The Gesima Season and New Testament – Episode 37

Here we are again at the start of the “Gesima” season with Septuagesima Sunday, the ninth Sunday before Easter, 64 (and not 70) days before Easter.  In the Podcast Homily I posted today you will find a brief discussion of the origin of the “Gesima” naming system, plus a homily for Septuagesima Sunday.   The Scripture references are 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Matthew 20:1-16, the Parable of the Laborers.  I discuss the symbolism of the characters from the perspective of St. Paul and many of the writers of the early Christian Church.   Listen to the MP3 version.

I also uploaded Episode 37 in The New Testament:  Gospels & Epistles to our You Tube channel.  Episode 37 is focused on three more “signs” in the Gospel of St. John: the Healing of the Nobleman’s Son (John 4:46-54); the Paralytic Man (John 5:1-15) and Part 1 of 2 of the healing of the Blind Man (John 9:1-41).  For the Blind Man portion, the discussion is limited to the account of the healing, with discussion of the aftermath involving the blind man, his parents, the Pharisees and Jesus reserved for Episode 38.   Watch the Video.    There is also a Podcast version (audio only):  Listen to the MP3 Podcast

You Tube has given the AIC a new, direct and unique URL address:    That will take you directly to the host page showing all the videos, listed in reverse order with the  most recent first.   They also gave me a unique new URL address for my Google+ profile page:     If you join my Google circle, they will notify you of all new postings.

New Testament – Episode 36, plus Homily for Third Sunday After Epiphany

Stained Glass by Mayer of Munich at St. Joseph's Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA, from PAINTINGS ON LIGHT: THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS OF ST. JOSEPH'S VILLA CHAPEL, available at the AIC Bookstore and from and Kindle
Stained Glass by Mayer of Munich at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA, from PAINTINGS ON LIGHT: THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS OF ST. JOSEPH’S VILLA CHAPEL, available at the AIC Bookstore and from and Kindle

This week it happens that the subject of The New Testament: Episode 36 in our AIC Bible Study series and the Gospel text for Third Sunday After Epiphany is the same text from John 2:1-11, the account of the first of seven “signs”, being the Wedding at Cana.  Episode 36 is illustrated with several stained glass windows, including a Mayer of Munich window at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA.   Watch Episode 36 on our You Tube channel.

I also posted a Podcast Homily version which is linked from the page of the same name at the AIC web site.   Listen to the Podcast Homily version.

There is also a Podcast version of the sound track for the video, which includes the theme music for the series.   Listen to the sound track only.

The Mayer of Munich window shows Jesus, with the Blessed Virgin Mary looking on, at left background, instructing the servants to fill the jugs with water.  For reasons of space, the Mayer artists included only three jugs rather than the six described by St. John.

The current series of Bible Study videos is exploring the seven signs.  In Episode 37, which will be posted midweek during the week of January 26th, I will focus on the Healing of the Nobleman’s Son, the Lame Man and take up Part 1 of 2 on the healing of the Blind Man.

Paintings on Light can be ordered from my author page at Amazon in a paperback edition which includes pictures and narratve on all the stained glass windows in the Chapel, plus a brief history of the Chapel and the firm of Franz Mayer of Munich, Inc.   I have not been able to complete the DVD Companion for the book, owing to technical issues, which I hope will be resolved soon.

Second Sunday After Epiphany

Window No. 5, the Baptism of Christ, Franz Mayer of Munich, at St. Joseph's Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA, 1931 A.D.
Window No. 5, the Baptism of Christ, Franz Mayer of Munich, at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA, 1931 A.D.

This afternoon I posted a Podcast Homily for the Second Sunday After Epiphany, based on the BCP readings from St. Paul’s homily on various Christian virtues (Romans 12:6-16, to which I added two additional verses to better establish the context) and Mark 1:1-11, with quotations from similar material in the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John.  The primary subject is the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.  The Podcast Homily is the third episode in a series of seven homilies for Epiphany season following the readings in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  Listen to the Podcast

The scene is richly illustrated by the stained glass window by Franz Mayer of Munich at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA, 1931 A.D.  The simultaneous appearance of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is represented by the presence of Jesus Christ; the Dove (the Spirit); and the legend carried by the Dove:  Ecce Agnus Dei.   This and all the other stained glass windows at the Chapel are features in the AIC Bookstore publication, Paintings on Light: the Stained Glass Windows at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel.   For more information or to order your own copy, visit my Author Central page at

Copyright Can Stock Photo, Inc./Flik47. Cathedral of the Assumption, Mt. Zion, Jerusalem

In doing the research for the Christmas series, Reflections on the Twelve Days of Christmas, I came across another illustration of John the Baptist in the form of a mosaic at Jerusalem.   John the Baptist is depicted in mosaic form at the Cathedral of the Assumption on Mt. Zion, the highest point in Jerusalem.  The Cathedral is also called the Cathedral of the Dormition, which means falling asleep, in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.  The church was built in the late 19th C. on a site where a previous building existed in the 6th or 7th Century.

First Sunday After Epiphany

For the First Sunday After Epiphany the Book of Common Prayer’s Gospel reading is St. Luke’s childhood glimpse of Jesus at age 12, usually called “teaching the Doctors in the Temple.”   I’ve posted a 12-minute Podcast Homily on the Podcast Homilies page at our Web Site, part of a series of homilies for Epiphany season.

