Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 14th, 2018

Father Shawn Hughes

Disclaimer:

Homilies are never the creative act of one person.  So as we begin to post these homilies on our website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be nothing original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week.  Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it.  ‘Tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time.  If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures.  

God bless you.

Father Shawn

Great one liners upon which to reflect this week!!!

“Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

What are you looking for?

“Come and See!”

“We have found the Messiah”

“Speak Lord your servant is listening!”

“Here I am Lord.  I come to do your will.”

Great one liners upon which to meditate this week!!!

For the second time in this first chapter of John’s Gospel, John the Baptist points Jesus out as the Lamb of God.  Immediately everyone hearing him would know that the phrase alludes to the Passover, when in Egypt, 1200 years before Jesus, the Israelites sprinkled the blood of the Passover lamb on the lintels of their doors (Exodus 12).  The lamb had been sacrificed in order to save the Israelites, so that the angel of death would pass over their homes. Thus, Moses, that very night would be able to lead them out of slavery.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, is to be slain on Calvary; his blood is sprinkled on the lips of all his faithful when we receive Holy Communion.  This saves us from the slavery of sin and leads us into the freedom of eternal life.  What is foreshadowed in the Old Testament is powerfully fulfilled in Jesus.  Jesus, the Christ, is THE  Lamb, The Lamb…OF GOD, truly Saviour.  Thus, at every Mass we say: “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us!”  Thus, at every Mass, I raise up the Blessed Sacrament and say: “Behold, the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”  How blessed are we called to the supper of the Lamb.  How blessed are we that his suffering, death and resurrection, have saved us from the slavery of our sins and leads us into the freedom of eternal life.

Andrew found his brother, Simon and announced:  “We have found the Messiah!” Messiah – a Hebrew word translates as the Anointed One.  Translated into Greek as Christus, the Christ.  It is a title.   The Anointed ones of the Old Testament:  the priests, the prophets and the kings…messiahs…literally had consecrated oil poured over them, as a sign of being chosen and strengthened by God for their divine mission on God’s behalf.  At our Baptism each one of us becomes an anointed one when the priest takes the Oil of Salvation and the Oil of Chrism, consecrated by the Archbishop during Holy Week, and anoints us, above our heart, and on our head…Christ is THE Priest, THE prophet, THE king…THE Christ, The Anointed One.  In our baptism we literally put on Christ, participate in His priesthood, His prophetic power, His kingship…we are set aside, chosen by God and strengthened by God for the divine mission of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Andrew said:  “we have found the Messiah.  The Anointed One.  The one whom the prophets foretold.  This title also refers to the promised successor to the throne of David.  Under King David, the Kingdom of Israel had reached its peak of power, greatness and influence.  God had promised that the line of David would never entirely fail and that a son of David would ascend to the throne and reinstate a new, greater, golden age of Israel saving Israel from all her sufferings and oppression…Saving her from all the misery that her sin had heaped upon her.  This is fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.

“What are you looking for?”  Foundationally each of us must answer that question for ourselves.  Today we need to ask ourselves: “What am I looking for?”  What do I really want from the rest of my life?  What is my purpose for the rest of my life?”  I think, foundationally, all us pray to be saved from our own weakness, our own sin, our own confusion.  At the core of our being we desire wisdom, truth and peace.  (Psalm 51:5-6) There is a wonderful quote from the Early Church Father, Irenaeus, at the end of the second century:  He said: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”   God’s glory consists in the human race reaching its full potential.  Christ is the bearer and bestower of this glory, the one who establishes the sovereignty of God in every human heart.

And Christ invites each of us:  Come and See:

The gospel says Jesus was walking by. He makes no grand entrance.  Employs no intimidating tactics.  When John and Andrew decide to go after him. He turns and welcomes them.  He makes no demands, gives no orders and passes no judgement.  He calls.  Like the Prophet Samuel in our first reading he calls each of us by name.   He issues an invitation: Come and See”   Gently, unexpectedly, intimately, we are invited into Life with Christ.  Invited to spend time with him.  Samuel’s response was “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”  Andrew and the other disciple spent the day with Jesus.  They prayed…spent time with Jesus.

