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Homily for the sixth Sunday after the Epiphany (Year C) – The Two Paths

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

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Good morning bus riders!


I took the time to print out some strips of paper with the address for the Episcopal lectionary page: http://www.lectionarypage.net. Take one and pass them down. If you stick that in your wallet or purse, then you can reference it as you need.


I will still be sending out the link that sends one to the specific readings for the coming Sunday; so, if you are not on my email list, then let me know. I trust everyone received their email this past week and took the time to review the readings for today’s lessons.


Always keep in mind that religion can easily become a cult of personality, when a multitude of people follow one leader. People like Jim Jones and David Koresh become the poster boys for false shepherds; but any number of popular evangelists, from Billy Graham (and son), to Joyce Meyer, to Joel Osteen, to any megachurch pastor are nothing … if he or she does not teach how to do what they are supposedly doing.


Many times I hear people from a church congregation whisper about how touched they were with the way a priest used flowery words, so eloquently. It is such ability to bedazzle the people with the concept that the priest knows so much more than I do, I feel warm and fuzzy just being close to him or her on Sunday.


That is great for getting donations; but it does nothing towards leading a soul to marry Yahweh, give birth to His Son Jesus, wear the crown of a Christ, and then enter ministry … for the rest of one’s life.


The only one who can save your soul is you. Nobody else has some ‘layaway plan’ that gets your soul into heaven, as long as you make the payments on time.


Many priests and evangelists are such good money-raisers … telling people how much God wants a new church built here or a new fleet of personal jets bought and put over there … that people fall in love with that personality. That love means a willingness to pay the price to make that loved one very happy.


The problem is the love affair needs to be between each of you and Yahweh. The place where those two lovers meet is everywhere and anywhere … even in a ‘standing room only’ bus stop.


So, with that said, let’s get to today’s lessons.


The theme that runs through all the readings today can be found in the applied title to David’s Psalm 1. The NRSV calls that “The Two Ways.” The BibleHub Interlinear source I use names it “The Two Paths.”


In none of the readings today can be found the word “two.” If that word were written, then the focus would be on duality, where everything has two: up-down; inside-outside; and, forwards-backwards (just to give a few examples). The duality for humans is body and soul; but, as we learned with the name of the firstborn being Ephraim, that name meaning “Doubly Fruitful” means the duality of a soul that has been saved, by having the soul of Jesus resurrected in it.


That means the number “two” is relative to one. The lessons today are placing focus on the two paths possible for one to take in life,


In Jeremiah’s song, the first verse read says, “Thus says Yahweh: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from Yahweh.” That states the two paths … when you look closely … as one path going to Yahweh, while the other path is putting one’s “trust in mere mortals.”


Now, trusting everyone here has read all of the reading set aside for today, we can look at the word “Cursed” and see how that is stating the opposite of being “Blessed.” Luke’s reading has Jesus repeating what a state that is “Blessed” is. He then follows that with some observations about a state of “Woe.”


Being “Cursed” is the same as a “Woe” state of existence.


Can you see that?


<Look for nodding heads.>


Good.


Now notice how Yahweh spoke through Jeremiah, saying, “make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from Yahweh.” In that, the word “hearts” comes from the Hebrew word “leb,” which means “inner man, mind, will,” in addition to “heart.” Think of “heart” as being the same as a soul.


The key verb stated is “turn away.” This is where the two paths come into view. This is where one has to imagine a fork in the road, where one path goes to the left and the other goes to the right.


When the “heart” is known to be a soul … and Yahweh only marries souls, with “heart” then a statement of love between a soul and Yahweh … the fork in the road becomes the proposal from Yahweh: Will you marry me?


Here, it is important to realize that Yahweh speaking through Jeremiah was not saying, “If your soul says “No” to my proposal, then I am going to punish you with a curse.”


Just as Jesus did not promise to send “Woe” from the Father, everything is one’s self-inflicted curse and woe.


Remember, in the imaginary scene of one’s soul standing before a fork in the road, with two paths optional, your soul decides which way it will go.


Even if a soul stays put and refuses to take either path, the decision is your soul’s to make. That is the truth behind free will.


The decision to take the road to Yahweh is aided by Yahweh speaking through Jeremiah, saying, “Blessed are those who trust in Yahweh, whose trust is Yahweh.”


Please, note that the NRSV translation says “the Lord,” but the truth is Yahweh said through Jeremiah: “Yahweh” … twice in one verse.


The word “blessed” is said as well, which Yahweh would say through His Son Jesus.


