Sermon summaries and audio files
These two apostles' basis for their ministry was the forgiveness of sins: in Peter's case, most of all for the forgiveness of his denials; in Paul's for the forgiveness of his murders. This was then their message, and comes to us at last: the forgiveness of sins is what makes us Christians. Sermon for SS Peter and Paul.
The rich man who perished desired the good things of earth, which could not save him. Lazarus' good things, that which he desired, were crumbs that the rich count as refuse, which fall from their table. What things? That Jesus knew his name (as he knows the names of his baptized faithful), that the crumbs he received he regarded as worthy of all his desire (as is Christ in the Supper worthy of all our desire), and that even his afflictions were for his good (as it is with Christians). How very like Christ is Lazarus! For it is written that dogs compassed him about; the wicked derided him in his death. But behold how good was his death (on Good Friday), for by his atonement he gave to the Sacraments their strength to save, and gives to us the forgiveness of sins. So let us desire these crumbs, that we in the end might be carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom and the Father's eternal paradise. Sermon for the Octave of Trinity.
Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, by the benighted capacity of his own rationality. But what one needs is to submit to the word of God, and become a new creation by the Baptismal washing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Sermon for Trinity Sunday.
Jesus was not telling Nicodemus how much God loves the world, but rather in what way he loved the world: his love is active and giving. He gave his only Son, his other Self; he gave himself to us and held nothing back from us. God's love is active. So, therefore, must we learn to love not merely in word, but in deeds. In this way we show that we understand the love of God toward us. Sermon for Midweek of Whitsun Week
On Pentecost Sunday the Spirit of Christ that issued forth from his mouth became a rushing mighty wind, from which were manifested tongues of fire, and the preaching of the apostles, and the Gospel proclaimed around the world to the present day. And we have heard and believed; our hearts burned within us as he talked with us by the way, and opened the Scriptures to us. The Spirit has enkindled us to confess and live according to the Gospel, even in the face of a godless world, for we are glad to affirm that we shall have no other Gods. Sermon, and several tongues, for Pentecost.
The patient waiting of people of faith is always rewarded, as countless examples in Scripture testify. The Vigil of Pentecost is a time of waiting that is richly rewarded, in ways beyond expectation; for the Spirit not only came to those who waited, but to all the world. The flame of the Spirit came upon the 12, and through their preaching to all. It has come to us as well, and we have believed. The Gospel of Christ's redemption and resurrection has captured also our hearts, and by the Spirit we receive Baptism, the Gospel, and the Blessed Sacrament. Sermon for the Vigil of Pentecost.
Jesus prayed that all who hear might believe and be one: one in confession, one in mind, and one in heart. This unity even goes further, for he said that it is like the unity which he has with his Father. This is the unity expressly accomplished which he, our Brother, ascended into the heavenly realm and sat down, as man, at the right hand of the Father. For the mystery of the Gospel is this: that God became man, in order that man might become divine, utterly and substantially united with his Maker, in whose image he was made. Sermon for midweek of Exaudi.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, he also sent the Spirit; that is, he established the Office of the Spirit, which is the Preaching Office. Now his voice is become a million voices around the world, as preachers proclaim the coming of his kingdom and the Spirit, through their voices, testifies of Christ. Thus Christ remains with his church to the end of time, as his preachers speak his words to his people, and distribute to them his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Sermon for Exaudi.
Jesus' disciples were exuberant when they heard him speak plainly. They had a clear picture in their minds, and were glad. Yet soon they would be scattered, they would all forsake him and flee. Yet he in mercy would return to them on Easter. Then their joy became full, as he promised. This is his way with his people: they see clearly, then they enter challenges and troubles; but then joy comes in the morning. So when the challenges come, we must pray, and he hears us. All this is guaranteed by his resurrection. And finally we shall enter with him into the eternal joy of heaven, of which our attendance at his feast is a foretaste. Sermon for Rogate.
The Jews mostly mocked Jesus, but some of them believed. To those Jesus promised freedom. From what bondage? A bondage worse than the Egyptian slavery: to sin. But this freedom comes only to those who keep his word, by his grace. Sermon for Midweek of Cantate, on St. John 8.