THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
August 2nd AD 2020
In the Epistle for this morning, St. Paul sets forth two ways to live. One is life according to the flesh. The other is life according to the Spirit. He shows where they lead…The powers that drive them…And which one you and I must embrace if we would see good days and inherit the promises given to us by our Heavenly Father.
He begins by saying that we are debtors. In America, these days, most of us know what it means to have debt. It means we owe something…most of the time it means we owe money, but St. Paul, here flatly states we are debtors. And then he quickly qualifies it…NOT TO THE FLESH, NOT TO LIVE AFTER THE FLESH. This word “flesh” probably sounds strange to our ears. We do not usually speak like this. In the writings of St. Paul “Flesh” is the source/seat of our corruption. It extends to the corruption of our mind, the defilement of our heart…and applies also to sinful actions of the body…strong fleshly urges, anger, lust, gluttony.
We carry these propensities within us. The flesh is ever ready to rear its head and defile a man body and soul. So St. Paul says, we do not owe a thing to the flesh. If you live after the flesh, you must die. For it is because of the works of the flesh that the wrath of God shall come upon the earth. Christians, those baptized in Name of the Trinity, we are called to mortify, slay, put to death the deeds of the body…that is the works of the flesh. We do this through the leading of the Spirit. “but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” This is not fanaticism or enthusiasm. The Spirit of God leads the sons of God to sanctification and true holiness. And this brings up for us, many wonderful questions…How does the Holy Spirit work in our lives? Can we know it is him?
St. Paul goes on to tell us some things about the Spirit…and helps us to discern his work among us. He says that Christians, have not received a spirit of bondage again to fear, but The Spirit of Adoption…so fear, hopelessness, a sense of slavery, boredom and drudgery does not characterize the Spirit of God nor Christian experience. Fear, hopelessness, slavery characterize the man who is living according to the flesh. The pleasures of sin may satisfy for a brief moment but they will torment for eternity. That’s why selfishness and pride inevitably leads to despair. The Spirit of Adoption on the other hand leads to Prayer, Communion with God, Worship, Joy, Patience in Suffering and finally Glory. Our lives are hid with Christ in God. We walk a similar path that he walked while among us. The true Son teaches us to call God “our Father” and that he truly his through the Spirit of Adoption. Each and every time we call out to our Father…The Spirit is bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God…and if children then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ…if we suffer with him…you see this opposition by the world, the flesh and the devil is very real. We do suffer. But the Spirit of God is with us all along. Convicting us, leading us, sanctifying us and assuring our hearts before God.
And we must never forget, that Christianity is not some private religion that is meant to be kept to oneself. We love, serve, suffer and rejoice together. I pray for you and you pray for me. We all know this, but sometimes it is nice to hear from others exactly what is going on…and how they are praying….so I would like to share with you exactly the types of things that I pray for each one of you…
I pray that God would give you
- the grace of profound humility.
- Fill you with perfect charity toward your neighbours
- Detachment from things of this world, love of poverty and love of the poor
- The gift of holy wisdom and purity of heart and body
- Conversion and amendment of life and growth in grace
- Perfect Sorrow for Sin and Perfect obedience to the Father’s will
- Mortify your outward senses
- Great contempt for the world
- Patience in carrying the cross everyday
- Horror of Sin, Love of the Cross, the grace of a good death.
- Lively faith
- Firm Hope and great longing for heaven
- Holy wisdom to know, love and practice the truth
- A true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
- The grace of perseverance, increase in virtue and the eternal crown prepared for you.
These and like things, I know are the will of the Father and so we pray for them with great boldness, knowing that whatsoever we ask according to His will, we shall receive.
And we rest, knowing that “those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Amen.