John Wyclif

The collect for today, the commemoration of John Wycliffe, (c 1320-84), Scholar, Translator (source):

O Lord, thou God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant John Wyclif, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

The Lesson: Daniel 2:17-24
The Gospel: St Matthew 13:9-16

Madox Brown, The Trial of Wycliffe

Artwork: Ford Madox Brown, The Trial of Wycliffe A.D. 1377, 1893. Mural, Great Hall, Manchester Town Hall.

Saint Thomas Becket

The collect for today, the Feast of St. Thomas Becket (1117-1170), Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr (source):

Master Francke, Martyrdom of St Thomas BecketO Lord God,
who gavest to thy servant Thomas Becket
grace to put aside all earthly fear
and be faithful even unto death:
grant that we, caring not for worldly esteem,
may fight against evil,
uphold thy rule,
and serve thee to our life’s end;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Epistle: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
The Gospel: St Luke 12:37-43

Artwork: Master Francke, The Martyrdom of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, c. 1436. Panel, Kunsthalle, Hamburg.

The Innocents

The collect for today, the Innocents’ Day, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths: Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith, even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lesson: Revelation 14:1-5
The Gospel: St Matthew 2:13-18

This is an appropriate day to remember the victims of abortion.

Giovanni Pisano, Herod ordering massacre of the InnocentsArtwork: Giovanni Pisano, Herod ordering the massacre of the innocents (Detail of Pulpit), 1302-1311. Marble, Cathedral, Pisa.

Saint John the Evangelist

The collect for today, the Feast of St John the Evangelist, from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):

MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: 1 St John 1:1-5
The Gospel: St John 21:19-25

Baldung Grien, St John On PatmosJohn and his brother James (St James the Greater) were Galilean fishermen and sons of Zebedee. Jesus called the two brothers Boanerges (“sons of thunder”), apparently because of their zealous character; for example, they wanted to call down fire from heaven on the inhospitable Samaritans. John and James, together with Peter, belonged to the inner group of the apostles who witnessed the Transfiguration and the agony in Gethsemane. It was John and Peter whom Jesus sent to prepare the final Passover meal.

In the lists of disciples, John always appears among the first four, but usually after his brother, which may indicate that John was the younger of the two.

According to ancient church tradition, St John the Evangelist was the author of the New Testament documents that bear his name: the fourth gospel, the three epistles of John, and Revelation. John’s name is not mentioned in the fourth gospel (but 21:2 refers to “the sons of Zebedee”), but he is usually if not always identified as the beloved disciple. It is also generally believed that John was the “other disciple” who, with Peter, followed Jesus after his arrest. John was the only disciple at the foot of the cross and was entrusted by Christ with the care of his mother Mary.

After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, John, together with Peter, took a leading role in the formation and guidance of the early church. John was present when Peter healed the lame beggar, following which both apostles were arrested. After reports reached Jerusalem that Samaria was receiving the word of God, the apostles sent Peter and John to visit the new Samaritan converts. Presumably, John was at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). He is not mentioned later in the Acts of the Apostles, so he appears to have left Palestine.

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