Sermon summaries and audio files
The prodigal was worthy of none of the gifts lavished upon him by his father. So also we, confessing our unworthiness, are recipients of heavenly grace and a marvelous feast. Sermon for Trinity III Midweek.
Jesus' parables in St. Luke 15 emphasize divine grace and mercy. Here's the audio from Sunday.
Elizabeth rejoiced when she learned that the Savior was near; and her son in her womb also rejoiced; for his nearness means salvation and rescue for his people. And she knew this by the word of Mary, which was the blessed holy Gospel (the Magnificat). So let us learn the joy of Elizabeth. For Christ is near to us as well, when we are at the blessed altar. Sermon for the Visitation.
It is in the nature of foolish man to say there is no God, and to make light of his gracious invitation: all things are now ready. So he discards the fulfillment of the Sabbath, and turns from his maker and redeemer, and things a thousand things are of greater value than this feast. But this feast was prepared by God's holy incarnation, and his suffering, and the sweat of his brow as great drops of blood. Behold how he worked to prepare this marvelous feast. So let us replace in our minds the notion that we attend merely because of obligation with an eager desire through all our life to attend the Feast of Salvation, the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Sermon for Trinity II.
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.