Friday, August 17, 2012

Sermons online

This reposting is an attempt to provide access to all the audio files of the sermons published over the last several years.  Hopefully there are no issues with the web site, and the embedding of this link works: 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Reconfigured Gottesblog

For the past few years, I've been using this blog merely to comment at some length on the Gospels on which  I have preached, and then to provide links to those sermons.  They can all be found, neatly categorized, here.  Recently, however, I've taken to linking to them directly from facebook and twitter, and thus saving a step.  So meanwhile, I may just revive the old usage of Gottesblog, as a place for a kind of musing and spouting off on this and that.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Riches

The second series for Trinity I has St. Luke 12:13-21 as its Gospel, which provides a good followup to the rich man and Lazarus, which was the Gospel for Trinity I.  Jesus' parable of the man who built a bigger barn is another warning aggainst the lure of riches.  So also does St. Paul warn in the Epistle (I Timothy 6:6-19), which is based on Psalm 49The sermon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

God is Love

This must be taken sacramentally. The sermon is here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Octave of Trinity

In addition to being a poor beggar (St. Luke 16:19-31), while the rich man has his "good things" in his life, Lazarus has a name; the rich man does not: Jesus knows Lazarus' name.  Moreover, the rich man thinks little of Moses and the Prophets, but Abraham indicates that it is only this--the word of God--that produces repentance.  So the tables are turned.  Whereas Lazarus desired only the rich man's crumbs, now the rich man desires only the tip of Lazarus' finger.  And that makes Lazarus no longer a poor beggar, but a prince, such as those who summon servants by the lifting of their little fingers. The sermon.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Trinity Sunday

What is it that Nicodemus should have known?  The testimony of Moses must have had within it the teaching about a new creation.  Indeed it does: consider Abraham; consider Jacob; consider David; consider Adam.  Consider even the whole world, in the flood.  All this is fulfilled in Christ, who is himself born again at his resurrection from the dead.  So we are born again, through Baptism in his name.  The sermon.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

John 3:16

The Gospel for Wednesday of Whitsun Week includes the most popular of all Bible passages.  But it is also frequently misunderstood.  The sermon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Voice of the Shepherd

The Gospel for Tuesday in Whitsun Week (St. John 10:1-10) provides us with two ways for the sheep to be safeguarded against false shepherds.  The first is that their shepherd must go through the door.  That is, he must be properly and divinely called and ordained to preach.  The second is that his voice must be that of the Good Shepherd.  That is, he must preach the Gospel of Jesus and his mercy and forgiveness.  The sermon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Breath of Jesus (continued) and the Preaching of the Gospel

What began on Pentecost continues to the present day, and time, and place.  This preaching is the breath of Jesus, it is the sound of the Spirit that filled the house on Pentecost day.  It is the word of Christ who suffered and rose.  The sermon.

The Breath of Jesus

The Gospel for the Vigil of Pentecost is St. John 20:19-23, in which we learn that on Easter, Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Ghost." Clearly, therefore, the Holy Spirit is none other than the breath of Jesus.  The Gospel of Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection is proclaimed with his breath, now to all the world.  The sermon, with the Pentecost sequence and Gospel, is here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Angels Behold the Ascending Lord

The angels attending Christ call out, Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

The gate keeping angels reply, Who is this King of glory?

The first reply, The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

The second ask again, Who is this King of glory?

The first insist, The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.

The Ascension, referenced in this 24th Psalm, is also referenced in Isaiah 6 and Isaiah 63 (the latter references provide support for the idea that this conversation in the 24th Psalm is of heavenly angels concerning the ascending Christ.

The sermon, from Tuesday in the Octave of the Ascension.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Exaudi, the Sunday after the Ascension

Jesus' ascension is customarily considered from the vantage point of earth, as we have recorded in the accounts in Acts 1, St. Luke 24, and St. Mark 16.

But there is also a heavenly vantage point from which this event may be considered, namely the perspective of the holy angels.  This is what is seen in the 24th Psalm, in which the angels are heard calling to one another.  The herald call, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in" is greeted with incredulity by the reply, "Who is this King of glory?" For what the second group of angels see is the approach of a man.  Hence the first replies, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle," and repeats the command, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."  But reply is repeated, as it is scarcely to be believed, even by angels: "Who is this King of glory?" And the herald insists, "The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory."

