13 April 2008

Homily for the the Third Sunday after Easter (RCL)

Today I preached in a parish that uses the Revised Common Lectionary. The prayers, scripture introductions, and homily notes can be found below.
Prayer of the Day
Lord God, you never cease to call even those far away, for it is your will that all be drawn into one fold. Attune our ears to the voice of the Good Shepherd, who leads us always to you, that we may find under your tender protection life in all its fullness. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Psalm 23
Acts 2: 14, 36-41
In our first reading we find ourselves in Jersualem on the first Pentecost, listening as Peter calls the crowd to repentance and renewal in Christ. Peter, having explained the prophecies of the Old Testament to the people, now tells them that they must repent of their sins and follow Christ. His calling to the crowd nearly two thousand years ago still resonates today among us as we gather and seek to follow the Lord more completely in every aspect of our lives. Give your attention to the Reading from the Acts of the Apostles.
1 Peter : 20-25
We may suffer for many reasons. While most often, our suffering and sorrows are our own fault, today we hear a call from God to be faithful and strong when suffering enters our lives because of our commitment to live new lives in Christ. Give your attention to the Reading from the First Letter of Peter.

John 10: 1-10
The Good Shepherd


He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
How often do we sin?
Do we stop to consider our sins on a regular basis?
What sins do we find ourselves most often entangled in?
What do we do to overcome our sins?
Do we resign ourselves to our sinful state and live in it?
Do we ‘sin boldly’ and excuse our sins because of Christ?

He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
The teaching of Christ in this regard is nearly impossible for us to imagine.
Is our first though in the midst of being insulted “I’m gonna get you, suckah?”
Are we prepared to suffer pain, torture, suppression, and persecution for Christ?
To live out Christ’s example perfectly, we would have to be absolute pacifists.
Are we prepared for this, or are we still on our journey?

He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
Are we prepared to allow God to be our defense, our fortress, our shield?
Do we argue endlessly with people trying to convince them our the truth?
When we do so, what effect does it have on us?
Are we ready to trust that God is fair?
Are we ready to abandon ourselves to God?

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
Have we allowed this incomprehensible fact to transform our lives yet?
Can we find within ourselves the courage to abandon ourselves to God and let him have his way with us?

Once you were like sheep who wandered away.
We hear the gospel message week by week, day by day (I hope!)
We spout words like grace, peace, mercy, love, and forgiveness.
We are quick to ask for all of those gifts to be poured into our lives.
Are we prepared, however, to follow in the path that leads to these gifts?
Are we prepared to admit to our own self-deceptions about sin, confess the sins we find ourselves entangled in, and firmly resolve to abandon them?
Are we prepared to let God be our defender, or are we going to insist that we can defend ourselves?
Are we so headstrong that we are simply determined to wander where we darned well please?
Each of us must answer that question for ourselves.

I pray that we might all answer by saying: “I turn to my Shepherd, the Guardian of my soul.”

PRAYER: O God our shepherd, you know your sheep by name and lead us to safety through the valleys of death. Guide us by your voice, that we may walk in certainty and security to the joyous feast prepared in your house, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, to whom with you and the Spirit be worship and praise, now, always, and forever. Amen.


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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