Sermon summaries and audio files
A few sermons.
First, Quinquagesima, in whose Gospel Jesus heals a blind man whose faith is robust. Audio and Video.
Next came Ash Wednesday. The audio is here, but there is no video.
Most recently was Invocabit, the First Sunday in Lent. Jesus goes into the wilderness to battle the devil in humility. Audio and Video.
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. How small its beginnings: David the youngest of Jesse's sons becomes king. But his own sins nearly ruined this kingdom; then he almost was destroyed by his enemies. When his son Solomon became king the kingdom flourished, but then over the years it languished and nearly died several times. The patience of God ran out and there was the great deportation into Babylon. But by the grace of God they returned; and in the fulness of time Christ was born, in poverty. He barely escaped Herod. When he returned from Egypt he went to dwell in despised Nazareth. When he was anointed and began his ministry, he was soon choked by the thorns of fierce enemies, and hell's minions arrested him, beat him, whipped him, crucified him, and buried him. Yet then he sprang forth out of the grave. And his church was born at Pentecost. This is the kingdom of heaven, and you have been grafted into it by Baptism. You are the birds nesting in its branches. It is unstoppable, imperishable, eternal. You are safe. Sermon for Midweek of Sexagesim. The video is here.
In the beginning, the word sounded forth, but who heard it? God heard it, for God is a community of Persons. So God spoke and God heard, and thus the earth was fashioned. Hearing is of God. It is a marvelous gift, and its use is fulfilled when we hear the word of God. But the devil also knows this, and like the birds who devour the seed that falls by the way side, so the devil snatches the word when he can, like he did in the garden with Eve. And trouble and persecution are also threats to the germination of the word in the heart: people learn to live by fear instead of by faith. But Jesus says to us, Fear not countless times. And then also are the cares and riches and pleasures of this life which threaten the word's taking root. Like Faust of literature, people sell their souls to gain what the earth has. But it is all fleeting, and by it men turn from the faith. Let us embrace the word of Christ, for by the word the seed grows and yields an hundredfold. Sermon for Sexagesima. The video is here.
The priest Simeon was overjoyed, though he was living a troubled land and city, though he was among the very few in Jerusalem who were waiting for the Consolation of Israel, though he was looking at death. For he held the Christ-Child in his arms, and therefore all was well. Now I can die in peace, said he. Now all things are well. This is the faith we must have, for we receive Christ in an even more intimate way, in the Blessed Sacrament. Rightly do we sing, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace . . . Sermon for Candlemas. The video is here.
Is your eye evil? An evil eye envies the neighbor, when he has much and you have little, or when he has more than you, or when you feel that you have been treated unfairly by God and ought to have more. An evil eye also looks at the abundance you might have and thinks of it as a reward of merit. Behold the first ones hired by the landowner in Jesus' story. They worked for a specific sum; no faith required. But now behold the others. They went out with only one thing: they trusted the word of the landowner. This is the Christian faith. Let us trust the goodness of God. And do not despise the penny. It looks simple, but it is great. The penny of God's grace, given in the holy Gospel and in the blessed Sacrament, bought in the blood of Christ, is everlasting salvation. Sermon for Septuagesima; and a video of the mass is here.
Many things about this Gospel seem unnecessary, impractical, and useless. Marriage itself has been so criticized in our day. Why waste the effort? It harms, does not help, so they say. But marriage is God's institution, and so we must remain faithful to it. So also, why fill the stone water pots here with water? It is wine that is needed, not water. Yet the servants did as instructed: do whatever he tells you. And so they did, and so was Jesus' first miracle performed. We must also do as Jesus tells us, against the foolish counsel of the world. They tell us not to gather, but he tells us not to neglect this. They tell us we needn't bother, but he says, Take eat, drink. And so also for us a great, though hidden, miracle is performed. Wine is not made from water, but the Blood of Christ is made from wine, by the word of Christ. And this Sacrament brings us eternal life and salvation. Sermon for the Second Sunday after Epiphany, and the video of the service is here.
When the boy Jesus remained in the temple, his parents sought him sorrowing. That is, deeply grieving, anguishing, in torment of mind and soul. But he replied that he was about his Father's business. And this business includes the necessary afflictions that sometimes come to his people. He initiated all of this: his remaining behind, their inability to find him for three days, and then their discovery of him. So also does he initiate all of our woes, which are temporary. He hides, he goes away, he leads us to anguish, even as he did during the three days between his death and resurrection; but during this time we, as they did, must seek him. And this trial produces fruit, for this is part of the Father's business, that we may be strengthened. Sermon for Epiphany I, and the video is here.
The wise men were confident: they had seen his star in the east. They were not astrologers or soothsayers. Doubtless they had the Torah, probably deposited in their land during the Babylonian captivity. And there they saw that a star should arise out of Juda, and a scepter. So when they saw the star, they knew where to go: to the land of the Jews; and thus they went straight to Jerusalem, the city of the great king. And so they naively inquired, and when they heard the prophecy of Micah (which they did not have before), they set out for Bethlehem. And then the star which they had seen at their homeland in the East, reappeared, and led them to Christ. Thus they were rewarded for following the word of God. And thus must we do: follow the word of God, as they did; and thus shall we be rewarded, finding the Christ, and departing to our homes another way than the way of the world: for Christ is the Way, and on this Way we shall be blessed. Sermon for Epiphany, and the video of the service is here.
John the Baptist was not presumptuous, in sharp contrast to the culture of today that claims entitlement. John refused even to be considered worthy as a slave, removing the Christ's shoe's latchet. So must we learn from him to be contrite and small, for this is the true preparation for the coming of Christ: not only at Christmas, but at his glorious return, and here, in the Gospel and in the Sacrament. Sermon for Advent IV.