Homily Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time-Deacon Blaine Barclay

What great readings for Thanksgiving weekend. Especially n this time of toned down or cancelled feasts, they speak of hope and anticipation. I love the image of the feast, the great banquet of welcome overflowing with rich food and well-aged wines. Such abundance, such surplus, not just for an in crowd, but laid out for all peoples.


Not just a feast that fills us and then leaves us empty and the same, once the abundance has been depleted. But a feast beyond our wildest imagination, destroying, “the shroud that is cast over all people”, that “will swallow up death forever”. And my favourite line here, ‘‘then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces”.


Imagine such a world, no longer living in ‘the shadow of death’, as our Psalm says. A world where God will, “wipe away the tears from all faces”. There is a phrase that the Rabbis use to speak of this promise; ‘‘ Tikkum Olam, to mend the world”. Prophetic words like our first reading from Isaiah are not just empty promises looking forward to some kind of magical future where all our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. But a vision that is meant to animate and empower our concrete practices in the here and now, practising radical hospitality, wiping away tears, living a hope that robs death of its victory. Yes, we are still found waiting and wanting, but with the gladness and joy of salvation thrilling our hearts.


All of this is of course background to the parable that Jesus holds out for us today. Except that he ups the ante a bit. Not just a generic feast, no matter how filled with promises, but a wedding banquet for the son of a king. The invitations go out, but the first wave of guests flatly refuse; “they would not come”, it says. A second set of invitations go out, again the guests refuse, with excuses ranging from being too busy to outright hostility.  The opposition to the feast is violent.


The third set of invitations represents the good news of the gospel message. “Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find…Both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests”.


Suddenly the parable takes an unusual turn, it moves very quickly from God’s immense invitational generosity, to one guest being kicked out because they don’t have on a wedding garment. Quite the dress code. What is the significance of the wedding garment? For, “many are called, invited, but few are chosen”. We are all called to repentance, but we need to personally respond to the invitation, put on the wedding garment, the clean new clothes that God has provided. Suddenly the parable becomes a teaching about baptism. None of us are worthy to be at this banquet. Baptism is both the gift of being invited and the sign of our radical inclusion in this great feast. Let’s make sure that we show up putting on Christ, and wearing the clean wedding garment of our Baptism.


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.