A Note on Today’s Readings | Last Sunday after the Epiphany—Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Today we observe the Transfiguration, which reveals the promise and glory of a life beyond what is apparent to our everyday sight.

Our first reading from 2 Kings describes Elijah being taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, leaving behind Elisha, who aches to inherit Elijah’s spirit. This text reassures us of the communal nature of ministry. As we witness the prophetic office being passed down, it provides the community with stability and continuity.

Our second reading from 2 Corinthians speaks to the veils that still cover our eyes, and prevent us from seeing the dazzling light of Christ. Paul reminds us that this radiant light shines from the face of Jesus Christ directly onto our hearts.

In our reading from Mark’s Gospel, the miraculous Transfiguration of Jesus is revealed to three of the Apostles in the presence of Elijah and Moses. This symbolizes the continuity with and great respect for the Hebrew Prophets of old, while also foreshadowing the New Covenant about to be made with the Jewish people. As Jesus stands in dazzling white radiance while the voice of God speaks from a cloud, this Transfiguration scene solidifies Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and represents that pivotal moment when the door cracks open between two worlds – the earthly and the heavenly realms – as human nature meets God, with Jesus as the bridge between them.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany—Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Today’s Gospel continues Mark’s account of the first events in Jesus’ ministry. Once again, Jesus was faced with illness which he cured and evil spirits which he cast out. But rather than stay in that place as a healer, he moves on to announce the good news of God’s Kingdom in other places as well.

The first reading proclaims God as ruler and creator of all things. God is incomparable and inexhaustible, and God’s power is the source of our life and that power animates our lives and our ministry.

In the second reading, Paul is responding to another problem in the Corinthian church. Wandering preachers had come to them and, preaching for money, had proclaimed strange versions of the Gospel. Paul wants to make it clear that his is the Gospel of Christ and the proof that he is not altering it to be popular is that he does not ask for money.

It is the proclamation of Christ that is central. We are called and converted by that message and baptized into that faith. We gather at the Lord’s Table in response, for empowerment, but we also gather in order to be sent forth in that power to proclaim the message to others.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany—Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

On this Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, we journey on to the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple. This celebration is on Friday. We are invited to join our sisters and brothers at St. Mark’s Church for the institution of the Reverend Kino Vitet as their eleventh Rector.

In today’s Old Testament reading, Moses declares that God will raise up a prophet after his death – ostensibly he speaks of his successor, Joshua. Like Moses, this new prophet will act as a go-between between the people and God.

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians we encounter a common obstacle in the communities of the early church: the debate over whether or not Christians should eat meat that had been sacrificed in pagan temples to pagan gods.

Turning to the Gospel narrative in Mark, our Lord Jesus acts with authority, the will of God the Father.
Whatever we do in the name of Jesus, let us do it with assertiveness. Be bold in thought, word and deed as people of the ‘Jesus Movement’.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings Third Sunday after the Epiphany | Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Today we continue the seasonal theme of Jesus’ manifestation (“epiphany”) as the Son of God. John the Baptist’s arrest ended his ministry and now Jesus returns to Galilee and begins his public ministry with the call to repent and the calling of his first disciples. Thus, he announces that in him God’s Kingdom has been initiated.

The Old Testament reading is Jonah’s proclamation of judgment on the city of Nineveh. The city repents and God’s punishment is averted.

We continue to read a portion of 1st Corinthians as we do each Epiphany season. The church is to live at all times as though the end is near, which Paul believed it was. The kingdom of God is near and we should conform our lives to the urgency of the moment. Many Christians believe that these words should not be treated as an absolute rule in light of the fact that the end did not come immediately, as Paul had first thought it would. Nevertheless, his underlying principle does apply: live always in preparation for the end.

We celebrate in community of faith as those living the in-between times. We are at once the disciples of the Lord and his Body in the world and yet sinners who are called to repent. We celebrate Eucharist remembering his death and proclaiming his resurrection, while also looking for his coming again.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Second Sunday after the Epiphany—Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

On the Sundays after Epiphany, the scriptures explore some of the ways in which Jesus was shown to be God’s Son. Today we focus on the beginning of his ministry when he called his disciples. In the passage before today’s reading he called Andrew who went and brought his brother Peter. Today he calls Phillip who brings Nathanael.

The first reading is the account of the call of Samuel, the first great prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures after Moses. In the calls of both Nathanael and Samuel, the person called is not at first impresses by the call.

In the second reading, a problem with sexual misbehavior in the church of Corinth is dealt with by Paul first reminding his readers that they are newborn people by Baptism. How they use their lives, including their bodies, must be in the context of their having been washed, sanctified, and justified in Christ and the Holy Spirit.

As we gather in Eucharist, our new life in Christ is manifested in our response: “Speak, Lord, your servant hears”, and in following him who calls us into the lives of faith and ministry in his name.

As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day let us continue to follow him with justice, peace, truth and integrity.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

We wish you a Heartfelt Christmas and a truly Prosperous 2018.

Dear Friends,
This year I deem it appropriate to forward to you our Diocesan Bishop’s

Christmas & New Year’s message. On behalf of Bishop Allotey, with Canon Rayside and our respective families, I wish you a Heartfelt Christmas and a truly Prosperous 2018.

Father Eddie+

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,

As the Christmas season begins, celebrate in as many ways as possible the love, joy and hope of the Incarnation with everyone in your life.

Christmas comes, as in every year since the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, in the midst of the world as it is. We who celebrate this feast must make it our mission to relay the Christmas story in our communities where the message of God’s presence among us is so urgently needed.

The outward and visible expressions of Christmas — the cards, the messages, and the gifts – — must carry with them the intangible reality of God’s love and joy expressed not in sentimentality, but in sincerity and truth. Our world desperately needs the counter-message of the unselfish, uncomplicated self-giving of God’s love present in the manger and present in our lives. When so much around us is focused on the greed, the consumption and the self- interest of power and money, the message of Christmas stands powerfully in our lives as an antidote that trumps the sinfulness of our time.

May the message of the Gospel be cherished in your heart and in your words and actions this Christmas! Hold close to those you love, and even closer to those in need and vulnerability.

Celebrate the season of Christmas as a season of unconditional love with God’s vulnerable gift of self in the Christ-child as an example. Breathe deeply the love of God, and share deeply that love with all those around you.

Have a blessed Christmas Season and a holy and safe start to the New Year.

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano Bishop of Long Island

Diocesan Bishop’s Christmas message.

Dear Friends,
This year I deem it appropriate to forward to you our Diocesan Bishop’s

Christmas message. On behalf of Bishop Allotey, with Canon Rayside and our respective families, I wish you a Heartfelt Christmas and a truly Prosperous 2018.

Father Eddie+

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus,

As the Christmas season begins, celebrate in as many ways as possible the love, joy and hope of the Incarnation with everyone in your life.

Christmas comes, as in every year since the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, in the midst of the world as it is. We who celebrate this feast must make it our mission to relay the Christmas story in our communities where the message of God’s presence among us is so urgently needed.

The outward and visible expressions of Christmas — the cards, the messages, and the gifts – — must carry with them the intangible reality of God’s love and joy expressed not in sentimentality, but in sincerity and truth. Our world desperately needs the counter-message of the unselfish, uncomplicated self-giving of God’s love present in the manger and present in our lives. When so much around us is focused on the greed, the consumption and the self- interest of power and money, the message of Christmas stands powerfully in our lives as an antidote that trumps the sinfulness of our time.

May the message of the Gospel be cherished in your heart and in your words and actions this Christmas! Hold close to those you love, and even closer to those in need and vulnerability.

Celebrate the season of Christmas as a season of unconditional love with God’s vulnerable gift of self in the Christ-child as an example. Breathe deeply the love of God, and share deeply that love with all those around you.

