28th Thursday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch
Romans 3:21-30; Luke 11:47-54
The world as we know it is not the world as God created it. The human race as we know it is not the image and like of heavenly grace that came forth from the hands of the Creator. Having fallen from grace must the children of Adam and Eve remain in their dreadful state? Faith tells us that we have not been abandoned. Despite our sinfulness, God still sees the reflection of His image and likeness deep within us. Even while we wander endlessly in the valley of death the Beloved Son came to be our companion, more than that, He came to be our way to the Light of Life.
By himself, man who has been tainted by sin cannot save himself. God who is righteous and merciful alone can make that which is contaminated by sin pure.
Light is sown for the righteous
and for the upright in heart—joy
With the consent of the Almighty,
and consent of this congregation,
in a convocation of the heavenly court,
and a convocation of the lower court,
we hereby grant permission
to pray with transgressors
Our Jewish brothers and sisters recently celebrated Yom Kippur, the day they stand before God and one another seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. United in prayer, no wound is incurable. Their celebration offers insight for we who are followers of the Incarnate Son of God. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son to reconcile all the children of Adam and Eve to himself. Confronted with our sinfulness, it is God’s righteousness that makes us whole. When we find ourselves lost and unable to find our way, it is Christ who seeks us out and carries us home. Whe4n we find ourselves blinded and confused by the attractions of sin and death, it is Christ who clothes us in garments of light. While we were yet sinners, Christ sought us out. The mercy extended to us is free grace. The grace offered us free and undeserved, yet it was purchased at a price, the blood of the spotless Lamb that was sacrificed for us.
The cantor and congregation say
Forgive the entire congregation
of the children of Israel
and the stranger amongst them
for the entire people sin unintentionally.
Please pardon the sins of this nation
in accordance with the greatness
of Your loving kindness;
Gifts are not bought, traded or sold. They are freely received and freely given away. Let us examine our hearts so that they may be cleansed of all wrongdoing and by the working of the Holy Spirit be made hearts of flesh again. In that transformation, we will know the joy of having received freely and will then desire to give to others of our abundance. May the fire of love illumine, warm and give us life so that we may burn with love for God and for all his people.