of Jesus being ‘taken up’.) Psalm 77.1-2, 11-20 is about the waters seeing God and being afraid.
  • Galatians 5.1, 13-25 continues the series in Galatians, on the acts of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Luke 9.51-62 continues the series in Luke, with Jesus heading towards Jerusalem and teaching on what it means to follow him. The ‘Related’ reading, 1 Kings 19.15-16, 19-21 is about Elisha following Elijah. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 16 is about following the Lord wholeheartedly.

Sunday between 3 and 9 July (Proper 9)

Year C

  • 2 Kings 5.1-14 continues the series on the prophets, and concludes the series in 1 and 2 Kings, with Naaman being healed of leprosy. Psalm 30 gives thanks to God for answered prayer.
  • Galatians 6.[1-6] 7-16 concludes the series in Galatians, with an exhortation to do good to all.
  • Luke 10.1-11, 16-20 continues the series in Luke (without a gap), with Jesus sending out the seventy-two who then return rejoicing. (10.12-15, ‘woe to you…’, could be included ‘when opportunity allows’: compare Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30, which also omits this bit.) The ‘Related’ reading, Isaiah 66.10-14, calls on people to rejoice. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 66.1-8 (EV: 1-9), begins with a call to be joyful.
    • Luke 10.21-22: see Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30.
    • Luke 10.23-24: omitted, but could be included if the gap is filled in Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23.

Sunday between 10 and 16 July (Proper 10)

Year C

  • Amos 7.7-17 continues the series on the prophets, and is the first of two weeks in Amos (the earliest of the prophetic books). The theme of God as judge is reflected in Psalm 82.
  • Colossians 1.1-14 begins a series covering much of Colossians 1.1 – 3.11, and gives thanks for the fruitfulness that comes from ‘the word of the truth, the gospel’.
  • Luke 10.25-37 continues the series in Luke, on the importance of love for God and neighbour, explained in the parable of the good Samaritan, The ‘Related’ reading, Deuteronomy 30.9-14 is about turning to God ‘with all your heart and with all your soul’ and obeying God’s commandments. (The promise of fruitfulness might relate to the reading from Colossians.) The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 25.1-10 (EV: 1-11) asks for guidance in keeping God’s ways.

Sunday between 17 and 23 July (Proper 11)

Year C

  • Amos 8.1-12 continues the series on the prophets, and is the second of two weeks in Amos, continuing from last week without a gap. The warnings of judgment are reflected in Psalm 52.
  • Colossians 1.15-28 continues the series in Colossians (without a gap), focusing on the person and work of the Son of God.
  • Luke 10.38-42 continues the series in Luke (without a gap), with Martha and Mary welcoming Jesus. The ‘Related’ reading, Genesis 18.1-10a is about Abraham showing hospitality to three visitors. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 15, describes the purity of life displayed by Abraham.

Sunday between 24 and 30 July (Proper 12)

Year C

  • Hosea 1.2-10 continues the series on the prophets, and is the first of two weeks in Hosea (moving on chronologically from Amos). Hosea’s faithfulness to ‘a wife of whoredom’ is an image of God’s faithfulness to Israel. Psalm 85 is about God’s faithfulness to his people, forgiving their sins.
  • Colossians 2.6-15 [16-19] continues the series in Colossians, and is about fullness in Christ.
  • Luke 11.1-13 continues the series in Luke (without a gap), and is about prayer. The ‘Related’ reading, Genesis 18.20-32, is from the same chapter as last week’s reading, and is about Abraham interceding for Sodom. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 138, gives thanks for answered prayer, and speaks of God differentiating between the lowly and the proud.
    • Luke 11.14: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 12.22-23.
    • Luke 11.15, 17-22: see Mark 3.20-35.
    • Luke 11.16: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 12.38.
    • Luke 11.23: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 12.30
    • Luke 11.24-26: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 12.43-45.
    • Luke 11.27-28: omitted.
    • Luke 11.29-32: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 12.39-42.
    • Luke 11.33: see Matthew 5.13-20.
    • Luke 11.34-35: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 6.22-23.
    • Luke 11.36: omitted.
    • Luke 11.37-54 (‘woe to you…’): omitted, along with Matthew 23, which contains many parallels (cf. RCL ‘Proper 26’).
    • Luke 12.1-9: see Matthew 10.24-39.
    • Luke 12.10: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 12.31-32.
    • Luke 12.11-12: omitted (but see Matthew 10.17-22, set for Stephen). Compare Luke 21.5-19 (and Mark 13.5-13, set for Mark).

