Homily for the second Sunday in Lent (Year C) – Commitment to Yahweh

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Good morning bus riders!


Welcome to the second Sunday in Lent!


I trust everyone has already read the lessons for today and have the lectionary site pulled up on your handheld devices, for reference.


This past week, as I was doing my preparatory work with the readings, when it came time to send out the email with the lectionary link, I decided I would pose a homework assignment to everyone.


That simple task is relative to the Gospel reading for today (from Luke 13:31-35), which is this: Name one prophet (other than Jesus) who was killed in Jerusalem.


If everybody has a business card or other scrap of paper, just jot that name down and I’ll collect them at the appropriate time.


I think it is fun to have someone give you a reason to delve a little deeper into how meaningful Scripture is.


If you overlooked the assignment, that’s okay. You still have some time to think of one and jot it down while I speak.


The theme that I see running through all the readings today is a commitment to God, the one the Old Testament readings commonly refer to as Yahweh.


A commitment to Yahweh means divine marriage; and, everyone here should know that I have said this many times.


Because this theme is strongly written of today, this second Sunday in Lent, that speaks volumes about how we Christians should see this symbolic season called Lent.


The yearly church calendar sets aside forty days to recognize a period of testing or proving, but the mood is somber and filled with grief.


Last Sunday I pointed out how Lent should be celebrated, as a time of joy and happiness. It should be a test we are prepared to take, with complete confidence that the test will be aced. No problems! So, that is not a time to mourn or cry about.


Today’s theme of commitment to Yahweh is more of the same sense of happiness, but with a strong hint of what comes when not committed to Him.


Raise your hand if you are married.


<Look for raised hands.>


In many marriage ceremonies, the officiant will announce, “Should anyone present know of any reason that this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.”


That is a test of commitment in marriage.


Of course, if the bride is led to the altar while sobbing uncontrollably about being given away; or, if some brothers of the bride are poking shotguns into the back of the bridegroom, forcing him to go say, “I do,” then a marriage could be a somber event, where many are stricken with grief.


The test of a marriage is the test of Lent.


Of those here that are married, how many of your marriages have lasted more than forty days?


<Look for many raised hands.>


In the marriage vows many people recite, each is asked to pledge commitment: “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”


That “till death do us part” is a promise to stick it out for more than forty days. It is a promise of commitment, based on love.


The same vows of commitment are made to Yahweh, only they are promises to live life according to the Covenant brought down from the mountain by Moses; and, because Yahweh only marries souls, there can be no death as an ending to that marriage.


Death is the state of being that a soul unmarried to Yahweh finds, as the death of the body then means the soul gets recycled into a new body of flesh … which also will die. Marriage to Yahweh begins with the death of death, so the marriage vows say, “for ever and ever.”


This is the commitment Abram had, even though Abram did not have any stone tablets to read and agree to.


The name Abram means “Exalted Father.” When Yahweh told him to start calling himself Abraham, then that name said “Their Strength” or “Their Protection.”


The lineage of Abram is important to remember. His father was one of the sons of Shem, who was one of the three sons of Noah. The Old Testament should be seen as placing its significant focus on a line born of Adam, leading to Jesus, where the three sons of Noah are pared down to the limb that bears the holiest fruit. Shem was the holiest son of Noah, whose was then the father of Arpachshad. That branch of the holiest led to Terah being the father of Abram; so, a name given that means “Exalted Father” says Abram was named because he was of that holiest branch that grew from Noah.


While I was researching this lineage, I found that Noah, Shem, and Abram were all alive at the same time … for thirty-nine years. This is because Noah lived for seven hundred fifty years. Because Shem lived for six hundred years, Shem actually outlived Abraham, who only lived one hundred seventy-five years.


When this says Biblical focus is placed on Abram, he was the branch that was cultivated by Yahweh to produce the good fruit of the vine. When Yahweh told Abram to move to Canaan, that was essentially him being replanted as a new shoot of holiness.


