Homily preached by Br. Simeon at Maroubra:Sunday 17th May 2015:
SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER (Sunday after Ascension) B.
Gospel: John 17: 6-19
"Sanctified and consecrated in God's truth"
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer. Amen.
Do you know why God created you - what purpose and mission he has entrusted to you?
You may not have sensed God leading you to become a missionary or a preacher, or whatever it might be, but you still have a calling! No other person than your Creator can tell you why He created you. You were brought here by God and for a purpose!
Jesus' aim and mission was to glorify his heavenly Father. All he said and did gave glory to his Father. On the eve of his sacrifice on the cross and in the presence of his disciples, Jesus made his high priestly prayer: "Holy Father, keep them in your name that they may be one as we are one". Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples and for all who would believe in him. Jesus' prayer for his people is that we be united with God the Father in his Son and through his Holy Spirit and be joined together, in unity with all who are members of Christ’s body.
What motivated Jesus to lay down his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world? It was love - love for his Father in heaven and love for each and every one of us who are made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus was sent into the world by his Father for a purpose and that purpose was a mission of love to free us from slavery to sin, Satan, fear, death, and hopelessness.
Jesus saw glory in the cross rather than shame. Obedience to his Father's will was his glory. Jesus kept his Father's word even when tempted to forgo the cross. Jesus did not rely on his own human resources and strength to accomplish his Father's will. He trusted in his Father to give him strength, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition, trials, and temptation. We also must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may call us.
He will give us the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to live as his disciples. John Henry Newman wrote: "God has created me, to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.”
I have my mission, called to His service as a priest, and you have yours to do as well. Each of us has been called by God, whether you know it or not in this life, you shall be told it in the next. You and I are a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created you and me for nothing. Therefore, we have to trust him. Whatever, wherever we are. You and I cannot be thrown away.
Jesus prayed that his disciples would be sanctified and consecrated in God's truth and holiness. The scriptural word for consecration comes from the same Hebrew word which means holy or set apart for God. This word also means to be equipped with the qualities of mind and heart and character for such a task or service.
Just as Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth, so we, too, are called and equipped for the task of serving God in the world as his ambassadors. God's truth frees us from ignorance and the deception of sin. It reveals to us God's goodness, love, and wisdom. And it gives us a thirst for God's holiness. The Holy Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, he transforms us by his purifying fire and changes us into the likeness of Christ.
I'm not always one for leaving challenges after my sermon has been preached, but today as we leave this place of worship, I leave this for you to ponder in this coming week: Is your life consecrated to God?