Lenten Greetings and Happy Easter!
Let us read first read the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 20:
"20:1 'For the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man, that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; 'Go ye also into the vineyard, and, whatsoever is right, I will give you.' And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, 'Why stand ye here all the day idle?' 7 They say unto him, 'Because no man hath hired us.' He saith unto them, 'Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.' 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, 'Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.' 9 And when they came, that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed, that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, 'These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.' 13 But he answered one of them, and said, 'Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take, that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do, what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?' 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.'
17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the Way, and said unto them, '18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, 19 And shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again.'
20 Then came to Him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. 21 And He said unto her, 'What wilt thou?' She saith unto Him, 'Grant, that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy Right Hand, and the other on the Left, in Thy Kingdom.' 22 But Jesus answered and said, 'Ye know not, what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the Cup, that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the Baptism, that I am baptized with?' They say unto Him, 'We are able.' 23 And He saith unto them, 'Ye shall drink indeed of My Cup, and be baptized with the Baptism, that I am baptized with: but to sit on My Right Hand, and on My Left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father.'
24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 25 But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, 'Ye know, that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they, that are great, exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His Life a Ransom for many.'
29 And, as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. 30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard, that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, 'Have mercy on us, O Lord, Thou Son of David.' 31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, 'Have mercy on us, O Lord, Thou Son of David.' 32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, 'What will ye, that I shall do unto you?' 33 They say unto Him, 'Lord, that our eyes may be opened.' 34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him" (KJV 1611).
Fifth Week of Lent Reflections: I am sorry, that this blog post is somewhat tardy, but things have been crazy lately. I know, that was a very long and yet very awesome Scripture text for this blog post, but it is totally worth it. Reading Holy Scripture is always worth the time and effort. A lot of people tell me, that the only book, which they read, is The Holy Bible. That is the best book to read, but many other books are also "good, right, and salutary" to read and they help us better understand the Words of Holy Scripture. Read Martin Luther's books, read St. Ambrose of Milan's books, read St. Augustine's books, read St. Patrick's one and only book Confessio, which is Latin for Confession, read the Reverend Doctor Matthew Harrison's books, the Reverend Doctor Jordan Cooper's books, read my books, and any other good books.
Now let us dive right into the text itself. In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus told a fictional story called a parable. This parable has a great deal of both symbolism and truth. This parable symbolizes Yahweh's Holy and Universal Desire to evangelize the entire world and this parable uses the imagery of agriculture. The owner of the vineyard needed workers to go out and work in his vineyard. The owner of the vineyard hired some workmen to work in the vineyard and he agreed to pay them the appropriate wages for a day's labor. These workmen agreed and they went to work, but, as the day wore on, the owner of the vineyard realized, that he needed more workmen immediately to get the job done. The owner of the vineyard hired more workmen to finish the day's work. The new workmen worked less than the original workmen, so the original workmen became upset, because all of the workmen were paid the same amount of money for different amounts of work. The owner of the vineyard had every legal right to make deals and to pay his workmen according to those deals. The same thing goes for Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit working together to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yahweh established the Law and Jesus' Death and Resurrection for the Salvation of people is the Gospel. The Holy Spirit calls and enlightens all people through the Gospel, as Martin Luther taught in his Small Catechism, but sadly people do reject the Gospel and this is sad, because they willfully go to Hell.
Jesus told his twelve disciples in Matthew 20:17-19, that He was going to betrayed and the Jewish religious leaders would conspire for the assassination of their Messiah. The words Gentile and Pagan are interchangeable. The Jewish religious leaders wanted the Roman Pagans to do their dirty work for them by having the Roman Pagans beat Jesus and nail Him to a Roman Cross, which would become the True Cross and the Cross would become a Christian symbol of both life and death. Now I am not saying, that we as Christians today should be Anti-Semitic, since I am ethnically Jewish and since Jesus died to save every single person, and we should not hate Pagans of any kind. We must look at both religious Jews and Pagans as lost and condemned people, who are on their way to Hell and who need our Savior, Jesus the Messiah, to rescue them from death, Hell, Satan, Satan's demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, and their own personal sins. We must evangelize all people, but especially Jews and Pagans, because Jews are Yahweh's Ethnic Chosen People aka Yahweh's Ethnic Elect and St. Paul set the standard, that Christians should take the Gospel to Pagans. What is the difference between the Ethnic Elect and the Elect? The Ethnic Elect are the Jews and the Elect are the baptized and believing Christians, who come from all ethnic backgrounds.
