Sermon notes and audio files
Honor given to the beloved St. Nicholas is virtually unmatched in the history of Christendom. Only the Blessed Virgin has received more accolades. Nicholas was not only kind to children (the famous legend of his giving sacks of money to keep three young girls from suffering a life of harlotry attests), but also imprisoned for the faith, cast into a dungeon where he could continue to minister to his fellow Christians. When the empire was Christianized, he returned to his See in Myra, and contended for the faith so strenuously that he is said to have slapped the wicked heretic Arius at the famous Council of Nicaea in 325. So let us emulate Nicholas: in faithfulness, attention to duty regardless of the cost, and insistence upon true doctrine and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sermon for St. Nicholas Day.
The story of Adonijah's attempt to usurp the kingdom from Solomon, who was supposed to be the next king, is informative. His plot was foiled at the last minute, and the people cried 'Long live King Solomon' as Solomon rode in on David's mule. In this event the Gospel is mysteriously embedded: David is the Father, Solomon is Jesus, and Adonijah is the enemies of Jesus. Jesus rides into Jerusalem to rescue his poor people amid similar cries, of "God save the king," the meaning of Hosanna (lit., "save now"). And we too also become participants, as Jesus comes to us in the Holy Sacrament, which is why we repeat the cry. Sermon for Advent I.
Andrew left his occupation immediately to follow Jesus. He had reported to his brother Peter, "We have found the Messiah." This shows no sign of doubt or uncertainty. He knew; evidently he was already aware of the credentials Jesus fulfilled. Evidently he was already zealous regarding his coming. So must we be; not only because his zeal puts us to shame, but because this very fact--that we have been put to shame--makes our own discovery of Jesus all the more needful. And so may we say with as much gusto, on attending to the Holy Gospel and Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood given and shed for us, for the remission of sins, using Andrew's own words: We have found the Messiah. Sermon for St. Andrew's Day.
The wise virgins said to the fools something that has always been a wise word to people: go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. They sell without price and without cost, though what they sell is very expensive: the favor of God won by the blood of Christ; and they give him to the people freely. He is the Bridegroom, and his people are not only the wise virgins, but the Bride herself. Sermon for Trinity XVII.
The judgment shall be on the basis of the works of faith, even as Solomon adjudged who was the true mother of the living child by her maternal move to save its life. And the judgment will be meted out on all nations; we must therefore believe and hold fast to Christ, and we will also be found to have been working the works that demonstrate our true faith. Sermon for Trinity XXVI.
Jesus' own words tell us that the kingdom of God cannot be seen. It is hidden beneath its marks. You cannot see it, you cannot feel it, you cannot experience its touch. But you can know where it is, because he has told you. He has given you portals that you may go into it: Holy Baptism and the Blessed Supper. Cleave to these by faith, and you have entered. Sermon for Trinity XXV midweek.
The gruesome and devastating destruction of Jerusalem and the beautiful temple in a.d. 70 was the first part of the final judgment upon the whole world. It has begun. It was shortened, that is, cut short, for the sake of the elect, as Jesus says in St. Matthew 24. You are the elect of whom he speaks. The judgment upon Jerusalem is an historical preview of the final Judgment; therefore let us flee to the hills: to the Mount where Jesus preached, to the Mount of Olives, the the Mountain called Golgotha. These are the places of the Gospel and blessed Sacrament. These are our places of refuge against that Day. Sermon for Trinity XXV.
The woman with the flow of blood had had this ailment 12 years; and the little girl who died and was raised was also 12 years old. Both 'daughters' are representative of Israel: the woman who comes up behind and touches Jesus' hem is like the 12 tribes of old, whose bloody sacrifices came to an end when Jesus came; the little girl raised is like the Christians who are raised through Baptism to new life in Jesus. Both types are faithful: the ruler worships Jesus and believes Jesus' touch will raise his daughter; the woman believes she will be healed if only she touches his garment. And both were right. Not only so, but the woman's touch, and Jesus' touch of the dead girl, both make him unclean. Truly he took all of the uncleanness of our sin upon himself and cleansed us by his sacrifice. We all touch him sacramentally, and may have confidence that he will likewise heal and raise us from the dead. Sermon for the Sunday after All Saints.
We can relate to this nobleman (St. John 4) because trouble and affliction have taken hold on us too, and we find our faith too weak as well. Yet Jesus brings us higher, by his word: Go thy way; thy son liveth. Now the man believes without requiring Jesus to go with him; and more, when he does find that the healing had occurred at the very moment, his faith is brought even higher. So does Jesus bring us to hear his word, believe, and gain strength, as this word of God sounds forth also today, similarly: Go thy way! The Son of God liveth! Sermon for Michaelmas III.
The invitation went out indicating clearly that all things were ready (implying that even the wedding garments would be provided); but the king was wroth when those who were invited made light of it, and when one came in not having on a wedding garment. Therefore let us take the invitation with utmost seriousness. All things are ready: Christ has been sacrificed for our sins, has reconciled us to God, has provided us with baptismal faith, has done all things well. Dare we wear our own garments? Dare we tread on his grace? Let us, rather, live as Christians utterly taken with the greatness of this gift, an invitation to his Feast (his royal Supper) where all things are ready. Sermon for Michaelmas II.