Eph 4:1-6; Ps 24:1,2,3,4ab,5,6; Lk 12:54-59: In many ways it is desire that dominates our lives, even our spiritual lives. The great saints of our church teach us to be detached from desires and attached to God alone. Only when our needs are our desires are we truly free; when our desires are our needs then we are enslaved to every whim and fancy our hearts can imagine. This whole world belongs to the LORD and so does everyone who dwells upon the face of the earth. Indeed, the LORD founded the earth and its fullness upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. If we desire the LORD, if we long to ascend his holy mountain and stand in his holy place, we must be clean of heart and desire not what is vain. If we long to see the face of the LORD more than we desire anything else or anyone else then we shall receive a blessing from the LORD and a reward from God our savior. If we truly seek him, seek the face of the God of Jacob then we desire what matters in this life and for life eternal. Saint Paul urges us to desire the one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. The Lord Jesus summons us to the wisdom that alone can direct us through all of life, when it is comfortable and when it is troublesome. At this Liturgy we receive the fullness of joy and peace when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity. Can there be a greater fulfillment of our deepest desire?
Saint Paul uses his prison cell as a pulpit to preach with the full authenticity of being a prisoner for the Lord Jesus. Those who follow the Lord Christ, who live in a manner worthy of the call are bound to offend someone if not many who are caught up in the way things are—because they are convinced that that’s the way things should be. The virtues that abound in a Christian Community are totally foreign, and even distained outside that Spirit filled fellowship. Humility and gentleness are condemned as a sign of weakness and self-distain. The wisdom of the world summons us to be proud and assertive in every situation if we expect to be respected and honored among our neighbors. Patience and bearing the weakness of one another in spirit or behavior is a complete waste of time in a world that asks, “What’s in it for me?” In a world whose theme song is “I did it my way” we are out of touch and unrealistic. Only if we strive to preserve unity through a bond of peace will we be One Body, One Spirit, in Christ. This is the only way to fulfill our baptism and it is a sure way to be alien and alienated in the world in which everything is relative and nothing lasts forever. The wisdom Saint Paul learned in prison is the wisdom of the cross, which is simply foolishness to those who have no faith.
If we have any wisdom at all, if we have learned how to live by the precepts of the law of the LORD, then we will make every effort to settle with our opponent before we arrive at court. Indeed, we have no time to waste on the things of this world. The coming of the Lord Jesus and the arrival of the Kingdom must be our urgency. The Lord Jesus challenges his followers in every time and place to go beyond an interpretation of the signs of the present times. We have all kinds of common sense when it comes to predicting the weather, but we fail to use our spiritual sense to discern, that which demands our attention and self-sacrifice. It is this complacency that the Lord Jesus challenges when he cries out, “You hypocrites!” We cannot claim to be wiser than the worldly if we do not avoid legal battles that go on and on. We simply have neither the time nor resources to win every lawsuit. We do, however, have time to notice that here and now is the One Who Is Coming. To the Lord Jesus belongs all our time and resources, for he is our everything.