Sunday between 31 July and 6 August (Proper 13)

Year C

  • Hosea 11.1-11 continues the series on the prophets, and is the second of two weeks in Hosea. God loves Israel, despite their waywardness. Psalm 107.1-9, 43 is about God restoring those who have gone astray, because of his steadfast love.
  • Colossians 3.1-11 concludes the series in Colossians, and is about dying to the old life and rising to the new life in Christ.
  • Luke 12.13-21 continues the series in Luke, and is about possessions and the importance of being ‘rich towards God’. The ‘Related’ reading, Ecclesiastes 1.2, 12-14; 2.18-23 is about the futility of toiling in the face of death. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 49.1-12, is a reminder that all will die and ‘leave their riches to others’.
    • Luke 12.22-30: set for Harvest Thanksgiving Year A. See also Matthew 6.25-34.
    • Luke 12.31: see Matthew 6.25-34.

Sunday between 7 and 13 August (Proper 14)

Year C

  • Isaiah 1.1, 10-20 continues the series on the prophets, and is the first of two weeks in Isaiah (moving on chronologically from Hosea). Both readings are quite hard-hitting, which provides a smooth transition into Jeremiah. (Isaiah’s call featured in Proper 1.) God has no pleasure in his people’s offerings when their hands are ‘full of blood’. Psalm 50.1-8, 23, 24 (EV: 1-8, 22, 23) speaks of God testifying against his people, despite their sacrifices.
  • Hebrews 11.1-3, 8-16 begins a series in Hebrews 11-13, and is about the faith of Abraham.
  • Luke 12.32-40 continues the series in Luke, and is about treasure in heaven and the coming of the Son of Man. The choice of verses seems odd, but it captures the seamless transition between ‘don’t worry’ (22-34) and ‘be ready’ (35-48). (The reading could be extended to verse 48, ‘when opportunity allows’.) The ‘Related’ reading, Genesis 15.1-6, is about Abram looking to his reward and trusting God’s promise. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 33.12-22 is about waiting for God, who is our ‘shield’ (Genesis 15.1).
    • Luke 12.41: omitted.
    • Luke 12.42-46: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 24.45-51.
    • Luke 12.47-48: omitted.

Sunday between 14 and 20 August (Proper 15)

Year C

  • Isaiah 5.1-7 continues the series on the prophets, and is the second of two weeks in Isaiah. God’s vineyard, Israel, has ‘yielded wild grapes’. Psalm 80.1-2, 9-20 (EV: 1-2a, 8-19) is about God’s ‘vine’.
  • Hebrews 11.29 – 12.2 continues the series in Hebrews 11-13, and is about faith and perseverance.
  • Luke 12.49-56 continues the series in Luke, and is about Jesus coming to bring ‘fire to the earth’, not bringing peace but division. The ‘Related’ reading, Jeremiah 23.23-29, speaks of God’s word being like fire, and is about the God who fills heaven and earth coming in judgment. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 82, calls on God to ‘judge the earth’.
    • Luke 12.57-59: see Matthew 5.21-37.
    • Luke 13.1-9: set for Lent 3.

