Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday February 3rd, 2019

Deacon Blaine Barclay


First of all, a word about I Cor. ch. 13, the famous ‘love chapter’ of the New Testament. This chapter is so rich in lessons about love, it points to the foundation stones of a lifetime of learning how to love. Paul begins by referring to Love as the most excellent of all gifts. We could have a whole bunch of gifts and even try to use them for the common good but if we don’t have love, we will come up empty. Charity/Love is at the heart of a fruitful Christian life. Not just any Love, but Agape Love, a love that is already a participation in the self-emptying love of God.

The Christian life, the life of a disciple of Jesus, is not a lone ranger kind of life, something perused after the manner of the modern autonomous sovereign individual. Discipleship is life lived in Communio, in community, in friendship and solidarity with others. We have been given to each other so that you can learn how to love. It will not be easy, Jesus has warned us about our capacity for hardness of heart. St. Paul gives us here not only a description of love, but a pro-scription for love, for love is something ahead of us, out in front of us, to which we are called to respond with courage and generosity. Listen once again to St. Paul telling us what love is, what love does.

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

Will we always be patient and kind with one another, with our family, our friends, our spouse, our community, probably not, for we are all of us, wounded, fragmented human beings, who see through a glass darkly. But love is patient; love is kind. Will we sometimes be rude, irritable, resentful, and insist on your own way? You already know the answer to that question.

This text from Paul is like a mirror in which we can see ourselves, or not see ourselves, because we all fall short of what love asks of us. This is a good text to use to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are made for love, for intimacy, for friendship, and yes, within Sacramental Marriage, for the delightful play of Eros, but always at the service of a love for which our hearts will always be restless. St. Augustine tells us: “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”. As we listen today to this famous love chapter from St. Paul, let us give ourselves to this lifelong journey of love. By our common Baptism we are called to be sacrament for each other, the Body of Christ. An efficacious sign of this love. For Christians, this is a participation in the love that animates the interior life of the Trinity, the same love which emptied itself and took the form of a servant in Jesus. This is why we can hope all things, because we have been invited into a covenant of love that is bigger than all of us. Each one of us loved from the beginning, right down to the bottom of who we are. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…I consecrated you”.

The gospel for a moment, the people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, at least those who were at the Synagogue the day of his first homily, were scandalized by this love that is good news for the poor, liberty for captives, recovery of sight for the blind, a jubilee of mercy and forgiveness. To be sure, at first, they marvel at his words, at the graciousness that poured from his lips. But then Jesus’ homily extends Gods covenant love to a poor non-Jewish Syrian widow, and a non-Jewish leper who was the commander of the enemy army. Jesus, preaching a self-emptying love that turns outsiders into insiders, that turns the world upside down. This is dynamite, no wonder they were enraged, drove him out of town, and wanted to throw him off a cliff. Living into this kind of Love is disturbing and disruptive, it calls us to life-long conversion, it is the task of a lifetime, but that’s OK, because, “Love never ends”.

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.