Homily by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 10/28/2009
Today we honor two saints about whom we know very little from Scripture: St. Simon the Cananean and St. Jude Thaddeus.
They are mentioned in the lists of the twelve apostles (Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Ac 1:13), taking the tenth and eleventh places. Simon the Cananean is also known as Simon the Zealot or Simon the Canaanite and is not be confused with Simon Peter.
According to early Christian tradition, St. Simon the Cananean and St. Jude Thaddeus journeyed together as missionaries to Persia, where they were martyred.
Sermon by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 10/25/2009
Today is Reformation Sunday, on which we observe October 31, 1517—a day that changed the history of the Western world.
On this day, a former monk and professor of biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg in Saxony, Germany—challenged the superpower of Rome to cleanse the Church from the abuses and unbiblical teachings that for centuries had been creeping into the Lord’s Vineyard, that is, into the Church.
This professor was Martin Luther. Luther challenged the Roman hierarchy by posting the Ninety-five Theses to a church door in Wittenberg.
Sermon by Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 10/22/2009
Today we are observing the Festival of St. James of Jerusalem, an early Church leader also known as “James the Just” because of his righteousness and piety.
This St. James of Jerusalem is not to be confused with James the son of Zebedee or James the son of Alphaeus, both of whom are mentioned in the Gospels.
St. Paul refers to St. James of Jerusalem as the “brother of the Lord,” and today he is frequently regarded as a son of Mary and Joseph and thus a biological brother of our Lord.
However, throughout most of Church history, Paul’s term “brother (avdelfo,j) of the Lord” was understood to be a “cousin” or “kinsman” of the Lord, meaning that James could possibly have been a son of a sibling of Joseph or Mary.
“By all appearances, it was not going well for Paul. It was AD 68 and he is imprisoned in Rome. He just lost his first legal hearing and knows the end of his life is at hand. He is going to be martyred. Paul knew that the time of his departure had come, but he was not in despair. He had fought the good fight and finished the race. Paul had kept the faith handed over to him by Jesus Christ. So he looked forward to the “crown of righteousness,” which the Lord would award to him by grace. So he writes to Timothy, his beloved child, and encourages him to “follow the pattern of the sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13) he had learned from Paul in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. In his second letter to him, Paul exhorts Timothy to remain faithful and work diligently in the proclamation of the Gospel. He also warns Timothy that in these last days “there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:1-6). As such, Timothy must be prepared to preach the Word of God, to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2), even though the people will “not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Paul knew what he was talking about.
“It is for your own good.” We don’t like to hear those words because they usually mean we have to do something we don’t want to do. Our mother used those words when telling us to take our medicine or eat our vegetables. Our father used those words when we were getting punished. How is any of that for my good? Someone tells us it is for “our own good” and we become suspicious, even doubtful. How do they know what is good for me? Our free selves simply don’t like to be directed by others, even if they may know what is best. We like to make decisions for ourselves. We like to be the judge of what is good for us. We like to be in control. We don’t want someone telling us what is for our good, even when that someone is God Himself. …