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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Mercy In the Name of Jesus: "Let us stop our daily routine and see who are crying out for help, for food, for health, for dignity, for love, for justice." Neli+

Resultado de imagen para Mercy in the name of Jesus, photo, free?
“Jesus on the border” – Luke 17:11-19
Proper 23, Year C, October 13, 2019
Rev. Neli Miranda

Today, many border regions between countries are very dangerous and isolated. There are violence, human trafficking, prostitution, poverty, illnesses, death…  From our experience, we have seen caravans of people moving to the northern borders, crossing rivers and deserts. There, many children have died; many girls and boys have suffered sexual abuse and pushed into prostitution and drugs. There, people find loneliness, violence, discrimination and death. Therefore, borders have become marginalized areas, where not many people would like to go through or live in. 
In the time of Jesus, the border situation was not different. Those were dangerous and marginalized areas far from the political, economic and religious centers but Jesus did not avoid them.  Today, we read that Jesus and his disciples are traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem. While they travel, they visit different cities announcing the good news of God. Luke emphasizes the fact that Jesus is going through a border region: “On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee” (verse 11).
The region between Samaria and Galilee was a marginalized area. Jews in Jesus´ days despised Samaritans and considered them unclean. Therefore, Jews were to avoid the impure land of the Samaritans and Samaritans were not to speak to Jews.  So, consider the implications of the fact that Jesus does not avoid “the impure land” but goes through and gets in touch with Samaritans…
If Jesus had been like his contemporaries, he would have avoided going through Samaria and getting in touch with Samaritans. Although, his good news was for all no matter the borders or inequalities imposed by the system. Particularly, we see that Jesus´ ministry was aimed at the marginalized, the despised and the weak, all of them isolated by the social and religious system. 
The scandalous behavior of Jesus, walking in the midst of Samaritans, becomes bigger when he gets in touch with ten lepers. Luke says that, “As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ´Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! ´ (verse 12).
Jesus had already broken the first social barrier, ethnicity. Now, he faces leprosy.  Both ethnicity and leprosy had their own “set of discrimination and isolation regulations”. Thanks to God, Jesus´ love had no regulations nor borders or barriers. 
Luke says that Jesus “saw” the lepers.  He did not ignore them even leprosy was considered the most abominable and impure illness. He just told them to go and show themselves to the priest. According to Jewish religious system, a priest was delegated by God to declare clean a leper. Therefore, the lepers did as they were told.  And as they went, trusting on Jesus´ words, they found they were now clean.  Jesus had had mercy on them!
Luke does not tell us how this healing process went but tells us about the great good news that ten people were healed. So, they were reintegrated into their families as well into society. From the border´s isolation, from a region of death, they were restored and recognized as humans. Jesus had found them at the borders and saved them!
Luke remarks on the attitude of one of those restored “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.” (Verses 15-16).  This was a Samaritan, a despised one by the Jews!  The nine, the Jews had returned to their traditional religious system and Luke do not judge them but highlights this Samaritan man awakening. He recognized his liberation from marginalization and was able to recognize that a new era was coming with Jesus. Jesus told him:  "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well." (Verse 19).  
Besides the geographical limits, several dividing lines have segregated people in our world. Although, we are so glad that Jesus walked through the borders, the peripheries and the isolated regions, where more of his ministry was done. Thus, today we are sure Jesus continues visiting the regions where the despised of society live. There, Jesus continues restoring all who cry out for mercy, the unknown people, those who live between regions, in a non-human land, because they do not fulfill the social, economic and religious regulations of this society.
In this way, this passage invites us as Jesus´ disciples to follow him wherever he goes, no matter the social and religious barriers. In such manner, our discipleship among this world is not limited to any border. So, Let us walk with Jesus through the borders, out of our walls. Let us stop our daily routine and see who are crying out for help, for food, for health, for dignity, for love, for justice.  Let us support them to leave their isolation, despair and loneliness. Let us have mercy in the name of Jesus!
Our gratitude and prayers for all the good Samaritans who help people going through the borders and save lives along the borders. 
Amen.
(color emphasis added by lrc)
St. Alban

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English, Anglican Communion) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


Parking inside on the convent back grounds   

Sunday, October 6, 2019

THE ETHIC OF JESUS: "Jesus meant that when you live in a community you are called to know your brothers and sisters well and be tolerant, benevolent, magnanimous, patient and a peacemaker." Neli+

Resultado de imagen para faith as a mustard seed, photo, free?

