Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

St John the Evangelist at Cana

A little while ago I was told about a sermon in which the preacher spoke about the idea that the bridegroom at the Wedding at Cana, and that his reaction to the miraculous changing of water into wine was to abandon his bride, embrace virginity and follow Our Lord.

Now I must admit that this idea was new to me. I should add that it is one that I would rather doubt on the Scriptural evidence, or rather its lack. I am inclined to see John as a young teenager, too young to marry and support a wife, but who followed his Divine cousin. He displays the impetuousness of youth both as a Son of Thunder and also as the one Apostle to venture to Calvary. This idea I owe to a comment made in answer to my post St John the Evangelist from 2011. 

I have no problems with the ancient traditions of  an extended family group from whom Our Lord drew some of the Apostles as well as other disciples.

However to mark last Sunday, the day on which the Miracle at Cana is celebrated liturgically, the excellent website Canticum Salomonis has posted a translation of a sermon by Honorius Augustodunensis 
 ( c.1080-1154 ). Wikipedia has an account of what little is known of his life other than his writings at Honorius AugustodunensisThe sermon is a model for the use of those called to preach at a patronal celebration on the feast of St John the Evangelist on December 27th and draws together a wide range of homiletic material.

By the by I wonder if a version of Honorius’ sermon was ever preached in the Cluniac priory of St John the Evangelist in my home town of Pontefract. There is no way of knowing, but it is I suppose possible.

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