As we begin the new liturgical year and this new season of Advent, it is fruitful to consider the readings that the Church presents to us on this first Sunday, because it sets the agenda for the whole of the season and the year. It has been said that if Christmas were removed from the bible, all that would be lost would be about a chapter and a half from the beginning of both Matthew and Luke; but if the sense of preparation, expectancy, hope and longing that lies at the heart of the season of Advent were removed from the scriptures, you would have to delete about half of the Old Testament and most of the New. (more…)
The feast of Christ the King provides us with Christ the prophet presenting this ominous and dark scene of the judgement – not only of the people of Israel or the New Covenant – but of all the nations gathered before the Lord, being separated according to the way that we have recognised the presence of the Lord in our midst. This recognition is ultimately centred on whether we understand the power of the Christ who died for us as King on a Cross.
Recorded at St Paul’s, 5.30pm (5’38”)
Feast of Christ the King, Year A. Matthew 25
One of the lovely things about living in the Sydney area is the veritable plethora of jacaranda trees that are in full blossom at this time of the year. When I see one of these trees, I am often reminded of the beautiful tree in one corner of the main quadrangle at Sydney University, and the sage advice that was given to first year students – make sure that you have begun to study for the final exams before the first blossom appears – or else you are very likely to fail. Since the tree usually only blossoms a week or two before the exams begin, this advice had considerable gravitas! (more…)
|The Cover of the epub and mobi editions.|
The new translation of the Roman Missal has been available for use in Australia since Pentecost Sunday this year, but the text only becomes compulsory from the First Sunday in Advent (27 November 2011). This is also the first time that the text will be used at all in the United States. I received my copy of the Roman Missal which is being used in Australia, England and Wales, and Scotland about six weeks ago and the American edition yesterday. Although the US edition is much cheaper (only $80 posted via Amazon) it lacks the elegance of the $460 British edition that we are using here in Australia.
During the month of November, there is a tradition of remembering the dead and praying for them – particularly during the Eucharist. Our liturgy this Sunday provides an opportunity to reflect upon this practice in the light of the Lord’s coming and the judgement. When Paul writes his earliest letter, to the Thessalonians, he still had an expectancy that Jesus would come again soon. He knew that everything was now different because of the resurrection of Jesus, which was the first fruits of the new creation that God would bring about. So he describes the reasons that the church has to live in hope – even as we pray and mourn for those who have already died. We continue to do the same.
Recorded at St Paul’s (9’20”)
Sunday 32, Year A: 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Matthew 25: 1-13.
This was ‘Thanksgiving Sunday’ – the culmination of a four week ‘Planned Growth Mission’ renewal program; the homily was replaced by a video presentation as a lead-in to the pledge renewal, so I didn’t actually preach this homily – it is just some thoughts on the readings today.