From the Rector
Recent Messages from Our Rector
The holiest week in Western Christianity begins this Sunday with our celebration of Palm Sunday. Throughout the season of Lent we’ve learned the stories of Jesus making his way to Jerusalem. We recall this Palm Sunday his triumphal entry into the city as people shout “hosanna!” and make other gestures of adoration, only to be betrayed by one of his disciples. He is then stripped away from us on Maundy Thursday after demonstrating loving service and endowing the Church with his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. We then survey the wondrous cross on Good Friday. It is upon Golgotha’s Hill Jesus gives his life for the life of the world. Throughout his gruesome and horrific Passion and crucifixion, his mother, St. Mary, never leaves him. She is a faithful mother and servant to the bitter end.
On Easter, the third day, Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb and finds it empty. Weeping, a voice said to her, “woman, why are you crying?” She turned to realize it was our risen Lord! As he promised, he rose from the dead! Through Holy Baptism, we now share in his Passion, death and Resurrection. This means we are joint heirs of eternal life through Jesus Christ!
The stories and liturgies will be intense, but I pray they will be meaningful to us as we remember the great drama of our redemption. I wish you all a blessed Holy Week.
The Annunciation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
“Today’s feast commemorates how God made known to a young Jewish woman that she was to be the mother of his Son. The Annunciation has been a major theme in Christian art, in both East and West, and innumerable sermons and poems have been composed about it. The term coined by Cyril of Alexandria for the Blessed Virgin, Theotokos (“the God-bearer”), was affirmed by the General Council of Ephesus in 431.
Many theologians stress that Mary accepted her vocation with perfect conformity of will. Mary’s self-offering in response to God’s call has been compared to that of Abraham, the father of believers. Just as Abraham was called to be the father of the chosen people, and accepted his call, so Mary was called to be the mother of the faithful, the new Israel. She is God’s human agent in the mystery of the Incarnation. Her response to the angel, “Let it be to me according to your word,” is identical with the faith expressed in the prayer that Jesus taught: “Your will be done on earth as in heaven.”
[Our] salvation is only possible because of Mary’s free cooperation with God in that salvation. It has been said, “God made us without us, and redeemed us without us, but cannot save us without us.” Mary’s assent to God’s call opened the way for God to accomplish the salvation of the world. It is for this reason that all generations have called her “blessed.” ” (taken from Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018, p. 150)
Lessons and Psalm
The Feast of St. Joseph
Today, we remember the faithfulness of St. Joseph, carpenter, father, guardian, and man of faith.
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In the face of circumstances that distressed even a man of such tenderness and obedience to God as Joseph, he accepted the vocation of protecting Mary and being a father to Jesus. He is honored in Christian tradition for the nurturing care and protection he provided for the infant Jesus and his mother in taking them to Egypt to escape Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, and in rearing him as a faithful Jew at Nazareth. The Gospel according to Matthew pictures Joseph as a man of deep devotion, open to mystical experiences, and as a man of compassion, who accepted his God-given responsibility with gentleness and humility.
Joseph was a pious Jew, a descendant of David, and a carpenter by trade. As Joseph the Carpenter, he is considered the patron saint of the working man, one who not only worked with his hands, but taught his trade to Jesus. The little that is told of him is a testimony to the trust in God which values simple everyday duties, and gives an example of a loving husband and father. (Lesser Feasts & Fasts p. 192)
Lessons and Psalm