Homily, Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Deacon Blaine Barclay

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…” The question of course is, what is this ‘one mind’, this one love, the mind of Christ, that we are called to have toward one another? The next verse hits the nail on its head. “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, as something to be exploited/grasped at/clung to, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…” In the Incarnation, God empties himself in Christ. This self-emptying, this pouring out of oneself for others, this non-exploiting selfless mindset, where Jesus ‘makes himself nothing’, ‘of no reputation’, as other translations put it. This is at the core of the kind of love that God has. This is ego-less love, a love that does not count the cost. Every good mother or father will understand this love.

The Greek Word translated as ‘mind’, can also be translated as ‘thinking’, ‘mind-set’, a way of looking, ‘understanding’. But it includes love, affection, and feeling, because the word also refers to the region around the heart. So ‘mind’ is deeper and wider than just thinking in any narrow sense of the word. It really sums up your whole way of being in the world, your underlying disposition and way of life. The kind of person that you are. Not just our head, but the heart also. What does Pascal say? ‘The heart has its reasons that reason knows not of’.

The verse concludes with the phrase “Taking the form of a slave”. John’s gospel version of the last supper teaches us the same lesson. Jesus sets aside his glory as the only begotten Son, puts a towel around his waist, and makes himself the slave of all. He didn’t just say it, he lived it, right down to the bottom of being a slave. “He humbled himself even further…death on a cross”, our reading says. A slave’s death, stripped of your personhood and your dignity. A Self-emptying death, designed to cancel out the identity of the one being crucified.

This is not the end for Jesus or for us. It is precisely in God’s total embrace of our absolute poverty, of our universal condition of slavery, and dusty death, that leads to glory. “Therefore, God highly exalted him and gave him the name above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”.

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…” “The same mind, having the same love”. Compassionate love, humble consideration of others, without conceit, without ego. This is not easy; it is impossible without grace. Just when you think you are making progress; the idol of ego rears its ugly head again. And here is the connection with our gospel. When we fall, fail, and refuse to love. God will give us the courage to change our mind and heart, just like the brother in our gospel who although he first said ‘no’, did the will of his father.

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.