Home, Tenth Sunday after Trinity
LET thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and, that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source of Collect: Gelasian Sacramentary [492-496] and one similar appeared before in the Sacrementary of Leo. The petition reminds one of Romans: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. [Barber & Zahl]"8:26-27
Psalm 49 was preached by Augustine in two parts. One is presented for this Sunday, one will be, Lord willing, offered next year on the 10th Sunday after Trinity.
I was struck in reading this of the tone. I would have to call it a "Hellfire and Brimstone" type of sermon. The psalm itself deserves this treatment, for the theme is a comparison of those who are of God's people, and their promise of everlasting life, and the rest whose promise is of everlasting labor.
This is a message that has been abandoned by many preachers in the church (see more below). They will not preach of the end times and the difference between God's people and the rest. They preach of love and mercy, but never of God's righteousness and judgment. All men need to hear these words: The people of God to their comfort; and those who reject Christ as Savior to their discomfort. If Christ did not come as Savior, then your faith is in vain, and you have little or nothing to offer to any pagan. The call to preaching, and for them that will, hearing, is embodied in today's quotation from the 1st verse of the psalm:
O HEAR ye this, all ye people; ponder it with your ears, all ye that dwell in the world; High and low, rich and poor, one with another.
"Hear ye these things, all ye nations" (ver. 1). Not then you only who are here. For of what power is our voice so to cry out, as that all nations may hear? For Our Lord Jesus Christ hath proclaimed it through the Apostles, hath proclaimed it in so many tongues that He sent; and we see this Psalm, which before was only repeated in one nation, in the Synagogue of the Jews, now repeated throughout the whole world, throughout all Churches; and that fulfilled which is here spoken of, "Hear ye these words, all ye nations."...Of whom ye are: "With ears ponder, all ye that dwell in the world." This He seemeth to have repeated a second time, lest to have said "hear," before, were too little. What I say, he saith, "hear, with ears ponder," that is, hear not cursorily. What is, "with ears ponder"? It is what the Lord said, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear:"  for as all who were in His presence must have had ears, what ears did He require save those of the heart, when He said, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear"? The same ears also this Psalm doth smite. "With ears ponder, all ye that dwell in the world." Perhaps there is here some distinction. We ought not indeed to narrow our view, but there is no harm in explaining even this view of the sense. Perhaps there is some difference between the saying, "all nations," and the saying, "all ye that dwell in the world." For perchance he would have us understand the expression, "dwell in," with a further meaning, so as to take all nations for all the wicked, but the dwellers of the world all the just. For he doth inhabit who is not held fast: but he that is occupied is inhabited, and doth not inhabit. Just as he doth possess whatever he hath, who is master of his property: but a master is one who is not held in the meshes of covetousness: while he that is held fast by covetousness is the possessed, and not the possessor....Therefore let even the ungodly hear: "Hear ye this, all ye nations." Let the just also hear, who have not heard to no purpose, and who rather rule the world than are ruled by the world: "with ears ponder, all ye that dwell in the world."And again he saith, "both all ye earthborn, and sons of men" (ver. 2).
Our Lord commanded that we should go throughout the world preaching the Gospel-the whole Gospel. That is that Jesus saves his elect from damnation and judgment. Friends, when you obey his commandment, I beg you keep in mind the seriousness of the mission and the effect. God has promised to open his banquet to those who are in the wedding dress (have put on Christ), and to cast the rest out into utter darkness where there will be wailing and crying in anguish [Matt 22:13], and as Abraham told Dives, once the die is cast there is no chance for reconciliation-the gulf is for all times and unassailable [Luke 16:26]. In full consideration of the 5th century collect for this Sunday, I pray that the ministers of this Order shall not be afraid to preach, in accordance with Scripture, what Jesus "saves" his elect from enduring.
I came across this interesting and timely article after drafting the above on the very subject of preaching and believing the Gospel concerning Hell.
We study how Augustine regarded things in the 5th century, and so the following is pertinent to today's topic from the article at the link
"In 410 A.D., St. Augustine defined four states of afterlife: those so good they go to heaven; those so bad they go to hell; those who deserve some relief in their eternal torment; and those who deserve to be lifted out of torment after repenting for their sins. That set the stage for the doctrine of purgatory in 1237 A.D."
Released by Primus Pilus
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]
* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM