The Divine Lamp

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Archive for March 10th, 2010

Sermon on Gal 4:31 for the 4th Sunday in Lent (Extraordinary Form of the Rite)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 10, 2010

Therefore, brethren, we are not the children of the bond-woman, but of the free; by the freedom wherewith Christ hat made us free~Gal 4:31

Faith teaches us, that sin has brought man into the power and servitude of the devil, and that he languished under that satanic yoke and dominion, till Jesus Christ consummated the redemption of mankind.  Yes, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, has liberated us from the servitude of sin and hell.  This, is that freedom of which St Paul speaks in the Epistle of today: “Brethren, we are not the children of the bond-woman, but of the free; by the freedom wherewith Christ hat made us free.”  Each one of us has become partaker of this freedom, through the reception of the Sacrament of Baptism.  Each one of us must strive to ever retain this freedom, and never relapse again into the slavery in which we had the misfortune to be born.  We shall the more zealously preserve this freedom, bought for us by the precious Blood of Christ, if we consider wherein it consists, and how happy we are in its possession.  This freedom consists:

I. In the liberty of the children of God, and

II. In that the world and sin have no longer nay part in us.

I.  This freedom consists in the liberty of the children of God.

1.  All who through Christ have become free, and have received the Sacrament of Baptism, belong to God, are the property of God, the children of God; and thenceforth, are to serve God with free, filial love.  Such are no longer the slaves of the devil; he has no more power over them.  The Lord our God is a good, kind, and friendly Master.  he rules over us not with the iron rod of force, not with severity and cruelty, now with caprice or ill humor, but with all meekness and wisdom.  He does not repulse us with harshness and austerity, but draws us to himself with the silken cords of his love.  He lays no intolerable yoke upon our shoulders, but his commandments are light; “My yoke is sweet,” says he, “and my burden light” (Mt 11:30).  Being our Master, and we his property, he certainly requires us to serve him, but not by coercion, nor from servile fear.  He wills that we serve him from free choice, voluntarily,-that is, not as servants, but as children.  Slaves obey a tyrant either through fear of the lash, or through hope of wages; but good children obey their father lovingly, voluntarily, because they are children, and because all that is in the house is their own.  So, should we serve God and fulfill his commandments.  God is our Father, and we are his children’ all that God possesses, belong also to us.  Heaven, and the eternal beatitude of the Deity, belong to us, too, and our property.  Herein, consists the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free,-that we serve him as heirs of an everlasting inheritance.  To everyone who serves God (Whether many or few years,) and never violates his commands, our heavenly Father addresses the words in the parable of the prodigal son: “Son, thou are always with me; all that I have is thine” (Lk 15:31).

2.  O, how happy are we who belong to God, who are God’s property, God’s children, allowed to serve him in such a delightful manner!  The people of this world consider it a great honor to serve as the couriers of the king;-and the higher and more exalted their sovereign is, the happier and more honored they esteem themselves in serving him.  But we serve the King of kings, the Lord of lords.  Be rebuked by the example of worldlings!  With what zeal, with what devotedness, do they not serve their master,-content with the small reward, the trifling wages, they receive for all their pains and labor!  With what fidelity, with what zeal, should we serve God, since the reward he bestows upon his faithful servants is infinite and everlasting!  “I myself am they exceeding great reward,” says the Lord.  He does not say to us: “The half of my kingdom, I will give to thee;” but rather: “My whole kingdom, my whole heaven, shall be your reward!”  How we should rejoice to belong to such a benevolent and powerful Lord, to be his property and his servants!  With what generosity, should we sacrifice everything for him, with what patience and resignation, bear every cross, every hardship!  We must give him our whole heart, and belong to him entirely and undividedly; for, when we are once made free with the freedom of Christ.

II.  The world and sin have no longer any part in us.

1.  All those who do not belong to Christ, are captivated to the service of the world and sin.  They are beasts of burden, groaning under a cruel yoke; all their senses are bound and riveted to the possession of earthly goods, and to the gratification of their passions.  But those who are Christ’s are no longer chained to the service of the world and of sin; their hearts are free from all worldly attachments; sin has lost for them its attraction; they now hate and detest it.  Hence, it is said of them: “Cast out the bond-woman and her son.”  The bond-woman is the world, and the son of the bond-woman is sin; therefore, the world is seated in wickedness, and “all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life,” as St John says.  But they who have cast out the bond-woman and her son, no longer love the world, nor the things that are in the world.  They seek not their happiness in the possession of earthly goods, nor in the gratification of their passions; their desires, their aspirations, ascend higher.  They cling not to the bond-woman, but to the true mother, to that Bride of Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem,-for which they have renounced the cares and sinful allurements of this world, and wither they hasten on extended wings, because they have been set free by Christ.

2.  O, how happy are all those who possess this glorious freedom!  How happy is he who is delivered from the bonds of this world and of sin!  How peacefully, how contentedly, can he live who does not attach his heart to creatures, and who, casting off all earthly cares, subdues his passions, and relieves his conscience of all burdens!  O, that we too were in possession of this freedom!  O, that we likewise belonged entirely to Christ and that the world and sin had no longer any part in us.  Once, alas! we possessed this blessed freedom,-but through sin, we lost it.  He who sins, is no longer free; he is no longer a child of God, but a slave of the world and of hell.

Follow the counsel of the Apostle: “Cast out the bond-woman and her son.”  Turn your hearts from the world, and shut your senses against sin.  Cling to Christ, and serve him in the joy of your heart.  Keep the commandments of God, and follow Jesus.  Then, shall you belong to him entirely; you shall possess him, and never lose him; and he will be your portion and inheritance for all eternity.  Amen.

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