Sermon notes and audio files
At his Baptism Jesus took upon himself the sins not only of Judea, but of Galilee, and indeed of the whole world; and so he sanctified the Jordan, that is, the waters of Christian Baptism, so that now all who are baptized in his name may claim the words spoken to him as though they were spoken to each child of God, in spite of all the sins we must confess. Nevertheless, says Jesus' Father: I am well pleased with you. Sermon for the Baptism of Our Lord.
Mary's grief at the loss of her son in Jerusalem must have been terrible; but she was in frailty forgetful of the fact that Jesus alone must be about his Father's business. Sermon for Epiphany I (midweek, because Epiphany was on Sunday)
The wise men were guided by the Sacred Scriptures. Scripture told them the meaning of the star; Scripture led them to the land of Israel; Scripture led them to Christ. The star, when it reappeared, confirmed what the Scriptures told them, and led them to the Christ Child. We, too, are on pilgrimage: from the East, for we have come out of Eden; we were expelled for our sinfulness. But we have been drawn by the Light of the world to the Light of the world. From the grace of Christ to Christ himself. And we by grace have found him in Bethlehem, the House of Bread. For we have come to worship him here, and to receive him, and with him, everlasting life. Sermon for Epiphany.
We heard the reading of the Holy Innocents' slaughter on this 9th day of Christmas, and we recoil at the horror experienced by their pious mothers, in fulfillment of Rachel's weeping when she was dying in childbirth. Her son did not die (though she herself did), and was re-named, from Ben-oni (son of my sorrows) to Benjamin (son of my right hand), for the midwife's comforting word came to pass. So let us remember, when we sorrow, that our tears are understood, and the holy evangelist himself weeps with us; let us not sorrow as others who have no hope; let sorrowful tears be the seedlings of hope, rather than of despair. For the midwife was right, and the Holy Innocents were delivered to heaven, and the sorrows of this life are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us. Sermon for the ninth day of Christmas.
John does the work of every faithful preacher: he preaches Christ, and prepares the way for him by baptizing. Sermon for Advent IV.
ii.Like the nine lepers who did not return
iii.Like many who heard his hard sayings went back, and walked no more with him
Will ye also go away?
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.