Wednesday, June 25, 2014

[A homily for our upcoming Lords Day]

Saint Matthew 16. 13-20
Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles: 29 June Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   The Son of Man martyrs His Kingdom to you. The King is His Kingdom. The Savior is Salvation and He gives you Himself!

   To be a Christian is to follow Christ yes, but to follow as a wounded lamb—lost, impotent, and blind—means to be carried. To be a Christian means to be IN CHRIST. Jesus is I AM the God/Man. He is neither coach nor magic genii but exactly Who Holy Scripture reveals Him to be. Who is He?

   One day upon the rocky mountainous region of Caesarea Philippi He told the “12.” He continues to tell His disciples by His same words and presence.

   He told Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

   “Whom do men say that I The Son of man am?”

    Unbelievers might answer a holy and wise teacher. Pagans could retort a revolutionary or mystic healer. Men unaided by Graces revelation, using only the eyes in their head or their reason, will say: “John the Baptist, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

   But Christ Jesus is not like John a “voice.” He IS The eternally begotten Word. He is not “a” lamp to guide the way to the source. HE IS The Light of the world, light of light, the very source Himself. The Lord is not Elias, one who raised a child from the dead and who himself was ascended bodily into heaven. He IS The very Resurrection Himself Who will raise all flesh from the dust; He is The One Who first descended from heaven with flesh and blood and Who ascended with the same Body to the right hand of majesty. The Nazarene is not one of the prophets. He IS The Prophet of the Godhead.

   To know these things is a gift from God. This revealed knowledge—faith—comes from The Father through The + Son by The Spirit. 

   He questions some of the elect on Caesarea Philippi for their benefit and for the elect gathered here today by The Spirit. “But whom say ye that I am?” Simon of Capernaum, and prince of the Apostles answers correctly: “Thou art the Christ, The Son of the living God.” This man Simon called Petros, (Peter) by Jesus is indeed the rock man for his stone-certain answer is a gift from Jesus’ Father “Who art in heaven.” This revealed faith is a gift from the God/Man standing in front of Peter’s face—the very countenance and image of The Father in the visage of Mary’s son!

   This is both Who and how. This Jesus is The Son of Man Who martyrs His Kingdom to you in His Word and in His Body and Blood.

   Today the Church Catholic is gathered to be fed this faith and garmented with this grace which is Jesus! The Church is both a world-wide communion of Saints but also a trans-generational (pan-chronological) Flock of all time and space. We commemorate our Brothers in Christ: Saints Peter and Paul. In these heroes you see the totality of all Jews and Gentiles gathered into Christs one body. You worship the Redeemer not only with angels and archangels but also with the fisherman and tent-making Saints.

   This is salutary for “their sound is gone out into all the earth; and their words to the end of heaven.” The words, spoken by apostles, pastors, and laity, are the Words of Christ! You are family. Jesus says “I have chosen you out of the world that ye should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain.”

   Do you bring forth good fruit and good works? Do you love God more than anything and is it reflected in your worship and walk? Do you love your neighbor as yourself; seeking his well being physically and spiritually? No. You don’t love perfectly; neither did Saint Paul and Saint Peter. One doubted the resurrection and rejected it. One betrayed his Master and one tried to capture and kill His followers. One had little faith on the Sea of Galilee and one knew his buffeting and thorn so well that he correctly claimed the approbation “chief of sinners.” But both were touched by hand of God in Christ and sealed by the Spirit. This is “the Spirit of Truth [Who] will guide you into all Truth,” that “ye shall be My witnesses because ye have been with me from the beginning.”

   You and the Apostles have been with Him from before the beginning—In His love which is His predestination of you. Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you for “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him.” But The Son of Man martyrs His Kingdom to you. His Flesh and Blood reveals to you your heritage and lineage. His Blood and Water washed you clean and placed you into His heart. His Blood was shed for your trespasses and His Body was given unto suffering and death in your stead.

   “Blessed are you Simon Bar Jonah” for the greater Jonah Who burst forth from death and not just from a great fish loves you and forgives you. Blessed are you Saul of Tarsus for the real King, not Saul, not even David, is your God and Lord Who has come to you “one born out of time” and made you one of the “12” to be His ambassador to the barbarians. Blessed are you brethren for you have been chosen in The Martyr to join this host…with James and Stephen proto-martyrs; with Elias and John Baptizer martyrs from the Old to the beginning of the eternal. Blessed are all you Saints “when ye are persecuted for My + Names sake for the Kingdom of heaven is yours.”

   Peters bold confession as well as his person was the rock upon which Christ built His Church. The Confession of John Baptizer “behold the Lamb of God,” and his beheading, was a confession upon which Christ built His Church.  Pauls missionary zeal and evangelism to the ends of the earth was a confession upon which Christ built His Church. Your own + Baptisms and confessions of faith in word and deed are the testimonies upon which Christ builds His Church.

   In Jesus—His Word and His Blood, all Christians are martyrs—i.e. “witnesses.” You at this juncture are “white martyrs” cut off from sin in Baptism (buried into death with Him). Saints Peter and Paul are “red martyrs” shedding their blood in testimony to their beloved Lord. The Church, Jesus Kingdom, is built on these pillars by and in His Holy Precious Blood. The Son of Man martyrs His Kingdom to you.

   “Whom say ye that He is?” Your words of the Nicene Creed are still echoing in the Kingdoms banquet room. Peter’s bold confession is yours. But, who does The Son of Man say that all of you are? “Ye are my brothers and sisters; ye are my lambs, my children; ye are my friends and my family; ye are Forgiven”---

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

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