The Third Sunday in Advent
The Reverend Mark Carroll MMIV
Third Advent Home

O LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Romans xv. 4   &  St. Luke xxi. 25

Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee

Beheading of John Baptist

Jesus told the people that John the Baptist was someone very special. A man called by God to usher in the Kingdom of God. To prepare the way of the Lord. A man whose equal was not to be found, then, or now. John the Baptist stands in history as a beacon. He was an ascetic, denying himself creature comforts in order to dedicate himself to the Lord. He fasted often, his clothing were rough, his pious discipline strict, and his message unswerving -- Repent, turn from your sins and prepare your hearts for the coming of the Lord. Centurions may take heart in the words of John, for when asked by the soldiers what they must do to be saved, he did not reprove them of their occupation, but said, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

From prison, before his execution by Herod, John sent disciples to inquire if Jesus were indeed the promised one. They asked, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered by recounting his many works, the healings, the Gospel preached to the poor, and the raising of the dead... sure signs that he indeed was the Messiah. John's disciples no doubt did return and did tell the prophet of the great work of Jesus, showing that he was indeed the Messiah. I believe that their report gave John great comfort in the dungeon, and that when he went to the executioner shortly thereafter, he was at peace.

The Church has taken Jesus' words of commendation very seriously, and John is held in the highest esteem in the Church. John the Baptist, John the Forerunner, the cousin of our Lord was a gift of God to the world. His miraculous birth and mission was proclaimed by the Angel Gabriel as a great work of God.

In today's epistle, as well as in the Collect, we hear the call for God's ministers to be faithful stewards of God's mysteries. John the Forerunner sets the standard for ministers as one who has no equal among men. As the Song of Zacharias says: thou... shalt be called the prophet of the Highest. As the collect implores, may our ministers today emulate John and so prepare the hearts of men for the Second Coming of our Lord so that he should find a faithful and devout people awaiting him saying - Come Lord Jesus!

I bid your prayers for many in the Church whose shepherds do not even try to follow the example of John. In many places those who took vows to defend the faith and the mysteries are doing their upmost to discredit the teachings of the Church and disavow the divinity of Jesus Christ. They teach against Salvation by denying that he is the only way, truth and life. Instead they preach Jesus as cynic sage, or a social revolutionary, or a sinner like you and me that died forever on Calvary. Pray for them brothers and sisters that they may not follow the devices of their heretical pastorate, but may remain firm in the faith once given to the Church by Jesus Christ through the Apostles. Amen

The Rev. Mark Carroll
Song of Zacharias

1 Corinthians iv. 1

L ET a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing against myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

St. Matthew xi. 2

NOW when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Scripture from 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Copyright 2003-2014 | Order of Centurions 8:11 PM 2/7/2014| Reviewed

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Copyright 2003-2014 | Order of Centurions | Reviewed 4:35 AM 2/8/2014

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