Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekday Masses


The Anglican Chuches of Toronto offer many opportunities to attend a celebration of the Holy Eucharist on weekdays. Not all parishes offer a daily mass, but their parishioners who work downtown might want to take advantage of these celebrations. It is somewhat surprising that (as far as I know) no list of these services is available.
This list has been compiled from the websites of the various Parishes. Completely reliable information is only available from the parishes themselves, at the numbers listed below. With one exception, the services listed are only celebrations of the Eucharist: you should enquire about daily morning and evening prayer,. Several other city churches have a celebration one day in the week, but I have yet not gathered enough information from the diocesan site to make a helpful list of these.
I would be grateful for any further information, additions or corrections.
Some Churches have additional celebrations on the more important feasts

The Churches listed:
Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of St James, Church Street at King St., East. 416-364-7865
Holy Trinity: Holy Trinity, Trinity Square: 10 Trinity Sq., Toronto, ON M5G 1B1; 416-598-4521
Redeemer: Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON M5S 1M4; 416-922-4948
SMM: The Church of St Mary Magdalene, 477 Manning Avenue, Toronto, ON M6G 2V8; 416-531-7955
St Thomas: St Thomas’ Church, 383 Huron Street, Toronto ON; 416-979-2323
Trinity : Trinity College Chapel: 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto; 416-978-3288 (Chaplain)

Cathedral : 7.30 a.m & 12.30 noon [only at 12.30 on statutory holidays]
SMM : 6.00 p.m.
St Thomas : 5.30 pm
Trinity : 5.15 pm
Cathedral : 7.30 a.m & 12.30 noon
SMM : 7.15 a.m.
St Thomas : 12.15 pm
Trinity : 5.15 pm
Cathedral : 7.30 a.m & 12.30 noon
Holy Trinity : 12.15 noon
Redeemer : 12.15 noon
SMM : 10.00 a.m.
St Thomas : 7.30 am
Trinity : 8.15 am
[Note: 5:15 pm Choral Evensong sung by the chapel choir]
Cathedral 7.30 a.m & 12.30 noon
SMM : 7.15 a.m. & 10.00 a.m. (Italian)
St Thomas : 12.15 pm
Trinity : 8.15 am
Cathedral : 7.30 a.m & 12.30 noon
Redeemer : 12.15 noon
SMM : 6.00 p.m.
St Thomas : 5.30 pm
Trinity : 8.15 am
Cathedral : 12.30 noon
SMM : 10.00 a.m
St Thomas : 10.00 am

