25th Sunday after Pentecost, 26 November, 2017 – The Last Sunday in the Church Year

Old Testament: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Image result for icon Jesus sheep from goats ravenna

The Theme of Today’s Liturgy

The Introit for the last Sunday in the church year is not a Psalm as we are accustomed, but instead is from 2 Peter, and brings into focus the anticipation of the Christian who waits for the return of Christ (Introit).  The Christian looks with great hope for the new heaven and the new earth that Jesus has promised to all those who are clothed in His righteousness (Introit, Collect).  This is the hope of the world, that although our lives here are fleeting and marred by sin and temptation, Christ will deliver us from sin, death, and devil, and bring us into His presence for all time.  This is not because of anything we have done on our own, but solely because of His death on the Cross.  He is therefore the first fruit of those who will be raised again, our brother like us in every respect except that He is without sin, who will gather all nations together and rescue His sheep from all the places they have been scattered (OT).  Before a Word is spoken or any deed listed, the King will separate and judge the nations.  Works are not sufficient for righteousness, but through faith we receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life and bear fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven (Gospel).

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