All Saints' Episcopal Church
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San Diego, California 92103
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Sundays -  Low Mass 8:00am;  Solemn Mass 10:30am 
Sunday School 10:30am    Child Care at 8am and 10:30am Services
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This Sunday and Beyond    Weekly Reflections:


We Are God's Beloved Ones

This Sunday and Beyond - January 12, 2020
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In an era where modern technology has made communication with others so easy, there is more isolation, neglect and lack of real love than ever. The fact is people do not really post in social media who they are, but they try to present a fake picture of themselves that is ‘attractive’ or at least ‘acceptable’ to others. People feel the need to be loved, but they have forgotten how to feel and share love.
The inability to show authentic love is closely connected to a feeling of not being loved. We have been made to believe that in order for others to love us, even the members of our own family, we need to make certain achievements that earn us that love. That leads us to compete with one another, to try to be the strongest, the ablest, the most popular and the most efficient. Then, and only then, we tend to believe, will we earn people’s ‘love’. So if someone is selected as the ‘loved’ one, it necessarily means that others are excluded from this ‘love’.

When it comes to our relationship with God, we tend to believe that the same rationale applies here. We believe that we have to accomplish certain tasks and conform ourselves to certain prescribed behaviors in order to be worthy of God’s love. And if it happens that someone is selected as God’s beloved one, it means that others are excluded from that category. So according to this, God must have declared Jesus as His beloved one after He accomplished His mission on earth. And then, again, all others who could not live up to His accomplishment were excluded from this category.

But is that the way things happened?

Not at all. What we read in Matthew’s Gospel is that God called Jesus His beloved one in whom He was highly pleased right before He actually started His redemptive mission on earth, at His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. In fact, it must have been highly reassuring for Jesus to hear these words when we think about the magnitude and sacrificial mission He was to face. He had to pour out a tremendous love to all those surrounding Him, and He needed to be filled with this love from His father in order to be able to do so. We cannot give to others what we lack.

Jesus came so that we might get to know God’s love for us all. That was the core of His teaching in words and in deeds. He showed us how real love is not diminished when shared, but simply multiplies infinitely as did the bread and the fish. He showed us how God’s love for Him does not exclude but is intended to include us all. Not that we need to earn God’s love, but simply perceive it, accept it, rejoice in it, and multiply it by sharing it with as many others as we are able to.

And the words that Jesus heard at His baptism are meant for each and every one of us. Simply because God loves us in spite of our disbelief in His love. So next time you have any doubts about deserving love, about being filled with love to share and multiply, remember these words, say them once and again silently or out loud, with absolute certitude and deep faith, to yourself: N, you are my beloved one, in whom I am well pleased!

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector

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Can We See The Light?

This Sunday and Beyond - January 05, 2020
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For those who were born blind or have gone blind due to certain conditions, the question may sound inappropriate, almost sarcastic. However, throughout my life I have met physically blind people who can actually see more than some with a 20/20 vision range. These people are blessed by an inner light that enables them to shine in the darkness of this broken world and guide others through the apparently illuminated pathways of their lives. They do not let their physical darkness embitter them. Their faith and commitment to devote their lives to illuminate others surpasses all. I have always admired such people. They can be a real inspiration for those of us who have very good physical visions and are always complaining about the hardships of life.

But can we see the Light? The one that John the Evangelist describes as the Life of this world? The one that shone in the middle of the night for the shepherds keeping watch on their flock on Christmas Eve? The one that the wise men from the Orient followed so as to be guided to the presence of the child God? This is none other than the Light of Christ, God’s Light. This Light wants to shine for all. It really wants to shine, so that the darkness of ignorance, prejudice. Intolerance, selfishness and indifference can be dispelled from our lives, so that we can all be healed and have abundant light and life in us.

This is not the light reflected by lentils covering the garments of worldly celebrities. King Herod and his courtiers may have had that light, but they never saw the real Light. Some wise men had to come all the way from the Orient, from a foreign land, with a different religion (that of Zoroaster’s maybe) to point out to them that the Light of God was already shining in their land! And then Herod tried hard to put out the Light. But as John the Evangelist proclaims: the darkness cannot overcome it!

