Monday, August 19, 2013

20th Sunday Ordinary Time - Luke 12:49-53 - A Prophet's Life

My brothers and sisters, Rejoice!
I bring you Glad Tidings and Good News!
I bring you words of hope and encouragement! 
The Lord, your God has mercy and forgiveness for His people. 
The Lord loves His people and desires them to live in peace and prosperity with Him forever and ever!
Sing a new song to the Lord, for he liberates captives, frees the oppressed and comforts the troubled.
In the Lord, find a new day dawning; a day of peace and plenty - where all tears and sorrow are wiped away.

The Kingdom of God is at hand.  Heed His call to repent.
  • Turn away from your old sinful ways and look upon the Lord with joy. 
  • Renew your faith in God and be welcomed into His heavenly Kingdom.
  • Trust in the Lord, your God, to deliver you from domination and despair. 
  • Find in Him new hope and courage to live in freedom – fully human - as beloved children of God! 
  • Throw off the yoke of oppression and sin.
  • Cast aside the things that take away your dignity and respect as humans. 
  • Turn you back on the ways of the world that deny your freedom.
  • Reject those who would do you harm - for their profit; leading you away from the Lord into the hands of the evil-one. 
  • Live as children of the one God, Father of us all, who loves us beyond imagination, gives us all the good things we need and desires us to live with Him in peace and freedom - forever and ever. 
The life of a prophet is not an easy life.  While the prophet brings Good News of hope and peace - in living a new life in the loving embrace of God: he also reminds us that the journey of faith has its risks and requirements. 

God selects his prophets: it is not a chosen career path.  Usually prophets try to talk God out of His bestowing this singular honor on them. Some prophets try to run away, many deny that God has chosen them; all complain to God that it’s a life too hard for them and beg to be relieved of the privilege to represent God to his people.  This is due mostly to the nature of the message God wants His people to hear. 

Telling people about the good things is easy:
  • Peaceful living in a land of milk and honey
  • A life free from sorrow and tears
  • Lives of plenty, free from deprivation and despair
  • No more pain and affliction
  • Liberation from oppression and slavery
  • Delivery from addiction to worldly pleasures

But - telling people they need to change their lives and amend their sinful - destructive ways – that’s the hard part. 

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news - or have to remind people that they need to change their ways; - turning their backs on the treasures of this world to build up treasure in heaven.  It upsets people: it makes them angry and fearful.  No one likes to be reminded that the things they do are against God and that they need to change their wicked ways – even if it’s for their own good.  It makes them want to do things - like – throw you down a well – or nail you to a cross. 
  • Both Jesus and Jeremiah spoke God’s word to His people. 
  • Both reminded the people of God’s love and care for them and God’s desire for His people to be with Him in His heavenly Kingdom. 
  • Both called for rejection of the status quo, to break from the addiction of worldly desires and denounce adherence to evil ways.
  • Both called for the people to repent, ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness - and come to a new life
  • Both Jesus and Jeremiah were seized by those who feared the power of God’s Word - that it would take away their power over the people
  • Both Jesus and Jeremiah suffered for their faith
  • Both Jesus and Jeremiah were raised up – Jeremiah out of the mud - onto solid ground and Jesus to the Glory of heaven. 
Throughout all time God calls to His people to turn away from sin and worldly desire: to turn toward Him – to be loved by Him, to live in peace with Him, to become fully human in Him - His children - forever and ever.
~ Amen.


Deacon Don Ron

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

19th Sunday Ordinary Time - Luke 12:32-48 - Patience

Patience is the hallmark of a Christian life.  It is a sign of faithfulness and a willingness to make a commitment: to sacrifice for the promise of a something greater than ourselves – God’s promise of Life Eternal in His heavenly Kingdom.  

Patience is also something many of us struggle with in our journey of faith and we are not alone.  Throughout history people of God have struggled with their faith in God’s promise.  These lapses in faith came through their lack of patience; a lack in willingness to stay the course, to remaining true over long periods; waiting for God’s work.  Remember, soon after the people’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt: - after witnessing all God did for them – they became impatient waiting for God to bring them into the Promise Land and made a god of their own - out of a golden calf.

In today’s world we live a life of the immediate, the now.  Everything happens instantly – we watch news from half a world away - as it happens.  Who writes letters any more, when we can call or text?  Many even now find email too slow for us today.  We live in an instantaneous world - where nothing lasts for longer than a moment and we move from one thing to the next - in the blink of an eye.  So how are we expected to have patience, especially the patience needed to live in God’s time?

Today’s readings teach us about patience; showing us something of God’s time and the patience needed to live a life of faith and hope.  In Wisdom, we are reminded that commitment to the faith - that delivered the people of Israel out of bondage - is still relevant to the people even a thousand years later. The commitment to remembering God’s promise of deliverance is ongoing, never to be forgotten – that God is with us always.

In the faithfulness of Abraham, with his wife Sarah, who, even in his old age – “one as good as dead” - waited with patience for the fulfillment of God’s promise - to make of him, “a great nation, a great name and a blessing for all people.”  Abraham waited patiently; remaining committed to God and kept faith that God would bring about his promise even in Abraham’s old age.

If Abraham had no patience, we would not know his great name, - there would’ve been no fulfillment of God’s promise to bring life from the barren Sarah, and a great nation would not have come forth from him.  There would be no blessing for all God’s people.

Jesus tells us about being patient in waiting for the Master to return; that those who wait patiently, in faith will be rewarded.  As children of God, we are called to live faithfully, to live with patient commitment - in the hope of rising to Eternal Life.

Without patience, the people would have abandoned God and drifted away from faith and belief in God’s promise. 
Without patience, we would forget we are God’s beloved children
Without patience, we would forget His unconditional love and mercy for us
Without patience, we would forget our call to love one another as we are loved.

But - with patience, we have faith in God’s promise of salvation. 
With patience, we live in hope of His promise of Eternal Life
With patience, we know we will be received with joy and live in peace in God’s Kingdom

Our lack of patience can lead us astray - into a dark journey - away from faith in God and hope in His promise of life everlasting.  Jesus warns us that:
if we, like the slaves in the parable, lack patience in waiting for His return,
if we fail in our commitment to act faithfully,
if we are not waiting patiently at the door - ready to open when He arrives –

We will not receive God’s blessing and His reward of life everlasting in His heavenly Kingdom. 
~ Amen

Deacon Don Ron