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lectionary Notes and More

The Week of Quadragesima: Lent I
Sunday, 21 February AD 2010

It’s Friday morning, the third day of Lent, and near the end of a very busy week. There were pancakes on Tuesday, two celebrations of the Ash Wednesday rite, Stations of the Cross and the first session of a Lenten Study yesterday evening. There eas also the preparation of the study, and there’s still a sermon to get ready for Sunday (even though there’s also Vestry)! So in providing some reflections on this week’s readings, I find that I must fall back on other resources —at least more obviously than I usually do. Nonetheless, I trust that these comments will be of some assistance. As always, the notes at the RCL site are helpful.
Anglican Resources for Anglicans
When we come to the Gospel reading, I will direct you to some sermons from the past which I have found very helpful. This reminds me to mention a very valuable Anglican resource you may not have met yet It is Project Canterbury, “a free online archive of out-of-print Anglican texts and related modern documents,” which may be found at
Another useful site is The Anglican Library. “The aim of the Anglican Library is to publish new HTML editions of Christian literature from the Anglican tradition and other works that have traditionally been of interest to Anglicans. In addition, we hope to serve as a guide to Anglican literature located elsewhere on the internet.”
The Readings
Deuteronomy 26.1-11
In Year C the first reading is the passage from Deuteronomy which gives directions for the ofering of firstfruits in thanksgiving in the promised Land. In the Roman Missal, a shorter section is read from this chapter; it is only verses 4-10, the declaration to be made when the offering is handed over to the priest. This declaration centres on God’s mighty act of salvation in the Exodus. A note in the New St Joseph Daily Missal reminds that the Exodus had “a meaning similar to what the death and resurrection of Jesus means to us as Christians. Both are might acts of God resulting in liberation. Both inspire a Confession of Faith in which these mighty acts are recited.” At the beginning of Lent this reading makes us look forward to the Christian Passover which is the goal of the season and all its disciplines.
Psalm 91.1-2, 9-16
This psalm is classed as a psalm of trust ending with an oracle of salvation (vv. 14-16); the promse of glory and length of days in the final oracle points to the kings as being its recipient. Verses 10-11 are quoted by the devil in today’s Gospel reading. The art of quotation, it has been said, is knowing when to stop. It is interesting to note that in Luke 4.11, the devil stops quoting this psalm at v. 12, omitting the next verse which promise that with the help of angels the faithful will trample on wild beasts, in which, as the NJBC puts it, “the psalm moves from God’s protecting his faithful one to his equipping him to battle evil (cf.Ps 18)”.
The Epistle: Romans 10.8b-13
The notes in the St Joseph Missal identify this reading as containing a Baptismal confession (v.9), thereby linking it to the confession in the first reading.
The Comments in the New Oxford Annotated Bible and in the NJBC are helpful, placing this passage in the wider section, Romans 9.30-10.13, in which St Paul is explaining that “true righteousness is by faith”, which is in turn part of his argument that the new way of righteousness in Christ Jesus does not contradict God’s promises of old to Israel (9.1-11.36). Thus the Gentiles who come to confess that Jesus is Lord are called by the same Lord who called Israel to be his people (10.12).
The Holy Gospel: Luke 4.1-11
Every year on the first Sunday in Lent the Gospel readings tell us of the Temptation of our Lord in the Wilderness, because it is on his forty days’ fast that Lent is modelled. Perhaps you will forgive me for sending you to some works which I have found to be better reflections on this Sunday’s Gospel reading than anything I can think up.. For years my first reading about the Temptation has been in sermons of two great Anglican preachers of the seventeenth century.
John Cosin (1594-1672), Bishop of Durham, and one of the architects of the Restoration of the Church in 1660, preached two sermons on our Lord’s Temptations. When and where he preached them is not recorded, but it seems likely that it was at his parish of Brancepath in Yorkshire, perhaps soon before 1630. They may be found on line at
One reason I think Cosin’s two sermons were for his parish is that they are clearly based on a series of seven sermons on the Temptations by Lancelot Andrewes, and are very compressed and simplified versions of them. Andrewes' sermons may be found in his collected Works, volume 5, and are on line at

Don’t forget to check the collection of patristic commentaries in the Catena Aurea at

Now it's Friday noon, and that’s all there is for this week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Week of the beginning of Lent, 2010, Part Two