Sunday between 21 and 27 August (Proper 16)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 1.4-10 continues the series on the prophets, and begins an 8-week vaguely-sequential series in Jeremiah (moving on chronologically from Isaiah), along with one week in Lamentations. The series moves from warning to judgment to hope. This week, Jeremiah the prophet is commissioned, having been set apart before he was born. Psalm 71.1-6 is about trusting in God from birth onwards.
  • Hebrews 12.18-29 continues the series in Hebrews 11-13, contrasting Sinai with Mount Zion.
  • Luke 13.10-17 continues the series in Luke, and is about the crippled woman being healed on the sabbath, so that she ‘stood up straight and began praising God’. The ‘Related’ reading, Isaiah 58.9b-14, is about honouring the sabbath and delighting in God, who will ‘satisfy your needs’. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 103.1-8, speaks of God as the one who ‘satisfies you with good things’.
    • Luke 13.18-19: see Mark 4.26-34.
    • Luke 13.18-21: see Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52.
    • Luke 13.22-24: omitted, along with its close parallel in Matthew 7.13-14.
    • Luke 13.25-27: see Matthew 7.21-29.
    • Luke 13.28-29: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 8.11-12.
    • Luke 13.30: see Matthew 20.1-16 and Mark 10.17-31.
    • Luke 13.31-35: set for Lent 2.

Sunday between 28 August and 3 September (Proper 17)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 2.4-13 continues the series on the prophets and in Jeremiah, and is about God’s people forsaking him in favour of ‘cracked cisterns’. Psalm 81.1, 10-16 is about God’s desire to ‘fill’ and ‘satisfy’ his people, but their refusal to listen.
  • Hebrews 13.1-8, 15, 16 concludes the series in Hebrews 11-13, and is about the ‘sacrifices’ that are ‘pleasing to God’.
  • Luke 14.1, 7-14 continues the series in Luke, and is about taking the place of honour at a feast. (These verses are selected from verses 1-24, which form a single unit. The reading could be extended ‘when opportunity allows’.) The ‘Related’ reading from the Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 10.12-18, is about pride and humility. The alternative ‘Related’ reading, Proverbs 25.6-7, says it is better to take the humble place and be exalted than vice versa. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 112, says that those who give freely to the poor will be exalted.
    • Luke 14.15-24: omitted, but see similar passage in Matthew 22.1-14.

Sunday between 4 and 10 September (Proper 18)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 18.1-11 continues the series on the prophets and in Jeremiah (out of sequence, perhaps to maintain a thematic sequence from warning to judgment, and perhaps chosen to fit with the Gospel reading and its themes of choice and consequences). God is the potter, and is calling his people to change their ways. Psalm 139.1-5, 12-18 (EV: 1-6, 13-18) is about the God who formed us (as a potter).
  • Philemon 1-21 is Paul’s appeal for runaway slave Onesimus. Perhaps it appears here because it mentions Timothy (see next week).
  • Luke 14.25-33 continues the series in Luke, and is about the cost of being a disciple. (14.34-35 could be included for completeness ‘when opportunity allows’.) The ‘Related’ reading, Deuteronomy 30.15-20 calls its hearers to consider the benefits that follow when they ‘choose life’, and the curses that follow when they do not. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 1, is about the blessings that await the righteous, and the judgment that awaits the wicked.
    • Luke 14.34-35: see the similar saying in Matthew 5.13-20 and Mark 9.38-50.

Sunday between 11 and 17 September (Proper 19)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 4.11-12, 22-28 continues the series on the prophets and in Jeremiah, and is about the land becoming a desolation as a consequence of the people’s foolishness. Psalm 14 is about the foolishness of turning from God.
  • 1 Timothy 1.12-17 begins a three-week series in 1 Timothy. Paul, the foremost of sinners, received mercy.
  • Luke 15.1-10 continues the series in Luke, and is about God welcoming sinners, and the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. (These parables go together with that of the lost son, which follows directly, and which is set for Lent 4, but which might have been ‘displaced’ by Mothering Sunday.) The ‘Related’ reading, Exodus 32.7-14, is about God forgiving sinners, after the incident with the golden calf. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 51.1-11 (EV: 1-10), is about the forgiveness of sins.
    • Luke 15.11-32: set for Lent 4 (NB: Mothering Sunday).