In the reading from Genesis today, Yahweh told Abram, “I am Yahweh who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess,” that says Yahweh was the Gardener and Abram was the seed.


We get the impression that Abram simply did whatever the voice in his head told him to do; but Abram had been taught by his holy family to be a priest that served only One God. As a priest, Abram was taught the rituals of sacrifice [like Adam taught Cain and Abel, et al] and how to listen to the voice of Yahweh when He spoke.


In that respect, Abram was committed to a religion, as a way of life that respected his elders … unquestionably.


The reading today from Genesis is the marriage vows exchanged between Yahweh and Abram, which is called the Covenant between the two.


The purpose of marriage is not to legally play around. The purpose of marriage is to have babies. Before Abram married Yahweh he had no babies. After this marriage, he would; and, Yahweh promised Abram He would bring forth a divine line of children from Abram, just as Abram had come from such a lineage.


In verse one, when we read, “the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision,” this is the first time Yahweh spoke to Abram in a vision. Prior, Abram had heard the voice of Yahweh and obeyed what Yahweh said to do. Now, it is important to realize how Abram was now being shown things … like in a dream … that accompanied that heard spoken.


In this beginning to chapter fifteen, I found it is important to see how chapter fourteen told of Abram’s rescuing of Lot from the kings of the cities on the plains, who ruled Sodom and Gomorrah. With that rescue came the blessing of Abram by Melchizedek.


Melchizedek is identified there as “the king of Salem.” The name Melchizedek means “King Of Righteousness” and the name Salem means “Peace.”


It is important to realized that Salem would become known as Jerusalem.


This made me see how Yahweh telling Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, I am your shield; your reward will be very great,” makes this vision be like those where angels appeared before Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, and shepherds, always saying, “Do not be afraid.”


In the blessing of Abram by Melchizedek, Abram was promised a portion of the bounty made available by the deaths of the evil kings, who had taken Lot as their hostage. Abram said he “would not take a thread or a sandal-thong or anything that is yours, so that you might not say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’”


This made me see Melchizedek appearing before Abram, speaking as Yahweh; and, chapter fourteen says of Melchizedek, he was “priest of el elyown,” where “el elyown” means the highest of the Yahweh elohim.


It says Melchizedek was the embodiment of the soul of Adam, who is the “priest of Jesus Christ.”


Because of this just concluded history, in the vision Abram heard Melchizedek tell him his “reward will be very great,” which immediately led Abram to respond by saying, “adonay Yahweh what will you give me since I go childless.”


The use of “adonay” – which means “lords” – is then Abram recognizing Melchizedek as a “Teacher” or “Master” that serves Yahweh in the creation of future “Lords” over souls. It also says Abram recognized he had been given and he had accepted this same role; and, Melchizedek had given Abram Yahweh’s blessing as the Son given that ability.


When the conversation leads to the vision taking Abram out under the starry skies, told to count them all, if he could … the stars of heaven reflect the heavenly host, meaning all who serve Yahweh as His elohim.


We cannot become lost in the innumerable element of stars. When the voice told Abram, “So shall your descendants be,” that prophesied that all the descendants of Abram would be just like him … a committed light of truth. While they would be numerous, Abram had faith in what he was shown, “thinking [the countless stars] meant righteousness.”


Abram knew his descendants would not just be children he sired [like, for example, Ishmael], they would be “righteous” [like, for example Isaac].


I welcome everyone to read all that I wrote about this covenant with Abram, because the covenant is made to each of us also. We read it for that purpose. You should see the depth of meaning that comes from this reading, so you will realize the deep level of commitment Abram had, going forth with only the promise that said, “Marry me and you will bring forth much fruit in the future.”


Lent must be approached in that manner. One must have complete faith in Yahweh, knowing all tests will be overcome.


From this covenant with Abram, we leap forward to the covenant Yahweh had with David. That marriage took place when Samuel anointed David with oil on his forehead, at the same time Yahweh poured out His Spirit onto David’s soul.