Another perspective is that of the prophet Isaiah, who in his well-known vision is seeing this same event, namely Jesus' ascension: "I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple"  (the angels present are clearly the very angels whose conversation is the substance of Psalm 24, above, recorded here as "Holy, holy, holy, etc.").

And in today's Gospel, Jesus declares that he will send the Spirit and these apostles, which is one and the same sending.  That is to say, through the same heavenly portal through which he ascends, the Spirit descends, and flows out through the mouths and preaching of the apostolic band.  The preaching of the Gospel is the result of the sending of the Spirit, something that is writ large on Pentecost Day.

But the channel between earth and heaven (which can also be called Jacob's ladder) remains open, and the people of God who receive the Gospel and mercy of God may confidently expect that they, too, shall ascend to the right hand of God.  For their flesh and blood is already there in the person of Jesus, as the hymn writer puts it: "Thou hast raised our human nature on the clouds to God's right hand.  There we sit in heav'nly places, there with Thee in glory stand.  Jesus reigns, adored by angels, man with God is on the throne.  Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension we by faith behold our own."

So let us with heart and mind thither ascend.  And we do this whenever we sing the Sanctus, which comes out of Isaiah's vision of the Ascension.  And when we then immediately receive the Body and Blood of Christ, these come down to us also, through the Spirit, from the right hand of God.  We become partakers of the divine nature.

The sermon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jesus' High Priestly Prayer

On Rogation Tuesday, we pondered part of Jesus' high priestly prayer (St. John 17:1-19) which the Evangelist seems to have imported from Ascension Day.  The sanctification of Jesus' disciples comes through the word of truth. The sermon.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rogate Sunday

To pray in Jesus' name is to pray in his stead.  And this is something which had not been done until he completed the work of salvation, and so completed the name of God: Jesus (God is salvation).  The sermon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Truth Shall Make You Free

In St. John 8:21-36, Jesus explains to the Jews that he always does what pleases his Father, something that no one else could truthfully say.  Yet he is the Truth, and here invites his hearers to know the truth, and it shall set them free from their sins.  For salvation is and can only be by grace and through faith in him.  The sermon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Cantate Gospel and Epistle sermons

A second Cantate sermon on the Gospel, preached Tuesday morning, is here, and a sermon on the Epistle, preached at Tuesday vespers, is here.

Sunday, May 06, 2012


This Gospel, in which Jesus describes what the Spirit will do, is really all about what the preachers will preach.  That's why he says, "Ye cannot bear them now."  They will be bearing them, after the resurrection, to all the world.  The sermon.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Funeral sermon - Elva Garrison

Elva Garrison died Sunday night.  Her funeral was today.  Here was a lady whose constant faith was remarkable, and worthy of emulation.  In many ways she was like Martha, and like Mary; and her faith is the same faith into which we are all baptized.  The sermon.

St. Philip and St. James the Apostles' Day

These martyrs learned the lesson Jesus had to teach that day, that they should not look beyond him, for he who has seen him has seen the Father.  So they themselves were martyred, Philip by crucifixion, and James while crying out "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."  They found glory in the cross of Jesus, and in their own martyrdoms.  This recording contains the Gospel chanted, as well as the sermon.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


"A little while and ye shall not see me, and again a little while and ye shall see me," repeated several times, gives the impression that this is an important phrase, meant to be repeated.  So do we hear the Gospel proclaimed Sunday after Sunday.  Jesus, who was taken away and crucified after a little while, was then raised from the dead after another little while.  This also gives confidence for Christian life, with its little whiles of sorrow.  All trouble and darkness shall be followed, in a little while, with abiding joy.  This knowledge provides courage for life.  The sermon.

