You are currently browsing the daily archive for February 2, 2019.

February 2 and 3, 2019 is a rather busy weekend in the Church calendar.

Candlemas

Today, February 2, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, traditionally known as Candlemas, the day on which church candles are blessed. Some countries, especially France, serve crêpes and cidre on Candlemas.

Theologically, Candlemas is 40 days after Christmas and the date when Jewish ceremonies for mother and male child are performed. February 2 recalls two events: a) Jesus’s formal Presentation in the Temple and b) Mary’s return to the Temple after childbirth, which carried over into Christianity as a ceremony called the Churching of Women.

You can read more about Candlemas in the following post:

February 2 is Candlemas

The Gospel reading is Luke 2:22:40, which I wrote about at length in the following posts:

Jesus presented at the temple (Part 1)

Jesus presented at the temple (Part 2)

Candlemas: the prophetess Anna

St Blaise Day

February 3 is the feast day of St Blaise, traditionally when Catholics have their throats blessed by their priest during or after Mass. The priest crosses two beeswax candles and places them close to the congregant’s throat, reciting a blessing against an ailment of the throat. St Blaise was born in an ancient part of Armenia. That part of Armenia is now in Turkey. Blaise was also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers who was said to have performed many miracles. His last miracle, prior to martyrdom, was dislodging a fish bone from a child’s throat. The lad’s mother simply placed the choking boy at Blaise’s feet and the bone troubled him no more. You can read more about St Blaise in the following post. I promise you will not be bored:

St Blaise’s feast day and the blessing of throats

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

What follows are the readings for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, February 3, 2019.

These are for Year C in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

Emphases mine below.

First reading

The reading from Jeremiah is apposite, considering that three American states are looking at infanticide laws. New York State’s passed on January 22. Virginia’s failed in the state legislature this week, and Rhode Island will soon be considering a bill approving very late term abortion. California, incidentally, has had laws for several years that are very similar to New York’s.

Essentially, such late term abortions amount to infanticide.

One of the verses that caused me to change my mind about abortion is Jeremiah 1:5. God had a purpose for Jeremiah. Similarly, He has a purpose for each of us. What does He think about His developing humans who die in the womb — each one with a divine purpose? How will He judge those who abort and those who perform abortions, particularly those amounting to infanticide?

Jeremiah 1:4-10

1:4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,

1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

1:6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”

1:7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you,

1:8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”

1:9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth.

1:10 See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Psalm

David wrote this Psalm in his dotage. May we likewise share his praise of and trust in the Lord.

Psalm 71:1-6

71:1 In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.

71:2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.

71:3 Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

71:4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.

71:5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.

71:6 Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

Epistle

St Paul wrote of the essential nature of love in being a follower of Christ. This must be one of his most well-known letters. It reads much better in the King James Version:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Here is the Lectionary version, taken from the New Revised Standard Version:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

13:3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

13:4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant

13:5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

13:6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.

13:7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

13:8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

13:9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part;

13:10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.

13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.

13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13:13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Gospel

This reading is a continuation of last week’s, with Jesus preaching to the Nazarenes in their synagogue, wanting to cure their unbelief and warning them that God sometimes chose Gentiles to receive His favour, not His Chosen. His fellow townsmen were outraged. This is quite shocking.

Luke 4:21-30

4:21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

4:22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

4:23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'”

4:24 And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.

4:25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land;

4:26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.

4:27 There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

4:28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.

4:29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.

4:30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

There is a rich seam of material here for Sunday sermons from an excellent choice of readings.

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