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homily for 12/26/10 - 2b4nat - Invitation to Salvation

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  • Fr David Moser
    Luke 14:16-24 God has prepared a great salvation for us. He,. Himself, will take on flesh and come to us so that we might come to Him and partake of His life.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 26, 2010
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      Luke 14:16-24

      God has prepared a great salvation for us. He,. Himself, will take on
      flesh and come to us so that we might come to Him and partake of His
      life. Today we are preparing for that event, we stand ready to greet God
      when He enters the world. This salvation is so great that it is extended
      to all of mankind, to men and women, children and adults, to men of all
      nations, to rich and poor, to rulers and subjects, to masters and
      slaves. It is open to all men for our God is a good God who desires that
      all men should be saved and that none should be lost. This parable today
      tells us of this great call and invitation to the salvation of God which
      is spoken of as a wedding feast. We are called to this wedding feast not
      to observe the wedding of others, but to participate and ourselves enter
      into the intimate union and communion with Jesus Christ.

      In the parable we see that first the great king, that is God, had
      invited certain guests. These first invited guests refused the
      invitation and the king then set out to gather as many as he could into
      his banquet. The invitation is not only given then to everyone who
      wanted to come, but the king sent out his servants to search out every
      corner of the earth to find everyone who would possibly come. From this
      we see the true nature of this invitation – it is not only open to all,
      but God actively seeks out those who might be inclined to come and
      brings them in.

      The salvation of God is not limited to any race or nation – it is not
      limited to the Jews, nor is it limited to the Greeks or Slavs or Arabs
      or Romans.. The salvation of God is open to all. The salvation of God is
      not limited to any social or economic status – it is open to rich and
      poor, to slave and free, to nobleman or peasant, to man or woman or
      child. There is no one who is excluded.

      Thus, it is quite clear that God is calling you. You are invited to the
      banquet, you are called to participate in the salvation of God. The
      kingdom of heaven is open to you. There is no question that God is
      calling you; the only question is how will you respond. For this
      question it is helpful again to return to the parable. There are three
      things that will hold us back from accepting the invitation of God – the
      things of this world, the deeds of this world and the people of this world.

      The first guest said, “I have bought a piece of land, I cannot come”
      This is the first barrier – the things of the world. Let us recall the
      first of the ten commandments – You shall have no other Gods before me.
      See how this addresses the first barrier to accepting the invitation of
      God. When we elevate some possession to an importance greater than God
      then we have set up an idol, something that demands our allegiance in
      the place of God – a different God. Anything that takes precedence over
      participating in the life of Christ becomes an idol. Any possession that
      becomes more important to us than serving God has become an idol. There
      are many things that we serve in this world – our houses, our cars, our
      savings accounts, our televisions, our computers, and so on (I am sure
      that you can all add to this list on your own). When serving any one of
      those things takes precedence over serving God, then we have replaced
      God with an idol and have set up a barrier to accepting His invitation
      into His kingdom.

      The second guest said, “I have bought a yoke of oxen and must try them
      out” The second barrier then is the things we do – our work, our play,
      our hobbies, our chores. Whenever something we do takes precedence over
      serving God then we are turned aside from following Him to following
      some other path. The Gospel tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God…”
      Of all that we do the first priority should always be to seek the
      kingdom of God. In the monastery, it is the practice that nothing is
      done without a blessing. A monk will seek the blessing of his spiritual
      father or the abbot before setting out on any task, even the most
      mundane. One of the reasons for this is to insure that nothing that is
      done in the monastery in any way detracts from serving God. In the
      Church at large this principle is also seen, for nothing is done in the
      Church without the blessing of the ruling bishop who is charged by God
      with governing the diocese to be certain that it is in good order and
      not falling away from the path of salvation. In our own lives, we have
      to look at what we do – our jobs, our vacations, our diversions, our
      hobbies, all the various little chores that we take upon ourselves. If
      any of these things diverts us from serving God – that is, for example,
      from prayer both private and corporate – then it has become a barrier to
      our salvation. Seek first (not second or third) the kingdom of God. When
      faced with a choice to follow Christ or to indulge our own desires, then
      of course we must place that priority on following Christ – the rest
      will be provided by and fulfilled by God.

      The third guest said, “I have married a wife and I cannot come”. The
      people in our lives can also become a barrier to accepting the
      invitation of God. When pleasing another person becomes more important
      than pleasing God, then we have encountered that barrier. In the Gospel,
      our Lord Jesus Christ says that “if you love husband or wife or mother
      or father or son or daughter more than Me, you are not worthy of Me” Any
      time that we allow our relationship with someone else to take priority
      over our relationship with God, then we have turned aside from accepting
      the invitation of Jesus Christ to join the feast of salvation in the
      Kingdom of God. This is difficult for we see in others the image of God
      (for we were all created with that image) and yet that image is often
      distorted so that it does not bear the true likeness of God. It is just
      that distortion, no matter how slight that turns us away from Christ and
      leads us off on some strange path. Rather than abandon Christ for others
      we must strive not only to come to Christ ourselves but to bring others
      with us as much as possible. But if this is not possible, you cannot let
      any man (or woman) come between yourself and Christ.

      We are all invited to the great wedding feast of the great king. We are
      invited not simply as guests to observe, but as participants to be
      ourselves joined in union and communion with God. There are many
      barriers that stand in our way – our possessions, our actions, other
      people – but to follow Christ we must set all those aside (or better yet
      bring them with us and offer them to Him). The invitation is open to all
      – it is open to you. You are being called by God to join Him in His
      heavenly kingdom. How will you respond.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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