St. Mark

This evangelist is the most self-deprecating of all, both showing the twelve and himself in a bad light.  Jesus is seen as continually scolding them for their slowness to understand, and when he is arrested they all flee.  But Mark is no better, for his "signature" is his appearance as the young man with the linen cloth about his body, who fled away naked when they grabbed the cloth.  The Gospel is for such as these.  The sermon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Dead Shall Hear

St. John 5:22-30 contains Jesus' declaration "the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."  This looks ahead to the raising of Lazarus, which, like this discourse, is reported only in St. John's Gospel.  The raising of Lazarus is a clear demonstration that resurrection and life, which come at the Last Day, are also here in the present-day, in Christ.  Indeed Christ himself is risen, the Firstfruits of them that sleep.  It is this knowledge that gives the faithful, as the collect for Misericordias Domini puts it, "perpetual gladness."   The sermon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Good Shepherd

A good doctor cares about his patients, a good teacher cares about her students; a good shepherd cares about his sheep.  He does not care about the money; he’s not in it for himself; he’s not a hireling.  This is a description of the heart of God: misericordias domini. 

This is who God is: he is giving; and this is why he made the world in the first place, to have something, someone, to care for.  And the world he made was very good, just like him.

The serpent took all that away from the heart of man when he beguiled him to take for himself.

This is why your heart is now the way it is, and is so unlike the heart of God.  Why it is always necessary to confess your sins.

But God overcame the serpent’s selfishness with love, and overcame evil with good: he gave his life into death.  The Lord, my shepherd, became the ultimate Good Shepherd, to rescue me from myself and from my sins.  To provide divine mercy for me.

Shepherding is a dirty vocation.  This is why the Egyptians despised the Israelites: they were shepherds.  In applying this image to himself, Jesus is at once saying that he is the Lord God Almighty in the work that fulfills the 23rd Psalm, and showing how it was a very filthy thing to do: he was sullied with the sins of the world, and laid down his life.  He became the good shepherd.

But his shepherding did not cease at that point, for he rose from the dead.  What use is a dead shepherd?  He must rise, in order to continue to shepherd his sheep, to care for them.  So on the third day he rose from the dead.

Other sheep have I which are not of this fold: the Gentiles, to whom he sent his apostles.  But he said, them I must bring; so it is that through their ministry he is active in continuing his shepherding of his sheep.

Here, then, is what the church and her ministry are all about: the church is the sheepfold, and the ministry is the shepherding tools of Jesus.  It is also why every good pastor must understand that he is an under-shepherd, that is, a tool of Jesus, and nothing more.  Does the plow get credit for a straight row?  Does the knife get high marks for successful surgery?  So the sheep must know this first of all about their pastors: if the pastor is faithful, and if he ministers well in word and sacrament, it is to the praise and glory of Jesus, for it is in this way, and in no other way that Jesus takes care of his sheep.  Whom they visit, he visits; whom they wash, he washes; whom they feed, he feeds, and what they are, he is; the Good Shepherd, caring for his sheep.

The Gospel and sermon, with the hymn of the day including a special choral section.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jesus Appears on the Shore

In St. John 21 is Jesus' third appearance to his disciples, and the only one in Galilee.  Here he brings Peter's denials to mind when he asks three times if he loves him, but also forgives him and tells him to feed his sheep.  This shepherding theme happens to provide a helpful prelude to the coming Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday.  The sermon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quasimodogeniti: place your doubts in Thomas's heart

Where was Thomas?  We don't know, but it is reasonable to suppose that he should have been with the others, if for no other reason than to commiserate with them.  We need one another in difficult times; we always need one another for encouragement.  This is one reason we attend worship: not only to receive the gifts of God (though that is the chief reason), but also to encourage one another, just by being there.  But Thomas was not.

Moreover, he didn't believe when  the others told him of the resurrection, though he should have.  For Jesus himself had said this on more than one occasion.

So Thomas did not deserve to see Jesus for himself the following Sunday; Jesus' appearance also to him is pure grace.  He wants Thomas to believe.

He also wants you to believe, and today you can see that your unworthiness does not impede his coming to you; and today you may also take all your doubts and deposit them into Thomas' heart, where they can be dispersed, even as his own skepticism was done away: "My Lord and my God," he cries.

The sermon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Emmaus Road

Here Jesus brings light to darkness and hope to despair.  The sermon.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Sunday

Today we celebrate the discovery of the risen Christ by the women who came to the tomb at the rising of the sun.  The night is passed, the day is come.  Now is fulfilled the saying that is written, Let there be light: Darkness is ended, and light engulfs the earth.  The sun has risen, but that heavenly body, as great as it is, is but a token of him who is the Sun of Righteousness.  He has risen from the dead.

