Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ninetieth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

August 13th, 2017

Fr. Francesco Msofu

There are three major learnings we may reflect from today’s readings: In the first reading, Omri became the king of Israel after the death of king Zimri. He remained in power for almost 12 years. Omri, however, was not a good king with regards to the faith of the Israelites.  He repeated the sin of Jeroboam I by making Samaria the center of worship, hence, refusing to recognize Jerusalem only legitimate shrine. He also made alliances with pagan nations, established trade and strengthened his army.  In addition to that, he arranged a marriage between his son Ahab and Jezebel, the daughter of Tyre.  When Omri died, his son Ahab came into power.

Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, introduced pagan religion, its customs and traditions to Israel, which endangered their faith.  While she led the people of God astray by forcing them to follow the pagan god, Baal. The prophet Elijah proclaimed to the Israelites that they should remain faithful to God and that they should worship in Jerusalem and not in Samaria. As a result, a conflict between Prophet Elijah and Jezebel arose, and Jezebel sought to kill the prophet Elijah.  In order to save his own life, Elijah fled to Mount Horeb, where God revealed to him in the sound of a gentle breeze.

In the second reading, Paul expressed his great sorrow and deep anguish because the Israelites have rejected the Gospel of Christ.  Given that the Israelites are the chosen people; Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob are their patriarchs; God’s Covenants and the Ten Commandments were given to them; and Jesus Christ is their Messiah; they would have been proud of and they would have all reasons to receive him. Unfortunately, they did not believe Him nor receive Him as the Messiah and the Savior. Because of that, Paul was very sad and said that he would be ready to experience suffering in imitation of Christ if this would help his fellow Israelites accept Jesus Christ.

In ancient times, the sea was regarded as the abode of the devil due to its violent temperament. It was seen as the enemy of people and only God could calm its violence and walk on it (Ps 107: 25-30; Job 9: 8). The Evangelist Matthew shows us how Jesus revealed himself as the Master of the Universe and He can counter all the forces that threaten human beings.  In the Gospel reading, we are also told of Peter asking Jesus if he could walk on the water. Jesus, who is the master of nature, granted him that power. Peter, however, was frightened because he did not keep his eyes on Christ and lost his trust that Christ would fetch him when he falls.  Some of us too may blame Peter for his lack of faith. But we should ask ourselves: do we not sometimes like Peter lose our trust in God, especially when we encounter challenges or difficulties? Today we need to commit ourselves, to look earnestly at Jesus and trust Him that He will definitely help us (Ps. 37: 5).

In our Life

  1. God does come to help us as He helped Elijah during his difficult life. Jesus too comes to save us as He approached his disciples and calmed the storm. The readings today show us that we should not be afraid. In the midst of difficulties, we should ask help from God. The gospel also reminds us the importance of keeping our focus on Jesus who will always help us.
  2. Prophet Elijah was a man of God and a defender of faith. Let’s always be ready to provide answers to those who ask us of our hope and faith. We should also be ready to defend our faith whenever it is required (1 Pet. 3: 15).
  3. We should note that one of God’s favorite ways in communicating with us is in silence. Like Prophet Elijah, we need to discover God in the depth of our own hearts. We don’t need to look for God only in extraordinary things and forget the simple yet most effective ways (the ordinary things).  We can achieve this through prayer, meditation and reflection, spiritual retreat, adoration to the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus, our Lord is always available, ready to receive our invitations so that He can come and meet us in our hearts (Rev. 3: 20).

 



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.