Sunday Reflection

Saint Bartholomew the Apostle 24 August Holy Day

Bartholomew is known to us only because his name is listed among the twelve apostles in the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. His name means “son of Tolmai,” and he is sometimes identified with Nathanael, a disciple who appears at the beginning of the Fourth Gospel. According to John, Nathanael learned about Jesus of Nazareth from his friend Philip and gave the skeptical response, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nevertheless, he went along with his friend, and when Jesus saw him he said, “Here is an Israelite worthy of the name; there is nothing false in him.”

Some sources credit Bartholomew with having written a Gospel; its existence was known to various Christian theologians up to the eighth century, but it has been long since lost. There is a tradition that he travelled to India, where it was later said that he left behind a copy of the Gospel according to Matthew in Hebrew. Another ancient tradition says that Bartholomew was flayed alive at Albano’polis in Armenia while seeking to bring the good news of Christ to that nation. While there, they are reputed to have converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity, thus enraging the king’s brother, who ordered Bartholomew’s execution.

Collect for Saint Bartholomew:   Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace to believe and preach your word, may your Church truly love what he believed and faithfully preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
(For All the Saints, The Anglican Church of Canada) 

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Sunday Reflection

The Consecration of Charles Inglis 12 August

First Anglican Bishop in Canada, 1787 — Commemoration

On this date in 1787 a priest named Charles Inglis was consecrated bishop of Nova Scotia, with jurisdiction over the Church of England in settlements as far west as the Niagara peninsula; and in commemorating this event we mark the official beginning of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Inglis himself was born into a family of Scottish Episcopalian clergy who had moved to Ireland. Poverty and a lack of opportunity led him to emigrate to Pennsylvania, where he worked as a school teacher while studying for ordination. He was made a priest in 1758 and served as a missionary in Delaware before moving to Trinity Church in New York City.

With the approach of the American Revolution, Inglis became an ardent defender of loyalty to the Crown — so much so that, after independence, the State of New York passed a bill which denied him amnesty and confiscated all his goods. Despite being forced into exile in England, he still loved America and planned to return and settle among the Loyalists in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. At this point the English government finally decided that Anglicans in British North America should have their own bishop; and though Inglis was not the first choice of the authorities, he turned out to be the only available candidate. So, on August twelfth, 1787, he was consecrated bishop at Lambeth Palace.

His new charge was enormous, for it covered all of the Maritime provinces, Quebec, and what is now Ontario. His advancing years and ill health made it difficult for him to travel, and he spent most of his time in Nova Scotia, with occasional visitations to New Brunswick. Nevertheless, until his death in 1816, he proved to be an effective leader and administrator, sensitive to the unique conditions of the Church of England in Canada. We honour him for his patience in building our Church and for his pastoral wisdom in sustaining it through its earliest years.

Collect for Charles Inglis:   Eternal God, who laid your hand upon Charles Inglis and made him the first bishop of your Anglican flock in Canada, grant to each and all of us the insight of faith, the eagerness of hope, and the skill of love, that we may continue to build upon the one foundation of life, which is Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. 

(For All the Saints, The Anglican Church of Canada)

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Sunday Reflection

William Wilberforce 

29 July: Social Reformer, 1833 — Commemoration

For All the Saints, The Anglican Church of Canada

William Wilberforce was an English politician whose commitment to Jesus Christ made him lead a forty-year campaign for the emancipation of all slaves throughout the British empire.

Wilberforce entered the House of Commons in 1780 as a very wealthy young man with little purpose to his life beyond the conventional duties and privileges of his class. Four years later he experienced a revolution in his attitude to Christian doctrine, when his intellect accepted its claims upon his life; and this was followed by an even greater “conversion of the heart,” when he embraced Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Thus transformed from being a Christian only in name to someone who actively practiced his faith, he threw himself into projects for the moral conversion of English society; and it was at this time that he agreed to bring before Parliament a bill to end all traffic in slaves.
At that time British landowners in the West Indies relied on slave labour, mostly black Africans kidnapped or bought by white traders who transported them and sold them for a profit in the Americas. Anxious to preserve their way of life, the West Indian landowners subsidized Members of Parliament to resist Wilberforce’s bill. The fight lasted twenty years. In session after session he reintroduced his bill and pleaded for its passage with unflagging conviction and eloquence, only to see it defeated by the tactics of the slave-owners’ party. But the resistance wore down before his persistence, integrity, and Christian character. The night it passed its second reading, the entire House stood and gave Wilberforce the tribute of an ovation.

This victory was not the end of his campaign. He immediately introduced a bill for the abolition of slavery itself, but it still had not passed the Commons when he retired from active politics in 1825. Eight years later, as he lay on his deathbed, he had the joy of hearing that Parliament was finally about to pass his bill. He died on July twenty-ninth, 1833, just as the liberation of slaves became the law of Great Britain and its empire.

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Sunday Reflection

Saint James the Apostle 

25 July: Holy Day

We honour Saint James the Apostle, usually described in the Gospels as “the brother of John” but also known as James “the Greater” in order to distinguish him from two other New Testament figures of the same name. He was a Galilean fisherman, and with his brother John he left his home and his trade in obedience to the call of Jesus. With Peter and John he belonged to an especially privileged group of disciples whom Jesus chose to be witnesses of the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’s daughter, and the agony in the garden of Geth-se’ma-ne.

