Sunday, February 09, 2014

Children's Sermon on the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, 2014

In the epistle reading this morning that we've just heard, St. Paul writes to St. Timothy. They had known each other for a while, and St. Timothy was ordained by St. Paul. He was bishop of Ephesus, and he became a leader in the Church at quite a young age. In a different letter, in a different place, St. Paul reminds St. Timothy not to let his youth be a stumbling-block or to make other people use his youth as an excuse, and this morning St. Paul reminds St. Timothy of all the things he has learned from his childhood. So we know that he became a Christian at a young age. Maybe he was baptized at a young age; we're not sure, but he learned the things at a young age. He was rooted in the faith from that young age. He learned it from his mother and his grandmother, as St. Paul also says, and he remained faithful through that.

So I think there is a lot we can learn from St. Timothy and from his experience, that he paid attention; he learned as a child; that St. Paul told him that his youth should not be held against him. You can take that for yourself, you know. You are young, but I think you can understand the doctrines and grasp the faith, and now is the best time to do it. Now is the best time to learn who God is, to begin to know God.

As we're here every Sunday, as we pray together, as you go down to your religious education classes, either early in the morning or later on, I will ask you to pay attention to what the prayers say, to what the teachers are teaching, because this is the best time to take root, to let the faith take root in your heart, let the faith take root in your soul and in your mind. In some ways, it's easier to get to know God when you are young, and I hope that all of you do everything that you can, and God's grace will work with you, will be with you, to get to know God now, because as we all grow up, we find difficulties.

We find times when we struggle to, at times, to see or to know where God is, and it is important at those times that we have this strong faith that is rooted in us from when we are young so that we can remember God from when we knew he was close to us, remember Him in those times when it may not feel like He is close to us. He is there, but all of us in life will have times when, for one reason or another, we won't be able to feel His presence. So let's do the best that we can now, in prayer and in studying, so that our faith truly defines who we are, that we get to know God so that we have something to look upon in the difficult times that we all find some way or another.

And let us ask for the help of St. Paul and St. Timothy, because they live the faith. And what did we read in St. Paul's letter? What was Timothy supposed to remember? He was supposed to remember St. Paul's faith, his example, his suffering, his difficulties. So even the greatest of saints like St. Paul went through difficult times, and we should remember that, that life is not always going to be easy, but God is always with us, even in those times when we're not aware of it. So let us pray that God strengthen our faith and that He be firmly in our minds, our hearts, and our souls. Let us ask for the help of St. Timothy and St. Paul, and together with them and with all the saints, both when it is easy and when it is not, when we know that God is here and when we don't feel His presence, in all times and in all places, give glory to God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.



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