Monday, December 26, 2011

Jesus Came for the Desperate and for the Frightened


The audio links for three Christ Mass sermons (Christmas Eve, Midnight, and Christmas Dawn) are here, here, and here.  The transcript of the first is here:

St. Luke 2:1-14

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Dearly beloved in the Lord,

Consider the first people to whom the Lord appeared on the night of his nativity.  There were two humble groups of people.  The first group was the couple, Mary and Joseph.  The other group were simple shepherds.  A consideration of these groups and the fact that these were the ones whom the Lord chose in his mercy first to reveal himself provides abiding comfort and joy to all who find themselves in similar circumstances. For those circumstances are hardly the kind of circumstances to wish for on Christmas Eve when family and loved ones are near, with the warm and cozy feeling you get when everyone is nearby. 

It was frantic for Mary and Joseph.  They did not want to have to go from Nazareth all the way down south in the Bethlehem to be taxed, because they knew that her time of delivering the child was very near at hand.  But there’s no such thing as an exemption from the order of Caesar Augustus.  If he says go, they must go.  So they went; and probably because they had to go slowly, due to the fact that she was so expectant, they were late.  And everyone else who was of the house and lineage of David would have arrived before them, and that’s why there was no room in the inn.  And there was no one they knew. No relatives, no friends, no family.  No room in the inn. No place to go. And the time came when she should be delivered.  How cruel! How dreadful a time this must have been!  Just put yourself in the minds of Mary and Joseph on that night.  Of all times for this to happen!

So they had to take emergency measures, which for them meant finding a cave where cattle lately fed, in the cold and damp and dark of the night.  And there and then was the birth of the Savior of the world. It was to Mary and Joseph in the midst of chaos and all things gone wrong that the Savior came.  The son of Mary was born then and there

And now consider the shepherds, the humble peasants living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  The angel of the lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid, which means they were terrified.  Wouldn’t you be, if the glory of the Lord shone round about you? And so there they were, in the same cold night, in the same place, terrified out of their minds.  It was to them also that the Savior of the world appeared. 

And so, beloved, get the truth here of Christmas Eve.  He comes to those who need him the most desperately, those who are in the most desperate of circumstances, those whose lives are the most torn apart, whether it be by hardship, calamity, grief, sorrow, fear. All the things that are capable tearing your lives into pieces mounted up against Mary and Joseph and the shepherds on that night and made it appear to their eyes as though all was lost. To them the Savior came, to rescue them who could clearly by no means have rescued themselves. They were sunk, they were lost, they were goners.  No help for them.  No room in the inn. No comfort for troubled shepherds.  To them, as it were, out of nowhere, the Savior of the world comes.

And this shall be a sign unto you in the midst of your troubled lives, no matter how troubled and saddened and stricken they may be.  Never lose heart. This is why Jesus says to his disciples that men should always pray and never to lose heart.  Because he was born in a day when, of all times, one would have thought, it would have been appropriate to begin to lose heart.  On the contrary, the timing was perfect; the night was just right. It was just the way God wanted it, that the Savior should be wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, a feeding tough for sheep, or goats, donkeys, or oxen. This shall be a sign unto you: this is how it works; this is how he covers his glory.

This is how he comes also to you, to lay to rest for good whatever fears you might have like the shepherds, or whatever worries or fretting you might entertain like Mary and Joseph. He was in charge of that night from before its beginning, as we now know, as we now celebrate year after year.  It was perfect. We know that now.  But if you were there the first time, the first Christmas, you would not have seen in advance, you would have had to trust in the darkness that God cannot lie.  So now learn from the blessed Christmas Gospel that he does not lie to his people.  And when the night is darkest, and when the day is most troubled, and when death tears at your heart the most sourly, and when you are most sorely tempted to despair, remember this holy Gospel.  He came to them to comfort them in the midst of their troubles, and to comfort you.  For this is a sign also unto you. He is wrapped, he is covered, he is shrouded. His glory cannot be seen except for a brief moment in the Bethlehem countryside.

So tonight he also covers and shrouds his glory, in the simple words of this Gospel, and most especially in this blessed Sacrament, the Christ Mass, you can’t see his glory. You can’t see that he is Immanuel—God with us—here and now, but you know it.  Beloved, you know this.  You’ve been raised with this.  Hold it dear and never let it go.  The message of Christmas is that God is with us in the night, in dark, in the cold, in the cave, in the manger, in the Christ child over which the angel at just the perfect time sang, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

St. Thomas

Did you think it was accidental that Thomas was away when Jesus came?  Or that when he returned, he heard? Or that when he heard he doubted? Or that when he doubted he touched? Or that when he touched he believed?  These things are not accidents, but providential: the mercy of God is found in Thomas' doubting: he placed his fingers into the bodily wounds of his Master, so that he might bring healing to the spiritual wounds of doubt in our souls.  . . .  The sermon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sermon on John, and Divine Mercy

St. Luke 1:67-80
And John’s father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
            Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.  And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

This is a full transcript of a sermon preached December 20, 2011, at St. Paul’s in Kewanee.  The sermon may be heard here.  

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Dearly beloved the Lord:

In these words of Zacharias, we learn the true nature of the ministry of John the Baptist.  We might have been deceived by it, because what we hear in the accounts of John’s preaching and baptizing is that he was in the wilderness, that he was dressed in a way that is rather scary, and he calls out for repentance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  He chides and rebukes the Pharisees and will not baptize them.  He appears to be a harsh man; as is fitting for the last of the prophets of the Most High God. They appeared at first to be harsh men as well, because the Most High God himself appears at first to be harsh, even as we learn from the Epistle to the Hebrews.  Moses said that the sight was so terrible that he—even he—exceedingly feared and quaked. The God with whom we have to do is a consuming fire.  The call to repentance ought to rattle our bones.  So God’s approach is fearsome; and his prophets, last of which was John, appear at first to be fearsome, and are nothing but fearsome to those who will not repent.