Sunday between 18 and 24 September (Proper 20)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 8.18 – 9.1 continues the series on the prophets and in Jeremiah, and expresses sorrow for the pain of ‘my poor people’. Psalm 79.1-9 cries out to God over the desolation of Jerusalem.
  • 1 Timothy 2.1-7 continues the series in 1 Timothy, with a call to pray for everyone.
  • Luke 16.1-13 continues the series in Luke, with the parable of the shrewd and dishonest manager. The ‘Related’ reading, Amos 8.4-7, speaks against those who ‘trample on the needy’ and ‘practise deceit’. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 113, speaks of God who ‘lifts the needy from the ashes’.
    • Luke 16.14-16: omitted.
    • Luke 16:17: see Matthew 5.13-20.
    • Luke 16:18: see Matthew 5.21-37 and Mark 10.2-16.

Sunday between 25 September and 1 October (Proper 21)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 32.1-3a, 6-15 continues the series on the prophets and in Jeremiah, and begins to glimpse hope for the distant future, with the purchase of a field. Psalm 91.1-6, 14-16 promises deliverance for those who take refuge in God.
  • 1 Timothy 6.6-19 concludes the series in 1 Timothy, with a call to ‘Fight the good fight of the faith’, and with teaching about riches (which – coincidentally? – fits well with the Gospel reading).
  • Luke 16.19-31 continues the series in Luke, with the rich man and Lazarus. The ‘Related’ reading, Amos 6.1a, 4-7, is a warning for the rich. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 146, warns that princes will perish, but promises ‘bread to those who hunger’.
    • Luke 17.1-2: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 18.6-7.
    • Luke 17.3-4: see Matthew 18.15-20 and 18.21-35.

Sunday between 2 and 8 October (Proper 22)

Year C

  • Lamentations 1.1-6 continues the series on the prophets, and provides a brief excursion from Jeremiah. It laments the desolation of Jerusalem, but the canticle, Lamentations 3.19-26 glimpses hope for the future. As an alternative to the canticle, Psalm 137, is about the desolation of Jerusalem.
  • 2 Timothy 1.1-14 begins a four-week series in 2 Timothy, with a call to remain faithful to the gospel.
  • Luke 17.5-10 continues the series in Luke, with teaching about faith and duty. The ‘Related’ reading, Habakkuk 1.1-4; 2.1-4, features the prophet’s faith being increased (perhaps). The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 37.1-9, is a response to Habakkuk’s cries about wrongdoers, and calls for faith in God.

Sunday between 9 and 15 October (Proper 23)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 29.1, 4-7 continues the series on the prophets and in Jeremiah, and is a word of comfort and assurance for God’s people in exile (out of sequence, presumably for thematic reasons). (Extending the reading by a few verses would provide additional comfort.) Psalm 66.1-11 (EV: 1-12) is about being brought ‘through fire and water … into a place of liberty’.
  • 2 Timothy 2.8-15 continues the series in 2 Timothy, with a call to endurance.
  • Luke 17.11-19 continues the series in Luke (without a gap), with the cleansing of the ten lepers, only one of whom (a Samaritan) gave praise to God. (See also Harvest Thanksgiving.) The ‘Related’ reading, 2 Kings 5.1-3, 7-15c, is about Naaman being cured of leprosy. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 111, is a psalm of thanksgiving for God’s powerful works.
    • Luke 17.20-22: omitted
    • Luke 17.23: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 24.23. Compare Luke 21.5-19.
    • Luke 17.24: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 24.27.
    • Luke 17.25: various parallels.
    • Luke 17.26-27: see Matthew 24.36-44.
    • Luke 17.28-30: omitted.
    • Luke 17.31: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 24.17-18.
    • Luke 17.32: omitted.
    • Luke 17.33: various parallels.
    • Luke 17.34-35[36]: see Matthew 24.36-44.
    • Luke 17.37: omitted, along with its parallel in Matthew 24.28

Sunday between 16 and 22 October (Proper 24)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 31.27-34 continues the series on the prophets and concludes the series in Jeremiah, with the promise of a new covenant: ‘I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts’. Psalm 119.97-104 begins, ‘Lord, how I love your law!’
  • 2 Timothy 3.14 – 4.5 continues the series in 2 Timothy, with a call to faithful proclamation.
  • Luke 18.1-8 continues the series in Luke, with the parable of the persistent widow. The ‘Related’ reading, Genesis 32.22-31, is about Jacob’s persistence with God. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 121, is about looking to the Lord for help.

