Monday, July 26, 2021

Saint James, the Apostle - 25 July 2021


 My Friends,

Matthew 20:20-28

“Celebrities” can make money from books in which they reveal secrets of their own lives and the lives of others. If the secrets revealed are those of politicians or members of the royal family then the book is likely to bring in very substantial sums indeed.

What would have happened if our technology and information systems had been around two thousand years ago. Would James, one of the “inner circle” of Jesus’ followers, have been approached by a publisher to record memories of life with Jesus? Would a newspaper have paid for the exclusive rights to serialise the book? Who would have made attempts to stop publication through fear of what it might reveal?

Perhaps James would have jumped at the chance to have his stories about Jesus published throughout the world and to use the money for charitable work. We’ll never know, of course, but what we can perhaps guess from the Gospel writing we do have, is that the central character on every page in the book would have been Jesus, not the author. All the other people and events would have been described in terms of their relationship with Jesus and what he said and did.

Might this have been one chapter of James’ book?

“How could we ask Jesus to give us special places in his kingdom? He’d already spoken often enough about the first being last and the last being first. He’d shown us that the people who aren’t respected in our society matter to God. He treated children, women, lepers and gentiles as equals and he was always reaching out to people even when he was exhausted.

I think John and I were still captured by the vision we saw on the mountaintop when Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah. We glimpsed God’s glory in a way we never had before and Jesus was at the centre of it. We were the only ones there except for Peter and I suppose it gave us the idea that we were special to Jesus.

Jesus soon put us right, though. He asked if we were prepared to experience what he would have to experience and when we said we were he told us that even so he could not guarantee us any place in his Kingdom, that was for God his Father to decide.

I don’t know if at that time I could have said I’d be prepared to suffer as Jesus did if I’d known what that meant: his terrible sadness at that last meal we had together; his anguish, almost despair, in Gethsemane and the pain of harrowing torture and death.. I still fear that I may have to face death as he did.

The lesson he gave us that day wasn’t new but it was the lesson we all found the hardest to learn. Jesus is raised from the dead. He is the Christ yet whenever I picture him, he’s with people, healing, teaching, encouraging, always giving of himself, never demanding. If God’s Messiah lived like that what can I do but follow his example? It’s not easy though, never easy – life in the Kingdom of God is a free gift but it costs everything.”

James and the others have to be taught over and over again the lesson of humility, of putting others first and not wanting to be the centre of attention or rewarded with honour and glory.

It’s a lesson that we, too, need to be taught again whenever we’re tempted to do things in the hope of gaining thanks, rewards or power over other people.

It’s a lesson the church needs to be taught again whenever she is tempted to exercise authority over others or to be arrogant in her moral teaching which she declares to be the only truth.

It’s a lesson we all need to learn if we are to offer service to others in the humility and love of Christ.

There is a world of pain and suffering, oppression and injustice around us and we are called to serve the victims, the outcasts, the persecuted and the rejected not so that we’ll gain favour with God but simply because that is what Jesus would do and it is what God is doing through those who offer themselves for service in love and obedience.

God calls us to be different in a world that values power, riches and fame – are we able to respond to that calling even if it means drinking the cup that Jesus drank?

Fr Ed Bakker

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Seventh Sunday after Trinity - 18 June 2021


 My Friends,

Readings: Romans 6: 19-23 and Mark 8:1-9

        Jesus asked his disciples, "How many loaves do you have?" "Seven," they replied. Then he directed the crowd to take their places on the ground. Taking the seven loaves, he gave thanks, broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute. And they handed them out to the crowd.   

    Our Church uses the story of the multiplication of the loaves about four different times in the course of the Church Year. Obviously, it's a favorite with her. This morning what you are hearing from Mark's Gospel is what the Scripture scholars call a doublet. A doublet sounds like something that comes from poetry, but here the meaning is different. A doublet in Scripture is a repetition of something that was used elsewhere.

    And that is exactly what has happened here in Mark's Gospel. We have the story of the feeding of four thousand with seven loaves of bread two chapters after we read about the five thousand with five loaves and two fish. Scholars tell us it is the same story. A few of the details have been changed, but the essence of the story is the same. That's what they mean by calling this story a doublet. Sometimes people hear that and say, "Well, weren't there two times that Jesus fed the people in the wilderness?" "Probably not," say most contemporary Scripture scholars.

