In Nomine Iesu!
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit before Sermon:
O Almighty God, Who hast knit together Thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Thy Son, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, we beseech Thee, that through patience and comfort of the Scriptures we may abound in hope, being filled with all joy and peace in believing; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ. Amen.
Our Gospel reading from the Evangelist St. Luke once again takes us to the final week of our Lord’s life on this Earth. At the end of the Church’s year, we heard this discourse as it was recorded by the Apostle and Evangelist St. Matthew. Our Lord + Jesus in the last week before His crucifixion brings comfort to His Apostles by telling them that there will be signs pointing to the coming of the Son of Man. There will be signs that point to the approaching of the day of our redemption. These signs will be in everything—sun, moon, and stars. We will easily be able to ascertain them, just like we can tell the coming of the seasons by the leafing and fruiting of the trees. When the fig tree, and all the trees, begin to bud, one knows that summer is coming. Soon the fig tree will bear fruit, and then will come the harvest.
Our Lord + Jesus also tells His Apostles, and us, that these signs will distress and perplex the nations. Men’s hearts will fail them from the fear that the expectation of these signs produce. The very powers of the Earth will be shaken. These signs will be easy to see. All the nations will see them, and will be able to know that the coming of the Son of Man is fast approaching. These signs have been happening in every generation. In ever generation there have been signs that point to our Lord’s coming again to us in power and great glory. It should not surprise us when we see these signs. And even though these signs produce fear and expectation in the nations; even though men’s hearts will be seen to fail on account of these signs, these signs for all those who cling in faith to the Lord + Jesus will have no need to fear.
These signs are for the fear of the nations. But these signs are not for the fear of those who cling to the Lord God and His Son in faith. For these signs clearly point to a joyous day and event. This is what our Lord + Jesus is telling those who hear Him today. He is not telling us to be fearful of these signs. He is telling us that these signs point to the day of the fulfillment of our joy. For these signs proclaim the day of our redemption; the day when our Lord + Jesus will come on the clouds in power and great glory and take us to our eternal home in Heaven. We are not to hide our face in our hands, like the nations will do, when we see these things happen. We are not to cower in fear and trembling when these signs are revealed like the unbelieving nations will do. No, my dear friends, our Lord + Jesus tells us how we are to respond to these signs.
Our Lord + Jesus tells us not to bury our head in our hands and cower in fear, but to look up and embrace these signs with joy and gladness, for these signs mean that our redemption—our salvation from the sins and troubles of this world—is quickly approaching. These signs mean that our Lord + Jesus is quickly coming to take us to our eternal home in Heaven. There we will rejoice for all eternity with all the saints and angels as we rejoice that our Lord + Jesus has fulfilled the Law and paid the penalty of our sins on the tree of the holy cross. He has drawn all men to Himself by His suffering and death. This was the first sign of our redemption, when the world turned dark at our Lord’s crucifixion; when He accomplished our redemption by His death on the cross.
These signs continue to happen in every generation for the benefit of all those who cling to Him in faith. These signs continue to happen in our generation for our benefit, so that we know that the day of our Lord + Jesus’ coming to on the clouds with power and great glory is not far off. This day will be a day of joy for those who cling in faith to the Lord + Jesus. The fear and expectation of the nations does not belong to those who cling in faith to the Lord + Jesus. Let the nations fear and fail in their hearts; let them weep and sigh at these signs all around us. But let us not weep and sigh; let our hearts not fail or be filled with fear, for these signs exist for our benefit. They show the day of our redemption. When we see these signs let us rejoice that the day of our Lord is quickly approaching. Soon, my dear friends, the Lord + Jesus will come on this Earth, and take us to our eternal home in Heaven.
This world today is just as our Lord + Jesus prophesies in the Gospel of the Evangelist St. Luke. There are fear and trepidation everywhere we go. The nations, the unbelieving world, lives in fear and are trapped by fear because of these signs. The fear and expectation that the world feels is not meant for us. We do not live our lives hoping to continue in this world. Unlike the world, we look for another life; the life that comes after this one. We look for an eternal life in Heaven. We know that this world will pass away, and so we do not cling to the things of this world. We do not treat this world as if we are going to live in this world forever. We are always looking forward to the time when this world will no longer weigh us down with fear and expectation. We are continuously looking for the day of our redemption. We are always looking for the day of our Lord’s coming to us again.
This is why our Lord + Jesus warns His hearers today to not get weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life. In other words, we are not to get bogged down with what is happening in this world. The world is groaning on account of these signs because it knows that the day when sin and pain is finally abolished is coming. The world does not want its life to end. They have no hope for a life after this life. The Last Day is a day of fear for the world, because it leads to their eternal condemnation. Therefore, they cling to whatever small hope they can find in this world to soothe their fears. The increase of signs only causes them more fear and trembling.
We are not of this world, my dear friends. We do not fear that day when our Lord comes, for we look forward to the day when we will be in that heavenly realm singing the eternal Liturgy with all the saints who have gone before us. We look forward to the day when we will be with our Lord + Jesus in the heavenly realm. For on that day sin will no longer plague us. On that day death will no longer cause us fear and anxiety, for there will no longer be any death, but we will only enjoy life eternal. All those who attack us today, and try to lead us into fear will also no longer be able to bother us and lead us into despair, for the devil and the world, will face their eternal punishment, as we enjoy our eternal reward.
There will be signs, my dear friends, even as we see them today more clearly than we have during other parts of our lives. We see the fig tree, and all the trees beginning to bud; we know that summer is coming. We see that not only there will be signs, but there are signs. The nations will fear and lose heart on account of these signs. But this is not so with us. Look up and rejoice when you see these signs, for it tells us that our redemption from this world is coming quickly. Let us rejoice and give thanks when these signs occur, for it tells us that our Lord + Jesus is coming to us. The day of our redemption draws near. The day when we will enjoy eternally our home in Heaven is fast approaching. Let us give thanks to the Lord God for showing us these signs, so that we might cling to Him in faith, and know that soon we will be with Him and all the saints and angels in Heaven for all eternity. Thanks be to God! In the Name of our Lord + Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit after Sermon:
Cleanse our conscience, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, by the daily visitation of Thy grace, that, when Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, shall come, He may find us fit for His appearing, and ready to meet Him without spot, in the company of all His saints; Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria!