Greetings in Christ Jesus,
Sunday March 26th 2017
19 Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Juda, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love truth and peace. 20 Thus says the Lord of hosts, until people come, and dwell in many cities, 21 And the inhabitants go one to another, saying: Let us go, and entreat the face of the Lord, and let us seek the Lord of hosts: I also will go. 22 And many peoples, and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the face of the Lord. 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days, wherein ten men of all languages of the Gentiles shall take hold, and shall hold fast the skirt of one that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
3 Grace be to you, and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present wicked world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom is glory forever and ever. Amen.
6 I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. 7 Which is not another, only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be accursed.
Gospel of John 1:
1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3 And his brethren said to him: Pass from here, and go into Judea; that Your disciples also may see Your works which You do. 4 For there is no man that does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, manifest Yourself to the world. 5 For neither did his brethren believe in him. 6 Then Jesus said to them: My time is not yet come; but your time is always ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hates: because I give testimony of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go you up to this festival day, but I go not up to this festival day: because my time is not accomplished. 9 When he had said these things, he himself stayed in Galilee.
10 But after his brethren were gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but, as it were, in secret. 11 The Jews therefore sought him on the festival day, and said: Where is he? 12 And there was much murmuring among the multitude concerning him. For some said: He is a good man. And others said: No, but he seduces the people. 13 Yet no man spoke openly of him, for fear of the Jews.
14 Now about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 And the Jews wondered, saying: How does this man know letters, having never learned? 16 Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man do the will of him; he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18 He that speaks of himself, seeks his own glory: but he that seeks the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him. 19 Did Moses not give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law? 20 Why seek you to kill me? The multitude answered, and said: You have a devil; who seeks to kill You? 21 Jesus answered, and said to them: One work I have done; and you all wonder: 22 Therefore, Moses gave you circumcision, (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and on the sabbath day you circumcise a man. 23 If a man receive circumcision on the sabbath day, that the law of Moses may not be broken; are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath day? 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment.
25 Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill? 26 And behold, he speaks openly, and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth, that this is the Christ? 27 But we know this man, whence he is: but when the Christ comes, no man knoweth whence he is. 28 Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching, and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of myself; but he that sent me, is true, whom you know not. 29 I know him, because I am from him, and he has sent me. 30 They sought therefore to apprehend him: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
Psalm 45 (46)
1 Unto the end, for the sons of Core, for the hidden. 2 Our God is our refuge and strength: a helper in troubles, which have found us exceedingly. 3 Therefore we will not fear, when the earth shall be troubled; and the mountains shall be removed into the heart of the sea. 4 Their waters roared and were troubled: the mountains were troubled with his strength. 5 The stream of the river makes the city of God joyful: the most High has sanctified his own tabernacle. 6 God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the morning early. 7 Nations were troubled, and kingdoms were bowed down: he uttered his voice, the earth trembled. 8 The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector. 9 Come and behold the works of the Lord: what wonders he has done upon earth, 10 making wars to cease even to the end of the earth. He shall destroy the bow, and break the weapons: and the shield he shall burn in the fire. 11 Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth. 12 The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector.
We often fall so far short in our own sight or vision that we simply cannot see the love of God that completely surrounds us. In our first reading this morning from the prophet, we see the understanding is found in Jesus the Christ, ‘in those days’ of course are words speaking to the days of our Lord which we are in. Regardless of any denial of who Jesus the Christ is or is not in any nation, people from all the nations have come to know something and many have sought and are now seeking Him. There are many who are seeking truth and do not yet know that truth is Jesus the Christ. Are we praying for these people?
The world today is not less wicked than in the days in which these words today were originally preached or written down. The love of God demands that we pray for one another and for the salvation of all people hoping that we all will indeed come to the fullness of truth. Truth is not selfish; it shares itself through us, through our actions. Our fasts become joyful feasts as the prophet says here in the beginning of today’s readings.
The Lord of the Armies or the Hosts of the Heavens is with those who choose to follow the Lord. The days are wicked and evil upon the earth, this is indeed a combat arena, we fight against principalities and power (evil and malicious spirits), against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints:
Continue this time of repentance and renewal, let us strengthen ourselves in spirit.
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