First the women hear the news, from the angel in the tomb in a long white garment.  Why does he wear this long white garment?  Behold the purity and power of his message: he is risen.  The message, the word of God endureth forever, and it cannot be broken.  For he had said that he would be crucified and on the third day rise from the dead.  He had promised this, and his word cannot be broken.  Even of old, it was written that the Christ shall reign forever.   But how can he reign if he is dead?   How can he keep his promise, if he be not raised?  By the power of his own word he is raised from the dead, for his word cannot lie.  This is why their ears were made: to hear his word, that they might believe.  This is also why your ears were made.

Now, upon hearing the news, the women see him.  They discover the resurrected Lord.  Note this, beloved: the resurrection of our Lord is not about some ethereal flight his soul supposedly made from his dead body into heaven, much as the uninformed idly think about all who die.  This is a bodily resurrection.  He stands before them, they see him, they behold him with their eyes.  This in fact is why their eyes were made: to see him.  This is why your eyes were made, as it is written, “When thou saidst, seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, thy face, Lord, will I seek,” and again, “whom mine eyes shall behold, and not another.”

So let us celebrate the feast today: Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us:  this is why our hearts were made, above all, that we might thrill in the resurrection of our Lord;  that we might rejoice in him.  So join the women at the tomb, and rejoice with them in their discovery of the risen Christ.

The sermon.

The Vigil of Easter

Job said, he shall take his stand upon the earth: The living redeemer is the Lord of Hosts, whom the women met at the tomb.  There he stands, the Victor: Goliath is vanquished!  All of David’s enemies are defeated.  Satan is conquered; death is under his feet.  He lives.

Zephaniah said, the Lord GOD in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.  So the women who saw him held him by the feet, and worshiped him.  See, they worshiped him because he is their God.  And he is himself here rejoicing over them with joy: for he loves them!  He loves these women; and he loves his disciples; and he loves you, too: so he rejoices over you with joy on the day of his resurrection.

The Lord who is risen from the dead is the Lord GOD  Almighty, no one less: and this is his chief work among men.  He restores his creation by his own resurrection from the dead.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Good Friday

The sixth day of creation was Friday; and the day of our redemption was also Friday.  Both Fridays were good Fridays, as it is written: God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

On the sixth day, God made the beasts, and he also made man in his own image.

On the sixth day, Satan, that old serpent of old, envious of man and indignant for having to endure the status of a beast, entered into Judas, to betray Jesus, and entered into the rulers, to have him taken and crucified, to reduce him to the status of a worm, a reproach of men and despised of the people.

On the sixth day, God gave man dominion over all the creatures of the earth.

On the sixth day, the Lord in the flesh regained the lost dominion of man for him.  He gained dominion especially over the devil and over the devil’s domain of death; he destroyed death by dying.  By dying he became lord – dominus – of all the earth.

On the sixth day, God created man in his image, male and female created he  them.

On the sixth day, Jesus gave his beloved disciple to his mother, to care for her; and he gave his mother to his disciple.  In doing this he also showed forth the giving of his bride, the church, into the care and keeping of his ministers, his brethren.

On the sixth day, God gave to man every herb bearing seed, for food.

On the sixth day, man gave to God sour fruit of the vine—vinegar—upon hyssop, in his thirst.  And by this partaking in the sour fruits of a fallen world, our Lord Jesus Christ transformed it into a redeemed world, one purchased by his passion and death.

So it was that on the sixth day, God finished all his work which he had made, and behold, it was very good. 

And on the sixth day, when Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, it is finished.

It is finished: all the work of restoration of a fallen creation; the returning of the devil to his serpentine station; the reestablishment of man as lord over all the earth; and the new provision of all the herbs bearing seed for the good of mankind: the herbs of wheat and of the vine, now to produce bread and new wine.  This wine is not sour, is not vinegar.  Behold in the blessed Supper the fruits of the vine, of the vine hanging upon a lattice, our Lord Jesus Christ upon the tree of beauty and royal, purple dight.  And the Lord God has given this to you to eat, that you might live forever.  For the seventh day is a day without ending.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Maundy Thursday

The New Testament fulfills the Old: "this is the new testament in my blood."  The heart of all the Scriptures and revelation of God.  The sermon.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Holy Wednesday

