33rd Sunday of the year: 15 November 2009

November 15, 2009


Daily Mass Readings:

First Reading:  Daniel 12:1-3

‘At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people. There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, your own people will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the Book. Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.’
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:14,18
All the priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place forever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.
The Gospel: Mark 13:24-32
Jesus said, ‘In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.
‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’

The other day I was watching the Australian Christian Channel and the Senior Pastor of what possibly is the largest church in Australia (reportedly 19000 people per weekend go through their centers) was preaching on the ills and the signs of a Backslider. After a few minutes it was becoming obvious to me that anybody who doubted this Pastors take on Theology (Word of Faith), or questioned the vision of his leadership team was suffering from this very serious malady.  As time went on I began to be overcome by a severe case of deja vu, this was all too familiar to me and is a behavioral practice I have often witnessed within the Autocephalous and Old Catholic Church Movements. Although we are more likely to hear terms like vagante, hetrodox, invalid, illicit or heretic rather than backslider.


While these terms can be extremely painful when they are applied to us, our Parish or Jurisdiction, do they in the greater scheme of things really matter much at all?  As the title of this article implies I have come to the general conclusion that to some degree we are all somebody else’s backslider, vagante or heretic and not much we do or say is going to change that fact. Perhaps the most contentious attack that can be leveled at a Catholic is that their ministry is invalid, this is because as Catholics we understand the importance of sharing valid Sacraments with all who seek them from us in the name of Our Blessed Lord. But what is it that really defines validity, can it actually be defined or is validity like beauty in the eye of the beholder?


Theologian Hans Kung writes in On Being Christian: ” The important thing about a Petrine ministry or any other ministry of leadership is not the historical evidence of a line of succession…………… If such a person did not carry out this Petrine mission, did not fulfill his appointed task, did not give testimony or perform his service, what would be the use of the entire Apostolic Succession to him or the Church? Thus the important thing is not the claim, the right, the chain of succession, as such but the accomplishment, the exercise, the action, the service itself concretely realized.


A case in point I know two Bishops one quite young whose transition from Deacon, Priest to Bishop was very fast to say the least. The other a veteran with over 30 years in the Episcopacy. The elder man took a dislike to the younger after he was photographed wearing a Cope over his Chasuble and wrote some severe comments about the other for months via the Net. He also demanded complete obedience by all and sundry. While the younger Bishop, less theologically and liturgically trained weekly led groups into the streets feeding the homeless, setting up services in Nursing homes for the elderly and working in the Prison system. Who was more following Our Lord’s example, the judge or the servant?


In considering validity I am also reminded of the Gospel of St. Matthew 3:9-10, where John the Baptist referring to the Pharisees says: ” Don’t just say, we’re safe we’re the descendants of Abraham. That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. Even now the axe of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”


The Reformed Catholic Church is well known for its real ministries and its acts of servitude. So it does not really matter what others may say and think about us, our validity is confirmed by our acts of service, visiting those in need at inopportune times, in the snow, rain or the middle of the night when others are unwilling to do so. Our Blessed Lord only gave one criteria to judge ministries validity: “By their fruits you shall know them.”


The Feast of Christ the King: Christus Rex

November 23, 2008


“That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those
that are in Heaven,
on earth and under the earth:
And that every tongue should confess that
the Lord Jesus Christ
is in the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:10-11
Christ Himself speaks of His Own kingly authority: in His last discourse, speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in His reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked Him publicly whether He were a king or not; after His resurrection, when giving to His Apostles the mission of teaching and Baptizing all nations, He took the opportunity to call Himself king, confirming the title publicly, and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given Him in Heaven and on earth. These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of his power, the infinite extent of His kingdom. What wonder, then, that He Whom St. John calls the “prince of the kings of the earth” appears in the Apostle’s vision of the future as He Who “hath on His garment and on His thigh written ‘King of kings and Lord of lords!’.” It is Christ Whom the Father “hath appointed heir of all things”; “for He must reign until at the end of the world He hath put all his enemies under the feet of God and the Father.”
It was surely right, then, in view of the common teaching of the sacred books, that the Catholic Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, destined to be spread among all men and all nations, should with every token of veneration salute her Author and Founder in her annual liturgy as King and Lord, and as King of Kings. And, in fact, she used these titles, giving expression with wonderful variety of language to one and the same concept, both in ancient psalmody and in the Sacramentaries.


Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Letter, QUAS PRIMAS #11-12

Collect of the Day:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Daily Readings:

The First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12,15-17
The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest–it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.
As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.
The Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.
The Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”
‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

Reading From a discourse of Origen on prayer
Thy kingdom come
The coming of the kingdom of God, says our Lord and Saviour, does not admit of observation, and there will be no-one to say “Look here! Look there!” For the kingdom of God is within us and in our hearts. And so it is beyond doubt that whoever prays for the coming of the kingdom of God within himself is praying rightly, praying for the kingdom to dawn in him, bear fruit and reach perfection. For God reigns in every saint, and every saint obeys God’s spiritual laws — God, who dwells in him just as he dwells in any well-ordered city. The Father is present in him and in his soul Christ reigns alongside the Father, as it is said: We will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Therefore, as we continue to move forward without ceasing, the kingdom of God within us will reach its perfection in us at that moment when the saying in the Apostle is fulfilled, that Christ, His enemies all made subject to Him, shall deliver the kingdom to God the Father that God may be All in All.
For this reason let us pray without ceasing, our souls filled by a desire made divine by the Word Himself. Let us pray to our Father in heaven: hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come.
There is something important that we need to understand about the kingdom of God: just as righteousness has no partnership with lawlessness, just as light has nothing in common with darkness and Christ has no agreement with Belial, so the kingdom of God and a kingdom of sin cannot co-exist.
So if we want God to reign within us, on no account may sin rule in our mortal body but let us mortify our earthly bodies and let us be made fruitful by the Spirit. Then we will be a spiritual garden of Eden for God to walk in. God will rule in us with Christ who will be seated in us on the right hand of God — God, the spiritual power that we pray to receive — until he makes his enemies (who are within us) into his footstool and pours out on us all authority, all power, all strength.
This can happen to any one of us and death, the last enemy may be destroyed, so that in us Christ says Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory? So let our corruptibility be clothed today with holiness and incorruption. With Death dead, let our mortality be cloaked in the Father’s immortality. With God ruling in us, let us be immersed in the blessings of regeneration and resurrection.

Citations on the Kingship of Christ from Scripture:

But I am appointed King by Him over Sion His holy mountain preachng His commandment. ——Ps 2:6
The Lord hath said to Me: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for Thy possession.——Ps 2:7-8
Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

——Ps 2:9 
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.

Lk 1:32-33
The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the Gospel. —–Mk 1:15
Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now My kingdom is not from hence.
 Pilate therefore said to Him: Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice. ——John 18:36-37
For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and He shall have dominion over the nations. ——Ps. 31:29
The Lord maketh the flood to dwell: and the Lord shall sit king for ever. ——Ps. 28:10
O clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of joy,
For the Lord is high, terrible: a great king over all the earth.  . . .
Sing praises to our God, sing ye: sing praises to our king, sing ye.
For God is the king of all the earth: sing ye wisely. ——Ps. 46:2, 3, 7, 8
For the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself, where she may lay her young ones:
Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. ——Ps. 83:4
Sing praise to the Lord on the harp, on the harp, and with the voice of a psalm:
with long trumpets, and sound of cornet.
Make a joyful noise before the Lord our king. ——Ps. 97:5, 6
I will extol thee, O God my king: and I will bless Thy name for ever; yea, for ever and ever. ——Ps. 144:1
Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him: and let the children of Sion be joyful in their king. ——Ps. 149:2

There is one most high Creator Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared,
Who sitteth upon His throne, and He is the God of dominion. ——Ecclus. 1:8
He that liveth for ever, created all things together. God only shall be justified,
and He remaineth an invincible king for ever. ——Ecclus. 18:1
I will give glory to thee, O Lord, O King, and I will praise thee, O God my Saviour. ——Ecclus. 51:1

And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name shall be one.
——Zach. 14:9

Cursed is the deceitful man that hath in his flock a male, and making a vow, offereth in sacrifice that which is feeble to the Lord: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and My name is dreadful among the Gentiles. ——Malach. 1:14

Now to the king of ages, immortal invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
——1 Tim.  1:17
I charge thee: . . . That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Which in His times He shall show Who is the Blessed and only Mighty the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
 —–1 Tim. 6:14, 15

O Lord God of our fathers, thou art God in Heaven, and rulest over all thl kingdoms and nations, in thy hand i strength and power, and no one can re sist thee. ——2 Paral. 20:6 [2 Chronicles]

Thou art Thyself my king and my God, Who commandest the saving of Jacob. ——Ps. 43:5
But God is our king before ages: He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth. ——Ps. 83:12

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king: He will save us. ——Is. 33:22
But the Lord is the true God: He is the living God, and the everlasting king. —–J er. 10:10
O Lord God, Creator of all things dreadful and strong, just and merciful Who alone art the good king.
 —–2 Mach. 10:24.