If you had faith as a mustard seed…  
Luke 17: 5-10
Proper 22, Year C, October 6, 2019

Rev. Neli Miranda Lopez   

In the time of Jesus, there were different religious communities: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes, the Essenes and others groups. Those communities were very exclusive; most of them were conformed by the elites of the people and had strict rules about membership.  In contrast, Jesus´ community was distinguished by their inclusiveness, mutual care, tolerance, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.  Thus, becoming a disciple of Jesus involved a great commitment and willingness to live in community.
In the previous verses of today´s Gospel, Jesus had been teaching the apostles about their commitment as members of this new community. They had responsibilities to each other, for being Jesus´ disciple was not just about an individual commitment but a family one.
First of all Jesus had warned them about not being an obstacle for others´ faith. “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come – Jesus said – but woe to anyone by whom they come!” (17:1). Jesus teaches here about a serious sin that causes others to stumble and fall from faith.  According to this warning, it is to be supposed that some of the apostles had fallen in to the sin of hindering their brothers and sisters faith in the community. So, Jesus told them that it would be better for them if a millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown in to the sea than for them to cause  one of the little ones to stumble.  Notice Jesus´ concern about caring for the weakest, the little ones of the community. 
In addition, Jesus had taught the apostles about forgiving: “If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” (17, 3-4). Therefore, they had a responsibility to admonish or advise the offender, and if there was repentance, they must forgive. Moreover… if that person offends them seven times a day and asks their forgiveness, they must forgive…  Jesus meant that when you live in a community you are called to know your brothers and sisters well and be tolerant, benevolent, magnanimous, patient and a peacemaker. That was the ethic of Jesus for his followers!
No wonder the disciples cried out “Lord, increase our faith”.  They felt overwhelmed and recognized that great faith in God is needed in order to live in a community of mutual care, reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.   In response to the apostles´ request, Jesus said, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Verse 6).
The mustard seed was a proverbial image among people of the first century. It was common for people to say that something was “like a mustard seed” meaning that it was very small.  In addition, the mustard plant was well known because it was able to spread widely and quickly with its tiny seed. On the other hand, a mulberry tree (sycamine tree) was known as a larger tree with strong roots and able to live up to six hundred years. 
With these images in mind, Jesus teaches his apostles that faith is not about size… but it is about its presence in them. Therefore, faith is like a mustard seed – a very small seed – that placed in a great and loving God, can grow so large and accomplish great things.  In other words, if they had faith – the size of a mustard seed – they should have been willing to live in community. That required sharing with others as equals and uprooting their individual interests.  On the other hand, maybe Jesus´ words “if you had faith the size of a mustard seed…,” are a criticism for their lack even such minimal faith. Probably, they had serious issues in living in community, in loving their brothers and sisters, in taking care of them, in being patience, and in forgiving them.  
Living in community, sharing as equals in justice and peace, is a big challenge for the Christian community today.  The current system has planted large trees in our midst. Those trees of individualism, selfishness and dominance with strong roots, have lived hundreds years among us.  Today, Jesus calls us to uproot them! 
Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He calls us to live as a community of abundant love in the midst of a world of violence and death.  How is this possible?  Jesus says “have faith – as a mustard seed –, which can be powerful enough to uproot the trees of violence, oppression, discrimination and hate.
 If we have faith as a mustard seed… we could live in Jesus´ community. If we have faith as mustard seed, we can transform this world and make present the Kingdom of God in our time.
 Have faith!  
(color emphasis added by lrc)

WELCOME TO ST. ALBAN, ANTIGUA: The Rev. Neli Miranda, Priest-in-Charge, Jennifer Hope-Tringali+ and David Hope-Tringali+

The Reverend Neli Miranda, Priest-in-Charge, St. Alban Mission, Antigua, diocese of Guatemala, IARCA
The Reverend Jennifer Hope-Tringali
Visiting Priest from the Lutheran Church (the Episcopal Church is in Full Communion with the Lutheran Church)
The Reverend Deacon, David Hope-Tringali
Visiting Deacon from the Lutheran Church (the Episcopal Church is in Full Communion with the Lutheran Church)

St. Alban

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission in English, Anglican Communion, meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


Parking inside on the convent back grounds 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

