Homily for the fifth Sunday in Lent – Understanding Lent is about desired sacrifice

Updated: Mar 20


This is the last official Sunday that is designated by an ordinal number “in Lent.” None of the past four Sundays, nor this one, counts as a day in that numbering of forty days of sacrifice, according to the Catholic Church [USCB Liturgical Seasons]. Sundays are like “off days” or "time outs," as far as counting sacrificial days in the wilderness is concerned. Next Sunday will be called Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday, which is another day not counted in the numbering of forty days. The fortieth day of Lent is always “Holy Saturday” – a Sabbath – with Easter Sunday the next day [two weeks from today], which begins the seven week Easter season [which spreads over eight Sundays].


But, who’s counting, right?


Because next Sunday is when two chapters from the Gospel of Mark will be read aloud in Episcopal churches, soliciting members of the congregation to read parts, basically to keep everyone from falling asleep, there is not enough time to do that at the bus stop. The buses run every fifteen minutes and I’m lucky if I have two willing bench warmers while I orate. So, I will make Lent be over, officially, today … by my count.


Now, about Lent ….


Three of the past four Sundays the Old Testament readings have told of divine covenants: the rainbow promise with Noah, the many nations promise with Abram, and the Ten Commandments with Moses. If you were here two weeks ago, you will remember how I said the Ten Commandments were actually marriage vows between Yahweh and the Israelites. Any of you remember?


<look for nodding heads>


Well, today the theme of covenants returns. We heard from Jeremiah how Yahweh promised “a new covenant.” The new covenant was because the Israelites broke the vows of the first covenant – the Ten Commandments – the marriage vows. In essence, they divorced Yahweh, kept the land promised in the settlement; but then they lost that to later husbands.


Jeremiah said God told him, “I was their husband.” That says (using reverse phrasing), the Israelites were Yahweh’s wife (or wives).


That should confirm the marriage thing I have been talking about the last few weeks. And, it says the “new covenant” is another marriage arrangement, only different than the first.

God promised Jeremiah: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”


If you recall the Charleston Heston movie “The Ten Commandments,” he brought down the tablets of stone, which acted like the engagement rings sent by Moses to His brides-a-waiting. Maybe that is why jewelers promote giving the woman you love a ‘huge rock’ to woo her to say “Yes”?


So, for God to prophesy through Jeremiah that He would make the new covenant be written on their hearts, not stone tablets, you have to understand what that says.


The heart is not a physical organ, as far as what Yahweh told Jeremiah should be read as. He did not mean that a physician – a heart specialist – could run some optic fiber inside someone’s arteries, inside the heart and see tiny words etched in the walls of muscle tissue. That was the way the stone tablets could be read; and, a physical heart is really no different than a stone tablet, when one understands they both are visible in the material realm. That means a heart, as used here, is metaphor for a soul.


When one can see the heart as the soul, the meaning of writing the laws of God on a soul becomes marriage to God, where His Holy Spirit becomes one with a soul. The heart of a body of flesh is the soul, a spiritual realm within the physical realm. When married to God, an elevated soul is together with Yahweh inside the body of flesh.


Thus, the “new covenant” becomes the marriage vows internalized. Rather than have someone like Moses – someone most holy in the flesh – come down from a mountain with tablets of stone, engraved with the Word of Yahweh [etched by His finger], necessary to carry around inside a special Ark, Yahweh promised Jeremiah that He would come individually to each of his people.


When God said, “I will be their God,” that means He would Lord over each of their bodies of flesh, through marriage: His Holy Spirit merged with many different souls.


When God said, “they shall be my people,” it means each of those individuals that marry God will cease following the lead of anyone or anything else. They will only follow Yahweh. Therefore, there will be no need for the people to go to a building to become educated about the law and then go teach their families, because individuals will know everything "by heart." [Not brain.]


All of this will come about by love, not force, not manipulation, but willing desire to be married.


Raise your hand if you are married.


<look for raised hands>


Marriage, in our society, does not come about by arrangement. While it still does happen that way in other societies and has long been a practice of fathers giving away their daughters to another father’s son, for an agreed price, marriage then and now still comes down to two individuals coming together as one couple. The Israelites had a system of arrangement, such that they could not go outside their religion to marry.


This means love, in the physical sense, is not the common denominator for marriage to take place. We can say that with confidence because many arranged marriages become permanent bonds between a husband and wife. Love becomes so much more than passion.


