(9 February 2014, omitted in 2015)
O LORD, we beseech you to keep your Church and household continually in your true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of your heavenly grace may evermore be defended by your mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hosea 6:4-6; Psalm 118:14-21; Colossians 3:12-17; Matthew 13:24-30
As the season of Epiphany draws near to its close and Lent approaches, the tone of this Sunday’s readings starts drifting away from celebration and towards a penitential focus. The Gospel reading is Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds, bringing to us an epiphany of Jesus’ authority and power to judge the world at the end of the age. On its own, the parable can strike fear into our hearts – there are false believers in our midst! How do I know I’m not one of them? The Old Testament reading shows us that in the past God removed from his chosen people those whose love was like mist or dew which disappeared, making religious offerings without living accordingly. The Psalm goes on to give an example of how to praise and worship God truly, and the Epistle reading teaches us how to live holy lives with love at the center. And, as usual, the Collect brings this together in prayer for all God’s faithful people, asking for his mighty power to defend us as we seek to live the lives he has called us to.