Fear of the Lord, a dread of offending our beloved creator, is only the beginning of wisdom, and true fear of the Lord leads not to paralysis but to freedom and great love. But the fear that seems so predominant in the world today is not the fear of the Lord. Rather, it seems to bring mistrust and doubt, skepticism, rumors, dissension. It causes us to try harder and harder to gain control of things we cannot control, and can cause us not to act at all or to not act as we should for fear of the unknown.
Father, Son & Holy Ghost
Sermons about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Trinity.
Things are real. Truth exists. And we have to recognize that fact and live within that reality or things will not go well. When we partake of the body of Christ, the son of God, in the Eucharist, we become more closely united to God the Father than we are to our own human father. This is a fact, and if we do not recognize it, things cannot go well with us. The more we are aware of this fact – study it, dwell on it, contemplate it, live it – the more everything else will make sense to us. God’s life in us is the central reality of creation. It is the point of creation.
What was it that Adam did? He severed the bond between God and man – he cut us off from our Father. And how did Christ restore this loss? Yes, he paid our debt, made up for our disobedience by giving His life in a perfect act of obedience to His Heavenly Father. But if that was all that was done, why would the church proclaim at the Easter Vigil, “O felix culpa” O happy fault that merited such a redeemer. In order for Adam’s sin to be called a happy fault, the repair of that fault must have brought us something that we did not have before, and something better than what we had before. What can that possibly be? I can think of only one thing: the Eucharist.
The purpose of this sermon, therefore, is to encourage devotion to the Eucharist as a means of restoring our idea of fatherhood. For by the Eucharist we participate in the life of our Heavenly Father.
Our Lord and Savior on the cross expresses his perfect faith and confidence in His Father when he says, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” So too we take today’s gospel passage [Mark 8:1-9 – miracle of the loaves and fishes], an account of an actual event that is given, but we also take it to what it points towards, much more than what is told to us today. These people followed Jesus out to a place with no food and so trusted Him that they failed to make provisions for themselves. They trusted that He would take care of them, the same trust that our Lord exhibits in His Heavenly Father from the cross. Do we have such faith and trust in our Heavenly Father as those who sought our Lord in the desert?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Here under the appearances of bread and wine is the creator of the universe, He who has always existed, who has never not existed, He whose nature it is to exist. Here He is in the Eucharist, for us, because that is the best way that God himself could find to be with us.
When Man creates things that are disordered and ugly, those things are not a reflection of Man but rather of Man’s disorder, Man’s brokenness. But in God there is no disorder, and therefore it would be repugnant to God to create that which is not beautiful, for the creation reflects the creator just as the art reflects the artist. And in this case, the creator is not just beautiful but is beauty itself.
All of creation and everything in creation is a reflection of God in some way, some aspects of God. On Trinity Sunday, we consider one part of God’s creation which reflects in a particular way that God is a Trinity, and then we will see some practical consequences that that ought to have for us. That particular aspect of God’s creation that we are talking about is marriage.
Centuries before little Therese of Lisieux would teach us about spritual childhood, the statue that would become known as the Infant of Prague silently showed us that childlike littleness, innocence and confidence, and that these are the keys to heavenly dignity for which we are destined. Many look at the statue and wonder, why is He dressed like that? The purpose of this attire is to make us aware of His holiness and our reward for imitating that holiness. The vestments are priestly and they symbolize a heavenly dignity. He says, “Unless you become like little children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” So here we see both represented … a little child clothed in royal, heavenly garb.
In Hebrew tradition, a name signifies the very essence of a thing. It’s a statement about not just who someone is, but about what they are. And what does the name Jesus signify? It means literally, “Yahweh is Savior”. It doesn’t mean that everyone in the bible with the name Yeshua is supposed to be some sort of savior. But it is certainly right that someone who is the savior would have this name.
“The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. … For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)
The Lord God, He is creator and ruler of all things. The government is upon His shoulder, the burden of command is His. We must trust Him. He cannot be wrong, he cannot make a mistake, he cannot fail. He will rule by peace and love and mercy if we will have him, or by might and justice and judgement over our eternal souls if we will not.
A child is born who can stop the hand of God, who can overthrow the power of the maker of this world and free the slaves of sin. No mere child could be so powerful unless that child was also God. And how has He stopped the hand of wrath, overturned the death sentence of the whole human race and empowered man to resist the might of the devil and his cohorts? By becoming weak, by taking on our nature. He empowered our nature by subjecting Himself to our sentence, not just of death but of misery as a frail mortal. He knows what it is to be one of us. The Eternal Word, being strong, became weak.