Sermon summaries and audio files
So very like Jesus' own death and resurrection is this event. The mother is a widow, even as Jesus' mother was when he died. The son is an only-begotten, as Jesus also is. The dead man was met outside the city, and Jesus was also crucified outside the city. The raising of the widow's son is an easy way for us to see and remember and rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord, as we do every Sunday. For there is another way these are similar. It was the woman's sorrow that evoked Jesus' pity and help. And so also, it was the sorrow and affliction of the human race that brought him in pity to become incarnate, and to suffer, and to be himself raised from the dead. All that he might wipe every tear from our eyes. Sermon for Trinity XVI. The video is here.
You cannot serve God and mammon, because mammon demands your fear. But God is your heavenly Father, having become so because the eternal Son has become your brother and has given his life for you, all that you may gain the privilege of calling God your father. And God alone can help. So consider the birds, how they are fed without sowing, reaping, and harvesting. Likewise are we fed here at the altar with meat for which Someone else labored. And the birds are majestic, having wings, soaring high, and singing beautifully. Yet these creatures are far less valuable than are you; indeed they were made for you to enjoy. Let the birds remind you of your value to God, who would never leave you, since you are the apple of his eye. And consider the lilies of the field. Today it is, and tomorrow it is harvested and made into flour and into dough and thrown into the oven, so that it may become your bread. And then bread becomes, by the grace and word of Christ, his own body for you to eat. And consider also how the lilies are clothed; yet you are clothed better, by holy Baptism. Therefore cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you. Sermon for Trinity XV. The video is here.
Why did nine lepers not return? We don't know, but we do know that Jesus had sent them to the priests, who were his sworn enemies. Surely they would not want them returning, and might have preached a strong sermon against it. And then there's the peer pressure. Just like today, whose societal influences pull us away from Jesus. But there's the one leper who returned. What about him? He was a Samaritan, so perhaps already used to being an outsider. And perhaps his prior confession of faith, then, was already stronger. Perhaps he was thrilled just to be in Jesus' presence, even before he was healed, and then went and did as Jesus bade him. But then, when he was healed, he was overwhelmed, and now glad that he could return and draw near to him rather than stand afar off. So he fell on his face before him. No law or commandment told him to do this, but he knew that he must. So let us learn: no law or commandment tells us to come here to worship. The Third Commandment tells us to remember the Sabbath Day, only obliquely bidding us to fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His word but gladly hear and learn it. But it doesn't say when, or how often. Yet how can we stay away, knowing what Christ has done for us. We find ourselves in the very same place as this leper, returning even if nine will not return with us, even if our society should tell us not to go, even if all the world should speak against it. For we know who He is, and what He has done for us. Sermon for Trinity XIV. The video is here.
The lawyer didn't even know who his neighbor was, so how can he know the Law? He is truly blind, unlike the disciples whose eyes were blessed. For he did not see himself in the man lying half dead by the road. His friends were the priests and Levites with whom he consorted. These will never help him. But the Good Samaritan, our Lord Jesus, comes to bind up wounds with the forgiveness of sins. To pour in the oil and wine of the Sacraments. To set him on his own beast, the ass that carried Christ to his place of sacrifice for our sins. To bring him to the inn, that is, the church. To tell the innkeeper, that is, the pastor, to take care of him, until the great day of his returning. And so he does for us, and bid us to do likewise, for in him alone we not only gain the inheritance of eternal life, but the beginnings of being like him, and loving like he does. Sermon for Trinity XIII. The video is here.
The way Jesus healed the deaf man is informative, for he also took each of us aside from the multitude, in Baptism, and water from his mouth, that is, the waters of Baptism made holy by his word, have been applied to us, and the sigh of Jesus is his Spirit, which he breathed out. But the Spirit proceeds also from the Father, indicated by Jesus' look up into heaven. And he spoke, for with his Spirit is always his word, and his word opens our ears and minds to hear and believe the truth of his holy word, and we, like the man here, speak plainly. No longer let us lie and deceive, but speak plainly as the Spirit has given us this ability. So we confess this most holy faith and live by it. Sermon for Trinity XII. The video is here.
The poignant account of the weeping woman in St Luke 7 shows us that she knew two things. She knew who Jesus was, her Lord and Master, her Maker in the flesh. So she knew she had no right to be in his presence, much less to be near him. And she also knew herself. She knew, as evidently everyone else knew, that she was a sinner. She knew how miserable she was. Yet she was compelled to draw near, for she knew that in him alone was her rescue and salvation. Contrast this sacred knowledge with the ignorance of the Pharisee and his company here. They did not know who Jesus was, asking, Who then is this? And they did not know themselves, thinking themselves better than she. But where do you fit in? You cannot be in the middle somewhere. Either you know what she knew, or you are ignorant. But we do know, do we not? We know that we have not right to be anywhere near this sacred place. And yet we are drawn here because he invites us and draws us to himself. And we, like her, find an abundance of mercy and yet more forgiveness. And as he said to her, so does he say to you. Your faith has saved you; go in peace. Sermon for Midweek of Trinity XII. The video is here.
The mystery of the Incarnation is expressed beautifully by the title Mother of God as a designation for the Blessed Virgin. By this title the false teachers were called out, who could not say this. But we affirm it because she, the mother of Jesus, must also be the mother of God for the simple reason that Jesus is one Person, and that since this is so, everything that can be said about him as man must be said about him who is God. Mary bore God, Mary made soup for God, Mary held God on her lap, Mary nursed God. Indeed because the man Jesus died for us, therefore our God died for us. In this is the mystery of our salvation. And let us therefore regard motherhood as the greatest of callings, for without it not only would the world not continue, but we could not be saved. And let us likewise rejoice with Mary who held God in her womb, for we receive his Body and Blood in the Supper, and therefore also hold him within us. Sermon for the Dormition B.V.M. The video is here.
Laurence is as illustrious to Rome as Stephen is to Jerusalem, the brilliance of his martyrdom and bold confession shining in unexcelled light. He gave the treasures of the church to the poor rather than to the wicked Romans who demanded them, and he gave his life in faithfulness rather than succumb to the great pain of his torture and martyrdom. Let us pray for like constancy of faith, for the fire of his love for his Lord made the fires destroying his flesh seem cold by comparison. Sermon for St. Laurence Day. The video is here.
Jesus weeps because he wants all men to be saved; not only Jerusalem, but all the world. But they would not, but if only! Jerusalem would have been spared the horrid events of ad 70, and the world would be saved from the day of Judgment. So let us rejoice that he has given us grace to know him, and to know the things that belong unto our peace: his holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death for our salvation. And let us follow him. See where he goes: into Jerusalem and into the temple. And now he become angry, for he sees the cause of this unbelief: the teachers were thieves; the shepherds were feeding themselves. Here is how to understand the wrath of God. He is angry with those who would cause you to stumble. His anger is because of his love. And as he bids you to be devoted to him, how much more is he devoted to you, and keeps you as the apple of the eye. So learn to love him and to love your neighbor because of this. Sermon for Trinity X. The video is here.
Such a marvelous promise this is, to us who fret and worry and stew about so many earthly things, whatever they are: Fear not, little flock. It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. All that remains is for us to believe it, and to live accordingly. And why should we not? Has he not already demonstrated what things he can do? He raised our Lord Jesus from the dead; and what's more, Jesus promised to return. But he didn't come in the first watch of the night, nor in the second. He was delayed, and for hundreds, thousands of years. Will he come in this the third watch? Blessed is that servant who is still waiting for the Bridegroom, and will open to him directly when he comes. And then the servant will sit and be served by the Lord who made and redeemed him. And even now, as a foretaste and first morsel of this feast, he feeds you here, in the Blessed Sacrament. Come, receive; and fear not. All that remains is to believe this and live accordingly. Sermon for Midweek of Trinity IX. The video is here.