The St. Luke Passion is read on Holy Wednesday.  Here is the sermon, on Satan's entering Judas, death his desire, Jesus' purpose overwhelming Satan,  Jesus' redeeming work, Jesus' plea for mercy, the penitent  thief.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012

Holy Monday

St. John's Gospel is all about the true sight which is faith.  The Holy Monday Gospel (St. John 12:1-23) emphasizes this.  The sermon.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Palm Sunday

The procession of Jesus on a donkey was at once symbolic of his being, like Solomon, the son of David, of his being Judge and Ruler over Israel, like the seventy sons and nephews of Abdon, and of his humility: a donkey is not a proud beast.  This betokens his willingness to suffer for us and for our sins.

Today we read the Gospel differently: a reader reading the narrator's parts, the celebrant reading Jesus' parts, and the parts of  the various people speaking read by the congregation.  An excerpt of that is here.

The sermon is here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Some Said that It Thundered

In today's Gospel, St. John notes that when the people heard the Father's voice from heaven, "some said that it thundered."  The voice said that the Father had already glorified his name and that he would glorify it again.  In the 77th Psalm it is written that the voice of God's thunder was in the heaven, and this in connection with the Exodus.  So then, the voice from heaven in St. John's Gospel connects that redemption, itself a foretelling, with Jesus' redemption of the world on the cross.  The sermon.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mary anoints Jesus for Burial

I remain utterly convinced that Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany are the same person.  The four Gospels all contain the account of the anointing, and the details make it clear that these all refer to the same event.  In St. John 12:1-11, the person anointing is identified as Mary of Bethany.  In the other Gospels, the woman is not identified by name, but she is recognized as "a sinner."  In two of them Mary Magdalene is named as one out of whom Jesus had driven seven demons.  The Lucan account of Mary and Martha may even be the occasion on which this took place.

So Mary's anointing of  Jesus for burial is token of her love, and her love is the result of his abundant mercy shown to her.  Her story is the story off all Christendom.  The sermon.

The Annunciation

Transferred from Sunday, March 25th.  Sermon here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

King of the Jews

There is one exception to the thought that "King of the Jews" was a bit of a slur on the part of Pilate, which comes from the wise men; but from Pilate it seems more in the line of mockery.  And Jesus accepts the title, the mockery, the humiliation and the shame.  For us.  The sermon.

Monday, March 26, 2012


In St. Mark 14:32-42, Jesus said, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak," referring no doubt to his disciples.  But it is also applicable to his own flesh, laden with the sins of the world.  He prayed that the cup of the burden would be removed (since it was so odious to his Father), and at length it was: the Father accepted his sacrifice and the sin of the world has been taken away.  The sermon.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


The Passion Sunday Gospel (St. John 8:46-59) contains Jesus' clear affirmation of his divinity, as well as the imperative of keeping his word.  The sermon.

Friday, March 23, 2012

No Darkness in John's Gospel

Today's Gospel (St. Matthew 27:45-54) opens with the reference to darkness over the land from the sixth to the ninth hour, a fact reiterated in Mark and Luke.  But the fourth Gospel makes no mention of this, even though John is especially keen on making connections with the creation in Genesis.  Why not?  For John, the glorification of Jesus is his cross: he is "lifted up" there and draws all men to himself.  He is the light of the world, and in him is no darkness at all.  So John sees no darkness on Good Friday, in spite of the physical darkness evident everywhere.  John sees glory there, greater than even at the transfiguration or the resurrection.  The death of Christ is victory, life, and salvation.  The sermon.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jesus and Barabbas

The significance of the exchange of Barabbas for Jesus is seen in their names.  Barabbas means 'son of the father', and Jesus means 'God saving'.  So God saves by sacrificing himself in exchange for you, who become sons of the Father.  The sermon.

