A Note on Today’s Readings… Proper 22: Sunday closest to October 5—Year C

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish. Today’s liturgy focuses on faith. In the gospel reading, the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. His response is to teach that faith is expressed by being God’s obedient servants, and not doing so in expectation of a reward. The prophet Jeremiah lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem. Unknown writers composed this series of laments for the desolate city which tradition ascribed to Jeremiah. Regardless of authorship, the lamentations have moved Jewish and Christian believers alike with their poetry and image of God forgotten by the people and the people grieving their loss. The second reading is from the second letter to Timothy. The writer, after reminding Timothy of his heritage of a faithful family, speaks of his own vocation. Paul as a herald, apostle, and teacher has persevered, certain that God will be faithful to the promise to all people. We gather as people on pilgrimage toward God. Like our forebears, the outcome of our journey cannot be seen now, but we trust that it will bring us to our true home with God. Faith is not merely a vague yearning for God, nor is it summed up in believing the correct doctrines about God. It is remaining true to God’s call as we persevere in the journey as obedient servants.

A Note on Today’s Readings… Proper 20: Sunday closest to September 21—Year C

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish. In the liturgy, the spiritual and the material are joined in Holy Communion. This reflects the Christian concern with both matter and spirit. We cannot be faithful to the gospel if we limit our values to either one alone. Today’s gospel reading about the unjust steward makes the point that how we use our material wealth is directly related to our relationship with God. If a “worldly” person like the steward uses money to secure friends, how much more should we, the children of God, use our material wealth to gain favor with God and our fellow human beings.

The first reading from Jeremiah reveals how the message of God rejecting the kingdom of Judah pained him. The prophet laments the state of his people even though he knows that their suffering is a result of their own choice to reject their God and their refusal to repent.

Today we continue the series of readings from the first epistle to Timothy. These letters, written after Paul’s death by his followers, give practical advice to Christian communities about church life. The church is to be an intercessory body of people who, through their prayer for all persons (even the emperor, their enemy), are the means of bringing about God’s salvation. God’s love is for all of creation and we are called in both liturgical worship and daily living to be God’s instrument in bringing everything and everyone into God’s Kingdom.

A Note on Today’s Readings… Proper 20: Sunday closest to September 21—Year C

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish. In the liturgy, the spiritual and the material are joined in Holy Communion. This reflects the Christian concern with both matter and spirit. We cannot be faithful to the gospel if we limit our values to either one alone. Today’s gospel reading about the unjust steward makes the point that how we use our material wealth is directly related to our relationship with God. If a “worldly” person like the steward uses money to secure friends, how much more should we, the children of God, use our material wealth to gain favor with God and our fellow human beings. The first reading from Jeremiah reveals how the message of God rejecting the kingdom of Judah pained him. The prophet laments the state of his people even though he knows that their suffering is a result of their own choice to reject their God and their refusal to repent. Today we continue the series of readings from the first epistle to Timothy. These letters, written after Paul’s death by his followers, give practical advice to Christian communities about church life. The church is to be an intercessory body of people who, through their prayer for all persons (even the emperor, their enemy), are the means of bringing about God’s salvation. God’s love is for all of creation and we are called in both liturgical worship and daily living to be God’s instrument in bringing everything and everyone into God’s Kingdom.

A Note on Today’s Readings… Proper 19: Sunday closest to September 14—Year C

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish on this Homecoming Sunday. Sin and the need to repent are central to the liturgy today. In the reading from Luke, Jesus speaks in reply to those who complained that he had table fellowship with sinners. God, he says, cares about each person, seeks out each one, and rejoices as each sinner repents. In the first reading Jeremiah laments what he foresees to be the consequence of the people’s turning away from God. Like the hot wind from the desert which dries out and destroys, the prophet says, God will wipe away the kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah is known for his gloomy predictions; unfortunately for Judah, those predictions came true. We begin a series of readings from the first letter to Timothy today. Paul is described as the greatest of sinners because he persecuted the faith. However, his life is held up as proof of God’s forgiveness. His having been accepted by God has equipped him to proclaim God’s love to all people. Paul, like Moses brings others into the goodness of God as well. In our life of pilgrimage into God’s kingdom, Jesus—God among us—is the embodiment of God’s unremitting call to us to come home to our true lover and friend. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit in baptism to share the vocation of Moses and Paul to be mediators and instruments of God’s love and forgiveness to the world. Today, we the members of the St. Gabriel’s church family join the entire nation as we reflect on the sad events of September 11, 2001 – fifteen years ago. We continue to salute the brave men and women in uniform, the first responders and mourn the many lives lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those whose lives were in any way affected by this tragedy. May God continue to comfort us all!

