Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Psalm 62: Jonah 3:1-5, 10: 1st Cor 7:29-31: Mark 1:14-20.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.” (vs#1)

Our confidence is true when we look to the Lord God. Please read the 62nd psalm knowing the truth.

Children’s chat. Telling the truth.

Grace, mercy and peace in Jesus name. Children have you ever been afraid to tell the truth? I know I have. I don’t lie, but I often wonder if I should tell the whole truth? I’ll give you an example: When I am asked if a person looks fat- I do not always tell the truth. I am say the person looks beautiful and healthy— but I do not tell people they look fat! The opinion I may have about body size has nothing to do with truth. It is an opinion!!!

Do you know how is the One who is the truth? The truth is Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the light -life to the world. Jesus always tells truth… never opinion. His questions always are focused upon truth- not opinion. Opinion is always about our knowledge- truth is always about the wisdom of God. Do you want opinion or truth?  I know I want the truth of the Lord God.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus Thank-you for being the truth that has come into the world. Amen.

Adult Sermon: “Leaving and Receiving”

“And Jesus said, ‘follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mk 1:17)

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dearly beloved in Christ, as you read your Sunday readings you will see that the themes for today’s readings are “call, reluctance and repentance.”  All the readings from Jonah, St Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians and St Mark’s Gospel have elements of these themes.  However, I think that there is an overarching theme and that is God’s overwhelming spirit of mercy and love that draws all people to repent and seek forgiveness.

 

Jonah is a prime illustration of God’s mercy because he experienced it himself.  Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh and preach.  But he didn’t want to go and headed in the opposite direction.  We all know the story about how Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale who spit him out on the shore.  After this experience when God called Jonah again he followed directions.  He went to Nineveh and preached a hell, fire and brimstone message, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.”  Much to Jonah’s shock and dismay, the people of Nineveh believed God’s message.  They repented and God responded to their repentance with mercy.  Jonah wanted hell, fire and brimstone but he didn’t get it.  Which leads to another story about God giving Jonah a lesson about mercy. Law and Gospel all in one story from the Old Testament.

 

St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthian has a similar theme.  Exasperated with the Corinthian’s shocking behavior, St Paul sends them a letter warning them that “time is running out.”  The difference between St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians and Jonah’s message is that St Paul wrote his letter in a spirit of mercy and love.  Once again Law and Gospel stuff here. St Paul founded the Christian community of Corinth and his reproach was delivered as a caring founder.  He ended the Letter with an exhortation, “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.  Your every act should be done with love” (1 COR 16: 13 – 14).

 

Today’s gospel from Mark 1: 14 – 20 recounts the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  His message was, “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  For the people who lived in Galilee at that time the word gospel meant “good news.”  Jesus came to proclaim the good news of God’s love.  Our job is to turn our lives around and believe the good news that God loves each and every one of us.  Believing in the gospel message is not just an intellectual exercise it is an exercise of the heart.

Saints, Jesus’ call to repentance is a call for a radical change of heart (metanoia).   Jesus invites us to repent so that we can experience a “time of fulfillment” and enter into the Kingdom of God.  Simon, Andrew, James and John did not need to be coerced to follow Jesus.  They heard his message and followed willingly.  The message of mercy and love was compelling enough for them.  It may have taken some time for them to understand what Jesus message meant but ultimately, they did.  We are here today to hear this message that invites us to leave behind our reluctance to receive the Gospel message. In receiving the Gospel message of the abundance of grace we are given through Christ Jesus, we worship together as His faithful disciples. Remember, because they heard, followed and believed they knew the love of God in their lives no matter what was happening to them in their worldly reality. And so it is for all of us-

Let us pray in faith: Almighty and ever-present Father,

Your watchful care reaches from end to end and orders all things in such power that even the tensions and tragedies of sin cannot frustrate your loving plans. Help us to embrace your will, give us the strength to follow your call, so that your truth may live in our hearts and reflect peace to those who believe in your love. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen

 

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