Sermon notes and audio files
The Gospel of the palsied man teaches us that forgiveness is to be desired first, for it is followed by healing, ultimately perfect healing of body and soul, life everlasting. Thus forgiveness is our greatest gift, to be sought, and in which we rejoice. Sermon for Michaelmas I (Trinity XIX).
It's easy for sin to fester and grow, if left alone. Let us repent, daily, and pray this does not happen to us. For consider: Cain's envy led to murder, Joseph's brothers' indignation led to attempted murder, and the Pharisees' hatred led them to seek to catch Jesus in his words (rather than listen to him), and finally to kill him, the Lord of Glory. But see what he has done: submitted to all this for us and for our salvation. And so now we have come to his Feast, sitting in the lowest seat (confessing our sins), and we have been bidden to come up higher, to a seat at the head table, as the blessed Bride of Christ. Sermon for Trinity XVII.
The city of Nain had gates, to keep out intruders. But some intruders cannot be kept away, and chief among them is death. Against death we are helpless, and in this Gospel we see the depths of it: this poor woman was widowed already, and now she has lost her only son. Such bitter loss! But Jesus had compassion, just as he also has compassion on us, and tells her not to weep. For next, he raised her son from death, and in a moment replaced her sorrow with ten times more joy than she has ever known. So shall he do for all of his beloved people who trust him. For although it was said by them of old time, "God helps those who help themselves," that saying is a lie. The truth is that he helps the helpless. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Sermon for Trinity XVI.
What do you desire? Good health? A good home? A good family? Nice clothing? Good food? But these are not objects of desire, they are masters of it. They are, collectively, mammon. And you cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore desire only Christ. And why shouldn't you? Behold what he has done for you, to purchase you for himself. See how much value you have to him: for he paid the magnificent price of his own blood to purchase you. And he clothes you with his own righteousness in Baptism, and feeds you with his own Body and Blood in the Supper. Therefore let your heart's desire be only for him. Even in your prayers, desire only him. Every day, every year, even to the end, desire only him; and then, when you last days approach, you will not fear them, for when you depart it shall be to be with him. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Sermon for Trinity XV.
This command from Jesus to the impotent man on the bed at Bethesda, who was too weak to get to the moving waters, who was last that he might become first, was made on the Sabbath Day. So the true meaning of the Sabbath becomes clear: Christ is himself our rest, who does the work of our salvation without any help from us. But then, having been healed, he tells us--as he tells this healed man--take up thy bed and walk. Let us work while it is day, before the night cometh when no man can work. For our Sabbath is Christ himself, and therefore we have no work to do to gain a gracious God, but now that we do have a gracious God, let us take up our beds and walk. Sermon for Trinity XIV Midweek, on St. John 5:1-15
There are not found who returned to give thanks to God but this foreigner. Ten lepers are cleansed; only one returns. What happened. They showed themselves to the priests, and there they found false preachers who turned their hearts away from their Healer and Lord. One returns, against the priests' counsel, against the trend of the nine, and even against what must have been a natural desire to conform. Here is true faith. This one knows his Lord and God, and so he will worship only Him. So must we believe and do. Sermon for Trinity XIV.
If you are a disciple of Jesus, your eyes and ears are blessed, as he says; but if you are like the lawyer, you cannot read the Scriptures rightly, for all you will see is laws and commandments. So consider the Good Samaritan. What do you see there? A prescription for how to live? Good for you, for the law is good. But there is more: for embedded in this tale is a beautiful description of our Lord Jesus Christ, how he became incarnate for us, to rescue us who had fallen among thieves, stripped of our clothing, and left half dead (for that is what is means to be a miserable sinner). What he does is binds up your wounds with his mercy, pours in the oil and wine of the Sacraments, sets you on the beast of his own righteousness, takes you to the inn of his Holy Church where the host cares for you, and promises to return. And what's more, he tells you now to go and do likewise: as he has been kind to you, so be kind to your neighbor. Help him in his need, defend his life and reputation where and when you can. Sermon for Trinity XIII.
Who sins against the Holy Ghost? Simply, one who does not believe the Gospel. For although Christ's death forgives the sins of all against him (as he says here), those who refuse to believe his word on this cannot be helped, and they shall not be forgiven for that. Therefore let us hear, and hearing, let us believe, and we shall be saved. Sermon for Trinity XII midweek, on St. Matthew 12.
You, O man, have ears, but you hear not; this is the condition of the human race: it does not listen to God's word; and so it has an impediment in its speech. All men are liars. But the mercy of Christ is seen in this Gospel, whose deaf mute is emblematic of the human race. He is taken aside, and Jesus gives ears to hear and a tongue to sing forth the praises of God who has redeemed us by the blood of Christ. Sermon for Trinity XII.