This Sunday has been the occasion of some confusion over the past few years. The first edition of the Canadian BAS included the Common Lectionary of 1983 [for further information on Consultation on Common Texts, which produced the lectionary, see]. After this the Canadian House of Bishops directed that the CCT’s Revised Common Lectionary (1992) be used instead. A new printing of the BAS followed this directive (this is reflected on the title page, which now runs, The Book of Alternative Services … with the Revised Common Lectionary.
The earlier printing provided for “The Last Sunday after the Epiphany”, but did not provide proper prayers or readings for it. The newer printing of the BAS does provide proper prayers and readings: the fact that it is tucked in at the end of the Sunday Propers (p, 397) suggests that this was an afterthought. In the Revised Common Lectionary this Sunday is known as “The Last Sunday after the Epiphany: Transfiguration Sunday”; the term Transfiguration Sunday is not found in the Canadian book.
Some people have asked whether this Sunday is meant to replace the traditional feast of the Transfiguration on 6 August. It would seem not, for both our Calendar and that of the Roman Church both provide fot the feast of the Transfiguration and for the Transfiguration Gospels to be read on a Sunday near the beginning of Lent. The Roman Catholic Church reads these Gospels on the Second Sunday in Lent instead of the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. The BAS also allows this as an option (see p. 288). Altogether it seems to me that the Transfiguration readings are provided for Last after Epiphany or Lent II out of a desire to keep our readings in step with the wider church (though one has to decide in this case which group to keep in step with), but NOT to replace the feast on 6 August.
The feast of the Transfiguration, by the way, is not particularly ancient. It was celebrated on various days in different places from about the tenth century until 1456, when Pope Callixtus II made it a feast of the whole Western Church in honour of Hunyady’s victory over the Turks at Belgrade on 6 August of that year. In all the Books of Common Prayer down to 1662 the Transfiguration was not a Red-letter day, and had no propers. The Proposed English Revision of 1927 restored it as a Red-letter day with propers prayers and readings. It is a Red-letter day in Canada 1962 and in the BAS, but there is no suggestion in the BAS that keeping it has anything to do with what you do on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
Come to think of it, The Sunday before Ash Wednesday would be a better name for this Sunday than the Last after Epiphany but for one thing: the glory of the Transfiguration and the heavenly voice which echoes the words heard at Jesus' Baptism are a manifestation of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and round off this theme while leading on to Lent and the Christian Passover.
This Sunday can be tricky for anyone following the Daily Office Lectionary who does not have a copy of the ORDO at had. On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday the cycle of the numbered propers is interrupted, and the set of readings on page 458 for “The Week of the beginning of Lent” are used.
The Collect
The Proper Prayers for the Last Sunday after Epiphany are those of the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (p. 418). However, the key to why we read the Gospels of the Transfiguration on the Sunday before the beginning of Lent is found not in this collect but in that for the Second Sunday of Lent:
Almighty God, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross, give us faith to perceive his glory, that being strengthened by his grace, we may be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory ….
The Readings
First Reading : Exodus 34.29-35
The Lord summoned Moses to come Mount Sinai with two tablets of stone to replace the two that he had broken in his anger over the Israelites’ worship of the Golden Calf (32.19). On the new tablets God wrote the words of the covenant that were on the first tablets. This was a renewal of the covenant. Moses was on the mountain with the Lord forty days and neither ate nor drank. When he came down his face shone, or better, was radiant. After long conversation with the Lord, his flesh, as well as his soul, was penetrated with the effulgence of the Divine glory, and his looks expressed the light and life which dwelt within that glory.
The commentary of Rashi explains that the Hebrew word translated ‘shone’ (קָרַן) is ‘an expression meaning horns (קַרְנַיִם) because light radiates and protrudes like a type of horn.’ It was rendered in the Vulgate quite literally as cornuta, ‘horned’; because of this, Moses was represented in art, most famously in the statue by Michelangelo, with two large horns on his head, The commentator Adam Clarke noted sensibly enough, “But we might naturally ask, while they were indulging themselves in such fancies, why only two horns? for it is very likely that there were hundreds of these radiations, proceeding at once from the face of Moses.” For further discussion of this point, see the RCL site.
Because of the radiance of his face, Moses had to wear a veil when he came from the divine presence to speak to the people of Israel. St Paul’s understanding of this is heard in the epistle reading from 2 Corinthians,
Read this Sunday, Moses’ radiant face is a type or foreshadowing of the transfiguration of Jesus.
Psalm 99
Psalms 47, 93, and 96-99 are usually classed as enthronement hymns, celebrating the Lord’s kingship over Israel and al the world. The Norwegian scholar Sigmund Mowinckel (1884-1965) postulated that at an annual New Year’s festival celebrated in Sept.-Oct. the ancient Israelites celebrated “a ritual enthronement of YHWH, in which his dominion over the world was proclaimed and cultically renewed” [NJBC]. The sections of the psalm are marked by a refrain “for he is the Holy One” at the end of verses 3, 5, and 9.
