Holy Trinity

June 11, 2017

Deacon Blaine Barclay

 

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you’’.

So familiar is this Trinitarian blessing, that I half expected you to respond with, ’’And with your Spirit’’.  At the beginning of every mass, after the sign of the cross, the priest greets us with this same blessing.  This is the concluding verse of Saint Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth.  Perhaps it was a prayer of greeting already used in the liturgy of the early Church, and this is why St. Paul uses this Trinitarian profession of faith to conclude his appeal to the Corinthians.  Perhaps it became part of the liturgy of the early church because this Trinitarian blessing captures so well the core of the faith of the Church.  Whatever way we answer this chicken or egg question, it is the earliest clear testimony of belief in the Trinity found in the New Testament.  It is Saint Paul’s final appeal for Unity in Diversity in the very divided Church of Corinth.

By way of background, let me summarize the situation of the Christian community in the city of Corinth at the time.  St. Paul was the Apostle who first evangelized, the founder of the first House Churches in Corinth.  He had spent some time there forming them in the basics of the Christian faith, preaching, teaching, giving reasons for the hope that is in us.  The Corinthian Christians were well known for their enthusiasm for the faith, for their exercise of a wide variety of the gifts or charisms of the Holy Spirit, including the gifts of prophecy and speaking in tongues.  As a missionary evangelist Paul had moved on to other cities to found and form other Churches.  He wrote this second letter to the Corinthian Church while living in Ephesus.

Paul had passed on the charism and office of leadership in Corinth to such coworkers as Titus and Timothy.  Over time however, there arose a tension, a power struggle even, between the more charismatic, prophet leaders in the community, and those who exercise legitimate apostolic authority through the laying on of hands, the charism of orders.  Some of the more spontaneous, grassroots, leadership, had even gone so far as to question the legitimacy of Saint Paul’s right to be called an Apostle.  In short, the church of Corinth was a house divided, suffering the malaise of internal schism.  St. Paul had even recently revisited Corinth in order to try to settle these matters, but it had only made things worse; he had also written, a now lost, ‘letter of tears’ to this divided Christian community in order to try to heal its internal wounds.  Throughout both first and second Corinthians there is, on the one hand, a lot of affirmation of the diversity of charisms or gifts given to the different members of the Body of Christ; on the other hand, there is also a strong affirmation of the charism or gift of leadership, a defense of legitimate Apostolic authority, always grounded in the greatest gift of all, self donating love.

The difficulties faced by the first generation of Christians in Corinth and in the Church today are not so different.  There are many lessons for us in Paul’s letters to this early Christian community threatened by internal schism.  These lessons are summarized in the Trinitarian blessing which is our focus text for today. This benediction is not just a conclusion to Paul’s medicinal letter to a hurting Church.  The doctrine of the Trinity points us toward the only healing for a fragmented Church, then or now.  The doctrine of the Trinity, the belief that there is One God ‘subsisting in’ Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is a healing medicine for us.  There is a tension in this doctrine, a fruitful paradox, which asks us to affirm, at the same time, both the good of Unity and the good of Diversity.  If God is at the same time both One and Three, the Same and the Other, United and Diverse; how much more should we struggle to hold together these two goods.  One in the faith, holding fast to the truth has been entrusted to us under the banner of scripture and tradition, united by our common profession of faith, and our communion with Francis our Pope, and Brendan our Bishop.  And yet a Church of such rich diversity; made up of people of every tongue, and nation; welcoming the stranger, the other; reaching out and serving those at the margins; affirming the legitimacy of difference; from differing private revelations and devotions, which don’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea; to contending theological camps, each defending their own turf; each affirming the good of Unity in Diversity.  Such is our God, and as the embodied image of God in the world, such is the Church of God.

 

 

 



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.
PROCEDURAL NORMS FOR
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS

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.
Brevity
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.