Teaching the Doctors in the Temple; Window No. 32, St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA, by Franz Mayer of Munich, 1931 A.D.

This event has been depicted many times, but my favorites are two stained glass windows, both in the Munich Style.  The first of these is at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, Richmond, VA, where my former parish, St. John Chrysostom Anglican, worshiped.  The window was designed by Franz Mayer of Munich.  It shows Jesus at the center of the image with the several “doctors,” meaning the wisest men among the Temple leadership, looking on.   St. Mary and St. Joseph are the background figures.  The window was installed in 1931 A.D. as part of a set of 46 windows.  Teaching the Doctors in the Temple is one of ten Life of Christ windows in the upper wall of the Nave.   All the windows in the Chapel are shown in the AIC Bookstore publication, Paintings on Light: the Stained Glass Windows of St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel.

The second window is also in the Munich Style and might have been a Mayer design or one by the associated firm of F. X. Zettler, founded by Mayer’s son-in-law.  It is one of a pair of windows depicting scenes in the childhood of Jesus Christ.  The other half of the scene is St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus.

This window is at the National Shrine of St. Francis Assisi in San Francisco.  A smaller window than the one at St. Joseph’s Villa Chapel, there was room for only one “Doctor.”  Note that the face of the column to the left of the 12-Year old Jesus bears an image representing the Commandmants.  The location of the scene is indicated by the lighted Menorah and the scroll at Jesus’ feet.  The source from which I purchased the picture did not identify the designer or show information about the windows.  The twining bands of colored glass and the use of leaves with finely-detailed vine tracery are suggestive of the work of Franz Mayer.

Jesus Teaching in the Temple.  copyright Can Stock Photo, Inc./BillPerry
Jesus Teaching in the Temple. copyright Can Stock Photo, Inc./BillPerry

Listen to the Podcast Homily.

The Feast of the Epiphany – A.D. 2015

Yesterday (January 5th) I uploaded to our Podbean host site a new Podcast homily for Epiphany, January 6th, A.D. 2015.  This Blog posting supplements and complements the podcast, which is a purely sound-based environment.  If you’d like to hear the podcast, click here.   This morning I completed the redesign of our web site.  The new design offers a cleaner look and a more functional design, giving easy access to our books, videos and podcasts.   Click here to visit the redesigned site. If you’d like to comment on it or make suggestions, please send me an email at

Epiphany is celebrated in different ways among the various denominations.  As Anglicans we celebrate not only the event commemorated on Epiphany Day, the Visit of the Wise Men, but also six other “manifestations” of Jesus Christ to the broader Gentile world.  These six are the Teaching the Wise Men in the Temple (First Sunday After Epiphany); the Baptism of Christ (Second Sunday After Epiphany); the Wedding at Cana, including the first miracle of turning water into wine (Third Sunday After Epiphany); the twin healings of the Leper and the Centurion’s Son (Fourth Sunday After Epiphany); the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, concerning the “harvesting” of the faithful at the coming of Judgment (Fifth Sunday After Epiphany); and Judgment at the Second Coming (Sixth Sunday After Epiphany).   Among Eastern Orthodox Christians it is the Baptism of Christ that is the central event.  In years when Easter is early and Epiphany season is shortened, the readings for the Fifth and Sixth Sundays After Epiphany are used as the final readings for Trinity season.  These fit nicely as a transition to the Penitential season of Advent, celebrating both His Nativity and His Second Coming.

Three Kings Watching  copyright Can Stock Photo, Inc./zatletic
Three Kings Watching copyright Can Stock Photo, Inc./zatletic

Epiphany is not a Scriptural word.  It is derived from several Greek words, all meaning to show forth or shine forth and from the Greek word for light.  In the first three centuries of the Church, Epiphany was part of the Nativity feast, being the day after the Twelfth Day of Christmas (Epiphany Eve).   Around the time of Roman Pope Gregory the Great (440-461 A.D,), the Feast had become a celebration of the visit of the Wise Men, or Maji, thus the name Adoration of the Maji for the Feast.  The illustration is a modern photograph of a raised relief carving, most likely somewhere in central or eastern Europe.   Note that the three figures are displayed according to the Roman Catholic doctrine that they represent the three races of mankind, the European, the Asian and the African, an idea developed about the same time that the Roman Church fixed the number of wise men at three and gave them names:  Caspar (or Gaspard in Anglican usage), Balthazar and Mechior.

The Book of Common Prayer readings for Epiphany, January 6th, are St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:1-12), in which the Apostle to the Gentiles, explains that the Gentiles have the same access to the salvation promised by Jesus Christ, and St. Matthew’s account (Matthew 2:1-12) of the encounter between Herod and the wise men, the wise men’s visit to the Holy Family and their “worship” of the Child/King, and their return to “their own country” without informing Herod of the Child’s whereabouts.

This year the AIC website will host a Podcast Homily for Epiphany (January 6th) and all six of the Sundays After Epiphany, whether or not they are actually read in services this year.  These will be available on the new Podcast Homily page at the AIC web site.  These seven homilies will focus upon the designated Prayer Book readings for each of the Sundays, with a focus on how they relate to traditional Apostolic teaching.

May God bless each of you with a happy and prosperous New Year in A.D. 2015.