Archive for the ‘August 23’ Category

Feast of Thomas Augustine Judge (August 23)   3 comments

Above:  Thomas Augustine Judge

Image in the Public Domain

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THOMAS AUGUSTINE JUDGE, JR. (AUGUST 23, 1868-NOVEMBER 24, 1933)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest

Founder of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, and the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate

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In the ordinary province of your everyday lives, you are the Church, you are conditioned to to make yourself responsible for the Catholic Church at home, in the street car; coming and going to work in your place of employment where you are, there is the Church.

–Father Thomas Augustine Judge, to his lay apostles; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 605

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Father Thomas Augustine Judge comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via A Year with American Saints (2006).

Do more for Jesus.

That was our saint’s standard advice to Roman Catholics he met on his travels.

Thomas Augustine Judge, Jr., born in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 23, 1868, came from an Irish immigrant family.  He was the fifth of eight children.  The father, Thomas Augustine Judge, Sr., was a painter.  He died at the age of 45 years, when our saint was 18 years old.  Our saint went on to work at the Post Office while taking night classes at Boston High School.

Judge joined the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians).  He matriculated at St. Vincent’s Seminary, Germantown, Pennsylvania, in January 1890.  He became a Vincentian novice in 1893, made his vows two years later, and kept studying theology.  Our saint received the sacrament of priestly ordination in May 1999.  While in seminary in Germantown, he engaged in catechesis and social work among Italian immigrants.

Judge had a health crisis immediately following his ordination.  Diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, he recuperated in Boston that summer.  Then, assigned to light duties in Emmitsburg, Maryland, he did not serve in a Vincentian mission team until 1903.  Through 1915, Judge, based in Germantown, Pennsylvania, preached parish missions from Puerto Rico to New Jersey.

These journey laid the foundations for our saint’s subsequent work.  While traveling for preaching missions, Judge encountered Roman Catholics wavering in their faith, considering converting, and living in officially invalid marriages.  He also met children raised in irreligious homes.  Meeting with six women in Brooklyn in 1909 laid the foundations for the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate (for lay people), approved in 1920.  These six women helped recently-arrived immigrants adjust to life in the New World.

Judge, assigned to a mission church (St. Mary of the Mission) in Opelika, Alabama, in 1915, faced new challenges.  He and some associates (male and female) from Germantown joined him there.  These Roman Catholic missionaries contended with a vigorous and sometimes threatening hostility to Holy Mother Church.  Even the prospect of visiting parishioners in their homes–even in teams–prompted fear in some of these associates.  But Judge and his associates built up that congregation.  Our saint encouraged Eucharistic devotion.  He spent extra time hearing confessions.  This became a point of criticism, oddly enough.  Out of the Alabama experience emerged two more orders, the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity (for priests, deacons, and brothers) and the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity (for sisters).  Members of these orders founded schools, served in parishes and missions, and served in multiple dioceses, at bishops’ requests.

Judge, a firm believer in evangelism and the lay apostolate, died, aged 65 years old, on November 23, 1933.

Members of all three orders continue to serve Christ.

The catechism from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (1979) contains a sentence that Judge would have suffered, had he lived long enough to read it:

The ministers of the Church are the lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.

–855

Read Judge’s advice, which I quoted at the beginning of this post, again, O reader.  If you are a Christian, wherever and whenever you are, you are the Church in that place and at that time.  As you perform even the most mundane task, you are the Church.  As you teach the faith or invite someone to cry on your shoulder, you are the Church.  That is a great responsibility and vocation.  By grace, you may fulfill it well.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 8, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF FRED B. CRADDOCK, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND RENOWNED PREACHER

THE FEAST OF GEOFFREY STUDDERT KENNEDY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HAMPDEN GURNEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD, FOUNDER OF THE BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent to call the Church

to its tasks and renew its life [such as your servant Thomas Augustine Judge, Jr.]. 

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your Church and proclaim the reality of your kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Blessed Franciszek Dachtera (August 23)   2 comments

Above:  Blessed Franciszek Dachtera

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED FRANCISZEK DACHTERA (SEPTEMBER 22, 1910-AUGUST 23,1944)

Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944

June 12 = Feast of the 108 (Polish) Martyrs of World War II

Blessed Franciszek Dachtera comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.

Dachtera was originally a subject of the German Empire.  His birthplace, the village of Salno, near Bydgoscz, was ethnically Polish.  Our saint, born on September 22, 1910, spent the first few years of his life as a subject of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  Then Germany surrendered in late 1918, followed by the formation of the restored Republic of Poland in 1919.

Dachtera, having graduated from public school in Bydgoscz then the seminary in Gniezno, became a priest in the Archdiocese of Gniezno on June 10, 1933.  Our saint taught religion in Bydgoscz from 1935 to 1939.  In August 1939, the Archbishop of Gniezno appointed Dachtera to the parish in Lubowo.  Before our saint could start serving there, Germany invaded Poland, the European Theater of World War II started, and he became the chaplain of the Polish 62nd Infantry Regiment, with the rank of captain.

Dachtera’s service as an army chaplain was brief.  He became a prisoner of war on September 17, 1939, during the Battle of Bzura.  Then the final period of our saint’s life began.

Dachtera was a prisoner at the Totheberg camp near Fulda until April 25, 1940.  Next, he suffered at the Buchenwald concentration camp until July 7, 1942.  Then he suffered at the Dachau concentration camp.  Our saint comforted other prisoners.  At Dachau, other inmates called him “the Cherub.”  Dachtera, a guinea pig for allegedly medical experiments, suffered from malaria four times.  “Doctors” infected him on purpose.  Our saint also suffered from damage to certain organs because of these experiments.  He spent his final six months in constant pain.

Dachtera, aged 33 years, died at Dachau on August 23, 1944.  The cause of death was an injection of poison.

Pope John Paul II declared Dachtera a Venerable then beatified him in 1999.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 8, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWARD KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF FRED B. CRADDOCK, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND RENOWNED PREACHER

THE FEAST OF GEOFFREY STUDDERT KENNEDY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HAMPDEN GURNEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD, FOUNDER OF THE BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Franciszek Dachtera

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Geert Groote (August 23)   Leave a comment

Above: Part of Europe in 1360

Image in the Public Domain

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GEERT GROOTE (1340-AUGUST 20, 1384)

Founder of the Brethren of the Common Life

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Always put more hope in eternal glory than in fear of hell.

–Geert Groote, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 360

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Geert Groote comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days (1997), via Ellsberg, All Saints (1997).

Before I write about Groote’s life, I ground this post in geography and history.  Know then, O reader, the following:

  1. During Groote’s lifetime, the city of Deventer was within the frontiers of the Bishopric of Utrecht (extant 1024-1528), within the Holy Roman Empire.  The leader of the Bishopric of Utrecht.
  2. Deventer is in The Netherlands in 2021.
  3. The Black Death (1347-1351), the most notorious and historically significant outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, occurred during Groote’s lifetime.  The rebuilding of civilization after the Black Death led to the beginning of the modern world, gave rise to many oppressed people rising up, and planted many seeds of the Protestant Reformation.  (As Norman Cantor, that great historian of the Middle Ages wrote, we live in the world the Black Death made.)  After at least half of the population of Europe had died within four years, societies were ready for revolutions.  There was no turning back the clock to the way Europe had been.

Groote, born in Deventer in October 1340, came from a secure and wealthy family .  He received a fine education, by the standards of the time, although portions of the curriculum would not have met the standards of 2021.  Our saint’s father worked in the municipal government of Deventer.  Groote, educated at the Sorbonne, Paris, emerged well-versed in topics ranging from theology and philosophy to astronomy and canon law.  He graduated in 1358.

Groote became a teacher.  He taught in Deventer (1362f) then in Cologne.  Via family connections, he received some ecclesiastical benefices.  The young and wealthy scholar led a selfish life.  Our saint, convicted of this sin at the age of 34 years, in 1374, gave up everything and became a guest at a Carthusian monastery near Arnhem.

The year 1374 took place during a revolutionary age in Western Europe.  The Black Death had not discriminated; it had killed many able churchmen.  Many of the replacements were of a lesser caliber.  In England, John Wycliffe (circa 1320-1384) had become a revolutionary in his later years.  He was well on the way to becoming the “Morning Star of the Reformation.”  Men who read his works in subsequent years and agreed with him included Jan Hus (1371-1415) and Martin Luther (1483-1546).

In 1374, when Groote became a guest at a Carthusian monastery, he converted his family home in Deventer into a shelter for impoverished women.  Our saint, who took his new, religious life seriously, became a Roman Catholic deacon.

Groote started preaching in the Diocese of Utrecht in 1379.  He traveled and preached for four years, until the Bishop of Utrecht revoked our saint’s preaching license by ordering that only priests could preach.  Groote made himself extremely inconvenient to many powerful, wealthy people.  He preached interior spiritual renewal.  Our saint encouraged meditation on the life of Jesus as the model of Christian virtue.  He also denounced ecclesiastical abuses.  These included greed, simony, and sexual misconduct.  Finally, in 1383, the Bishop of Utrecht halted Groote’s preaching.  The gag order remained effective until the final year of our saint’s life.

Communities of the “Devout,” or formally, the Brethren of the Common Life, practiced their faith “in the world,” not in a monastery or a convent.  They practiced the Devotia Moderna, which entailed being silent and alone, and meditating upon the Passion of Christ, on redemption, on one’s death, on the Last Judgment, and on Heaven and Hell.  The movement spread throughout the Low Countries and Germany.  One subsequent member of the Brethren of the Common Life was the great spiritual writer Thomas à Kempis (circa 1380-1471).  Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) also drank deeply of the legacy of our saint.  Erasmus, alive when the Protestant Reformation began, remained within the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was also sharply critical.