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda,
in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is He that is born king of the Jews? For we have seel His star in the east,
and are come to adore Him.
. . . But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet:
And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda:
for out of thee shall come forth the Captain that shall rule My people Israel. —–Matt. 2:1, 2, 5, 6

And on the next day a great multitude that was come to the festival day,
 when they had heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
Took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried:
Hosanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, the king of
Israel. And Jesus found a young ass, and sat upon it, as it is written:
Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy king cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt. —–John 12:12-15

Then therefore Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him.
And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon His head;
and they put on Him a purple garment.
And they came to Him, and said: Hail, king of the Jews; and they gave Him blows.
Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to them:
Behold, I bring Him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in Him.
(Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment.) And he saith to them: Behold
the Man. —–John 19:1-5

And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king.
But they cried out: Away with Him; away with Him; crucify Him.
Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar.
—–John 19:14, 15

And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the Cross. And the writing was:
 Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. —–John 1919

Thou art great, O Lord, for ever, and Thy kingdom is unto all ages. —–Tob. 13:1

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a sceptre of uprightness. —–Ps. 47:7
The Lord hath prepared His throne in Heaven: and His kingdom shall rule over all. —–Ps. 102:19
They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom: and shall tell of Thy power:
To make Thy might known to the sons of men: and the glory of the magnificence of Thy kingdom.
Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all ages: and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
 —–Ps. 144:11-13
The Lord shall reign for ever: thy God, O Sion, unto generation and generation. —–Ps. 145:10

Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom.—–Luke 12:32
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,
and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
And there shall come from the east and the west, and the north and the south;
and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. —–Luke 13:28, 29
So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand.
—–Luke 21:31

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God:
neither shall corruption possess incorruption. —–1 Cor. 15:50
For know you this, and understand that no fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols),
hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. —–Eph. 5:5

But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusa!em,
and to the company of many thousands of Angels,
And to the Church of the first-born, who are written in the heavens,
and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect. —–Heb. 12:22, 23
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great
thunders, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord our God the Almighty hath reigned. —–Apoc. 19:6

Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad: and let them say among the nations: The Lord hath reigned.
Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all things that are in them.
Then shall the trees of the wood give praise before the Lord:
because He is come to judge the earth. —–1 Paral. 16:31-33 [1 Chronicles]
And He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.  . . .
And all kings of the earth shall adore Him: all nations shall serve Him. —–Ps. 71:8, 11
For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.
His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will peform this. —–Is. 9:6, 7

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: the calf,
and the lion, and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them.
The calf and the bear shall feed: their young ones shall rest together:
 and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp:
and the weaned child shall thrust his hand into the den of the basilisk.
They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain,
for the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea. —–Is. 11:6-9
For He that made thee shall rule over thee, the Lord of hosts is His name: and thy Redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel, shall be called the God of all the earth. —–Is. 54:5
And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord,
and His name shall be one. —–Zach. 19:9
Thy kingdom come. —–Matt. 7:10
The kingdom of Heaven is like to a householder, who went out early in the morning
to hire laborers into his vineyard. —–Matt. 20:1

He said therefore: To what is the kingdom of God like, and whereunto shall I resemble it?
It is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden, and it grew,
and became a great tree, and the birds of the air lodged in the branches thereof.

And again He said: Whereunto shall I esteem the kingdom of God to be like?
It is like to eaven, which a woman I took and hid in three measures of meal,
until the whole was leavened. —–Luke 13:18-21

And the seventh Angel sounded the trumpet: and there were great voices
in Heaven, saying: The kingdom of this world is become our Lord’s and His
Christ’s, and He shall reign for ever and ever. Amen. —–Apoc. 11:15

All the glory of the King’s daughter is within in golden borders. —–Ps. 44:14

Another parable He spoke to them: The kingdom of Heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. —–Matt. 13:33

The kingdom of Heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field.
Which a man, having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and
selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. —–Matt. 13:44
And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come
He answered them, and said: The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say:
Behold here, or behold there. For lo, the kingdom of God is within you. —–Luke 17:20, 21 
God is a spirit; and they that adore Him, must adore Him in spirit and in truth. —–John 4:24 
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. —–Rom. 14:17

O Jesus King Most Wonderful: From the Raccolta

O Jesus, King most wonderful,
Thou Conqueror renowned!
Thou Sweetness most ineffable,
In Whom all joys are found!
When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine;
The earthly vanities depart;
Then kindles love Divine.
O Jesus, Light of all below!
Thou Fount of life and fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire!
May every heart confess Thy Name,
And ever Thee adore;
And seeking Thee, itself inflame
To seek Thee more and more.
Thee may our tongues forever bless;
Thee may we love alone;
And ever in our lives express
The image of Thine Own. Amen. 







The Feast of Saint Cecilia, Virgin, Martyr : 22 November 2008

November 22, 2008

St. Cecilia by Nicholas Markell

About the Saint:

Saint Cecilia was a martyr of the second century. She is thought to have converted her husband and his brother to Christianity, and they were martyred before her. Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of mucisians. The veneration of Saint Cecilia, in whose honour a bascilica was erected at Rome in the fifth century, has extended far and wide because of the Passion of Saint Cecilia, which presented her as a perfect example of Christian womanhood who preserved her virginity and suffered martyrdom for the love of Christ.

Collect of the Day:

Lord God, in your mercy listen to our prayers,                                                                                           which we offer you under the patronage of Saint Cecilia.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.

The Daily Readings:

The First Reading: Apocalypse 11:4-12
I, John, heard a voice saying: ‘These, my two witnesses, are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the world. Fire can come from their mouths and consume their enemies if anyone tries to harm them; and if anybody does try to harm them he will certainly be killed in this way. They are able to lock up the sky so that it does not rain as long as they are prophesying; they are able to turn water into blood and strike the whole world with any plague as often as they like. When they have completed their witnessing, the beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to make war on them and overcome them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the Great City known by the symbolic names Sodom and Egypt, in which their Lord was crucified. Men out of every people, race, language and nation will stare at their corpses, for three-and-a-half days, not letting them be buried, and the people of the world will be glad about it and celebrate the event by giving presents to each other, because these two prophets have been a plague to the people of the world.’
After the three-and-a-half days, God breathed life into them and they stood up, and everybody who saw it happen was terrified; then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here’, and while their enemies were watching, they went up to heaven in a cloud.

The Gospel: Luke 20:27-40
Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’
Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and if’ the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’
Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’ they said – because they would not dare to ask him any more questions.

Daily Reflection:

Today’s Gospel gives us an insight to how Jesus presented His message to those around Him. He talked to the people in their own language; He met them on common  ground; and that is precisely why ordinary people heard Him gladly. When Jesus debated with people He used arguments that the people He was debating with with could understand.

How many times are sermons or homilies so filled with theological terms that they become quite impossible for the non-theological minded of us to fully understand? As we learned above Jesus used language and ideas which people could easily understand. He met people with their own vocabulary, on their own grounds. If we learn to do the same we will become far better witnesses and ambassadors for Christ and His Gospel.






Wednesday 19 November 2008: Wednesday of week 33 of the Year

November 19, 2008


Collect of the Day:

Listen to our prayers, God our salvation: make us hold fast to the light and work for the truth.
 Just as you have made us children of light,
 so make us worthy to bear witness to you before all the world.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.

Daily Readings:

The First Reading: Apocalypse 4:1-11
In my vision, I, John, saw a door open in heaven and heard the same voice speaking to me, the voice like a trumpet, saying, ‘Come up here: I will show you what is to come in the future.’ With that, the Spirit possessed me and I saw a throne standing in heaven, and the One who was sitting on the throne, and the Person sitting there looked like a diamond and a ruby. There was a rainbow encircling the throne, and this looked like an emerald. Round the throne in a circle were twenty-four thrones, and on them I saw twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white robes with golden crowns on their heads. Flashes of lightning were coming from the throne, and the sound of peals of thunder, and in front of the throne there were seven flaming lamps burning, the seven Spirits of God. Between the throne and myself was a sea that seemed to be made of glass, like crystal. In the centre, grouped round the throne itself, were four animals with many eyes, in front and behind. The first animal was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third animal had a human face, and the fourth animal was like a flying eagle. Each of the four animals had six wings and had eyes all the way round as well as inside; and day and night they never stopped singing:
‘Holy, Holy, Holy
is the Lord God, the Almighty;
he was, he is and he is to come.’Every time the animals glorified and honoured and gave thanks to the One sitting on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders prostrated themselves before him to worship the One who lives for ever and ever, and threw down their crowns in front of the throne, saying, ‘You are our Lord and our God, you are worthy of glory and honour and power, because you made all the universe and it was only by your will that everything was made and exists.’
The Gospel: Luke 19:11-28
While the people were listening, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and they imagined that the kingdom of God was going to show itself then and there. Accordingly he said, ‘A man of noble birth went to a distant country to be appointed king and afterwards return. He summoned ten of his servants and gave them ten pounds. “Do business with these” he told them “until I get back.” But his compatriots detested him and sent a delegation to follow him with this message, “We do not want this man to be our king.”
Now on his return, having received his appointment as king, he sent for those servants to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made. The first came in and said, “Sir, your one pound has brought in ten.” “Well done, my good servant!” he replied “Since you have proved yourself faithful in a very small thing, you shall have the government of ten cities..” Then came the second and said, “Sir, your one pound has made five.” To this one also he said, “And you shall be in charge of five cities.” Next came the other and said, “Sir, here is your pound. I put it away safely in a piece of linen because I was afraid of you; for you are an exacting man: you pick up what you have not put down and reap what you have not sown.” “You wicked servant!” he said “Out of your own mouth I condemn you. So you knew I was an exacting man, picking up what I have not put down and reaping what I have not sown? Then why did you not put my money in the bank? On my return I could have drawn it out with interest.” And he said to those standing by, “Take the pound from him and give it to the man who has ten pounds.” And they said to him, “But, sir, he has ten pounds . . .” “I tell you, to everyone who has will be given more; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
“But as for my enemies who did not want me for their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence.”’
When he had said this he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

Daily Reflection:

Today’s parable concludes with one of the inexorable laws of life. To everyone who has will be given more; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. If we partake of a game or sport, if we go on practising at it, we will be able to play it with ever greater eficiency; if we do not, we will lose even the small ability that we have acquired. Again if we discipline our bodies they will grow fitter and stronger; if we do not they soon grow fat and flabby, and we lose even the strength we once had.

If we really strive after goodness, if we master this and that temptation, new heights of goodness are ever open to us; if we however give up the battle and take the easy way even the resistance power we once possessed will be lost and we will slip from even the little height to which we had attained. Christianity is not a spectator sport, there is no such thing as standing still in the Christian life. We either get more or lose what we had. We either advance to greater heights or slip back every day.


Closing Prayer:

Lord, support us as we pray to you, and keep us day and night under your protection.
 Guide us as we live in this world of change,
 and let your own unchangeability be a firm foundation for us.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.



Daily Reflection Tuesday 18 November 2008: Tuesday of week 33 of the Year

November 18, 2008

Niels Larsen Stevns- Zakæus.jpg

Collect of the Day:

Lord, look with favour on our prayers.
 Brighten the inmost places of our hearts with your love so that no dark desires can hide there:
 heal us with the light of your heavenly grace.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.

Daily Readings:

The First Reading: Apocalypse 3:1-6,14-22
I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: ‘Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, “Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know all about you: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead. Wake up; revive what little you have left: it is dying fast. So far I have failed to notice anything in the way you live that my God could possibly call perfect, and yet do you remember how eager you were. when you first heard the message? Hold on to that. Repent. If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, without telling you at what hour to expect me. There are a few in Sardis, it is true, who have kept their robes from being dirtied, and they are fit to come with me, dressed in white. Those who prove victorious will be dressed, like these, in white robes; I shall not blot their names out of the book of life, but acknowledge their names in the presence of my Father and his angels. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
‘Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, “Here is the message of the Amen, the faithful, the true witness, the ultimate source of God’s creation: I know all about you: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. You say to yourself, ‘I am rich, I have made a fortune, and have everything I want’, never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich, and white robes to clothe you and cover your shameful nakedness, and eye ointment to put on your eyes so that you are able to see. I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”’


The Gospel:

Luke 19:1-10
Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance; he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd; So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’

Daily Reflection:

In todays Gospel we have the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector. Tax collectors worked under the Roman government; and therefore, they were regarded as being rengades and traitors by other Jewish people in Biblical times. Theives, murderers and tax collectors were classed together, and they were barred from attending the Synagogue. Although Zacchaeus had reached the top of his profession, he was also  one of the most hated men in his district. He was wealthy, but he was not happy. Inevitably he would have been a lonely man, for he had chosen a vocation that had made him an outcast.

It intersesting to note that Jesus chose to identify with the person who was the social outcast, the person who was rejected by polite society, the one who was judged by his peers and found to be lacking. What this shows is that as we are told in Isaiah God is no respecter of a persons so called status in this life. Luke tells us at the end of this passage that Jesus came to save what was lost, and Zacchaeus was indeed lost. Though we must always be careful how we regard the meaning of the word LOST. In the New Testament it does not mean damned or doomed, it simply means in the wrong place. A thing is lost when it has gotten out of its rightful place and into a wrong one, when we find such a thing we return it to the palce it ought to occupy.

A person is lost when they are separted from God, either by wandering away or being chased away or being told that they are unworthy of the love of God. They are found when they once again  are restored to their rightful place as a beloved member in God’s family. We as Christians should strive to be masters at retrieving the lost, it is only then that we can truly call ourselves Church.












Daily Reflection 29 October 2008: Wednesday Week 30 of the Year

October 29, 2008

Collect of the Day:

Lord, send your light to shine in our hearts.
 May we always follow the path of your commandments
 and never stray from it.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.

The First reading Ephesians 6:1 – 9
Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord – that is your duty. The commandment that has a promise attached to it is: Honour your father and mother, and the promise is: and you will prosper and have a long life in the land. And parents, never drive your children to resentment but in bringing them up correct them and guide them as the Lord does.
Slaves, be obedient to the men who are called your masters in this world, with deep respect and sincere loyalty, as you are obedient to Christ: not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please men, but because you are slaves of Christ and wholeheartedly do the will of God. Work hard and willingly, but do it for the sake of the Lord and not for the sake of men. You can be sure that everyone, whether a slave or a free man, will be properly rewarded by the Lord for whatever work he has done well. And those of you who are employers, treat your slaves in the same spirit; do without threats, remembering that they and you have the same Master in heaven and he is not impressed by one person more than by another.

The Gospel Luke 13:22 – 30
Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.
‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men !”
‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

Daily Reflection:

Today’s Gospel holds some wonderful truths, many think that they can obtain a certainty of salvation because they belong to a group or denomination that is more pure than the rest, or are in some ways the sole guardians of the truth or the ‘Mysteries of God’. But with God things are never that simple. Here we find Jesus talking to his contemporary Jews, who at that time more or less thought that they had a mortage on God’s Kingdom. It must have astounded them to hear of Gentiles taking part in it all, while they themselves maybe excluded. In fact this would prove to be a double mortification to them, being excluded themselves and seeing the desiped Gentiles included. The reversal can be complete as the passage about the first and the last clearly demonstrate. God’s ways are not human ways.

What we must remember is that it is not important as to which group we identify with or belong, rather it is how we put into pracitce the core values that we learn from the Gospels. Always remembering that Christianity is shown by our actions and is not a matter of just intellectual ascent.



Closing Prayer:

Grant, O Lord, that my heart may neither desire nor seek anything but what is necessary for the fulfillment of Your Holy Will. May health or sickness, riches or poverty, honors or contempt, humiliations, leave my soul in that state of perfect detachment to which I desire to attain for Your greater honor and Your greater glory. +Amen.    –St. Ignatius Loyola


The Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles: Tuesday the 28th of October 2008

October 28, 2008

hp_St_Simon_Jude_06 by Photo Snapshots.

About the Saints:

Little is known of these two Apostles, whose names are always linked in the Gospel accounts, St. Simon was surnamed the Zealot for his rigid adherence to the Jewish law and to the Canaanite law. He was one of the original followers of Christ. Western tradition is that he preached in Egypt and then went to Persia with St. Jude, where both suffered martyrdom. Eastern tradition says Simon died peacefully at Edessa.

St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.

Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.

He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom along with St. Simon in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia.

St Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases. (The epithet is also commonly rendered as “patron saint of lost causes”.) However, there is another reckoning to this epithet. Many Christians have unfortunately reckoned him as Judas Iscariot and thus avoided veneration. Therefore he was also called the “Forgotten Saint”. Because veneration was avoided, only people in the most desperate circumstances would call upon him, and Jude, desiring to help, was willing to pray for even the most desperate or lost case. Therefore, goes the logic, Jude became the patron saint of lost causes.

Collect of the Day:

O God, by your will the blessed Apostles have led us to acknowledge your name.
By the intercession of Saint Simon and Saint Jude,
 grant that your Church may constantly grow
 as more and more nations come to believe in you.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.

The First reading Ephesians 2:19 – 22
You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.

The Gospel Luke 6:12 – 19
Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’: Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.
He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon who had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. People tormented by unclean spirits were also cured, and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all.

