Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday Morning is for Church

How times have changed. There was a day not so long ago when everyone understood that Sunday mornings were reserved for church, even if not everyone went to church. Nothing else was scheduled, least of all sporting events.

No longer.

Now we are seeing the despicable practice of the scheduling of tournaments for children--children--on Sunday mornings. Basketball, baseball, tennis.

What I find really disgusting about this is that those who invest time and energy in such programs generally do so, they say, for the benefit of the children: it's good, wholesome activity that builds character and integrity.

What hypocrisy!

To schedule these things on Sunday mornings is blatantly to discourage the one activity which has been known to tower over all the others as a builder of character and integrity: church.

Even if the churches to which the children go are weak or troubled, or even if the children don't go to church, at least there used to be the implicit societal imperative to go, embedded in the fact that there was nothing else on the schedule on Sunday mornings.

Even professionals sports still observe this custom, not scheduling games until the afternoon on Sundays.

It boils my blood. Surely there will be found in the very lowest places of Dante's Inferno the kind of people who had the audacity to begin scheduling these children's events on Sunday mornings.

Would that at least Christian parents might wake up, and refuse to send their children. Make a statement. Say, "We cannot serve God and mammon." Or say, "We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it."

Sunday mornings are for church.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Be merciful as your Father is merciful

The heart of Jesus' instruction to be merciful (the opening words of today's Gospel)is in the last part of the sentence: your Father is merciful. This gives comfort and power to Christians to learn mercy toward their neighbors. The sermon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Nativity of John the Baptist

At the Nativity of John the Baptist, we look forward to Christmas which is exactly one year away. So the feast anticipates Christmas just as John himself is the forerunner of Christ. Light always comes out of darkness, as it did in the beginning. This we must always hold dear, when tempted to despair or melancholy over the darknesses and troubles of life. John's birth portends the coming of the Light of the world. The sermon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jesus Eats with Sinners

Sunday's Gospel (St. Luke 15:1-10) provides the Gospel in simplicity, ironically out of the mouths of Jesus' enemies: This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them. The sermon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Cost of Discipleship

In St. Luke 14:25-35 Jesus explains the surpassing value and necessity of following Him. The sermon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Great Supper

The parable in the Gospel for the Second Sunday after Trinty (St. Luke 14:16-24) gives three kinds of people: those who reject Christ (Pharisees and Scribes), those who are themselves outcasts, who received Him (the disciples, the shriven woman, the tax collectors, etc>), and those to whom the Gospel came last (the Gentiles). We belong to that third class, and so have reason to be thankful.

The Gospel itself is clear as can be in the invitation that goes out: come, for all things are now ready."

The sermon.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Rich Man and Lazarus part II

Tuesday's sermon was on the same Gospel as on Sunday, this time emphasizing the fact that "Moses and the Prophets" (i.e., the Word of God) are, by implication, that which Lazarus had and trusted, and the reason he entered the kingdom of heaven. The sermon.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Rich Man and Lazarus

There are many things about today's Gospel that are fascinating: Lazarus is named, the rich man is not (and God knows our names because we are baptized in His name); the rich man's riches cannot help him because Lazarus has something he does not have; the tables are turned after this life, as the rich man desires Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue. The finger of a king or god is likewise sought for benefit at little cost to the monarch, and it would have been little to the rich man in this life to help our poor Lazarus. Now see who is rich, and who is poor. More than Lazarus, our Lord Jesus was poor and is now seated at the right hand of Power. If He dips His finger in our baptismal water to cool our tongues, we are refreshed with heavenly baptismal blessings in the Gospel and Sacrament. The sermon.