Showing posts from May, 2011

The Sixth Sunday of Easter - 29 May 2011

The Sixth Sunday of Easter, 29 May 2011 Acts 17:22-31 Psalm 66:7-18 I Peter 3:13-22 St. John 14:15-21                                                                                         BACKGROUND: The Missionary Journeys of Paul The first reading for Sunday tells of an incident during Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (49-52) and his sermon in Athens.   These journeys, there were three of them, lasted from 46 through 58, and comprise the most active features of Paul’s life.   They were fundamental in pointing the early church away from a Palestinian existence and into a robust Imperial world, where the faith of the apostles would be buffeted about by the lively theological talk of the empire.   The push is up into Asia Minor, then Greece, and finally Rome.   The work, however, is really concentrated in Asia Minor and Greece, and it is from this new base that nascent Christianity is to form around its new gentile members.   In a way, Paul, exhibits what had been going on in t

The Fifth Sunday of Easter - 22 May 2011

The Fifth Sunday of Easter, 22 May 2011 Acts 7:55-60 Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 I Peter 2:2-10 St. John 14:1-14                                                                                         BACKGROUND: The Diaconate One of the notable changes in church life in the last century was the revival of the diaconate as a permanent vocation.   In the past, candidates for the priesthood were first ordained to the transitional diaconate, and then ordained to the priesthood.   Although that still obtains, there are those now who are called to the permanent diaconate, who do not pursue priestly ordination after their ordination as deacons.   This role, as deacon, has ancient roots (see Acts 6, and Stephen, below) where seven men were charged with the task of serving charitable cases in the early church.   The permanent diaconate was not abandoned in the Eastern Church as it was in the West, where it became a step in the ordination to the priesthood.   Deacons, in the Anglican communion r

The Fourth Sunday of Easter - 15 May 2011

The Fourth Sunday of Easter, 15 May 2011 The Fourth Sunday of Easter Acts 2:42-47 Psalm 23 I Peter 2:19-25 St. John 10:1-10                                                                                         BACKGROUND: The Sundays of Easter Although we are in the midst of Eastertide, it is not too late to talk about the Great Fifty Days that stretch from Easter Day to the Ascension of our Lord and finally to Pentecost (Fiftieth).   The starting point (Pesach) and the ending point (Pentecost) are both based on Jewish festivals.   The Sundays are “of Easter” rather than “after Easter” as the old calendar named them.   Being “of Easter” threads them into a week of Sundays, expanding the Feast of a single day, or an Octave of eight days, but rather in an entire season of celebration.   Some of the Sundays have over-whelming themes that come from the readings for the day.   The Second Sunday of Easter is known in some places as “Thomas Sunday” noting his place in the