David sang songs of praise to his commitment to Yahweh in marriage.


Psalm 27 begins by singing, “Yahweh is my light and my salvation,” followed by “Yahweh is the stronghold of my life.”


In saying those things, David rhetorically asked “who would fear” when committed through divine marriage to Yahweh. Only those not committed to Him will find the fear of stumbling and falling.


Melchizedek blessed Abram because he had no fear when told Lot had been taken hostage. David had no fear when the giant Goliath had made all of Israel under Saul tremble in cowardice.


The experience of Jesus in the wilderness found him with no fear of Satan – the devil – who offered the world to Jesus, if he would bow down and worship evil.


Just like Abram said he would not take anything from the King of Sodom, because taking that reward would give him control over his soul, Jesus would take nothing from Satan.


When one marries one’s spouse, one enters an untimed test in the wilderness, where all the temptations of evil begin stroking your ego, saying, “You’re so good. Here, just take a little token of my recognition of how great you are.”


You can’t fall into that trap.


David sang about how those threats set up camp around one’s marriage to Yahweh, ready to strike at any moment, hoping to catch you when your guard is down.


The commitment of marriage to Yahweh is what keeps one’s head above the enemy; so, one knows what the plot is to attack that commitment.


Commitment, sang David, is shown in patience and courage, not compulsive reactions that are emotionally based.


This is reflected in how last Sunday’s Gospel reading about Jesus’ test of forty days was up in verse two. After he went forty days on his own, without any replenishing of spiritual food, Jesus was “famished.” He was “hungry” for some reward from Yahweh that would be very great.


He was like Abram, who by the time he had his first vision that brought the voice of Yahweh, he had followed orders for a decade. Those were his forty days, which he did standing on his head [a hockey term for ease of success]. It was after that when Abram was “hungry” for a child – a son – from Sarai.


The test was to be patient and keep your courageous heart, with the spiritual food Abram was fed being the promise of a very great reward through legacy.


Likewise, David cried out, “My commitment is still strong! Please do not cast me away or forsake me! I will serve you always, with the promise of salvation being the great reward I am married to.


In the Philippians reading, I was amazed at the depth that has been practically erased by the English translation.


The first word of verse seventeen is capitalized, putting divine elevation to the word meaning “Joint imitators.” When the word “Joint” is capitalized, that means not only a soul being “Joined” in Holy Matrimony with Yahweh’s Spirit, but the elevated meaning of “imitators” becomes all souls who have become where Jesus’ soul has resurrected, so one’s soul-flesh begins “Imitating” Jesus reborn.


Now, I know the lectionary site completely hides this by translating “join in imitating me,” but can you see how “Joint imitators” becomes a statement of being Jesus reborn?


<Look for shocked faces.>


Where the NRSV gets “imitating me,” the truth is Paul wrote, “of myself you Philippians are born.” That is Paul saying just as he was possessed by Yahweh and Jesus, where “myself” means “my soul” [because a “self” means a “soul”] and “you are all born” says the same rebirth in Paul was found in them, so all were “Joint imitators.”


By seeing that, Paul was led to twice use the word that means “conducting your lives,” where the second time he wrote that he said, “thinking about those changes in their souls makes me weep tears of joy.”


The NRSV does not make that joy possible to be seen. Paul was brought to tears because of the new commitment to Yahweh the Philippians had shown. But, instead, the NRSV translates only the negative, having Paul say, “For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”


The “enemies of the cross” is one of those Baptist revival meeting chants, before they light torches and stream up the mountain to the Frankenstein mansion, ready to burn anything that moves.


The word “cross” is one so narrow-mindedly seen that ignorance forbids one from seeing the truth of that word.


When Yahweh told Abram, “So shall your descendants be,” He did not mean, “All your descendants will be distant, each alone in the darkness of space.” He did not mean, “Each of your descendants will be burning hot balls of light that will instant fry anyone who comes close to them.”


