Somebody (*raises hand sheepishly*) forgot to prepare the Propers for St. Michael and All Angels. Sorry.
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God or the World
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
There are many persons and things that we love; and there are many persons or things that love us. In the final analysis, however, everything we have, everything we hope for, everything we desire traces back to one of two loves. When you come right down to it, there are only two things that we love, and we must choose between them: God, or the things of this world. These two loves come from opposite sources, and they produce eternally opposite results. Whoever loves the world will have nothing after he passes away. But whoever loves God will have eternal life with the angels and saints and faithful departed. Whoever loves this world cannot have God as his chief love. But whoever truly and earnestly and faithfully loves God will have both God and the world.
That alone convinces very few. The pull of this world is so strong. Our passions are set to desire earthly things. Our minds are prone to see and think about and desire only the here and now. We are so wrapped in the fear that we'll miss out and won't get ours. Somehow we find it hard to believe that the world can let us down, even though we know it often does. We find it hard to believe that our love for the things of this life—things like the praise of others, the pride of accomplishment, and the lust for power or sex or money or good feelings—is worthless. And so, instead of loving the things that last, we love the things that, in the end, will not help us one whit. We love the world so much—too much, in fact. Yet, in our misguided longing and yearning, we are blinded to the fact that the things of this world really do not love us.
While we have many loves, there is in the end only one true Lover—the Father who gives us His Spirit so that we might live safe and secure within Christ, the Beloved One. To love the One who truly loves us—the One who loves us with an undying, unfading, ever-deepening love—to love Him must be our chief desire, so much so that we are willing to throw everything else away, even to break ties with those who drag us away from Him in His holy Church. To love Him above all things means to prefer nothing and no one other than His embrace. To love Him means to fear only one thing—losing Him. And to love Him above all things means to trust that He loves us so much that He has sacrificed all that He has and all that He is so that we may never be harmed.
To love this Lord God with all that we are and all that we have does not harm us. We are told that it will. We are told that the sacrifice is too great, that we will lose out on too much, that life will be hard. But to love the only One who truly loves us cannot hurt us. In the love of God there is no excess. But in the love of this world, and this world's goods and this world's pride—in that love, all is hurtful because all is deceptive. The world says that if you love the things of this world, those things will love you back. But all the things of this world will fade; they will never be able to make good on their promise.
The one true God has already kept His promise of love. From the very first sin He promised a Savior to crush the head of the serpent. Our Father sent His Son, and His Son has loved us to death on the cross. Our Father has made us His children in the waters of Holy Baptism. He does provide what we need for this body and life. But even more than that, our Lord speaks His Word of forgiveness to us; Jesus feeds us with His own body and blood. These rich blessings will never rust or fade, and no one can take them away from you. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.