    What happened is this: Before there was a written Gospel, the Church had an oral tradition. After all, Jesus told his disciples, "Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature." He didn't say, "Go into the whole world and write down a Gospel and make books and hand them out." He told the to preach the Gospel. So they did the preaching. Communication being what it was - or what it was not - in those days, oral traditions grew. And what we have in today's Gospel are two different oral traditions, two different versions of the preaching put into one Gospel.

    Mark incorporated much of the preaching that St. Peter was doing. When he wrote his Gospel, he would write it down as he heard it. Now there were two traditions. What should he do with them? Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he put them both into his Gospel, but they are one and the same incident. They vary in some little details though. Those little details are very interesting to look at and to ponder. Perhaps these are the reasons why the oral traditions diverged a little bit.

    Notice that the miracle couldn't happen unless there was some bread available. Consider this: There were all these people - four thousand - out there in the wilderness. They've been with Jesus, following him around, for about three days. Whatever food they had brought out there with them was pretty well gone. There were no shops nearby to restore their larders. They were getting pretty hungry. Jesus said, "I have compassion on the multitudes. I can't send them away". His disciples said, "Well, what can you do about that?" Jesus and the disciples huddled together, and Jesus said, How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven. But how are you going to feed all these people with seven loaves?" That wasn't the point. He asked the question, "How many loaves do you have? You give me what you've got and I'll work a miracle."

    That's the point of the story. "You give me what you've got and I can transform it. I can change it. I can make it grow. I can make it beautiful." And that's what he did. From the seven loaves handed over to him, he fed four thousand.

    Throughout Scripture, we read of event after event where God takes a little bit and creates an abundance. I think one of the most wonderful stories in all of the Old Testament is the story of Abraham and Sarah. If you remember the story in the book of Genesis, God sent his angel to talk to Abraham about being the father of a great nation. "Your descendants will be as numerous as the sand on the seashore and the stars in the sky. You're going to have a son within the year." Do you know what Abraham's reaction was? He fell down laughing. He was ninety years old. This is the funniest thing he had ever heard! "I'm going to be a father at the age of ninety. And you should see Sarah. This is ridiculous." He fell to the ground laughing. Meanwhile, Sarah is in the tent, eavesdropping. She hears the promise: "I'm going to be a mother; I'm ninety years old. This is absolutely hilarious." She was laughing uncontrollably. God said, "I can do it." In a year's time, they had their son, Isaac. The promise was kept.

    What did Abraham and Sarah have, besides a sense of humor? They did have faith. Ultimately, they believed the word of God. God could take that little bit of faith of these two old folks and a child is born; the beginning of the nation of Israel, from which would come the Messiah. Later on, Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son. After all he went through, God asks for Isaac in sacrifice. This time Abraham thought, "All right, even my own child is not as important as my faith in my God." As he was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac, God stayed his hand. God takes a little bit and creates a whole nation.

    In the New Testament, we have another example of God taking something very little and making a lot. The angel Gabriel appeared to a young girl named Mary and asked her to be the mother of God. Think about that! Now, Mary could have said, "Well, I don't know. You see, I'm engaged to Joseph and we're going to be married shortly. I'm honored. I'm pleased. Thanks, but no thanks. I don't really want to do that." No, in her generosity, she would say, "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. Be it done to me according to thy word." She surrendered completely to God. In doing so, in giving the little bit that she had, she became the mother of God, the mother of the Redeemer, the woman who is blessed among women. God can take a little bit and make so much out of it.

    I believe that that's really the message of this multiplication of the loaves in today's Gospel. Think about yourself and what God asks of you. What is it that is most precious to you? Your family? Your spouse? Your children? Your job? Your health? Your money? Your possessions and property? What is the most precious thing that you have? God wants it. I am here this morning to tell you that God wants it. You are to surrender it to him.