Outline: vv.1-3: The Lord is the ruler over all the earth; vv. 4-5: God’s concern for justice; vv. 6-9: his fidelity toward his people.
in v. 1 ‘people’ should be ‘peoples’; it refers to the nations of the earth, and not only to the people of Israel.
In v.6, Moses, Aaron, and Samuel are mentioned as intercessors for the people before God.
1n v. 7, ‘He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud’ foreshadows the voice of the Father speaking at the Transfiguration.
In v. 8 ,‘forgiving God’, God translated he Hebrew El. See the RCL notes.
The Epistle: 2 Corinthians 3.12-4.2
In 2 Corinthians 3.7-4.6, Paul highlights the characteristics of his ministry as an apostle by contrating it with that of Moses in Exodus 34.27-35 (see first reading); the ministry of the gospel has a greater splendour than that of Moses (3.7-8). Moreover, in the preaching of the Apostles, this splendur is not hidden, as it ws by the veil that covered Moses’ face.
I ran out of time before I could organize any further remarks on this reading. You mght want to ceck the RCL comments.
The Holy Gospel: Luke 9: 28-36 (37-43)
After Peter’s confession (9.18-20), Jesus predicted his coming Passion(21-22) and declared that anyone who would follow him must give up life for Jesus’ sake, taking up the cross daily (23-27). About a week later, he went alone with Peter james and John, always the inmost group of the disciples, up to ‘the mountain’ to pray. It was while he was praying that he was transfigured before them. The parallel accounts of the transfiguration are Mt 17.1-7 and Mk 9.2-8
St Luke does not say where this event took place, but it is noteworthy that he speaks of ‘the mountain’ and not ‘a mountain’. NJBC takes this as referring to ‘God’s mountin’ and says nothing else. Caird, in the Penguin Commentary on Luke, notes that Matthew and Mark place the preceding scene in the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi, which is near Mt Hermon, and suggests that this is the site of the Transfiguration. Tradition, however, places the site at Mt Tabor in Galilee (but NJBC calls this identification ‘highly unlikely’).
All three accounts tell of the Transfiguration immediately after Jesus’ call to the way of the Cross and the strange promise that God’s kingdom would be seen before “some standing here” will “taste death” (9. 27 and parallels). That we are meant to read of the Transfiguration in the light of these teachings is clear from “after these sayings” in verse 28. The NJBC notes that Jesus teaching in 9.22-27 “is so different from what he had taught in 4.19-9.6 that it needs divine sanction. The disciples are commanded by God to listen to this new teaching.”
The appearance of Moses and Elijah is to show that the road upon which Jesus is embarking is in accord with the law and the prophets (24.26-7). So St John Dascene wrote that the two men appeared so “that it might be shown there was but one Lord of the new and old covenant, and the mouths of heretics might be shut, and men might believe in the resurrection, and He also, who was transfigured, be believed to be the Lord of the living and the dead, Moses and Elias, as servants, stand by their Lord in His glory” St John Chrysostom wrote “Or else this took place because the multitude said He was Elijah or Jeremiah, to show the distinction between our Lord and His servants. And to make it plain that He was not an enemy of God, and transgressor of the law, He showed these two standing by Him; (for else, Moses the lawgiver, and Elias who was zealous for the glory of God, had not stood by Him,) but also to give testimony to the virtues of the men. For each had ofttimes exposed Himself to death in keeping the divine commands.”
Only St Luke mentions what Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were talking about: his coming departure in Jersualem (see also 9:51). But St Luke uses the word exodus here: it refers to the next phase of Jesus’ ministry, his journey to Jersualem and hs passage from this world to God, That word exodus is the clue. As the first Exodus was the passage of Israel from Egypt to the promised Land and the house of God which was eventually built in Jerusalem (see Ps 78.54), so Christ’s deatha nd resurrection is the true Exodus into God’s presence.
Time does no tpermit me to go into any further detail and discuss such important points as the meaning of the Cloud which overshadowed them (on which it would be helpful to recall the account of the Ascension) or Peter’s naïve desire to build three tabernacles. Just two points in closing.
One is a comment from St Ambrose of Milan on the mysticla meaning of the Transfiguration of Christ, “since he who hears the words of Christ, and believes, shall see the glory of His resurrection. For, on the eighth day the resurrection took place. Hence also several Psalms are written, ‘for the eighth,’ or perhaps it was that He might make manifest what He had said, that he who for the word of God shall lose his own life, shall save it, seeing that He will make good His promises at the resurrection.”
The other is to wonder why the lectionary permits the Gospel reading to be extended to include verses 37-43, unless it is to remind us first, that when we come down from mystical “mountaintop” experiences, it is to a world in need of healing and service and second, that as disciples we can not heal or serve by any power of our own, but only by that of the Lord Jesus...
The Revised Common Lectionary notes obect that if the reading extends to the end of v. 43, it ends in the middle of a sentence. It should probably end at the words, ‘at the majesty of God.’

