The Sermon for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Powerful, also disconcerting. Seems to encourage us to get out of our seats and become more active for The Lord.
Problem is that this hints at heresy called “Pelagianism.” Named for 5th century monk from Britain, he later traveled to Rome and wrote a number of works. St. Augustine and St. Jerome were apparently familiar with him and his writings.
One of the problems with Pelagius was his thoughts on human nature, grace and attaining heaven. He claimed that, in spite of Original Sin, human nature still retained the ability to conquer sin by itself – and to gain eternal life – even without the aid of grace. This leads to the practice of trying to “sweat our way into heaven.”
- It’s not a balance sheet; not a list of right and wrongs; the marking off all of the good works to be done for God. It is NOT about what we do or not do.
- They’re all straw. They’re worthless in “earning” you salvation and a place at the heavenly table.
- No matter what you do it will never be enough.
There is only ONE way into heaven and that is a personal relationship with Christ who is “the way… and the truth and the life.”
But the “life” of the King was not on the throne. The “life” of “The King” is among his people, getting his sandals dirty. It’s personal; because he’s personal. So what is it about? 4 points:
- It’s about the relationship.
- It’s about our faith in Christ. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in him might not die but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- It’s about His mercy. Confer parable of generous owner of the vineyard Matthew 20:1–16. It’s a total gift.
- It’s about our willingness to accept the gift. Are you and I friends to Jesus, or just somewhat interested parties? God will open the door to us if we are not there merely for the sake of curiosity or as a tourist attraction, but rather for entering into and developing a loving relationship to God
Makes us feel a bit squirrelly, especially as Americans. We are such a quid pro quo society. We want to cover our bets. We want to be in control.
But we’re NOT in control. Christ asks us to let HIM be in control.
- Loyal guide
- Impeccable life counselor
- Most importantly as a trusted friend, (John 15:15: I don’t call you slaves any more, I call you friends,)
Come to me, walk with me a while. Take my hand, let me lead. This is the “yoke that is easy; the burden that is light.”