Sermon Trinity 3 Fr. Michael Cawthon
Father George spoke last week of “all things are now ready” and he encouraged each of us to “come” unto our Lord.
Two weeks ago I spoke of a world WITHOUT GOD,
that we would not know which way to go,
nor even have an understanding of who we are.
A lack of understanding Him, of knowing God’s love, leads the world into a dark abyss of division and confusion.
Light verses darkness / these are our choices,
but many seek the shadows to hide in,
which is used for cover as we go in and out
at our own convenience and pleasure.
Many people struggle with giving themselves to God,
and at times you will find yourself in darkness or the shadows,
well, do not fret…
for the great Church Father,
had choice words for you:
Don’t Worry be Happy.
Well, even though he is not a great Church Father (I lied) I am still going to use his words….
However; changing the words slightly reveals a real truth:
and be at peace…
which is the grandest
of all Happiness.
You see, it is not too late for any of us,
as the penitent thief upon the cross proved at the crucifixion of Christ,
and as we see in the Gospel reading today,
the parable of the lost sheep shows us a
who will not quit on us.
It is interesting as this same parable in Matthew (18:12-14),
shows the specialness of His sheep to Him, especially the “little ones.”
But this parable in Luke stresses the inexhaustibility of our Saviours love for us – even those who are lost.
He seeks us, and when He hath found us with new hearts,
He places us upon his shoulders, holding us in His loving arms.
The bulletin today shows this scene
It is of one of our most beloved stain- glass windows…
Observe the lost sheep in His arms,
Eyes fixed on the eyes of the shepherd, Jesus Christ,
and His eyes are fixed upon the eyes of the found sheep,
also notice the other sheep awaiting the return of their shepherd.
Indeed, there is joy in heaven each time a lost sheep is found
And I would think much sadness when a sheep rejects their shepherd.
Sheep thus can bring pain,
but the this pain is minuscule to His joy when a lost sheep returns.
This is important to us that are in pain…
for there can be great joy for all;
all who calls upon His name,
all who confess their sins and seek His mercy,
and lives His Will.
Once again the Pharisees and scribes murmuring.
Man, they loved to murmur as they did so every time He spoke.
However, this murmuring did seem to bother our Lord
as He continued receiving sinners
and frustrated those watching as He even ate with them.
Strange isn’t it (?) so called “religious” leaders
had a hostility to those who are confused and lost.
Lost, due to a variety of conditions;
from bad decisions being made for various reasons,
to an unawareness of their lost condition,
or maybe, a knowingly and willingly, estrangement from their God.
All of these conditions flow from His absence within our lives and our hearts.
Regardless of the conditions we find ourselves,
our reading today provides all of us hope.
Some argue what’s the big deal (?):
“It is just one; let it go; for we have enough.”
This perception is false, because this going out by the shepherd is a
revelation which reveals His joy and love for all of us.
those of us! All of us, sinners and all.
Jesus Christ did not endure the Passion and die upon the cross for Bob and not for Mike –
Christ Jesus came into the world to save all sinners who will follow Him.
St. Paul says: we all are: “worthy of be received.”
As told last week “all is prepare” and “all” are invited,
but we must respond in the positive to His invitation and not make excuses.
He is forever seeking all of us, family and friends, foes and enemies alike.
The Lord adds fuel to their hysterical rantings by saying:
REJOICE WITH ME!
for I have found my lost sheep.
To our Lord, and the awaiting sheep, there is joy, peace, and calm.
As the stain- glass window shows the waiting sheep standing lovingly by their shepherd, compare this wonderful scene
to the stain-glass window right next to me in the nave,
right here where I am standing, the window portraying the Prodigal Son story.
Here we see the “Prodigal’s Son” well behaved brother who had
“well served” their father,”
who now stands in rage staring
as his Father rejoices over the “coming home” of his penitent brother.
The contrast is great of what of what pleases God.
Which is proper?
St. Paul tells us (1 Cor 10:17) “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
Union with Christ is also union with all those to
whom He gives himself.
We do not possess Christ for ourselves,
we can only belong to him
only in union with all those who have already,
or will be become – “His.”
The Gospel reveals to us a joy,
that cannot be kept within,
as even friends and neighbors are called together.”
Yes, the whole celestial family is called, heavens and earth, when he says:
“Rejoice WITH ME.”
The negativity of the Pharisees shows a selfish and prideful character:
“Ye turn from these lost ones with disdain,
and because I do not the same,
a very different feeling is what is cherished in heaven.
You are not alone,
for lo! even now; even this day and every day,
(even in Florida, Vermont, Nebraska, and all over the world)
the Shepherd is searching
for His lost sheep.
Do you hear Him?
Once again, don’t worry,
it is not too late for us who are:
Fear not, for it is not only the Shepherd who is searching,
but so does His Church, Christ Church.
Our mission to
“teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;”
and this is kindred to searching out
those sheep who do not know Jesus Christ.
Through His Church
they will be fed with His Body and His Blood
which contains the entire mystery of our salvation.
Come forward, as one with God and as a fellow sheep.
Come with penance and be strengthened and cleanse –
Truly become one with Him
and all His sheep who come unto Him.
The hour cometh, and now is….