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Sunday 16 January 2022

Homily -- The Marriage Feast


EPHIPHANY II           January 16, 2022     

STM Toronto

 Mystagogy X

These weeks after Christmas present us with a season of “epiphanies” or revelations. The liturgy is showing us who Jesus is and what He has revealed about our relationship with God.


Last week and the week before, the imagery was royal — Jesus is the newborn king of the Jews who makes us coheirs of Israel’s promise, beloved children of God. Last week in the liturgy we went to his baptism.


This week we’re at the Wedding in Cana and Jesus’ first miracle.


We’re being shown another dimension of our relationship with God. We are sons and daughters of God married into the family of faith.  

The Bible begins and ends with a wedding—Adam and Eve in the garden and the marriage supper of the Lamb (Gen. 2:23–24;  Rev. 19:9; 21:9; 22:17).  Monogamous marriage between one man and one woman is, of course, the most embattled of human institutions today after being established for millennia as an essential part of society . . . 


Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the covenant relationship God desires with His chosen people. God is the groom, humanity is the bride. We see this reflected beautifully in today’s First Reading.


When Israel breaks the covenant, she is compared to an unfaithful spouse (Jer. 2:20–36; 3:1–13). But God promises to take her back, to “espouse” her to Himself forever in an everlasting covenant (Hosea 2:18–22).


That’s why Jesus performs His first public “sign” at a wedding feast on the “Third Day.”  Third meaning the day of fulness, completion or finality.


Jesus is the divine bridegroom (John 3:29), calling us to the royal wedding feast (Mat 22:1–14). By His New Covenant, He will become “one flesh” with all humanity in the Church (Eph 5:21–33). By our baptism, each of us has been betrothed to Christ as a bride to her husband (2 Cor 11:2).


The new wine that Jesus pours out at this feast is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to His bride as today’s Epistle says. This is the “salvation” announced to the “families of nations” by the Psalmist.


Isaiah 62:1–5            Psalm 96:1–3, 7–10 1          Corinthians 12:4–11             John 2:1–12

Monday 10 January 2022



January 9, 2022                      STM Toronto


In this season of the Epiphany of Christ we glimpse with the Magi or Wise Men the mystery of God’s plan.  In Jesus all peoples have been made “co-heirs” to the blessings promised to Israel by virtue of Baptism into the life of Christ.  


Jesus humbles Himself to pass through the waters of the River Jordan leading a new “exodus”— opening up the promised land of God’s Kingdom so that all peoples can hear the words pronounced over Jesus, words once reserved only for Israel and its king.  


Through Baptism each of us becomes a beloved son or daughter of God (Gen. 22:2; Ex. 4:22). But our adoption as co-heirs with Jesus has implications for our actions and our behaviour.  We are called to and we must use our gifts and talents for the sake of the Kingdom of Christ . . .  serving our community of faith – our parish – at the altar, at the door greeting people, as an altar server and on the street using our time and our tithes. Today, Joseph DeCaria our administrator will outline some of the areas of need that we have here at STM.


Jesus is the chosen servant that Isaiah prophesies in today’s 1st Reading. He is anointed with the Holy Spirit to make things right and just. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus as “a covenant of the people,” the liberator of captives, the light to the nations. The 2nd Reading today tells us that Jesus is the One long expected in Israel, “anointed . . . with the Holy Spirit and with power.”


We are each and all called to share in this anointed mission by serving all those whom God calls into the Kingdom.  We do so by offering our gifts at the foot of the Christ Child as the Magi did.   


The word messiah means the one anointed with God’s Spirit. King David was “the anointed of the God of Jacob” (2 Sam. 23:1–17; Ps 18:51; 132:10, 17). The prophets taught Israel to await a royal offshoot of David, upon whom the Spirit would rest (Isaiah 11:1–2; Daniel 9:25).


The crowds are anxious at the start of today’s Gospel. But it isn’t John they’re looking for. God’ voice confirms what the angel earlier told Blessed Mary: Jesus is the Son of the Most High, come to claim the throne of David forever (Luke 1:32–33).


In the Baptism of Christ the voice of God hovers over the waters like a fiery flame. He has sanctified the waters, made them a passageway to healing —a fountain of new birth and everlasting life for us and for all those we serve.


