Lent IV 2018 Fr. Michael
“and there / (our lord and Saviour) he sat with his disciples”
In the name of the Father….
In the New Testament the word disciple come from the Greek Word mä-thā-tā’s (ma ta ta –s), and is used in the sense of one who learns,
a pupil, of adherents’, one who continues in their Master’s work or word.
In John 8:31 we read “… If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciplesindeed;”
In Ephesians 2:6 we also read that God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
On this mid-Lenten Sunday, called Refreshment Sunday, let us sit as disciples of Jesus,
yes, in a heavenly place … (even upon this mountainside this morning.)
Relaxing, sitting, loving our Lord, Jesus Christ; learning to walk, stand, and finally sit within His Love. Ps1:1
Many Sermons have been preached upon today’s scripture – the feeding of the multitudes … Some truthfully and others not …
Some have, and will today preach, with the emphases on the feeding as a spiritual feeding mainly (or only) – (for how can one feed five thousand with so little (?) …)
this line of thought leads to a heresy on the person of Christ, as it attempts to bring God down to our level, where we can understand him,
restraining His being within his humanity, something which can be reasonably and rationally understood.
My brothers and sisters , know this: Jesus did take the loaves and gives thanks, then he distributes them to His disciples,
whom then distributes to those who are sitting.
Likewise with the fish.
Jesus feeds the five thousand with physical food, and feeds them with as much as they would (eat)
And of the excess, it had to be gathered together, so that nothing would be lost.
This story of Christ feeding the multitudes is the only “miracle” repeated in all four Gospels:
this fact alone, stresses the importance of the fact: that this did happened.
Surely, all were strengthened spiritually, as we all are when we sit with our Lord, the miracle of the feeding – is the feeding!
No MAN could have done this, but the Creator God who created nature, and all else,
And it is He who does use that same nature, that He created, to reveal Himself.
Origen wrote over 1700 years ago “Things that are done by God may be unbelievable. However, they are NOT contrary to nature.”
CS Lewis tells us “Christianity is precisely / the story of a great miracle.”
The miracle of the Incarnation, of God joining with His Creation through Jesus Christ – does something that Man could not, for it provides a path (I would say “crumbs of bread”) for Man to return to His God.
The turning of water into wine, the blind seeing, the dumb talking, the calming of storms, the raising of those dead, and the feedings,
are done to open the eyes of a people who had become blind in thought, word, and deed.
The miracles are done to reveal God, and His love to us.
So, embrace them and see your loving Lord within each miracle, honor and love the miracles because they are part of God’s revelation to you.
In the Gospel Jesus “saw a great company come to him.”
People; … poor, average, and probably some of wealth.
People who had seen His miracles of healing the diseased’.
Oh how word did spread (even before Google and Facebook.)
So the people did gather, from a remote corner of their country, and Jesus was pleased, and He was concerned for their welfare.
You see, Jesus cares for all who call upon Him and follow Him.
So, up upon the mountainside he goes, so all could be with Him, and see and hear Him.
You would think that after Jesus had traveled, healed, and taught, that He would relax, but this is not enough for our Christ.
No, now these people must be fed as well. So he feeds them with physical food that satisfies their stomach, thus providing spiritually and physically.
Today Jesus not only heals through the miracles of the Sacraments of His Church, and He teaches through His Gospel,
And for those who worthily receive the holy mysteries with the spiritual food of His most precious Body and Blood;
are fed with food from nature: bread and wine;
however, we receive “His Body” and “His Blood”
as we join the blessed company of all faithful people, or you could say all other disciples of Christ.
Jesus prepares and provides for a way that we can all sit, be healed, and be taught,
and partake of His Body and Blood through the Holy Eucharist
which He instituted, and we will celebrate and partake, on Maundy Thursday.
So this day, open your eyes and behold the beauty of our Saviour and His Churchof which He is the High Priest.
Let us strengthen our discipleship (through His feeding), along side those upon this mountainside this morning,
as we come to him humbly this morning.
Your salvation and its importance. How important is it to you and Christ?
Let us listen as Jesus speaks to the Father …
John 17:8–10 “For I have given unto them the words / which thou gavest me; / and they have received them, /
and have known surely / that I came out from thee, / and they have believed / that thou didst send me.
9 I pray for them: / I pray not for the world, / but for them / which thou hast given me; / for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, /and thine are mine; /
and I am glorified in them.”
Through your Faith / is Jesus Glorified …
you (!) glorify Your God / by your Faith.
Jesus does the miracles so that you might believe and His glorification comes from those who do believe,
by those who call upon His name and who love him by placing Him above all else.
This love, of God to you and you to God, is an unending love which feeds itself by your faith and the receiving of His grace.
This love brings you everlasting life.
God is of Love – not fear!
Christ cures us of our sin and He shows us a real LOVE: a love which is of GIVING / as he offered his bruised body to the executioners to be nailed to the horrific cross!
Before we walk the Passion with our Lord / let us this day …
Sit in the grass with fellow disciples upon the mountainside,
breathe the fresh air of His Truth / as you humbly receive His words,
let the refreshing wind of Holy Spirit calm and feed you,
as it moves your spirit and stirs your soul,
feel the excitement – as His Being / begins to transform your being (especially during this Lenten Season,)
as your Sanctification is strengthened and begins to grow.
Yes, as adopted sons and daughters, speak and listen to your Lord within the solitude and joy of silence,
BE STILL AND KNOW…
YES, see the Living and True God – as His arms are open for you, will you not enter? Come…
Without Christ we can see only so far, because of our own darkness and the darkness of the world around us.
Have Faith, believe; see Him within His miracles:
CS Lewis says – for he is quoting Anselm:
“We believe /
that the sun is in the sky at midday, in the summer /
not because we can clearly see the sun (if fact, we cannot with the naked eye) but because /
we can see everything else.
the world by the light of Christ’s love.
See the truth with Wisdom: as it is through Christ’s will that all decisions be made,
See the true with Understanding that it is Christ which is the True Source and meaning of all Truth,
See the truth with Counsel of careful and thoughtful Christian judgment before acting,
See true Fortitude (Ghostly strength) as you fight all sinful temptations,
See truth with Knowledge of learning and experience as revealed within the Will of God,
And see true Godliness (in Piety) in conforming your lives to reflect the revealed character of God,
In Holy Fear (in awesomeness) understand that He is the final and ultimate judge of your Salvation.
Use these Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost,
which you received at your Confirmation.
And yes, come, sit, learn of true knowledge, and be fed, and be filled.
His sufferings, His own death was accomplished just as the prophets had said
and the Messiah now awaits you.
Give your life to Him …
Finish your Lenten Season strongly;
resist the temptation of Satan as did Christ in the wilderness;
In reverence and humility join the wonderful Woman of Canaan of which we read a few weeks ago; and Pray with her: Lord, help me;
seek the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ,
and sit as a disciple, with your Lord, and be filled with His presence.
Hang the filth of sin, and heaviness of mind, upon His Cross –
do not look back,
regain what was lost in the garden,
and be that for which you were made –
and rise with Him on Easter morning
– as a New Creature.