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Homily for the third Sunday of Advent (Year C) – Change must come

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

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Good morning bus riders!


I hope everyone received the email with the link to the lectionary website and read everything for this Sunday. If you want to pull the site up now and follow along with what I have to say, feel free to do so. There are only the four standard readings to discuss today.


Today is the third Sunday of Advent, which means we are halfway through a should be pregnancy, where each one of us here is a wife of Yahweh, who filled our souls with the seed of His Son, who is scheduled to be reborn in each of us on Christmas Day.


The tingling our souls should feel now is not to find all our desires of things under a tree inside our houses, but the desire to become Jesus reborn. The wrapping paper to throw away on Christmas morning is our old selves. The gift that is given to each of us … those who are true Christians … is we become Sons of God, whose souls are promised salvation.


In the first reading for today, we find a song of the prophet Zephaniah.


Raise your hands if you are familiar with Zephaniah.


<Look for shaking heads and hands under butts.>


Zephaniah was a contemporary prophet with Jeremiah. Both were prophets under King Josiah; and Josiah became king as a child. As he grew, he made changes in Judah that were good, undoing some of the evils done prior to his reign.


One thing Josiah ‘discovered’ was the “Book of the Laws.” Josiah had ordered tax money be used to renovate Solomon’s Temple; and, in the process the workers found what is basically the scrolls of the Torah.


Think about that for a moment.


The Laws of Moses had been lost. The priests of the Temple did not know they were there; so, the people of Judah were not taught what Yahweh had commanded them to do.


Josiah sent Jeremiah to preach to the leaders of what was left of the Northern Kingdom, to influence them to have pious guidance. Still, Josiah made some mistakes that would lead to his death and the fall of Judah.


Zephaniah was the great-grandson of King Hezekiah, who led positive reforms in Judah, at the time when the Northern Kingdom was overrun by the Assyrians. Zephaniah’s song is written to support the Judeans in their return from having been led by Baalists (who Josiah ordered out of Judah), telling them to rejoice at these changes.


In other words, Zephaniah wrote a song of praise for all the sinners who would be transformed by coming to know Yahweh, as they never had known Him before.


The people had become like virgins. Thus, his verse fourteen sings out about the “daughter of Zion” and the “daughter of Jerusalem.” Each person singing this song is then a bridesmaid to Yahweh, as ‘wife-to-be.’


The words “Zion” and “Jerusalem,” while pertinent to the place in Judah where Zephaniah was a prophet-teacher, the song still applies to all readers today. “Zion” means “A Dry Place” and “Jerusalem” means “In Awe Of Peace.” Thus, the song applies to all whose souls are void of living waters and the peace of Yahweh’s presence.


In verse seventeen, Zephaniah wrote the Hebrew words “Yahweh elohayik beqirbek,” which have been translated by the NRSV as singing, “The Lord, your God, is in your midst.” The combination “Yahweh elohim” is stated, with the modification showing Yahweh’s possessing, making His wives claim to be “your elohim.” The meaning of “in your midst” means “in your inward part.” An “inward part” is a soul. So, this song is singing about the marriage of a soul to Yahweh.


In the words the NRSV translate as “a warrior who gives victory,” which is “in your midst,” the reality of the Hebrew written sings of “a mighty one who saves.” The transliteration of that written is “yō·wō·šî·a,” or “Joshua.” Another way to say “saves” is “to deliver.”


Zephaniah then knew that a soul marrying Yahweh’s Spirit will bring about the pregnancy that is Jesus reborn.


The tone set by singing about “removing disaster,” "dealing with oppressors,” “saving the lame” and “gathering the outcast” is all about the redemption that comes from the change taking one’s soul from the old, to the new.


The joy to be expected is a restoration of fortunes in the eyes of Yahweh … the birth of His Son … over and over again.


In the Response to Zephaniah’s song we then read the lyrics of what is called the first song of Isaiah. Just like Zephaniah sang about the “mighty one who saves is in your inward part,” Isaiah also sang about the same.


