July 9th, 2017

Deacon Blaine Barclay

June 9th, 2017


“Comes to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light;’’.

The poet, T.S. Elliot says, we are searching for, “A condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything’’.  This simplicity is the context of our gospel passage for today.  Jesus has just spoken of those things that are hidden from the wise and learned, meaning, those who think that they are wise and learned, filled with the pride and pretense of thinking that they know.  In contrast, these ‘hidden things’ are ‘revealed’, uncovered, unveiled, only for ’the little children’, ’infants’, ’the little ones’.  Jesus says elsewhere, ’’Unless you become like a little child you will never enter the kingdom of God’’.  Is this not the ’easy yoke’, the ‘light burden’ spoken of in today’s gospel?  Each of us longs for the simplicity and spontaneity of the child, their ‘lightness of being’, if you will.  This is why even the crustiest curmudgeon heart is filled with delight in the presence of a little child.  Children are delightful. They can be a lot of work as well, as any parent knows, but they remind those of us who are weary and carry heavy burdens, that it is possible to live in a different way, to be born again, to retrieve, not the naiveté, but the simplicity of the heart of the child.

In the intimacy of his life with the Father, Jesus lived this childlike simplicity. ’’No one knows the Father except the Son, and whoever the Son reveals him to’’.  The mutual delight of the divine intimacy is uncovered for us.  We are invited into this spiritual childhood, this reciprocal delight, but to do so we must let Jesus heal our wounded, weary hearts and lift our heavy burdens.

“Come to me”, he says and he speaks directly to the heart and situation of each one of us.  For who of us is not on some level ’weary’, tired, worn out, struggling, troubled?  Who of us is not ’carrying heavy burdens’, weighed down by the heavy load of grief, for example; I am thinking of a friend of mine who’s younger brother was very suddenly found dead in his apartment just the other day.  The burden of responsibility and worry for a terminally ill elderly parent.  I am thinking of the weariness of the parent caring for their sick child.  There is a saying about parenting that captures so well the happy burden of this vocation. ’You are only as happy as your most unhappy child’.  We do worry about our children, don’t we?  I’m thinking of the person weighed down by financial worries, the burden of poverty, of not being able to make ends meet.  And the flesh itself, is this not also a burden, a sometimes-heavy load, weighed down by illness, old age, the incessant tug of a bad habit, an addictive behavior pattern, and all our other incapacities.

Whatever the pattern and content of our ‘weariness’, and the ‘heavy burdens’ we carry, Jesus is speaking directly to each one of us. ’’Come to me’’, he says, ’’and I will give you rest’’.  What is this rest from our wariness and our carrying of heavy burdens that Jesus holds out for us?  Jesus is God’s Sabbath rest.  Come to him and lay down your burdens’. Enter into the childlike playfulness of his intimacy with God. ’’Be still and know that God is God’’.  Know that in Jesus, God has embraced the weariness and burdens of our humanity, our wounds, suffering, and even our death, right down to the bottom.  This is why he can say, “Come to me…  and I will give you rest’’.

How do we enter into this rest?  By ‘coming to him’ first of all, in prayer, in the Eucharist and other sacraments, in service to the least of these; these are all ways of cultivating the encounter with God in Christ, of resting in his childlike relationship with the Father.

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me’’, says Jesus, ’’for my yoke is easy and my burden is light’’.  No longer, ’the yoke of the law’, the endless search for righteousness, as if we could make ourselves worthy, an impossible burden too heavy for any of us to bare.  The burden that Jesus holds out for us is ‘easy’ and ‘light’, like the heart of the child.

‘’Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart’’, he says.  Yoked with Jesus, we hope to be conformed to his character. ’’Blessed are the meek’’.  Meekness and humility are both noble and strong virtues, they are the virtues of childhood, of the heart that is radically open and available to receive the future from God in Christ. “Come to me…and I will give you rest”.

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.