The BCP

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

Here the assembled people of God make two large requests of their heavenly Father. First of all, presuming that they have, at least in small measure, the basic Christian virtues in their souls, they pray for the increase of them, of their quality and scope. ìGive unto us the increase of faith, hope and charityî. In the second place, because they long to receive what God has promised to his faithful people, both now and in the age to come, they ask that especially the virtue of love/charity [caritas, agape] grows in them so that they begin truly to love each day and with consistency what God commands.

It has been said that the theological virtues of faith, hope and love/charity are the right relation of the reason, the imagination, and the will, to the spiritual world presented in divine Revelation and called ìthings invisibleî in the Nicene Creed. Faith is in the convictions of the understanding; Hope pictures the promised future by an exercise of the imagination, and Love is a preference for the true good and seated in the will.

Faith, hope and charity/love also have a certain correspondence to past, present and future. In large part Faith looks back to the revelation of God in word and in deed, and especially in the Incarnate Son, recorded in Holy Scripture and witnessed by tradition. But faith propels us into the future for it is the substance of things hoped for ñ the things God has promised in, through and with Christ. So faith is joined to Hope in and by which we truly look forward in humble confidence to the fulfilment of Godís purposes and will for us and for the universe. But we do not live merely in memories of the past and anticipations of the future, there is Love. We are to love our neighbour as ourselves, to love on another as Christ loved us, and to fulfil all the commands of the law by loving God and man.

Faith is well illustrated and presented in the Gospel for this week and in the Epistle the virtues as fruit of the indwelling Spirit are contrasted with the works of the flesh.

These extensive and profound requests can & should be made because they are address to the Almighty and the Everlasting GOD and furthermore they rise to Him in the Name and Person of the High Priest and Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Epistle Galatians 5. 16-24

I SAY then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.

 

Gospel St Luke 17. 11-19

AND it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go, shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.