Jesus addressed one of the earliest controversies of the Early Christian Church in Matthew 20:20-28. The mother of the Zebedees wanted Jesus to elevate her two sons to places of great power in the new Religion, which Jesus had founded. Jesus was not able to make such promises to her, since Yahweh has that authority according to Jesus in this passage. Jesus took the time to foretell His Death on the True Cross and He compared it to the Communion Chalice, since Communion Wine becomes the Literal Blood of Jesus and yet it remains wine. He also connected Holy Baptism to His Crucifixion and St. Paul did this same thing later on in Romans Chapter 6. Yes, Holy Baptism is water Baptism. Yes, water Baptism saves people, because it connects people to Jesus' Literal Death, Literal Burial, and Literal Resurrection. The other disciples were angered by the mother of the Zebedees making such a request and Jesus challenged His disciples be servants and ministers and not overlords like many Pagan religious leaders.
In Matthew 20:29-34, Jesus was leaving a town called Jericho and there was a large crowd of people, who wanted to watch Jesus, as He passed by. There were some blind men crying out to Jesus for healing to their sight. Some of the other people wanted to these blind men to shut up and let Jesus be on His "merry way." Some of the people looked down on these blind men for merely being blind and these blind men were getting on their nerves for pestering Jesus. Jesus was impressed by the Faith of the blind men, so He restored their sight and Jesus got two new disciples. Everything worked out for their good and Jesus' Glory. Amen!
April 2020 Book Signings:
1. I'll be having a book at The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio on Saturday April 4, 2020 from 11 AM to 5 PM. (This event is postponed due to my car needing repaired.)
2. I'll be having a book signing at the 2020 Arts Place Literature Festival held in Dicke Hall at Wright State Lake Campus in Celina, Ohio on Saturday April 18, 2020 from 9 AM to noon. (There is some uncertainty about the 2020 Arts Place Literature Festival taking place as scheduled, so I might have to go elsewhere.)
October 2020 Book Signing(s):
1. I'll be having a book signing at the Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show at the Vaughnsville Community Center in Vaughnsville from 11 AM to 5 PM.
Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show: I will be hosting the 2020 Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show on Saturday October 31, 2020 from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Vaughnsville Community Center on State Route 12 in Vaughnsville, Ohio. I'm looking for vendors to come and sell their merchandise. I'm pretty much open to anything legal and clean, but homemade baked goods and craft items are preferred. Please see my "2020 Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show: Vendor Entry Form" blog post for more information:
My Green Irish Angel Statues: My Green Irish Angel Statues are really cute! They are only $1 each and they make great gifts. I have three kinds: 1. Cross-Bearing Angels, 2. Praying Angels, and 3. Angels Holding Butterflies. I like the Cross-Bearing Angels the best, because they are carrying Crosses. Each one bearing a Cross reminds us, that Jesus died on the True Cross to save every single person from death, Hell, Satan, Satan's Demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, and their personal sins. They're available exclusively at Jen's Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on the corner High Street and Chestnut Street in between Circle K Gas Station and Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) in St. Marys, Ohio.
Stores Carrying My Books: My books, which I’ve written and published, are also available at the following stores: Brunner News Agency on Flanders Avenue in Lima, Ohio, Jen’s Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on High Street in St. Marys, Ohio, The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio, Readmore Hallmark Stores out at Eastgate Plaza and on Elm Street in Lima, Ohio, Wagner’s IGA Grocery Store in Minster, Ohio, and in the Shop section of my website ohioirishlutheranpress.com .
Thank you, Lenten Greetings, and Happy Easter!
James W. O’Flannery, President and Founder of Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press)