Proper 15C 2019
Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Today’s readings may be as difficult for some of you as they were for me. I asked myself many questions about the readings. What is God saying to me? What does God want me to do? What am I to say? Lord help me to understand what is happening here. And then I prayed. With the help of the Holy Spirit, some answers began to form in my mind and my heart, these I pray I can share clearly with you.
In the first reading Jesus was speaking of what was being said about Him by the prophets of his time. Actually, there were two groups of prophets; one who believed in him and loved him dearly, and their faith was strong. The other were false prophets who in essence hated Jesus and they went about telling lies to the people about him. These prophets who were speaking against Jesus went about trying to get the people not to believe in Jesus, and to return to the old ways they once followed. Jesus called them hypocrites.
The faithful group of prophets were men who loved Jesus and whose faith was so strong they went about with love and belief in Jesus that they preached with loving faithfulness about all that Jesus had taught them. These faithful followers suffered greatly at the hands of the leaders of that time because of their faith. They were put to death by cruel and terrible deaths.
In the second reading, we learn of the terrible things these faithful prophets and their followers suffered because of their belief in Jesus. The followers of Jesus were imprisoned, fed to the lions, cut into pieces, and beheaded to mention but a few ways the faithful followers of Jesus died. Why did they accept this fate? It was their Faith in Jesus. Faith in all he taught.
Faith! Faith is the gift from God to all faithful believers and followers of Jesus and the message Jesus brought to the world. God gave us this gift of Faith, and Jesus died to pay our debt for sin. In the Old Testament we learn of the Jews faith in God: the Jews fleeing from the Egyptians, cross the Red Sea as dry land; the generals of the Jewish people won great battles from their oppressors: men like, Gideon, Barak, Samson, David and Samuel among others. Their faith made them free.
But, you and I are given another gift from Jesus by his death and resurrection. Jesus died for our sins, we are blessed with Faith and Forgiveness, plus the gift of the Holy Spirit. Let us remember that we are blessed by so many who have gone before us by the example they have given for the faithfulness to their God. “Let us lay aside the weight and the sin that clings so closely [to us], and let us run with perseverance the race set before us [in our lives today], looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our FAITH …’’ who paid by his death and resurrection the debt for our sins and opened the gates of heaven for all faithful believers to be with God forever.
Being believers does not stop with a profession of Faith. To say yes ‘’God I believe’’ is not enough. Faith requires a response from us in our daily actions. If we are truly believers, we must manifest it by how we live our daily lives. Love God by your daily actions toward all of HIS children.