Sunday between 23 and 29 October (Proper 25)

Year C

  • Joel 2.23-32 concludes the series on the prophets, with a single extract from Joel. Joel is difficult to date, so it is unlikely that this passage is here for chronological reasons. It follows well from last week, with the promise that God will pour abundant rain on the earth, and his spirit on all flesh. Psalm 65 is about God watering the earth abundantly.
  • 2 Timothy 4.6-8, 16-18 concludes the series in 2 Timothy, with Paul looking towards his departure.
  • Luke 18.9-14 continues the series in Luke (without a gap), with the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector. The ‘Related’ reading, Ecclesiasticus 35.12-17, is about God listening to the prayer of the poor (the tax-collector being taken as someone who is poor, at least in spirit, presumably). The alternative ‘Related’ reading, Jeremiah 14.7-10, 19-22, is a confession of sin and a plea for God’s help. The ‘Related’ psalm, Psalm 84.1-7 (EV: 1-8), expresses a desire ‘to enter the courts of the Lord’, and asks God to ‘hear my prayer’.
    • Luke 18.15-17: see Mark 10.2-16.
    • Luke 18.18-30: see Mark 10.17-31.
    • Luke 18.31-34: see Mark 9.30-32 for a close parallel.
    • Luke 18.35-43: see Mark 10.46-52.

The Last Sunday after Trinity if observed as Bible Sunday

Year C

  • Isaiah 45.22-25 has God saying, ‘from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return’.
  • Psalm 119.129-136 includes the verse, ‘The opening of your word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.’
  • Romans 15.1-6 speaks of the scriptures, that ‘whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction’.
  • Luke 4.16-24 tells of Jesus reading from Isaiah and saying, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

All Saints’ Day

1 November, or the Sunday between 30 October and 5 November as All Saints’ Sunday.

Year C

  • Daniel 7.1-3, 15-18 speaks of ‘the holy ones of the Most High’.
  • Psalm 149 mentions ‘the congregation of the faithful’.
  • Ephesians 1.11-23 speaks of the ‘glorious inheritance among the saints’.
  • Luke 6.20-31 says ‘your reward is great in heaven’.

The Fourth Sunday before Advent (between 30 October and 5 November)

(RCL ‘Proper 26’.)

Year A

  • Matthew 24.1-14 (Matthew 23.1-12 in RCL).

Year C

  • 2 Thessalonians 1.1-12 begins a three-week series in 2 Thessalonians. Paul looks ahead to the coming of Jesus.
  • Luke 19.1-10 continues the series in Luke, with Zacchaeus the repentant and forgiven tax-collector. Isaiah 1.10-18 is a call to repentance and to seek justice, with a promise of forgiveness. Psalm 32.1-8 (EV: 1-7) is about repentance and forgiveness.
    • Luke 19.11-27: see Matthew 25.14-30.
    • Luke 19.28-40: set for Palm Sunday.
    • Luke 19.41-44: omitted.
    • Luke 19.45-46: see Matthew 21.12-16 and John 2.13-22 (both set for Dedication Festival).
    • Luke 19.47-48: omitted.
    • Luke 20.1-8: see Matthew 21.23-32.
    • Luke 20.9-19: see Matthew 21.33-46.
    • Luke 20.20-26: see Matthew 22.15-22.

The Third Sunday before Advent (between 6 and 12 November)

(RCL ‘Proper 27’.)

Usually Remembrance Sunday (the Sunday between 8 and 14 November).

Year B

  • Mark 1.14-20 (Mark 12.38-44 in RCL).