The Week of the beginning of Lent, 2010, Part One


This Wednesday is the First Day of Lent, commonly called Ash Wednesday. Some notes on this day, including Aelfric’s homily on Ash Wednesday, were posted on this site last year on 23 February. Some other comments on Shrovetide were included in the posting on 19 February.
The name dies cinerum, Day of Ashes, probably dates from around the mid-eighth century. At first the ashes were imposed on the public penitents, but later the custom of distributing the Ashes to all the faithful arose from a general desire to imitate this practice. It is mentioned as being for general observance by both clerics and laity in 1091 (Synod of Beneventum) but nearly a hundred years before Aelfric (in the sermon included in last year’s notes) assumed that everyone took part in the rite.
With the beginning of Lent upon us, there is little time for looking at the disciplines of the season. Since there are plenty of resources available for prayer, bible-study, daily devotions, and the like available, we don’t need to add anything here, except perhaps to suggest that personal Lenten study could well begin with the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7 of St Matthew). Advice on your personal Lenten reading should only come from someone who knows you. This more or less leaves Self-denial, or abstinence and almsgiving, or Giving Up and Giving Away.

“Every person who has read his prayer book with any degree of attention, knows that this season of Lent is appointed by the Church for the especial exercise of repentance; that she intends us to refrain for a while even from the innocent pleasures of the world, that our time and thoughts may be the freer to consider our past lives, to bewail and confess our sins, and so prepare ourselves, with thankful hearts, to acknowledge the infinite mercies of God in Christ Jesus on the great days of his Death and Resurrection.” ~ John Keble, Sermon for Ash Wednesday of Not Receiving the Grace of God in Vain.
So what should I give up for Lent? Keble leads us to the answer: it should be one of “innocent pleasures of the world.” As a wise colleague said to me the other day, “You give up for Lent something that you can quite rightly take up again at Easter”. It should be something good and lawful that you can do without, though perhaps not easily. The fact that the thing given up is not sinful or wrong is precisely why giving it up is a discipline. For while that word has many shades of meaning, its root is ‘to learn’, for it is what a disciple does. By choosing to give up for a time something perfectly innocent, a person learns to be stronger in self-control, more able to reject temptation when it comes, less dependent on pleasure. And since the thing given up is not itself wrong, failure in the discipline is not catastrophic. It merely shows where one needs to pray more and seek strength. Beyond that I have no suggestions to make as to what any person should give up, except to say that traditionally ‘giving something up’ is in addition to abstinence from meat in Lent.. There are some helpful ideas in two articles which may be found on line at Project Canterbury. They are:
“Some thoughts about Lent for Busy People” By E.F. Pemberton (London: Mowbray, no date):
“The Lenten Fast” by the Rev. Charles T. Stout (Milwaukee: Morehouse, no date)

Almsgiving is a Christian duty all year round: it is clear from the Gospels that there are no exceptions to the Lord’s commandments (see, for example, Mt 5.42; Lk 6.29-30). Nor does the ‘all’ in the baptismal promise to ‘seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbour as yourself’ leave much room for manoeuvre. Lent is a time to be more serious and more intentional in following the commandments of Christ. It is perhaps an odd thing that the fact that in a modern city where opportunity is never lacking to obey the commandment “Give to him who begs from you” it is often so hard to obey. But at least once a year let’s remember that our Lord doesn’t say we should ask if the beggar deserves it, or wonder what horrid thing our alms might get spent on, or discuss the state’s duty to alleviate poverty. Still, what any individual does about all this is between you and God, and we are not to judge one another (but see Mt 25:31-46).

Of course when we talk of all these things, we need to bear in mind that Lent is for Christians who want to practice their religion. It is not a set of tricks we think will make God love us (he already does), or forgive us (he already does), or will get us extra brownie points (merit). It is a way by which we make ourselves keep our hearts and minds set on what God has done for us in Christ as we prepare to celebrate the Christian Passover.
Above all, Lent is not an end in itself; it is about preparing to celebrate Easter. All the restraint and self-denial is a holding back so that we can let loose in the greatest feast of the Church Year. Some words of the Bishop of Durham are helpful here, and worth quoting at some length:

“…if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Champagne for breakfast again—well, of course, Christian holiness was never meant to be merely negative. Of course you have to weed the garden from time to time; sometimes the ground ivy may need serious digging before you can get it out. That’s Lent for you. But you don’t want simply to turn the garden back into a neat bed of blank earth. Easter is the time to sow new seeds and put out a few cuttings. If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life … that ought to be blossoming, and in due course bearing fruit. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving. You may be able to do in only for sic weeks, just as you may be able to go without beer or tobacco only for the six weeks of Lent. But if you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities. new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life. It might help you wake up in a whole new way. And that’s what Easter is all about.”
- N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (New York: Harper One, 2008), p. 257.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lectionary Notes and More