But all Jerusalem was coming out to John to be baptized of him in the Jordan; which is to say that most of the people did repent. And when their hearts melted with fear, they cried out for mercy, even as we also must cry, aware of our sins and unworthiness. What are we to do about these things?  Beat on the breast and cry out, God be merciful to me, a sinner.

And then we find John as he truly is, as he was prophesied to be by his father Zacharias, saying, And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us. 

Those who came to John for divine mercy received it, because he came baptizing in the wilderness, and Baptism to give knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins.  For that’s what Baptism does: it forgives your sins, it fills you with Christ the coming one. It brings to you the tender mercy of your God.  This John baptizing in the wilderness was most especially showing forth the tender mercy of God and the visitation of the Most High. This is why his father exulted the first chance he got to speak, after he was struck mute, when he at first would not believe the words and tidings of the angel.  But then, when his mouth was opened and his mouth was loosed and he spake praising God, what he said was this canticle: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people.

So finally our understanding of the Lord God of Israel is not merely that he is a consuming fire, one that causes us to shake, but a Redeemer, a rescuer, a horn of salvation; himself a Child, who grew to be the one who would take away the sin of the world of the world, as John said, the Lamb of God.  In him is the tender mercy of our God; and therefore in John’s preaching also preeminently, and in his baptizing, there is mercy and salvation, and the knowledge of life and light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death. 

Fear God at first; and then be comforted by God at last. For he is merciful and kind, and washes his people in his salvation that they might stand comforted. And rejoice in everlasting life.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Drop Down, Ye Heavens, from Above

The Fourth Sunday in Advent.  The final and best preparation for the coming of Christ, according to St. John the Baptist.  The sermon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sermon on the Help Meet for Man, that Man might become the Image of God.

St. Luke 1:41-43 “Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

This is a full transcript of a sermon preached December 13, 2011, at St. Paul’s in Kewanee.  For the audio of the sermon, click here.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Dearly beloved the Lord:

She was called blessed among women, the Blessed Virgin. Among all women that ever lived, blessed among women is she. And we recall the first woman , and how she was brought to the man after the man had rejected all the beasts as a suitable help meet for him;  because it was not good that the man should be alone, and the reason it was not good is that God who made his in his image was never alone; from eternity God was never alone, for there was always another within the Godhead.  For there was the Father, and another, the Son, and another, the Holy Spirit, from eternity: the Triune God has never been alone.  So it was not good that the man who was created in the image of God should be alone; so God determined to make a help meet for him; but this help, this helper, would not be meet or suitable for him if it comes from among the beasts or the birds, this help meet for him must be bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. She must be woman from man even as God is from God.  For the Son is from the Father, and the Spirit is from the Father and the Son.  And man is made in the image of God, so woman must be from man.

But it was still not complete; it was not yet good in the sense that it was not yet complete, even when she was made, though this helped.  For now man was more complete, more perfected as the image of God, but not quite there yet.

For the woman and the man after her determined in freedom to take the forbidden fruit. And darkness, the darkness that was enshrouding the entire earth in the beginning now shrouded their foolish hearts, and continues to shroud the hearts of their children even to the present day; which his why we always need repentance. Because our foolish hearts are darkened by the darkness that was in the beginning, that was the absence of light. It was not yet complete; and the man and the woman together in freedom took the forbidden fruit and chose the way of darkness. 

But God was not yet finished. So he sent his Son, born of a woman, a woman full of grace, in contrast to the first woman who was full of freedom. This second Eve, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is full of grace: grace to be the mother of God, to bring forth from her womb fruit for God and man, fruit which is God and man.  She is in the most preeminent sense the helper meet for man by bringing forth from her womb the man who is God. 

So the cycle is complete with the birth of her Son. For her Son is also the Son of the Father in heaven, and so man becomes the image of God.  For this man, our Lord Jesus Christ, is himself at long last both God and man. No darkness in him! For he is the Light of Light, he is the Light that is come into the world that lightens our darkness-shrouded hearts.

The Son of the Virgin is become for us everlasting salvation. She is full of grace and so also we are full of grace in her Son.  The mother of Elizabeth’s Lord is the mother of our Lord. She becomes the mother of God in order that God who came from her might be the completion and fullness of the image of God, come to us. This is why it is that in him we find everlasting salvation. And the image of God is completed in us who are his children. And we rejoice with abiding joy for in him we are completed as man and the image of God.

Behold, I tell you a mystery:  God became man in order that man might become God.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete Sunday

St. Matthew 11:2-10

A reed shaken with the wind?  Someone like you? who tells you what it’s in style to hear, and is swayed like a reed by your opinions?   John is not.

In soft clothing?  Someone who tells you sweet things, soft things, that make you feel good about yourself?  John does not.

A prophet?  Pointing to future events?  Yes, but more: he points to the present, the fulfillment of the future: Jesus.

People were not expecting a prophet like John.  He was mocked by great men (the Pharisees scoffed (in St. John 1), and despised by kings (Herod imprisoned him).  And he did not look like we might have expected a prophet to look.  He drew no attention to himself: “art thou the coming one?”

People were not expecting a prophet like John, though they should have been.  He was last in the long line of prophets: Like the first prophet Moses, found in the reeds, John the last prophet points to Christ: but John is the greatest of them all, the messenger whom the last OT prophet, Malachi, foretells.

And all of the prophets were actually like John: all suffered, were meek, etc. Moses was meek and despised.

Elijah fled for his life; Isaiah was sawn in two; Jeremiah was imprisoned.  And John was imprisoned and finally beheaded.

Meek and despised like Jesus.

Jesus came humbly, according to his own agenda, not ours (no reed shaken); preaching his Gospel, not what we were itching to hear (he wore no soft clothing); and Jesus is greatest of all, for he is God himself, in the flesh, but in deepest humility, he came to die for the sin of the world.

The sermon.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas was rich in faith toward God and in charity toward men, thus a great example for Christian life.  His faith is seen in his boldness at Nicea, and his kindness is seen in his charitable deeds toward children, sailors, the sick, and the hungry, reports of which have become--literally--legendary around the world.  The sermon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sermon on finding favor with God

Sermon on finding favor with God
St. Luke 1:26-35

This is a full transcript of a sermon preached December 6, 2011 (this year we are observing St. Nicholas' Day here on the 7th), at St. Paul’s in Kewanee
(for the audio, click here)



In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Dearly beloved in the Lord,

It was said of old that it’s a frightful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. According to St. Paul, that day is coming: the Day of Judgment; the day when all who condemn others condemn themselves, all who judge others are themselves become guilty of the judgment. He will render to everyone according to his deeds; which means we are in trouble, which means we have reason to fear, as it was said in Sunday’s Gospel: men's hearts failing them for fear—they are better off fearing ahead of the Day of Judgment than at it, when it shall be too late.

So repent today, while it is still called today, and let your repentance be filed with hope and expectation of the One whose first coming we celebrate in just a few weeks. For he who came and he who is coming is in the flesh, our flesh, And this ought to give us abiding hope even in spite of ourselves and the sins we have committed in the flesh. For the coming One is the One whose first coming was, according to the Gospel we heard today, as the Son of Mary.

This is a wondrous thing, that the Son of God and the Son of Mary are one and the same Person: Jesus, God saving. And his way of saving is by blending heaven and earth, by making of the substance of God and the substance of his mother one indivisible substance, both divine nature and human nature blending themselves into one personal union. Not that the divinity should be compromised thereby, or that the humanity should be changed into anything other than pure humanity, but that God and man should become one Person.

Ponder this mystery, for in this mystery is our salvation. The Son of God and the Son of Mary are one Person. The Son of the Highest gives unto us, by virtue of his holy incarnation, a place beside himself at the throne of his father David; which means that the message of the angel Gabriel to the blessed Virgin is as much a message for you as it was for her, to still her quivering heart: Fear not! Fear not, Mary, for thou has found favor with God. So also we ourselves, who are in the flesh, the same flesh as Mary our sister and our mother, the same flesh in which all the earth, all humanity is wrapped, this flesh, like Mary’s flesh, finds favor with God, because her Son is wrapped in the same flesh, within the quiet place of her womb.

She rejoices finally in this knowledge, aware that with God nothing shall be impossible, taking this mystery into her soul. Take it into your soul, and be confident that in this Jesus Christ you have nothing to fear, for he has put away your sins, and in him you shall find favor with God just as she did. For the favor we find with God is not the kind of favor that results from putting away our own sins, but from looking to him with repentant hearts and in faith seeing that Jesus by this mystery has put away our sins for us.

We therefore in him and never in ourselves, with Mary, find favor with God. So be found in him. Receive him again. Take into your mouth and into your soul his holy Body and Blood with abiding confidence that his flesh and your flesh are become one and the same, again, as they have ever been, and that he who has come in your flesh is the same as he who from eternity is the Son of God. For in this mystery is your everlasting salvation.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Advent II

Jesus says, "Watch," which admonition must be weighed against whoever else may say, or scoff, that there is no reason to be concerned about a Day of Judgment. Jesus does not lie, and therefore we must watch, for the Day is surely coming. And how much better for men to have "hearts failing them for fear" today, than to have them fearful on that Day, when it is too late. Let us therefore take to heart his admonition to watch. It means two things: first it means to repent, to turn again from our forgetfulness and failure to believe--for it is easy to envy, to covet, to desire, to steal, when you do not believe the One who is coming with his reward, and it is easy to judge, to condemn, to assume jurisdiction in your heat, when you do not believe that the Judge will sit on the throne of his glory--and second it means to be comforted and believe him who came the first time in humility. Advent is a precious time, for it is both a time of contrite recognition that he will come in glory, and a time of comforted preparation for Christmas, our celebration of his coming in humility for us and for our salvation. Advent is the merging of these two things in our minds, and so it is a time of contrition and of joyful faith. The sermon.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

St. Andrew

St. Andrew was close to Jesus. He abode where he was staying. He had listened to John's preaching, and so was able to tell his brother, "We have found the Messiah." So he gladly went forth preaching, even unto his martyrdom. The sermon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent I

Jesus rides to the rescue. "God save the King" is the fulfillment of the cries of the people at Solomon's coronation, which is what "Hosanna" means. The sermon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Ten Virgins

The only difference between the five wise and the five fools was the lack of oil. They all went forth, they all had lamps, they were all virgins. So consider that without faith it is impossible to please God. Even the Word of God is of no use if it is not believed. You shall have as much as you believe. Therefore hold fast to what you hear Jesus say, for it is Wisdom, and Wisdom, as Solomon says, is your life. The sermon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Come unto Me

Christ speaks to all who are burdened by sin and the weight of the law, when he offers rest, in St. Matthew 11:25-31. The sermon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Disguise of God

Today's Gospel indicates that Jesus disguises his glory in the present day, even as he has always done. Most importantly he did this at the cross, where he was a worm -- which the devil came and devoured, and was snared by the hook (Jesus' divinity) and the world was redeemed by Jesus' blood. The humble disguise of Jesus is also worn by his preachers after him, and this is all part of the divine plan. But in the end his glory shall be revealed. The sermon.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Destruction of Jerusalem as Preview of the Judgment

The events of 70 a.d. which Jesus predicted in today's Gospel are a foretaste of the final judgment, and reason enough in themselves to flee to the cross (and Sacrament) for refuge. The sermon.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

All Souls: Resurrection and Life

Reason says there is no life after death. Jesus says otherwise, in today's Gospel. He also proved otherwise, by healing the sick, raising the dead, and by his own resurrection at Easter. Since there is life after death, there is also judgment. But who shall be granted life? Who is he that "does good"? Since Jesus in this same Gospel says that whoever believes shall be saved "he that . . . believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life"), therefore it must be that everyone who believes also has works, though the works do not merit grace. The sermon.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

All Saints: Why the Color is Red

All Saints is especially about the unnamed martyrs of the faith, as its appointed readings make clear. All souls (Nov. 2) is about all the faithful departed. And martyrdom is part of the the Spirit's way of spreading the faith. The sermon.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reformation

Luther: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things; love is patient and kind, therefore love yields. But not faith. Faith will not stand for anything. When it comes to faith, I want to be stubborn, and I want to be known as someone who is stubborn. Faith will not yield the least little bit, not to the Pope, or Peter, or anyone. The sermon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Unforgiving Servant

According to Jesus' parable at St. Matthew 18:23-35, the unforgiving servant grieved his fellow servants, and angered his master, because he did not receive with gratitude his own forgiveness; else why would he be so harsh? Well do we pray, Forgive us as we forgive. For the forgiveness we give comes from the same place as the forgiveness we received. The sermon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

St. Luke

So much for which we have to thank God regarding the work of St Luke the Evangelist. Consider all that his Gospel and Acts gave us. The sermon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thy Son Liveth

The Gospel at St. John 4:46-54 shows Jesus providing the nobleman with the faith he needs, which he didn't yet have. In addition, he provides the 'sign', that is, he heals his son. And it is at the seventh hour, which is the same hour at which Jesus himself was at the point of death, on Good Friday. But Jesus died, in order that this son, and we, might have life. And he rose again, so the Easter message we receive is like the message the nobleman received: "The Son of God liveth." The sermon.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Marriage Feast

Today's Gospel (St. Matthew 22:1-14) is Jesus' parable of the Marriage Feast. What is the wedding garment? The question has been asked and variously answered over the centuries, but one thing is clear: those who wear the robe of Christ's righteousness, which is given in Holy Baptism, must be wearing the finest garment of all. The sermon.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Angels Ascending and Descending upon the Son of Man

The Gospel at St. John 1:35-51 is a remarkable unfolding of the truth that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Scriptures: he is the Lamb of God (the Passover); he is the Christ (the King); he is the end of Moses and the Prophets; he is the Ladder of Jacob. He is the Incarnate God, who brings heaven to earth that we may ascend to heaven in him. The sermon.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Thy Sins Be Forgiven Thee

The Gospel at St. Matthew 9:1-8 shows that true faith is active, and can be seen: it's not just stowed away in the heart; it wants to embrace Jesus. It carries friends to Jesus, and it expects that Jesus can help. And this faith can hear no sweeter words than the words the paralytic heard: "Thy sins be forgiven thee." For what follows these words is life and salvation. What followed them here was that the man arose and went to his house. But there was an intermittent period, between the forgiveness of sins and the word from Jesus, "Arise, take up thy bed, and to to thine house." So also for us, there is an intermittent period. We hear the word of mercy today, and we can expect that at the last day we shall rise and go to our eternal home. The sermon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Michaelmas

See that you do not despise on of these little ones . . . The sermon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. Matthew

Special mass today for St. Matthews, also because we had a guest preacher: Seminarian Peter Eckardt, my son and son of the congregation. The sermon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not to be served but to serve

Jesus' admonition to his disciples also addresses our own sins. And his reference to his life as a ransom explains the basis of mercy. The sermon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Good Samaritan

The difference between the lawyer's way of looking at things and the disciples' way (Blessed are the eyes that see the things that ye see) is that they embraced Jesus himself. So let us embrace him as we consider the Good Samaritan, whose attributes are Jesus' own. The sermon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Sin against the Holy Ghost

Sin, forgiveness, and the sin against the Holy Ghost, in St. Matthew 12:31-42. The sermon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Deaf Man Healed

Today's Gospel (St. Mark 7:31-37) fit nicely with the Baptism we also had this morning, as the healing of the deaf man is in so many ways a picture of Holy Baptism. The sermon.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Sinful Woman

The sinful woman of St Luke 7:36-50 provides a great opportunity to preach sin and mercy. The sermon.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

The Pharisee and the Publican (St. Luke 18:9-14) is the subject of today's Gospel and sermon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

St Bartholomew

Yesterday's sermon.

Oktoberfest 2011!


Schedule of Events for Oktoberfest and Gottesdienst Central (Oct. 9-11, St. Paul's Kewanee, IL)

Conference theme (for Sunday and Monday): Baptism in the Gospel of John

Sunday
5 p.m.: Autumn Choral Vespers
6 p.m.: Bratwurst Banquet (and partying into the night)

Monday
8:30 am: Registration
Private confession is available in the vestry from 8:30-9:15 am
9:30 am: Solemn Mass.
Fasting prior to mass is a laudable custom.
10:45 am: Brunch, in the cafeteria.
11:15 am: Dr. Weinrich
12:30 pm Office at Sext
12:45 pm Break. Snacks will be available.
1:10 pm: Dr. Weinrich, continued.
2:00 pm Break.
2:10 pm: Dr. Weinrich, continued.
3:00 pm: Office at Vespers
The late afternoon and evening is free. Weather permitting, a golf outing might be arranged.
Tuesday
9:00 am Low (spoken) Mass
9:45 – noon: Open seminar and workshop on the ceremonies of the Lutheran Mass: attention to the details that confess and magnify the Real Presence.
12 noon: Office at Sext
12:15 pm – lunch (on your own: we will attend a local restaurant)
1:30 pm – 3:15 pm: Seminar, continued.
3:15 Office at Vespers. Itinerarium

Sign up here.

