FROM THE RECTOR: WOES OF ISAIAH AND JESUS
Two Sundays ago, the appointed gospel was the Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:33-43). It's the day after Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He's teaching in the temple. The Old Testament lesson was the plaintive text called "The Song of the Vineyard" (Isaiah 5:1-7). It ends with these words, "For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry!" In Isaiah, the song is followed immediately by six reproaches, six woes of judgment, not lament: woes for those who covet the possessions of others, who drink to excess, who mock God, who lie, who think they know it all, and who take bribes. Jerusalem and Judah are under God's judgment.
Before Jesus leaves the temple that day, never to return, he, too, pronounces judgment with seven reproaches, seven woes, also of judgment. New Testament scholar Daniel Harrington writes, "The Matthean Jesus as a prophet was sent to Israel, not as an opponent of Israel" (The Gospel of Matthew , 327). His woes are different from Isaiah's, but the results are the same. The city will fall, the Second Temple will be torn down, and people will be killed, enslaved and scattered. The woes of Matthew's Jesus are not heard at a Sunday Eucharist-and it would be difficult to include them because of the way Matthew includes them in this day's teaching-and because of the way our lectionary is structured at this point in the church year.
In Matthew, Jesus calls his opponents, here the scribes and the Pharisees, "hypocrites." They are religious leaders who live in contradiction to what they say and what they do. Jesus denounces them for shutting the way to the kingdom of heaven for others and for themselves (23:13). There's a strong note of what we would call Anti-Judaism in the next woe: the scribes and Pharisees go out of the way to make a Gentile a Jew but are really making him or her a "son of hell" (23:15)-and not a Christian. The third woe has to do with rules about swearing that make no sense (23:16-22). The fourth is about caring about rules and not caring about "justice, mercy, and faithfulness" (23:23).
The fifth and the sixth are against people caring for what can be seen and neglecting what is in a person's heart (23:23-24, 25-26). In the seventh woe, Jesus associates their pride in their positions and way of life by naming them "sons of those who murdered the prophets" (23:31). Given the terrible history of Anti-Judaism in Christian history, and the role that Matthew and John in particular will come to play as time continues, I think you and I need to have a clear awareness of our history.
I close with this prayer from the Way of the Cross from The Book of Occasional Services (2003): Teach your Church, O Lord, to mourn the sins of which it is guilty, and to repent and forsake them; that, by your pardoning grace, the results of our iniquities may not be visited upon our children and our children's children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Beckett, Mike, Dorrie, Wendell, Barbara, Dick, Karen, José, David, Robert, William, Karl, Pearl, Dorothea, Olutoyin, Eugenia, Peggy, Kathy, May, Heather, James, Heidi, Takeem, Barbara, Jean, David, Sandy, Dennis, and George; for Horace, Mitties, Scott, Anne, David, Ross, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for all victims of poverty, famine, violence, and disaster, especially the people of Las Vegas and Puerto Rico; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . October 22: 1905 Richard Simpson; 1910 Rose Mary Goldingham; 1920 Lucille Rutherford Bingham; 1931 Christina Reid; 1932 Elliott Daingerfield; 1944 Arthur Oliver.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S. . . Sunday, October 22, The Inquirers' Class, led by Father Matthew Jacobson, will meet at 10:00 AM in The Nursery . . . Sunday, October 22, 10:00 AM, Saint Benedict's Study, Adult Forum: The Reformation: 1517-2017, led by Mrs. Grace Mudd . . . Monday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Sung Mass 12:10 PM and Mass 6:20 PM . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on October 25 . . . Friday, October 27, 6:30 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor. Please enter at 145 West Forty-sixth Street, just west of the main doors to the church, and press buzzer 1 in the vestibule. Then climb up one flight of stairs, make a U-turn, and climb up another small flight of stairs. The Atrium will be on your left . . . Saturday, October 28, Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles
CLERGY NOTE . . . I am very pleased to announce that the Reverend Alison J. Turner, a priest of the diocese of Exeter, England, is assisting at weekday Masses here at Saint Mary's. Mother Turner moved to the United States when her husband, the Reverend Carl Turner, as called to serve as rector of Saint Thomas Church, Manhattan, in July 2014. She and her husband have known Saint Mary's for many years. Welcome, Alison! -S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . José Vidal remains at NYU Langone Medical Center following surgery last Monday. Please keep him in your prayers . . . The annual All Souls' Day Appeal packets were mailed on Tuesday, October 10. The packet includes a prayer-request form and a return envelope. We urge you to return your prayer requests as soon as possible. An offering with the requests is customary and is deeply appreciated . . . Attendance: Last Sunday: 198.
ALL SAINTS' DAY . . . We are sorry that a scheduling conflict means that the bishop of New York will not be able to be with us for the 6:00 PM Solemn Mass on All Saints' Day, Wednesday, November 1, but we are delighted that Bishop Dietsche has given permission for the Right Reverend Geralyn Wolf, XII Bishop of Rhode Island and now an assistant bishop in the diocese of Long Island, to be celebrant and preacher for the service. Bishop Wolf has been with us as celebrant and preacher before, and she and her husband, Tom Bair, are known to many in the congregation. Bishops Dietsche's assistant has already been in touch with me about getting a date for him to be with us. All Saints' will be very joyful this year, as always. -S.G.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN . . . Pledge packets for 2018 were mailed this week. We invite you to think and pray about a pledge of time, talent, and treasure for the coming year. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary's and its mission.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Inquirers' Class, led by Father Matthew Jacobson will meet on Sunday, October 22, at 10:00 AM in the Nursery . . . Sunday, October 22, 10:00 AM, Saint Benedict's Study, The Reformation: 1517-2017: Parishioner and teacher of history and global studies Grace Mudd continues her four-part series on the history of the Reformation. The series is designed, in part, to mark the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Ninety-five Theses . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will not meet on October 25, due to illness in Father Jay Smith's family . . . Father Pete Powell will begin his series on the Gospel of Matthew on Sunday, November 5, at 10:00 AM, in Saint Benedict's Study.
FUNDRAISING EVENT: The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) will be hosting a fall fundraising event on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, in Saint Joseph's Hall 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Since their founding in 1960, IIRR has partnered with people in developing countries to empower rural communities to overcome poverty. IIRR's work engages with communities to educate children, create more efficient farming practices, plan for natural disasters, and nurture local entrepreneurs. IIRR's programs are staffed with local people in six countries in East Africa (Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe) and three countries in South Asia (the Philippines, Cambodia, and Myanmar.) IIRR's grassroots work is uniquely sustainable and people-centered, and IIRR has been a pioneer in the rural reconstruction movement. Tickets are $35 in advance / $40 at the door / $20 for students, and proceeds benefit IIRR's programs in South Asia and East Africa. Tickets may be purchased online. For more information, please contact Nicole Palma, who is a good friend of Saint Mary's.
ABOUT THE MUSIC . . . The services on Sunday will be played by Dr. Timothy Pyper, interim music director at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Chelsea. Tim has played for us in the past, notably during Holy Week 2016. The setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is the four-voice Missa secunda of Hans Leo Hassler, born in Nuremberg and baptized on October 26, 1564. Hassler had a musical career that bridged the late Renaissance to the early Baroque periods. His initial musical instruction was from his father, Isaak Hassler (c. 1530-1591). Hans Leo left home in 1584 to study in Venice with Andrea Gabrieli (c. 1532-1585) and become a friend and fellow pupil with Gabrieli's nephew Giovanni (c.1554-1612). Thus Hassler was one of the first of a succession of German composers to experience in Italy the musical innovations that were shaping what would later be identified as Baroque style. Hassler was recognized in his day not only as a composer, but also as an organist and a consultant on organ design. Although he was a Protestant, Hassler's early compositions were for the Roman church. His Missa secunda, first published in Nuremberg in 1599, is a model of efficient and concise text setting. The text is mostly set syllabically, and much of the musical texture is homophonic and rhythmically energetic. Often Hassler has the higher two voices and lower two voices singing phrases in playful alternation. These aspects all help to set forth the text with particular clarity.
Sunday's communion motet is also by Hassler. It is his four-voice setting of the first three verses of Psalm 96, published in Nuremberg in his Sacri concentus, 1601. Hassler's works also include two other settings of this joyful psalm text: one for five voices (Cantiones sacrae, 1591), and the other an impressive polychoral setting for twelve voices in three choirs. The more modest four-voice setting, however, is the most well-known. It presents the text in alternating homophonic and contrapuntal textures, using voice pairing at annunciate to give a hint of poly-choral flavor and add emphasis to the text.
Herbert Howells (1892-1983) was present at the 1910 premiere of Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. For Howells, this performance was a catalyst igniting his lifelong interest in music of the Tudor era. Howells's Master Tallis's Testament, dating from 1940, was written as a response to the Vaughan Williams Fantasia. Gradually building in intensity, this set of variations is full of delightful modal inflections and cross relations; these Tudor characteristics are masterfully integrated into Howells's compositional voice.
Zachary Wadsworth (b. 1983) wrote his Postlude in 2005. The piece was premiered on the E. M. Skinner organ at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Rochester, NY. It is characterized by series of rhapsodic, rapidly ascending scales. Near the conclusion is a quotation (played on a solo reed) of the Gloria Patri from the composer's setting of Psalm 95. -David Hurd
HOMELESS MINISTRY . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for November 18 and December 6, our next two Drop-in Days. We need blankets, razors, and shaving cream. We also need packs of new underwear for both women and men, in all sizes; and very shortly we will need cold-weather clothing such as coats, sweaters, thermal underwear, gloves, boots, and sweatshirts. Such basic items are proving to be useful to our neighbors living without shelter . . . Attorneys from the New York Legal Assistance Group have volunteered to host a Legal Aid Day for our Homeless Ministry on Wednesday, December 6, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM in the Mission House. The attorney volunteers will dispense legal advice, along with clothes and toiletries . . . Please contact Sister Monica Clare, if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry, or if you would like to make a donation . . . We also continue to receive nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, Saint Clement's Food Pantry. Please place those items in the basket near the ushers' table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church.
RECITALS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, November 1, 5:30 PM, All Saints' Day, Patrick Kreeger, associate organist, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church . . . Friday, December 8, 5:30 PM, Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dr. Keith Reas, director of music, Saint Paul's Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Saturday, October 28, 2017, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre presents the Orlando Consort: Loire Valley in Song. From the Miller Theatre website, "The Laborde Chansonnier is one of the finest surviving French song-collection manuscripts, containing over a hundred songs by Binchois, Busnois, Dufay, Ockeghem and other fifteenth-century masters. Set with stunning illuminations and constructed with supreme skill, the Chansonnier-or songbook-was clearly produced for royal hands, eyes, and ears. The Orlando Consort sings a montage of the Chansonnier's most striking selections, complementing the pictorial magic of this magnificent Renaissance artifact" . . . Saturday, November 18, 8:00 PM, The Miller Theatre presents Vox Luminis: Royal Funeral Music Visit. From the Miller Theatre website, "For sixteenth- and seventeenth-century royalty, funeral rituals provided one last opportunity for earthly opulence. Vox Luminis explores the rich history of musical memorials, including Thomas Morley's music for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth I, and Heinrich Schütz's Musikalische Exequien for Prince Heinrich von Reuss, who commissioned the piece as part of his elaborate funeral plans. Works by Purcell and Bach round out this poignant program that both mourns death and celebrates life. Visit the Miller Theatre website for more information and to purchase tickets.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Wednesday, November 1, All Saints' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Organ Recital 5:30 PM, Solemn Pontifical Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, November 2, All Souls' Day, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Sung Mass and Blessing of the Vault 6:00 PM . . . Sunday, November 5, Daylight Saving Time ends . . . Saturday, November 11, Veterans' Day (the church is open on the normal Saturday schedule) . . . Saturday, November 11, Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM, Diocesan Convention . . . Wednesday, November 22, Eve of Thanksgiving Day, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Thursday, November 23, Thanksgiving Day, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Sunday, November 26, Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King, Commitment Sunday