Groote resumed preaching in the final year of his life.  He also continued to minister to the sick.  By tending to a patient suffering from the Bubonic Plague, our saint contracted that disease, which caused his death.  Groote died in Deventer on August 20, 1384.

I harbor great respect and much affection for Holy Mother Church.  I, raised a Protestant, feel drawn to her.  Yet I remain on the banks of the Tiber River, so to speak; I have chosen not to cross that river.  I acknowledge that the Roman Catholic Church has been its own worst enemy, stifling reforms that would have staved off revolutions and schisms.  

  1. The Roman Catholic Church forbade Groote from preaching.
  2. The Roman Catholic Church executed Jan Hus as a heretic.  That execution was heretical.
  3. The Roman Catholic Church exhumed and burned the corpse of John Wycliffe.
  4. The Roman Catholic Church tried to have Martin Luther killed.  The Pope excommunicated Luther, whose Plan A did not include committing schism.  Then the Church blamed Luther for committing schism.

The Roman Catholic Church is not unique in being its own worst enemy, of course.  The other Christian communions have been their own worst enemies from their inception, too.  They also have blood on their institutional hands.  Do I need to write about the people John Calvin (1509-1564) and Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) had executed, for example?  And do I need to explain the witch hunts that members of various denominations committed in the Old and New Worlds?  Do I need to explain about Protestants martyring each other as well as Roman Catholics?  Do I need to list examples of Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox attacking and killing each other? I am not picking on the Roman Catholic Church and ignoring the sins of other Christian denominations and traditions.

Institutionalization, combined with a defensive attitude, has proven detrimental to the Church fulfilling its potential.  Geert Groote understood this truth.  His life testified to that fact.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 7, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF JAMES HEWITT MCGOWN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DRAUSINUS AND ANSERICUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF SOISSONS; SAINT VINDICIAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CAMBRAI, AND SAINT LEODEGARIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF AUTUN

THE FEAST OF EDWARD OSLER, ENGLISH DOCTOR, EDITOR, AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANTONIA DE PAZ Y FIGUEROA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE DIVINE SAVIOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PERPETUA, FELICITY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS AT CARTHAGE, 203

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church to its tasks and renew its life [such as your servant Geert Groote].

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your Church and proclaim the reality of your kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Theodore O. Wedel and Cynthia Clark Wedel (August 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Episcopal Flag

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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THEODORE O. WEDEL (FEBRUARY 1892-JULY 21, 1970)

Episcopal Priest and Biblical Scholar

husband of

CYNTHIA CLARK WEDEL (AUGUST 26, 1908-AUGUST 24, 1986)

U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist

The appendix in A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016), of The Episcopal Church, contains a list of men and women deemed “worthy of commemoration” but who do not qualify yet because insufficient time has passed since they died.  Cynthia Clark Wedel is on that list.  The denomination has its reasons for usually (with few exceptions, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels) waiting at least four decades.  I have no such temporal rule, however.  Therefore Wedel joins my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days with this post.  I add to her husband to this post.

Theodore O. Wedel, a scholar and a priest, became a leader in The Episcopal Church.  He, born in Halstead, Kansas, grew up a Mennonite.  Our saint’s father was the Reverend Cornelius Wedel, President of Bethel College, Halstead.  Theodore, while a high school student, played the organ for the Episcopal Church in town.  He went on to graduate with his B.A. at Oberlin College, in 1914 then his M.A. at Harvard University the following year.  In 1915, at the Church of the Advent, Boston, Theodore joined The Episcopal Church.  He earned his Ph.D. from Yale University (1918), in time for the U.S. Army to draft him.  Our saint already the husband (since 1917) of Elizabeth Cornelia Ewert (d. 1932), was an instructor in San Diego for what was left of the war.  The Wedels had two children:  Theodore Carl (born in 1919) and Gertrude (born in 1924).

Academia beckoned.  Theodore taught English at Yale (1919-22) before taking a job (1922-1934) at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.  He was Professor of English then Professor of Biography.  Ministry also beckoned.  The professor audited courses at Seabury Divinity School, read deeply in theology, and became a lay reader.  On September 24, 1929, he became a deacon.  After studying theology further in Marburg, Germany, our saint became a priest on May 31, 1931.  He served at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Northfield.

Cynthia Clark Wedel was a trail blazer.  She, born Cynthia Clark in Dearborn, Michigan, on August 26, 1908, was a daughter of Elizabeth Snow Clark and civil engineer Arthur Pierson Clark.  She grew up in Dearborn, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and Evanston, Illinois.  Our saint studied history at Northwestern University (B.A., 1929; M.A., 1930).  In 1931-1934 she served as the Director of Christian Education at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston.  In 1934 she went to work at the denominational headquarters, first as a field worker.  In 1935 she became the Director of Youth Work.

Theodore also went to work at the denominational headquarters in 1934.  From 1934 to 1939 he was the Secretary for College Work in the Department of Christian Education.

