Friday, June 25, 2010

St. David's News & Notes, June 25, 2010

Just in case you missed it, yesterday was the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist. In celebrating St. John's birthday, I was reminded that just as God sent John to go before Jesus to prepare the way, God always prepares His people with grace to receive the full measure of His grace.

And as I've been turning my attention back to the Gospel of Luke in preparation for our summer and fall preaching series, I've been reminded that God's grace not only precedes but follows the saving work of Jesus.

Luke begins his Gospel this way: "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught" (Lk 1:1-4, ESV).

A few quick observations: (1) There was (and is) the actual event of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection itself in human history, these are "the the things that have been accomplished among us;" (2) there was the preaching and proclamation of those events by eyewitnesses, "those who from the beginning (i.e. when it happened) were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word" (please notice that they were ministers, they served the message, they didn't make it up); (3) there was and is the Scriptures, which are the trustworthy and authoritative writings that we have, "it seemed good to me . . . to write."

And why? "That you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught."

We don't follow a made up gospel in the midst of a cloud of uncertainty. God the Father sent His Son Jesus to save us, and he did just that. The people who saw it and were saved by Jesus were sent by Jesus to spread the news about what He and His Father had done, are doing, and will do. And people like Luke wrote it down so that people like us can have certainty (real knowledge) about the message we hear from faithful priests and bishops who continue to share the truth about what Jesus actually did, is doing, and will do.

What wonderful reminders. God sends John the Baptist before Jesus. God sends Jesus. And God sends the Apostles to spread the word and evangelists to write down and confirm the word.

What goodness and grace! As St. John the Apostle writes, "And from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace" (Jn 1:16).

I'm excited about this series in Luke, and I anticipate many gifts of God's grace as we grow in certainty, assurance, and real knowledge of the things God has accomplished in Jesus.

Readings for Sunday, June 27, 2010:

1 Kings 19:15-21
Psalm 16
Galatians 5:1-25
Luke 9:51-62


Our Wednesday evening Bible study following the 6pm Mass will cover Amos chapters 7-9.

A few final reminders: Please keep each other in your prayers as we travel and enjoy our summers. Please be faithful in your regular Sunday worship when you are in town (and even on the road, if possible). And please make the effort to stay faithful in your giving, especially over the summer months.

Blessings to you all,

Fr Greg+

Friday, June 11, 2010

St. David's News & Notes, June 11, 2010

Blessed Feast of St. Barnabas to you all.

Barnabas was an early Christian convert and leader in the Church in Jerusalem. When people in Antioch fist believed the Gospel, Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to see what was happening. Luke writes in Acts, "The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" (Acts 11:22-24).

What an honor to be described in Holy Scripture as "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith." And this passage also tells us why Barnabas is described as good. For when he saw the grace of God (i.e. people trusting Jesus and His Gospel) "he was glad, and exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose." Now, think about an enthusiastic coach more than an angry preacher and I think we'll have a sense of Barnabas' goodness. Barnabas recognizes God's goodness in Jesus as good, and encourages the faithful to remain faithful to God's goodness which is Jesus.

The passage continues, "And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians" (Acts 11:24-26).

Barnabas brought Paul, the former persecutor of the faithful, to Antioch to teach the faithful. And together with Paul, Barnabas was in the place where the word "Christian" was coined. Wow! What goodness, indeed.

And His goodness can become our goodness, because it's God's goodness shared freely through faith in Jesus who is "our great God and savior . . . who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works" ( Titus 2:13b-14). This self-giving love of God in and through Jesus is what is celebrated today by Christians who observe this day (the Friday after Corpus Christi) as the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The main idea of this celebration is to adore the love of Jesus, and ask for grace to return His love by asking for God's help to live the Great Commandment. As it says in the prayer book, "Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." And as it says in Scripture, "We love because he first loved us" ( 1 John 4:19).

Enjoy this day giving thanks for the examples of a good man named Barnabas, whose character was transformed to share the loving heart of his savior, Jesus.

The lessons for this coming Sunday are:

2 Samuel 11:26--12:10, 13-15
Psalm 32:1-8
Galatians 2:11-21
Luke 7:36-50


There are no mid-week Masses this week. Wednesday in Mary will lead Evening Prayer at 6pm.

The Wednesday evening study at St. David's, Gilmer, will resume on June 23 after 6pm Mass and will cover Amos chapters 1-6.

Blessings to you,

Fr Greg+