November 16, 2008 - The 2nd Last Sunday of the Church Year

Today's Reading: Matthew 25:31-46

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 31:1-17,23-34; Revelation 16:1-21

When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’“ (Matthew 25:38-40)

Jesus is talking to His disciples privately on the Mount of Olives and he’s giving them instructions as pastors for when He leaves earth to ascend on high. He’s been talking about glory, and the disciples have one thing in mind when it comes to glory – a King. That’s what the Jews of the day want more then anything, an earthly kingdom with an earthly king – like David or Solomon or someone better.

For Jesus, glory means something totally different. Glory for Jesus happens on the cross, in flesh and blood, pierced and spilled for you. That is the glory point of God, where He saved you and me and all of mankind. He died for our sins, not because we deserve it, but because the Lord said He would.

Today though, we hear Jesus talking about the care of His pastors. They are those whom He shall send to be Jesus for you in a specific place, at a specific time. Jesus spells out that the care of your pastor is caring for Him. Your pastor is nothing more then Jesus’ agent of grace. He has the particular responsibility of forgiving sins. He takes what you confess to him in confession and buries those sins in the tomb with Jesus. Then, through the Words of Holy Absolution he frees you from those sins and sends you off on your way.

The Lord instituted His Office and gives us pastors, so that we might know where to find the forgiveness of sins. Go to your pastor and receive the Lord’s grace - that’s what he’s there to do! Receive the blessed words of Holy Absolution, “I forgive you!” Receive the blessed Sacrament, the Body and Blood of Jesus, given and shed for you. Your pastor distributes them all, and He wants to give them to you.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of the end of all things and the day of Your just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 2nd Last Sunday of the Church Year)