Homilies

HOMILY FOR EASTER 4 GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY, April 26, 2015

      “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away–and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.” This is one of the most famous and beloved passages in the New Testament, and yet the moment you accept a metaphor for the church, such as shepherd and sheep, questions start to arise, and we have to realize that we can only push an analogy so far before it starts to distort and disintegrate – that it was intended to make a point in a particular time and place – and also, that images and symbols change meaning over time and in new cultures. I can look back at sermons I preached in rural Saskatchewan and realize that examples, images and analogies I used there and then were fairly specific to that context and might not be very useful or comprehensible in a sophisticated urban environment like St John’s Port Moody. Let’s be clear that the Gospel writer John is not just talking about 1st Century agricultural practices — he is making a point about the life of the early Christian community, in which the flock is a metaphor of the church, wolves represent threatening persons, ideas or influences, and the hired hands are leaders who are failing in their duties. The Good Shepherd is obviously the risen Christ, who still presides over the flock. The downside of the Sheep and Shepherd analogy is that, in real life, sheep are rather witless and passive animals, and always serve in a vastly inferior capacity to the shepherd. They are there to be used and exploited, because they are ultimately commodities....

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Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter – April 19, 2015

http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/20150419hm.mp3 Living God, risen Christ, open our minds that we may understand the scriptures and hear your holy Word; open our hearts that we may receive the love which makes us children of the divine; breathe your peace into us that we may be comforted by your Spirit and filled with your holy wisdom.


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HOMILY FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 12, 2015

http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/041915hm.mp3 “We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” So said the apostle John in the first century A.D.


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HOMILY FOR EASTER DAY 2015

  http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/EasterHomily.mp3   I want to make a rather startling assertion this morning. If you want to see what the Resurrection looks like, look in the mirror. And look at the person next to you. You are the Resurrection! We are the Resurrection! As Christians, we follow the One who said to his disciples things like “You are the light of the world,” and “You will go on to do greater things than I have done.” Jesus in all things was paying it forward, investing trust and life in the little community that would bear his name. The Cross was his ultimate way of investing his life in the future of humanity, but the Resurrection was happening all the way along as the life of Jesus was transmitted from the Master to his followers. Jesus simply brought people to life – that was what he was about from Day One. Paul says “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” This is a proclamation of reality of the Resurrection. Pentecost consolidated the fact that this life is in us. The life of Christ is you – we are the living Christ. St Teresa gave expression to this same reality by saying “Christ has no body but yours.” Not only that – on a weekly basis the faithful seek to renew that real presence within themselves as they incorporate the body and blood of Christ by participating in the spiritual practice of the Eucharist. St Paul said that the Church, the community of the faithful, was the Body of Christ, that “we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his;” and “that if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” To me there has been no more compelling and inspiring meditation...

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HOMILY FOR GOOD FRIDAY 2015

  Stabat Mater The Beatles had a song called I Saw Her Standing There and it describes a sudden awareness and the transformation that accompanied it. This year as I contemplated the Crucifixion, I “saw her standing there” – in this case, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. The ancient Latin term Stabat Mater literally means “mother standing there” or “mother staying put” and for me the image of Mary at the Cross stood out and got my attention and touched my heart in a powerful way. The ancient hymn Stabat Mater (which we just sang) is a meditation on the suffering of Mary during Christ’s crucifixion. The Stabat Mater theme is so compelling it has been set to music by numerous famous composers. This mother who refuses to move, who remains present, is most compelling indeed. There were different responses to Jesus’ arrest and execution. Most of his followers – the ones who had professed their absolute loyalty – the ones who said they loved him – all ran away. Judas took the money and ran out. Peter, despite his promises, when faced with the possibility of being pulled in to Christ’s suffering, literally denied who he was. Another disciple was so scared, the Gospel of Mark describes him as literally running out of his own clothes to get away. Others not only abandoned Jesus in the moment, but left Jerusalem and started back to where they came from. I have seen people react this way so many times in the face of suffering and death that it no longer surprises or even frustrates me. Most of us will do anything to avoid being singled out or facing mortality, whether that of others or our own. So we avoid, we deny, we run away. But some stayed, some remained present...

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HOMILY FOR PALM/PASSION SUNDAY MARCH 29, 2015

http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/GrantPalmily.mp3 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Return to the Lord thy God.” That solemn and haunting chant, from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, is a traditional Lenten reminder and summons to turn toward the true Source of life, by reconnecting with our spiritual story. On a yearly basis, Lent brings us back to some uncomfortable places and urges us to examine and consider our lives – to strip them down – to let go of some of the excesses and extravagances for a time, so we can see once again who we really are, and re-align ourselves with the Creator and our true purpose in life.


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HOMILY FOR LENT 5, MARCH 22, 2015

ON PRAYER NUMBER 5 IN THE LENTEN SERMON SERIES ON BENEDICTINE SPIRITUALITY http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/20150322homily.mp3 Peter Kreeft said, “I guarantee you that after you die you will not say, ‘I spent too much time praying; I wish I had watched more TV instead’” (in Prayer for Beginners). In our world, everything comes before God. In the world as Benedict ordered it, God comes before everything. In Benedict’s view of the world, prayer is essential and foundational. Benedictine monks prayed together and they prayed on their own – seven times a day together and for hours on their own — and God was the priority in every other aspect of their lives as well. As the life of the world around them went to hell in a handcart, you might say, life in the monasteries flourished and evolved, so they became a great inspiration and influence – a rare but important source of light during the so-called “Dark Ages.”


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Homily for March 15th, 2015 – The Rev. Anne Anchor

http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/AnneHomily.mp3 In the reading from Ephesians we heard “For you were dead through the trespasses and sin which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient” In John’s gospel we heard “Those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.


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HOMILY – THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, FEBRUARY 22, 2015

INTRODUCING THE WAY OF ST BENEDICT LENTEN PREACHING SERIES http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/VestryHomily2015.mp3 Our reference book for the series is Esther De Waal’s Seeking God: The Way of St Benedict Gracious and holy God, please give us: intellect to understand you; reason to discern you; diligence to seek you; wisdom to find you; a spirit to know you; a heart to meditate upon you; ears to hear you; eyes to see you; a tongue to proclaim you; a way of life pleasing to you; patience to wait for you; and perseverance to look for you. Grant us your holy presence, … a blessed resurrection, and life everlasting.


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Homily for Transfiguration, February 15, 2015

  In Celebration of Black History (African Heritage) Month   http://www.stja.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/TrxSunday.mp3 Today, in addition to celebrating the Transfiguration, we celebrate Black History (or African Heritage) Month as an expression of the need for people of African descent to celebrate and explore their own history, and not from a white European point of view.


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