Easter Sunday | Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Dear Parishioner, Easter is “THE” central event in the life of the Church. There is nothing more important to a Christian than sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Without these historical events, the Christian faith is worthless. As the Apostle Paul tells us, ‘if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is our faith.’ (1 Corinthians 15:14)

But such is not the case! The events that happened that first Easter continues to be the power, hope, and peace of the Christian’s life, and foolishness to everyone else. It is my hope that this Easter Message will help you celebrate the victory that is the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

As we approach the altar this Easter and partake of the “body and blood” of our Living Savior, let us all remember to let Christ live in us. Let us not be one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless. Let his death and his resurrection be a significant event not only in our religious lives but in our daily lives as well.

The love of the Risen Christ we will share by welcoming those among us who took that step to membership of St. Gabriel’s community of faith. Let the Paschal greeting resonate with us: “Christ is Risen!” And let us always answer with enthusiasm—by our words and especially in our lives—”The Lord is Risen, Indeed!”

I join with The Right Reverend Daniel Allotey, The Reverend Canon Jerrick Rayside, and The Reverend Leandra Lambert and our respective families in extending best wishes for a
HOLY AND BLESSED EASTER.

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Palm Sunday — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

For a majority of the World’s Christians, this is Holy Week. We call the week “Holy” because it is a week of compassion.

Why Holy week? When we think of all the awful things that happen in the world, our holiness connects us with God through prayer, good deeds, penance and the divine love which God gives to each and every one of us. We walk through the passion and the heart of Christ goes out to all people. Jesus does not condemn but he does fight against all evil forces. In the midst of the battle between good and evil, we find God’s compassion.

Our Christ does not lay blame. Pilate is not blamed, the Sadducees are not blamed either are the Pharisees. With Jesus, there is healing and forgiveness. During his final hours on earth, and even on the cross Jesus offered forgiveness. It is compassion to the end. When we see and know compassion, we see and know God.

Around us, we see a scarcity of resources. Needs are high, people are worse off. Can we put compassion into action in how we deal with each other? Can we live with care and concern that is real and significant? The cross has a long shadow for all of us. Within the shadow of his cross, we find also the light of compassion. A compassion to share especially with the elderly, the poor, and those struggling silently.

Let the compassion of the gospel be the feeling and the message for each and every one of us this Palm Sunday.

‘How could Christ be subject to the decree of fate, when elsewhere he had said:
“I have the power to lay down my life, and I have the power to take it up again. No one can take it from me; I lay it down of my own accord, and I will take it up again”? Unless he had been willing he would not have suffered, his blood would not have been shed; and if that blood had not been shed, the world would not have been redeemed. So let us pour out our thanks to him, both for the power of his divinity and for the compassion of his suffering humanity.’
(St Augustine of Hippo)

A BLESSED HOLY WEEK

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Fifth Sunday in Lent — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

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

On the fifth Sunday of each year, we hear one of the prophetic passages which foresee the greater and ultimate saving event to come in Jesus’ dying and rising.

This year, the reading is Jeremiah’s message that God will at some time in 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 manifestation of 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 this epistle’s argument that Jesus has supplanted the priesthood and worship of Israel.

The Gospel reading also relates Jesus’ dying to his glorification and our salvation 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: we have 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+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Fourth Sunday in Lent — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

The Old Testament contains accounts of God saving the people at various times in their history. We remember those times during Lent as a part of our preparation to celebrate the ultimate salvation of all people in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The story of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness continues today. Again the people complain about hunger and thirst and rebel against God. They are set upon by poisonous serpents. Moses intercedes with God and is directed to make a bronze serpent. When the people look at the serpent they are saved.

The Gospel reading is John’s account of Jesus’ predicting his death. He likens his crucifixion to the event in today’s Old Testament reading. He promises that he has come not to condemn the world but to save it. Only those who reject this message and the light of God given by Jesus are in danger of being lost.

The reading today from Ephesians announces that in his resurrection and ascension, Jesus has raised us who know him by faith into the new life of God. It is in Baptism that we have become part of that new life and have received the grace which saves us.

The most consistent message in Holy Scripture is God’s love and repeated interventions in history to bring about redemption. As we move nearer to Easter we are led by means of Word and Sacraments to a deepening realization that God is still redeeming us. Let us remember today those who will be baptized at Easter, who are joining us in the journey of the redeemed to God.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Third Sunday in Lent — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

The ultimate saving action of God, in the dying and rising of Jesus, was preceded by a series of salvation events in the history of Israel. Today, in that series of events, we reach the most important of the Old Testament actions of God, the time of the Exodus when Israel is definitively established as the chosen people and God makes the Covenant with the people at Mount Sinai. God’s salvation of Israel requires a response by the people which is described in the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). Note that the grounds for these commandments is stated at the beginning, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

In the second reading, Paul speaks of the true wisdom which brings salvation. Rather than human wisdom, God places before us what seems to be foolish, the crucifixion of Jesus. In the dying and rising of Jesus, God showed that the divine power is greater than any human power or wisdom.

The Gospel reading is John’s account of Jesus cleansing the Temple. That event may be taken as an image of Christ cleansing us from sin in Baptism. We are the continuation of the ancient people of God who were saved in the Exodus and given the Commandments. In the dying and rising of Jesus, salvation has been extended to all people. Through Baptism, we have become part of Jesus’ Body and have died and are being raised with him. We use this time of Lent to recall all that God is doing for us in Jesus, and to prepare for the renewal of our redemption at Easter.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | Second Sunday in Lent — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Each Sunday in Lent the Old Testament reading recalls one of the events in which God acted to bring about salvation. This “salvation history” was fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Today in that history we hear the story of God’s covenant with Abram, who God renames “Abraham,” or “father of a multitude.” Even though Abraham is ninetynine years old, God promises that his aged wife, Sarah, will have a child who will produce many people as a blessing to the world.

The Gospel reading today is Jesus’ first statement to his disciples concerning his approaching death and resurrection. He calls us to follow his example in taking up our cross and in giving up our lives for his sake and the Gospel’s.

The second reading today, from Romans, describes the faith by which we are saved. It is the same as Abraham’s faith that God’s promise would be fulfilled. We are the spiritual descendants of Abraham and Sarah and Isaac. We are the continuation of the promise made to them, for we are part of their story. As a matter of faith, we are part of that multitude in all times and places who have put their trust in God: the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, and the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise carry us on to the discovery of salvation in our own lives. In Lent our sharing in the Lenten disciplines and in worship is the means by which we remember again who we are and whose we are, the holy People of God.

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings | First Sunday in Lent — Year B

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

We are living in a complicated world where violence, inequality, prejudice, and hate are escalating in scandalous ways. Confronting that reality, we ask ourselves: where is hope? The recent school tragedy in Parkland, Florida reminds us that as a people of hope our strength lies in our belief in God.

Mark’s gospel was written in a time of political convulsion and social instability. The destruction of the temple and the defeat of Israel’s liberation movements created a big crisis and made people ask where hope was. At the same time, Jesus lived in the midst of social turmoil that produced several messianic movements that pretended to answer the lack of hope of their times. The apocalyptic tone of Mark is a reminder that hopelessness will end: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.” But where is that kingdom? Probably, Jesus knew that it was a difficult question to answer, and maybe because of that, and before his ministry started, he confronted evil in the loneliness of the wilderness. Jesus’ call was to help people to discover God’s face in the midst of poverty and violence unmasking the easy answers of the religious and political establishments.

In the narrative of Genesis, we discover an amazing story of God making the following commitment: “…and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” This is not a promise that no more bad things will happen on our planet. Maybe it is a divine promise to control the easy answers to be almighty and instead proclaim to all of us: you are my
daughters / sons, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.

In a certain way during Lent, the Christian world generates speeches of God that masquerade the kingdom…a kingdom that is in the midst of our deepest contradictions, that is as fragile as a child soldier, as a transgender woman, or as a raped woman. God is calling us today: “you are my daughters / sons, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.” We should go to the wilderness to confront the evil inside us and then return to find God’s face in the midst of conflict and contradictions.

During Lent, we endeavor to pull off all those masks we use to try to cover up our weaknesses. We peel off the layers of untruth, of fear, of sin. Scripture tells us that somewhere behind all of that is the very image of God. And there, waiting for us, is Jesus’ saving work, reminding us that: “But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.”

HAPPY SUNDAY

Father Eddie+

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+