St. Joseph

We remember St. Joseph for at least  three things.  First, that he was the guardian of Blessed Mary and her Son, and kept them in safety to and from Egypt. Second, that by agreeing to take her to wife in spite of the blame coming her way he was agreeing to take that blame himself, in likeness to Christ.  Third, that like the Joseph for whom he was named he received revelation by dreams, like that Joseph who brought Israel to Egypt he brought the Son of God to Egypt, and like that Joseph he stored up bread for others, namely for the people of God in the Holy Sacrament.  The sermon.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Feeding of the 5000

On Laetare Sunday we consider the feeding of the 5000,  and Jesus' testing of his disciples, especially Philip and Andrew, who should have remembered what they had said about him in the first chapter of this same Gospel of John. But they failed the test.  So he showed them what he could do, as the Incarnate One who had done this for a multitude of Israelites in the desert long before.  Then as soon as the event was ended, they found themselves in a storm at sea, and Jesus came to them walking on the water.  Again they failed his test, and were terrified.  Yet he bid them to put their fears aside.  He will never leave his people, even though they be feeble and fearful.  The sermon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The Gospel at St. Luke 19:1-10 deals with Jesus' stay at Zacchaeus' house and the change that came over the little man because of Jesus' willingness to stay there.  The sermon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Is Jesus Good?

Today's Gospel (St. Luke 18:18-27) recounts Jesus' exchange with a rich man who calls him good, yet does not believe what he says.  To call Jesus good is to call him God, and to trust him.  The sermon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jesus Defeats the Strong Man

Oculi Sunday marks the third in Lent, and the third in a row in which in the Gospel we hear of Jesus' power over the devil.  His mastery is indicative of his utter victory, won at the cross and confirmed by the resurrection.  The sermon.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

What God sees and what men see

Wednesday night's sermon, from St. Luke 16:10-18, on Jesus' declaration that "that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."  Here.

On Sexual Sin

Tuesday vespers included a homily on Sunday's epistle, from I Thessalonians 4:1-7, on the matter of sexual sins and how they are double infractions, here.

The Prodigal Son

Tuesday's sermon, on St. Luke 15:11-32, the Prodigal Son: here.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

Monday's sermon, on St. Luke 13:6-10, here.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012

A Greater than Jonas

Jesus preaches repentance in St. Luke 11:29-36.  Today's sermon.

The Friend at Midnight

The Gospel at St. Luke 11:5-13 provides Jesus' parable about how the Holy Sacrament is delivered to the people, if you note the details.  There are three loaves (the Triune God is in the host), there is a friend of a friend (the celebrant gives to the people what he receives), the friend has nothing to give (the celebrant contributes nothing of his own), it is at midnight (behold, now is the day of salvation; the cry goes out at midnight, etc.), and the giver speaks of his children in bed at midnight (the importunate crying of the faithful for mercy will at length raise the dead at the last.  Most importantly, the admonition, "Ask, seek, knock" is something of a rubric, which gives the celebrant the instruction to use the Our Father (immediately prior, in this chapter) to do the asking, seeking, and knocking, by which the Father will "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him."  The sermon.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Saw Satan Fall

The fall of Satan is generally believed to have happened between creation week and the temptation in Genesis 3, but Jesus refers to it in the present tense, in St. Luke 10:1-20.  It occurs whenever and wherever the Gospel is preached.  Tuesday's sermon.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shall We Call Down Fire?

From St. Luke 9, James and John are thinking of responding to the Samaritans as Elijah did to Ahaziah.  What did they get wrong?  The sermon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jesus in the Wilderness

Jesus' trek into the wilderness was to do battle with the devil, whom he routed decisively.  The Gospel for Lent I is St. Matthew 4:1-11.  The sermon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ash Wednesday etc.

Three sermons.  Two from Ash Wednesday (one from morning mass, and one from evening mass) and one from the morning after (on the shriven woman).

Sunday, February 19, 2012


The disciples fail to understand, but the blind man understands much.  Such a contrast in today's Gospel between those who see and him who cannot see.  Let us all pray, "Lord, that I may receive my sight."  The sermon.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


The Gospel for Sexagesima  (St. Luke 8:5-15) contains not only the parable of the sower, but also Jesus' explanation for his preaching in parables.  The sermon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Four sermons!  Sunday's sermon on St. Matthew 20:1-16, the laborers in the vineyard, is here.  A second sermon on the same Gospel, preached Tuesday, is here.  And a sermon on the Epistle (I Corinthians 9:25 - 10:5), preached at Tuesday vespers, is here.  Another sermon on the second series (St. Matthew 25:14-30), preached at Wednesday mass, is here.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


A transcript of the sermon preached for Candlemas 2012, at St. Paul's in Kewanee, Illinois (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, the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord, his manifestation in the flesh is a fulfillment of the word that was written by Moses: Let there be light and there was light.