A Note on Today’s Readings… Proper 18: Sunday closest to September 7—Year C

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish. The gospel reading today is another of the passages from Jesus’ teaching as he approached Jerusalem and his death. For weeks now, we have been reminded of the call to discipleship and its cost. Today’s reading describes his call to bear the cross, setting aside all earthly concerns which would turn us away from faithfulness to Christ. The first reading is again from Jeremiah. He has watched a potter at work. When a pot is spoiled, the potter reshapes it. In the same way, we are told, God can change his mind. If a nation such a Judah rejects God, God can raise up another nation. Judah is urged by God to change its ways lest God bring disaster to the kingdom. In Paul’s brief letter to his friend, Philemon, he describes the transformed quality of Christian people’s relationships with others. Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, has become a Christian and Paul instructs Philemon to receive him back as a brother in Christ. The work of Christ’s Spirit in our lives places us in a new stance in which we are all brothers and sisters, and children of the living God. Each gathering to celebrate the Holy Eucharist challenges us to renewed commitment to the new life that God gives us. We find ourselves part of a family given us in baptism. In company with our brothers and sisters, we respond by choosing life rather than death, and in union with our Savior, we take up our cross and join in pilgrimage toward the resurrection.

A Note on Today’s Readings The Sixth Sunday of Easter—Year C

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

The liturgy today continues to be concerned with exploring the consequences of Christ’s resurrection and our new life in him through baptism and Eucharist.

Today’s gospel reading is a portion of the discourses between Jesus and the disciples on the evening before his crucifixion. Here Jesus talks about the union between himself and the Father. This union is shared with us so that we can say with St. Paul, “not I, but Christ in me.” The source of that union is the Holy Spirit given us in Baptism. The ultimate result of this union is peace; in Hebrew, Shalom. Shalom is the restored unity of the creation with God, and the resultant reconciliation between all peoples.

In the first reading, Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke come to Philippi, the first time the gospel moves from Asia Minor to Europe. There Paul encounters a woman who worshipped God although she was a Gentile. After hearing Paul proclaim the resurrection of Jesus, she and her household were baptized and her house became Paul’s center of ministry there and quite likely the home of the church in that city.

It is not the created universe that is the ultimate destiny of the human race but the new, perfect city of God’s Kingdom. John, in today’s reading from the Revelation, envisions the perfection and peace of that kingdom. Shalom—the peace and wholeness of God’s Spirit—is our destiny and our present reality. The peace and unity of God’s reign is revealed in the inclusiveness of the church as people of every race and nation are called by God. In the Eucharist, we have the foretaste of the new life in the holy city prepared for us by God.

A Note on Today’s Readings – The Fifth Sunday of Easter – Year C

 

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish as we begin the fifth week of celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each Sunday in the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost, we explore the implications of Jesus’ dying and rising for our lives.

Today we hear from John’s Gospel some of the Lord’s words on the night before his death. The Lord tells his friends that he is going away and gives them his final instructions, “the new commandment” to love one another as he loves us.

This Sunday’s reading from the book of Revelation is a vision of the final consummation of God’s Kingdom as the new Jerusalem. The redeemed rejoice, for God dwells with them and does away forever with death and

grief and weeping.

Today’s reading from Acts traces further the extension of the proclamation of Christ’s resurrection. Peter describes to the leaders of the church in Jerusalem the astounding discovery that God’s call is not only to Jews but to the Gentiles as well, as he tells of the conversion and baptism of Cornelius, the first Gentile Christian.

