Third Sunday of Advent, Year A

pt449Highway of Holiness

We are on a journey. Its is the most important journey in our lives, and or many it is a very lonely journey. The Prophet Isaiah wrote about this journey:

A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;

the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.

No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;

they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.   (Isaiah 35:8-10)

James reminds us that the coming of the Lord is near and that we must be made perfect:

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  (James 5:7-10)

In our minds we think of what Holy men and women are like. Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest person born of women. Surely we do not measure up to him. But John is not the one by which we are measured. Jesus said:

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”   (Matthew 11:11)

How could any of us be greater than John the Baptist? That was not the point. Jesus was saying that we cannot compare ourselves to John the Baptist or anyone else. We must compare ourselves to Jesus. We care called to be Christlike.

On our own that is something that we will never be able to do. Yet, God the Father calls us to this standard, the standard of his Son. That is the Highway of Holiness and Jesus is that highway. He said:

 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”   (John 14:6)

To enter the Highway of Holiness we must enter into Jesus. We must give our lives to him. To travel the Highway of Holiness we must walk with him daily, forsaking the world. That is why this highway may seem very lonely at times. Nonetheless, Jesus is always with us. To advance on the Highway of Holiness we must forsake even ourselves. Yet, we will never be alone on this highway because Jesus is with us.

Jesus is coming for his bride. This much we know, his coming is closer tban ever before. When he comes he will gather up all those who are walking with him. He, alone, is perfecting us. He, alone, can present us spotless before the Father in heaven.

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Filed under homily, lectionary, liturgical preaching, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, Year A

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