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

Friday, April 15, 2011


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


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)


Title:________ Parish:_______________________________


City:________________ State:______


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.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

The wilderness wandering of Israel is fulfilled in Jesus' feeding of the 5,000, which itself is fulfilled in the Holy Sacrament, which is a foretaste of the everlasting feast of eternal joy. The sermon.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Jesus in Gethsemane

When in today's Gospel Jesus was in agony, "his sweat was as great drops of blood," and we see him doing the work of fallen Adam by the sweat of his brow. And when he prayed, "if it be possible, let this cup pass," he was not thinking of self-preservation. He never thinks of self-preservation, because his perfect love is perfectly selfless. Rather, he was thinking of the cup, that is the cup of wrath he was about to drink. He did not want to displease his Father, and here he was to bear the full wrath and vindication of the Father for the sin of the world. The sermon.