St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Church Service Times

You are invited to join us for Anglican Catholic Holy Communion / Mass on:
Every Sunday, Maitland NSW Australia. Venue: St Marys School Chapel in Victoria St. Mass at 11am.
Fr Matthew Kirby for further details.
Check here for any additions or cancelations of services.

Friday 31 October 2014

This Weekend at St Hilda's

What's happening At St Hilda's Parish in Maitland?
All Saints Mass will be at 10:30am on Saturday 1st November.
Our usual Mass will be at 11:00am Sunday 2nd November.
All Souls Mass will be held at 6:00pm Monday 3rd November.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

An Invitation To Dine with Jesus

Sermon Summary for Trinity XVII 2014
(Gospel from Luke 14) as presented by Father Matthew Kirby

And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the chief seat; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest seat. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest seat; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

"Sit not down in the chief seat" 

This is not new teaching, even in it's wording.
Compare it to: "Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen." Proverbs 25:6-7.

Yet Jesus does not refer
to the passage in the Old Testament here, unlike He has in other situations. It seems strange, especially when the point seems, at first glance, to be that you should pretend to be less, expecting to be treated as more. Is Jesus suggesting we practice false humility? What are we missing by interpreting it this way?

It's a wedding feast in the parable!
Unlike the feast he was at, unlike the context of Proverbs. Symbol of God's Kingdom in other parables. Christ is the true host. The chief seats may stand for those in authority (compare 24 elders in Revelation) or those of greater sanctity (the humble exalted are the virtuous exalted).
Thus, for the church, this means that men don't choose a vocation to Orders, they are called and chosen. Since none of them are actually worthy to be clergy, they must all first see themselves as faithful laity, accepting the gracious invitation to the wedding feast, the Eucharist. (Note that in the traditional Mass the priest says three times "Lord, I am not worthy ..." by himself before the people do it. Very appropriate that he should be singled out like this first, as a reminder!) And then, if it is God's will they are invited to take up pastoral duties. The Church has learnt: beware the man desperate to be a priest or bishop.

Regarding the other application of this parable, we should not see our progressive sanctification as the search to be special.
We seek God for His own sake, and let God be the judge of how far we have come.
A reminder that Anglican Catholic Mass / Holy Communion will be held in Taree
on Sunday 26th October 2014. Please contact Fr Matthew to confirm time and venue .

Sunday 19 October 2014

Sermon Summary For Trinity XVI 2014

O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live. Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.  Isaiah 38:16-20 (KJV)

"you have cast all my sins behind your back"
This, looked at in context, shows an ignorance of resurrection. There was a belief of a shadowy existence in Sheol after death only.

Some form of continuation after death was acknowledged:
So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.” Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.” “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” 1 Samuel 28:8-15.

Much was unknown.
Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” Ecclesiastes 3:21.
Therefore, King Hezekiah gives thanks for cured sickness and continuation of earthly life, not knowing of any blessing after death. Is his prayer therefore simply mistaken, based on false premises? Yes and no. It has been included for a reason as a poetic prayer of a good king. One can be right unintentionally in God's Providence, even prophetically so.
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, (John 11:51).

Sensus plenior (fuller meaning):
God does not abandon his people to death and Sheol, but redeems them from these, though they must walk the way of the Cross and pass through the gateway of death first. And what is the foundation of this redemption? The forgiveness of sins. Note the imagery for this forgiveness: our sins cast behind God's back by Him. In other places, Scripture says God remembers them no more. Metaphor, but the reality is unfathomable. God really treats sins as irrelevancies fit to be tossed aside upon forgiveness. Invisible to Him, as it were. Not forgotten, wilfully ignored. If we truly repent, He doesn't care anymore.
This is the great deliverance, the most powerful healing, that is connected to the final wholeness and restoration of resurrection. There may still be times of discipline and pain, and the requirement to reconcile with those we have sinned against, even after forgiveness. But none of that changes the enormity of it. If we are in a state of grace, we have freedom from the heavy burden of guilt, the knowledge that God sees us as cleansed and sacred to Him, and so we must see ourselves.
If we would be better Christians, let us first take completely seriously our forgiveness, our justification. This will encourage us, motivate us to thanksgiving in word and deed, and make sin more abhorrent to us. For once we set its evil against God's mercy at the Cross, we will not want to be so heartless as to take deliberate advantage of that gift, and treat it with contempt.
If we do knowingly fall into serious sin, let this thought bring us back to God with sorrow out of offending against his love, a sorrow that returns that love, and returns to that love. That is what theologians call perfect contrition, or just contrition instead of attrition, which is repentance from fear or something similar. Then, let us be willing to resort to sacramental, specific confession for the certifying declaration and sealing of God's glorious forgiveness. 