On May 4, 1939 Cynthia and Theodore married.  Shortly after the wedding he became the Canon of Washington National Cathedral and the Warden of the College of Preachers, continuing in those positions until he retired in 1960.  He also served as the President of the House of Deputies from 1952 to 1961, and was active as a delegate to assemblies and other gatherings of the World Council of Churches.   Theodore also wrote the about the church and theology.  He contributed to The Interpreter’s Bible project as the author of the exposition on Ephesians for Volume 10 (1953).

Theodore remained active after his retirement.  In 1960-1961 he worked at the Ecumenical Institute, Evanston, Illinois.  The following year he was a visiting professor at the Episcopal Theological Seminary, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  In 1962 and 1963 our saint served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary,  New York, New York.

Theodore, recipient of high honors and honorary degrees, died of a heart attack in Alexandria Virginia, on July 21, 1970.  He was 78 years old.

Cynthia continued to be quite active in church and society.  She taught religion at the National Cathedral School for Girls (1939-1948), sat on the national executive board of the Episcopal Women’s Auxiliary (1946-1952), was a member of the denominational National Council (1955-1962), and served as the President of United Church Women (1955-1958).  She also earned her doctorate in psychology (George Washington University, 1957) and worked as a lecturer at American University for several years.  As the 1960s marched on our saint was an observer (1962-1965) at Vatican II and the General Secretary for Christian Union (1965-1969) as well as, with her friend, Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the federal Commission on the Status of Women (1961-1963).

Cynthia, like Theodore, was, an ecumenist. She continued her work into the 1980s.  In 1969 she became the first female President of the National Council of Churches.  After six years in that position she served as the President of the World Council of Churches (1975-1983).  She, a supporter of the ordination of women, was also one of the three female consultants at the Lambeth Conference of 1978.

Cynthia died in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 24, 1986, two days prior to what would have been her seventy-eighth birthday.

As I write this post in June 2018, I note that nearly 32 years have passed since Cynthia Wedel died.  If The Episcopal Church follows the 40-year rule in her case, it will add her to its calendar of saints in nine years, at the General Convention of 2027, at the earliest.

As for her husband, also a prominent figure, the 40-year-rule has expired.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 27, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CORNELIUS HILL, ONEIDA CHIEF AND EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HUGH THOMSON KERR, SR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST; AND HIS SON, HUGH THOMSON KERR, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF JAMES MOFFATT, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND BIBLE TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES THE GEORGIAN, ABBOT; AND SAINTS EUTHYMIUS OF ATHOS AND GEORGE OF THE BLACK MOUNTAIN, ABBOTS AND TRANSLATORS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Theodore O. Wedel and Cynthia Clark Wedel,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and reserved its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Revised and extended to include Theodore O. Wedel

Extant text slightly edited

August 13, 2018 Common Era

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Feast of Sts. Martin de Porres, Juan Macias, Rose of Lima, and Turibius of Mogrovejo (August 23)   Leave a comment

Saints

Above:  Five Saints:  Francis Solano, Turibius of Mogrovejo, Juan Macius, Rose of Lima, and Martin de Porres

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT MARTIN DE PORRES (DECEMBER 9, 1579-NOVEMBER 3, 1639)

Humanitarian and Dominican Lay Brother

His feast transferred from November 3

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SAINT JUAN MACIAS (MARCH 2, 1585-SEPTEMBER 18, 1645)

Humanitarian and Dominican Lay Brother

His feast transferred from September 18

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SAINT ROSE OF LIMA (APRIL 20, 1586-AUGUST 25, 1617)

Humanitarian and Dominican Sister

Alternative feast day = August 30

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SAINT TURIBIUS OF MOGROVEJO (NOVEMBER 16, 1538-MARCH 23, 1606)

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lima

His feast transferred from March 23

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INTRODUCTION

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The Episcopal Church commemorates the lives of St. Martin de Porres, St. Rose of Lima, and St. Turibius of Mogrovejo on August 23.  This makes sense, for St. Turibius, as Archbishop of Lima, confirmed the first two saints, who were both friends and Dominicans in Lima, Peru.  He also had jurisdiction over St. Francis Solano (1549-1610), the “Apostle of America.”  To this post I add St. Juan Macias, also a Dominican and a friend of St. Martin.  St. Turibius confirmed St. Juan also.

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SAINT TURIBIUS OF MOGROVEJO

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St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, born at Mayorga, Spain, on November 16, 1538, came from a noble family.  Turibius Alfonso Mogrovejo bore his first name because his parents had named him for St. Turibius of Astorga (died in 460), archdeacon of Tui, Bishop of Astorga, and defender of Christianity against Priscillianism, a Gnostic-Manichean heresy.  Our saint became a law professor at the University of Salamanca.  His renown, based on his virtue and his erudition, spread widely.  King Philip II appointed him the Grand Inquisitor at Granada.  In 1578 St. Turibius became a priest.  In May of the following year his appointment as Archbishop of Lima cleared the Vatican.  The consecration occurred in August 1580, and he arrived in Peru the following year.