It is in our relationship of union with Christ in baptism and communion that his love for us is revealed. Our liturgy here equips us to carry out our larger liturgy, our work as God’s people, in loving others through ministry, service, and prayer. In that way, the work of extending God’s kingdom will continue to spread in and through us, the Body of the Risen Christ, as we follow his command to love others as he loves us.

A reflection on today’s readings… Proper 23 Sunday closest to October 12th

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

In the themes of the Sundays in this part of the year, we face some of the

strongest challenges presented by our faith. We have reached the portion

of the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus, nearing the final conflict, is pre-
paring his followers for what lies ahead, not only for him, but also for

them in the remainder of their lives. So today’s Gospel is the account of the

rich young man who discovers that there is more to salvation than follow-
ing the Law. Jesus calls for a complete submission to God, even to the

point of giving up everything. Only then can we gain what we really need.

The Old Testament reading from the prophet Amos presents a situation in

which those who control Israel are so caught up in amassing personal

wealth that they ignore the needs of the poor. That social injustice, God

warns, will lead to the destruction of the society.

We are reading through the Epistle to the Hebrews during this period.

This letter to early Christians presents Jesus as Savior, as high priest,

and as the model for Christian living. In today’s passage the writer tells

us that although God’s judgment lays all our failure open to God, we

know that God’s response is that of the merciful high priest and therefore

we may approach God with confidence.

Today’s liturgy is filled with challenge and with hope. We are faced with

the demands of the Gospel and also with its promise of salvation to those

who persevere. We are called to enter into the painful yet joyful project

of God in bringing the kingdom into the lives of all people in our time.

Sunday closest to October 12th

A Reflection On Today’s Readings. Proper 14 – Year B Sunday Closest to August 10, 2015

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish We continue to hear Jesus’ discourse on the bread of life today. Continuing last week’s theme of Jesus himself as the source of nourishment for our new life in him, a further level of meaning is introduced. This was astounding to Jesus’ hearers (and would be to us if we were not already so used to it), for he is not simply speaking of a “spiritual” communion with him. He is speaking of his own flesh, his own life. He is the food of eternal life. The first reading tells of Elijah the prophet fleeing through the wilderness. He is starving and begs God to let him die. But God instead provides food for him in the wilderness and Elijah is able to complete his pilgrimage to the mount of God. Today’s reading from the Letter to the Ephesians continues from last week’s discussion of our unity in the Spirit, to the new way of living which is the result of that unity, and to its deepest and most profound implication: namely, our new life is one identity, both as individuals and as a people, with Jesus himself. What he is, we are becoming. In the Eucharist we take the material things of this world and, in giving thanks over them, we offer them to be taken up into the life of God. And this is true also of our selves who are represented by the bread and wine. We are part of a people whose story goes back to the ancient Hebrews: a people who have at the center of our existence God calling us to be bearers of the divine presence in the world.

A Reflection on Sunday’s Readings Proper 12 Sunday closest to July 27 — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s:

Today’s gospel reading follows the first mission of preaching and healing that

Jesus sent the apostles out to do. They return and he takes them away for

rest and reflection. Then they return to the crowds and Jesus has compassion

on the people, who are like sheep without a shepherd. This image of Jesus as

shepherd comes originally from David, the Shepherd King, and is a

consistent image of God in the Old Testament.

In the first reading, the prophet Nathan brings God’s promise to David that

he who was taken from shepherding sheep will now be the shepherd of God’s

people. God promises that David’s descendants will establish God’s kingdom

forever. Christians see this promise as having been fulfilled in Jesus.

In today’s reading from Ephesians we find a reflection of the Jewish-
Christian joining of the personal and the social aspects of the life of God’s

People, extended now to the entire human family through the dying and rising

of Christ.

We are called by God as individuals into a community of persons. Again and

again in the sacred story the promise of God coming in person to care for the

people is made. God will make all people into one flock, one community. In

the liturgy, the tension between the personal and the communal is expressed

and resolved. In Holy Communion, it is our selves that are offered, blessed,

and broken, that we may be given as signs of Christ to the world.