Archive for the ‘June 28’ Category

Feast of Teresa Maria Mastena (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Teresa Maria Mastena 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED TERESA MARIA MASTENA (DECEMBER 7, 1881-JUNE 28, 1951)

Foundress of the Institute of the Holy Face

Also known as Blessed Maria Pia Mastena and Sister Passitea of the Child Jesus

Blessed Teresa Maria Mastena learned the hard way that the cloister was not the place for her to live.  She, born in Bovolone, Verona, Italy, on December 7, 1881, was the fifth of five children of Giulio Mastena (a grocer) and Maria Antonia Casarotti (an elementary teacher).  Our saint grew up in a devout family.  On March 19, 1891, when Mastena took her First Communion, she also made a private vow of charity.  At the age of 17 years our saint joined the Institute of the Sisters of Mary at Verona.  On October 24, 1903, she made her vows and became Sister Passitea of the Child Jesus.  Although Sister Passitea obeyed the rules of the cloister strictly, she realized that she should be elsewhere.

So Mastena left the cloister.  She became the headmistress of a school in Miame, Italy.  Later she led educational institutions in Carpesica and San Fior.  At San Fior, in 1930, our saint founded the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Face, to

propagate, repair and restore Jesus’ gentle image in souls.

Six years later the first sisters made their vows and Mastena became the Superior General of the order.  She served in that capacity for the rest of her life.

Mastena died in Rome on June 28, 1951.  She was 69 years old.

Pope John Paul II declared Mastena a Venerable in 2002.  Pope Benedict XVI beatified her three years later.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 7, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HELDER CAMARA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF OLINDA AND RECIFE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBERT NIERYCHLEWSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MITCHELL J. DAHOOD, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MOSES, APOSTLE TO THE SARACENS

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Teresa Maria Mastena,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of John Gerard and Mary Ward (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN GERARD (OCTOBER 4, 1564-JULY 27, 1637)

English Jesuit Priest

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MARY WARD (JANUARY 23, 1586-JUNE 23, 1645)

Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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John Gerard and Mary Ward come to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), where they have separate feast days.

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JOHN GERARD, S.J.

John Gerard was a Jesuit priest.  He, born in Derbyshire, England, on October 4, 1564, joined the Society of Jesus in August 1588, at the at the age of 23 years.  The young priest returned to his homeland later that year.  For years, due to his knowledge of hunting and falconry, Gerard passed as a country gentleman.  Meanwhile he worked as an underground priest, saying Masses for Roman Catholic members of the gentry and those who worshiped in their homes.  Our saint did this while evading priest hunters until 1594, when authorities arrested him.  Our saint, treated harshly–even tortured–then became a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1597.  Later that year he escaped from that prison and went on the lam until 1606.

The Gunpowder Plot (1605) backfired on a few guilty and a host of innocent Roman Catholics.  It was a failed conspiracy to blow up the Houses of Parliament.  Gerard was a friend and a priest to some of the conspirators, but none of them told him of the plot.  Nevertheless, there was an arrest warrant with his name on it.  Also, authorities doubled down on the persecution of Roman Catholics.  On orders of his superiors Gerard escaped in 1606.  On May 3 of that year our saint left England when he posed as a retainer of the Spanish Ambassador.

Gerard landed in Flanders, where he became the Jesuit superior.  By 1620 he had become the novice-master at Liege.  He lost that position that year due to his advocacy for Mary Ward.

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MARY WARD

Mary Ward was a woman who suffered for her faith at the hands of both the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of England.  She, born on January 23, 1586, came from Roman Catholic gentry.  Her family hosted underground priests and illegal Masses.  Ward, discerning a vocation to become a nun, rejected all opportunities to marry.  She, smuggled out of England, made her way to Belgium.  There, in 1606, she reluctantly obey a bishop’s order to become a lay sister (servant) to a Poor Clares community instead.

Conventional methods were not for Ward, however.  She discerned a vocation to found a new order of nuns–the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Before Ward could do that, however, she visited England clandestinely.  Our saint assisted priests saying illegal Masses in homes.  She also visited incarcerated priests.  Eventually authorities captured, imprisoned, and sentenced Ward to death, before exiling her instead.

