When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; 2 and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”
Lord, its heavy upon my heart right now and I need to share my thoughts about an event that happened today. Less than an hour ago the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in the country, and it caused me to get upset about the ruling and the state of our country. In times like this its difficult to see what your will is for this nation. Lord, in this Gospel reading the leper asked you, “Lord, if you WILL, you can make me clean” (emphasis added), and you responded, “I WILL; be clean” (emphasis added). Lord, you are freedom and when you decide something according to your will it is done, like when you willed the leper to be clean, or you willed the creation of the cosmos. You will is supreme, however its difficult to see what your will is in situations like this.
After you healed the leper, you showed respect to the authority of the priests and asked the healed leper bring the proper gift to the temple for the priests to confirm the healing. I understand you giving respect to the Law of Moses and the priests authority in the situation of healing, and I also understand your respect of the governments of the world which you allowed to be instituted, but how do we deal with our government when they implement immoral laws that are contrary to your laws?
Lord, may we have the faith and patience to understand why immoral and unjust laws are passed by the governing authorities. May we have your love of authority and of all people, and may you give us the wisdom to help us to understand what we are supposed to do and not do when our governments start implementing laws, rulings, and ordinances that are contrary to your laws and statutes.
Most Holy Trinity, comfort those of us who are struggling with the decisions made by our government, and let us respect the governing authorities you have instituted, but also lead us on what we should do according to your will. Amen.
21 “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’
24 “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; 25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; 27 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Lord, when we die we will face judgement, and you will know how we lived our lives during this life. Whether we truly lived our lives for you, or if we lived our lives for ourselves and the praise of the world. For even those who do your work, who heal in your name, who preach the gospel, and teach the truth are not assured of their salvation because of their good works alone, but salvation also requires faith in you, a personal relationship with you, and the grace of God.
Faith alone doesn’t save, and works alone doesn’t save. One must have faith and works for salvation, and these both should drive a person to seek a more intimate relationship with you through prayer and meditation, including a desire to read on reflect on your Word. Lord may you continue to guide me by the Spirit to seek a closer relationship with you, and help make my witness known by constantly wearing my faith on my sleeve so that when and if I am accused of being a Christian my actions and deeds will testify unashamedly that I am.
Also, Lord you reference the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. May we learn from your parable that we must live our lives by building our treasures and homes upon you and your truth, and not the upon the things of the world and the lies of the world. For as your beloved Apostle said:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever. – 1 John 2:15-17
Lord help us deny the things of this world, and embrace the love of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. May your grace and mercy guide us to always remember that our lives and this world are passing away, but our souls will be with you forever if we fulfill what you require of us for salvation. We pray in your most Holy name, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son.58 And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they would have named him Zechari′ah after his father, 60 but his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your kindred is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all marveled. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
Lord today we celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist, your messenger to the Jewish people who was sent before you to prepare the way for your coming. You chose John before he was in the womb to be your messenger, you predestined him yet he had the free will to obey or disobey, but as we know he obeyed you to the point of death. May all of those who believe in you have the strength to follow you to the point of death; may we have the courage to preach your gospel without fear of repercussions even if it means sacrificing our lives for you.
As John preached to the people, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt 3:2), may we lovingly preach the truth to the world without shame or fear.
I can’t help but to think about the martyrs today in the Middle East, how they are dying for their faith. They are given a choice to reject Christ and accept Allah, or suffer the pangs of a horrific death. The unease of seeing our brothers and sisters suffer and die for you brings a flood of emotions to the surface; anger, sorrow, and vengeance. However when I reflect on their sacrifice for you, it reminds me of your Word where you said, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”
Lord may I always remember to love my enemies, and all those who persecute you through your body. For we are your body, and when the world persecutes us, they in turn persecute you. Lord give us the strength to love perfectly our enemies and those who persecute us, for they do not know what they are doing. Give us the love and strength to preach your message like St. John the Baptist, and give us the ability to forgive and love our enemies like you forgive and love them. In you Most Holy Name, Jesus Christ, Amen.