That would be a narrowminded way of seeing the metaphor of stars in the sky the wrong way. Thus, Abram “thought the vision of stars meant righteousness.”


That is how Paul meant “enemies of the cross,” as “the cross” is metaphor for an “upright stake.” That comes from the truth behind the meaning of “stauros,” where reading that as “a cross” was more commonly accepted to be a statement about an “upright stake” in a vineyard, which kept the fruit of the vine off the ground, so vermin would not eat it.


Sure, a Roman crucifix was an “upright stake” in the ground, which was used to viciously kill human beings; but when Jesus told his followers, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me,” that was not a recommendation to commit crimes that would lead the Romans to crucify them.


To “lift up a cross” means to take a vineyard stake that leans so far over to the ground that one knows the vermin by name. It says make your “stake be upright,” which is like how Abram “though meant righteousness.”


Thus, Paul was talking about those whose lives had been remarkably changed, from becoming “Joint imitators” of Jesus, like Paul, found those who rejected their newfound state of righteousness as something they did not like. Rather than lift their stake up high, they went out pushing over upright states, out of anger.


Can you see that meaning in an “enemy of the cross”?


<Look for nodding heads.>


That is good to see, because Paul then said of those enemies of righteousness: “Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.”


Now, that is another of the poor translations produced by the NRSV, but they did get right the translation of “theos” in the lower-case, as “god,” where the metaphor for “belly” is all the internal workings of a human body. Thus, the “enemies of righteousness” are those who worship the physical and material as their “god.”


They are born to die, which means there is no promise of eternal life – like that promised in the covenant with Abram – because their “destruction” is “eternal ruin.”


The important part here comes from Paul saying “their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things.” That means they justify sinful ways by pretending to be committed to Yahweh [a shame], while changing all Laws to fit human ways.


The “enemies of the upright stake” were the opposite of those who were committed to Yahweh, because Paul said, “our citizenship is in heaven” and “we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”


The word translated as “citizenship” is better stated as “commonwealth.” The use of “heaven” means “spiritual,” which is the marriage commitment with Yahweh, which brings His “heaven” upon one’s soul.


When Paul is shown to write “we are expecting a Savior,” the truth shows him writing, “the Savior we are awaiting.” In that, the capitalization of “Savior” means “Jesus,” which is a name meaning “Yah[weh] Saves.” The intent of “we are awaiting” is less about the patience of a promise to be delivered, but the “eagerness of awaiting” commands from Jesus, because one’s soul has become a “Joint imitator” of his, doing as he commands.


I also welcome everyone to read the commentary I posted about this Philippians reading. There is so much more to discuss, but the restraints of a bus schedule do not allow for the now.


In the Gospel selection from Luke, I was amazed at what is written. That is why I sent out the homework assignment. If everyone has a name, pass those up the bench to me now.


<Pause to look at people sitting idly, doing no passing of anything.>


Great! Everyone passed this week’s Lenten test. Jesus is the only one who was killed in Jerusalem; but because he resurrected and ascended, he doesn’t count.


As for the reading from Luke, it is another that becomes a test of patience, where the devil shows you a poor translation and smiles, hoping you will take that small reward from him as a sign you have put your faith in his craftiness.


The Holy Bible is a reproduction, because none of it was written in English. Most of the Greek is a reproduction of Aramaic spoken; but Greek and Hebrew, even Latin, have a much greater span of meaning than does English. English translations become paraphrases, where one possible translation is hammered down as ‘Gospel,’ which means the truth becomes hidden.


Letting an English paraphrase be a request from Satan, after having easily passed a forty day test with flying colors, say you let your stake lean over like one of the enemies of the upright stake, just to say, “Thanks for the small reward.”


It’s a trap. Don’t do it.


A commitment to Yahweh means a marriage that has Him promise to your soul, “I will give you a child that will be the same child I have placed in countless wives.”


When you hear that and believe it is truth and think your child Jesus will be born as promised, you have to see that promise comes with the suggestion, “While you wait, see what the truth of Scripture says … in the original language.