WELCOME TO ST. ALBAN, ANTIGUA: The Rev. Neli Miranda, Priest-in-Charge, Jennifer Hope-Tringali+ and David Hope-Tringali+

The Reverend Neli Miranda, Priest-in-Charge, St. Alban Mission, Antigua, diocese of Guatemala, IARCA
The Reverend Jennifer Hope-Tringali
Visiting Priest from the Lutheran Church (the Episcopal Church is in Full Communion with the Lutheran Church)
The Reverend Deacon, David Hope-Tringali
Visiting Deacon from the Lutheran Church (the Episcopal Church is in Full Communion with the Lutheran Church)


Greetings

The Bishops Senior Warden, Elizabeth Bell, our Bishops Committee/vestry, members and visitors, of St. Alban Episcopal/Anglican Mission,  IARCA diocese of Guatemala, give thanks to God as we welcome and present our new Priest-in- Charge, Neli Miranda.  The Reverend Miranda will be assisted in her ministry at St. Alban by Jennifer+ and David+ Hope-Trigali.  Jennifer+ and David+ are visiting clergy from the Lutheran Church (the Episcopal/Anglican Church is in Full Communion with the Lutheran Church).

Everliving God, strengthen and sustain Neli Miranda, that with patience and understanding she may love and care for your people; and grant that together with Jennifer and David they may follow Jesus Christ, offering to you their gifts and talents; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

St. Alban

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission in English, Anglican Communion, meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


Parking inside on the convent back grounds      

Sunday, September 29, 2019

"The angels are finite beings and were created to do God’s will and be God’s messengers. In art they are depicted in human form, often with wings to show their swiftness" John+

Ángel de piedra — Foto de Stock
St. Michael and All Angels
          Today, September 29, is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, so I thought it might be good to look at who the angels are, and their role in God’s plan, and St. Michael in particular.
          Everything we say about angels comes from revelation in the scriptures and reasonable reflection on what we find there.  All of today’s scripture readings reference the existence of angels.  Jesus spoke about the angels and received the ministry of angels.  But who are the angels?
          When God created the whole universe and all its systems, God also created myriads and myriads of angels to do God’s bidding:  they were persons of intelligence and free will, but without bodies.  The angels are finite beings and were created to do God’s will and be God’s messengers.  In art they are depicted in human form, often with wings to show their swiftness.  They can be somewhere, even at a distance away, simply with a thought.  They are smart, but are not omniscient:  they have to learn things, just like we do.  Also, angels are sexless.
          When Jesus was talking about scandalizing children in Luke 18, he says “Their angels in heaven constantly behold the face of God.”  From this the Church has taught that each human being has an angel assigned to them:  a guardian angel.  The main task of this guardian angel is to watch over and protect and lead each person to God and bring their soul to God when the person dies.  All the angels have what is called the Beatific Vision:  they see God directly.
          Most of us are aware that there are good angels and bad angels.  Michael seems to be the main leader of the good angels and the Devil or Satan is the leader of the bad angels.  All the angels were created by God and are good, but some using their free will chose to rebel against God.  Why did they rebel against God?  The angels were privy to the will of God and God’s determination to create human beings, like the angels, but with bodies, to be the object of God’s love.  They also came to know that God would be incarnate as a human being among those humans.  The pride of some of the angels rebelled against this whole plan:  they wanted to be the sole object of God’s love.  They attempted to stand in the way of God’s will.  This is where Michael, the Archangel, comes in.  In the “war” in heaven that followed, Michael was given the task of driving the rebel angels out of heaven.  The “sword” he used was the sword of truth.  Where did the rebel angels go?  They fell down to earth where they continue to devalue God’s gift of life in destruction, death, and violence.  God is the Creator of Life and the rebel angels hate human life.  Michael and the good angels try to protect life, but they can only do so much.  The angels, good or bad, aren’t all-powerful like God.  They can only suggest to us to do good or do evil.  Human beings are the actors for good or evil in the world, not God or the angels.  All violence in the world is of human origin, not divine.
          Our knowledge as human beings is limited.  Sometimes we sin.  As Jesus days while hanging on the cross:  Forgive them for they know not what they do.  Human beings can always be forgiven by God when we sin.  After all, when we sin, we always think we are doing something good or in our best interest.  The rebellious angels, however, were banished from heaven forever because they had the vision of God and knew God’s will and rejected it anyway.  The rebel angels knew what they were doing.  There was nothing to do but banish them to hell- a place of God-hate from where they could continue wreck havoc upon the world following Satan, who Jesus called “the father of lies.”
          I hope this helps us understand better the ministry of angels as messengers of God.  Also I hope you will foster a deeper relationship with your own guardian angel.  Tell your angel about your life, your plans, and your concerns.  Remember that they cannot help you if you don’t share it with them.  They are not all-knowing or mind-readers.  When we ask God to help us, often God will often “message” us the help of the angels.  When we gather for the Holy Eucharist you can be sure that all our guardian angels are present with us, and probably many more angels attend our worship of the Most High.  Angels, Archangels, and all the company of Heaven we pray in the Eucharistic Prayers.  Let’s not miss out of our relationship with the angels, and especially Michael.  The angels are real and ready to help us live fully and joyfully the life God has given each one of us.  
Amen!
   John+
  