Daily Reflection:

Reading A commentary on the gospel of John by St Cyril of Alexandria
As the father sent me, so I am sending you


Our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed certain men to be guides and teachers of the world and stewards of his divine mysteries. Now he bids them to shine out like lamps and to cast out their light not only over the land of the Jews but over every country under the sun and over people scattered in all directions and settled in distant lands. That man has spoken truly who said: No one takes honour upon himself, except the one who is called by God, for it was our Lord Jesus Christ who called his own disciples before all others to a most glorious apostolate. These holy men became the pillar and mainstay of the truth, and Jesus said that he was sending them just as the Father had sent him.
By these words he is making clear the dignity of the apostolate and the incomparable glory of the power given to them, but he is also, it would seem, giving them a hint about the methods they are to adopt in their apostolic mission. For if Christ thought it necessary to send out his intimate disciples in this fashion, just as the Father had sent him, then surely it was necessary that they whose mission was to be patterned on that of Jesus should see exactly why the Father had sent the Son. And so Christ interpreted the character of his mission to us in a variety of ways. Once he said: I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance. And then at another time he said: I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. For God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by him just as he was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach they themselves should take to their ministry. From what he said they would gather that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealings never to do their own will but the will of him who sent them, and as far as possible to save the world by their teaching.
Surely it is in all these respects that we find his holy disciples striving to excel. To ascertain this is no great labour, a single reading of the Acts of the Apostles or of Saint Paul’s writings is enough.

Closing Prayer:

A Prayer to St. Jude

Most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies hath caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me, who am so miserable. Make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded to thee, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly — (Mention your request) and that I may praise God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise, O blessed Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen.

Fall Synod: A Reflection

October 20, 2008

From October the first to the fifth 2008 the Reformed Catholic Church held its Fall Synod in Columbus Ohio. It was a wonderous affair that truly was spiritually enlightening for those who made the effort to attend. An international affair there were clergy form Ireland, Africa and myself from Australia and all the clergy from across the United States. Synod was a busy time of learning and sharing, joy and pain and many wonderful opportunities for all to share in the Eucharistic Mysteries that lie at the heart of our Church.

Six new bishops (of which I was one) and one archbishop were consecrated and four men took up the challenge of the diaconate. But most of all what stood out for me and still does was watching the people of the RCC in action. Both the clergy and the laity moved with one heart and one voice, and at the core of this unity was and is ‘Servant Leadership’. This theme underscores all that the RCC does and is particularly apparent amongst its leadership, no airs and graces here rather a practical attitude of living the Gospel message and the willingness to take that message right where it is needed.

During my time in Columbus I saw archbishops, bishops, priests, religious and laity on the streets ministering to the poor, the sick, the hungry, the forgotten. In fact they would be embarrassed in me mentioning this fact for they seek no kudos for their work. But it is experiencing this practical side of ministry that heightens the whole experience of Synod and gives a true insight into the mission of the RCC worldwide. As Archbishop Zimmerman often says: “To really understand the RCC, one has to experience Synod”. And what an experience it proved to be, I invite all interested to come to the next Synod: For All are Welcome in this Place.


The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 8 September 2008

September 8, 2008

Our Lady of Prayers

Collect of the Day:

We ask you, Lord, to bestow upon your servants the gift of heavenly grace.
 When the Virgin gave birth it was the beginning of our salvation:
 may the celebration of her own birthday increase our peace.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
 who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 God for ever and ever.

From a discourse by Saint Andrew of Crete
The old has passed away: all things are made new
‘The fulfilment of the law is Christ himself, who does not so much lead us away from the letter as lift us up to its spirit. For the law’s consummation was this, that the very lawgiver accomplished his work and changed letter into spirit, summing everything up in himself and, though subject to the law, living by grace. He subordinated the law, yet harmoniously united grace with it, not confusing the distinctive characteristics of the one with the other, but effecting the transition in a way most fitting for God. He changed whatever was burdensome, servile and oppressive not what is light and liberating, so that we should be enslaved no longer under the elemental spirits of the world, as the Apostle says, nor held fast as bondservants under the letter of the law.
This is the highest, all-embracing benefit that Christ has bestowed on us. This is the revelation of the mystery, this is the emptying out of the divine nature, the union of God and man, and the deification of the manhood that was assumed. This radiant and manifest coming of God to men most certainly needed a joyful prelude to introduce the great gift of salvation to us. The present festival, the birth of the Mother of God, is the prelude, while the final act is the fore-ordained union of the Word with flesh. Today the Virgin is born, tended and formed and prepared for her role as Mother of God, who is the universal King of the ages.
Justly, then, do we celebrate this mystery since it signifies for us a double grace. We are led toward the truth, and we are led away from our condition of slavery to the letter of the law. How can this be? Darkness yields before the coming of the light, and grace exchanges legalism for freedom. But midway between the two stands today’s mystery, at the frontier where types and symbols give way to reality, and the old is replaced by the new. Therefore, let all creation sing and dance and unite to make worthy contribution to the celebration of this day. Let there be one common festival for saints in heaven and men on earth. Let everything, mundane things and those above, join in festive celebration. Today this created world is raised to the dignity of a holy place for him who made all things. The creature is newly prepared to be a divine dwelling place for the Creator.

