Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Homilies are never the creative act of one person.  Thus, in posting these homilies on St. Mary’s Cathedral’s website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be little 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 and/or the Spiritual Life. 

God bless you.

Father Shawn


Whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

A superficial understanding of this would construe “follow me” as treat me as an admirable model  or appropriate my wise ideas or imitate my way of life.

In this section of Matthew’s gospel Jesus is forming his disciples for mission…for evangelization.  He is challenging his disciples…and us, to become living images of his own life. We are to “put on” the interior disposition of Jesus.  And it doesn’t mean we are trying to do here in this life what we see Jesus doing in his life.  By saying follow me Jesus is striving to detach the disciple from every private path, every private project, every private relationship even every private desire in order to bring his followers, us, to participate fully and actively in the only life and destiny that matters – His!

Christian life is not so much me bringing Jesus into my life but Christian life is Jesus opening to me the doors of his life and granting me a share in the acts and intentions of His Heart.  It is not me who makes room for Him in my endeavours.  He can’t be just one of many other priorities. Rather, it is he who invites me to renounce all my endeavours in order to incorporate me into his human and divine  mission and life.  He must be THE priority.  The unuum necesarrium.  The one necessary thing.  Our priorities by definition are priorities because they point to Him.  St. Paul put it best when in Galatians 2:20  he said: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” and he went on: And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Words inscribed below our beautiful Crucifixion Scene here in the cathedral.

It is only cleared of all other priorities…All that possesses us…Wealth, honour, power, pleasure…can we fully embrace the Cross.  Carrying the cross is the work of the disciple.  It is more than suffering with resignation whatever sorrows come along.  The disciple is to take up his cross and follow Jesus…Two very active words.  Our cross: our struggles,  our suffering, our faults…even our sins…are our own specific road to holiness…in the spiritual literature throughout the ages there our struggles and sufferings rightly received are referred to as the Kiss from the cross…our road to holiness.   There is a sense if I don’t willing participate in my specific cross and ardently cling to it…that no one will…and my place… my specific following of Jesus…will forever remain vacant.

The Lord is plainly saying that the way of the Christian is the Way of the Cross.  A Cross which he chooses for us, not one of our own choosing.

My Cross…Your cross…is our allotted share in the work of the world’s redemption.  And we can only take up that Cross…when we have a deep life of prayer…which builds our spiritual strength on a rock-solid relationship with the Lord.  Only then can we fully Trust Him…no matter where he takes us.

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.