The word “blessed” needs to be understood as a state of being that has been divinely elevated by marriage of a soul to Yahweh … the path to Him. Thus, to take that first step down the road towards Yahweh, one has to “trust” that the love and promise of Yahweh is real, not a trick. Then, once committed to taking that path, one’s soul finds faith from personally experiencing the presence of Yahweh.


The path to Yahweh begins with belief, which then becomes complete faith. The two are not the same.


The two paths presented by Jeremiah are then said to be either “like a shrub in the desert” and “the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land;” or, “like a tree planted by water” and “shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green and it does not cease to bear fruit.”


That vision depicts the path of the cursed and the path of the blessed.


Then, we read Yahweh saying, “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse -- who can understand it?”


That says the “soul” [a “heart”] sees two paths and hears the voice of Yahweh calling to the path that leads to Him; but souls go the other way … time and time again … routinely.


When this is called “perverse,” and impossible to “understand” such ill-advised decisions, there is something to say about falling in love with pain and agony.


What is unseen in this imaginary vision becomes clearer when Yahweh had Jeremiah write: “I Yahweh test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.”


This says the path of the cursed, which leads to woes, is the proposal made by the tempter: Satan.


It is vital to know that a soul’s marriage to Yahweh is just as possible as is a soul’s marriage to a demon spirit. We read about Jesus and his disciples casting out unclean spirits and think nothing about that. That is almost an expected part of life.


Raise your hand if you believe demonic possession is real.


<Look for raised hands.>


Those are souls who failed the test of their souls and minds, who opened themselves up to receiving a demon, when they could have accepted the proposal of divine marriage and opened their souls to Yahweh.


David began his first Psalm by singing, “Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful!”


In reality, the word translated as “Happy” is “esher,” which means “happiness, blessedness.” In other words, David sang that to not be walking the path of Satan, to not take the way of sinners, and not travel the walkway that has benches along the way, where the scornful can rest a spell [hang their heads in woe], is to walk the road that marries a soul to Yahweh, making one’s soul be “Blessed.”


Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17 are very much alike. Both sing about being trees planted by rivers of water that keeps the leaves green and the fruit growing.


David sang about the desert and wilderness, which comes with scorching heat and dryness, simply by saying the “wind blows away the chaff.”


What is easy to miss in David’s psalm is his saying, “Their delight is in the law of Yahweh, and they meditate on his law day and night.” The “law of Yahweh” is the Covenant, which is the marriage vows that unites a soul to Yahweh’s Spirit.


To “meditate on his law day and night” means the same as Yahweh saying through Jeremiah: “Blessed are those who trust in Yahweh, whose trust is Yahweh.” The law becomes one’s faith, which comes from the personal experience of Yahweh’s presence.


When David sang the last two verses: “Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous. For Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed,” that says one path is towards “righteousness” or “uprightness” and the other path is towards “wickedness” or sin.


The two paths of David both lead to judgment, where marriage to Yahweh means salvation, while the path of sin is “doomed” … everything thought gained is then “destroyed.”


Knowing this element of the end result of picking the path of life to travel, Paul then added some vital information. He wrote also of the two paths, but you might have to squint to see it.


To see this as a reading telling of two paths, one has to recall last Sunday’s lessons where the same chapter of Paul’s letter was read. I pointed out how it says, "Christ died,” and I wanted to know how an "Anointment" by Yahweh could “die.”


Do you remember me talking about that?


<Look for thoughtful faces and difficulty remembering yesterday, much less last Sunday.>


Well, I said the word translated as “died” actually says “separated away from [at death],” which meant for Jesus’ body to “die” Yahweh had to separate the “Christ” given to Jesus "away from" him. The “Christ” is again the focus in today’s reading, not Jesus.


When we read today of Paul saying “Christ has been raised,” it becomes a distraction to hear or read those words and think they say “Jesus has been raised.”


Jesus “died” so Yahweh could “separate away from” his flesh his soul, which is then placed in Saints by Yahweh’s “Blessing” – His Anointment.


This means Paul was not talking about belief that Jesus died, was buried in a tomb, then three days later he came out of the tomb “raised.”


After spending forty days with his disciples, that Jesus ascended – Jesus was "raised” to the Father – so the soul of Jesus could come back the next morning – Pentecost Sunday morning – and “raise” twelve, plus three thousand seeker Jews in Jerusalem.


Everyone of those souls in whom Jesus “has been raised” means everyone of them was "Anointed" by Yahweh, everyone of them becoming the Son reborn, so all were “Christ.” Therefore, “Christ has been raised” is what Paul – who witnessed many Corinthians also be likewise “raised” as a “Christ” – was writing about.