Lodging info:

AmericInn, 4823 US Hwy 34. 800-634-3444
Super 8 Motel, 901 S Tenney (Rt 78). 309-853-8800
Aunt Daisy’s B&B, 223 W Central Blvd. 888-422-4148
Kewanee Motor Lodge, 400 S Main St. 309-853-4000
Days Inn, I-80 & Rt 40, Sheffield. 815-454-2361
Holiday Inn Express, I-80 & Rt 78, Annawan. 309-935-6565

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Unjust Steward

The steward is commended, which is surprising, since the master had already chided him for his wasting of his goods. This is the Gospel, for God also surprisingly commends us (for Christ's sake) as if we were obedient, though we are in fact sinners. The sermon.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Feeding of the 4000

Jesus multiplies loaves here, which is his way: the God of all creation causes life to flourish by multiplying. So here he makes this to be a kind of living bread; which is fitting, since he is himself the Living Bread that came down from heaven. As the miracle happens to the crowd who gathered in the wilderness to hear his words, so the miracle happens today to the crowd who gather to hear his words, while in the wilderness of life; and he gives them his own substance, in the Blessed Sacrament. The sermon.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Who is Good?

The rich young man (of St. Matthew 19:16-30) was confused about who is good. He called Jesus good, and yet he also thought he himself might be capable of doing some good. But God alone is good, and this man did not mean to say that Jesus is God (though he should have). Since this is so, it is only from God that goodness is obtained, by grace. Goodness is gained by following Jesus. Where does Jesus go? To the cross: it is at the cross--which for us is the altar--that eternal life is found. The sermon.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Cross and the Altar

The Gospel for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity (St. Matthew 5:20-26) provides an opportunity to comment on the unity between the cross and the altar. The sermon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two sermons for Trinity 5

I was out of town on Sunday, but I preached Sunday's Gospel on Tuesday morning (here). Then on Wednesday, I preached the second series Gospel, on St. Matthew 16:13-26 (here).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Love or hate?

Jesus' admonition to love your enemies (St. Matthew 5:43-48) is likely a corrective to those who misunderstood, and mistaught the meaning of Psalm 139. The sermon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good measure pressed down

Another aspect of the Gospel for Trinity 4 is the overabundance of measure received, clearly more than what is earned. This is mercy, receiving something that is not earned. And it is by this mercy that we learn to be merciful, "as your Father also is merciful." The sermon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Be merciful as your Father is merciful

The Gospel for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity is about mercy. How is your Father merciful? By his reckoning of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus; so also, how are you to be merciful? In the same way. The sermon.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Considering the Cost

In today's Gospel (St. Luke 14:25-25), Jesus points out the folly of building a tower without considering the cost, or of going to war without considering the strength of troops. So also taking a religion with no guarantees against a righteous God is folly. Only Jesus is the way; he alone is the one on whom the Father (in a voice from heaven) declared his good pleasure; so let us forsake all others and cleave only to him. The sermon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Great Feast


The invitation given by the certain man who gave a great feast in today's Gospel is itself the heart of the Gospel itself: "Come, for all things are now ready." How ironic and utterly ridiculous are the excuses given by those who made light of it. You have bought a field? But fields are for planting and growing and harvesting and producing, to make food, feasts for the table. Yet the feast is already prepared! You need to test your oxen? But our holy Ox, Jesus Christ, has already plowed the field, and says, Take my yoke upon you, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. You have married a wife? But behold, your holy family is the Church into which you have been baptized. Pay heed to this invitation, for it is rich and eternal. The sermon.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Visitation

He hath put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree. The sermon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

St. Peter and St. Paul the Apostles

These two Apostles have much in common: they share the same place of death and of burial, and they share the same confession that the faith they share is entirely without any merit or worthiness on our part. St. Peter speaks of being called out of darkness into light, and St. Paul, of being saved by grace alone through faith. This is no doubt partly because they also shared a very personal history of coming to terms with that. St. Peter fell into great shame with his denial, but was restored; and St. Paul calls himself least of the apostles, because he persecuted the church. The sermon.

Oktoberfest!


Why you need to come to Oktoberfest in Kewanee (Oct 9-11)

* The chance to receive Holy Absolution before Mass.

* A reverent celebration of the Mass with solid preaching.

* Sheboygan bratwurst cooked by a Sheboygan native for the Sunday banquet.

* Top notch German potato salad too.

* Prof. William Weinrich (see below)

* The best evening of drinking and theological discussion in the Missouri Synod.

* That point in the evening when Fritz puts on Hotel California and asks, "Now, what does this hymn mean?"

* Solemn Vespers to close your Sunday.

* A most gracious hostess in Mrs. Eckardt.

* Good company - a wonderful group of faithful pastors to bounce ideas off of, commiserate, and debate.

I could go on and on. Oktoberfest in Kewanee is simply what a general pastors' conference should be but what many, sadly, are not. It will refresh you for your busy fall and winter and send you home with some new theological thought to chew on - it always does!

REGISTRATION: $25 per person (students $20) $40 per couple — includes Sunday banquet and Monday continental and luncheon; no charge for children with parents.

To register, please call 309-852-2461 and leave your registration information (name[s] and address) or register by email with the the option of using PayPal with an account or a major credit card, by clicking here and putting "Oktoberfest" in the purpose line for the donation. Or you may pay the registration fee when you arrive. Please register ahead, even if you choose to pay when you arrive.

Featuring Dr. William Weinrich, Oktoberfest will begin as usual on Sunday night with Choral Vespers, a bratwurst banquet, and a big party. Monday features an all-day seminar with Dr. Weinrich. Dr Weinrich's topic will be "Baptism in the Gospel of St. John." Tuesday: Gottesdienst Central, topic TBA

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Rich Man and Lazarus

This short sermon from Tuesday morning uses Sunday's Gospel on the rich man and Lazarus (St. Luke 16:19-31).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Trinity Sunday

Nicodemus approaches by night, which is his problem. No one can come to Christ by night, that is, by his own reason or strength. The Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. The sermon.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost


Our observance of Pentecost began with the Pentecost Vigil on Saturday (sermon here). On Pentecost Sunday, our celebration of the coming of the Holy Ghost includes the reading of the first verse of the Gospel in several languages (see if you can pick them out by listening to the audio). The Pentecost reading from Acts was also a chief ingredient in today's sermon.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Jesus' Priestly Prayer of Divine Love

At the end of Jesus' high priestly prayer, he speaks of the love the Father has had for him since before the foundation of the world, but usually he speaks of his love for the Father. So where is the Father's love for Jesus manifested? It is manifested in the resurrection, which vindicates everything Jesus has done, and in the creation of the Holy Christian Church, which also vindicates his work. And the love of God, which is the Holy Spirit, created the Church from the Gospel of Jesus' passion and resurrection, and draws us into unity and fellowship with the Father and the Son. The sermon.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Thy face, Lord, will I seek

In the 27th Psalm , David declares, When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. In this he speaks of Christ, for Christ is the face of God. Where the mercy of Christ is, there is comfort that the Father will not put me away in anger. God incarnate wears our own flesh, and so disguises his majesty in a way that tells us we may approach him unafraid. So it is right to say with David, One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. The sermon.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Exaudi, the Sixth Sunday after Easter

Jesus' discourse in today's Gospel provides a good opportunity to defend our confession that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Son and the Spirit are as bound together in substance and in purpose as are the Father and the Son. The Spirit testifies of Jesus, through the preaching of the Gospel, and this is what creates and sustains faith. The sermon.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Ascension of Our Lord

Ascension Day is the day to bury all doubt beneath the mountain of evidence of the truth of our faith. St. Luke says, in Acts 1, that Jesus showed his disciples many "infallible truths," and then ascended into heaven. This validates his entire ministry, in spite of its weakness and poverty. Now he ascends in glory and triumph. It also validates God's creation of the world. On the fifth day of the week he created birds and fish, that is, he put life in the heavens and in the seas. Now, on Ascension Thursday, he fills the heaven with himself, who is the life, and also fills the waters of Holy Baptism with the life of the Holy Trinity. Not only so, but his ascension is the ascension of our own flesh. "Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension We by faith behold our own." The sermon.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rogate, the Fifth Sunday after Easter

Jesus' invitation to ask for anything in his name comes in today's Gospel, leading us to consider the meaning of his name, and the fact that "Jesus" means "I am salvation," which is in a sense the fuller meaning of the old name "Yahweh," meaning simply "I am." Hence all who are baptized in his name gain the privilege of praying in his stead, and expecting to receive all things in him. He demonstrated this abundantly by giving Israel more than they asked: they asked for deliverance, and he came to them in the flesh. So also he demonstrates this by giving us more than we expect: we pray for God's will on earth and the giving of daily bread, and he gives us the Bread of Life in the Holy Supper. We should therefore expect all good things to come to us, for they will in the end, when we shall receive more than our hearts can imagine. The sermon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Truth Shall Make You Free

In today's Gospel, Jesus speaks of truth. He has also said "I am the truth." What does this mean? He is the Word, who was with God, and who was God. He was in the beginning with God. God spoke, and it was so. He called light out of darkness by his word. His word created and caused all things to be formed. And the word that he spoke was also God, was Christ. So ought we to pay heed to him, for he is full of life and salvation. The power of his word is the power of life eternal. He who called the worlds into being also called Lazarus forth from the grave; and so his word also bespeaks us righteous, brings us to God, and grants eternal salvation. The sermon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cantate, the Fourth Sunday after Easter

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells of the coming of the Spirit, and of his preaching of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. It is truly the Spirit who preaches whenever his faithful pastors proclaim the law, the Gospel, and the vindication of the faithful. The sermon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I am the Way

In St. John 14:1-11, Jesus corrects Thomas, who claims he does not know the way Jesus is going. In effect, Jesus is gently saying, Yes, you do, Thomas. You know me. Therefore you know the way, because I am the way. So also does he say to all of his people who might fear to have lost their way. "Let not your heart be troubled" about that, for you have not lost me, and therefore you still know the way. You know me. The sermon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jubilate, the Third Sunday after Easter

Today's Gospel considers the passage of time: "a little while . . . a little while." Time is a great thief. It steals our carefree, playful childhood and leaves us only with memories. It takes away our loved ones; it robs us of our health and happiness. We go through the years and decades of life losing more and more, and drawing ever nearer to our own demise. But the resurrection of our Lord means victory over all our enemies, as today's Introit declares. One of these enemies is the passage of time. In Christ we have a good end to expect: resurrection. The passage of time is nothing to fear. We are, as St. Peter declares in today's Epistle, on pilgrimmage. We tend not toward the grave, but toward life and salvation. The sermon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Life and Resurrection

The Gospel of St. John is all about life. It highlights the creation of a life-filled world, commenting on Genesis, and it records Jesus' words "I am the life." In today's Gospel, Jesus' discourse makes us think not only of the raising of Lazarus, another Johannine account, but of his own resurrection, and of the raising of all his people at the last day. The sermon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Thought on the Good Shepherd

The Misericordias Domini Gospel is closely tied to its Epistle, wherein St. Peter declares your return to "the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." We recall Peter's impetuous eagerness to follow Jesus, yet while turning away from his word. This ended in disaster for him. But when properly humbled, he hears the resurrected Jesus stand before him and instruct him to feed his sheep. So we note from today's Epistle that Peter now understands that his own shepherding, his own authority, is only the authority of the Gospel: by preaching Christ, he is participating in Jesus' own shepherding of his sheep. The sermon.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Misericordias Domini Sunday