St. Turibius was a hard-working archbishop.  During the 25 years of his tenure he traveled his vast diocese repeatedly, making himself vulnerable to bad weather and dangerous men alike.  He also confirmed about a million people, ordered the translation of the catechism into the major two Incan languages, mastered those tongues, and required that his priests likewise be fluent in them.  St. Turibius also defended the poor as well as indigenous people against abuses by Spanish authorities.  Furthermore, he founded the first Roman Catholic seminary in the Americas (in 1591) and was responsible for the construction of roads, school buildings, chapels, hospitals, and convents.

St. Turibius liked to say,

Time is not our own, and we must give a strict account of it.

He used much of the time available to him well.  That time ended near Lima on March 3, 1606, after he had come down with a fever.  He as 67 years old.  Pope Innocent XI beatified our saint in 1697.  Pope Benedict XIII canonized St. Turibuis in 1726.  Our saint’s feast day in the Roman Catholic Church, formerly April 27, has moved to March 23.

St. Turibius is the patron saint of Peru, Latin American bishops, and the rights of indigenous people.

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SAINT MARTIN DE PORRES

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St. Martin de Porres had to contend with two great challenges throughout his life.  Martin de Porres Velazquez, born at at Lima, on December 9, 1579, was the son of Don Juan de Porres (a Spanish gentleman) and Ana (a former Panamanian slave of African descent).  Our saint was allegedly illegitimate, a label I reject, for nobody is an illegitimate person.  (Besides, to blame someone for the circumstances of his or her birth, over which he or she has no control, is wrong.)  St. Martin’s father initially refused to recognize our saint as his son or to support the family, so St. Martin, his mother, and (in time) his younger sister Agnes lived in poverty for years.  When our saint was seven years old, however, Don Juan recognized him, gave him his surname, and began to support the family financially.

St. Martin had little formal education.  When he was young his mother apprenticed him to a barber-surgeon, so he learned those skills well.

St. Martin’s destiny was in a priory, however.  The law forbade him, as a person of African (as well as mixed-race) ancestry, to enter a religious order.  At age 15 he became a volunteer at Holy Rosary Priory, Lima, living there, wearing a habit, and, in time, distributing money to the poor.  In 1603, at age 24, he became a Dominican lay brother anyway.  Perhaps his father made some arrangements.  The prior definitely ignored the law.  Although the prior favored St. Martin, many of the other Dominicans at the priory did not, acting out of racism and mocking him for his alleged illegitimacy.  Our saint handled these difficulties graciously.

St. Martin’s medical training became useful when, in 1613, he became the lay brother in charge of the infirmary.  He, who retained that duty for the rest of his life, cared for the poor and the rich alike.

St. Martin earned a reputation for holiness, patience, and humility.  He lived simply, did not eat meat, fasted frequently, maintained a devotion to the Holy Eucharist, established a shelter for stray cats and dogs, founded an orphanage, and raised dowries for young women.  As if his believable good works were not enough, he also allegedly flew, passed through closed doors, had miraculous knowledge, teleported groups of monks, and had the ability to be in two places simultaneously.

St. Martin died of natural causes at Lima on November 3, 1639.  He was 59 years old.  The royal viceroy, a judge of the royal court, and two bishops served as his pallbearers.  Pope Gregory XVI beatified him in 1837.  Pope John XXIII canonized him in 1962, making him the first saint of African descent in the Americas.

St. Martin is the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, and public health workers, among others.

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SAINT ROSE OF LIMA

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Among the friends of St. Martin de Porres was St. Rose of Lima.  Our saint, born Isabel Flores de Olivia, came from a wealthy colonial family in Lima.  St. Turibius confirmed her in 1597.  On that occasion she took the name Rose, which had been her nickname since early childhood.  The family’s Incan maid had said that our saint was as lovely as a rose.

St. Rose’s destiny was monastic life, despite her parents’ desire to marry her off.  She chose to live in a grotto on the family property.  Eventually her family approved of her vocation.  When the family’s finances collapsed, she supported her relatives by embroidering, gardening, and selling flowers.  And, with her parents’ approval, she transformed a room in their house into a clinic.  St. Rose, who devoted her life to reverence, prayer, and asceticism (including the mortification of the flesh), entered the Third Order of St. Dominic at age 20.  She took St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) as her model with regard to the spiritual life.  Our saint worked among the poorest of the poor, laboring as a Dominican sister until she died at Lima on August 25, 1617, aged 31 years.  Pope Clement IX beatified St. Rose of Lima in 1667.  Pope Clement X canonized her four years later, making her the first saint in the New World.

St. Rose is the patron saint of Peru, Latin America, embroiderers, gardeners, florists, people with family problems, and people who suffer ridicule for their faith, among other causes.

