10th Sunday after Pentecost
August 9, 2020
Fr. Randy Rogers
St. John’s Burkburnett Tx
The Lord shall give strength to his people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.
Today’s readings beg the whole question of the disposition of the Jewish people, as well as other populations of non-Christians.
In today’s world of political correctness one might even wonder if we can evangelize with the gospel of Christ any peoples whatsoever, and especially to the Jewish people to whom Paul is referring in his epistle to the Romans .
Saint Paul sees all the beautiful things the Jewish people have in their possession. They have the covenants, the giving of the law, the promises of God and all that belong to the patriarchs of their race according to the flesh, but they do not have Christ, and Christ is the fulfillment of all these.
Now here in Texoma in the present day the question of the disposition of the Jewish people is not much of a question at all. It’s rather more theoretical for us. What is still a question we may entertain from an intellectual standpoint. There is a reason Saint Paul laments the condition of his Jewish brethren who did not choose to become Christian. At the end of the day there is only one prescription for the problem of sin and humanity, and that is Christ Jesus. If the law and the prophets and all the Jewish traditions and scriptures would have been sufficient for the problem of sin, there would have been no need for the incarnation, Life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. The fact is the Jewish solution was somewhat incomplete and for us to say differently for the sake of some politically correct inclusion-ism would just be incorrect.
As Orthodox Christians we believe and we hold there’s one path to Salvation in Christ . All this is saying is that we only know of, and have confidence in one path of salvation. With that being said we really left no option Then to offer the message of the gospel to all peoples. In our area today there certainly is no large Jewish Population In need of the gospel of Christ. But what about all those people who tell us they are very spiritual just not religious. What exactly do they mean by that? What about all the people who claimed to be Christian, but are members of and attend no church whatsoever? We as practicing Christians really probably have some obligation to share our faith with these people as uncomfortable as that is. Either the faith we hold as expressed in the Nicene Creed is true or it is not. If in fact it is true then we have some obligation to share that with others including the Jewish people. This is really extraordinarily little change from the day of Saint Paul
Today’s gospel from Saint Matthew even bolsters the sentiment Saint Paul conveyed in Romans. Listen to the words of Christ; “take heart have No fear oh man of little faith, why did you doubt?” The disciples realize Christ is the son of God. It’s the making real of this idea which becomes difficult. It’s very easy to say, yes I profess Christ Jesus as the son of God. What then do I do in my life and what actions make that appear the least bit real. Do I conduct any evangelization at all with my life or with my words?
In the political and the criminal world, if they are different at all, it is often said if you want to understand some circumstance you need to follow the money . I suppose this could also be said of Christians as well their spending habits and church support probably points in the directions of their hearts. We might also say follow the time.
It would be interesting to keep an honest diary for the course of a week or two writing down how many hours one sleeps, how many hours spent eating, watching television, conversing with others, and last, but certainly not least, in serious reflection. Or periods of Christian prayer or study of some kind I think we know what the diary would say? This works sort of like a food diary when someone’s having trouble with their weight. As is always the case or often the case the person with the weight problem always says, “I hardly eat anything,” but if an honest diary is kept the truth is soon known.
If we look at the text of Matthew carefully, we can see the Peter has undone himself before he even gets started. Peter says, “Lord if it is you bid me come to you on the water.” If it is you? Well who else would it be? So Peter has faith, but there’s this glimmer of doubt contained in his question to his Lord.
I, as many clergy have a lot of big ideas about things. I would love to see a new Church right here. I would love to see this congregation grow. I would love to see us be able to offer more Catechesis, and good classes for our parishioners, I would love to see us have more opportunity for social events. Why do I not get it done? Because I fight with doubt. I doubt myself, I doubt our resolve, I doubt I am good enough to get anything like that done.
When it comes down to it there are times I doubt the whole Church, and I doubt myself as a Priest and minister of the Gospel. That is pretty much why I do not get things done as I should. I am sure many of you doubt yourselves as well.
Today lets focus on the words of Christ to St. Peter and try to do better. “O man of little faith, why did you doubt.?” Just as an act of faith and a spiritual exercise in just a few moments when we celebrate the Eucharist together lets try not doubting. Lets do our level best to believe the words we say, and the Sacrament conducted on this Altar. If you and I do not believe it with our whole hearts and souls it is going to be very hard to convince the rest of the world.