Our Journey continues today, as a matter of fact, this is our last Epiphany service for 2019.
We have traveled with the wise men as they came searching for the King of the Jews;
And we heard of Jesus self-revelation in the temple when he was yet but 12 years old;
we were at the Jordan river and experienced Jesus baptism as the Holy Trinity was fully revealed for all to see;
and from there, we followed him to Cana for a wedding feast,
as he performed his first miracle; thus setting the table for our Holy Eucharist;
finally, last week’s Gospel spoke of Jesus performing a miracle for a Jew
and then a Gentile,
thus preparing the way for Gentiles and Jews to be called to His Kingdom.
So now today, after experiencing his “showing forth” (His Epiphany) via the scripture,
we come to a point that is so important to each one of us here today.
In this secular world that teaches a relativism of no truth
and the Roman Catholic Church Pope speaks of a false universal-isms,
it is refreshing to read the truth in today’s Gospel.
In the Gospel of Matthew the word “tares” is spoken of eight times
(and is derived from the greek word: zizanion Pronunciation
zē-zä’-nē-on – and is a seed which resembles wheat, except its grains are very dark.
These tares in the Gospel are planted after the good seeds are planted in the field,
thus when the field is sprung up, the field brings forth the tares also…
and scripture tells us that the enemy of the Kingdom had done this evil deed, of planting the tares.
Later, Jesus explains (Mat 13:38) that “The field is the world;
the good seed are the children of the kingdom;
but the tares are the children of the wicked one;”
and the Gospel ends with:
“Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them:
but gather the wheat into my barn.
And we are told in Matthew 13:40: so shall it be in the end of this world.
(13:51) and then Jesus asks his disciples
(thus He asks us)
“Have ye understood all these things?”
My dearly beloved family,
be strong and let not this world darken you.
You are the good seed, and we are told (Mat 5:14) – Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill, and cannot be hid.
Our light comes not from darkness but it is of pure light:
(John 8:12) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying,
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life.
(Jhn 9:5) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
This knowledge, my brethren is a true knowledge,
and I know this is true:
(2Co 4:6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts,
to give the light of the knowledge / of the glory of God / in the face of Jesus Christ.
Open your heart, soul, and mind, and understand (1Jo 1:5)
that God is the light, and in him is no darkness at all.
And yet, we live in a world that likes to make light relative to darkness,
via false reasoning,
and it is an evil world which speaks of a universalism
which does not separate the light from the darkness;
thus attempting, to dim the light through lies and deceits.
That is why the Collect today is so important as it:
Beseeches God to keep His Church and household continually in His true religion…
And in Colossians 3, we are told to teach and admonish one another
(to warn, advise, and urge) one another earnestly,
and to do so with grace in our hearts –
and to do all in the name of our Lord Jesus.
Therefore, you and I must remain:
strong (via His Holy Sacraments)
and firm (through the strength of Scripture)
and stay sure with confident (through prayer.)
The evil secular is determined to darken the Light
and to replace the Light with a darkness
which they believe will hide their sins
while ridiculing and mocking the Light.
We seem to observe today:
the hardening of hearts of the parents towards their children
and the children towards their parents,
we see one group against another,
and one school of thought against the other,
and an attempt to separate what is called moral from God.
Secularism today promotes a social morality which is of human nature…
as it is tears down the Kingdom of God.
This secularism has even separated people who call themselves Christians,
by as some ignore the teaching of the church and its two thousand year history.
This is why we must pray for God to keep His Church continually in
His true religion.
How do we fight the enmity (this hatred) between the seed of the woman and the seed of serpent?
Paul tells us in the Epistle:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God…
A heart of compassion,
Of kindness, and humbleness of mind,
of a Meekness that is of long suffering,
We must Forbear one another wile forgiving one another…
And above all these things
put on charity LOVE
WHICH IS THE BOND OF PERFECTNESS…
Fight the temptations of this world of wanting to hit back even harder than we are hit,
of seeking to destroy even if we are just harmed,
and when we are wronged,
not to use our tongues (and today – our keypads)
to divide, conquer, or even destroy in our vengeance.
Today (unfortunately) we have instant stimulation of emotions,
and is in comparison of a slower and simpler period
that gave time for feelings to mend / and for anger to wane.
That is a time / for compassionate hearts.
For kind and humble minds,
For a meekness of patience
and for a time when Love must reappear….
And this can only happen if you allow it to begin with you.
Use all your gifts to build up and never allow yourself to be used to tear down.
Love your neighbor.
Come to His table this morning as Christians,
that he strengthens you
to be one!
The hour cometh and now is….