10:30 a.m. Charles Fillmore Chapel
February 2: Feast of the Presentation
Bishop Janet Sunderland
February 9: Bishop Cliff Kroski
February 16: Bishop Janet Sunderland
February 23: Bishop Cliff Kroski
We begin February with the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Candlemas, and St. Blaise Day. We’ll bless candles for the coming year and receive a special blessing of throats. We even get to go through February without worrying about Lent. Lent starts on March fifth.
The story of the Presentation is the wonderful account of two people, Simeon and Anna. Simeon, who was waiting for the Messiah, receives a revelation that Jesus is the chosen one. He recognizes Jesus as a “light for revelation to the Gentiles and as glory for the people of Israel.” Anna, a prophetess, “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” She recognizes Jesus as the long awaited Messiah.
Let us recognize the Christ light in us, as we celebrate this day of Light and Blessing.
February 9th , the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time presents Matthew’s Gospel regarding the “salt of the earth.” We have heard this before, that we should be the “salt of the earth,” and further, that we should be “light for the world.”
How are we salt and light to others?
Do we see ourselves in these metaphors?
Salt was used in ancient times to give flavor to foods, but more importantly, salt was used to preserve foods. Without salt, food would spoil. Food packed in salt could be taken on a journey without fear of it going bad. Light, of course, was used to illumine the night.
Do we view ourselves and our interactions with others as a preserver and illuminator?
Matthew’s Gospel for the third Sunday of the month gives us a rather long account of Jesus and The Law. Jesus tells his followers that he has come not to “abolish the law, but to fulfill the Law.” Jesus takes the Jewish Law to another level. He speaks not only against killing, but against anger. He speaks of the importance of reconciliation before offering one’s gift at the altar. Jesus talks about being aware of anything that may cause us to fall into negative behavior.
He also urges us to be committed to what we do. “Let your Yes mean Yes and your No mean No,” he demands.
Jesus is not only speaking about the letter of the Law, which was what people were used to hearing, but more importantly, the Spirit of the Law.
The Gospel for the last Sunday of the month is another teaching on laws and rules. Jesus speaks of “turning the other cheek,” and not abiding by the old “eye for an eye” behavior. He speaks about literally “going the extra mile.” He asks that we pray for our enemies and those who may persecute us. He calls us to “be perfect”.
Wow, be perfect! We were always told that no human is perfect. Yet, in Jesus’ words, He calls us to be more than we are, to go farther than we need to go, and love even those who do not love us.
The Gospels of February are challenging indeed, calling for change and renewal, and it’s not even Lent!
+ Cliff and + Janet