The greatest love in a good marriage is that of the children, who become the permanence of the DNA of two bodies of flesh forever joined in the bodies of flesh those two came together to create. The greatest love in a marriage is that which evolves from the marriage, expanding through the families that have become merged.


In David’s Psalm 51, he sang, “Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the body you have broken may rejoice.” That sings of the love that comes after marriage. It is the presence of joy and gladness that causes rejoicing. It is a state of happiness, that goes well above and beyond the physical feelings of sexual lust. This song sings of one developing faith in a spiritual partner, which was a partnership entered without prior experience.


In an alternate psalm, David sang the words, “I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees than in all manner of riches.” That sings about the laws of Yahweh having become one with one’s soul – one’s heart. To delight in the ways of righteousness is to find joy and gladness from a new way of living.


David was singing songs of praise to Yahweh, which was due to his marriage to God; so, his body of flesh was led by a soul-heart that had Yahweh’s laws written all over it. David sang because he was divinely inspired. Divine inspiration is a sign of union between the physical and the spiritual.


David was unique at that time, just as Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, and Nathan [et al] were all unique individuals who led God’s people as external manifestations of Yahweh in the flesh. They were divine because they were His chosen ones, as hand-picked wives. All the prophets of Israel and Judah were the same, from Elijah to John the Baptist. All were married to God, with His Holy Spirit one with their souls; so they all had a state of heart that led the flesh to do the Will of God.


Jesus was representative of the “new covenant” God told Jeremiah about; but Jesus was not the only one of God’s people to be married to Him. Jesus was the prototype, as the first.


Therein lies the “new covenant” proposal for marriage to Yahweh. Rather that God sending down a proposal on stone tablets – material alive with spiritual energy [some think it was radioactive] – God sent His Son as the “new Commandments.” Jesus has to be written upon one's heart-center, one's soul.


Just like Moses became (in essence) the officiant to the wedding ceremony between God and the Israelites, Jesus became the officiant to the wedding ceremony between Yahweh and individual souls – Jews at first, Gentile included later – all then becoming Christians.


The marriage between individual souls and the first true Christians happened on Pentecost Sunday, the day after the resurrected Jesus ascended into the spiritual realm. We need to remember that Jesus ascended just as did Elijah, just as did Melchizedek, and just as did Enoch. When Elijah ascended, Elisha asked for a double share of his spirit, which Elijah said he had no control over. Elisha was given a double share of spirit by Yahweh, where "double share" needs to be understood as Elisha's heart-soul married to God's Holy Spirit; so, like Elijah, Elisha became another wife of Yahweh.


God has the power to marry every soul on this planet. He is God, after all. But, who wants to marry someone that does not want to marry you? God only marries those who cry out, "I want a double share of your spirit!"


Before twelve official lead disciples were filled with God’s Holy Spirit and immediately began “speaking in foreign languages” (“tongues”), leading to about three thousand Jewish pilgrims in Jerusalem [in the Essene Quarter] also becoming married to Yahweh’s Holy Spirit [along with all the other followers of Jesus’ ministry], there was a desire to find God. There were lost sheep in Judea and Galilee [all over] who cried out for help. They were seekers, just lost. They all became the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, when Yahweh became “their God, and they [became His] people” … individually.


They asked and they received. They were lost, but they were found. All of them became “Anointed ones” of Yahweh. All of them became Jesus reborn in the flesh. All of them became “in the name of Jesus Christ.”


Raise your hand if you have natural born children with your wife or husband.


<look for raised hands>


A natural born child is the union of your DNA with that of your spouse [a sexual partner]. As Jesus quoted Scripture: “a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” [Matthew 19:5-6]


That becomes a statement about the human reproductive process for natural born children. However, the same principle – the same LAW – governs the natural born children of the spiritual reproductive process, with a most important caveat.


A natural born child of a spiritual union is the DNA of your soul [what your body of flesh looks like, as a blend of your mother and father] and the DNA of the Holy Spirit [which is the model of the “new covenant” – Jesus]. This union means one’s soul becomes the Christ and the body of flesh becomes reborn as Jesus. A body of flesh becomes the mother of Jesus, while the soul-heart becomes the Father incarnate.


After all, marriage is all about making babies, right? Anything less is just pure adultery.


Now, this should not be hard to grasp, as far as what the result of marriage to God brings: one becomes an Apostle; one becomes a saint; one becomes a teacher; and one becomes the officiant for the future wedding ceremonies between souls you influence to become brides of Yahweh.


If you read the Gospels [and Epistles], you know what your life will be like, once the laws of Yahweh are written all over your soul and you become God incarnate, as His Son resurrected, one of His people.


