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Sixty Days Until the Resurrection


    O God, the strength of all who put their trust in You, mercifully grant that by Your power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


An Overview

This Sunday continues the countdown to Easter. Though we are not yet in Lent, our worship has begun to take on a different feel. We may imagine (as Vincent Van Gogh did in this painting) that the sower is sowing his seed at Sunset. The day is not yet over, but the end is coming night. So too, when the Lord sows the seed of His Word, He does so anticipating the time when no one can work during the dark of the night.

This Sunday's readings speak to the doctrine of Election, the importance of preaching, and answers the question of "Why are some saved and not others?"

Sexagesima Sunday should cause us not to try to interpret what kind of "soil" each of us are, but instead to understand that salvation only comes by hearing the Word (preaching), latching onto that word (Faith), and holding it fast in patience (fruits of repentance).

The Old Testament

Isaiah 55:10-13

  • Chapter 55 begins with a call to those who thirst and hunger. TLSB includes the haunting footnote "No one is forced to obey the summons. However, those who disregard it must reckon with the possibility that they have heard it for the last time."

  • The Prophet paints a picture of a cycle - just as rain falls from the heavens and then evaporates after it's done its task on earth, so too the Word of God comes down from earth and then completes its cycle by returning to heaven after it has achieved its earthly mission

Translation Notes

  • The verb "water" in verse 10 is an intensified form in Hebrew; saturated or soaked - הִרְוָ֣ה

The Epistle

2 Corinthians 11:9-12:9

  • One of the longest portions of Scripture in any of the Sunday readings

  • Rather than poetic imagery about food and drink and seed, Paul speaks in a very earthly way about the danger of false teachers (or those who sow a false sort of seed)

  • Paul continues Isaiah's language of "thorn" (Isaiah 55:13) but gives it a personality when he speaks of the "thorn" in his side.

  • Just as the Word does not return Void, so too when God sends thorns (yes, God is still the Lord over the demons and the troublemakers!), they do not return without achieving their purpose.

Translation Notes

  • 11:24 "servants" διάκονοι - root word for the English "deacon." Different word than when Paul speaks of being a slave of Christ

The Holy Gospel

Luke 8:4-15

  • Jesus not only gives the parable, but explains it in depth. The mystery is removed and we are left with both imagery and meaning. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear," implies that some will go out of their way to not listen to what Jesus has to say concerning the interpretation.

  • It is not that there are four types of people. There are only believers and unbelievers. This Parable simply shows the different ways in which people can fall away from the faith.

  • Isaiah's words are still true: the Word does not return void. But the damnation of some is not the fault of the Preached Word, but the fact that some people let the devil, the world, and their sinful flesh choke out, crush, or dry out the seed of the Word.

  • The "good soil" ties together the idea of hearing the Word of God and the Virtue of Patience.

Translation Notes

  • none

Poetry Used in the Liturgy of Sexagesima

  • Psalm 44 - a song of lament, repentance, and a prayer for humility

  • Psalm 84 - Thanking and Praising God for the gifts of the Church

  • Psalm 99 - A Confession that God is Lord over all (yes, including thorns and messengers of Satan!)

  • Psalm 130 - One of the Penitential Psalms

Artwork: Eloquence (also known as St. Paul Preaching at Athens), Enoch Wood. British, ca. 1787. Metropolitan Musuem of Art.

eloquence st paul met nyc.jpg
triumph of patience met nyc.jpg

Further Reading & Listening

Artwork: Triumph of Patience, Dirck Volckertsz Coornhert Netherlandish After Maarten van Heemskerck Netherlandish. 16th century. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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