Ward, back in Europe, founded her new order, with papal permission.  The free schools for girls were not controversial, but the lack of episcopal supervision was.  Were women not supposed to be under male supervision?  In 1631 the Church suppressed the order, which had yet to receive papal recognition.  Ward spent a brief term as a prisoner of Holy Mother Church; she was allegedly a heretic and a schismatic.

Ward, her health broken and her vocation destroyed, returned to England, despite the great risks (such as incarceration, torture, and death) of doing so.  She died, aged 59 years, at York on June 23, 1645.

Pope Clement XI confirmed the rule of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1703.

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JOHN GERARD, S.J.

Gerard, a confessor at the Jesuit college in Rome, died in the Eternal City on July 27, 1637.  He was 72 years old.

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John Gerard and Mary Ward deserve recognition on multiple calendars of saints.  Robert Ellsberg has done a fine job by adding them to his calendar in All Saints.  I follow his example (except by merging the feasts) gladly here.  Hopefully ecclesiastical organizations will formally recognize Gerard and Ward in years to come.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MATEO CORREA-MAGALLANES AND MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT VEDAST (VAAST), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ARRAS AND CAMBRAI

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BOYCE AND JOHN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN COMPOSERS

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

John Gerard and Mary Ward,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

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Feast of William and John Mundy (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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WILLIAM MUNDY (CIRCA 1529-CIRCA 1591)

father of

JOHN MUNDY (BETWEEN 1550 AND 1554-JUNE 29, 1630)

English Composers and Musicians

William Mundy, born in London, England, circa 1529, was the father of John Mundy, born between 1550 and 1554.  In 1543 William was the head chorister at Westminster Abbey.  Later William became a vicar-general of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Then, in 1564, he became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.  He died no later than 1591, when another man took his place.  William, recognized as a composer during his lifetime, has eclipsed his son, John.  The son was the organist at Eton College and an organist at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, in 1585. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Oxford University in 1586 and his doctorate from the same institution in 1624.  He died at Windsor on June 29, 1630.

The surviving vocal compositions of the Mundys have generally supported the interpretation that they had Roman Catholic sympathies at a time when that was potentially dangerous for them.  William’s Masses and motets were settings of Latin texts.  Furthermore, partial Latin works by John have survived.

One can listen to some of these men’s compositions at YouTube:

  1. Vox Patris Caelestis, by William Mundy;
  2. Fantasia, by William Mundy;
  3. O Lord, the Maker of All Things, by William Mundy;
  4. O Lord, the World’s Savior, by William Mundy;
  5. O Mater Mundi, by William Mundy;
  6. Lightly She Whipped O’er the Dales, by John Mundy; and
  7. Sing Joyfully Unto God Our Strength, by John Mundy.

There is that, at least.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 6, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCUS AURELIUS CLEMENS PRUDENTIUS, POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MATEO CORREA-MAGALLANES AND MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT VEDAST (VAAST), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ARRAS AND CAMBRAI

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM BOYCE AND JOHN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN COMPOSERS

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness:

You have shown us the splendor of creation in the work of your servants William Mundy and John Mundy.

Teach us to drive from the world all chaos and disorder, that our eyes may behold your glory,

and that at last everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord,

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

Isaiah 28:5-6 or Hosea 14:5-8 or 2 Chronicles 20:20-21

Psalm 96

Philippians 4:8-9 or Ephesians 5:18b-20

Matthew 13:44-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61

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Feast of Sts. Plutarch, Marcella, Potanominaena, and Basilides of Alexandria (June 28)   Leave a comment

Above:  Roman Egypt, 150 Common Era

MARTYRS AT ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT (202)

St. Plutarch of Alexandria was the brother of Heraclas of Alexandria (circa 180-247), also a saint on the Roman Catholic calendar.  Yet I refuse to admit Heraclas to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days.  For my reason, keep reading, O reader.  Both Heraclas and St. Plutarch came to Christ via Origen, who taught them at the great catechetical school of Alexandria.  Heraclas became Origen’s assistant then successor as head of the school.  Later,in 231,  Heraclas succeeded St. Demetrius as Bishop of Alexandria.  And Heraclas excommunicated Origen and forced him out of that city.  The contents of the previous sentence explains why I do not call him St. Heraclas.  I like Origen, who, like the rest of us, was right about a great deal and mistaken about other matters.  And excommunicating him was the wrong thing to do.