St. Alban

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English, Anglican Communion) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


Parking inside on the convent back grounds      

Sunday, September 22, 2019

At the center of every Eucharist is the Confession of “the things we’ve done, and left undone.” God, through the ministry of Christ, forgives each of us completely. John+

Resultado de imagen para forgiveness, photo
The Bottom Line
          Terri has a lot of fun finding us movies to watch, sometimes for a second or third time.  The other day, Terri asked me if I would like to watch Evan Almighty, a fun movie about a family man elected to Congress with the political slogan:  Change the World.  Evan, thinks pretty highly of himself and wants others to see him that way too.  H looks in the mirror each day and proclaims to himself:  You’re intelligent and smart, handsome and . . . Well you get the picture.
          I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, but the bottom line is, Evan is contacted by God (Morgan Freeman) who challenges him to do something to change the world.  In the process of answering the challenge, Evan, kicking and screaming, has to be willing to lose the respect of his family, his fellows in Congress, and his constituents.  Evan becomes the laughing stock of the whole country and the world, but he takes up God’s challenge and accomplishes what God wants.  Doing so, he ends up saving thousands of people and thwarting evil.
          Evan in some ways is like the “Unjust Steward” in the Gospel today.     The Steward is a manager for a wealthy landowner.  He takes care of all the financial affairs of his Master, but also makes sure that he keeps a little extra on the side for himself.  The Master finds out about the shady dealings of his steward and resolves to fire him.  The Steward panics- he has nowhere to go and doesn’t want to work as a common laborer, so he makes a plan:  he calls in his Master’s debtors and summarily lowers what they owe the Master.  The debtors are happy as can be and thankful to the steward.  The Steward will be welcome at their homes anytime.
          This is very embarrassing to the Master and his reputation:  How could he have hired such a crooked steward?  In the Middle East, a person’s reputation is worth a lot more than their wealth.  Negative public opinion toward the Master is changed when the Steward tells everyone that it was the generous decision of the Master himself.  The Master was one of the few that took the weight off of their poor, disadvantaged, debtors to an unjust and corrupt economic system.
          When all was said and done, the Master’s reputation was restored, and he ends up praising his steward for his shrewdness.  The Steward probably kept his position. 
          What is the moral of the story?  Why did Jesus tell it?  Whether we agree with the action of the Steward or not from a moral point of view, what the Steward actually did was to forgive debts.  (In Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer we have “forgive us our debts as we forgive those indebted to us.”)  “Yes,” “we can say, but the debt wasn’t his to forgive, it was the Master’s choice, not the Steward’s.”  Like the Prodigal Son, The Steward squanders another’s resources, makes a plan   in order to get back into good graces, and ends up receiving greater mercy than he could ever expect.  Why? The Steward forgave!
          Last Sunday we talked about the Jesus Economy and the need for repentance, change of thinking, if we were to leave the “sacrificial” economy of the w
orld behind.  The main ingredient of the Jesus Economy is forgiveness.  There’s a bible scholar I admire who once said:  The teaching of this Gospel story is to learn to forgive.  Forgive it all.  Forgive it now.  Forgive for any reason at all.  There is no bad reason to forgive.
          At the center of every Eucharist is the Confession of “the things we’ve done, and left undone.”  God, through the ministry of Christ, forgives each of us completely.  We are sent out to bring the forgiveness we’ve received and share it with the world, to everyone we meet, especially those who have harmed us or those we care about.  Even when we think it is not our place to forgive, we can still forgive.  The bottom line of following Christ is forgiveness.  Just forgive.  Now.  
Amen!
John+


