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Fifth Sunday after Trinity MMXII

O God, who has prepared for them who  love thee such good things; pour into our hearts such love towards thee, that we loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through...

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti; infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum ut te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes, promissiones tuas, quae omni desiderium superant, comsequamur, per. 
Gelasian Sacramentally 

Introit:   Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice
Ps:  The Lord is my light and my salvation
Epistle: 1 Peter 3: 8-15. Finally, be ye all of one mind. 
Gradual: Behold, O God, our shield
Gospel:  Luke 5: 1-11  And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear...

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Cor 2:9)" 

I suspect that the author of this collect had this verse from 1st Corinthians in mind.  Since the foundations of the universe God has prepared a place in his mansion for his elect. We can imagine but cannot know the extent of these good and perfect gifts to come. They exceed all of our desires. There may be some who are so fortunate to taste his promises in their experiences in worship, but it is only a foretaste, for they pass our understanding. 

The scripture and the collect make this reward conditional. God does not dispense these gift upon all mankind as he does rain and food. These promises are reserved for his elect--them that love him. We know from scripture too that our love is in response to his. He loved us first. If it were not by his grace to fill us, we could never come to  be able to "sanctify the Lord God in our hearts" as Peter expressed it in the appointed epistle. 

What is an acceptable way toward this great love above all things?  We know from our Lord's lips that to Love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is the greatest commandment. We may look to Peter again in the gospel account for an acceptable means to this end: "he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man".   Those who never come to this place shall never know the Lord as their Master, and shall never sanctify God in their heart. God loves a humble and contrite heart and this is the sacrifice he most appreciates (Ps 51:17) 

Those who persist in sin, celebrate and take pride in sin, just as Paul described in Romans I:18 ff , do not know God, are none of his, and shall never see and taste how good the LORD is (Ps 34). They are blind, deaf, and far-gone doing evil and have their pleasure in those evil things. 

This"love of God above all things" will grow through God's grace when we turn to Jesus, recognize him as Lord, and humble ourselves at the seat of mercy.  For those he has called his own,  he will fill them more and more with his love and truth to bring them into his everlasting kingdom and rest. 


An homily 


(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form

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