Wednesday 15 October 2014

St Bartholomew

Sermon Summary from St Bartholomew's Day, some weeks ago.

"Behold an Israelite in whom is no guile" +

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. (John 1:43-51 KJV)

A saint known by two names.
Bartholomew is a patronymic (a name based on male ancestry), meaning "Son of Tolmal".
The other name he is known by is Nathaniel meaning "Gift of god".
Are you using your gifts to build God's kingdom as the Apostle did?

In the Gospel of according to John, Nathanael is introduced as a friend of Philip. He is described as initially being skeptical about the Messiah coming from Nazareth but nonetheless follows Philip's invitation. Jesus immediately appraises him as  a man in whom there is no deception.

"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"
People forming Prejudice based on a place of origin is common. And it is true that places and cultures do have identifiable characteristics and tendencies that can be bad. Nazareth had a bad reputation which it may well have deserved, and was not mentioned on prophecy as being a source of the great. But prejudice is pre-judging before the facts are known. Judging an individual negatively based solely on where they come from is unjust and unreasonable. If Nathaniel had been content to rest in his prejudice, imagine what he would have missed! But he did not.

"Come and see."
The expression "come and see" is used more than once in this chapter. If we shine the light of Christ, we will be able to make the same kind of invitation into our friendships, homes and
churches, and thus bring people to faith. Similarly, people can be invited to meet Christ in the Gospels by reading them, to see for themselves who He is. But living contact at the personal level is very important.

"Behold, an Israelite in whom is no guile!"
The Apostle may have spoken unjustly, but our Lord respects his honesty. He's a "straightshooter". And, when he realises his mistake, as Jesus shows his miraculous knowledge, he immediately turns completely around and makes a great statement of faith. Would that all human beings were so quick to change opinions based on evidence, to move from unbelief to belief based on the evident truth of God's power and wisdom.

" ... the angels of God ascending and descending on the son of Man ..."
This is a reference to Jacob's ladder, a vision of the patriarch in Genesis. When the vision is over he calls the place he is in the gate of Heaven. Jesus is revealing that he is the gate of Heaven, the doorway to Divinity, the Way or path. Interestingly, Christians were first called those of "the Way".

Use your gifts for the good of the people of God. Be open to people as individuals, wherever they hail from. Be a straightshooter, but also honest enough to change when the truth demands it. And let us all walk-the-walk as well as talk-the-talk so that the invitation "Come and see" will mean something, so that those around us will encounter Christ, and through Him know the Father.

Christian tradition has three stories about Bartholomew's death: "One speaks of his being kidnapped, beaten unconscious, and cast into the sea to drown. Another account states that he was crucified upside down, and another says that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albac or Albanopolis", near Ba┼čkale, Turkey.

The account of Bartholomew being skinned alive is the most represented in works of art, and consequently Bartholomew is often shown with a large knife, holding his own skin, or both.

The image at the beginning of this blog entry is a 14 feet high sculpture of St Bartholomew by Pierre Legros, from 1712.

This painting of St Bartholomew (on the left) is part of the "Last Judgment", from the fresco by the Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo done between 1536 and 1541.  Created on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, it depicts the Second Coming of Christ and the final and eternal judgment by God of all humanity, where the souls of humans rise and descend to their fates, as judged by Christ surrounded by prominent saints including Bartholomew.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Link - reminder of the sacred signs

This weekend coming (first weekend of October) is a long weekend so stay safe on the roads if you are travelling...

Remember that this Sunday, 5th October, will also see "daylight savings" start and the clocks will be turned FORWARD one hour as of 2am.

Anglican Catholic Mass / Holy Communion will be held at 11am, at St Marys Chapel of the All Saints College in Victoria Street Maitland. Join us for prayer and worship.

LINK: Sacred signs and active participation at Mass.
The link above is an informative article by Rev, Cassian Folsom.