St. Alban

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English, Anglican Communion) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


Parking inside on the convent back grounds 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

"Sometimes you have to be lost enough to find yourself." The Reverend John Smith


Resultado de imagen para Lost and found for God, photo?
The Jesus Economy
          We gather this Sunday in the anniversary week of the tragedy on 9/11/01.  Thinking about that day is influencing how I’m looking at the scripture readings today.  Most of us can remember what we were doing that day.  For me, it was the start of a typical day in the parish and our day school of St. Michael and All Angels in Tucson, Arizona.  I had just got to the parish shortly after 7am (9am on the East Coast) and started my prayer time.  I can’t remember exactly, but when the children in our day school started to arrive, there was more commotion than usual and when I inquired why, teachers told me about the first crash into one of the twin towers. 
          An immediate concern was whether to allow the children to watch the classroom TVs and the coverage of this tragic event and the loss of life.  I think it was resolved by letting the upper grades watch and the lower grades receive explanations by their teachers.  This is how we handled it, I think.
          Early on, the senior Senator of Arizona, John McCain, was asked for his comment, which was broadcast to the whole nation:
          God have mercy on their souls, because we sure won’t.
We can thank Senator McCain for making so clear the choice our nation, and all human beings, especially those who suffered great loss, had at that moment:  We could either embrace God’s mercy or take a path of revenge.
          The attack on the Twin towers was inspired by religious motives.  The perpetrators believed they were doing Allah’s will.  They were willing to give up their lives in this world in order to enter the promised Paradise.  The violent act they did, from their point of view, was sacred and righteous.  They were confident of Allah’s complete approval.
          Paul, in his Letter to Timothy, could understand exactly where those commandeering the planes that day were coming from.  Paul knew that he was, like them, a man of righteous, sacred violence.  He helped round up Jesus’ first followers and watched as they were put to death.  Later, he came to understand that what he did was out of ignorance and unbelief.  Paul became aware of how lost he was and so, by God’s grace, he was able to find himself repenting and believing in a God of mercy and love. 
            The ones who are the most lost in this world, especially those who are victims of violence or scape-goating, are the ones who have  God’s full attention.  This is what Jesus means in the three parables of lostness in the Gospel today.  Jesus outlines a new economic outlook.  As human beings, our economy usually is to preserve the most of what we have and to be willing to sacrifice something considered small and seemingly insignificant in order to keep it.  Most shepherds would not want to leave the ninety nine sheep to go in search of the one lost sheep.  From a normal economic view this isn’t good business.  Neither is a woman spending all her time looking for a lost coin.  Time is money we say.  Small things or amounts can be sacrificed for the larger, more important amounts.
          Jesus would have us embrace a different economic view:  a non-sacrificial economy.  Seeking the small, disenfranchised, and insignificant is what God cares about most.  The mercy of God is shown, not so much to the majority or group, but to the minority victim and the most lost.  This “economy” requires repentance, a change of mind and way of seeing things.  If God can repent, as we saw in the first reading today, holding back punishing his unfaithful, idolatrous people,  so must we.  Repentance, the changing of our minds from thoughts of revenge to being merciful to the wrongdoer, is better than any righteousness we claim to act from.  An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth were not Jesus’ words.  Since we are all creatures beloved by God, there is “added value” in being lost.  God’s economy is not a “zero-sum” economy where if some gain, others must lose, but an economy built on mercy, forgiveness, and love.  This is what we celebrate in the Holy Eucharist:  God’s tremendous Gift to each of us as we become aware of our own “lostness” and “foundness” by God.  
Amen!
John+

*The Anglican Church in Central America (Anglican Communion)


St. Alban

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English, Anglican Communion) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Prayers of the People: Wittingly ~ 15th Sunday after Pentecost 2019 Year C


For Sunday, 22, 2019 ~ 15th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C, Readings: Amos 8:4-7, Psalm 113, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13

 Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land…The Lord had sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. [Amos 8:4, 7]

    Hallelujah! Give praise, you servants of the Lord; praise the Name of the Lord…The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory is above the heavens. [Psalm 113: 1, 4]

    For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all... [1 Timothy 2:5-6a]

     Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?...You cannot serve God and wealth. [Luke 16:10-11, 13b]

        Wealth and Power are the hallmarks of success and prosperity; the American Dreamthe primary aspiration that our western culture teaches. Of course, Americans are far from alone in this dream. If we are among those who declare themselves as believers in God, we may also want to believe that once those material goals are achieved, then we will work on the details of faith, hope, and charity. If we slip into dishonest means, even just a little, we can’t or perhaps just won’t really care about anyone else.
        
