Thu, 3 October 2019
O image of Christ,
simple, humble, and pure,
indeed you bore the marks of Jesus
in your own body
and in your own soul;
wed to lady poverty,
you embraced loving chastity
and boasted of nothing
but the Lord alone –
pray, dear brother,
for all children of God,
for all your wayward brothers
distracted by the wealth of this world,
that we may be so blessed by the Spirit
to serve the Lord and our neighbor
as completely as you have done.
May our lives, too, be prayers
rising as a fragrant offering
unto the Lord our God
as we reflect His image in this world.
Pray our hearts be set upon Jesus
that we might follow
in His blood-soaked footsteps in joy.
Thu, 3 October 2019
(Bar.1:15-22; Ps.79:1-5,8-9; Lk.10:13-16)
“We have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard His voice.”
Woe is upon us for our sin. We “have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed Him,” and so “the evils and the curse which the Lord enjoined upon Moses… cling to us even today.” And if we do not recognize our sin, as Baruch does so beautifully in our first reading today, if we do not admit our failure to “heed the voice of the Lord,” realizing and repenting of our going “after the devices of our own heart” rather than following in His holy way – if we do not accuse ourselves of “evil in the sight of the Lord,” He will accuse us on the day of the judgment, as He does with Chorazin and Bethsaida in our gospel… and the woe upon us then shall be interminable, as we are “hurled down to the realm of death” with the cursed Capernaum. But if we turn to Him, if we cry out to Him as does Baruch, as does our psalm this day, declaring the evil and destruction that has come upon us for our sin, that same “reproach of our neighbors” which has “laid Jerusalem in ruins” will be removed from us – the Lord will “remember not against us the iniquities of the past,” and we shall preserve our souls on the day of judgment.
“They have poured out their blood like water round about Jerusalem”: great is the suffering which has come upon the Lord’s wayward children. It seems at times the Lord will be angry forever for the sins committed by the perverse heart of man. But we know that His “compassion [will] quickly come to us,” that His anger lasts but a moment, it is only for a time, and that He shall indeed “deliver us and pardon our sins.” This has He done in Jesus, in His sacrifice, and word of it now is preached to the nations. If we accept it, we save our souls from destruction, from eternal damnation; if we reject the word of the Gospel, we reject Jesus, and we reject Him who holds the world in His creating hand – and so what hope of life have we, who have cast Life aside so wantonly… and so “burn like fire” forever only can the wrath of the Lord, our God.
Let us reject sin while there is time. As His Word is still in our hearing, let us come to it and bare our souls before its truth “in sackcloth and ashes.” The condition of this world of sin does not change, and it mounts up its punishment for judgment day. Let us come out of the world, humbly professing our sin, and listen now to the voice that leads us to forgiveness and grace, to exaltation “to the skies,” standing at His side forever.
O LORD, let us not reject you!
but come rather on our knees seeking forgiveness.
YHWH, the gravity of our sin overwhelms us: our blood is poured out like water, our corpses given as food to the beasts of the earth. How shall we make amends for our wicked deeds if even the presence of your Son and His sacrifice do not move us to repentance? O save us from being hurled down to the realm of death! Let us not reject the Word come from Jesus.
O LORD, let us heed your voice. Though we have been disobedient, though the evils that fall upon us are but just punishment for turning our hearts from you, help us, please, to avoid the grave, to be preserved from the fire that is coming upon the earth. Remember not our iniquities; let them be of the past. Let your compassion come quickly to us to raise us from our lowly state. In sackcloth and ashes let us bow humbly before you that we might find pardon for your NAME’s sake.