This Light shines on and will continue to do so. Dark forces have tried hard to put it out, or to confuse us with some alternative lights: the light of money power, the light of fame, the light of spiritual pride even—the most misleading of all. But these ‘alternatives’ will lead us nowhere. They will only take us down into a spiral of ever increasing darkness and loss of our true identity as sons and daughters of God. Beware of these false ‘lights’. They can appear so pretty, so shiny, so deceiving



May the true Light that guided the wise men be our guiding Light, so that just as they did, we can also be led to the divine presence, and offer there the most precious gift: the gift of our true inner lights, shining in unison with God’s Light. Then the whole of Creation will be illumined and all its creatures will rejoice in its awesome splendor!

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector

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Christmas Is a Gift Exchange

This Sunday and Beyond - December 29, 2019
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Gift exchange has become very popular for Christmas and other celebrations, especially in work places, schools or other institutions with a great number of people, where it is practically impossible to buy gifts for each person. So the solution is that each person buys a valuable gift for a specific person, who is kept a secret. It is usually known as Secret Santa, and the good thing is that every person is assured a gift. It was a well devised solution, perhaps even a commendable one, but God knows better.

No matter how valuable a gift we receive from someone may be—and some gifts are really valuable, not only for their material worth but for what they mean in terms of human relationships—none of them can equal the gifts that God is constantly pouring abundantly upon our lives: the gift of life itself, the gift of wisdom, the gift of His unconditional love manifested to us in the love of our fellow human beings and even other creatures of the animal kingdom.

But there is one special gift that God has given us that is unrivaled: the gift of Himself. How did God manage to give Himself to us? He devised a special plan. He made himself man. He was incarnated by the power of His Spirit in a very special human womb, that of the blessed Virgin Mary, and left the realm of timelessness and omnipresence in order to live a human life, in a given time, at a given place. This gift is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is perfect man and perfect God in one person, the eternal Son of God.

During Christmas we celebrate this unique gift. But though we may believe that gift exchange is a recent invention, it turns out that God Himself had thought of this a long time ago. Not that He actually needs something in exchange for His most precious gift, but we need to take part in His gift exchange if we are to take part in His salvific plan.

So we received the undeserved blessing of His presence with us, in human shape, so we could get to know God’s unconditional love as something close to us, something really human and tangible. But if the Christmas gift remains only as a wonderful memory in the distant past, what are we to gain from it?

This is where we, as followers of Jesus Christ, enter the scene. If Mary offered the gift of her human womb then in exchange for the great blessing of incarnating God, today we need to offer our humanity to keep on incarnating Christ in our lives. So the gift we offer God is the gift of ourselves. He needs each and every one of us. He needs our uniqueness to carry on His plan of salvation for the whole world. Each of us has a mission to accomplish, no matter how small we may perceive it, but it becomes indispensable in the big plan.

So let us not refuse to take part in this gift exchange. It is devised by our Creator and He will never disappoint us. He will return the gift of ourselves multiplied to us, by such a figure as no one could even think of. It is certainly the best gift exchange ever. The Christmas exchange.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector

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God With Us

This Sunday and Beyond - December 22, 2019
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As the Advent Season comes to an end, the readings for this Sunday focus on the coming of the one who is to bring new hope to God’s people, to restore their lives and bring back the joy, to save them from the slavery of sin and death, to reconcile them with their Creator, with all of creation, with one another and with themselves.

This is the promised Emmanuel (God with Us). God will no longer be just up there, in an unreachable realm, having compassion of his creatures and doing remarkable things to save them from time to time. God will now dwell among His people, and His people will get to know Him, because He has chosen to reveal Himself to them in human shape.

But what leads God to do this? Is it because He wants to feel what it would be like to be a human being? That would be simplistic. If we believe in an Almighty God, then He does not need to become human to know exactly what it feels like to be human. God must have a very definite purpose.

He does. His infinite love and his willingness to save us in spite of ourselves leads Him to do this. By emptying Himself of his divine features He uplifts our humanity to Himself. This is not just a downward movement. It is a two-way movement. God the Son is fully human but He is also fully divine. This is the wonderful mystery of incarnation. But the ultimate purpose of incarnation is to take us all up back to God, to our true home, to where we have actually always belonged.

So God sends His Holy Spirit to impregnate Mary, the chosen human vessel, and God the Son starts to be humanly conceived in her womb. From the very start, as soon as Mary’s pregnancy is visible, human pain affects both Mary and her betrothed, Joseph. Anguish fills this betrothed couple. Joseph feels betrayed and at the same time his goodness and love make him decide to leave Mary secretly in order to preserve her reputation. Then God’s angel assures him of the divine origin of her pregnancy and instructs him to name the child Jesus (God saves). Now he learns about the saving mission of the child he is responsible for. It is so easy to disregard what Joseph (and not only Mary) had to go through…

At the same time, this chosen couple has the greatest of all blessings. The blessing of raising God’s incarnation. The most sacred of missions. The highest duty to God.

