The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson

The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Second Continental Congress, states the reasons the British colonies of North America sought independence in July of 1776.

The declaration opens with a preamble describing the document’s necessity in explaining why the colonies have overthrown their ruler and chosen to take their place as a separate nation in the world.

All men are created equal and there are certain unalienable rights that governments should never violate. These rights include the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When a government fails to protect those rights, it is not only the right, but also the duty of the people to overthrow that government. In its place, the people should establish a government that is designed to protect those rights. Governments are rarely overthrown, and should not be overthrown for trivial reasons. In this case, a long history of abuses has led the colonists to overthrow a tyrannical government.

The King of Great Britain, George III, is guilty of 27 specific abuses. The King interfered with the colonists’ right to self-government and for a fair judicial system. Acting with Parliament, the King also instituted legislation that affected the colonies without their consent. This legislation levied taxes on the colonists. It also required them to quarter British soldiers, removed their right to trial by jury, and prevented them from trading freely. Additionally, the King and Parliament are guilty of outright destruction of American life and property by their refusal to protect the colonies’ borders, their confiscation of American ships at sea, and their intent to hire foreign mercenaries to fight against the colonists.

The colonial governments tried to reach a peaceful reconciliation of these differences with Great Britain, but were continually ignored. Colonists who appealed to British citizens were similarly ignored, despite their shared common heritage and their just cause. After many peaceful attempts, the colonists have no choice but to declare independence from Great Britain.

The new nation will be called the United States of America and will have no further connections with Great Britain. The new government will reserve the right to levy war, make peace, make alliances with foreign nations, conduct trade, and do anything else that nations do.

A Note on Today’s Readings | Fifth Sunday after Pentecost – Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Today, as we celebrate with our youth, graduates, and families, we give God thanks for their successes in education and continue to offer prayers for those who teach and those who learn.

Today’s liturgy directs our attention to Jesus’ Lordship over the natural world and over the forces of evil in the universe. Jesus commands a storm to cease. The result of this event was amazement and wonder. Mark withholds the answer to their wonderment until the end of his Gospel when Jesus’ death and resurrection reveal him as the Son of God, hence the Lord of the universe.

While David has been designated king by God, Saul continues to rule. The Philistines attack Israel, led by the giant, Goliath. This, probably the best known of the stories of David, tells of the boy’courage in facing and destroying Goliath. David will now become the hero of Israel and soon Saul will begin to resent David’spopularity with the people.

We continue to read through II Corinthians. The Corinthian church has been resisting Paul’s leadership. He warns them to take seriously the grace of God which they have received and to emulate Paul’s ministry, seeking not worldly greatness, but the greatness of those who are being saved now.

In Eucharist, the People of God find themselves joined together in Christ as the new Creation. For a brief time in prayer and Sacrament, we are revealed as his Body and as the instruments of his redeeming love in the world. That revelation is to continue in our ministry of love and reconciliation toward all people.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Third Sunday after Pentecost – Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Today’s Gospel reading is a series of brief parables in which Jesus describes the Kingdom of God. The primary image is of something that seems small and weak, but which through God grows into the greatest of its kind. Thus, until the appearance of Jesus, God’s plan was unknown and hidden. But now in Jesus’ ministry it is revealed as the rule of God over the entire universe.

In the first reading, God, having rejected Saul, the first king, sends Samuel to the family of Jesse of Bethlehem to choose one of his sons as king. Samuel first seeks to choose one of the strong, handsome adult sons. But God directs him not to judge by outward appearance. The youngest son, still a boy, is designated by God. God’s preference for what seems insignificant in order that God’s power may be manifested is a consistent theme throughout the scriptures. David will become the great king.

Today’s reading from II Corinthians discusses the temporary and incomplete nature of our life in this world. Our ultimate life is in the Kingdom of God where everything and everyone in Christ is a new creation. In the meantime, we are to live as though we were already in that Kingdom.

