Septuagesima + 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5 + Matthew 20:1-16

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. The landowner is Christ. The vineyard is the Church. And the laborers are all those whom Christ graciously calls to work in His vineyard. Those whom Christ calls don’t earn their way into Church. They don’t merit their place in the vineyard. They’re called to enter the vineyard by Christ out of sheer grace. When the gospel call is proclaimed, that’s Christ calling men, women, and children to enter His vineyard and receive the denarius. The invitation isn’t because you’re a good person. “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). You haven’t merited this place in Christ’s vineyard. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). He calls you into His vineyard by forgiving your sins and cl…

The Transfiguration of Our Lord + Matthew 17:1-9

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Throughout His earthly life Jesus gives brief glimpses of the glory He had with the Father before the creation of the world. Through this season of Epiphany Jesus shows us His glory bit by bit, miracle by miracle, that He is “the brightness of [God’s] glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). He shows it bit by bit because He conceals His eternal glory by assuming our human flesh. He hides His divine glory under what Paul calls a “form of a servant” in Philippians 2:5. The son of God became incarnate, not to display His glory to but to give His life as a ransom for all are under the slavery of sin. He came to fulfill the Law on our behalf, being perfectly righteous in every thought, word, and deed since we sinners cannot do God’s righteous will and merit only wrath and condemnation. But in this state of humiliation He gives His disciples glimpses of His divine glory so that they might believe that H…

4th Sunday after Epiphany + Matthew 8:23-27

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Jesus calms the raging sea with just a word. “Peace, be still” were His words, according to St. Mark’s account. To these men in the boat with Jesus He reveals Himself to be the Lord of creation, the creator Himself, the one of whom the Psalmist said, “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them” (Psalm 89:9). This shows His divine power to be His own. For “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” says the apostle John (John 1:3). Christ is the Word of God the Father by whom God the Father made all things, so as creator He rules all things, even the violent winds and vicious waves.
He reveals His almighty power by first leading His disciples into a boat. He had spent His day preaching to the multitudes and healing the infirmed. He takes the lead and get into the boat and “his disciples followed him.” It was then that this great tempest arouse on the s…

3rd Sunday after Epiphany + Matthew 8:1-13

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Throughout the Epiphany season Christ reveals His power over creation. Last week He changed water into wine. Next week He will calm a storm. Today two men approach Christ, a leper and a centurion. By all these miracles for the leper and centurion Christ demonstrates His almighty power which He possess because He is the only-begotten Son of God. But He demonstrates far more than almighty power. He reveals His mercy toward the infirmed and afflicted who put their trust in Him. Without mercy and compassion His almighty power would be no good to us. He also reveals to us the kind of faith He seeks to cultivate in the heart of every believing soul.
Jesus comes down the mountain. He had just finished preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Even though great multitudes follow Him, a leper comes to Him and worships him. His prayer is simple. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He brings his affliction to Jesus i…

2nd Sunday after Epiphany + John 2:1-11

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Typically the wedding isn’t about the guests. This particular wedding in Cana of Galilee was like any other Jewish wedding, bride and groom surrounded by family and friends celebrating the fact that the Lord had once again given an Adam his Eve. Jesus and His disciples were there and by His presence there Jesus sanctified the estate of marriage as something good, holy, and God-pleasing. It was a joyous occasion, that is, until the wine ran out. It may seem like a paltry problem to us, an embarrassment at worst. It’s not a problem like leprosy or death. But it was a disaster nonetheless because the lack of wine threatened to end the joy of the newlywed’s beginning of a life together in the blessed estate God had established in the Garden of Eden. Mary, perhaps a relative of the bride or groom, goes to Jesus. “They have no wine,” to which Jesus brushes her off, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hou…

1st Sunday after Epiphany + Luke 2:41-52

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The evangelists give us a few stories of the first months of Jesus’ life, but tell us almost nothing about the childhood or early adult life of Jesus. Today’s gospel lesson is the only glimpse we have of Christ before His baptism and public ministry. And while in the early church curious individuals wrote infancy gospels imagining what His early life might have been like, the few texts we have of Christ’s infancy and today’s gospel tell us everything we need to know. On the eighth day of His life He was circumcised according to the Law of the Lord. On the fortieth day after giving birth, Mary goes to the Temple to offer the sacrifices for own purification and to present Jesus in the Temple according to the Law of the Lord. Jesus’ life, from the beginning, is lived under Mosaic Law so it should come to no surprise when Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph went up to Jerusalem every year for the Feast of the Passover.…

The Epiphany of Our Lord [Matthew 2:1-12]

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Up to this point Jesus’ identity had only been revealed to the Jews. On the night of Christ’s birth the angel appeared to lowly shepherds dwelling in the Hill Country of Judea. The angel told those men about the savior born for all people, not just the Jews. Last Sunday St. Luke told us that Jesus identity was revealed to elderly Simeon and the aged Anna. Simeon holds the child in his arms and says, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 3:20-32). The Holy Spirit had revealed this to Simeon so Simeon confesses that this child is the salvation promised by the Lord. Today Simeon’s words come true. The Lord has prepared this salvation “before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles.” That’s precisely what the Church celebrates on the day after the twelfth day of Christ: Chris…