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From the Rector

Recent Messages from Our Rector

 

Saint Mark the Evangelist

April 25th

A disciple of Jesus, named Mark, appears in several places in the New Testament. If all references to Mark can be accepted as referring to the same person, we learn that he was the son of a woman who owned a house in Jerusalem. Church tradition suggests that Mark may have been the young man who fled naked when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul refers to “Mark the cousin of Barnabas,” who was with him in his imprisonment. Mark set out with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but he turned back for reasons which failed to satisfy Paul (Acts 15:36– 40). When another journey was planned, Paul refused to have Mark with him. Instead, Mark went with Barnabas to Cyprus. The breach between Paul and Mark was later healed, and Mark became one of Paul’s companions in Rome, as well as a close friend of Peter’s.

An early tradition recorded by Papias, Bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor at the beginning of the second century, names Mark as the author of the Gospel bearing his name, drawing his information from the teachings of Peter. In his First Letter, Peter refers to “my son Mark,” which shows a close relationship between the two men (1 Peter 5:13).

The Church of Alexandria in Egypt claimed Mark as its first bishop and most illustrious martyr, and the great Church of St. Mark in Venice commemorates the disciple who progressed from turning back while on a missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas to proclaiming in his Gospel Jesus of Nazareth as Son of God, and bearing witness to that faith in his later life as friend and companion to the apostles Peter and Paul. (Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018, pp. 202-203)

Collect for St. Mark

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 


Palm Sunday

April 10

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

March 25th


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

Isaiah 7:10–14

Psalm 15

Hebrews 10:5–10

Luke 1:26–38


The Feast of St. Joseph

March 19

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

2 Samuel 7:4–17

Psalm 89:1–8

Romans 4:13–18

Luke 2:41–52