That which seems to be an argument, as though there were some Corinthians who were doubting “Christ has been raised” is not the case.


Once a soul “has been raised” as a “Christ,” then it always remains that.


That is Paul writing about the path to Yahweh, where the end result of that path is Judgment, which is the promise of eternal life.


Because Paul had heard that there were people in Corinth that refused to believe “Christ has risen” … in true Christians in Corinth … Paul was explaining the logic of all religious faith.


Paul wrote the word “if” seven times in this reading selection. That is a conditional word that addresses “if” one takes one path, rather than the other. Thus, the people who do not understand the resurrection as possible are taking the path that refuses to marry their souls to Yahweh.


I welcome everyone to read what I wrote about these verses from First Corinthians, because they are easily misunderstood.


Christians today will readily say, “I believe Jesus was resurrected,” because they have been told to believe that. When Paul wrote, “We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ--whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.”


That NRSV translation needs adjusting; but the key word to discern is “testified.” That word actually translates as “we have witnessed,” which states a personal experience with Yahweh, not hearsay.


To say, “I believe I am the Christ,” which is the truth of being “Christian,” is lying under oath, when one has not been raised as a Christ by Yahweh.


It is very important to understand what Paul wrote; and, again, he does not write Scripture that can be summed up quickly, while one is waiting for the bus to come.


Moving on to the reading from Luke, the first three verses need to be seen as a match of the last three verses of Matthew’s fourth chapter.


In verse seventeen, the NRSV translation shows, “Jesus came down with the twelve apostles and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.”


First of all, after reviewing how Paul’s focus was on "Christ has been raised from the dead,” here we read [literally from the Greek], “Jesus having descended among those of him”. That says the soul of Jesus – his Spirit – was earthbound and within the souls who followed him.


The next segment of words say, “he made a stance on the basis of an area level.” While that can mean Jesus found a large area of flatland along the Sea of Galilee (because it does say that), it also says this is important information because the synagogues where Jesus had been speaking were not “level.” They were limited in size, showed favoritism to local Jews, and they had become angered at what Jesus was saying, when he was given a chance to speak in their houses of Judaism. They were leaned in their favor, away from the people and away from Jesus.


To read “he took a stance,” that means Jesus was standing up for his ministry, not allowing the will of others to deter him.


Can you see that and how important this is?


<Look for nodding heads.>


Good. Then, the next segment of words say, “the common people many of learners of him.” This says Jesus allowed all Jews to come seek him, for the purpose of him being a teacher … a rabbi … so, in essence, Jesus was setting up his ‘school of Scripture.’


That is what today’s churches are supposed to be. Those attending should be seeking knowledge of Scriptural meaning and those leaders of churches should be teaching knowledge of Scripture.


Raise you hand if you have found that to be the case in a church.


<Look for raised hands.>


Then, the next four segments of words literally say: “kai an assemblage often of this laity of all of this of Judea , kai Jerusalem , kai of this of sea coast of Tyre , kai of Sidon .


Now, each of those four segments is led by the word “kai,” which has to be seen as a marker of importance to follow. In each of those four segments is a capitalized word, where capitalization denote an elevation to a divine level of meaning. This means it is important [“kai”] to see the truth of the meaning behind the capitalized words, divinely elevating them from names of places to important statements.


When the meaning behind the names is known, that written transforms to state this:


importantly an assemblage often came together that would be ordinary people coming to discerned Scripture, with all of them coming from places of Jews who praised Yahweh.”


"Judea" means "Place Of The Jews" or "Place Of The Praisers."


importantly the gatherings were for the purpose of Jesus teaching them the peace of Scripture."


"Jerusalem" means "Teaching Peace" or "In Awe of Peace."


importantly the assembly would be of the sea coast along the Sea of Galilee that was overlooked by a rock or mount, where Jesus would speak as the cornerstone for their souls.


"Tyre" means "Rock."


importantly the purpose of this assemblage by the mount by the sea was Jesus fishing for souls, making it become a fishery.


"Sidon" means "Fishery."


When we know that Jesus walked away from the boats used by Simon, James and John, telling them, “I will make you fishers of men,” this arrangement where Jesus would preach 'sermons from the mount' says Jesus was teaching his disciples – those of his spirit that had descended among them – “This is how you do that.”


This can then be seen as a precursor to the two paths, where Jesus established the attraction to the way to Yahweh – the flashing neon lights that attract people wanting to learn more and then the lesson taught that says, “Yahweh proposes marriage to you.”


That is where it becomes Jesus teaching sermons from the mount, where what he recited and then explained was how David sang, “Their delight is in the law of Yahweh and they meditate on his law day and night.”


That meditation – 24/7 – does not come because someone heard some man or woman tell a beautifully spoken, poignant personal experience that is what led him or her to be a political activist wearing priestly garb. That is teaching self-adoration and cultism, not a proposal from Yahweh and how to go about marrying a soul to Him.


Jesus taught [and then all souls in which the soul of Jesus was reborn - all Christs] divine marriage comes from seeking Him. Thirsting for Scriptural knowledge means doing all that attracts the Holy Spirit to one; then being in the presence of Yahweh and finding – being a witness to – Him never leaving. All questions about Scripture become whispers of guidance that lead one to deeper and deeper faith, experiencing the truth.


Jesus was that when he preached from the mount by the sea; but then the Apostles and Saints became many souls that had become resurrection of Jesus – because “Christ has been raised” in them – who spoke as him reborn, so the same effect was felt by those seeking the truth.


Jesus taught the meaning of the law. The law is the Covenant of marriage to Yahweh. The law is the commitment – till death does you self-ego part forevermore and Jesus rules your life eternally.


One path welcomes the law. The other path says, “What law? There are no rules over here.”


Luke then does what Matthew did not, by telling of Jesus speaking of the “Woes.” The Saints are those who take the path of marriage to Yahweh. They are “Blessed” by His Spirit. Those who take the other path only find misery.


That is why David sang, “For Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.”


Doomsday is when Judgment Day arrives and all a soul can say … if having followed the path of the wicked – the Cursed – is, “Woe is me!.”


In Luke’s verse twenty, where the NRSV shows, “Then he looked up at his disciples and said,” the reality of what Luke wrote is similar to what Paul wrote.


Luke wrote, “having raised their mind’s eyes of himself into those disciples,” which is wrong to make it appear Jesus looked up at his disciples. Jesus “raised their mind’s eyes” so he possessed them. They saw what Jesus revealed to them spiritually.


Paul used a similar root word to say “having raised” nine times, in different forms. Luke wrote “epairó,” while Paul wrote from “egeiró.” Both mean “to raise,” with Paul’s root more identified with awakening one asleep, where sleep is metaphor for death.


Luke was lifting up the souls of the disciples, preparing them for ministry; and, that is what having the soul of Jesus within one does.


When you look at the grand scheme of those “Blessed,” it reflects similarly on those who will find “Woe” upon their souls. That says every soul will reach the fork in the road of life. All will arrive poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded, and outcast.


Some will not be able to see their own plight, because money, food, wine, and self-worship will blind them from the truth. A soul needs eternity afforded to it, spiritual food so it can thrive, the blood of Christ flowing through its being to find joy, and know self-sacrifice in order to get those missing pieces.


The ones who meet Jesus along the road, listen, believe, and enter the brides-of-Yahweh class of Law. All arrive at the fork with the same failures; but those who take the path to Yahweh will find all the negative traits disappearing … cleansed away.


Those who see Jesus as trying to get them to give up all the worldly things they have amassed in life, will reject him. They will follow the suggestions of Satan, who promises temporal gains. Temporal gains evaporate when death comes and a soul is released from the material realm for judgment.


At the end of verse twenty-six, where the NRSV shows, “for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets,” this is misleading,


This speaks “Woe” to those who get so high and mighty that they think they own the church they go to. It is ‘ancestral’ only in the sense that they learned how to manipulate churches from someone who did it before them.


The “false prophets” are then the hired hands who are interviewed and chosen to lead flocks astray. Money talks and money gets people elected to vestry positions. From those positions of influence, lost souls bring in those who support their lifestyles … that are clearly walking the wrong path to ruin.


This, sadly, is the state of many churches calling themselves “Christian.”


The message Jesus taught … along with Yahweh through Jeremiah, David, and Paul … is choose your way of life well.


I know the path of the bus will take you all away from here; and, the bus is quickly closing in. I will end here; but keep in mind how the complexities of life are really very basic. It comes down to two paths to choose from.


The hardest path is to sacrifice self-ego and submit your soul into marriage to Yahweh. Making that decision is the hardest part. Yahweh will help those who seriously commit to Him.


The easiest path is the one with the least resistance. Evil is always inviting; but it is setting a trap that becomes quite difficult to escape.


Think about these lessons this coming week. I look forward to meeting with you again next Sunday.


Until then, do choose wisely


Amen

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