In verse two, the NRSV shows, “Surely, it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and he will be my Savior.” The reality is Isaiah sang this:


“behold! el my salvation I will trust and not be afraid ; for my strength and my song

Yah Yahweh , he has become my salvation .


Isaiah used “el” in the same way Zephaniah used “elohayik.” Isaiah just sang in the singular, while Zephaniah sang in the plural. The meaning is the same, because an “el” is one’s soul being merged with Yahweh’s Spirit, thereby becoming his hand upon the earth.


When Isaiah wrote “yah yah-weh,” this can be seen as him saying the “el” is “yah,” which is sent by “Yahweh” as one’s “Savior.” This is a prophecy of Jesus, just like that of Zephaniah, because the name “Jesus” means “Yah Saves.”


When the NRSV shows verse four as: “And on that day you shall say, Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name,” that “day” is when one’s soul gives birth to Jesus; so, that is the day one becomes “in the name of Jesus.” One calls upon “Yahweh” (not “the Lord”), because the “name” Jesus means “Yah Saves.”


In verse six, where the NRSV shows: “for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel,” this is repeating that sung by Zephaniah, where “in the midst of you” is the exact same “beqirbek” written by Zephaniah, meaning “in your inward part.” What Zephaniah called “mighty,” Isaiah calls “great.”


Isaiah then added this presence in one’s soul is what makes one “sacred” – from the Hebrew word “qadosh” – which is then a statement that one reborn as Jesus is a Saint.


Isaiah also said it will be that sacred presence that transforms one’s spiritual name to “Israel,” which means “One Who Retains Yahweh as one of His elohim.”


Isaiah was singing praise to that outcome – that expected birth to come.


When we then read the four verses from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, it begins by saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”


This is Paul singing praises to Yahweh for his having been reborn as Jesus, just as had Zephaniah and Isaiah. Paul was writing to those souls in Philippi that also had given birth to Jesus anew.


It is not something kept from the people, like past leaders of Jerusalem had hidden the Laws of Moses, so the people were led astray. Everyone is invited to marry their souls to Yahweh and become Jesus reborn.


It is up to each soul … each “daughter” … to choose.


Paul wrote, “The Lord is near.” That says one’s soul is married to Yahweh, so His Spirit has made it possible for the soul of Jesus to come into one’s soul and be resurrected in the flesh. It says the birth is soon to come, while also meaning Yahweh is always with one’s soul.


When Paul wrote, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” he spoke of the call to be a “daughter of Jerusalem,” where the name means “In Awe Of Peace.” He wrote of the “heart,” where the Greek word “kardias” is similar to the Hebrew ‘qudosh,” or “inward part.” The Greek word implies “inner self” or “center,” which is again the soul.


In these four verses written by Paul, twice he wrote a word translated as “God” and twice he wrote a word translated as “the Lord.” When writing about this reading, I saw those as reflecting the two words that are “Christ Jesus.” “Christ” is a designation that can only come from “God” – Yahweh. “Jesus” is the name of Yahweh’s Son, who becomes a soul’s “Lord,” which leads that soul and its flesh to salvation. Thus, the two are a reflection of everyone who submits his or her soul to Yahweh in divine marriage, thereby bringing forth His Son in one’s flesh, so all Yahweh’s wives become a “Christ” – “Anointed” by God – in the name of His Son, “Jesus.”


Paul was one. He wrote divinely inspired because he was one. Paul was, as was Zephaniah and Isaiah, a “Christ Jesus.”


We should all be singing praises to Yahweh now, because we are each pregnant as His wives carrying our own Jesus, making each of us a Christ, in the name of Yahweh.


This brings us to the Gospel reading today, which is a focus placed on John the Baptist. Last week the reading was from the same chapter of Luke, which focused on the song of Zechariah, the father of John, who was moved to speak in song about his newborn son, named John.


Now, the reading has turned to focus on the ministry of John, which fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah.