An English Bible is a prompt to find the truth underneath.


In these five verses, I found that the Pharisees who came near to Jesus, did so during a call to prayer in the Temple of Jerusalem. They came near to him because they were secret followers that were Pharisees. Two known to be such are Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. They came close to Jesus to whisper that there was a plot to “abolish” him from Jerusalem.


The use of “Herod” is ambiguous, because Herod Antipas was powerless in Jerusalem. That was under the Roman governor Pilate. The singular name “Herod” eludes to Herod the Great, who established systems of rule in Jerusalem that fell under the heading of Herodian. That system welcomed tyranny and secret plots were encouraged.


Jesus did not begin calling an ambiguous “Herod” a name, such as “You go tell that fox” implies. The word for “fox” means a “crafty person,” thus a plotter; but, more importantly, the implication of “craftiness” says whoever “designed” to “abolish” Jesus was a fallen over stake that had the devil eating its fruit.


Jesus did not give an itinerary to go tell Herod, which said, “I do this today, and tomorrow, and then on the third day I will leave.” Jesus told of his past ministry, the ministry he was doing in the present [“now, today”], with “tomorrow” being the future Jesus knew would come.


In verse thirty-three, Jesus again stated three times, where the truth states “now, the future, with a possession necessary next in one’s journey.” This becomes relative to the present state of “evil spirits” that existed “now,” and will still exist “tomorrow,” until the “next step” comes which “possesses that evil,” casting it out, so the “journey” goes well.


The ”evil spirit” are what Paul called “enemies of the cross.” The “possessing this journey” is what Abram heard the promise of giving birth to a child and “thought that meant righteousness.”


Jesus then said “it is not possible to destroy a prophet without Jerusalem.” That says prophecy and Jerusalem go hand in hand.


This is where it is important to recall what I said about Melchizedek being the King of Salem. His never died. That means he still lives. He is a reflection of Adam, who is the eternal guardian of Eden, the soul of Jesus. This is where prophecy is sourced.


The meaning of Jerusalem must be understood. I have mentioned this before, as it means “Teaching Peace” or “In Awe Of Peace.” Thus, Jesus said “not is it possible a prophet to abolish without Teaching Peace.”


Luke then wrote of Jesus saying “Jerusalem” three times. Again, “Teaching Peace” in the past, “Teaching Peace” in the present, and “Teaching Peace” in the future.


Jesus was projecting the Torah, the Psalms, and the Prophets, all of which were exercises in “Teaching Peace” … but the “enemies of the upright stake” set their “designs” on “abolishing” all that talk of “Peace.”


Yahweh spoke through His Son when he used the metaphor of the hen caring for her brood, as all the Patriarchs, Moses, the Judges, King David, Elijah, and all the Prophets, even Jesus were each angelic in their attempts to “cast out demons” and “heal” sick souls.


When Jesus said, “You were not willing!” that says they had no commitment to Yahweh. They were “enemies of the cross,” wanting nothing of “Joint imitating,” as they were only committed to serving themselves.


When Jesus said, “See, your house is left to you,” the truth of that written says, “You are permitted yourselves because your souls dwell in your flesh.” That is the permission of free will in the material realm.


But, that only lasts until death comes a knocking.


When Jesus is shown to have then said, “You will not see me until the time comes,” the reality of that says, “You will not experience Joint imitation with my soul until his soul has arrived.” That will not come by force, but from having reached absolute rock bottom, where one’s soul is being devoured by the vermin of Satan.


Then, to find Jesus’ soul one with one’s soul means that soul has been “Blessed,” as it “Praises” Yahweh for having sent “the Savior” Paul wrote of.


When Jesus comes, his soul replaces yourself as “lord” over your soul and flesh. Jesus will be the “Lord” that comes in the name of Yahweh. [Yahweh Saves.]


I see the bus is here now, so I will end by wishing you all a great week ahead.


Safe travels until next Sunday.


Amen

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