daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Friday, 29th Week of the Year, October 26, 2018
Ephesians 4:1-6, Psalm 23, Luke 12:54-59

Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted


"He also said to the multitudes, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, "A shower is coming"; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, "There will be scorching heat"; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?'" (Luke 12:54-58).

Today Jesus criticizes the people for being very wise and discerning about predicting the weather, but being clueless when it comes to the really important things, namely that the messianic times have now finally arrived and that the Messiah himself is actually standing in their midst. How is it that they have a native ability to interpret the signs in the sky and be able to accurately predict either rain or hot weather, and yet be without a clue when it comes to the most important thing in the history of the world, namely that the Son of God, the Messiah, and the Savior of the world is standing in their very midst and speaking to them?

Jesus has given them signs in his many miracles. How is it that they have not been able to draw a simple conclusion from so many miracles that this man Jesus is the most important person in the history of the world?

What was it about their present time that was so special and important? It was the fact that their Redeemer was present among them. They couldn't yet have grasped the full reality of what Jesus was about to do for them and for the world until after Jesus' death, Resurrection, and Pentecost, but they should have recognized that he was the fulfillment of prophecy, the fulfillment of Israel's history, the Savior they were awaiting.

But rather, many, especially the leaders, the scribes and Pharisees, openly rejected and opposed Jesus, seeking to trip him up into saying something treasonous, revolutionary, or heretical that they could then accuse him of to the authorities. These were supposed to be the religious leaders of God's chosen people, and yet they were leading the people astray and away from God and his plan for their salvation.

Even today we have the same basic problem in the Church. Jesus and his saving work is still not properly, clearly, and correctly understood by many in the Church today, even by some Church leaders, who should be the first to clearly understand, accept, and clearly preach what Christ and the New Testament taught about how he saves us by his atoning death on the cross, which made full and perfect reparation for all our sins so that God might justly and mercifully acquit from their sins all who believe in Christ and genuinely repent. And they should also understand and clearly preach how God declares righteous all repentant sinners who believe in Christ.

Not all Christians today believe that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3) as our substitute, taking our sins upon himself and accepting to suffer God's punishment for them on the cross. Many today still do not accept that Christ's death was a vicarious death, that is, done as our substitute and in our place, for our sake, for we are the ones that should die for our sins, not him. In this, he was a human sin offering, doing in fact what a lamb of sacrifice symbolized, namely being killed in our place as our substitute for our sins, taking our punishment for our sins upon himself, so that God could see that our sins have been properly punished and might therefore set us free if we believe in Christ and genuinely repent.

Our sins deserved a death sentence and should be justly punished by a just God. We deserve to go to hell forever for our serious sins. A just God must punish them. So he decides to be punished himself for our sins in the person of his Son, who is one being with himself, so that we that believe in the Son and in his atoning work on the cross and who genuinely repent of our sins might be set free with no future punishment from God to suffer for our sins. If we believe in the Son and abandon our sins, God, through Christ's death, sets us completely free from them.

There are, of course, human consequences for sin. A man who kills his parents, longer has any parents in this world and will probably be executed by the state or spend the rest of his life in prison, but as far as God is concerned, he is fully acquitted and declared and made righteous if he puts his faith in Christ's redeeming work and sincerely repents of his sins and intends to amend his life.

Christ has paid his debt with God for his sins for him, and he can therefore go forth knowing that he has been restored to God's friendship and that God removes his condemnation from him and receives him back with love like the father of the prodigal son. The reparation that he needed to make to God to be forgiven has already been made for him by Jesus Christ on the cross and is applied to him when he confesses his sins and puts his faith in Christ.

Are there Christians who do not believe this? Yes. Some believe that we still have an unpaid debt with God for our sins that we ourselves still have to pay before we can be righteous in God's sight. It is more of a do-it-yourself kind of religion than true faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Such people go through life hoping to someday become righteous before God by their own good works. It is a works-righteousness kind of religion that misses the main point of Christianity, which is righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, because of his atoning death on the cross.

Concerning basic New Testament Christian morality, especially concerning homosexual sex, there are also many Christians today who have lost their way, and many Church leaders are in this group. That St. Paul has clearly taught the evil of homosexual sexual acts (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:22-28) means nothing to them. Such people may be experts in predicting the weather, but they are clueless about the much more important matter of basic Christian morality as revealed in the New Testament.

Clear New Testament moral teaching is normative for how a Christian should and should not live. Those who think that they can rewrite Christian morality in a way that normalizes homosexual sex as an acceptable Christian lifestyle have fallen into serious error; and if they are Church leaders that are proclaiming homosexual immorality as acceptable, they are seriously misleading their flock and need to be corrected by faithful Christians today.

Homosexual sex can never be magisterially proclaimed by the Church as acceptable, because authentic magisterium cannot contradict the clear teaching of the New Testament. Such a proclamation, if it were ever made, would have no magisterial weight whatsoever, even if a pope were to proclaim it to be "authentic magisterium." It would be no magisterium at all and would bind no one. If such a proclamation were ever made, the faithful themselves would be obliged to reject and publicly oppose it for the good of the Church.

So we see that even today Christians - even Church leaders - can be experts in this and that, but be quite clueless when it comes to the weightier matters of Christianity as a religion of salvation by Christ's atoning death on the cross, which enables and requires its justified members to live according to God's normative biblically revealed moral law.


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