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+

 

A Note on Today’s Readings | Proper 29: The Reign of Christ or Christ the King — Year A

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Today is the final Sunday of the Church year, on which we celebrate the Kingship of Christ. Since last Advent, we have been reading the Gospel according to Matthew most Sundays. In this final reading from the Gospel of Matthew, we have Jesus’ description of the final judgment. Those who will be welcomed into his Kingdom are those who show their love to Christ by caring for the outcast and helpless.

The prophet Ezekiel, centuries before Christ, foresaw the coming of the Shepherd – King, sent by God to his people. This kingship would be one of caring love and of peace to the entire human race.

In the second reading, an extended pa ssage describes Christ as the final fulfillment of God’s plan for the universe. We who are the beneficiaries of that plan for our lives are gathered up into Christ who is our head and who gives his own being to all that exists.

Our gatherings for worship are meant to be points of departure for us to move into the world in active works of ministry to the hungry, the helpless, the imprisoned, the lonely, the sick, and the dying. The reign of Christ must begin with members of his body the Church making him kn own in the world, especially to the least of his sisters and brothers.

Happy Christ the King Sunday.

Father Eddie+

 

A Reflecton for Harvest Thanksgiving

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

Now Thank We All Our God

One of the major goals of religion is to teach people to focus gratefully on what they have instead of being aware mostly on what they don’t have.

– Rabbi Harold Kushner

Saying “thank you” is one of the first lessons we learn as children. Among our e arliest memories are our parent s ’ stern reminders; to remember, to say thanks for our toys, gifts, meals and all the goodies that come with childhood. Gra titude is more than remembering to say thanks, however, it is a way of looking at the world that does not change the facts of our lives but has the power to make life more manageable.

One of the best illustrations of this is the story of Rev. Martin Rink art. Rinkart was the pastor of the Lutheran Church in his home of Eilenberg during the Thirty Years War, which devastated Germany in the early 17th century. Eilenberg was swamped by refugees. Famine and pestilence wreaked havoc on the overcrowded city. In 1637, when the crisis was at its peak, Rinkart, officiated at fifty funerals a day. It is estimated that he buried more than four thousand people that year, including several members of his own family. Yet, in the midst of such pain and tragedy, he wrote t he hymn that is our stable for our harvest and Thanksgiving observances:

“Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done in whom this world rejoices:

Who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love and still is ours today.”

God, it has been said, has two dwelling places: one is heaven, the other a thankful heart. On this Harvest Sunday and during the week’s Thanksgiving rituals, let us pray that God would give us grateful hea rts.

We welcome all who have joined us for worship today. A special welcome if you are here for the first time. We pray that your time with us has been a blessing.

HAPPY HARV EST SUNDAY.

Father Eddie+

A Note on Today’s Readings Proper 27: Sunday closest to November 9—Year A

Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.

As we enter the last weeks of the Church year, the liturgy is focused on the “last things,” and especially the return of Christ as Judge. The Gospel reading is the familiar parable of the wise and foolish maidens. The emphasis here is always to live in readiness for the Lord’s return.

In the first lesson, we recognize that we are are drawing near the end of our reading through the ancient story of God’s people. The Israelites have now settled in the Promised Land. Joshua has called them together to renew the Covenant they made with God at Mount Sinai. This renewal recalls to them all the mighty acts God has done on their behalf from the time of Abraham to their own time.

The second reading continues the first letter to the Thessalonians. Some in that church, expecting the Lord to return in their lifetimes, have begun to doubt because some of the members have died. Paul assures these early Christians that those who die before the Lord’s return will nonetheless be saved.

In our Eucharistic gathering, we are in a kind of rehearsal for life in the Day of Judgment. We find in our prayer the model for the commitment to ministry and social justice, which gives heart and soul to our worship; and in communion, we meet the Lord as judge and as Savior.

HAPPY SUNDAY.

Father Eddie+