Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday 20 January 2019
In 1995 The Anglican Church of Australia published a Prayer Book for Australia in which is found the following prayer for Australia. We offer it as a prayer for the 26th January.
God of Holy Dreaming, Great Creator Spirit, from the dawn of creation you have given your children the good things of Mother Earth.
You spoke and the gum tree grew.
In the vast desert and the dense forest, and in the cities and at the water’s edge, creation sings your praise.
Your presence endures at the rock at the heart of our Land.
When Jesus hung on the tree you heard the cries of all your people and became one with your wounded ones: the convicts, the hunted, the dispossessed.
The sunrise of your Son coloured the earth anew, and bathed it in glorious hope.
In Jesus we have been reconciled to you, to each other and to your whole creation.
Lead us on, Great Spirit, as we gather from the four corners of the earth; enable us to walk together in trust from the hurt and shame of the past into the full day which has dawned in Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Baptism of the Lord
Sunday 13 January 2019
Today marks the end of the Christmas and overlaps as the first Sunday in ordinary time.
It is a feast which also marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. He comes out of the desert and before beginning his ministry, he is baptized by John.
It is a moment when the reader of the gospel also gets a glimpse into Jesus’ identity. In the following words we hear of a voice from heaven, the Holy Spirit and Jesus as Son. As he begins his public ministry the writer of Luke’s gospel has introduced us to Jesus as a member of the Trinity. We read that “heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” Lk 3:21-22
John the Baptist completed his task as the one to prepare the way, to preach about repentance and forgiveness and assure people who came to listen to him that he was not the Messiah, the one to come. He foretold that the Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, something entirely different to John’s baptism.
The reign of God was introduced in the person of Jesus and today we celebrate the great feast of his baptism. We are reminded of the significance of our own baptism and the call each day to live out our baptismal commitment. Let us pray for open hearts to fully attend to this daily task.
The Epiphany of the Lord
Sunday 6 January 2019
“The word epiphany comes from the Greek and means "manifestation" or "revelation".
The feast of the Epiphany originated in the 3rd century in the East where it was celebrated on January 6 in honour of Christ's baptism. Soon it came to be considered one of the three principal festivals of the Church, the others being Easter and Pentecost. John Chrysostom, preaching in Antioch on January 6 in the year 387, explains why it is ranked above celebrations of the nativity: "Why then is this day called Epiphany? Because it was not when he was born that he became manifest to all, but when he was baptised; for up to this day he was unknown to the multitudes". The central ritual of the feast in the Eastern liturgy continues to be the solemn blessing of the baptismal water.
The meaning of the Epiphany becomes clearer if we look out for links between today's gospel and Easter. For example, there is an exchange between King Herod and the Jewish leaders as also happens at the trial of Jesus; Jesus is manifested to the Gentile Magi and it is a Gentile (the centurion) who recognises Jesus as the Son of God on the cross; there is betrayal and uncertainty at the time of Jesus' birth as there is at his trial, suffering and death. These parallels serve to remind us that all our liturgies have the one "theme", that we are always celebrating the paschal mystery, that is, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Liturgy Lines. Elizabeth Harrington. Accessed from www.liturgybrisbane.net.au
A Blessing for Families
Sunday 30 December
Today is the feast of the Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Holy Family is offered as a model of faith, love and devotion. This was a family who knew the hardships of daily life. Their son Jesus even went missing at one stage. Mary’s faith and openness to God led her to enter into the mystery of who Jesus was and how best she could support him in his life.
Let us offer the following blessing for all the families in our parish.
you have created us in love and
saved us in mercy,
and through the bond of marriage
you have established the family
and willed that it should become a sign of Christ’s love
for his Church.
Shower your blessings on all
families in our parish.
Enable those who are joined by one love
to support one another
by their fervor of spirit and
devotion to prayer.
Make them responsive to
the needs of others
and witness to the faith
in all they say and do.
Book of Blessings. ICEL The Liturgical Press. Minnesota 1989 p8
Advent Week 4
Sunday 23 December
Mary and Elizabeth, two great women of scripture, listen to God and become the ultimate paradigm of disciple. In this scripture text, Mary becomes the great gift and model for the church. She listens, she responds, she obeys with fervor and zeal the voice of God and she acts on that word.
We, too, on this last Sunday of Advent are exhorted to ‘go in haste’ to go with zeal and fervor to live the call of the gospel and to share the mighty news it contains. Mary models for us the perfect liturgy. She listens, she gives thanks and praise, she responds in faith to the Word of God and then she goes in haste.
We must not forget Micah’s exhortation to respond in faith according to our hesed relationship with God. Our response will be evidenced by how we live the law of love, how we respond to the needy in our world.
Word & Worship Workbook for Year c. M. Birmingham. Paulist Press. New York. 1998 p64