Martin Luther referred to Mammon, the ancient name for material gains though greed, as "the most common god on earth." Of course, there is a serious distinction between those who would be greedy or dishonestly wealthy, and those who would use their wealth to honestly and faithfully prosper others. Most of us are a little bit guilty of wanting and pursuing “more.” Few of us haven't played a few games of chance and fantasized about all we would be able to have and to do if we won. Yet formal studies say that nearly 70% of those who win extraordinary payoffs are bankrupt within 7 years. Too much of a good thing, or a bad thing? Perhaps merely a case of discovering that having all that we want still isn't enough. For some, the desperate seeking of greater material wealth and power becomes an unwitting addiction, driving them into a downward spiral of self-destruction and relational ruin.
       
Self-examination is key when Jesus calls us to account on how faithful and honest we are in little and big matters. What is our true intent? Is a little lottery dreaming sinful? Hardly, unless it takes up too many waking minutes and/or harms oneself or another. The writer of the letter of Timothy tells us that leading a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity is right and acceptable in the sight of God. Whether or not that seems realistic in these combative, angry, and violent times isn't the point. Life is difficult, far worse for some than others given wars, natural disasters, or life-threatening illness. Yet serving wealth on behalf of ourselves isn't the path to inner peace, godliness, or dignity of the soul. Even if it may give a temporary glow on the surface, we know the little discomforting niggle of conscience.
        
Jesus is never clearer, than in this Gospel. We cannot serve two masters; we cannot serve God and wealth. If we seek only the accumulation of more material possessions to the exclusion of and harming the welfare of others, if only in very small ways, we may prosper in this life, but we will lose in the next. Even a little dishonesty becomes much more so in God’s sight.The prophet Amos gives us God's words: I will never forget any of their deeds. But the Good News is always present when Jesus teaches. However imperfect we are, if we are intentional about serving God even with a meager amount of faith, God will never forget that either. It is never too late to return to serving God who desires everyone to be saved. As Jesus says, Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. Let us examine our own intentions and be clear to ourselves what it is we truly want; for, if we cannot be honest with ourselves who will trust us with the true riches of eternal life? Let us turn our soul’s path to an upward spiral, intentionally choosing to seek and to serve only God, ready for the final accounting of this mortal life. Let us do so eagerly, and, wittingly.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O Lord Most High, open our hearts to make supplications and prayers for everyone, open our minds to come to the knowledge of Your truth, and open the eyes of our souls to be and to do only what is right and acceptable in Your sight.

                                                         O God, our Savior
RESPONSE:                    True wealth is serving You

~ O Lord Most High, on behalf of us all who wish for a peaceable life in all godliness and dignity, we offer intercessions for those in high positions as leaders on this Planet, in this Nation, and in our Community. May they intentionally govern with integrity, with honor, and without deceit. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       True wealth is serving You                                               

~ O Lord Most High, calm the anxiety of all who suffer in pain of body, mind, or soul, and strengthen all who give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       True wealth is serving You
           
~ O Lord Most High, dry the tears of the grieving, as the glory of the heavens welcomes all who are now transformed into eternal life and joy. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       True wealth is serving You

~ O Lord Most High, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       True wealth is serving You
                      
~ O Lord Most High, we praise Your Name in thanksgiving for the special gifts of all who have been chosen, anointed, and faithfully devoted in their lives and ministries among us. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O God, our Savior
                                                       True wealth is serving You
                                                                                                        

The Celebrant adds:  O Lord our God, the Glory above the heavens, by Your divine love we were created with the truest form of riches available in our mortal time. Infuse us with desire to serve only You, that even our little faith will become greater and offer a blameless accounting at this life’s end. We ask through Jesus, our Divine Mediator; and the Holy Spirit, the Divine Breath in our Souls; who together with You are One God, forever and always. Amen. 

Christina Brennan Lee
Peoples Prayers, sidebar    

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*The Anglican Church in Central America (Anglican Communion)



St. Alban


Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English, Anglican Communion) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


Parking inside on the convent back grounds