Last week, Fr. Dennis preached on love: speaking of the Greek term used for “love,” agape’ – Love that has its source in God.
And God now shows His love for us as he tells us:
Come; for all things are now ready…
In today’s Gospel, He sends his messengers out to announce this joyful message…out into the fields and streets they go…
And, sadly, the only responses were nothing more than “excuses” –
O, I must take care of my land,
And… oh, care must be given to my livestock,
and finally…even family is used as caring for the new wife which leaves no time for anything else.
Being frustrated, the master sends the messengers out again…
Go out – and bring of the city – such as the underprivileged Jews,
and also, Go out – to the highways – the outcast Gentiles.
These same words of excuses are of today as well…
Excuses of being not in church?
Reasons people come up with to replace God; excuse after excuse, on why not to obey and worship Him?
Come; for all things are now ready…
Reflect: for a moment upon these words –
Words of such beauty and comfort,
words of such gracious Power,
words that will give our lives real meaning.
These words are transformational as they can change our lives,
… and yet, for many these words of “invitation” are “ignored.”
God has created,
mankind has fallen,
God lead His people forty years in the wilderness,
protecting them, while teaching His Ways and His Laws.
Sending Judges, Kings and Prophets to lead them.
So now – yes, one could say “all things were ready”
All things: except His people –
their heart, soul, and mind.
Therefore, even with the stage set,
God’s love for us will now prepare us…
SO GOD ENTERS INTO HIS CRATION.
His only Begotten Son is sent – for us,
He suffers and dies – for us,
Only to rise from the dead – for us,
And ascends into heaven – for us.
God THEN completes his Revelation of the Holy Trinity by sending the Holy Ghost – for us…
Jesus even gives words of comfort to encouraged us:
“lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matt 28
So yes, alleluia – each of us should be as Isaiah, “although of unclean lips, we all should proclaim: Here am I (Lord); send me.
“INDEED, “All things are now ready”
So, God is NOW ready, how about each of us?
Or, do we still struggle, and find excuses, to keep us from our Lord and His Church?
Do we desire and seek His words that we might hear?
In Psa 86:11 we read
“Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
God gives promises to all families who walk in His Ways,in Ps 132:12: he tells us:
“If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon (the) thy throne for evermore.”
These words are of such of such great comfort…
yet, we being sick with sin,
which weakens the spirit, and drains our endurance,
often we hear these words…
and so often we ignore them,
and over and over we drift away again and again.
In Eph (4:14…) Paul speaks of this Apostasy (the falling away from our faith) as he says:
“…we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness,… whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But (for we must speak) speaking the truth in love, (so that we) may grow up into him in all things…
16 (and that we should fit) From whom the (into a) whole body / fitly joined together…
17 that (we) ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, …
18 Having (our) the understanding darkened,
So let me speak of family; first to the parents (as well to God Parents and the Grand Parents) … and secondly to the children ..
At our children’s baptism, we made promises to God to fulfill the vows made?
So, as parents are we praying daily with our children?
Do we discuss daily Scripture with our children?
Do we (as stated in Holy Baptism) obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same…?
Are we instructing and raising our children in the ways of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and of the Creed?
If not, why not?
Paul speaks in Heb 5:12
For “when for the time (we) ye ought to be teachers,
(but we) ye have need … that one teach (us) you again which be
the first principles of the oracles of God;
and (as we have) are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Each week, at St. Michael’s almost daily, we offer a gift which is worth more than all the gold in world:
Of this gift, Jesus tells us:
This is my body, this is my blood. Do This…
One of the most important aspects of being a parent is being “a reflection” of Jesus Christ within your own family,
teaching and living The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The greatest wealth we can achieve and pass along to our children
is the love and wealth of Christ.
If this is done, our youth will “be given the opportunity” to feel a joy
which is above all joy of this world (including the joy of self.)
We must refresh ourselves so we can refresh others, especially our children.
As parents this / is not just “an option” for God directs us to teach:
(Deu 6:1) Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments,
which the LORD your God (hath) commanded to “teach” you,
… that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
(Deu 6:7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up.
Showing the importance of these words: they are repeated five chapters later in the book of Deuteronomy.
It is the parent’s duty to God to teach the children.
Now I can just hear the children sitting there thinking – wow, Fr. Michael really laid it on the line to the parents – some may be smiling.
However; remember that Jesus is to be an example for you as well.
At age 12 we find Jesus, (YES – GOD HIMSELF) in the Temple, hearing and answering questions.
To each child I ask, how are you going to have Jesus in your heart if you are not in His house, the Church, to hear and receive His word
(and as soon as Confirmed) to receive His Body and Blood?
Let me ask you: what will guide you through life if you separate yourself from the Body of Christ, denying His Body and His Blood in favor of some fun elsewhere?
While some “church services are cool and emotional due to entertaining preaching, which while they may be fun,
Most are void of His Body and Blood and the other Sacraments.
This is very important, because as you become young adults you are currently molding your future character and your life.
So, understand this, Jesus came not to entertain you, but to save you – to cleanse you from the sin of this world.
There is great danger to have a false understanding of Christ because you will then be molded and formed by the world, and this is a world:
a world where “might makes right” and the strong rules over the weak…
(just look at the bullying in schools – is this not “the strong” dominating “the weak”
and is this not the wickedness of mankind void of God?)
The norms of society are constantly being challenged and overturned,
the understanding of sin, as defined for over 2000 years,
is being transformed by a secular world that is at war
with anything that acknowledges something other and greater than self.
Hear the words of St. Augustine:
The knowledge of holy Scripture is a great, large, and a high place;
But the door is very low,
So that the high and arrogant man cannot run in; but he must stoop low, and humble himself,
So that he shall be able to enter in.
So stoop and as a family enter in…
For if you do, yes, day by day, Jesus will make