Readings for Baptism of the Lord:

Isaiah 42:1–4, 6–7                               

Psalm 29:1–4, 9–10                            

Acts 10:34–38                      

Luke 3:15–16, 21–22

Tuesday 4 January 2022


The following is a response to an article by Dr. Ephraim Radner in FIRST THINGS - JANUARY 2022 -- THE BACK PAGE


In his meditation on climate, culture, language and catechesis, Ephraim Radner offers an insightful look at the directions open to society in this century. He concludes with a clarion call for catechesis in the Church, a call to which many will sound a great Amen.


There are two points to add to Dr. Radner’s pastoral call for biblical focus.  The first is in response to his lament: “The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) was suffused with a penitential spirit. It is no longer so.”


This is true. Myriad additions, subtractions and “woke” amendments to Anglican orders of service around the globe cover everything from Evensong to LGBTQ (add your letter) inclusivity rites and transgender “affirmations”. What is left of the BCP in the Anglican Communion (I use the term loosely) is a mess of potage, detritus on a sea of change blown by every wind of doctrine.


Fortunately, under the aegis of Pope Benedict’s farsighted Dogmatic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus (AC), there is a safe harbour for English (Anglican/Episcopalian) liturgy and patrimony.  The recently published English breviary for the Ordinariates: Divine Worship: Daily Office (CTS, 2021) is mandated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) for English-speaking clergy and people worldwide.  This book is a rich compilation of Anglican daily offices and other rites shaped in conformity with universal Catholic liturgical principles and approved by the CDF.


The Breviary retains the poetic English of the BCP tradition while offering all seven of the daily offices for religious communities and individuals. The breviary serves as a text and work book for grounded and ongoing catechesis.


This English form of The Liturgy of the Hours joins the previously published Divine Worship: The Missal (CTS, 2015) and Divine Worship: Occasional Services (CTS, 2014). These traditional texts provide contours for the second element we may add to Dr. Radner’s appeal – mystagogy, the learning through liturgy. Mercifully, these English prayer books have a home now in the Universal Church. 

Sunday 2 January 2022


Mary, Mother of God 

Jan. 1,  2022 STM, TORONTO


The Apostles together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, formed the Church, an indissoluble group surrounding the human life of Jesus. 

Mary’s fiat, her “yes” to God, is the foundation, the undergirding and the sustaining the Church which emanates from Jesus Christ, her Son. The Church finds her personal centre in Mary. Her faith response to the Divine Bridegroom complements the masculine principle and together they bear the fruit of Christ’s love for the world. 


Knowing that all people are envisaged in God's plan, the Church can humbly know herself as the chosen representative of mankind before God in faith, prayer, and sacrifice, in hope for all, and, still more, in love for all.


The highest priority of the Church belongs to our readiness to serve the divine love. Our “Yes” that has no other purpose.  Yet, this response to God appears senseless in a world caught up in what is thought to be urgent, reasonable and individualistic. This is a society in thrall to the dictatorship of relativism, the plague of self-referential gender fluidity and the mania for unlimited choice. Society slouches towards Sodom.   


St. Thomas Aquinas, in discussing Mary's fiat, saw that it was necessary to show the spiritual marriage between the Son of God and human nature.  Mary's "yes" stands for all God's people; making it possible for every person to pronounce their own personal fiat – Yes to God’s love.


Mary’s Immaculate Conception locates her personal existence between Heaven and human life in its fallen state. This is because her Immaculate Conception has freed her from any influence of sin. 

Yet, Blessed Mary lived her human existence in this fallen world of sin. Her personal life is situated at the passageway between the Old Covenant of Law and Sin and the New Covenant of Grace and Spirit.


Blessed Mary stands in direct continuity with the generations who descend from Abraham. As Virgin Mother, who became pregnant by her consent to the overshadowing Spirit; she signifies a new beginning. 


Finally, her existence lies in the tension between time and eternity. Although she herself has regained Paradise in her Assumption, as Mother of all the living she gives birth to the Messiah in the birth-pangs of the Cross." 


Mary's dramatic role emerges both from her centre – as Jesus’ Mother – the Mother of God — and from the whole range of her being, which embraces fallen and redeemed humanity. Her role is universal.


Two thousand years of Christian tradition bear witness to the abiding presence of the Mother of God at the heart and centre of the Church.    

Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us now, and at the hour of our death.