Saint Luke 21. 25-36
Populus Zion: 7 December Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
The problem with sinners is not that they sin, though that is damnable in itself, but, that they ARE SINNERS! Symptoms are always dangerous and destructive but it’s the underlying disease that is the problem. Even talking about the faceless, generic, “sinner(s)” is misdirection because it’s used by us to “pass the buck,” point the finger, and “fly under the radar” thinking anonymous escape or, at least delay, is possible; it isn’t. “Sinners” are not addressed by Jesus’ words today, YOU are. You are one that betrays Him in thought, word, and deed…not Peter, not Judas, and not the “ELCA” liberal, or the “other nasty guy in the pew” that you don’t like and that you know doesn’t do things as “good” as you do.
You are neither professional astronomer nor Astro-physicist. But Christ addresses you with apocalyptic and parabolic words about great heavenly signs. You do not have advanced degrees in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Biblical exegesis, yet the Lord gives you His Holy Ghost to discern the “beginning of the end.” Your “old Adam” either refuses to believe or doesn’t want to embrace the God/Man the way you should. Year after year and decade after decade you’ve heard today’s pericopal lesson read; you’ve prayed at dinner “come Lord Jesus,” and you’ve even thrown around the phrase of Saint John “Maranatha,” yet do you believe…do you crave Christ’s return at this very instant? The question is always do you “fear, love, and trust in God above all things: THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME?” Do you love your neighbor as yourself? These are not corporate inquiries addressed to a jury pool during voir dire but are face-to-face questions Jesus is asking you: “Who do you say the Son of Man is?”
You confess that “He shall come again in glory to judge the quick and the dead,” and “I look for the resurrection of the dead” but you don’t act like it. Your deeds are done in darkness too much of the time.
So, as far as “signs in the moon, and in the stars, and upon earth distress of nations,” you do what sinners always do…talk about something else. You project, rationalize, equivocate, lie, self-justify, and deny. Your fallen nature doesn’t want Jesus to return and even though your “new creation” does, it is always burdened by “old Adam” to interject “not just yet.”
But to want to postpone the Final Advent for more family reunions, graduations, marriages, births, vacations & cruises, or any other earthly “thing” is to gainsay our Lord’s words this morning and break the Great Commandment.
No you don’t pay attention to the moon or fig tree like you should. Your hearts are daily overcharged with surfeiting and “spiritual” drunkenness, and cares of this life.
The answer is not in your struggling (though you should struggle—the Holy Ghost has Saint Paul clearly instruct you on “fighting the fight”)—but in the One Who calls you Daughter of Zion. If earthly fathers love their little daughters how much infinitely more does The Father love you? The answer is found in every Crucifix, in every Word of Gospel, and in every Eucharist. The answer is in Jesus: “behold, thy Salvation commeth!” “The Lord [Jesus], shall cause His glorious voice to be heard; and ye shall have gladness of heart.” Jesus forgives you your trespasses. Jesus the real SUN, “light of light” (homoousias as Saint Nicholas confessed and fought for) Son of The Father had all the signs done to His precious Body on the tree. The distress of nations, i.e. the trespasses of the world, was carved into His innocent flesh. The angelic stars hung their heads and shielded their spirit-eyes at the sight of the Atonement as the powers of the physical and stellar heaven was shaken from noon to 3pm on that Friday of Good!
Jesus is here and Jesus is Zion. “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” Your peace and rest comes from He who does not pass away but tabernacles in your hearts, ears, and soon on your tongues. Christ watches out for you, watches with you, and holds you tight to His bosom making you “worthy to escape all the things that shall come to pass.”
“Gather My saints together with Me” speaks the Lord; and His Spirit so does! The Paraclete has assembled “her that halteth, her that is driven out, and her that has been afflicted.” In these last days it has come to pass that “the mountain of the House of The Lord” has been established at this altar.
The Holy Communion will now be prepared…thus... “The Kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” “Lift up your heads...” “Take eat the Body of Christ given in death for all of your sins.” “The God of all hope fills you with joy and peace.”
Here endeth the Gospel
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost