Sermon summaries and audio files
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.
How very like Zachhaeus the tax collector is this unjust steward. He was wasting his master's goods; he was unjust. He also had dealings with his master's debtors, as a tax collector. So what did he do? He repented, for he came to terms with the master's indication that he would be put out. So in his repentance he changed his behavior toward these debtors. He lowered, rather than raised, their debts. What is unspoken is that if the difference must be made up when the books were settled, he would have to make it up himself. Like Zachhaeus, who told Jesus that if he had defrauded anyone he would restore him fourfold. So also, let us take to heart the Master's words, and repent; and in our repentance change our behavior toward our neighbors. Why should we not? For consider him who for our sakes was charged with our injustice, that we through him might be credited with his faithfulness. Sermon for Trinity IX. The video is here.
In Jesus' parable of the two houses we see nothing of the houses that differs but their foundations, which are unseen. But what does it mean to have a house built on sand? Of sand it was said that Abraham's descendants would be as the sand of the seashore. So to build one's house, or church, on sand would be to base it on the people rather than on Christ who is the Rock. The foundation of the church cannot be the thoughts, desires, wishes, or dreams of the people, giving them what their ears are itching to hear. It must be the word and confession of Christ, for so he named Peter when he confessed him. What we need is not a church built upon ourselves, but one thing only: the word of the Gospel of Christ, for this is what he taught. And this is what he gives. Sermon for Midweek of Trinity VIII. The video is here.
Who can say beware of false prophets but the true Prophet? Who can warn us of bad trees and poisonous fruits but him who is the tree whose leaves are for the healing of of the nations, who gives to us the good fruit of salvation in the Blessed Sacrament? So beware: false prophets are in the world, where the media, the government, the entertainment industry, and countless outlets preach a false gospel of safety in them and their dictates and mandates and warnings. They lie. And false prophets in the church, like the current pope, who just last week condemned the traditional mass while still refusing to reprimand abortionists and the government's permission of abortion. They tell you also that Christ is somehow spiritually present in the Sacrament, but not that it is his true Body and Blood. And these are his clearest words. So what about your pastor? Is he a false prophet? See for yourself: for if we or an angel of heaven preach to you a gospel other than what you have received, let him be condemned. You need Christ, who alone is righteous and gives himself for the sin of the world. In him alone you shall have safety, life and salvation, and the pledge and guarantee of it in this Supper. Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity. The audio is here.
The Gospel appointed for St. Mary Magdalene's Day is of the penitent woman who wept on Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair, from St. Luke chapter 7. It makes no mention of the name of this woman, and scholars have been divided over whether this is indeed the Magdalene. But we do know about Mary that Jesus had driven seven demons out of her. So she was, in any case, in a very bad way. She was lost. One demon is bad enough, and, as Jesus said, when a demon goes out of a man he goes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none he returns with seven demons more wicked than himself. The last state of one into whom they enter is worse than the first. Poor Mary was utterly trapped in sin and wickedness. This harlot who had been a public sinner is likely Mary, though if not, she was like her. Hence when Jesus cleansed her she loved much, for she was forgiven much. And, coming in with the intention of anointing him while he sat at meat, she became overwhelmed, and began to weep. Now the eyes which took in unclean sights and enticed men instead well up with tears. Now the cheeks which had been painted are instead streaked with those tears. Now the hair which had been braided is used instead to wipe Jesus' feet. See how she loved him! But now let us see also what a high status she gains in his sight: she becomes privileged to be the first witness of the resurrection, and has been called the apostle to the Apostles. Sent by Jesus to tell them. Such is the story of Christian life; it is the life of the penitent and sorrowful, yet the transformed life of those who love him deeply and are transferred from the status of shame to the status of honor in his kingdom. Sermon for St. Mary Magdalene's Day. The video is here.
Jesus feeds 4000 with seven loaves. But he desires that his disciples see the greater truth, about the greater kingdom, of heaven. So the 3 day fast betokens the greater fast when Jesus dies and not until the third day does he return, risen from the dead. So also the 4000 betoken the church at the four corners of the earth. And the 7 loaves with 7 remaining baskets betoken the need for a greater week, and and eighth loaf, which is Christ himself. So let us be as the multitude following him into the wilderness of life, looking for the life of the world to come in him, our true daily Bread, our eighth loaf. Sermon for Trinity VII. The video is here.