• Epistle Reading
  • Gospel Reading
  • In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Christ is in our midst! In the Gospel reading this morning, we have a pretty incredible miracle. In this way—basically, the miracles in the Scripture come at the request of someone who is ill or in need, or on the behalf of some person who has asked for the healing of another. And most often, we see Christ forgiving sins, and calling the people involved to faith in God and a life well pleasing to God. And then He performs the miracle. In this morning’s Gospel, no asks Christ for healing. He sees a scene of human pain and suffering. A mother, a widow, has lost her only son. And Christ is entering town as the funeral procession carries the body of the son for burial. No one asks Christ to intervene. Rather we read, “Christ had compassion on her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” And then He calmly walked over to the body of the young man, and raised him from the dead. This is such a beautiful and powerful expression of the purpose of the ministry of our Lord. He came to bring healing. To save us from sin, and pain, and death. To bring us physical and most importantly spiritual healing. And why does He come to offer us this grace? He has compassion on us. Just as He couldn’t bear to watch the woman weeping for her only son, her beloved child, He can’t bear to watch us suffering and dying in sin. So His solution? The final phrase from the Gospel—“God has visited His people.” St. Paul reminded us in the Epistle of God’s purpose, with a quote from the Old Law. A quote illumined and made clear in the life of Christ. “I will dwell in them and walk among them, I will be their God and they will be my people.” St. Paul goes on in this morning Epistle, after reminding us that we are called to be the people of God, what it means in our day-to-day actions to be the people of God. Separate yourselves from the things of the world. Don’t touch what is unclean. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. Perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
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    This points to one of the greatest failures of us as Christians, in the world today. We don’t reject the things of this world. We want both—all the pleasures we think will bring us happiness on earth (things that ultimately we know won’t bring happiness, because as soon as we do it, or have it, another thing replaces it as what will bring us happiness), and life in the heavenly kingdom with God. We want to live and do whatever we want, and we want salvation. Now, it’s not a sin to be happy. It’s a sin when the desire for happiness supercedes the desire for Christ. It’s a sin when we worship idols—when anything comes between us and Christ then that thing is an idol. Whether it’s our job, or our children, our families—whatever gets the attention that God requires we’ve put in the place of God. St. Paul reminds that we’re called to be in the world, but not of the world. Separate from the things of this world. When the NT writers talk about being separate from the world, it’s not a disdain for the creation or the idea that material things are bad. In fact, when God creates, He emphasizes that it is very good. We’re called to separate ourselves from the way of the world—from pride, from seeking only after physical pleasures, from pushing God to the side and following our own path. We’re commanded to separate ourselves from sin. Do not touch what is unclean. This doesn’t mean, “a little sin won’t hurt you, or give up most everything that’s bad.” It means do not touch what is unclean. Do not draw near to sin, ever. And the promise is, do not touch what is unclean, and God will receive you. We offer ourselves as pure brides to Christ. And we’re promised that God will receive us. It’s incredible—God offers us salvation, perfection, in exchange for offering ourselves to Him.

    St. Paul says, “let us cleanse ourselves from filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” To be holy is to be set apart. We’re called to be holy—to be set aside exclusively for Christ. Separate from sin, from passions. God has visited His people And we have a choice – 1) be the people of God, 2) reject God. There isn’t a middle road. There isn’t the chance to have both. We’re either the people of God, or we’re the servants of another. We have the chance today, and every day, to choose Christ. To choose the path of conversion and repentance. The narrow path that leads to life eternal. A choice for eternity—to follow the way of Christ, or to live the life of the world. May our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ grant us the grace to choose daily to take up our Cross and follow Him.
    Glory to Jesus Christ!

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