Have a blessed Christmas Season and a holy and safe start to the New Year.

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano Bishop of Long Island

A Christmas Message to the Diocese from Bishop Provenzano

A Note on Today’s Readings The Third Sunday of Advent —Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

On this Third Sunday of Advent we again are focused on John the Baptist. Today we hear more about John’s ministry and his response to questions raised by his message. An important issue for many in the days of the early Church was the relationship between Jesus and John. In response to those who believed that John the Baptist was the Messiah, the early Christians remembered John’s own words: “I am not the Messiah…I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”

The first reading is Isaiah’s poem of the anointed one and his ministry of peace, healing, and redemption. In his first sermon Jesus applied this passage to himself. In this Advent time we anticipate our celebration of the birth of the anointed one who comes to save.

The second reading is the conclusion of Paul’s first letter to the Church in Thessalonica. He wrote this letter to encourage them to persevere in the Way as they waited for the return of Jesus. Paul assures them that the Lord will return but that their lives now are to reflect the nature of God’s kingdom rather than to be spent in sitting back and awaiting the End.

The Church’s Eucharist is a foretaste of that coming of Christ which is still ahead. In word and sacrament, song and story, we encounter the reign of God in our midst and we reveal that future joy to the world. Like John the Baptist we are sent ahead of the One who is coming and our joy is to see God’s presence in the world increase.

Blessings at Adventide.

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | The Third Sunday of Advent — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish. On this Third Sunday of Advent we again are focused on John the Baptist. Today we hear more about John’s ministry and his response to questions raised by his message. An important issue for many in the days of the early Church was the relationship between Jesus and John. In response to those who believed that John the Baptist was the Messiah, the early Christians remembe red John’s own words: “I am not the Messiah…I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”

The first reading is Isaiah’s poem of the anointed one and his ministry of peace, healing, and redemption. In his first sermon Jesus applied this passage to himself. In this Advent time we anticipate our celebration of the birth of the anointed one who comes to save.

The second reading is the conclusion of Paul’s first letter to the Church in Thessalonica. He wrote this le tter to encourage them to persevere in the Way as they waited for the return of Jesus. Paul assures them that the Lord will return but that their lives now are to reflect the nature of God’s kingdom rather than to be spent in sitting back and awaiting the End.

The Church’s Eucharist is a foretaste of that coming of Christ which is still ahead. In word and sacrament, song and story, we encounter the reign of God in our midst and we reveal that future joy to the world. Like John the Baptist we are sent ahead of the One who is coming and our joy is to see God’s presence in the world increase.
Blessings at Adventide.
Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings The First Sunday of Advent — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

The season of Advent begins today. The name of the season means “coming,” and it celebrates God’s coming to us in the birth of Jesus and looks toward Christ’s return at the end of history as Savior and Judge.

The first reading from Isaiah reflects the intensity of the prophet’s hope for the Messiah. In a period of Israel’s history when confidence in the people’s own efforts to build God’s Kingdom had collapsed, Isaiah expresses that hope in a passage that has been a part of the Advent liturgy since the earliest days of the Church, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down…”

In the second reading we hear Paul’s greeting in his first letter to Corinth. Recognizing the many spiritual gifts of the Corinthian church (a source of their strength, but also a source of the controversy which caused him to write) he says that those spiritual gifts are given to prepare us to greet the return of Christ.

Jesus’ message to his followers is an assurance that he will return and that our lives should be lived in preparation for that return. This theme of watching for his return is always central on the first Sunday of Advent. Today’s reading from Mark is the parable of the door – keeper. It reminds us that we are always to be on the watch for Jesus’ return.

The liturgy is the way the Church lives in the time between Jesus’ first coming and his second coming. In word and sacrament he comes to us again and again, veiled, but present to eyes of faith. In the Eucharist and in ministry to others we are continually being prepared to greet him when he comes again in glory.

Blessings at Adventide.

Father Eddie+