Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

Homily preached by the Rev. James La Macchia
Saint John’s Church/Newtonville
August 20, 2017
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost—Proper 15A

Genesis 45:1-15
Psalm 133
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus, Ethiopian

Ethiopian Image of the Risen Christ With His Disciples

My Friends: For almost three centuries now, scholars—and even popular writers—have been preoccupied with the search for the so-called historical Jesus.  This quest is based upon the premise of a sharp and real distinction between the historical person known as Jesus of Nazareth, a rabbi who lived and died in first-century Palestine during the Common Era, and the “Christ” of faith who—depending upon your degree of post-modern skepticism—is either long dead and gone; a complete fabrication of the early Church; or is the resurrected and glorified Messiah of God, the incarnation of God’s eternal Word.
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Training in Love

Homily for Sunday, August 13, 2017
10th Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 14:22-33

Preached by Fr. Todd Miller at St. John’s, Newtonville



Rembrandt’s (1606-1669) “Calming the Storm”

Our Gospels tell two different stories about Jesus and stormy seas.  In the one, Jesus is in the boat, asleep in the stern, and the disciples wake him and he calms the storm.  On this text (e.g., Matthew 8:23-27) Augustine preached a famous sermon:  As Christ was in the boat, says Augustine, so is Christ within each of us.  And as was the sea made stormy by winds, so is our inner sea made stormy by temptation.  To know calm, says Augustine, we must call out and awake the Christ within:  “Rouse him up… call Christ to mind, let Christ awake in you.” Continue reading


Homily preached by the Rev. James La Macchia
Saint John’s Church,Newtonville
August 6, 2017
The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99
2 Peter 1:13-21
Luke 9:28-36



The Transfiguration, by Fra Angelico, 1442

My friends:  Of the many “signs and wonders” reported in the canonical Gospels, the story of the Jesus’ “Transfiguration,” recounted by Saint Luke in today’s Gospel, is probably the one most outside our ordinary human experience.  Our imaginations can at least grasp changing water into wine; walking on water; healing the sick; even raising the dead.  But what in the world are we to make of this strange and curious event on the height of Mount Tabor in first-century Galilee?  The New Testament Greek word for “transfiguration” is “metamorphosis,” a visible change in the outward appearance of a body, and its morphing into something else.  Continue reading

In the Berkshire Mountains & HOME!

Here are some photos from our climb over the Berkshires. We took Rt 2 through Williamstown and Greenfield. Below are the view from the “hairpin” between Williamstown and Greenfield, and then at the top of the pass in Florida (the town in MA, not the state).  The ride down along the Savoy River valley was as beautiful as it was exhilarating.

On Wednesday, we arrived home! Thanks to all who have followed our little pilgrimage. Hope you enjoyed our trek around the Great Lakes.


Back to Massachusetts

Shaw and I just crossed over into Williamstown, Massachusetts yesterday (Sunday)!  Below are photos from our weekend rides:  lock #8 on the Erie Canal in Schenectady; in Rome, New York on Saturday morning; at the top of Petersburg Pass with Massachusetts and the Berkshires in the background;  looking back into New York State from the top of Petersburg Pass. We should be back in Newton soon!

Into Upstate New York

Last Sighting: Rochester, NY

Below are photos from our ride over the Canadian side of Lake Erie:  Our campsite overlooking Lake Erie last Friday, July 7. Lilies growing wild along the road – there were lots of these lilies along roads north of Lake Erie!  Buffalo, NY, from the Canadian side. Traffic on the Peace Bridge leading to the border checkpoint at Buffalo; this checkpoint goes much more quickly on a bicycle.

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In Northern Michigan

Last spotted at Ossineke State Forest

ossineke-state-forestI write to update you on how the trip is going. We are currently (Monday, July 3) camped at Ossineke State Forest south of Alpena, Michigan, on the Huron coast. After several weeks of rain, the forecast for this week is beautiful:  cool, sunny, and very little rain.  We took a day off on Saturday (June 30), and our host for the evening took us sailing on Little Traverse Bay (top photo). Shaw, who learned to sail at Community Boating at the Charles River basin, put his skills to good use on a gusty day, helping our host guide her 28 foot boat around the bay. Continue reading