Greetings in Christ Jesus
Sunday October 29, 2017
Epistle: 1Timothy 3: 1-13
Gospel: Luke 16: 1-13
Psalm: Psalm 112/113
(About Bishops: “if a man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.” Bishops should be blameless, husband of one wife, sober, prudent, good behavior, chaste, given to hospitality, teacher, not given to wine, no striker, modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, one that rules well his own house, children in subjection with all chastity, not a neophyte, having a good testimony. Also Deacons. Also women.)
So what is it in this epistle today that St. Paul is saying to us? It starts with saying that the desiring of the office of Bishop is a good work and then he speaks on what makes a good Bishop; blameless; this does not mean to be sinless as this is impossible, St. Paul is stressing that the man should live an upright life in honesty, high integrity and not be the subject of scandal. Next we see that he is to be the husband of one wife; this will automatically exclude polygamists, one wife is also taken to mean that he should have been married only once not married, divorced and remarried.
Does it also mean that being married is a requirement of the office? For those who forbid the marriage of a Bishop (which of course goes against the scripture) they will say that this is not a command or requirement and of course they will say this because they refuse the office to a married man (which again goes against the scripture). Of course we realize that it is not an actual binding requirement because not all of the apostles were married.
However I do find it ironic that the two largest groups of Christianity who claim ancient apostolic descendancy refuse marriage to a Bishop and one of those two actually forbids it. These two ancient groups of apostolic descendancy do not even agree on apostolic teaching or understanding, each has excommunicated the other, each claims that the other withdrew from the true church and yet anyone who is called to preach, who fasts, studies his lessons, listens to the Holy Spirit and lives a life dedicated to Jesus Christ teaching only that which has been taught since the apostles and the church father’s but was not born and raised into either of these groups and is married is not recognized as a teacher of the word, even though the two cannot themselves determine between them what is truth.
If one has been called by our Lord to teach, studies, fasts, prays, teaching according to the apostles and the father’s then no one has anything to say regarding this one’s calling. “Master, said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not accompany us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus replied, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”… Hmm. Perhaps the true church would like to monopolize the people of the earth and claim all for themselves instead of for Jesus Christ. Perhaps power has gone to the head and they have become drunk with pride and arrogance. I do not know but I do know that I am tired of those who would attempt to bar the gates of heaven to those who are of a different fold even though they may teach the same doctrine.
If you have been called then you must answer. I myself was married and had children when I received the call. Even though there was a calling and a desire within me at a very young age, I did not fully respond until I was married and had children and yet the calling persisted. I remember distinctly saying to the Lord, “O.K. Lord I am ready, test me and prove me to see that I am ready and make me to become what it is that you are calling me to do.” Since I uttered those words well over forty years ago I have had three hit and run drivers in my life who have driven off leaving me for dying.
Also there has been two shotgun attacks and one pistol attack. During these times I have seen an angel come, intervene, and go leaving me to live in spite of my pistol attacker, once while lying in the hospital and not expected to survive the night the Holy Virgin, the Blessed Mary the Mother of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ visited me and spoke with me. This was attested as true to me and not just a dream because the night nurse came bursting into the room and turning on the light asking how was it that I was awake and talking and who and where was the woman that she heard talking to me. So I know that it was not a dream as I lay supposedly dying.
One must answer the call; I have been called from my sleep at 2:00 a.m. to pray for the soul of a man who unknown to me at that moment was burning to death in bed over 50 miles away. I learned of it later that morning when I received a phone call. Listen, each and every one of us can reach someone that no one else can reach, even if only one it is still worth the effort and attacks from the evil one. Hardships will not cease, I have lost four homes during my lifetime as well because of the relentless adversary. Amazingly I am alive and well, still working at physical labor (although soon to be retired from the secular workforce), still have a wife, food on the table, and a roof over my head. It has truly been an amazing adventure.
Is God calling you? The rest of the epistle speaks on Deacons and women serving as well, these are to meet the same requirements as the Bishop or Priest, Pastor, Elder, Deaconess, or whatever name one chooses to use. Answer the call.
Rich man with a steward, and the steward reduces the bills of debt so that the debtors will receive him into their houses. Jesus says to make friends of the mammon of iniquity that when you shall fall they may receive you into everlasting dwellings. Faithful in the least…No man can serve two masters; you cannot serve God and mammon.
The gospel talks about a not so wise steward who misused the master’s money and so was fired from his job. He immediately went out and reduced the bill of what was owed to the master by the master’s debtors in order to win favor with them so that they may take care of him once he was completely gone.
We do not know if he cut the master’s itself down in order to reduce the size but this may not be likely since the master praised him for his ingenuity. He may have over charged the debtors from the start and simply reduced the bill to cost or he may have completely given up his own commission on the debt in order to reduce it.
However, let us see the master as our Lord Jesus and we are merely His stewards of what He has given us. Nothing is ours, everything is a gift that we are to use wisely and if we do not use it wisely we will be called in to answer for it. As for the parable; if the earthly master commended his steward for acting shrewdly after he had squandered his master’s goods, how much more will our heavenly master commend us if we do not squander but use our gifts wisely? Answer the call.
“Praise the Lord, you children: praise you the Name of the Lord. Blessed be the Name of the Lord: from henceforth now and forever. From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Name of the Lord is worthy of praise. The Lord is high above all nations: and His glory above the heavens…”
As the Psalmist say; praise, praise the Lord, bless His holy Name, the rising of the sun and the going down does not refer to simply a block of time but since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west it covers the whole earth. This means that everywhere, every land, every nation, every person, all of life everywhere should be praising the Lord.
If one does not have love for the soul of mankind and the desire that all come to the truth than one does not have Christ in them fully.
Little children, love one another; because this is our Lord’s command and if you fulfill this, nothing else is needed. Through love and because of love we will follow all of the commandments that we have been given. They are written on our hearts by the hand of Almighty God. We simply need to see them within us and follow.
Remember; if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.
Member of the Autocephalous Orthodox Catholic Church
of the Americas
Monk Michael's videos; http://www.youtube.com/user/HieroMonkMichael