    The most precious thing that you and I have is our will: our ability to say "yes!" to God. A small thing. Yet you hand your will over to God and you are blessed a hundredfold. You and I know that's true. You and I also know that it's very difficult to do. But is not this the very essence of our religion? Think about what religion is. Going to church on Sunday - a good thing to do. But it's not the essence of religion. Keeping the commandments. Excellent. Don't kill anybody. Don't do all those other bad things. Is that the essence of religion? No. I know some very ethical pagans. How about praying daily. That is something exemplary, something that we all must do. Is that the essence of religion? No. Are all of those things together the essence of religion? No.

    What is it then? The surrender of our wills to God. That is the very essence of our religion. This is what Jesus came into the world to do, to give us an example. "Not as I will it, Father, but as you will it." The same prayer is ours. "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." The surrender of our wills is at the very core of who we are, of our religion, of our faith. As we surrender ourselves to God, he can take that little bit and he can bless it and multiply it. In the fulfillment of God's will, we can see real growth, experience real joy. That is the essence of true religion.

    Surely, God can work a miracle with seven loaves of bread. But if that fellow didn't show up with those seven loaves of bread or decided, "I'm not going to give away these loaves of bread. I'm going to hang onto them", four thousand people wouldn't have been fed. But that person gave up that little bit for the sake of a miracle.

    It's the same with you and me. What is most precious to us, we surrender to our God. This morning as we offer the Eucharist, this is what we offer - ourselves. Our bodies, our souls, our minds, our wills - everything that we have - we surrender to our God. We ask our God to multiply his blessings upon us. We know that he will continue to work his miracle in us if we but surrender to him.  

Fr Ed Bakker

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Sixth Sunday after Trinity

 

My Friends,

Readings: Romans 6: 3-11 and Matthew 5: 20-26

    Jesus said to His disciples, "I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of God."  

    My friends, these words are from our Gospel reading this morning. They are taken from St. Matthew's Gospel and are a part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. By way of introduction to what Jesus would teach us this morning, we should be aware of this very important fact: Matthew wrote his Gospel for Jewish converts, for people who had come over to Christianity from Judaism and, therefore, were people who were familiar with the practices and the laws of the Old Testament. Because of this, Matthew has Jesus teaching the people on a mountainside.

    Did you ever wonder why Jesus went up on a mountain to teach His disciples? It wasn't only that He would have a natural amphitheater so they could hear better. There was something more, something symbolic about it. Remember it was God who gave the law to the people of Israel on Mount Sinai. Moses went up on the mountain and received the tablets of the law from God. And now it is Jesus the Lord, the new lawgiver, who is giving the new law from the mount.

    What is it that He is teaching? Something so simple, that it is easily misunderstood or even taken for granted. There is a difference, Jesus is saying, between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. He begins by saying, "it was said to you in ancient days, thou shalt not kill. But I say to you. . ." Then He goes on to talk about anger toward one's brother. There is a great deal of difference between going down the street with a submachine gun and murdering people and the spirit of the law that involves our dealings with one another. You and I are not prone to the kind of violence that would be murder. We will not kill. But we shouldn't feel that we are quite good and quite justified simply because we are keeping literally and narrowly the Ten Commandments. So we haven't killed anybody this week. We haven't stolen. We haven't robbed any banks. We have not committed adultery. Wonderful. That's great. That is the letter of the law.

    But Jesus is saying that in the new kingdom that He comes to establish, there is to be much more than a narrow attitude toward the law. "Unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of God." The scribes and pharisees kept the law literally; no more, no less. Jesus is saying, "there's more to it than that; much more than that." So, He talks about attitudes that you and I might have whereby we offend God and commit sin, not necessarily through an act, but even by the thought and the desire to act. That of itself can and should be seen as sinful. ". . .What I say to you is everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to the judgment. Any man who uses abusive language toward his brother shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin and he who holds him in contempt, he risks the fires of Gehenna."

     I like what we just read in the Gospel reading from the King James version: "Anyone who says to his brother 'raca' will be liable to the Sanhedrin." What's 'raca'? Have you called anybody 'raca' lately? What does it mean? In ancient Hebrew it means 'you blockhead'. That's the best translation that I can come up with. "You're a blockhead!" Jesus was saying, "That kind of an attitude is beyond 'thou shalt not kill, but it is also something that should not be a part of a Christian's life."

    And, "You fool!" Well, we're quite capable of calling people foolish. But there is a very narrow meaning for the word 'fool' in the Scriptures. A fool is an unbeliever. As the Psalmist says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God."' (Ps.53:l) If you, a Jew, are calling someone an unbeliever, that's about the worst thing that you can say about him. You're really trashing him.

    Jesus is saying, "You trash him with those words, and, in turn, you can end up as trash." That's the whole meaning of 'risking the fires of Gehenna'. Gehenna is a valley on the southeast corner of the city of Jerusalem. The valley was the city dump. And down in that city dump, they threw all of their trash. Like most city dumps, it was smoldering all the time, burning. It was the trash heap. And Jesus is saying, "This is not the way that a Christian will behave toward another Christian in this new kingdom according to this new law."

    There is quite a difference, isn't there, between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Yet, throughout Scripture we can see that distinction made over and over again. St. John, in one of his letters, writes that if you speak ill of your neighbour you're guilty of murder (1Jn 3:15). That's strong language. But it is true. If you speak ill of your neighbour, something is involved and it's simply this: You and I have a right to a good reputation. If you slander an individual's good name, that is not only a sin against charity; it's a sin against justice because you slander that person's right to his good name.

    You and I are quite prone to excusing ourselves and the sins we commit. We do this almost offhandedly. We say, "Well, that is my temperament. That's the way I am. I can excuse my faults and my flaws because I've always been that way." What we do is wink at our own faults and then we condemn them in others. Remember that Gospel reading of a couple of weeks ago about a man who had a beam in his eye and he was going to take a we are to live according to the spirit of the law. According to the spirit of that law, we do not excuse ourselves, but rather acknowledge the fact that we can and do sin. That we can and do sin several times a day.

    What Jesus says we should not do to our brother are all things that are done with that one little part of us that can get us into so much trouble: our tongues. Our tongues are the source of more sin than any other part of our selves. We can really get into trouble with what we say. I learned a long time ago in my marriage that if I didn't say some things to my wife, I didn't have to retract them later. It was a good thing to learn! St. James, in his letter, writes very strongly about this power of ours, this tongue of ours:

    "All of us fall short in many respects. If a person is without fault in speech, he is a man in the fullest sense because he can control his entire body. When we put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide the rest of their bodies. It is the same with ships, however large they are and despite the fact they are driven by fierce winds, they are directed by very small rudders on whatever course the steerman's impulse may select. The tongue is something like that. It is a small member, yet it makes great pretensions. See how tiny the spark is that sets a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is such a flame. It exists among our members as whole universe of malice. The tongue defiles the entire body. Its flames encircle our course from birth and its fire is kindled by hell" (James 3:2-6).

    Jesus our Lord would agree with that and that really is a commentary on the Gospel this morning. "If you say these things about your brother," Jesus is saying, "you are not living according to the spirit of the law that involves "thou shalt not kill.'" It's easy for us to live according to the letter; but according to the spirit? That's a different thing.

    Each of us needs to examine ourselves regularly, particularly about the power this tongue of ours has. We should try, to the best of our ability, to do no evil with that tongue; that we would set no forest aflame; that we would not be guilty of any injustice because we have injured the reputation, the good name of another.

    Today as we offer this Eucharist and we offer ourselves, souls and bodies, to God our Father, through and with Christ, let us remember that one part of our body, that is, our tongue. Let us offer our tongues to God, that they will be used only in praise of him.  


Fr Ed Bakker

Monday, July 5, 2021

The Fifth Sunday after Trinity - 4 June 2021


 My Friends, 


Reading: Saint Luke 5.1

“Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing;

nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net”

 

It is a wonderful and yet a most challenging Gospel story. It illustrates at once the emptiness and the futility of our lives and the fullness and the purpose of our lives. It suggests something about what it actually might mean to be “all of one mind”, as the Epistle puts it, showing us just what it means to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.” It has altogether to do with our attitude and relation to Jesus and to his Word. “At thy word I will let down the net”, Simon Peter says, even in the face of the empty toil and fruitless labour of the night.

 

Our lives are empty and futile in themselves. This is a hard, but necessary and humbling lesson, yet it is the counter to our folly and our pretension. Only “at thy word” can we “let down the net” and discover what ‘fulfillment and purpose’ might mean for us in our lives. It is altogether about our being with Christ. And what is our attitude to finding ourselves in the presence of God revealed in Jesus Christ? It is what Simon Peter says, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

 

This must trouble us. Why does he say this? Why doesn’t he rejoice in the sudden abundance of a rich catch of fish, the nets breaking with the fullness of the unexpected harvest? Because of a deep and profound spiritual insight, an insight which belongs to biblical wisdom. Simon Peter is aware of a power that is more than natural and more than human. He realizes the presence of God in Jesus Christ. He gives expression to the deep biblical insight of the distance between God and man, the distance between God’s righteousness and truth and the unrighteousness and folly of human lives. The language is that of knowing oneself to be a sinner and therefore not presuming to stand on equal ground with God. It is the attitude of an humble yet philosophic piety. It is to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.” You are in the presence of the Holy.

 

The Gospel story suggests that the real purpose of our lives and our lives as being fulfilled, to use the psychological language of our day, is about our being with Christ and acting in obedience to his word. “At thy word” is a phrase which echoes the response of Mary to the Angel, “be it unto me according to thy word” which is the condition for the richness and the wonder of the Word made flesh, the Incarnation of Christ.  We can have no fullness apart from Jesus. “Apart from me, ye can do nothing”, he says. We can only enter into the will and purpose of God in the order of creation, redemption and sanctification. Our lives, in other words, find their purpose and meaning in his word.

 

It is the hardest thing for our age to accept. The secular culture, which is itself a true product of Christianity, has forgotten its spiritual origins in its hostility to God and in its own emptiness, the culture of nihilism and atheism, because it has yet to rediscover the truth of God out of the vanity of itself. “We have toiled all the night” and to what end? Is there anything substantial and eternal and absolute that can be said about our lives? What does it mean to put images, for instance, of eighteen–wheelers or fishing–rods or knitting-needles on modern day tombstones where there were once texts from Scripture and the Cross of Christ? There is the tragic irony of giving attention to the particular elements of our own lives at the expense of the particularity and the uniqueness of Christ, the God made man, who alone gives meaning to such things in our lives, who alone redeems them and us, who alone sanctifies our lives when we hold ourselves accountable to his sacred truth. We find the real meaning of our lives in the story of God written out for us in the life and death of Christ.

 

Our work and our play have their truth, to be sure, but only when they are brought into the company of Christ, only when our lives are seen as having an end with God. Then they are meaningful and fulfilling. We are all called, in one way or another, to “catch men” for God by being witnesses to the truth of Christ, by forsaking all the idols of our lives and by following him; in short, by the quality of our life in Christ.

 

In the Gospel, “letting down the nets” is not about material prosperity. It is about our obedience and commitment to Christ in his Word. Without that we are nothing and nothing worth. Right now, in the Anglican Communion worldwide, there is a real struggle about being attentive and faithful to God’s Word Written. There is the suggestion that the Scriptures are merely culturally determined and must be culturally interpreted and that the interpretative principles are governed by our social context and experience. Against the clear categories of creation with respect to our humanity as male and female, we are meant to embrace new categories as having equal weight and meaning, terms such as homosexual and heterosexual, for instance, which at best are “social constructs” and are fraught with no end of ambiguity and uncertainty in the secular culture itself.

 

But to pretend that such terms are the categories of creation or the categories of nature is the greatest folly, at once a betrayal of revelation and a betrayal of reason. The psychologising of sexuality has disengaged human sexuality from the categories of creation, redemption and sanctification, and the categories, too, of natural reason, the categories in and through which we discover our truth and our untruth, the truth of ourselves as sinners and the truth of ourselves as the children of God, the truth of ourselves in the dignity of our humanity.

 

The casualty in all of this is ourselves in our approach and understanding of Scripture and in our life with Christ. If the context is all-determining, then there is no word and no meaning to human activity. It remains a barren emptiness, the futile toil of the night.  Only in our commitment to thinking the Word, can we begin to discover the purpose and end of our lives, our true fulfillment in Christ and in obedience to his living word. For, in spite of the empty terror of our lives and even the troubles of our experiences, “at thy word I will let down the net”, holding ourselves accountable to Christ and his Word, sanctifying Christ as Lord in our hearts.

 

“Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing;

nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net”

Fr Ed Bakker

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Fourth Sunday after Trinity - 27 June 2021


 Friends in Christ,

“In thy light we shall see light.” (Psalm 36.6)

How frightening to our condition is today’s Gospel.  “Judge not,” Jesus commands.  Every statement we make is a judgement and every free act involves choice, which is judgement by another name.  Yet Jesus rightly forbids our judging, for we lack the necessary clarity of vision.  We are like the blind leading the blind or like a man with distorted sight who tries to correct the vision of his brother.  

A moment’s reflection on this deepens the despair.  Our disorder is so complete that we have good reason to fear our virtues as much as our vices; indeed they are profoundly connected.  Our vices are often the extensions and complements of our virtues.  The virtue of frankness runs on to become the viciousness of a gossiping, indiscreet and cruel tongue.  The man who is at home open handed, liberal, and generous demands harsh meanness of the government.  The steady conservative upon whom we rely to guard our treasure cannot discriminate between the precious and rubbish.  Reformers, so necessary to counterbalance these, throw out the baby with the bath water.  The obedient follow Hitler as easily as God.  The careful are mean, and the modest, cold.  The well-intentioned are busybodies and meddlers.  Liberators become dictators.  There is none good, no not one.  Jesus justly cries ‘Woe unto you hypocrites for ye are like unto whitened sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23.27)  We understand ourselves no better than we know our neighbours; we are better acquainted with our outward loveliness than with our inner rot.  

So, when we beg God to cleanse us of sins which are secret, we speak of the disorder hidden from our own sight by the fact that our vision is bound up with our personality, with our very identity.  And yet our whole salvation depends upon clarity: “This is the judgement,” Jesus declares, “that light is come into the world, but men chose darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” (John 3.19)  We are caught in a horrifying vicious circle.  We cannot do the right and good because we choose darkness instead of light, and the blindness which prefers darkness is seeking to cover its evil deeds.  “If the light which is in you be darkness how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6.23)  

Today’s Gospel leaves us self-condemned, blind, endlessly falling and without any power of ourselves to help ourselves, but Paul’s epistle offers hope in our despair and light in our darkness.  Vanity, empty pride, self-love and self-deceit are not the end of the story.  

For the creation was not made subject to vanity of its own will but in accordance with the will of him who made it subject in hope.  (Romans 8.20)
God did not allow us to fall into this dreadful condition in order to destroy us, but so, in saving us, to unite us to himself.  God allows us our own way in order to adopt us as free children.  Our self-destructive freedom is the means to the glorious liberty of the children of God, the splendid inheritance of the saints in light.  We must experience the vanity of our purposes and the weakness of our power so that we are willing to be redeemed soul and body, to be made a new creation.  We must love that by which we are transformed.  We groan, oppressed and weighed down by our sins, but this is not sullen, silent suffering.  These groans are impatient waiting, full of expectation and hope.  God breaks into the closed circle of our self-deceit.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome.  Outside ourselves we find a light by which we can see ourselves.  The light shines in our hearts to give knowledge.  By his light, and none other, knowledge is increased.  
In this way we love and choose rightly, not because we first loved God, but because he loved us and gave himself for us.  The love is no more our own than the light was our own.  It is not just a matter of pooling our collective ignorance as if that would awake the spark of light.  We are all caught up in the great cosmic motion by which we are being carried out of ourselves.  This and this alone is our hope.  On this account I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed.  These groans of the whole creation are a desire to pass through temporal things so as to gain eternal things.  

To bring about this change, which is far beyond our natural expectation and capacity, God must be our ruler and guide.  For in Christ, God is not just a light to show us the way, God is the way into himself as the end of our journey.  Jesus is the way which is both light and life: not only a light shining out of heaven, but also a life into which we can enter to carry us over.  And so he is the life-giving food of man wayfaring.  Here and now in this blessed sacrament he transforms the earthly bread we offer to make it his glorious body, the bread of angels, the food of heaven.  And therefore, earnestly hopeful and eagerly expectant, we offer to God the sacrifice which is his due and give to Father, Son, and Spirit, all praise, honour, glory and dominion, now and ever.  Amen.


Father Ed Bakker