For a brief time, in the Eucharist, we have a foretaste of God’s Kingdom, and we live in the presence of Christ as redeemed people. Not yet consummated, the Kingdom is, for a moment, revealed. It is likewise revealed whenever we, in obedience to our Lord, minister in his name to others, especially to the poor and the sick and the oppressed.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings – Second Sunday after Pentecost – Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

In today’s Gospel reading, the radical newness of Jesus’message prompted his family to fear that he was out of his mind and caused his critics to accuse him of serving Satan and using Satan’s power to cast out demons. Jesus reminds them that Satan would certainly never work against himself. He warns against the one sin which is unforgivable, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit; that is, to ascribe the works of God to Satan. Finally, he redefines his family as being all those who do the will of God.

As we continue the history of the period of the kingdom of David, we hear today the people’s demand to Samuel that they have a king like other people. God through Samuel foretells that the kings will oppress the people, but they still insist. The first king, Saul, is chosen, but he will displease God and be replaced.

Our life in Christ is not affected by death. Whether we live or die, Paul tells the Corinthians, we are always with God. The presence of God’s Spirit with us is the guarantee that we already live in eternal life.

We gather as people redeemed and restored, as brothers and sisters of Jesus, and as a people filled with the Spirit of God. Our life together is to be a model of how God wishes all people to live. Our vocation and ministry are to extend the love and fellowship we have at the Table of the Lord into all parts of human life.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings

First Sunday after Pentecost (Trinity Sunday) Year B

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Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

The liturgy today focuses our prayer and celebration on God who acts in history and is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The first reading today is the account of Isaiah’svision of God enthroned with the heavenly host shouting,“Holy, Holy, Holy.” This passage provides the great hymn of the Eucharistic liturgy, celebrating our life within the life of the Holy Trinity.

The second reading is from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. This passage explores the ways the Persons of the Trinity relate to us. It is the Holy Spirit working in us who enables us to pray and to be fellow children of God along with the Son.

The Gospel reading today is Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus and the Evangelist’s discussion of the meaning of Jesus’ words. In explaining that salvation depends on being born again by water and the Spirit, Jesus reveals God’sthree-fold nature as an active one. God the Creator is the Giver of life and the Savior of humankind.

As the Church, the People of God come together to celebrate the Eucharist. Called together by God’s Spirit, we encounter the Son in Word and Sacrament revealing the Father and leading us into the life and love of the Holy Trinity.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Day of Pentecost (Whitsunday) — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

The word Pentecost means fifty days. Today we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection, ascension and his sending the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Spirit in the Church continues Jesus’ saving work into our own time. The presence of the Holy Spirit incorporates our lives into the risen life of Christ and makes us part of his Body. This is one of the four times in the year when Holy Baptism is particularly significant, for it is in baptism that we receive the Spirit and are made partakers in the resurrection life.

The reading from Acts is the account of the first Pentecost Day when the Holy Spirit empowered the infant Church to proclaim Jesus as Lord to all people. In the presence of people from many parts of the world, they spoke the Word to all.

Using John’s gospel, this reading takes us back to the beginning of this season on the first Easter when Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection. The twelve apostles were gathered together in a house when a terrific wind came from heaven and filled the place. They saw tongues that looked like fire, that separated and came down on each of them. Immediately the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, who caused them to speak in tongues. The crowds of visitors were astonished because every pilgrim heard the apostles speaking to him or her in their own foreign language! Some accused the apostles of being drunk.

We gather in Eucharist as people reborn by water and the Holy Spirit baptism. Gifted with God’s Spirit, we are sent to proclaim good news to every people and language and nation and to be built into a royal priesthood in Christ.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s ReadingsSeventh Sunday of Easter— Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

In the last weeks of Eastertide, our liturgical readings explore the results of the dying and rising of Jesus. Both the Gospel reading and the reading from 1 John speak of the self-giving love of God,revealed in Jesus’ Passover from death to life, as the primarycharacteristic of our lives in Christ.

