SUNDAY SERMON IN THE
1 John 1: 1:1 – 2:2.
John 20: 19-31.
is what he calls “walking in the light”, the light of Christ represented in
the church by the pascal candle, lit from the new fire on Easter Day, the light
of Christ in our hearts. To walk in the light must mean having our life
centred on him and doing his will. This is our baptismal vocation.
“if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one
another.” This is what we see in the lesson we had for Mattins. St Luke tells
us that “the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul and no
one said that any of the things he possessed was his own but they had everything
in common“ (Acts 4:35). After our Lord’s resurrection they experienced a
it didn’t last. As you will remember, the next incident which St Luke records
is about Ananias and his wife Sapphira who sold a piece of property and kept
back some of the proceeds. St Peter judged them harshly. He accused them of
lying to the Holy Spirit. I don’t suppose they meant to do that but they were
not walking in the light. No doubt they hoped that Jesus was the Christ but
suppose he wasn’t, what would happen to them? They had better keep back some
of the money just in case. They were self centred instead of Christ centred.
They were walking in darkness.
can’t help wondering about St Peter. When he judged them harshly was he
altogether walking in the light? For I don’t think Jesus would have condemned
them like that. “God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world
but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Jesus specialised in
loving sinners; not only penitent sinners but all sinners. He came to call
sinners to repentance. “This man receives sinners and eats with them,” the
Scribes and Pharisees said. “Neither do I condemn you,” he said to the woman
taken in adultery. “Go and sin no more.”
brother Martin Jarrett-Kerr once wrote: “An elderly great-aunt of mine used
not to like sermons on the subject of ‘sin’. Returning from church one day
she is said to have remarked to one of her nieces, ’Sins? Sins? I haven’t
got any sins. Only, your Uncle annoys me sometimes’.” (Our trespasses,
SCM 1948, p 7.)
about us? Are we like this Martin’s great-aunt? Jesus loves us. There is no
doubt about that but are we loving him with all our heart and soul and strength?
The Christian life means having our lives centred on him. Our baptismal vocation
is to follow him. Our monastic vocation is just one way of doing this. In one of
his retreat addresses (Partnership with Christ, Liturgical Press, 2008)
Fr Boylan says, “The whole of monastic life is making Christ the centre of our
lives instead of ourselves. This is the purpose of obedience, mortification and
prayer: to learn how to love by denying ourselves and making Christ our all.
This is conversion of life and conversion of life doesn’t happen all at
to go back to