Friday, January 1, 2016THE HOLY NAME OF OUR LORD
A short history of the Feast of the Holy Name, which coincides with New Year's Day, is in Lesser Feast and Fasts, as follows:
"The designation of this day as the Feast of the Holy Name is new to the 1979 revision of the Prayer Book. Previous Anglican Prayer Books called it the Feast of the Circumcision. January first is, of course, the eighth day after Christmas Day, and the Gospel according to Luke records that eight days after his birth the child was circumcised and given the name Jesus.
The Law of Moses required that every male child be circumcised on the eighth day from his birth (Leviticus 12:3); and it had long been the custom to make of it a festive occasion, when family and friends came together to witness the naming of the child.
The liturgical commemoration of the Circumcision is of Gallican origin, and a Council in Tours in 567 enacted that the day was to be kept as a fast day to counteract pagan festivities connected with the beginning of the new year. In the Roman tradition, January first was observed as the octave day of Christmas, and it was specially devoted to the Virgin Mother.
The early preachers of the Gospel lay stress on the name as showing that Jesus was a man of flesh and blood, though also the Son of God, who died a human death, and whom God raised from death to be the Savior (Acts 2:32; 4:12). The name was given to Jesus, as the angel explained to Joseph, because he would 'save his people from their sins' (Matthew 1:21). (The word means 'Savior' or 'Deliverer' in Hebrew.)"
You might consider reading these sermons in the archive regarding the Holy Name.
Eternal Father, who didst give to thine incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we beseech thee, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, even our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Sunday, January 3, 2016THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS DAY
O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more wonderfully restore, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Wednesday, January 6, 2016THE EPIPHANY
The Epiphany celebrates Jesus revealed as Christ. January 6 is not only the Feast itself, but also the beginning of a season in which we come to know, one epiphany at a time, Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, our Savior and Redeemer, very God of very God.
In 2018, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany not only on January 6 (with a said Mass in the Chantry Chapel at 12:10pm), but also on Sunday, January 7 with choral services at 11am and 4pm.
At Saint Thomas, we also celebrate the visit of the wise men to the Christ child at an Epiphany Procession, which also includes commemorations of Christ's baptism in the River Jordan and also Christ's first miracle at the wedding of Cana. In 2018, the Epiphany Procession is at 11am and 4pm on Sunday, January 14.
To more fully understand the season of Epiphany, which extends all the way though Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday), consider reading or listening to these sermons.
O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only begotten Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now by faith, to thy presence, where we may Behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Sunday, January 10, 2016THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
Collect:Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan didst proclaim him thy beloved Son and anoint him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Sunday, January 17, 2016THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
At the morning services in this Second Sunday after the Epiphany in Year C, we have the account in Saint John of the Wedding at Cana. This is the third manifestion of Jesus as the Christ that we heard last Sunday at the Epiphany Procession (the first was the visit of the three magi, read on January 6), and the Baptism of Our Lord (the assigned Gospel for last Sunday).
The Wedding at Cana provided the occassion for Christ's first miracle, changing water (and lots of it) into wine (the best wine).
To further contemplate the Wedding at Cana, consider this sermon:
Domestic Depletion (2010) by Fr Mead
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that thy people, illumined by thy Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016Wulfstan
Bishop of Worcester
Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son hath led captivity captive and given gifts to thy people: Multiply among us faithful pastors, who, like thy holy bishop Wulfstan, will give courage to those who are oppressed and held in bondage; and bring us all, we pray, into the true freedom of thy kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016Fabian
Bishop and Martyr of Rome
O God, who in thy providence didst single out the holy martyr Fabian as worthy to be chief pastor of thy people, and didst guide him so to strengthen thy Church that it stood fast in the day of persecution: Grant that those whom thou dost call to any ministry in the Church may be obedient to thy call in all humility, and be enabled to carry out their tasks with diligence and faithfulness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Thursday, January 21, 2016Agnes
Martyr at Rome
Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, January 24, 2016THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and all the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016Timothy and Titus
Companions of Saint Paul
It is fitting that Timothy and Titus are remembered on the day immediately following the Conversion of Saint Paul. They, after all, were Greek (Timothy had a Jewish mother, who was believer, and a Greek father; both of Timothy's parents were Greek), so they were well suited for the spread of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Both were instrumental in the development of early churches, such as those at Corinth, Thessalonica, and Ephesus.