James shared his brother’s hot-headed disposition, and Jesus nicknamed the two of them “Bo-an-er’ges,” or “sons of thunder.” They once expressed a willingness to share the cup of Christ’s sufferings, and in the case of James this was realized very soon after the resurrection. According to the Book of Acts, King Herod launched a persecution of the Church and had James beheaded, thus making him the first of the twelve apostles to suffer death for the sake of Christ.

An old legend claims that the body of James was miraculously transported across the Mediterranean in its stone coffin and came to rest at Compo-ste’la in Spain. During the Middle Ages his shrine there became one of the great centres of pilgrimage, and the Spaniards specially invoked his aid to support them in their long struggle against their Moorish overlords. To this day he remains one of the best loved saints of the Spanish people.

Almighty God,
we remember your servant James,
the first apostle to give his life
for faith in Jesus Christ.
Pour out on all your people
that spirit of self-denying service
which is the mark of true leadership.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

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Sunday Reflection

The gospel for today is called ‘The Parable of the Sower.’ Some preachers and theologians like to call it ‘The ‘Parable of the Soils.’ It speaks not of the power of the seed or of the availability of the opportunity. It speaks of responses to the Good News Jesus had brought into our world. I invite you to meditate on these responses, recognize ourselves, our situation, and our possibilities.

The parable is not about opinions. For me, it’s about responses. What do you think God is calling us to do in the context of our ministry? What do you see, hear, and think as you reflect on this parable?

As I mentioned last week, we live in a high-pressured, fast-tempo world. Some people feel pressed for time and haunted by tasks to be done. Many have “two-job” lives in order to make the economic demands of their families or stay up with the social pressures of their circle. Even our children are pressed with such busy schedules because we have organized entertainment, sports, and other activities so as to fill every moment of their lives. Leisurely family meals in which conversation can take place is a thing of the past. It’s easy to ignore the silent signals of our starving souls that they must find nourishment. God’s ideas are easily swept away of our lives.

Jesus comes to say that the seed that finds good ground will reproduce itself in fruit over and over again. It’s the ground of one who “hears the word and understands it.” How does this come to us?

“But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”.” Matthew 13:23

 We hearken to God’s voice. We accept the promise. We embrace the decision. We begin the walk together.

Good ground! Good seed! Good news!

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Sunday Reflection

Sunday Reflection: Jesus teaches that he is the way to the Father and that the way to him is the humble way. Matthew 11: 25-26 is a confession of praise and thanks to God for giving revelation in the first place, opening it to all and not restricting it to a self-styled elite few. The prayer of thanks and praise is structured like a typically Jewish prayer of praise and thanks in the Psalms. First, God is addressed, then thanked or praised, and then the reason for doing so is given.

Jesus’ instruction will primarily consist of example. His attitudes of meekness and humility, recommended in the Beatitudes of chapter five, are not learned or memorized intellectually but appropriated personally by imitation. When we see things from the eternal perspective our first response is praise. Jesus is against intellectual pride, not intellectual power. Because Jesus is open to all people, educated and not, brilliant and not, all people can come to know God through him.

The truly learned and wise are the really humble, those who see from God’s perspective, know they cannot live the way God wants them to live without outside help. We need a Savior, Jesus who can give us the ability to be truly human, to be all that God wants and calls us to be.

Humility is acceptance, loving, even laughing acceptance, of our creature status. Humility takes the pressure off of life’s “burdens,” and makes them bearable. That is why Christians like to use the phrase “bearing the cross.”

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Notices

  • Philippine Independence Day Celebration will be held on Sunday, July 9th, at the Memorial South Park 5955 Ross Street
    (E. 41st Avenue) Vancouver. St. Michael will be participating in this event in partnership with the Diocesan Synod Office. We will be marketing our parish to the Filipino-Canadian community from across the province. For more details, see Fr. Louie.
  • Diocesan Clergy Family Day will be hosted by our parish on Thursday, July 13, from 5:00 to 8:00pm. If you wish to say “hello” to some clergy, you could swing by during this time.
  • Michael’s Summer Barbecue Potluck Fellowship will be on Saturday, July 15, 5:00 to 8:00pm, in the porch area of the Millennium Hall. Invite a friend and family. Share your favourite dish.
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Sunday Reflection

“Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me”! Matthew 10:38. Jesus continues to prepare the twelve for the continuation of his mission. He is both “teacher” and “master”. We are His disciples. There is so much to learn that we should never ourselves up as authorities independent of Jesus.

In fulfilling our duties as disciples of Christ, there will be challenges along the way. Do not be intimidated. We live in a time where all ungodly and godly behaviour are perceived in society. Now is the time to proclaim all that Jesus has told his disciples and us in verse twenty-seven of the appointed gospel for today.

Do not fear your oppressors for they can only end your physical life; rather hold God in awe, for he can “destroy” you totally if you do not do his will. God cares for the life of even a sparrow sold as food in the market), so “do not be afraid” of losing the real life.

Honest and forthright witness – and outright refusal to do so – will have eternal consequences. At the Last Day, Jesus will testify to the Father for those who have witnessed faithfully; he will declare those who turn against the gospel unworthy of life in the Kingdom.

What do you hear God is calling you to do? Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. The kingdom of God has come very near us, and when we suffer—and we will—we have the church, the Christian community where we “bear one another’s burdens,” as St. Paul said (Galatians 6:2).

In this Christian life, we are not spared from suffering, but when we suffer, God suffers along with us. And this suffering helps prepare us for eternal glory.

Prayer for St. Peter and St. Paul

Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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