St. Plutarch and Sts. Marcella and Potanominaena, mother and daughter students at the catechetical school, faced criminal charges of being Christian during the reign (193-211) of Roman Emperor Septimus Severus.  Needless to say, all of them died.   Also executed was St. Basilides, who led the daughter to her death yet, as the story goes, converted after a vision of the daughter.  However the conversion came, it came.  And he died because of it–a classic case of what the Roman Catholic catechism calls Baptism of Blood.

Sometimes I feel like a very repetitive person, but that is necessary on certain occasions.  So here I go again.  One cannot end a religion by martyring people.  In fact, the blood of the martyrs does indeed water the church.  I read about martyrs and wonder how I would have responded under their circumstances.  I can speak only for myself just as only you, O reader, can speak for yourself.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 21, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELIOT, PURITAN MISSIONARY AMONG THE ALGONQIN

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK AUGUSTUS BENNETT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF AOTEAROA

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 Almighty God, who gave your servants

Saints Plutarch, Marcella, Potanominaena, and Basilides of Alexandria

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world,

and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713

Saints’ Days and Holy Days for June   Leave a comment

Honeysuckles

Image in the Public Domain

 

1 (Justin Martyr, Christian Apologist and Martyr)

  • Pamphilus of Caesarea, Bible Scholar and Translator; and His Companions, Martyrs
  • Samuel Stennett, English Seventh-Day Baptist Minister and Hymn Writer; and John Howard, English Humanitarian
  • Simeon of Syracuse, Roman Catholic Monk

2 (Blandina and Her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons, 177)

  • Anders Christensen Arrebo, “The Father of Danish Poetry”
  • Margaret Elizabeth Sangster, Hymn Writer, Novelist, and Devotional Writer
  • Stephen of Sweden, Roman Catholic Missionary, Bishop, and Martyr

3 (John XXIII, Bishop of Rome)

  • Christian Gottfried Geisler and Johann Chrstian Geisler, Silesian Moravian Organists and Composers; and Johannes Herbst, German-American Organist, Composer, and Bishop
  • Frances Ridley Havergal, English Hymn Writer and Composer
  • Will Campbell, Agent of Reconciliation

4 (Christoph Homburg, German Lutheran Hymn Writer)

  • Francis Caracciolo, Cofounder of the Minor Clerks Regular
  • Ole T. (Sanden) Arneson, U.S. Norwegian Lutheran Hymn Translator
  • Stanislaw Kostka Starowieyski, Roman Catholic Martyr

5 (Dorotheus of Tyre, Bishop of Tyre, and Martyr)

6 (Franklin Clark Fry, President of The United Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church in America)

  • Claude of Besançon, Roman Catholic Priest, Monk, Abbot, and Bishop
  • Henry James Buckoll, Author and Translator of Hymns
  • William Kethe, Presbyterian Hymn Writer

7 (Matthew Talbot, Recovering Alcoholic in Dublin, Ireland)

  • Anthony Mary Gianelli, Founder of the Missionaries of Saint Alphonsus Liguori and the Sisters of Mary dell’Orto
  • Frederick Lucian Hosmer, U.S. Unitarian Hymn Writer
  • Seattle, First Nations Chief, War Leader, and Diplomat

8 (Clara Luper, Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins, English Roman Catholic Poet and Jesuit Priest
  • Henry Downton, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Roland Allen, Anglican Priest, Missionary, and Mission Strategist

9 (Columba of Iona, Roman Catholic Missionary and Abbot)

