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Feast of St. Thomas Becket

The Feast of Thomas Becket.

Help us, like Thomas, defend and preserver our Lord’s church from those who would harm it. Amen.

There is no more celebrated English saint than Thomas Becket. A strong churchman who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil, and so became a a defender of the faith, a protector of the church, a martyr, and a saint. Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his own cathedral during Christmastide - December 29, 1170.

His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. Henry and Thomas had been comrades, and the king had nominated him for Archbishop of Canterbury in part because he thought he could influence him.

Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry’s intrusions into Church affairs.
Nevertheless, in 1162 he was made archbishop, resigned his chancellorship, and reformed his whole way of life.  When Be…

The Feast of the Holy Innocents - December 28

The Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The importance of all life is profoundly evident today.
Herod “the Great,” king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother, and his sister’s two husbands, to name only a few.

Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was “greatly troubled” when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of “the newborn king of the Jews,” whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also “do him homage.” They found Jesus, offered him their gifts, and warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.

Herod became furious and “ordered the massacre of all t…

December 27th. The Feast of St. John

The Feast of Saint John - the Apostle’s Story

It is God who calls; human beings answer.

St. John "the beloved disciple" was a Galilean, son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother to St. James the Greater, The vocation of John and James is stated in the Gospels: Jesus called them; they followed. The absoluteness of their response is indicated by the account. James and John “were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:21b-22).

Jesus showed St. John particular instances of kindness and affection above all the rest. He had the happiness to be with Peter and James at the Transfiguration of Christ, and was permitted to witness His agony in the Garden. He was allowed to rest on Our Savior's bosom at the Last Supper, and and the one to whom Jesus gave the exquisite honor of caring for his mother, as John stood beneath the cross. “Woman, behold your son…. Behold, you…

December 26th. St. Stephen

The Feast of St. Stephen

The day after Christmas, let us not take our eyes off the transformative presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. A child will become great and mighty. Jesus meets violence with love, hate with peace. From the manger to cross and the resurrection, Jesus transforms lives.

Thus on the second day in the octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen. The first Christian martyr and one of the first deacons. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners.

In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke praises St. Stephen as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” who “did great wonders and signs among the people” during the earliest days of the Church. Luke's history of the period also includes the moving scene of Stephen's death – witnessed by St. Paul before his conversion – at the hands of those who refused to accept Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

Stephen himself was a Jew who most likely came to believe in Jesus during the Lord…

Christmas

As we journey toward the holiest of nights, it is often easy to overlook the miraculous. Wonder and reverence are often relegated to the past. Yet, the reality of the Incarnation still shines out over the glare of commercialism, nationalism, secularism, and individualism.  God, in humble submission, peered into our eyes from a manger so that our enslavement to sin and death would end. God with us; divine life so that we can have life. It is not a myth, a feel-good story or abstract theology. A child born unto Mary, a child born unto us, was laid in a manger. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High." In him the Alpha and Omega are forever one, and "His Kingdom will know no end." Jesus is the purest truth ever known.  Let us not be flippant with the purity Christmas story. Hold each moment of Christmas in blessed contemplation. While the rest of the world moves from one social celebration to the next, or laments the supposed death of the Churc…

2018 Convention Eucharist. Sermon

Good Shepherd, always beside us; your rod and staff our comfort, your cross ever before us as our guide. Loving Shepherd, may I sing your praise within your house forever.
I would like to thank each of you for your faithfulness, ministry, hope, and love. Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, all of the diocesan committees, the Cathedral Staff and volunteers, each of your ministries in the churches, the clergy, the faithful laity, and of course your staff of the diocese.  I am blessed by you.
My gratitude for allowing me to walk with you and serve you as your Bishop. There is a Spanish phrase. Me encanta la Iglesia.  I love the church. I love our church, this beautiful body of Christ from the depths of my heart.  This address is about the heart.  
At Lambeth Anglicans from across the world shared ministries, opportunities, and hope as the Gospel is being lived in Africa, Hong Kong, South India, Latin America.  I shared our sacred ministries and how we are stepping forward in faith, into a…