From the very beginning, this was to be so: that while darkness shrouded the earth, nevertheless the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep. And the Spirit gave way to the word which proceeded and came out from the mouth of God: let there be light.  And the world shrouded in darkness was enlightened.

This is the way of God.  This is the way also, therefore, of the Gospel.  This is how it works.  The light shines in dark places and enlightens them all by itself.

This is what caused Simeon to exult and rejoice when the Child Jesus was brought into the temple on that great day, the day we commemorate this day, the fortieth day from his birth, the day he was presented in the temple.  And with the song of the angels still resounding in their ears, Mary and Joseph now here Simeon’s exultation and exaltation of Christ, the One come as a light: a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of God’s people Israel

This is what it means that the world was shrouded in darkness and then was enlightened by the word of God.  This is what it means: that without him we are lost.  Our hearts, that is, are the places where the true and deepest darkness may be found.  The heart of man, the darkened heart of man gropes after but can come nowhere near finding its Creator.  We grope in the dark.  We are lost, we are helpless, we are hopeless.  We are sinful masses who have failed our Creator.  The darkness is we ourselves: our hearts are darkened.  Their foolish hearts were darkened, says the Apostle St. Paul, and he was not only referring to those who happen to be on the outside, but to all of us.  Our hearts are by nature completely shrouded in darkness. 

But thanks be to God that the Spirit of God hovered there, as the word was spoken over them, and the waters over which the Spirit hovered in the beginning, have become for us the waters of the blessed laver and font of Holy Baptism; and we have been brought into the light of Christ by the grace of his speaking: Let there be light.  In him and only in him is light.  And without him, and without his word, there is only darkness.  We are lost, condemned, dead, enemies of God in ourselves.  But Christ has come, as it were out of nowhere, and the light has enlightened the darkness, as it is written by the prophet Isaiah, the prophet perhaps that Simeon had in mind when he said his words.  The prophet said, The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light.  We sat in darkness; we have seen a great light. 

But who gets credit for the seeing? You? Your eyes?  They are useless without light.  It is the light that enlightens the room, that gives sight to your eyes; and so also it is the Gospel and story of Jesus that gives light and salvation to our darkened hearts.  So we find on Candlemas, the day on which we celebrate the light of Christ, we find that we have been enlightened entirely by the magnificent, unspeakable grace of almighty God. 

This is the light of Christ toward which we also tend, toward which we are headed.  I love the words of the Introit for a Requiem: Eternal rest grant unto them o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  The idea that the dead in Christ are in perpetual light is very biblical, because God is light; and light emanates forth from him.  The light of the Transfiguration emanated forth from him.  The light of the glory that shown around the Bethlehem shepherds emanated forth from him.  The light that first enlightened the darkened seas emanated forth from him.  The light that brings us to him emanates forth from him to us poor lost, condemned, otherwise mortal creatures. And the more we tend toward our mortality and weakness and the grave, the more clearly we can see that we are lost in ourselves, and dependent utterly upon him who so freely lavishes the light of his mercy and forgiveness on our darkened hearts; forgiveness wrought by the very incarnate one, the Incarnate One, whom Simeon held in his arms.

The elderly Simeon was now unafraid to face death itself: Now let your servant depart in peace, he cries, unafraid; because he holds the source of light and life and salvation.  So now we receive him here in this holy place, and it is therefore perfectly appropriate and right that we should sing the same words, that  they should be echoed on our lips:

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace—let come what may—because according to thy word mine eyes have seen thy salvation which Thou has prepared before the face of all people. A light, a blessed light, a holy light, an enlightening light, a dispersing of the darkness light.  And the glory, the only glory, of God’s people Israel.  In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Holy Family

On the First Sunday after the Epiphany, we consider the trial that beset the Holy Family, according to St. Luke 2:41-52.  The sermon.


Sermon for Epiphany Day: here.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Circumcision and Name of Jesus

On a rare weekend in which a number of people attend mass both on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and the same propers are used, the opportunity was used to preach on two different aspects of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus.  On New Year's Eve, the Circumcision, and on New Year's Day, the Name of Jesus.