2nd Sunday in Lent

February 21, 2016
2nd Sunday in Lent

The Transfiguration is in many ways an answer to the questions raised by the two preceding stories in the gospel of Luke. One where Jesus asks the disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’, and one where Jesus anticipates his suffering, death, and resurrection. The transfiguration event is also meant to remind us of two other parallel events written about in the Law and the Prophets. Both events take place on Mount Sinai. The first is about Moses, we read; “Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount. Sinai…. Moses came down from Mount. Sinai…. Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God… the Israelites…were afraid to come near him.” (Ex. 24:15f; 34:29ff)
The second event is about the Prophet Elijah, we read; “Then the word of the Lord came to him…. ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains… but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here Elijah?” (I Kings 19:11ff)
This last question, “What are you doing here Elijah?” is a question asked of each one of us. Peter, James, and John, standing on the mountain of Transfiguration must have asked the same question, ‘What am I doing here?’ ‘What am I seeing?’ Here they are, up on the mountain, praying with Jesus…”And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.” What an amazing event. Holy, Holy, Holy…. Imagine being there. But wait, we are there, liturgically, Christ is transfigured before us in the Eucharistic feast. Holy, Holy, Holy…. Wow, being there on the mountain, no wonder Peter wanted to camp out and savour the experience for a few days.
And what happens next? – Suddenly, as if to confirm the authenticity of this experience, “They saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to Jesus.” Moses and Elijah represent the law and the Prophets, together they bear witness to, they confirm the Messianic identity of Jesus. “Who do you say that I am?” The answer to this question is also here in the Transfiguration event. “Since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory, and the two men who were with him.” If we also want to see his glory, we too must stay awake and be attentive to the ‘weight of his presence’, the ‘flash of his beauty’, in the light of his transfiguration. So what happens next? “A cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.” Now these men, Peter, James, and John, they were all good Jews, they were familiar with the stories of Moses and Elijah, they knew what the cloud meant, and they knew all about what happens on mountains when people are praying. God speaks, light shines, people hide their faces, no wonder they were afraid, filled with reverential awe.
Again, what happens next? “Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘this is my Son, the Chosen, my beloved, listen to him’.” We have heard this voice before, it is the voice at the dawn of creation that spoke all things into existence, the voice that called Abraham and Sarah, it is the commanding voice of Mt. Sinai, the same voice that spoke to Moses from the burning bush, the still small voice that spoke to Elijah, the same voice that spoke at Jesus’ baptism. “This is my Son, my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”(Mt. 3:17) So, let us be attentive once again to the voice of the Father. “This is my Son…listen to him.” God has spoken definitively in his son Jesus, the word of God made flesh. The transfiguration bears witness to the truth of the Incarnation, ’this is my Son’. The transfiguration also shines as with the light of the first day of creation; “And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light” (remember, the light of the sun was not created until the fourth day); the light of the transfiguration anticipates the new creation that will dawn on the eighth day, the day of the resurrection, Easter morning, a sun that will never set.
In the middle of Lent, the Church gives us this moment of ‘glory’, to light up the horizon, luminous with the light of the Word Made Flesh, a little anticipatory taste of Easter to sustain us on our Lenten pilgrimage. And it even tells us what to do during lent, and always. “Listen to him.” “This is my Son, my beloved. Listen to him.” For, example, since this is the year of Luke, and Luke is the gospel of Mercy; we could read the gospel of Luke during this year of mercy Lent. With Peter, James, and John, let us climb the mountain, stay awake and pray with Jesus, and we too will see his glory. As St. John says, “The glory as of a Fathers only Son, full of grace and truth.”(Jn. 1:14) As St. Paul says, “And all of us with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” “Listen to him”, and be transformed.

The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.