In the light of today’s readings, at the core of each of our beings we need to ask: What do I want?  What do I seek?  What am I hoping for? What do I desire?  If we don’t take the time to truly reflect on these questions deeply and often enough to have an answer, we fall into the danger of ending up looking for meaning and happiness in the wrong places.

A secondary question is:  Do I want to respond to the Lord’s call deeply enough to allow it to make Him my priority?  Am I truly willing to remove from my life all that keeps me from Him?  Am I truly willing to spend time with Him in prayer to know him more and more deeply?  Am I willing to add into my life what is missing ?  Am I willing to forgive?  Am I willing to reach out a hand in reconciliation?  Am I willing to forgo my pride, my guilt, my shame and allow the Lord to forgive me in Confession…

A good test to answer these questions is the answer to this one:  Andrew spent the day with Jesus.  He was so transformed that he immediately went and found His brother Simon and declared: “We have found the Messiah.”   The true test of whether we have completely become a disciple of Jesus is if we are missionary.  If we are willing to speak to others about Jesus about what he adds to our lives.  The question:  Am I like Andrew willing to speak to others about what I have found?  If I am not, have I truly found it?

Imagine if Andrew hadn’t gone to Simon, his brother and told him about the Messiah.  He brought Simon to Jesus.  Jesus renames him.  You are to be called Cephas, the Aramaic word for Rock. In the Jewish scriptural tradition only God gave new names to people and He only did so when he gave them a prominent role in his plan of salvation and connected them with his covenantal promise.  We heard this on the feast of the Holy Family when Abraham and Sarah received their names.  Simon becomes Cephas, the Rock, in English Peter.  He is given a preeminent role, showing that the role of the pope, Peter among us, is instituted by Christ Himself .  Imagine if Andrew hadn’t allowed his time with Jesus to transform him to the degree that he did not go and tell his brother Simon that He had found the Messiah.

There are many people in your life that rely on your testimony, your lived and spoken witness that you have found the Messiah.  As always this is easier said than done.  But as Anointed Ones of God, Baptised followers of the Christ, we have all the God-given strength, all the grace, necessary to do so.  We need to trust.

That trust comes from the absolute knowledge and confidence of who Christ is and what he has done for me.  That trust, that knowledge, that confidence only comes from the profound relationship with Christ that comes from prayer spending time with him.

This is why we offer all these extra opportunities: Alpha, Courses like the one on the Bible and The Sacraments, Cursillo Retreats…Each carefully, prayerfully, selected to provide you with opportunities to grow more deeply in knowledge of (point to head) and intimacy with the Lord.

Great lines upon which to meditate this week:

Foundationally:  What are you looking for?

And in response:

“Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

“We have found the Messiah”

“Speak Lord your servant is listening!”

“Here am I Lord.  I come to do your will.”

The Lord proposes.  He never imposes.

He says to each of us: “Come and See”

We have just had the wonderful pilgrimage tour visit of the relic of St. Francis Xavier.  St. Francis is a perfect example of a disciple of Jesus who became completely missionary.  He was so on fire with the transformation the Lord Jesus achieved in his life that he literally went to the ends of the earth to bring others to Jesus.

I would like to end with this prayer which summarizes how St. Francis saw the Lord that so inspired him to give over his entire life.

Prayer of St. Francis Xavier

My God, I love you.

Not simply out of hope for heaven,

Nor from fear of eternal loss.

But because you , O Jesus,

You embraced me when you embraced the cross,

You took the nails, the spear, disgrace,

And bore it all for me.

You took the sorrow and the torment

The seat of agony – Even death itself!

And all for one who was your enemy.

So why, O blessed Jesus Christ,

Should I not love you well?

Not for winning heaven nor for escaping hell,

Not out of hope for personal gain,

Nor acquiring my own reward.

But because you yourself have love me,

O ever-loving Lord.

So I do love you, and will love you,

And your praises I will sing,

Just because you are my God.

My great eternal king.  Amen!

Written by St. Francis Xavier; adapted by John David O’Brien, S.J.

 

 

 

 

 



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.