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The Master is coming, the Master is coming, never give up hope

by davesandel on October 19th, 2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021                             (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

The Master is coming, the Master is coming, never give up hope

Think of it. Saul, trained by Gamaliel, the best rabbi of them all. Saul, the consummate Pharisee of Pharisees, energized by the righteousness of youth. Saul, ready to stone and slay anyone who got in God’s way, and then, oh my gosh, the one standing in the way turns out to be him. An angel throws him from his horse and Jesus calls out so only he can hear. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

Pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.

Saul never shrank from his duty. With the fire of a Nazarite he stood up strong and never wavered in his pursuit of truth or his passionate desire to burn with love in the presence of God. He didn’t seem to care about sleep when he chased the Christ-followers to Damascus. Those in his party might have insisted on rest, but Saul wanted to get there NOW. It did not matter whether their journey took them through the day, or through the night.

Gird your loins and light your lamps, be like servants who await their master’s return, ready to open instantly when he comes and knocks, even if he comes long after midnight. Blessed are those servants.

But what if the servants are waiting for their master, and instead the Master of their master shows up at the door. He must convince them of who He is. Saul was convinced, both inside and out. He reversed his course but maintained his passion. Paul (Saul) and Peter shaped the early Church and spread the gospel across Asia, far beyond Israel and the Jewish nation. He preached, he healed, he wrote, and spoke often of God’s visitation.

I announced your justice in the vast assembly and as you know, I did not restrain my lips. Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.

Now consider the stories of today’s eight martyrs, seventeen hundred years later, sailing from Europe to the New World, to Canada, to the Huron Indians, who received them warmly. Many were baptized. The chiefs and the children looked toward heaven and found Jesus. But that was not the end of the story either for Paul or for John, Isaac and the others. Beating, stoning, tomahawks, scalping, torture, beheading of both the missionaries and their converts, this preaching brought out the worst in those who did not believe. The Iroquois, the Mohawks, the Pharisees, the Scribes, all sought to destroy the messengers of God. The devil was in the details.

The Master returns home, the servants are awake and welcome Him. Doesn’t that mean they will be rewarded?

Rewarded by torture and death? The devil doesn’t sit around, plucking blackberries. But that too is not the end of the story.

Because neither does God sit around, twiddling his thumbs. Can we get a witness? Paul speaks:

In conclusion.

1) Through one sin, condemnation and death came upon us all, and through one righteous act, acquittal and life came to all.

2) Through one man’s disobedience, all were made sinners, and through the obedience of one, all will be made righteous.

3) As sin reigned in death, grace now reigns through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And as sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.

Yes. My body will die, but I will not. Death has no victory, nor even any sting. Waiting here through sunrise and sunset, giving myself away as best I can, I can learn to pray this Sioux Indian prayer:

O Great Spirit

Whose voice I hear in the winds,

And whose breath gives life to all the world,

Hear me! I am small and weak,

I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes

ever behold the red and purple sunset!

Make my hands respect the things you have made

and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise that I may understand

all things you have taught my people.

Let me learn the lessons

you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,

but to fight my greatest enemy, myself.

Make me always ready to come to you

with clean hands and straight eyes.

So when my life fades, as the fading sunset,

my spirit may come to you without shame.

Do not be dismayed. Christ has overcome the world.

(Romans 5, Psalm 40, Luke 21, Luke 12)


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