THE WEEK OF TRINITY XXIII – THURSDAY
LESSON: PSALM 106:6‒8
For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:26‒29
In this week’s Gospel (Matthew 22:15‒22), we have a very good portrayal of the cunning and perversity of human nature. There is nothing in men by nature but evil, lies, deceit, cunning, and all that is vicious. By nature man is nothing else but a liar, as the psalmist declares. You cannot trust a single person. Don’t think for a moment that you will ever hear a word of truth from anyone; man is a liar whenever he opens his mouth. How so? The spring is evil, that is, the heart is no good. Therefore the streams are no good either.
This is why the Lord at times described men as a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 12:34) and “serpents” (Matthew 23:33). Is not this an apt title for these people? Let anyone come forward here to boast about his piety and the powers of his own free will! Before the world it is possible to put on a fine exterior, and to be pious and holy, with much outward glitter. But there is really nothing else there than a brood of vipers and serpents, especially in the most valued, excellent, wise, and clever men. When you read the histories of the Greeks, Romans, and Jews, you will find that the best and cleverest princes, those who ruled well by human standards, were not conscious of receiving anything from God but relied on themselves alone, ascribing nothing at all to the power of God.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, heavenly Father, in Your mercy and grace You bestow upon us everything in our lives that deserves to be called good. May we ever cling to You in firm faith, the giver of all good gifts, in Christ our Lord. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil–Gospels, 5:293-306.