We are so blessed! God is no longer only in our favor; not only is it God for us, but God with us. He has shown us His infinite love in Jesus Christ’s human life: a life lived for us all, a life of unconditional self-giving love.

We have now learned that incarnation brings the greatest joy but also entails human suffering. It is not easy for the divine to become human and it is not easy for the human to become divine. But the two-way movement that started in Mary’s womb has never ceased. It will never cease because it is God’s wish to uplift us to Himself. So we are to incarnate His beloved Son in our lives. We are to be His eyes, lips, arms and legs in this broken world. We are called to bring reconciliation, hope, healing, and joy. It will not be easy. We may suffer. But the blessing and joy of being part of God’s incarnation surpasses it all. Merry Christmas!

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector

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The True Joy of Our Lives

This Sunday and Beyond - December 15, 2019
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This Third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday” or “Rose Sunday”. The reason for the former name is that the Introit of this day’s mass starts with the word “Rejoice” (Gaudete in Latin). The latter refers to the use of rose as the liturgical color for this day. So essentially the theme of this day is to rejoice. But what is there to rejoice about?

The Gospel reading for this day presents a different John the Baptist. This is not the one shouting out in the wilderness, but the imprisoned one doubting, asking about the Messiah’s identity. “Are you he who is to come or shall we wait for another?” He sends out his followers to ask Jesus himself, but instead of giving a straightforward ‘yes’, Jesus simply tells them about the signs of the Kingdom he and his followers have been giving: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

We may wonder what made John the Baptist doubt. Was it because he was imprisoned and therefore depressed? Knowing his character and his integrity one can hardly think so. But maybe there was more than physical imprisonment here. We can be imprisoned by our own preconceptions. The Messiah John the Baptist was expecting had a clear-cut mission: to establish a new Kingdom for those who had repented, in which all evil would be excluded. This would be a definitive establishment. And John did not see that happening. For one thing, he was still unjustly held in prison and the ones who did him injustice were free. So maybe he was wrong about Jesus being the Messiah.

When we see the world around us we may have the same doubts. We tend to think that the only way this can be God’s world is when all evil doers are banished, when only good things happen to us all the time. We see ourselves as the passive receivers of the circumstances of this world. If they happen to be favorable, then we are ‘happy’. If they are adverse, we are the unhappy victims. And what is God waiting for to make everything bright and clear for us, the ‘good guys’? It turns out that we are always the ones deserving happiness and many others are seen as the ones making us unhappy. This is an immature and unrealistic view of the world.
What we call happiness is always dependent on circumstances. So where is the real joy of life?

Jesus did not tell John the Baptist’s followers: Look, my followers and I all live in wonderful palaces and we spend our days in blissful leisure, enjoying every moment of our lives because we never experience any adversity or sorrow. He told them what he and his followers had done, through hard and constant work, to alleviate the suffering of the world around them, to mend broken lives, to give new life, to give hope to the poor. And that was how God’s Kingdom was being brought into the world.

Is it easy to give hope to the suffering ones, to heal broken lives, to become good news for the hopeless? It is not. It calls for self-giving sacrifice, of our time, of our favorite activities, of our money, of our energy, and what not. But this is what Jesus is calling us to do. This is how we become agents of joy. And this is how we can experience the most authentic joy in our life.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector

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End and Beginning

This Sunday and Beyond - December 01, 2019
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It seems a bit frightening to start the new Christian year with a Gospel reading that tells us about the end of times, the end of the world, the end of everything we know. And the signs that Jesus tells his disciples are uncertain. There is no way to know the time. So hard for us who are so used to have everything under control.

The fact is that there can be no new beginning without an end. The old things, the well-known cherished things, must come to an end so that something new can start taking place. And it is certainly hard to let go and move on.

Most of us look back to the years of our childhood, adolescence or youth as “the good old days”. In many cases we have idealized these days, and forgotten the hard times we went through even at those ages. We tend to forget that those times that we think of as better compared to the present were also shared with an older generation that looked back at an even older time as their “good old days”. And so will it be in every different generation.

Our church is now experiencing a transition. Father Eaton has just ended his abundantly fruitful interim period and this new priest has just started ministering here. It is a wonderful coincidence that my start here happens right at the beginning of the new Christian year, and probably as frightening as the Gospel reading! I do hope that this END-BEGINNING takes place a little more smoothly than what the Gospel depicts. But there will be uncertainty. And some degree of confusion too. With God’s, help, a lot of prayer from both you and me, and with your graceful cooperation, things will eventually start to fall back in place. And there will be new beginnings too. After all, isn’t this what life is all about? We live in an everlasting Advent. We are always a bit weary of changes, but hoping and expecting new things and times to come. Always a little like the preceding ones, and different and new too.

New does not necessarily mean better, but when it comes to Jesus’ promise of a New Earth and a New Heaven, we can be absolutely assured that what is coming is so wonderfully beyond our human grasp that no words will ever do it any justice. Does it really matter if we do not know the time? Let us simply think and act in this world as if the time were always now.

MARANATHA! COME LORD JESUS! Amen.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector

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King of Kings, and Lord of Lords

This Sunday and Beyond - November 24, 2019
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Our Church Calendar year is complete with Sunday’s celebration of worship in this final season of Sundays after the Feast of Pentecost. It is also the completion of two years of being a “parish in transition”, as we have searched and prayed and discerned a new priest and pastor who will be the new All Saints rector. If you can join us, or if you are reading this and cannot be with us, the Gospel reading (the Good News of Jesus Christ reading) is about Jesus riding into Jerusalem in a grand entrance with shouts and cries of Jesus being the hoped-for Messiah. I suppose it would have been a grand way to usher in the ministry of our new Rector! We just would have avoided making use of the foal of a donkey for him to ride. That would be a bit too presumptuous, don’t you think?

But the new Rector will be leading his first set of Sunday masses NEXT Sunday which is the FIRST Sunday of the Church Calendar year, the beginning of the Advent season, as we set our focus and devotions on the coming of Jesus Christ, both in remembrance of his nativity through the “Mother” of God, Mary, and for that time in the future when Jesus the Christ will come again in judgement and usher in the NEW kingdom and the NEW earth.

“Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!” (from the end of the Revelation to John)

But what does that have to do with taking a Holy Week story of Jesus before His crucifixion and pasting it in to the Sunday before Advent?

Well, just think of this way: the story is the culmination of all of our work and prayers and hopes and dreams as disciples to be reminded that this man Jesus, who is in fact the Son of God, is on that donkey colt representing the entrance of the KING into the holy city Jerusalem. That story of course will have a quick narrative leading to Jesus’ scourging, crucifixion and death. Not what we want for our King! But it is the point of both Jesus coming into His Kingship, and what KIND of Kingdom He is ushering in.

So here we will be finishing up a calendar year of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and we will gather to culminate all that we have learned, shared, and also GIVEN to this King of kings, and Lord of lords. It is incredibly moving to come before THIS king and offer our lives to Him, and the substance of our lives. Besides a feast day of culmination, the feast day also sets Jesus immovably as that Great King who is faithful, and just, and cares, and nurtures, and best of all, SAVES. Yes, Jesus Saves. That’s the meaning of His Name. And this Great King is coming, therefore, let us not forget Who He Is, and let us continue through praise and thanksgiving and service to keep our eyes and hearts on Him.

When you come to Church on Sunday, or as you take a look at the image for this reflection, you will see what is the Great Window at the west end of the nave. Jesus sits enthroned, with symbols of the four Gospel evangelists surrounding Him, as well as other symbols of King, Priest and Prophet. But don’t overlook the colors. Immediately surrounding Jesus’ head are two colors, mostly blues, and then gold, as in His crown. Take a look at those blues, and then look at the new color behind the high altar at the east end of the church. You will see an attempt to match one of those lighter blues. If you were to look in the Mary chapel you would see the new gold painted wall behind the altar there, matching the gold in the Great Window.

The blue is found in many churches like ours. It represents the heavens, and specifically THE heaven, where Jesus sits enthroned, and from where He will preside in that coming day over the creation of a new heaven. The gold represents the glory of God as found in His Church where the Holy Spirit resides and makes holy, as well as empowers, the spread of God’s Kingdom. It is here in the church that heaven and earth are joined, in the remembrance of our Great King Jesus, in the consecration of earthly elements of bread and wine which become the very presence of our King in the Holy Sacrament of Communion, and thus the place where – while we wait – we can meet and be IN communion with our King Jesus. We come and offer our lives to the King; He comes having offered His life for us, and fills us with the benefits of His kingdom as His heirs. Alleluia!

Father Robert Eaton, Interim Rector

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