Timothy and Titus brought youthful enthusiasm to their call, and Lesser Feasts and Fasts makes this point:
Paul several times mentions their youth, while entrusting them with great responsibilities in administration and in the proclaiming of the Gospel, a reminder that not age but faithfulness, care, and the love of Christ are the important qualities for Christian witness to the Lord.
Almighty God, who didst call Timothy and Titus to do the work of evangelists and teachers, and didst make them strong to endure hardship: Strengthen us to stand fast in adversity, and to live godly and righteous lives in this present time, that with sure confidence we may look for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016John Chrysostom
Bishop of Constantinople
O God, who didst give to thy servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, January 28, 2016Thomas Aquinas
Priest and Friar
Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal Church (2006) explains the contribution of Thomas Aquinas in this way:
Thomas Aquinas is the greatest theologian of the high Middle Ages, and, next to Augustine, perhaps the greatest theologian in the history of Western Christianity. Born into a noble Italian family, probably in 1225, he entered the new Dominican Order of Preachers, and soon became an outstanding teacher in an age of intellectual ferment.
Perceiving the challenges that the recent rediscovery of Aristotle’s works might entail for traditional catholic doctrine, especially in its emphasis upon empirical knowledge derived from reason and sense perception, independent of faith and revelation, Thomas asserted that reason and revelation are in basic harmony. “Grace” (revelation), he said, “is not the denial of nature” (reason), “but the perfection of it.” This synthesis Thomas accomplished in his greatest works, the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles, which even today continue to exercise profound influence on Christian thought and philosophy. He was considered a bold thinker, even a “radical,” and certain aspects of his thought were condemned by the ecclesiastical authorities. His canonization on July 18, 1323, vindicated him.
Thomas understood God’s disclosure of his Name, in Exodus 3:14, “I Am Who I Am,” to mean that God is Being, the Ultimate Reality from which everything else derives its being. The difference between God and the world is that God’s essence is to exist, whereas all other beings derive their being from him by the act of creation. Although, for Thomas, God and the world are distinct, there is, nevertheless, an analogy of being between God and the world, since the Creator is reflected in his creation. It is possible, therefore, to have a limited knowledge of God, by analogy from the created world. On this basis, human reason can demonstrate that God exists; that he created the world; and that he contains in himself, as their cause, all the perfections which exist in his creation. The distinctive truths of Christian faith, however, such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, are known only by revelation.
Thomas died in 1274, just under fifty years of age. In 1369, on January 28, his remains were transferred to Toulouse. In addition to his many theological writings, he composed several eucharistic hymns. They include “O saving Victim” and “Now, my tongue, the mystery telling.”
Almighty God, who hast enriched thy Church with the singular learning and holiness of thy servant Thomas Aquinas: Enlighten us more and more, we pray thee, by the disciplined thinking and teaching of Christian scholars, and deepen our devotion by the example of saintly lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Sunday, January 31, 2016THE PRESENTATION (CANDLEMAS)
Candlemas is always the 40th day of Christmas, or February 2, when, according to the Gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple. In 2018, in addition to celebrating Candlemas on Friday, February 2, we also are celebrating on Sunday, February 4 so that the maximum number of people can participate and so that we can hear music associated with the feast day.
Here is the account beginning at verse 22 of Luke, chapter 2:
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (as it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. This passage reveals not only yet another epiphany (another revelation that this Jesus is Christ), but it also gives our tradition a great Christmas gift: Simeon's Song, also known as the Nunc dimittis, which the choir sings at every Choral Evensong.
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.