TO THOSE persons seeking discussion for Sundays coming forth in the lectionary, we offer a listing according to the three-year calendar.
On the right-hand column of this page, please find the past corresponding year for lectionary years A, B, or C.
And then search the appropriate month in each for a discussion concerning the gospel reading.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gate Wide Open!

WE HEAR from the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, words spoken about a distinct, right freedom given to us as Christians. In reading this for Christ the King Sunday, we hear that our gospel lesson provides us with a picture of final judgment. The Word tells about that which is expected of our Lord’s gathered flock in the meantime…

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’
 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  (Matthew 25:31-46)

We’re Saved! What Now?
As the community in the name of blessed Matthew gathered parchment and wrote this text, we find the Author of Life already had intentionally reached very far geographically. By including that the message was written “for all nations” (In the Greek - οὐκ ἐδωκατε μοι φαγειν [pronounced ouk edōkate moi phagein] ), the text echoes from Matthew that the Spirit of our Lord had reached out not only to a few of the original disciples gathered. Jesus had addressed others far removed in place and time. Both those who were amid the early church of Matthew and those out in the future world, were made also to be subject to final judgment. God’s Law is thus said to be immutable, universal and eternal. If we consider thus the source of judgmental power, we find that the text is very familiar to those who were part of either synagogue or separated church. From the psalmist we read… 

Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God; and that to thee, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For thou dost requite a man according to his work.
                                                                (Psalm 62:11-12)

 Therefore the declaration rings that all persons are subject to judgment, but the Church has a special calling in the freedom of the Gospel. From the Law we know that we fail in this. The condemnation rolls forth as we are examined before the commandments (see Exodus 20:1-20).
 Additionally, all people are described by the prophets as but lowly sheep, and goats…grazing before their shepherds. In that status we are judged, even as to whether we are sheep, goats or shepherds. We read from the prophet that all humans, even the sheepish guilty…  will be judged, no matter our classification…

“Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.”
                                                                                           (Ezekiel 34:20)

  Consequently, we know the dividing staff between sheep and goats is the presence of faith. Both the disciples who had firsthand heard Jesus’ teaching and those of Matthew’s later synagogue and early church… had heard clearly in the Spirit. They could understand the pronouncement. They knew the difference between sheep and goats. The Hebrew scripture's witness was clear.
 We now, given our baptism, have been informed of this lesson... and become subject to the same judgment. We who are Christians saved not by our own works, but by the grace of God through our baptism into Christ, must ask ourselves about confirming our blessings before God.
 To answer up for ourselves, we must ask of scripture whether God will view us as authentically working in the eternal kingdom. We must kneel before God to find whether or not we have truly followed our Lord’s example. I find it particularly sinful and odd, that we sheep often think that we are goats and some goats think that they are sheep. However, let us not immediately judge the fate of one another, but rather work first to simply do for ourselves as we are instructed. Remember! God raised up our judge from the tomb, and subsequently it is that we should not perform a judgmental task on our own  merits, but look to scripture as guide. We as his flock are simply called to do as instructed by him. His words to us are simply put. We are above all to love God, and love one another.

Obedient Sheep?
Today, we therefore ask, "What do these instructions look like today?" Examine the descriptive passages spoken by our lesson. As followers of our Lord, we see that we are to work always as a forgiven people. Even though originally found as sinful, the forgiven Church was told to thankfully accomplish our tasks in the kingdom. To do this, we are to share not just simple drink and food, but swim in the waters of Holy Baptism to receive the body and blood of Christ. From that place, we are to seek out and welcome those estranged from God, providing them also with proper, enduring clothing… especially the whitest robe of saintly baptism.
350601: Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire
By Jim Cymbala with Dean Merrill
 You see, as the gathered in the Good Shepherd’s kingdom, we are made saints called to work for the freedom of those imprisoned by sin. Open wide the heavenly gates so that even though strongly held by tethers of this fallen earth… many shall know that they can be truly made free by faith that is given to them in Jesus Christ. This is the primary task of those who gracefully worship in the one, true apostolic Church. Of those who do not accept this task or blur these lines beyond right social activities, the scripture speaks clearly. Too often we see a denominational emphasis on social justice, while their erroneous evangelical witness brays like a misguided goat.
 When all things have been said and done, persons who have not accepted this right command as their own, shall be judged as goats and cast out. As chosen sheep, however, many persons have been saved unto eternal life by faith given through the grace of God. Indeed, those who are baptized into the kingdom witness, aware of the gift supplied by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, who is Christ our Lord, witness to God's mercy.
 Historically, we know that many lambs fail to strive and live according to the model that Jesus has set before his Church. We need to remember then that it is Christ who gave himself... for even the sinful. We are first judged as voracious goats who have been blessed to eat at the manger. Though we often trample upon the blessed food given. finally by the Holy Spirit we are saved by faith given.
 Thus it is on Christ the King Sunday. As individuals before God, we need to consider whether we are called to be trotting alone, kicking cantankerously amid this sinful world... or should we gather together by the power of the Holy Spirit as sheep comforting the rest of the true flock. In doing this last task, we will indeed be pleasing to our Good Shepherd. Be of those baptized who participate in Confession and hear Absolution, for we are joined at the manger and table of our Lord, for he is surely returning as our loving Judge and Savior.
We invite you to view this video about the loving task of the Church...

May The Peace of God Be With You Always!

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