Blessed Was the Day

 by King Alfonsus the Wise of Castile

Blessed was the day and welcome was the hour whereon God’s Virgin Mother wasw brought forth.

For of that birth Isaiah spoke and said in prophecy that a noble tree would spring out of the root of Jesse, and that this tree a bloom would bear on which the Holy Spirit of God himself would rest.

Blessed was the day and welcome was the hour whereon God’s Virgin Mother was brought forth.

Daily Reflection 3 September 2008: Saint Gregory the Great Pope and Doctor of the Church

September 3, 2008

About the Saint:

Born about 540, Gregory was Prefect of Rome when he renounced the world and entered a monastery about 575. He was ordained Deacon, and sent on a Papal Mission to Constantinople from 580-585. He became Pope in 590. It was the time of the barbarian attacks on Rome; he cared for the poor and refugees, made contact with the Barbarians, sent missionaries to England. His writings are extensive, particularly the commentaries on Scripture. His liturgies, collected in the Gregorian Sacramentary, have been influentual to our own era.

Collect of the Day:

Father, you guide your people with kindness and govern us with love. By the prayers of Saint Gregory give the spirit of wisdom to those you hvae called to lead your Church. May the growth of your people in  holiness be the eternal joy of our Shepherds.

We make our prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit ever one God world without end. Amen.

A Reading from the homilies of Pope St. Gregory the Great on the book of Ezekiel  Bk I,II,4-6

‘Son of man, I have appointed you as watchman to the house of Israel.’  Note that Ezekiel, whom the Lord sent to preach his word, is described as a watchman.  Now a watchman always takes up his position on the heights so that he can see from a distance whatever approaches.  Likewise whoever is appointed watchman to a people should live a life on the heights so that he can help them in taking a wide survey.

These words are hard to utter, for when I speak it is myself that I am reproaching.  I do not preach as I should nor does my life follow the principles I preach so inadequately.

I do not deny that I am guilty, for I see my torpor and my negligence.  Perhaps my very recognition of failure will win me pardon from a sympathetic judge.  When I lived in a monastic community I was able to keep my tongue from idle topics and to devote my mind almost continually to the discipline of prayer.  Since taking on my shoulders the burden of pastoral care, I have been unable to keep steadily recollected because my mind is distracted by many responsibilities.

I am forced to consider questions affecting churches and monasteries and often I must judge the lives and actions of individuals; at one moment I am forced to take part in certain civil affairs, next I must worry over the incursions of barbarians and fear the wolves who menace the flock entrusted to my care; now I must accept political responsibility in order to give support to those who preserve the rule of law; now I must bear patiently the villainies of brigands, and then I must confront them, yet in all charity.

My mind is sundered and torn to pieces by the many and serious things I have to think about.  When I try to concentrate and gather all my intellectual resources for preaching, how can I do justice to the sacred ministry of the word?  I am often compelled by the nature of my position to associate with men of the world and sometimes I relax the discipline of my speech.  If I preserved the rigorously inflexible mode of utterance that my conscience dictates, I know that the weaker sort of men would recoil from me and that I could never attract them to the goal I desire for them.  So I must frequently listen patiently to their aimless chatter.  Because I am weak myself I am drawn gradually into idle talk and I find myself saying the kind of thing that I didn’t even care to listen to before.  I enjoy lying back where I once was loath to stumble.

Who am I-what kind of watchman am I?  I do not stand on the pinnacle of achievement, I languish rather in the depths of my weakness.  And yet the creator and redeemer of mankind can give me, unworthy though I be, the grace to see life whole and power to speak effectively of it.  It is for love of him that I do not spare myself in preaching him.

Concluding Prayer:

God our Father, your rule of love, your providence is full of mercy for your people. Through the intercession of Saint Gregory grant the spirit of wisdom to those you have placed in authority, so that the spiritual growth of the people may bring eternal joy to the Pastors.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ Your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit ev er one God world without end. Amen.