Sunday, March 08, 2015

Dividing the biccy

Sermon preached at Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis on the third Sunday in Lent 2015

Have your withdrawal symptoms set in yet? Are you now beginning to struggle with having given things up?

It’s a struggle because, on the whole, we’ve given up things that aren’t actually spiritually bad for us. It’s not often that someone gets sent to Hell for eating a chocolate biccy – that’s only the case if you eat the Bishop’s chocolate biccy! What is actually dangerous is a desire for chocolate biccies that consumes us to the exclusion of doing good things. As soon as it begins to take God’s place in our lives, then we are in trouble.

That does raise a good question. How far do things need to go before they start taking God’s place in our lives?


Our Lord talks to us about kingdoms divided among themselves. In this situation, He is explaining to an ever more strident and unpleasant group of Pharisees that He is not driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub but rather with the power of God His Father. It’s interesting to look at the Pharisees here. What amount of hatred they have for a man doing something good for another! Jesus is performing an act of kindness, of charity, of love, and yet this is being dismissed as diabolical. How much hate do you need to have in your life to think a good act is evil?

You see, the Pharisees have their own teaching in their hearts. It is supposed to be based on the law of God given to them by Moses. Yet these scribes and Pharisees have become tempted and actually consumed by the desire to control other people’s lives. God gave the Law of Moses to help people, to give structure to their lives and to point them towards God, but the Pharisees have put that law in the place of God. Even when God is standing before them, curing the sick before their very eyes, they still hold on to what their reading of the Law says.

This shows us how something other than God can take His place in our lives.


If we truly want to ensure that we have nothing in our lives that takes God’s place, we should ask ourselves, “are we willing to give this up should God Himself ask us?” “CAN we give this up should God ask us?”

That puts choccy biccies in perspective, doesn’t it? But could you say the same thing for your job, your house, your family? Our Lord tells us that we should not put even our very lives before God.

Now that’s hard, isn’t it?


It’s only hard if we look at this without God, if we try to separate our desires from God. Yes, we must be willing to give it all up for God, but God gives us grace, and if we co-operate with that grace then we will be able to do it. Love endures all things, and God is Love, so with God we can endure all things, all temptation and stand against evil. When we are with God, we stand. A house divided against itself cannot.

We don’t need to give everything up at once, but we must remember that we must be able to do so, should God ask. The fact is that He may not ever ask us, but when He does, we can be sure that He will be there to catch us should we comply with His will.

Remember, that nothing in this life can be compared with the life that God offers us. If things get tough, remember how much better they will be when we see God face to face.

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