The Week of Sexagesima,
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
7 February, 2010
The word Sexagesima means Sixtieth (in reference to the days before Easter), and has nothing to do with you-know-what.
More on Preparing for Lent
More seriously, it is only ten days till Ash Wednesday, and high time to be planning how to keep a holy Lent. Last week we noted the seven things to take into account for Lent from the Ash Wednesday Exhortation. Since the forty weekdays of Lent are set apart by the Prayer Book as days of Abstinence, and Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as Major Fast Days, it would be helpful to consider fasting, abstinence, and self-denial, a category which involves every sort of “giving-something-up-for-Lent”.
Here is the first problem of Lent. While our church tells us that there are days of abstinence and days of fasting, it gives us no official definition of these terms, but seems to assume we know what they mean. Traditionally, to fast is to take no food for a certain time, while to abstain is to do without a particular kind of food, usually meat. but perhaps a snapshot from an older moment in Anglican history can shed some light here.
At the Savoy Conference on the Prayer Book in 1661 the Presbyterian Divines objected that “Christ’s fasting forty days and nights” was “no more imitable, nor intended for the imitation of a Christian, than any other of his miraculous works were, or than Moses his forty Days fast was for the Jews.” To this the Bishops replied,
“The fasting forty days may be in imitation of our Saviour, for all that is here said to the contrary; for though we cannot arrive to his perfection, abstaining wholly from meat [i.e., food] so long, yet we may fast forty days together, either Cornelius his fast, till three of the Clock afternoon, or St Peter’s fast till noon, or at least Daniel’s fast, abstaining from Meats and Drinks of delight, and thus far imitate our Lord.”
So the old rule in the Roman Church was that “fasting essentially consists in eating but one full meal in twenty-four hours and that about midday.” It also involves abstinence from meat in the same period. “The quantity of food allowed at this meal has never been made the subject of positive legislation.” The rule was later relaxed to allow “a collation, usually taken in the evening.” It will be easily seen that to go into details of such rules would be to little purpose here. It is quite reasonable to suggest that on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday one abstain from eating until one has taken part the solemn rites of the day, but to stick to one meal.
More important is to consider the purpose of fasting. Bishop Jeremy Taylor wrote in The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living, that fasting is “advised in order to three ministries: (i.) To prayer; (2.) To mortification of bodily lusts ; (3. ) To repentance.
Of these we might need to clarify the second a little. The meaning of “lusts” has come to be narrowed in recent times, so that it means not just any desires or appetites, but only the “sinful lusts”. The mortification of lusts really means bringing our appetites under control, so that they do not control us. Experience shows that “mortification” is not too strong a word for this. By fasting we learn to do without things which are good but not necessary, which we like but don’t really need.
Young children (traditionally under seven) and persons over 60 are not bound to fast in the Roman Church, but “Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.” It is perhaps needless to point out that one following a diet for medical reasons should not change it in Lent. Likewise, a person who is supposed to take medication with food may have to take a little something in the morning before Church on the two fast days.
As to abstinence, the only serious question is what a Vegetarian should do. I can give no advice here, because I do not know if there is anything in the diet of such a one that can be considered the equivalent of meat. If anyone has wiser advice, I would be grateful to hear it.
The lack of a hard and fast rule about fasting should not be taken as an excuse to do nothing at all. But this is all too often the way with Anglicans!
Next: Giving things up and Giving things away: Abstinence and Alms.

Lectionary Notes for Epiphany V
The Propers

The BAS Collect is A Prayer for Pardon in the Order of Service for Young People in the Canadian Prayer Book; I have not had a chance to serarch for its origins. It is often used at funerals, orders for evening worship and other occasions. It well fits the first Reading and the Gospel.
Just a reminder: there is a link to the RCL Comments at the head of the list on the left-hand side of this blog.