Year C

  • 2 Thessalonians 2.1-5, 13-17 continues the series in 2 Thessalonians, with more on the coming of Jesus.
  • Luke 20.27-38 continues the series in Luke, and picks up the end-times emphasis of the Sundays before Advent, with Jesus and the Sadducees discussing the resurrection and marriage. Job 19.23-27a contains a glimpse of resurrection hope. Psalm 17.1-9 follows Job in pleading integrity before God.
    • Luke 20.39: omitted.
    • Luke 20.40-44: see Matthew 22.34-46.
    • Luke 20.45-47: omitted, along with its parallels in Matthew 23.1-7 (included last week in RCL Year A) and Mark 12.38-40 (included this week in RCL Year B).
    • Luke 21.1-4 (widow’s offering): omitted, along with its parallel in Mark 12.41-44 (included this week in RCL Year B).

The Second Sunday before Advent (between 13 and 19 November)

(RCL ‘Proper 28’.)

Sometimes Remembrance Sunday (the Sunday between 8 and 14 November).

Year C

  • 2 Thessalonians 3.6-13 concludes the series in 2 Thessalonians, with a warning against idleness.
  • Luke 21.5-19 continues the series in Luke, with Jesus speaking about the destruction of the temple and the signs of the end times. Malachi 4.1-2a looks ahead to a day of destruction. Psalm 98 says that the Lord ‘comes to judge the earth’.
    • Luke 21.20-24: omitted, along with near parallels in Matthew 24.15-21 and Mark 13.14-19.
    • Luke 21.25-36: set for Advent 1.
    • Luke 21.37-38: omitted.
    • Luke 22.1-6: see Mark 14.1-2, 10-11, included in Mark 14.1 – 15.47 (Palm Sunday).
    • Luke 22.7-13: see Mark 14.12-16, included in Mark 14.1 – 15.47 (Palm Sunday).
    • Luke 22.14-23.56: set for Palm Sunday.

Christ the King: The Sunday next before Advent (between 20 and 26 November)

(RCL ‘Proper 29’.)

Year C

  • Jeremiah 23.1-6 says that God will raise up ‘a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king’.
  • Psalm 46 has God reigning over the nations, causing wars to cease.
  • Colossians 1.11-20 is about ‘the kingdom of [God’s] beloved Son’, in whom all things in heaven and on earth hold together.
  • Luke 23.33-43 concludes the series in Luke, with an extract from the Passion narrative (set for Palm Sunday). One of the crucified criminals acknowledges Christ as King.
    • Luke 22.14-23.56: set for Palm Sunday.
    • Luke 24.1-12: set for Easter Vigil (or Easter Day).
    • Luke 24.13-35: set for Easter 3 (Year A).
    • Luke 24.36-48: set for Easter 3 (Year B).
    • Luke 24.44-53: set for Ascension Day.

Festivals

According to the Rules, Festivals are ‘not usually displaced’. However,

Festivals falling on a Sunday are to be kept on that day or transferred to the Monday (or, at the discretion of the minister, to the next suitable weekday). But a Festival may not be celebrated on Sundays in Advent, Lent or Eastertide. Festivals coinciding with a Principal Feast or Principal Holy Day are transferred to the first available day.

One of these Festivals might be Patronal Festival, which can be observed either as a Festival or as a Principal Feast. According to the Rules,

When kept as Principal Feasts, the Patronal and Dedication Festivals may be transferred to the nearest Sunday, unless that day is already a Principal Feast or one of the following days: the First Sunday of Advent, the Baptism of Christ, the First Sunday of Lent, the Fifth Sunday of Lent or Palm Sunday.

If it falls on one of those days, it must be transferred.

The Naming and Circumcision of Jesus (1 January)

The Conversion of Paul (25 January)

Joseph of Nazareth (19 March)

19 March always falls during Lent. According to the Rules,

When St Joseph’s Day falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is transferred to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter or, if the Annunciation has already been moved to that date, to the first available day thereafter.

The Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary (25 March)

This is a Principal Feast, but it comes across as somewhat unwanted, as it is never celebrated on a Sunday. 25 March always fall during Lent, or very occasionally on or just after Easter Day. According to the Rules,

the Annunciation, falling on a Sunday, is transferred to the Monday following or, falling between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, is transferred to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter.