This past week, I saw this reading from Luke in an entirely different light. Before, I always read John calling out, “You brood of vipers!” as humorous. I read those words as if John was badmouthing the leaders of Jerusalem, who were sneaking up and getting in line with all the other Jews by the Jordan River, wanting to have their sins washed away too.


This past week I saw that for what it really means. John was speaking like Zephaniah, after Josiah found the Book of Law. All the “offspring” calling themselves Jews – leaders and followers – were sinners. All had not been married to Yahweh, becoming His elohim. Instead, they had all become influenced by the serpent, the same serpent who craftily misled Adam and Eve.


That made all who came to John be “descendants that were serpents,” not those reborn as Jesus.


Luke then wrote of John talking about how all those who came to him claimed to be the Children of God, simply because there was a promise made to the descendants of Abraham. Yahweh enlightened Luke of John saying, “God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” That is important to understand.


A stone is earth. It is dead matter. A stone is the equivalent of a dry bone, like those filling a valley shown to Ezekiel, when Yahweh asked the prophet, “Can these dry bones live?” The moral of that story was as John said: “The true children of Abraham can be raised up, when a prophet of Yahweh is prophesying to those dead stones.”


One must see the words coming from John, recalled divinely by Luke, were those of Yahweh, the same divine influence that led Zephaniah, Isaiah and Paul to write what we read from them today. That means John was the voice of Yahweh, in the same way that his father Zechariah had Yahweh speak through him.


When Yahweh then said as John, “Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire,” that was the same thing Yahweh said to Josiah, when Josiah ‘discovered’ the Book of Law. Without the Word to guide the people, the people were not Children of God. They were a “brood of vipers.” As such, both Israel and Judah – kingdoms serving men, not Yahweh – were long gone – dead as rocks – cut down by the ax.


This brought a fear upon the people – the Jews who came to John – as they heard their own judgment being prophesied, if they did not change.


The same should be heard by Christians today, because they too are nothing special in the eyes of Yahweh – the name most Christians do not know or refuse to say out loud. John is speaking as Yahweh; therefore, his words are applicable today, just as loud and clear.


Everyone should be asking the same question: What am I to do to be saved?


The same answer speaks to all today, which is: Stop sinning.


Of course, that is easy to say, but hard to do. To truly stop sinning, one needs help – divine assistance.


That is why Luke wrote, “As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah.” That too is important to realize truthfully.


To say “the people were filled with expectation,” that says they felt the presence of Yahweh coming into their souls – their “hearts” – because of their being close to John. When the translation of Luke’s words say, “whether he might be the Messiah,” the third-person “he” needs to be read as each Jew whose “heart” was “questioning.” Each was asking if it was possible for each to be “the Christ.”


More than the people asking John is he was the “Christ,” which most likely some did ask verbally, those who felt the presence of Yahweh in John, feeling John was a prophet, like Zephaniah and Isaiah (not yet knowing Paul as one), they were questioning if the songs of praise they learned to sing were true, such that all could become one with Yahweh and become His Son.


I saw that this past week for the first time. That question in their hearts and souls is what led Yahweh to answer them, through John, saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming.”


Let those words settle over you for a moment. Be immersed in the meaning that comes from them. Let that soak in for a little while.


<Pause for ten seconds.>


In that, Luke wrote a capitalized “Ego,” where the meaning of “I” is divinely elevated above the “I” of John, to the “I” of Yahweh.


The spelling of “water” is in the dative case, meaning it is an indirect object, which is metaphor for “I” being poured out like “water.” While John was known for baptizing “with water,” knowing this is Yahweh speaking, “water” becomes metaphor for the emotional outpouring that comes from a soul merging with His Spirit, which comes through divine marriage.


The word “baptize” means “submerge” or “immerse,” so when one sees Yahweh does not use physical “water,” the truth of “baptism” is an inundation of Spirit that totally takes one’s soul “under” Him.


The Greek pronoun “hymas” is the third-person plural form of “autos,’ meaning “yourselves.” Here, this needs to be seen as “your souls,” as Yahweh deals with spiritual entities.