Today's Gospel is full of mercy and the heart of God, for it tells us of the Good Shepherd. See how he tenderly and gently brings his wandering flock back to himself after the tragic events of Good Friday. He appears to Mary in the garden, not so as to frighten her, but by calling her name. He comes to the Emmaus disciples gently, first as a stranger, then teaching, and finally revealing. He appears to his disciples on the shore, again as a stranger at first. He does not wish to startle his sheep. Nor does he treat you harshly. He brings you back to himself, in this holy place, by preaching to you and by feeding you on his own Sacrament. And this in spite of your wayward tendencies. How kind he is; and how convinced you should be that in him you are safe! The sermon.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Quasimodogeniti


Today's Gospel is especially for us who were not present on the day of the resurrection. Neither was Thomas present. But he received the peace of the Lord later, and so do we, through the ministration of the Office of the Holy Ghost, which Jesus established for this purpose.

So the Evangelist remarkably speaks directly to us in this Gospel, saying, "these are written that ye may believe . . ."

The sermon.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Wednesday

In today's Gospel Jesus shows his disciples his hands and feet. Why did Jesus show in particular his hands and feet? These are where his wounds had been, which are now his trophies; not only his trophies but ours, for he gives them to us in the Holy Sacrament. The blood shed from the wounds in his body, and the body from whose wounds it was shed, are given to us in this Feast. The sermon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Tuesday

The disciples on the Emmaus road lost hope as a result of the horrid experience they had. So Jesus goes to get them, Good Shepherd that he is, and gently brings them back to the Way. The sermon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Two Easter Sermons


At the Vigil of Easter, we looked at the reason for ritual: why are we here? why do we go through this ritual? (some churches don't) But the people of the Gospel, and of all the Scriptures, were always ritually remembering their deliverance; indeed an entire book of Moses is dedicated to ritual. Ritual always ties the people to historic events: so this ritual ties us to the resurrection of our Lord: a real, historical event. That sermon is here.

At the Easter Sunrise, we considered the difference between the Marcan resurrection account and the one in St. Matthew. The Marcan one, which we presume to be the later of the two, tells us what St. Matthew omitted: that the women at the tomb were so fearful that (at first) they did not run and tell anyone. Their fear was fundamental and shook them to the marrow. But another difference between the accounts is that St. Matthew shows us instead that the soldiers became as dead men. So the soldiers, who had no faith, had also no life rising out from their fears; but the faithful women--Christians like us--also had fear but with a different result. The fear, in both cases, was due to the fact that Jesus actually rose from the dead. But in the case of the women, it was followed by abiding joy, even as we have today. For death does not have the final word. The finality is of resurrection, life, and eternal joy. Alleluia! Christ is risen! R: He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The sermon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday

The sharp contrast between Pilate's resolution of his internal conflict (for he showed both mockery and fear) and Peter's (for he showed both brave intentions and fear) is worthy of consideration. Pilate's way was to ratchet up the mockery, and so to deny the fear; Peter's way was to acknowledge his misery in bitter tears. So let us repent of our own internal conflicts in this way, and find in the Crucified the one who has done all the work of our reconciliation to God, saying "it is finished," as it is written, God finished all his work on the sixth day. The sermon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Thursday

This is the day of atonement, the day of fulfillment, the day of the passover, the day of the prodigal son welcomed home, the day of all things written for us come to fulfillment; this is Yom Kippur fulfilled. Tonight the day begins, and it concludes Friday, after the crucifixion. It is the day Moses sprinkles the blood on the altar and on the people. Christ's blood is sprinkled on the altar and on us, in the Blessed Sacrament. The sermon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Wednesday

The St. Luke Passion opens with the comment that "the passover must be killed," and intimates in the following verse that Jesus is himself the passover. So we have the reason the cup could not pass from him, and that he did not want his disciples to smite with the sword, and even that Peter denied him: it was because the Passover must be killed. So also, this is why Pilate could not prevail over the crowd, but was compelled to have him crucified: the Passover must be killed. And as a result, he cries out from the cross, "Father forgive them," and obtains mercy for the world by his death, even as the passover lamb's blood obtained mercy for the Israelites. And so we find two responses to this mercy, in the two thieves. The one who sees him as a king in spite of his appearance receives the promise, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." The sermon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy Tuesday

Today's Gospel contains a warning, in the form of commentary on the rulers who believed on Jesus but did not confess him, fearing they would be cast out of the synagogue, "for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." The praise of men is a temptation to all of us sinners, who love by nature to be flattered; but the praise of God is far better: for God to praise you, because of your baptism into Christ, of whom he said, "I am well pleased." The sermon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Monday

The Holy Monday Gospel (St. Luke 12:1-23) contains the Greeks' desire to "see Jesus." What is it to see him? Andrew was first of the disciples to see him, but Philip was the disciple who asked him to show them the Father, to which he replied, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." To see him in the deeper sense is to believe him, to follow him, to embrace his mercy, as Mary did, who anointed him, and as those did who lined the streets and cried hosanna. At the altar, what you see with the eyes is bread and wine, but to see him, one must believe what he said about these elements. The sermon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palmarum, the Sixth Sunday in Lent


To understand the triumphal entry of Jesus, it helps to understand the triumphal entry of Solomon first: his older brother Adonijah was thereby thwarted, in spite of the meekness of Solomon, who unexpectedly rode David's mule through the street of Jerusalem amid cries of "God save King Solomon!"

So also were the Pharisees perplexed at the triumphal entry of Jesus, who is greater than Solomon: and since he is greater, both his humility is greater (not only is he threatened with death as Solomon was, he actually dies) and his exaltation is greater (whereas Solomon became Israel's greatest king, Jesus rises from the dead).