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SAINT JUAN MACIAS

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Another friend of St. Martin of Porres and helper of the poor of Lima was St. Juan Macias.  Our saint, born Juan de Arcas y Sanchez, at Ribero del Fresno, Extremadura, Spain, on March 2, 1585, came from a noble family.  His parents were Pedro de Arcas and Juana Sanchez, and his sister was Agnes.  Pedro and Juana died when our saint was two years old.  An uncle surnamed Macias, raised the children and trained St. Juan to become a shepherd.  As a shepherd our saint began to pray to rosary.

St. Juan was a natural contemplative who preferred solitude.  However, solitude was rare for him.  He had begun to consider becoming a Dominican after meeting a Dominican friar at age 16.  In 1610, at age 25, our saint went to work for a wealthy businessman, who sent him to the New World.  Eventually St. Juan made his way to Lima, where he remained for the rest of his life.  In January 1622 he entered the Dominican Priory of St. Mary Magdalene as a lay brother.  A year later he made his final vows.  Our saint spent most of the rest of his life working as the assistant porter, living in the gatehouse, counseling the rich and poor alike, preferring the poor, feeding 200 people daily, raising funds to care for the impoverished, teaching the catechism to the poor, and praying.

St. Juan died of natural causes at Lima on September 18, 1645.  He was 60 years old.  Pope Gregory XVI beatified him in 1837.  Pope Paul VI canonized him in 1975.

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CONCLUSION

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How blessed are you who are poor:

the kingdom of God is yours.

Blessed are you who are hungry now:

you shall have your fill.

Blessed are you who are weeping now:

you shall laugh.

–Luke 6:20b-21, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

These four saints worked as agents of grace toward those four goals.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 8, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT BENEDICT II, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF DAME JULIAN OF NORWICH, SPIRITUAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAGDALENA OF CANOSSA, FOUNDER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CHARITY AND THE SONS OF CHARITY

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER OF TARENTAISE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP

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Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru

through Martin de Porres, who brought his comfort even to slaves;

through Rose of Lima and Juan Macias, who worked among the poorest of the poor;

and through Turibius of Mogrovejo, who founded the first seminary in the Americas and baptized many:

Help us to follow their example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of your grace

to all downtrodden and outcast people, that your Church may be renewed

with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with you

and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 7:32-36

Psalm 9:9-14

James 2:1-8, 14-17

Mark 10:23-27

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 537

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for August   Leave a comment

Poppies

Image Source = Santosh Namby Chandran

1 (JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, DISCIPLE OF JESUS)

2 (Georg Weissel, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer)

  • Anna Bernadine Dorothy Hoppe, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Christian Gottfried Gebhard, German Moravian Composer and Music Educator
  • Frederick William Foster, English Moravian Bishop, Liturgist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Peter Julian Eymard, Founder of the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Priests’ Eucharistic League; and Organizer of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament

3 (JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION)

4 (John Brownlie, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns)

  • Carroll O’Connor, U.S. Roman Catholic Actor and Screen Writer
  • Frédéric Janssoone, French Roman Catholic Priest and Friar
  • Lambert Beauduin, Belgian Roman Catholic Priest and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal
  • Sarah Platt Doremus, Foundress of the Women’s Union Missionary Society

5 (Alfred Tennyson, English Poet)

  • Adam of Saint Victor, Roman Catholic Monk and Hymn Writer
  • Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, Renaissance Artists
  • Francisco Zanfredini and Michelina of Pesaro, Cofounders of the Confraternity of the Annunciation
  • George Frederick Root, Poet and Composer

6 (TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST)

7 (Colbert S. Cartwright, U.S. Disciples of Christ Minister, Liturgist, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Guglielmo Massaia, Italian Cardinal, Missionary, and Capuchin Friar
  • John Scrimger, Canadian Presbyterian Minister, Ecumenist, and Liturgist
  • Maxim Sandovich, Russian Orthodox Priest and Martyr, 1914
  • Victricius of Rouen, Roman Conscientious Objector and Roman Catholic Bishop

8 (Mary MacKillop, Founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart)

  • Altman, Roman Catholic Bishop of Passau
  • Bonifacia Rodriguez Castro, Cofounder of the Congregation of the Servants of Saint Joseph
  • Dominic, Founder of the Order of Preachers
  • Raymond E. Brown, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

9 (Edith Stein, Roman Catholic Nun and Philosopher)

  • Florence Spearing Randolph, First Female Ordained Minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
  • Herman of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Monk and Missionary to the Aleut
  • John Dryden, English Puritan then Anglican then Roman Catholic Poet, Playwright, and Translator
  • Mary Sumner, Foundress of the Mothers’ Union

10 (William Walsham How, Anglican Bishop of Wakefield and Hymn Writer; and his sister, Frances Jane Douglas(s), Hymn Writer)

  • Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Foundress of the Madonna House Apostolate
  • Cyriaca, Roman Catholic Martyr at Rome, 249; and Sixtus II, His Companions, and Laurence of Rome, Roman Catholic Martyrs at Rome, 258
  • Edward Grzymala and Franciszek Drzewiecki, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1942
  • John Athelstan Laurie Riley, Anglican Ecumenist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