To then see this as Yahweh answering the questions about “the Christ,” as if possible for everyone, Yahweh is answering through John by saying, “This is what happens to all who I Anoint.”


It is here that seeing that makes it possible to see the truth of what Yahweh said next, as His voice coming from John’s lips. Before, I (like everyone) saw John belittle himself, while saying Jesus would be the one who would be the Christ. That is not what is said.


Again, look closely as what is written.


Luke wrote next words that say this: “comes now this mightier than I,” where the “ego” is not capitalized, like it was before. This means that ‘coming” is a “mightier” “I.” This forces one to look back at how Zephaniah wrote, “Yahweh possesses you elohim in your inward part the mighty one will save.” Luke is writing the same as what John spoke in answer to “the Christ.”


This must be seen as not a separate person “coming,” but a merging Spirit that overtakes one’s “ego” or human “I.” It is the “strength” a soul needs to change and break free from past sins. It is that “coming” to a pregnant wife-soul of Yahweh, bearing His Son.


Now, here is where what the standard translation led me (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) to see John the Baptist as some poor man’s prophet, who seems to say, “I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals.” That makes John seem like some warm-up entertainer, who nobody paid to see; but he or she is hired to keep the crowd waiting and warmed up with some excitement.


That is not the truth of what is written. I saw this for the first time this past week.


When one realizes John was speaking of the Spirit married to his soul, it is that “of whom” he now speaks (not another external being, like Jesus the man). Because that is Spiritual, not physical, there are no physical “sandals” or “straps” spoken of. That written refers to a mighty “binding” power that totally keeps John’s soul from removing it; and, it keeps the soul of John as the “sole bound under” the Almighty ‘foot’ of Yahweh.


That which “binds” John’s soul to Yahweh can be called “the mighty one who will save,” which means “Jesus.”


Here, it is important to realize that John was the cousin of Jesus, but John did not know Jesus of Nazareth was another prophet who would come and replace him. When John was in prison, he sent his messengers to Jesus asking him, “Are you the one?” This means John was not speaking about some external presence that would “come” that would be “mightier than John.” That is a false narrative, because all the Jews – that “brood of vipers” – were already expecting some “warrior who gives victory” (the erroneous NRSV translation of Zephaniah’s verse seventeen). So, all they would have heard is John saying, “I am nowhere close to being militarily capable of overthrowing Rome and returning your land to you.”


The “Christ” or the “Messiah” is not Yahweh’s gift to free land. It is the individual gift of a soul’s salvation, which is made individually. Otherwise, everyone is just a stone waiting for its soul to go away and let it return to being dead.


One last thing I will add about this reading from Luke is his writing the capitalized word “Gennēmata,” which translates as “you Offspring,” but also as “you Brood.” Because the word deals with “Fruit,” the word can also be translated as “you Grain.”


When we read Luke having John then add, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire,” this relates to his first calling out the sinners as “you Brood of vipers!”


To see that now as him saying, “you Grain of weeds,” or “you Fruit of barren wheat,” Yahweh speaking through John is making a promise to all who do not marry Him and give rebirth to His Son. They are fruitless; and, as such they will destroy their own souls when judgment comes.


This is then an amazing way to see what John said about “the Christ.” John is speaking to us today; and, because the same voice of Yahweh is speaking for him, John becomes an equal to Jesus, not some “unworthy” forerunner.


Everyone needs to hear the truth of that divinely written.


One last tidbit before the bus arrives. The name “Zephaniah” means “Yah has concealed", "[he whom] Yah has hidden", or "Yah lies in wait.”


All Scripture is written like Zephaniah; so, reading his writings today speaks for a state of pregnancy, where what is yet to be born into the world is known before it is fully revealed. One does not think a pregnant woman does not hold a baby within her, until the birth proves it.


With that, I’ll leave you to ponder these reading over the next week. The message today is to feel that hidden in your inward part. Let it be born as a new you.


Until next Sunday, I hope everyone will grow with the expectancy of Jesus within.


Amen

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