The hard part is figuring out how one comes to the state of realizing God is proposing marriage. Even if you realize that, the question becomes: How do I actually get to the proverbial altar of marriage.


That is where the Gospel reading from today is most important. To get to that point, you have to die.


Hold on!


Before you run away to another bus stop. Death is not literal. Death is figurative.


Still, death is how you get to that altar of marriage.


The reading from John 12 is split into two parts, the first part being about “some Greeks” wanting to see Jesus; and, the second part is about Jesus predicting his death [then a fourth time]. What can be missed in this split is how it was Jesus telling “some Greeks” about his coming death.


Just so you know, whenever the Gospels use the Greek word “tis” (or the plural version “tines”), rather than that word stating a rather useless intent for the generic “some,” it means “certain.” All uses of “certain” means known. As such, it was “known Greeks” who went to see Jesus; and, Jesus told them about his coming death.


Those Greeks were told of Jesus' coming death in a much deeper way than Jesus told his disciple [three times. Then, Jesus basically said to his disciples, "Soon, I must go to Jerusalem, be handed over to the leaders, who will kill me. But, after three days I will rise." Now, Jesus is pouring out his heart to Greeks who he knew closely and deeply, not as disciples but as fellows.


As the prototype for the “new covenant,” Jesus was the one who had to physically die before others could be married to Yahweh and become his soul reborn into new bodies of flesh. He explained this to his Greek friends by using the metaphor of “a grain of wheat.”


He said to them, “If it [a grain of wheat] dies, it bears much fruit.”


Jesus then told them, “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” That must be taken as a prophecy of deaths to come, such that to marry Yahweh one must then “hate life in this world.” To hate life in this world means one must welcome death in this world. Not literally physical death, but real death nonetheless.


Does that make sense?


<look for nodding heads>


Jesus then said to his Greek friends, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.” That is a statement of those sacrificing their lives – figuratively, before physical death comes [and it will come to all mortals] – so they can individually marry God and be reborn as Jesus, all the Anointed Ones of Yahweh. Unlike the Ten Commandments, the "new covenant" requires one do more than give lip-service. The "new covenant" requires willing self-sacrifice, so the soul is free to be given away to Yahweh.


We become confused when the wheat metaphor switches to Jesus saying, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.”


Think about those words being spoken by a bride on the eve of her wedding. Some can call that getting cold feet. Jesus was saying he feels the same jitters a bride feels before going to the altar, but he also knew he was born for the purpose of dying. His death meant those following after him [as him reborn] would gain eternal life for their souls. It was like an arranged marriage that promised to bring great reward to two families, with gladness of heart part of the expectation.


A figurative death is then the surrender of oneself as a wife to a husband. It means death of the old you and the transformation into a new you. It means the death of a self that is used to getting his or her way, as a submissive wife [regardless of human gender, as we are talking souls now] to a Master husband.


Giving that control up will give one cold feet.


When John then wrote, “Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again,” that becomes the husband – Yahweh – speaking of the “new covenant.” Just as one grain of wheat dies and become a plethora of new wheat, all reproduction of the first, so too had God glorified the seed that was Jesus [as the Christ, unlike all others] AND all others who would come in his likeness [also as Christs, unlike all others]. God said, "glorification all around for My brides!"


From Hebrews we heard read aloud, “Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.”


That says Jesus did not make himself the Anointed One of Yahweh, Yahweh did. The Christ is the DNA of God, so to speak. When that holy code is written into a soul, one blank from having been wiped clean of all past sins of the world – God having glorified it. That was Yahweh’s model that would be born into Jesus, as God implanting His DNA into a virgin named Mary. Jesus was born married to God, as God incarnate. He was sent like that to make it possible for a soul to become the wife of Yahweh, thus also the Christ, glorified by God.


Jesus is begotten by God as the model that will be reborn into all bodies of flesh the souls of His wives bring to Him. From that marriage, Jesus will be reborn within; and, it will be Jesus who will reside in that new flesh as the High Priest of Yahweh. When Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this realm," his kingdom is the temple of flesh that presides over the nation of all born in the name of Jesus Christ. It is the spiritual realm of one's soul. A Christian is then the New Jerusalem - a city state - where Jesus is the High Priest and Yahweh the King, all rolled into one!