And we are with the throng that cried Hosanna: those that went before are like the saints of old who looked forward to his coming, and those that followed have been following ever since, the children of the New Testament. And we celebrate by feasting in victory, in the Blessed Sacrament.

Today's audio is prefaced by a choral rendition of "Adoramus te" and is
here
.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thunder

In today's Gospel, the voice of the Father from heaven sounded like thunder. So we think of the thunder that accompanied the giving of the law on Sinai. Thudner designates the presence and glory of God: first, in the giving of the law, and now, in the fulfilling of the law by God incarnate. The sermon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Family Restored

Jesus eats with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary (St. John 12:1-11): this is a family restored. Lazarus had been dead, and Jesus raised him to life. Mary (who is the Magdalene) is treated with contempt, not only by Judas, as also, we recall, had she once been treated by her own sister ("Bid her to help me," St. Luke 10). But Jesus defends her here, and eats with her, and Martha, and Lazarus. The family is restored. So also are we restored, when Jesus welcomes us to his altar. We, with Mary, are reconciled; and we, with Lazarus, are brought to new life with Jesus. The sermon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

St. Mark on the third hour

St. Mark's Passion is the only one that tells us Jesus was crucified at the third hour; and then there was darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour. What is the significance of these numbers? Tonight's Gospel is here, and the sermon is here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

They all took counsel against him.

St. Mark's version of the handing over of Jesus tells us that the entire council handed him over. It was for envy that they did. And so also is fallen human nature itself wont to reject its help, wanting instead to take credit, or glory, or the work done. Yet the nature of God's grace is that he does the work anyway, to work our salvation for us. So let us follow gladly, saying, "Our help is in the name of the Lord." The sermon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gethsemane

Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane is both an example and vicarious. He shows us how to pray, and he endures affliction for us and for our salvation. The sermon.

Gottesdienst Chicago: May 3, 2011


In recent years the expansion of Gottesdienst has included not only Gottesdienst Online, but appearances of some of our editors at various venues around the Midwest to speak in person about the matters liturgical and the liturgical topics that matter.

We’ve made appearances in Kewanee, Illinois; Ravenna, Nebraska; Fort Wayne, Indiana; St. Louis, and Kansas City.

Next up: Chicago


Tuesday, May 3rd at Saint Paul Lutheran Church (9035 Grant, Brookfield, Illinois). This is a one-day conference on preaching and liturgy:

8:30-9:00 am registration/coffee donuts/Holy Absolution available

9:00 am Matins

9:40 am Welcome

9:45-10:45 am “The Allegorical Meaning Redeemed” -Fr David Petersen

11:00 Holy Mass

12:15 Lunch

1:30 – 2:30 “The Lutheran Confessions: Descriptive or Prescriptive?” -Fr Larry Beane

2:30 – 3:30 Panel discussion: Responding to the adiaphorists -The Gottesdienst editors

3:30 pm Vespers

4:00 pm Gem├╝tlichkeit

Registration: $12 (Payable to Gottesdienst, c/o St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church, 109 S. Elm Street
Kewanee, IL 61443)

Name:_________________________________

Title:________ Parish:_______________________________

Address:__________________________________

City:________________ State:______

Phone:______________________

Email: _____________________________


Recommended Lodging: The Best Westerns in either Westmont or Countryside, IL.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Judica, the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Jesus went and hid himself in today's Gospel. So we hide the images today. He is the Light of the world that shines in darkness. The sermon.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Why has thou forsaken me?

Jesus' cry of dereliction was genuine. What does it mean? The sermon.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Innocent is Punished, the Guilty Go Free

Today’s Gospel (St. Matthew 27:11-26) finds Pilate amazed because Jesus will not defend himself. Pilate knows Jesus is not guilty of the things they are charging against him. So clear is this that when he asks, “Why, what evil hath he done?” they have no answer, but merely want him crucified. And we are told that he know they delivered him “for envy.” So abundantly clear is his innocence that even Pilate’s wife—who has no part in these proceedings at all, but is entirely an outsider—suffers a nightmare because of the painfully obvious injustice of condemning Jesus. Everyone here knows he is innocent. So even Pilate, called “the governor,” washes his hands in front of all, in effect pronouncing the verdict of Not Guilty. And still, he hands him over to be crucified. Perhaps the only time in history that the accused is acquitted for innocence and nevertheless punished, and with capital punishment. Why? The answer is, ironically, on the lips of the accusers: “His blood be on us and on our children.” They meant this as a way of accepting the guilt for killing him, but the Evangelist places their words here to answer the question. Jesus is punished in order that his blood may be on us and on our children, meaning that it stands as atonement for our sins, and covers them. The theological meaning of the crucifixion is embedded in the answer of Jesus’ enemies. The sermon.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

We are Children of the Free Woman

St. Paul's allegorical references to Sarah and Hagar in Galatians 4 (the Laetare Sunday epistle, read again at First Monday vespers) provide us with a reminder that faith alone is requisite for salvation. We are Sarah's children. The sermon.

The Son of Man Goeth As It Is Written of Him

The script for the Passion of our Lord was written a thousand years and more earlier. Jesus' betrayal in particular, the subject of today's Gospel, is seen as the carrying out of what was written prior. Specifically, the 41st Psalm contains the script, and though can at first be seen as a reference to Ahithophel who betrayed David, ultimately this is fullfilled in Judas' betrayal. Even wickedness at its worst is made to serve the Gospel, so great is the power of God unto salvation. The sermon.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Weep for Yourselves and For Your Children

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells the women lamenting his Passion, "weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children"; for he is not only predicting the fall of Jerusalem, but indicating for them and for us the cause of his Passion, namely our sin. It is easy to weep for someone enduring misery; it is hard, but necessary, to weep for our sins, that is, to repent. The sermon.