  • Giovanni Maria Boccardo, Founder of the Poor Sisters of Saint Cajetan/Gaetano; and his brother, Luigi Boccardo, Apostle of Merciful Love
  • Jose de Anchieta, Apostle of Brazil and Father of Brazilian National Literature
  • Thomas Joseph Potter, Roman Catholic Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer

10 (James of Nisibis; Bishop; and Ephrem of Edessa, “The Harp of the Holy Spirit”)

  • Getulius, Amantius, Caeraelis, and Primitivus, Martyrs at Tivoli, 120; and Symphorosa of Tivoli, Martyr
  • Landericus of Paris, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Thor Martin Johnson, U.S. Moravian Conductor and Music Director

11 (BARNABAS THE APOSTLE, COWORKER OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE)

12 (Edwin Paxton Hood, English Congregationalist Minister, Philanthropist, and Hymn Writer)

  • Christian David Jaeschke, German Moravian Organist and Composer; and his grandson, Henri Marc Hermann Voldemar Voullaire, Moravian Composer and Minister
  • Enmegahbowh, Episcopal Priest and Missionary to the Ojibwa Nation
  • Joseph Dacre Carlyle, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

13 (Milton Smith Littlefield, Jr., U.S. Presbyterian and Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Hymnal Editor)

  • Sigismund von Birken, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • William Cullen Bryant, U.S. Poet, Journalist, and Hymn Writer

14 (Charles Augustus Briggs, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Episcopal Priest, Biblical Scholar, and Alleged Heretic; and his daughter, Emilie Grace Briggs, Biblical Scholar and “Heretic’s Daughter”)

  • Methodius I of Constantinople, Defender of Icons and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople; and Joseph the Hymnographer, Defender of Icons and the “Sweet-Voiced Nightingale of the Church”
  • William Hiram Foulkes, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer

15 (John Ellerton, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer and Translator)

  • Carl Heinrich von Bogatsky, Hungarian-German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Dorothy Frances Blomfield Gurney, English Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Landelinus of Vaux, Roman Catholic Abbot; Aubert of Cambrai, Roman Catholic Bishop; Ursmar of Lobbes, Roman Catholic Abbot and Missionary Bishop; and Domitian, Hadelin, and Dodo of Lobbes, Roman Catholic Monks

16 (George Berkeley, Irish Anglican Bishop and Philosopher; and Joseph Butler, Anglican Bishop and Theologian)

  • John Francis Regis, Roman Catholic Priest
  • Norman Macleod, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer; and his cousin, John Macleod, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • Rufus Jones, U.S. Quaker Theologian and Cofounder of the American Friends Service Committee

17 (Edith Boyle MacAlister, English Novelist and Hymn Writer)

  • Emily de Vialar, Founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition
  • Jane Cross Bell Simpson, Scottish Presbyterian Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Teresa and Mafalda of Portugal, Princesses, Queens, and Nuns; and Sanchia of Portugal, Princess and Nun

18 (Adolphus Nelson, Swedish-American Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Johann Franck, Heinrich Held, and Simon Dach, German Lutheran Hymn Writers
  • Richard Massie, Hymn Translator
  • William Bingham Tappan, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Poet, and Hymn Writer

19 (James Arthur MacKinnon, Canadian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in the Dominican Republic)

  • Alfred Ramsey, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • Charitie Lees Smith Bancroft de Chenez, Hymn Writer
  • William Pierson Merrill, U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Social Reformer, and Hymn Writer

20 (Joseph Augustus Seiss, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Liturgist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator)

  • Charles Coffin, Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Hans Adolf Brorson, Danish Lutheran Bishop, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Johann Friedrich Hertzog, German Lutheran Hymn Writer

21 (Aloysius Gonzaga, Jesuit)

  • Bernard Adam Grube, German-American Minister, Missionary, Composer, and Musician
  • Carl Bernhard Garve, German Moravian Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer
  • John Jones and John Rigby, Roman Catholic Martyrs

22 (Alban, First British Martyr)

  • Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch Roman Catholic Priest, Biblical and Classical Scholar, and Controversialist; John Fisher, English Roman Catholic Classical Scholar, Bishop of Rochester, Cardinal, and Martyr; and Thomas More, English Roman Catholic Classical Scholar, Jurist, Theologian, Controversialist, and Martyr
  • Gerhard Gieschen, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • Paulinus of Nola, Roman Catholic Bishop of Nola

23 (John Johns, English Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Heinrich Gottlob Gutter, German-American Instrument Maker, Repairman, and Merchant
  • Nicetas of Remesiana, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Wilhelm Heinrich Wauer, German Moravian Composer and Musician

24 (NATIVITY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST)

25 (William of Vercelli, Roman Catholic Hermit; and John of Matera, Roman Catholic Abbot)

  • Domingo Henares de Zafira Cubero, Roman Catholic Bishop of Phunhay, Vietnam, and Martyr; Phanxicô Đo Van Chieu, Vietnamese Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr; and Clemente Ignacio Delgado Cebrián, Roman Catholic Bishop and Martyr in Vietnam

26 (Isabel Florence Hapgood, U.S. Journalist, Translator, and Ecumenist)

  • Andrea Giacinto Longhin, Roman Catholic Bishop of Treviso
  • Philip Doddridge, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Virgil Michel, U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Academic, and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal

27 (Cornelius Hill, Oneida Chief and Episcopal Priest)

  • Hugh Thomson Kerr, Sr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Liturgist; and his son, Hugh Thomson Kerr, Jr., U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Scholar, and Theologian
  • James Moffatt, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Scholar, and Bible Translator
  • John the Georgian, Abbot; and Euthymius of Athos and George of the Black Mountain, Abbots and Translators

28 (John Gerard, English Jesuit Priest; and Mary Ward, Foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

  • Plutarch, Marcella, Potanominaena, and Basilides of Alexandria, Martyrs
  • Teresa Maria Masters, Foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Face
  • William and John Mundy, English Composers and Musicians

29 (PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS)

30 (Johann Olaf Wallin, Archbishop of Uppsala and Hymn Writer)

  • Gennaro Maria Sarnelli, Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Missionary to the Vulnerable and Exploited People of Naples
  • Heinrich Lonas, German Moravian Organist, Composer, and Liturgist
  • Philip Powel, English Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

Floating

  • First Book of Common Prayer, 1549

 

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

Proper 8, Year A   Leave a comment

Above: The Sacrifice of Isaac, by Caravaggio (lived 1571-1610)

(Note the anguish in Isaac’s face.)

An Acceptable Sacrifice

The Sunday Closest to June 29

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

JUNE 28, 2020

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Genesis 22:1-19 (New Revised Standard Version):

After these things God tested Abraham.  He said to him,

Abraham!

And he said,

Here I am.

He said,

Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown them.  On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away.  Then Abraham said to his young men,

Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the wood.  So the two of them walked on together.  Isaac said to his father Abraham,

Father!

And he said,

Here I am, my son.

He said,

The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Abraham said,

God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.

So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order.  He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.  But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said,

Abraham, Abraham!

And he said,

Here I am.

He said,

Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.

And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its thorns.  Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place,

The LORD will provide;

as it is said to this day,

On the mount of LORD it shall be provided.

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham, a second time from heaven, and said,

By myself I have sworn, says the LORD: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.  And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”

So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham lived at Beersheba.

Psalm 13 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

How long, O LORD?

will you forget me for ever?

how long will you hide your face from me?

How long shall I have perplexity in my mind,

and grief in my heart, day after day?

how long shall my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look upon me and answer me, O LORD, my God,

give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;

4 Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”

and my foes rejoice that I have fallen.

But I will trust in your mercy;

my heart is joyful because of your saving help.

I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt with me richly;

I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

Jeremiah 28:5-9 (New Revised Standard Version):

Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the LORD; and the prophet Jeremiah said,

Amen!  May the LORD do so; may the LORD fulfill the words you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the LORD, and all the exiles.  But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people.  The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms.  As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet.

Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing;

from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.

For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever;

you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;

I have sworn an oath to David my servant;

‘I will establish your line for ever,

and preserve your throne for all generations.’”

