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The Second Sunday after the Epiphany


The Baptism of Christ
Homily of Augustine on Psalm XCVI
Home Second Sunday after Epiphany

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Archbishop Cranmer translated this from Latin. Originally a prayer for outward peace.

In the Early Church, the birth of Christ, the Magi visit, and Baptism were all celebrated on the 6th. The Protestant Episcopal Church moved the baptism Gospel to the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, to remember this event during Epiphanytide and so we have it here today. The Lutheran Church remembers the Baptism on Third Sunday after Christmas. The Latin Church remembers it on the First Sunday after Epiphany. The Orthodox Church continues to celebrate the Baptism on the Theophany, 6 January, with the visit of the Magi. Theophany literally means "Manifestation of God".

Declare his honour unto the heathen, and his wonders unto all peoples

1st Chronicles xvi.   Psalms 96, 97| 45, 46,   Romans xii. 6  &   St. Mark i. 1
Homily of Augustine on Psalm XCVI

Grace and Peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
This 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany we will visit Augustine's examination of Psalm 96. The psalm was composed by David. It's history is recorded in 1st Chronicles which I have placed as the Old Testament lesson at the link above. Psalm 96 is embedded in the song in Chronicles as the second half of a long song of David. The first part relates directly to Psalm 105.
The occasion of this song of David was one of praise and thanksgiving as David, the priests, regimental army commanders, and the people processed with the Ark, in the correct manner prescribed in Exodus, from the house of Obed-Edom to a  tent that David had prepared in
The scripture gives us a Messianic type here of king, priest, prophet, and warrior:
Priest: David led the procession, dressed as a priest in a linen ephod. He personally sacrificed before the Ark; he blessed the people in the name of the LORD, and he gave bread and raisins to the people (a foreshadow of our Lord's act at the Last Supper, with bread of the earth and the fruit of the vine.)
Warrior: As warrior he led his regimental commanders (commanders of 1,000) in the grand march and set them and their men as the armed guards of the Ark.
King: As King he represented and mediated between God and people. He led the entire procession, and he personally establishing a place in Holy Zion for the Ark. .
Prophet: Finally, in the songs given to Asaph and the priests that day, he fulfilled the role of prophet in foretelling the manifestation of the God of Israel to the world-for he sang,
 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations... [1Ch16:24] Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the
beauty of holiness. [1Ch16:28-29]
Augustine writes of these verses:
...."Ascribe unto the Lord glory unto His Name". Not unto the name of man, not unto your own
name, but unto His ascribe worship.... Confession is a present unto God. O heathen, if ye will enter into His courts, enter not empty. "Bring presents." What presents shall we bring with us?  The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, "O God, shalt not Thou despise." Enter with an humble heart into the house of God, and thou hast entered with a present.

I think in this Epiphanytide of the fulfillment of this prophecy by our Lord personally, beginning with his Epiphany to the Gentiles as an infant, when wise men
came and brought valuable gifts suitable for a king. I think of his revelation to selected Roman centurions (Capernaum and Calvary) during his earthly ministry, and their gifts rendered unto him of a troubled spirit, a humble and contrite heart, and acknowledgement of this Jewish teacher as Lord and Master, the Son of God and the Just Man. We remember that after his resurrection the manifestations continued both in person, and by signs-foremost with the of the conversion of Saint Paul as the minister to the Gentiles (celebrated next week Sunday). Also to  Cornelius the Centurion who became the bishop of Caesarea, and in latter days to Constantine-Caesar, and then to the host of his saints through the ages. Finally, to us in this little part of the Church
Militant we call the Ordo Centurionum.
Often I hear from our members and am thankful for the many local ministries and the work of our members: chivalric orders, cohorts, small church leaders, military chaplains serving all soldiers, para-military-emergency-organizations, prayer teams, weblogs, religiously oriented Internet groups, all of which keep alive the blaze of the Holy Spirit begun at Pentecost so that we may, as his ministers, preach the pure and true word of God, rightly administer his sacraments, and encourage all men to right and chivalric acts to make our world a better place.
Let us pray:
O God, we yield unto thee most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue  declared in all thy saints in all the kindreds of the world, who have been the choice vessels of thy grace and the lights of the world in their several generations; and we pray unto thee, that we may have grace to direct our lives after their good examples; that, this life ended, we may be made partakers with them of the glorious resurrection, and the life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and
forever. Amen
He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do  justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  [Micah 6:8]
The Lord be with you and bless you an yours this day and through the coming week.

* closing prayer adopted from the BCP.  

Released by Primus Pilus
HQ, Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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