A Pastoral Letter on the Tree of Life Synagogue murders

A letter from the Right Reverend Daniel G P Gutiérrez, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. My Dear Sisters and Brothers, In a holy sanctuary, less than five hours from our beloved diocese, families walked into the Tree of Life synagogue for a Shabbat service. Women, men and children beginning their sacred service with prayers of gratitude for life. A man filled with hate and rage, encouraged by a society that seems to worship at the altar of hate and violence, walked in and proceeded to slay the innocent. As he shouted, "all Jews must die," eleven beautiful children of a loving God were slaughtered because of hate. Many others, including first responders, were also grievously injured in this attack. Do not be misled, this is hate. As a culture we normalize violence, we rationalize explanations, we chant political slogans, and we then forget that these words have repercussions. Pray, we must, but we cannot proclaim the resolve of our prayers or the determination of…

We will vote. The Cross or Empire?

In two weeks, the citizens of our country will be given the opportunity to vote.  We are asked to engage in a sacred act that will express our individual thoughts, hopes, and aspirations.  This is a declaration of who we are and will determine who we are to become as a nation.  It is a privilege and a gift that we have cherished for more than 200 years and is a gift unavailable to many throughout the world.  We should not let this opportunity pass us by. As Christians, we are called by Jesus Christ to live our faith and place that sacred following before any other identity or allegiance. 
As followers of Jesus Christ we are faced with stark choices.  We must align the Gospel with our public witness and democratic rights. This is not a political statement. It is not an endorsement of any candidate or party.  Jesus compels a choice: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23).
I ask that you join me and compare the words, messaging and…

The-2019-Budget-Explained

A detailed look at the 2018 Budget.  We are making great strides.  There is great hope in our diocese. We will Know Jesus and we will Change the World.  We are Revolutionary.

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/The-2019-Budget-Explained.html?soid=1112711261842&aid=UGN9MZc7RkA

What Mountains? Revolutionary.

This past week, my the flight path home to Philadelphia placed us over the Alps.  I sat in awe and reverence of God’s creation as the light of the setting sun blanketed the peaks.  The enormity and the majesty.  "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made.... For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth" (Psalm 33:6, 9).

As we banked toward the west, I called to mind the courage and daring of many who have stood at the base of the mountains and were determined to find a way over the mountains.  I must say, I admire courage.  JAs this beautiful view receded, I thought of Hannibal’s words “mountains? What mountains? (The attributed quote was “we I will either find a way or make one.)  People like to preach fear, timidity, safety.  Let’s be bold and cast fear to bins of history. Jesus tells us to “fear not.”

 At the sight of the mountains, I thought of our beloved Diocese of Pennsylvania...what mountains? What obstacles?

Revolutionary. Yes, we are rev…

St. Luke

The beloved physician St. Luke shared the poetic beauty of the Gospel of Luke and the holy fire of the early church in the Acts of the Apostles.  It inspires us to live with the message of Jesus Christ.  Touch the world with the Good News of our Savior and to move forward with the courage and the power of the early church.  The words of the Magnificat should be indelibly etched in our hearts.  
Luke is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Let us remember that Luke stayed with Paul during his imprisonment in Caesarea and accompanied Paul as a faithful companion on the dangerous journey to Rome. So let us use St. Luke as an example of faithfulness and hope in the Risen Christ.  Let us tell the same story.  
I leave you with two of my favorite Gospel passages are from Luke and Acts:
“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and t…

Our Vision Video for the Diocese

Bishop Daniel Gutierrez, Diocese of Pennsylvania August 28, 2018/Nuevo Amanecer

Es un gran honor estar aquí con mis hermanas y hermanos. Mi sangre, mi fe, mi familia.
This week, your work, your prayers, this community will change the church. You are co-creators and collaborators with Jesus. The Kingdom is at hand.  
One of my favorite authors is Alice Walker. One of her short stories is The Welcome Table. It tells of an elderly, nameless black woman, "the color of poor gray Georgian earth," worn down by old king cotton. Dressed in tattered rags, she makes her way one Sunday morning "down the road toward the big white church," as the story says. A church that is pale in many ways. When she walks in, the good church folks are shocked. The preacher reminds her pleasantly that this is not her church, "as if one could choose the wrong one." Maybe she is a bit confused and in the wrong place. She shakes her head and brushes past them all and finds a seat near the back. Inside it is very cold, colder than usual. The dignified ushers come by, l…