15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout!

the walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.

16 They rejoice daily in your Name;

they are jubilant in your righteousness.

17 For you are the glory of their strength,

and by your favor our might is exalted.

18 Truly, the LORD is our ruler;

the Holy One of Israel is our King.

SECOND READING

Romans 6:12-23 (New Revised Standard Version):

Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.  No longer present your members as sin to instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness.  For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

What then?  Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace?  By no means!  Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.  I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations.  For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you are now ashamed?  The end of those things is death.  But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification.  The end is eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 10:40-42 (New Revised Standard Version):

[Jesus said,]

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.  Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple–truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.

The Collect:

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone:  Grant to us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice,

but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.

The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

–Psalm 51:17-18 (1979 Book of Common Prayer)

The story of the near killing of Isaac at the hand of his father disturbs me.  God does not command such emotional abuse.  Can you, O reader, imagine the lasting effect this had on Isaac?  I can only imagine the journey of father and son after the incident on Mt. Moriah.  Elie Wiesel, in a televised Bible study, noted that the Bible records no more conversations between Abraham and Isaac after this event.

Pay attention to the reading from Matthew:  Jesus encourages kind treatment of vulnerable and marginal people, including children.

Indeed, one lesson from Genesis 22 is that God does not desire child sacrifice, a custom many people in the region practiced during the time of Abraham.  My God concept comes from Jesus.  And I reject Penal Substitutionary Atonement, the idea that Jesus took my place on the cross.  Ante-Nicene Church Fathers proposed three theories of the Atonement, including Penal Substitution.  My understanding of the Atonement is closest to another one of these, the conquest of evil via the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus.  So I reject the propositions that God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son and that God sacrificed his Son.  If I did not reject these ideas, I would believe in Gangster God, who is not content except in bloodshed.

As Paul reminds the church at Rome, the death of Christ and his resurrection make possible the death to sin and the end of the overpowering power thereof.  So, through Jesus, we have eternal life.  Indeed, the definition of eternal life in John 17:3 is a relationship with God via Jesus.  Eternal life is in the present tense.  There is no eternity without God, so let us not confuse the concepts of eternal life and everlasting life.  Eternity has nothing to do with time, only quality.

Having eternal life in the present, what should we sacrifice to God?  Let us begin with everything that burdens and distresses us, as in Psalm 51.  It is also possible that we might have to sacrifice careers, relationships, and even life itself, as in the cases of martyrs.  So we ought to be prepared to sacrifice that which is most dear.  But, as Jesus said in the Gospel reading (Matthew 10:34-39) for Proper 7, Year A, we need to value nothing more than him.

The prophet Jeremiah valued fidelity to God above all else.  He suffered many deprivations and taunts.  The reading from Jeremiah is set in a time during which Zedekiah, King of Judah, was a Babylonian puppet and the Babylonians had already exiled many Jews.  The Kingdom of Judah was on its last legs.  Hananiah, a false prophet, prophesied that all would be well within two years  Jeremiah contradicted Hananiah, and history has proven the weeping prophet correct.  Sometimes, as Jeremiah said, the truth is uncomfortable.

So let us also sacrifice our desire for easy, happy, and deceptive answers.

May we die sin and be reborn into eternal life, and stay there.  Eternal life might require us to become sacrificial offerings and so to join the ranks of the martyrs of God.  If so, may we face this reality in faith.  Eternal life will require something of us; it does come at great expense to Jesus and ourselves.  The details of that price will vary from person to person, but this principle remains.  But this is the way to life in God, and its glories are wondrous.

God loves us.  So we ought to love God and each other, if we do not do so already.  In societal terms, we can begin to ceasing to sacrifice each other, metaphorically or otherwise.  We can extend simple kindnesses and great respect to each other; we can treat each other with dignity.  We might not like each other, but we can be civilized to each other.

We can be the face of Christ to one another.  May we do so.

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on December 15, 2010

https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/behind-the-lines-a-k-a-regeneration-1997/

Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in June 28, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

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