George, Martyr, Patron of England (23 April)

23 April always falls during or just before Easter season (Easter always falls between 22 March and 25 April), so this Festival is never celebrated on a Sunday (unless it is the Patronal Festival celebrated as a Principal Feast). According to the Rules,

When St George’s Day or St Mark’s Day falls between Palm Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter inclusive, it is transferred to the Monday after the Second Sunday of Easter. If both fall in this period, St George’s Day is transferred to the Monday and St Mark’s Day to the Tuesday.

Mark the Evangelist (25 April)

25 April always falls during Easter season, so this Festival is never celebrated on a Sunday (unless it is the Patronal Festival celebrated as a Principal Feast). See above on George (23 April).

Philip and James, Apostles (1 May)

1 May always falls during Easter season, so this Festival is never celebrated on a Sunday (unless it is the Patronal Festival celebrated as a Principal Feast).

Matthias the Apostle (14 May)

14 May always falls between Easter and Trinity, so this Festival is never celebrated on a Sunday (unless it is the Patronal Festival celebrated as a Principal Feast).

The Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth (31 May)

31 May usually falls between Easter and Trinity, so this Festival can rarely be celebrated on a Sunday (unless it is the Patronal Festival celebrated as a Principal Feast).

Barnabas the Apostle (11 June)

11 June occasionally falls before Trinity (20 June at the latest).

The Birth of John the Baptist (24 June)

Peter and Paul, Apostles (29 June)

Thomas the Apostle (3 July)

Mary Magdalene (22 July)

James the Apostle (25 July)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord (6 August)

The Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August)

Bartholomew the Apostle (24 August)

Holy Cross Day (14 September)

This is also known as the Feast of the ‘Exaltation of the Cross’, and has its origins in more than one event associated with the cross and Jerusalem. The theme of exaltation is reflected in the readings.

  • Psalm 22.23-28 expresses praise to the Lord, who ‘has not despised nor abhorred the suffering of the poor’, which fits with the theme of the crucified one being exalted.
  • Philippians 2.6-11 is about Christ humbling himself to ‘death on a cross’ and subsequently being exalted.
  • John 3.13-17 is about the Son of Man being ‘lifted up’, ‘just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness’. Numbers 21.4-9 is about the bronze serpent.

Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (21 September)

Matthew was a tax-collector. This is reflected in the readings.

  • Proverbs 3.13-18 says that wisdom is better than silver and gold.
  • Psalm 119.65-72 says that God’s law is ‘dearer to me than a hoard of gold and silver’.
  • 2 Corinthians 4.1-6 has several possible connections with Matthew: renouncing ‘shameful things’, the ‘open statement of the truth’ (in writing his Gospel), light shining into Matthew’s heart.
  • Matthew 9.9-13 tells of Jesus calling Matthew the tax-collector to follow him, and of Jesus eating with ‘tax-collectors and sinners’.

Michael and All Angels (29 September)

Luke the Evangelist (18 October)

Simon and Jude, Apostles (28 October)

Andrew the Apostle (30 November)

Stephen, Deacon, First Martyr (26 December)

John, Apostle and Evangelist (27 December)

The Holy Innocents (28 December)

Dedication Festival

According to the Rules,

The Dedication Festival of a church is the anniversary of the date of its dedication or consecration. This is kept either as a Festival or as a Principal Feast.

When the date of dedication is unknown, the Dedication Festival may be observed on the first Sunday in October, or on the Last Sunday after Trinity, or on a suitable date chosen locally.

When kept as Principal Feasts, the Patronal and Dedication Festivals may be transferred to the nearest Sunday, unless that day is already a Principal Feast or one of the following days: the First Sunday of Advent, the Baptism of Christ, the First Sunday of Lent, the Fifth Sunday of Lent or Palm Sunday.

Special Occasion

Harvest Thanksgiving

Year A

  • Luke 12.16-30. Verse 31 could also be included.
  • Or Luke 17.11-19.

Year B

  • Matthew 6.25-33. Verse 34 could also be included.