The first Reading : Isaiah 6.1-8 (9-13)
Chapters 6.1 to 9.6 of the Book of Isaiah are sometimes referred to as “Isaiah’s Memoirs”. The main section, 7.1-8.18 consists of materials concerning the crisis of 735-732 BC (when Syria and Israel tried to force Judah to join them against Assyria) arranged apparently to report Isaiah’s words and actions during this period. These are introduced by the prophet’s vocation narrative (6.1-13) and followed by 8.23-9.6. These materials may have been put together by Isaiah himself (note the use of the 1st person in caps 6 and 8 ).
In verses 1-13 Isaiah tells of his call to the prophetic office, to the end of justifying his teachings to his contemporaries, even though it may be unwelcome to their ears.
There is little we need to add to the notes in the RCL site except to point out an older comment which is not often found in modern notes.
Older commentaries (for example Matthew Henry’s, Adam Clarke’s and John Wesley’s Notes) remind us that this vision is explained in John 12.36b-41 as being a vision of the glory of Christ. Commenting on Isaiah 6.9-10, the Evangelist notes: “Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke of him.” (Compare to this John 8.56) William Temple comments on the Gospel:
“God does not cause sin, but He does cause its appropriate consequence to result from it by the law of the order of creation. The prophet had apprehended this though a vision of the glory of Christ—who is thus identified with Jehovah; and this is correct, for Jehovah is God revealed; and God revealed is the Logo, Word, self-utterance of God; and the Logos is Jesus Christ.”
This point opens up many questions about the nature pf prophecy which we cannot deal with here.
The place of this reading among today’s lections is found in Isaiah’s response to the vision of the all-holy God: “And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!’" The sense of uncleaness and unholiness that grips one in the face of holiness is found in the Gospel as well, where Peter, when he saw the miraculous draught of fish, “fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."” This is not just true of mortals:
At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim with sleepless eye
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry,
“Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, Lord most high!”
These examples suggest that we might want to consider whether we are not often too familiar and casual in the presence of holiness and in our approach to God. we would do well to take some time to ponder God as all-holy, sinless, apart from earthly things, and the paradox that such a one would come down for our sake and take our nature upon him.
A companion to the reading from Isaiah is the antiphon Duo Seraphim from Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of the BVM:

The Psalm.
The words of the psalmist in the second verse of Psalm 138 echo the passage from Isaiah: like Isaiah the psalmist is in the court of the Temple, looking toward the Holy Place. The psalm is a hymn of thanksgiving for the never-failing love of God.

The Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15.1-11
This Sunday we conclude our series of readings from 1 Corinthians with the opening of St Paul’s great chapter on the resurrection. Up to this point he has been answering questions posed by the Corinthian church, but now he raises a matter which he knew was of concern, although they may not have asked him about it. It appears that there was a group in the community who, for one reason or another, denied the promise of the resurrection of the body. He begins his reply with an appeal to the fact of the resurrection of Jesus. Note that verses 3-8 appear to be a very early statement of faith, or creed. The NJBC notes that while there is nothing to prove that this statement is a translation from a Semitic language, it almost certainly originated in a Palestinian community. Paul has apparently added v. 6b: “most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep,” with the point of underlining that eye-witnesses are still available for questioning. In verses 9-10 he speaks of his own experience of seeing Christ.
The English of verse 9 “one untimely born,” might be taken to mean merely that Paul was late to see the Risen Lord ; although it can mean this, it more likely ought to be taken quite literally, for it renders ἐκτρώμα, “an abortion.” The NJBC notes that this was “possibly a term of abuse used by Paul’s opponents, who mocked his physical appearance (2 Cor 10.10) and denied his apostleship (1 Cor 9.1-18).” The RCL notes catch this meaning rather well by pointing out that the original has the sense of “an object of horror and disgust.” and glossing it as “monster”.
When we read this passage along with the other’s appointed for this Sunday, Paul’s statement of his own unworthiness as a former persecutor of the church to be an apostle fits with the unworthiness expressed by Isaiah and St Peter. Together they build up a clear statement that there is nothing in us so bad, no guilt so deep that God cannot take it away when he calls us into his service and fellowship.
May I point out that since we all understand the metaphor of death as falling asleep (or can easily figure it out) the NRSV didn’t need to render ἐκοιμήθησαν (dormierunt) in verse 6b by “have died”. But the translators will insist on spoon-feeding us.
The Holy Gospel: St Luke 5.1-11.
The other readings for today suggest that this passage was chosen because of St Peter’s sense of sinfulness in the face of the holy might of Jesus and the Lord’s assurance of forgiveness implicit in the call to become a fisher of people.
The relationship of this pericope to certain other passages in both the synoptic Gospels and John is a difficult question which we cannot take up here; it is discussed at the RCL site.
For the traditional interpretations of this passage, you might want to check the selections from the Church Fathers in the Catena Aurea, for which an address was given in last week’s notes. Once again we are out of time.