11 (Gregory Thaumaturgus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Neocaesarea; and Alexander of Comana “the Charcoal Burner,” Roman Catholic Martyr, 252, and Bishop of Comana, Pontus)

  • Equitius of Valeria, Benedictine Abbot and Founder of Monasteries
  • Matthias Loy, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and Conrad Hermann Louis Schuette, German-American Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Maurice Tornay, Swiss Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary to Tibet, and Martyr, 1949
  • Stephen Rowsham, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1587

12 (Thaddeus Stevens, U.S. Abolitionist, Congressman, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Charles Inglis, Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia
  • Jane Frances de Chantal, Cofoundress of the Congregation of the Visitation
  • Józef Stepniak and Józef Straszewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyrs, 1942
  • Karl Leisner, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

13 (Jeremy Taylor, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore)

  • Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • G. Bromley Oxnam, U.S. Methodist Bishop
  • Irene of Hungary, Hungarian Princess and Byzantine Empress
  • Octavia Hill, English Social Reformer

14 (William Croft, Anglican Organist and Composer)

  • John Bajus, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • John Henry Hopkins, Jr., Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist; and his nephew, John Henry Hopkins, III, Episcopal Priest and Musician
  • Maximilian Kolbe, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Episcopal Seminarian and Martyr, 1965
  • Sarah Flower Adams, English Unitarian Hymn Writer; and her sister, Eliza Flower, English Unitarian Composer

15 (MARY OF NAZARETH, MOTHER OF GOD)

16 (John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson, Prime Ministers of Canada; and Tommy Douglas, Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • Alipius, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagaste and Friend of St. Augustine of Hippo
  • John Courtney Murray, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian
  • John Jones of Talysarn, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Tune Composer
  • Matthias Claudius, German Lutheran Writer

17 (Samuel Johnson, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, President of King’s College, “Father of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut,” and “Father of American Library Classification;” Timothy Cutler, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, and Rector of Yale College; Daniel Browne, Educator, Congregationalist Minister, and Anglican Priest; and James Wetmore, Congregationalist Minister and Anglican Priest)

  • Baptisms of Manteo and Virginia Dare, 1587
  • Eusebius of Rome, Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 310
  • George Croly, Anglican Priest, Poet, Historian, Novelist, Dramatist, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • William James Early Bennett, Anglican Priest

18 (Artemisia Bowden, African-American Educator and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Erdmann Neumeister, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Francis John McConnell, U.S. Methodist Bishop and Social Reformer
  • Jonathan Friedrich Bahnmaier, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Petter Dass, Norwegian Lutheran Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer

19 (Sixtus III, Bishop of Rome)

  • Blaise Pascal, French Roman Catholic Scientist, Mathematician, and Theologian
  • Ignaz Franz, German Roman Catholic Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor
  • Magnus and Agricola of Avignon, Roman Catholic Bishops of Avignon
  • William Hammond, English Moravian Hymn Writer

20 (ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR)

21 (Bruno Zembol, Polish Roman Catholic Friar and Martyr, 1942)

  • Camerius, Cisellus, and Luxorius of Sardinia, Martyrs, 303
  • Martyrs of Edessa, Circa 304
  • Maximilian of Antioch, Martyr, Circa 353; and Bonosus and Maximianus the Soldier, Martyrs, 362
  • Victoire Rasoamanarivo, Malagasy Roman Catholic Laywoman

22 (Jack Layton, Canadian Activist and Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • John David Chambers, Anglican Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Symeon Lukach, and Ivan Slezyuk, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 1947, 1964, and 1973
  • John Kemble and John Wall, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1679
  • Thomas Percy, Richard Kirkman, and William Lacey, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1572 and 1582

23 (Martin de Porres and Juan Macias, Humanitarians and Dominican Lay Brothers; Rose of Lima, Humanitarian and Dominican Sister; and Turibius of Mogrovejo, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lima)

  • Franciszek Dachtera, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1944
  • Geert Groote, Founder of the Brethren of the Common Life
  • Theodore O. Wedel, Episcopal Priest and Biblical Scholar; and his wife, Cynthia Clark Wedel, U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist
  • Thomas Augustine Judge, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest; Founder of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, and the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate

24 (BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

25 (Michael Faraday, Scientist)

  • Andrea Bordino, Italian Roman Catholic Lay Brother
  • María del Tránsito de Jesús Sacramentado, Foundress of the Congregation of the Franciscan Tertiary Missionaries of Argentina
  • Maria Troncatti, Italian Roman Catholic Nun
  • William John Copeland, Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator

26 (John Paul I, Bishop of Rome)

  • Frederick William Herzberger, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Translator
  • Levkadia Harasymiv, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Nun, and Martyr, 1952
  • Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi, Italian Roman Catholic Humanitarians
  • Teresa of Jesus, Jornet y Ibars, Catalan Roman Catholic Nun and Cofoundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly

27 (Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, Episcopal Priests and Educators of the Deaf)

  • Amadeus of Clermont, French Roman Catholic Monk; and his son, Amadeus of Lausanne, French-Swiss Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Dominic Barberi, Roman Catholic Apostle to England
  • George Thomas Coster, English Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Humanitarian
  • Henriette Luise von Hayn, German Moravian Hymn Writer

28 (Ambrose of Milan, Roman Catholic Bishop; Monica of Hippo, Mother of St. Augustine of Hippo; and Augustine of Hippo, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo Regius)

  • Denis Wortman, U.S. Dutch Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Edmond L. Budry, Swiss Reformed Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Laura S. Coperhaver, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Missionary Leader
  • Moses the Black, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Martyr

29 (BEHEADING OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST)

30 (Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor)

  • Carlton C. Buck, U.S. Disciples of Christ Minister, Musician, and Hymn Writer
  • Gerald Kennedy, U.S. Methodist Bishop and Hymn Writer
  • John Leary, U.S. Roman Catholic Social Activist and Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized
  • Karl Otto Eberhardt, German Moravian Organist, Music Educator, and Composer

31 (NICODEMUS, DISCIPLE OF JESUS)

 

Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.

Proper 16, Year A   Leave a comment

Saint Peter, by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Upon This Rock…

The Sunday Closest to August 24

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

AUGUST 23, 2020

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Exodus 1:8-2:10 (New Revised Standard Version):

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Psalm 124 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 If the LORD had not been on our side,

let Israel now say,

If the LORD had not been on our side,

when enemies rose up against us;

3 Then they would have swallowed us up alive

in their fierce anger toward us;

Then would the waters have overwhelmed us

and the torrent gone over us;

5 Then would the raging waters

have gone right over us.

6 Blessed be the LORD!

he has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.

We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler;

the snare is broken, and we have escaped.

Our help is in the Name of the LORD,

the maker of heaven and earth.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Isaiah 51:1-6 (New Revised Standard Version):

Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness,

you that seek the LORD.

Look to the rock from which you were hewn,

and to the quarry from which you were dug.

Look to Abraham your father

and to Sarah who bore you;

for he was but one when I called him,

but I blessed him and made him many.

For the LORD will comfort Zion;

he will comfort her waste places,

and will make her wilderness like Eden,

her desert like the garden of the LORD;

joy and gladness will be found in her,

thanksgiving and the voice of song.

Listen to me, my people,

and give heed to me, my nation;

for a teaching will go out from me,

and my justice for a light to the peoples.

I will bring near my deliverance swiftly,

my salvation has gone out

and my arms will rule the peoples;

the coastlands wait for me,

and for my arm they hope.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

and look at the earth beneath;

for the earth will wear out like a garment,

and those who live on it will die like gnats;

but my salvation will be forever,

and my deliverance will never be ended.

Psalm 138 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with my whole heart;

before the gods I will sing your praise.

I will bow down toward your holy temple

and praise your Name,

because of your love and faithfulness;

3 For you have glorified your Name

and your word above all things.

4 When I called, you answered me;

you increased my strength within me.

All the kings of the earth will praise you, O LORD,

when they have heard the words of your mouth.

They will sing of the ways of the LORD,

that great is the glory of the LORD.

7 Though the LORD be high, he cares for the lowly;

he perceives the haughty from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe;

you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies;

your right hand shall save me.

9 The LORD will make good his purpose for me;

O LORD, your love endures for ever;

do not abandon the works of your hands.

SECOND READING

Romans 12:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version):

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 16:13-20 (New Revised Standard Version):

When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

The Collect:

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.

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What is the rock upon which Jesus built his Church?  I have read various analyses, and the one that makes the most sense to me is God.  Simon Peter was the first pebble upon this rock, and each subsequent believer and follower is another pebble.  The pebbles are the Church.  So God is the foundation of the Church.

God is also the rock from Isaiah 51.  God is the rock from which we are hewn, the quarry from which we are cut.  So our lives and identities derive from God.  We Christians  stand in a long tradition that stretches back to Abraham and Sarah; the Jews are, as Pope John Paul II said, our elder brothers and sisters in faith.  God, the rock, was the strength of the Hebrews when they were slaves in Egypt.  God, the rock, provided the means of their political liberation.  And God, the rock, provides the means of our spiritual liberation.  As Paul reminds us in Romans, this liberation will be evident in our attitudes and relationships.

Next Sunday’s Gospel Reading will pick up where this one leaves off.  In it Jesus predicts his capture, torture, death, and resurrection.  Then Peter, horrified, protests.  But Jesus says to the Apostle he just praised highly a few breaths previously, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”  Peter did not understand yet.  Maybe only Jesus did.  So let us take comfort in the fact that one does not need to achieve spiritual mountainhood to be an effective and important pebble in the rock mass that is the Christian Church.  We have to begin somewhere, so why not where we are?  But let us move on from there to where Jesus wants us to go.

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on February 26, 2011

 

Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in August 23, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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