New Revised Standard Version
Scripture Summary for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost - Year B (July 8)
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10: The tribes of Israel come to David to affirm his kingship. They remind him that they are his “flesh and bone”. Some of this might have been self-preservation, to ensure David knew their loyalties were now with him, and not with Saul's descendants. David's rule was a long one, and by God's grace he was able to provide security and peace to God's people.
Psalm 48: Here Jerusalem is seen as the city of God. It is filled with God's presence and offers protection to all who dwell in it. It is a beautiful city, with a temple in its midst and located on a hill which offered security. If we look through the Bible we see that this will become a metaphor for God's presence among God's people. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, we see that God's presence in now throughout the world and therefore any city can become the city of God.
2 Corinthians 12:2-10: St. Paul here shares a very personal story. He has been given great visions from God; revelations that he could easily boast about. But he also says that God has given him “a thorn in the flesh”. We don't know what it is (he doesn't say), but there has been much speculation by biblical scholars down through the ages. Paul uses this affliction, however, as a means to keep him humble. He's asked God to remove it; it hasn't happened. Therefore he will now boast in this weakness because he has discovered that God's power is sufficient to enable him to live a life of grace.
Mark 6: 1-13: Jesus is back in his hometown and is teaching in the local synagogue. People are “astounded” at his teaching. However, they then begin to find fault with him because he's “only the hometown boy”. They became offended. Their disbelief and hostility limited what he could do there. The gospel challenges us to see with better eyes. Don't judge people by our own prejudices and don't limit what God can do.
Scripture Summary for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost – Year B (July 15)
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19: The Ark of the Covenant contained the 10 Commandments and had been housed outside the city of Jerusalem. Here David and all the people rejoice with singing and dancing as they move the Ark into the city. The Lord had blessed Abinadab's home as the ark rested there. David is now praying that God will also bless the city of Jerusalem. David also blesses his people by giving them bread, meat, and raisins for this festive occasion.
Psalm 24: The theme of God returning to Jerusalem is echoed in this Psalm. All must prepare for his coming. How does one do that? By having clean hands, a pure heart, and a life that is not filled with deceit. The gate of the city will then open, and the Lord of Hosts will enter.
Ephesians 1:3-14: One can hardly take in all that Paul is saying in his introduction to his letter to the Ephesians. To believe what he is saying would be to live an entirely new life. In Christ we are adopted as God's children. We are given every spiritual blessing. We have been chosen before the world began to be holy and blameless. We have redemption and forgiveness of our sins. We have even been shown the great mystery of God: that all of creation will find its final fulfilment in Christ. The down payment on this future glory is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Mark 6:14-29: This is the nasty story of John the Baptist's death. Herod had thrown him in prison because his preaching was hitting too close to home for Herod's comfort. He then makes a foolish promise at a party which results in John's death by beheading. The rumour about Jesus was that he was “John the Baptist” raised from the dead. Here the writer of Mark foreshadows not only the peril Jesus is in by also plants a seed of a future resurrection.
Scripture Summary for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost – Year B (July 22)
2 Samuel 7:1-14a: King David's country is at peace, and he now wants to honour God by building God a Temple. The prophet Nathan thinks this is a good plan; until he hears God's words on the matter. The Lord does not need a “home” as He is the one that is on the move with his people. Instead, He will build David a kingdom and a dynasty that will last eternally. We know that the kingdom of Israel would be split within a generation of David's death. But God was speaking of a spiritual kingdom. David's descendant Jesus would establish a reign of love and forgiveness that would encompass every tribe and nation and would last forever.
Psalm 89:20-37: This Psalm confirms the 1st reading that God will establish David's line forever. Even though people might be unfaithful, God will remain faithful to his promise to David. These are promises based on steadfast love. As David's kingship began by anointing with oil; so the start of our spiritual entrance into this kingdom begins with baptism and the anointing with oil.
Ephesians 2: 11-22: St. Paul reminds his gentile readers of the glorious nature of God's plan. By the death of Christ, all barriers are now brought down. Christ is the peace that brings Jews and Gentiles together. The goal is to create a new humanity, not based on tribes or ethnicity, but on the reconciling love of Christ. This will be the new Temple of God, built on all that has gone before, with Christ holding the structure together as its cornerstone.
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56: Today's passage gives us a small glimpse into the ministry of Jesus and his disciples. They were tired by the crowds and by the overwhelming needs of the people. Jesus brings them apart from the crowds to rest and pray. Yet even then the people keep coming to Jesus. In his compassion he continues to heal and comfort them.
Scripture Summary for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost – Year B (July 29)
2 Samuel 11:1-15: From adultery to murder. This is not King David's finest hour. David decides not to join his troops on the battlefield. With time on his hands he notices the beautiful Bathsheba. He wants and takes her; she becomes pregnant. The stage is set for disaster. When her husband Uriah, unaware of what has happened, unwittingly does not act according to David's cover up plan, David puts into effect plan b – the death of Uriah.
Psalm 14: Here the Psalmist gives a very bleak picture of humanity. We show our foolishness by denying God's existence. Or we live wickedly by oppressing God's people. Yet God will come to the rescue of the poor and those who are oppressed. He will restore the fortunes of his people.
Ephesians 3: 12-21: Paul bows his knees to God as he is overcome by God's goodness to humanity. Paul's prayer is that we all will become rooted and grounded in this love of God. He prays that we will understand just how vast this love is – beyond comprehension. He prays that we will be filled with the fullness of God. The passage ends with part of our Eucharist: “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more that all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.”
John 6:1-21: The remembrance of Jesus feeding the 5,000 was so strong that all for gospels record it. With 5 loaves and 2 fish, Jesus meets the needs of a vast crowd. There were also 12 baskets (one for each disciple) left over. If Jesus was able to do this physical miracle with so little, we are encouraged to trust him when He says that He is the bread of life.