The body of flesh becomes the Temple unto Yahweh, where Jesus officiates all actions done by a body of flesh. God's Ark, His Holy of Holies, becomes one's heart - the soul. As High Priest, Jesus makes the body act through divine decrees from the Mind of Christ [overlord of one's brain]. All such temples unto the Lord will be so glorified by God, again and again and again, for a long as souls are led to die so they can be resurrected in the name of Jesus Christ.


This becomes the model of eternal salvation and it is why Hebrews quotes David’s Psalm 110:4: You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.


Melchizedek was a High Priest that ascended into heaven without dying, as did Enoch and Elijah. Jesus died but was resurrected before ascending. That resurrection becomes the model of marriage to Yahweh.


One dies at the altar of marriage. One rises as Jesus reborn into one’s flesh. One’s soul ascends into heaven, as one being with Yahweh, forevermore.


With no more Sundays on the schedule this year to talk about self-sacrificing, it becomes important to now see the necessity of marriage to Yahweh. The altar of marriage is no different than the altar upon which the sacrificial lamb is laid, after giving up its life so others can be saved.


As we head into the Easter season, when death and resurrection is the theme, it is vital to know that too reflects upon our souls being called to be wheat rising from the ground as new fruit – the fruit of a “new covenant.” For that to happen to our souls, we each must also become one seed from the head of the Jesus Christ wheat plant, sown by the hand of God.


We must die before we can resurrect as Jesus Christ in our bodies of flesh.


This means the death on the altar becomes synonymous with the season of Lent, such that “three days dead” is that honeymoon period. During that period [the same length of time Moses spent with Yahweh on the mountain] is when we grow into individual “Sons of man” [regardless of one’s human gender].


Lent is now when we have entered the tomb and the rock has been rolled into place, leaving our souls individually alone with Yahweh [and certain angels]. Lent is when two are united as one flesh, never to be separated.


The tests of the wilderness experience of Jesus come after a wedding ceremony – the Wedding in Cana – and before Jesus entered into his ministry. Our wilderness experience should then be expected to follow the same growth and development plan found in the original seed, from which a true Christian is grown. Our souls must become married to God, before they enter into service for Yahweh.


Just as Jesus told his Greek friends, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also” we serve him as his seeds planted like he was planted. We serve Jesus as becoming one with God, as Jesus reborn.


Thus, when Jesus said, “Whoever serves me, the Father will honor,” that use of "the Father" becomes a statement of marriage. It is a word stating Holy parentage, where Yahweh is the Husband to a soul in a body of flesh that is His wife, so together they have created a “Son.” Therefore, whoever is reborn as one of the “Sons of man” will be called “Son” by Yahweh, because He has become their Father likewise.


The service honored by the Father is when Jesus again goes into ministry, in our flesh individually. Lent is then when our bodies of flesh are being prepared for that service to God.


The disciples represent how bridesmaids are dressed up, before their marriage to Yahweh. Apostles represent how brides have become wives, who have then given birth to Jesus renewed in flesh and bones.


Easter is when one has transformed into a wife of Yahweh and then when a soul is being taught how to utilize the Christ Mind as the control over a body. Rather than a basic human brain, a saint receives divine insight through the Christ Mind, which the brain processes. That symbolism means there are still things to learn from the divine insight that comes after marriage to Yahweh.


Before we can get to that stage of our individual development, according to the “new covenant” modeled after Jesus, we have to get over the jitters of knowing we must die of self-ego. We have to willingly walk to the altar and surrender our souls to God, never again to go back to being some naïve selfish brat. We have to grow up, with “up” being a statement of an elevated soul.


The hidden part of the Gospel story from John is the “certain Greeks.” They were not disciples of Jesus, nor were they fans who had read about him in some ‘teen magazine’ and sought him for an autograph.


We think that because we are not true Christians, instead being groupies of Jesus. We love to follow him around, without getting out of a pew or bus stop bench to do anything of value. Certainly, we are too immature to marry God and give up being fools whose lamps run out of oil all the time.


The “certain Greeks” were known to Jesus because they had died physically prior. Their deaths took place with Jesus nearby. Jesus told them “Get up!” and God resurrected them to life. They came because Yahweh sent them to bring encouragement to Jesus, before his time to physically die came. And, it was that hour.


They came like experienced wives visiting a sixteen year old virgin, who has never been with a mature man before. They visit to reassure her, “Everything will be okay.”


You need to be reassured today that your figurative deaths on the altar of marriage to God will be okay. You can do it.


Your soul has been born to do it; so, do it.


Lent is that honeymoon when it is just your soul with Yahweh. Three days of dead bliss. It is the stuff eternal memories are made of.


Amen