Friday, September 20 2019
“A way of love that seeks the good and the well-being of the other before the self’s own unenlightened interest. A way of love that is not self-centered, but other-directed. A way of love grounded in compassion and goodness and justice and forgiveness. It is that way of love that is the way of Jesus. And that way of love that can set us all free”(Presiding Bishop Curry).
I am still a little delirious from the beautiful ordination of Deacon Anthony Jones to the priesthood. Bishop Provenzano specifically thanked the parish of St. John’s, Huntington for raising up such a fine priest. Deacon Anthony is now Fr. Anthony. As I reflect on the service and the standing room only crowd that was filled with St. John’s and St. Augustine’s parishioners, I am filled with great joy and pride. Fr. Anthony will continue to serve at St. Augustine’s in Brooklyn as he finishes his Master of Divinity degree and continues to work as an attorney for the Veterans Administration. The Bishop promised St. John’s a Vocational Deacon in the near future and the possibility of a Curate.
Next Sunday, Fr. Anthony will be celebrating the Eucharist and preaching at both the 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM services. Please plan to attend one of these services and show our appreciation for the love and ministry that Fr. Anthony has done at St. John’s. Please invite friends and family to the service. If you would like to donate to the gifts that we will give to Fr. Anthony, please write a check to St. John’s and put “Fr. Anthony’s gift” in the memo line. We will also be having a potluck brunch following the 10:00 service. Fr. Anthony has touched so many of our hearts that I ask you to show your appreciation by attending his Homecoming on Sunday September 29th. Pray for him in his new ministry that God will continue to keep him in the way of love and that he might bring others to God’s love.
As our culture becomes increasingly selfish and autonomous, I ask you to a life of self-giving love for the sake of others. In the hymn that we will sing after the Holy Eucharist we will be asked, “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?” God calls each and every one of us to the way of love. This path is a path of connection and relationship. We are called to this life of self-sacrifice that draws us closer to God and our neighbor. I am thankful for the service that Fr. Anthony has done at St. John’s and for all the connections that he has made with us.
Jesus speaks in today’s Gospel about the negative effect that money can have on our lives. Money can actually stand in the way between God and us. The dishonest manager was over charging his clients for the benefit of the rich man and himself. Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters, we can walk the way of love or we can walk the way of greed. I would have enjoyed having Fr. Anthony as our assistant priest, but I realize that being an attorney, a seminary student, and commuting back and forth to Suffolk County from the city is not in his best interest. So as with so many things in life, we must allow Fr. Anthony to follow God’s call at another parish. The way of love is to thank him for his generous time, talent, and treasure that he has shared with us and pray for him as he moves to his next ministry. Maybe we will be called in the near future to train another individual for ordained ministry.
In Christ’s love,