In this Sunday’s reading from Acts, Peter and some other Jewish Christians were astounded to see Gentiles in the household of Cornelius receive the Holy Spirit just as they had on the Day ofPentecost. Peter’s last reservations about welcoming Gentilesinto the Church are erased and he and the other joyfully lead them to the waters of Baptism.

Today to we give God thanks for all motherly individuals who continue to show love to all. This is also a good time to seek more effective ways to care for our environment and to witnessthat God’s love is not only for humanity but also for the entirecreation.

Joined together by God’s spirit in baptism, bound up in thedying and rising of Jesus, related by creation to all the earth, we the people of God bring all our lives and one another into the saving love of God in Eucharist.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

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

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

On this, the penultimate Sunday in Easter, many churches still celebrate Rogation Sunday. Rogation Sunday is the day when the church has traditionally offered a prayer for God’s blessings on the fruits of the earth and the labors of those who produce our food. The word “rogation” is from the Latin rogare, “to ask.”

Historically, the Rogation Days (the three days before Ascension Day) were a period of fasting and abstinence, beseeching God’s blessing on the crops for a bountiful harvest. Few of us today directly derive our livelihood from the production of food, yet it is good to be reminded of our dependence upon those who do and our responsibility for the environment. For those churches near lakes and seashores, the clergy normally blesses fishing boats and other seafaring vessels. Today we are grateful to the Boy Scouts of St. Gabriel’s who are donating a tree to the parish. It will find permanence on our premises when planted.

This prayer for Rogation Day is found on page 258 in The Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand, may always give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

BLESSINGS AT ROGATIONTIDE.Father Eddie+

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

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

On this Third Sunday of Easter, the Gospel reading directs our attention to the Eucharist as our ongoing experience of the resurrection. On the first Easter afternoon Jesus met two of his followers, and as they walked to the village of Emmaus he explained the scriptures concerning his death and resurrection to them. At table with them he said the blessing and broke the bread and they recognized him.

Today’s Gospel reading carries that story to its conclusion. Those twodisciples are in the midst of telling the others that Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread when he appears in their midst. He again explains the scriptures and shares food with them. Thus from the verybeginning of the Church’s life in the risen Lord, the meal has been the most common way Jesus’ resurrection is revealed to his people.

Our reading from Acts today is an account of the manifestation ofChrist’s presence in and through his followers. Peter and John heal a cripple inthe name of Jesus and then Peter proclaims the Gospel of the dying and rising of Jesus. The second reading this Sunday speaks of the forgiveness of sins we have as a result of our life in Christ.

We are a people who through Baptism and Eucharist live in Christ’sdying and rising. We meet him again and again in the Breaking of the Bread and acclaim him. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!”

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Second Sunday of Easter — Year B

 

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Each year on the first four Sundays of Lent we hear Old Testamentreadings which recall the most important events in “salvation history”.

On the fifth Sunday of each year, we hear one of the prophetic passageswhich foresees the greater and ultimate saving event to come in Jesus’ dyingand rising.

This year, the reading is Jeremiah’s message that God will at some timein the future establish a new covenant with the people which will transcend the old covenant of the Exodus. The most significant thing about this new covenant is that it will be expressed in an interior relationship with God rather than an exterior law.

The second reading today describes Jesus’ suffering as the manifestationof his priestly ministry (using the image of the mysterious Old Testament priest Melchizedek, who in Hebrew tradition was thought greater than the priests of Israel and one who was, in some sense, immortal). This is part of thisepistle’s argument that Jesus has supplanted the priesthood and worship ofIsrael.

The Gospel reading also relates Jesus’ dying to his glorification and oursalvation and as the means of calling the whole world into the kingdom.

As we near the end of our Lenten pilgrimage, these readings underscore the primary result of our worship and especially of Baptism and Eucharist: wehave been made part of Christ’s Body in Baptism and a part of his priesthood; that is, we are part of what he does, we express our share in his sacrifice and his mediation between humanity and God in our celebration of the liturgy. Thus, indeed, is this new Covenant written on our hearts and we truly each know God as Jeremiah foretold. Pray for those who will join that new Covenant when they are baptized at Easter.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+