Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bishop’s Note: May 12, 2016 – Holiness of Life

Bishop Eric Menees

Last Sunday’s gospel lesson was taken from the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of St. John. This was Jesus’ “High Priestly prayer,” offered at the conclusion of the Last Supper and just before his arrest and crucifixion.
Jesus concludes this prayer with three petitions for the disciples, (and, by extension for each and every one of us): Sanctity, Unity, and Eternity with Jesus in heaven. The basis for unity & eternity are found in Christ and His holiness imparted to us in His word. Jesus prayed: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17 ESV)

What does it mean when Jesus prays: “Sanctify them in the truth?” Jesus is asking His Father to make us Holy in God’s Truth – in the Word of God. We live in a world that believes that holiness of life is a fallacy – an old religious myth that leads people to seeking boring, deploring lives of misery. I could not disagree more! Holiness of life, while not all sunshine and daisies, is a life worth pursuing, and ultimately a life that leads other people to God.

To live holy lives begins with submission to the Lord; submission of our whole lives, lifting every aspect to God and asking for His forgiveness and grace to rain upon us. To submit to the Lord is to place ourselves third on the list of priorities, with loving God and loving others as numbers one and two.

To live holy lives is to align our lives with the Word of God taken in its clear and simple understanding. Too often, people tell us that we need to be biblical scholars to understand God’s word. Not true! We need to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to understand God’s word. We are called to embrace what God commands, and to reject what God tells us to reject. We embrace love, grace, and peace, and we reject sin, pride, and violence. In other words, we embrace Jesus Christ,the only begotten Son of God, and we reject Satan, the fallen archangel and master of evil.

My prayer for each of us, including myself, is that God the Father will fully answer His son’s prayer to make us holy in His Truth and Word, unit us in the person of Jesus - our Savior and Lord - and bring us to eternal life with Jesus through his sacrifice on the cross.

I pray you all a blessed week and a very holy Pentecost!

Catechism Questions: 284-285

284. How can you use God’s Name lightly?
Profanity, careless speech, broken vows, open sin, and meaningless exclamations all cheapen God’s Name. These treat God’s Name as “empty” of the reality for which it stands. (Matthew 5: 33-37; Articles of Religion, 39)

285. How can you honor God’s Name?
I honor and love God’s Name, in which I was baptized, by keeping my promises and by upholding honor in relationships, charity in society, justice in law, uprightness in vocation, and holiness in worship. (Deuteronomy 12:11; Psalm 138:2; Proverbs 30:7-9; Matthew 5:22-23; Ephesians 4:25; James 5:12)

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