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Pentecost + Acts 2:1-13

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
For several weeks our Lord has been teaching us about the Holy Spirit. Today, ten days after Christ ascended into heaven and fifty days after our Lord rose alive from the dead, He fulfills His promise. The apostles were in one place when “suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” It’s appropriate that the Spirit make such a sound at His arrival. The word “spirit” means breath or wind. He rushes upon the apostles with the audible sound of a mighty rushing wind. “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.” The Spirit arrives in fire just as John the Baptist had foretold in Matthew 3:11, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Jesus said in Luke 12:49, “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Today that fire is kindled. “They wer…

Feast of the Holy Trinity + John 3:1-5

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The catholic faith, that is, the common Christian faith as taught in the Scriptures, and taught by the Apostles is that we worship “one God in Three Persons and Three Persons in one God.” Today the church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Trinity, a day set aside to contemplate the mystery of the Trinity today and confess our common Christian faith in the words of the Athanasian Creed. But we shouldn’t think that Trinity Sunday is the only time we confess and worship the Triune God. We do so each Sunday. The historic worship of the church drips with Trinitarian praises all throughout the year. We sing the Gloria Patri, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As is was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.” We praise all three persons of the Godhead equally because the glory of the persons is coequal. The church’s prayers to the Father end “through Jesus Christ, Thy S…

Exaudi, the Sunday after Ascension + John 15:26-16:4

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
On this Sunday in between Christ’s ascension and Pentecost, our Lord teaches us about the Holy Spirit whom He promised to send. He also tells the apostles, and those who would believe the apostles’ testimony, why they would need the Holy Spirit. He calls the Spirit “the Helper” and “the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,” teaching us who the Spirit is His work.
First Christ calls the Spirit “the Helper,” though Helper is a bit weak of a translation. The word Jesus uses is Paraclete, which means comforter, though not like we often think of someone being a comforter. A Paraclete is an advocate, someone who comforts someone when they stand accused before a judge. This is what the Holy Spirit does in the hearts of believers when they are accused of their sins and unworthiness by Satan. In Revelation 12:10 Satan is called “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night.” …

Rogate, the 5th Sunday after Easter + John 16:23b-30

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
Jesus gives us a great and precious promise in today’s gospel lesson. “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will received, that your joy may be full.” Christ promises you that the Father will hear your prayers prayed in His name. And note that Jesus doesn’t call Him, “my Father’ but “the Father.” He is Jesus’ Father according to Jesus’ divine nature. Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God of the same substance as the Father. But by faith in Christ He is your Father as well. Paul says, “You did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15). Through Holy Baptism you have been regenerated, rebirthed, and born again so that you are sons and daughters of God the Father and co-heirs with Christ of every heavenly blessing. You have the Spirit of adop…

Cantate, the 4th Sunday after Easter + John 16:5-15

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!
In today’s gospel lesson Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit, the Helper and Comforter, to His disciples. Forty days after His resurrection He will ascend into heaven and go to His Father. Ten days after that He will fulfill today’s promise by sending the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells them this to console them and teach them what the Helper, the Comforter, will do. Jesus says, “When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
But before the Comforter can comfort, He must convict and rebuke. First He will convict the world of sin. This is necessary because the world cannot recognize its own sinful state. Everyone is born having original sin. All men have this defect in their nature so that they don’t truly fear, love, and trust in God. …

Jubilate, the 3rd Sunday after Easter + John 16:16-23a

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
When the Lord tells His disciples, “A little while, and you will not see me; and again a little while and you will see me, because I go to the Father,” He means to comfort them ahead of His suffering and death. He speaks these words to them on Maundy Thursday, the night in which He was betrayed. He gives them this word as consolation though they don’t understand it as that at the time. “A little while and you will not see me.” Christ will be removed from them by death. He’ll be arrested in Gethsemane. Tried in the house of Caiaphas. Taken to Pilate’s Praetorium for questioning, beating, scourging, and the finally crucifixion. Jesus had told them this before on multiple occasions. But on the night in which His suffering would begin, He speaks to them as a father speaks to his children. This is how we talk to children when we know they won’t understand something. “How much longer do we have to drive?” “How much longer until you get home?” “H…

Misericordia Domini, the 2nd Sunday after Easter + John 10:11-16

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Is God good? The world certainly doesn't think so. Thousands die in an earthquake. Countless homes are destroyed in wildfires. Hurricanes ravage cities and the world asks, “Why did God allow this or that to happen?” A terrorist destroys innocent lives in the name of his false God. Nihilists murder unsuspecting people in the name of an ideology. People wring their hands and ask “Where was God as that happened? Is God really good?” It’s tempting even for us who know the true God to look at the injustice in the world and believe that God may not be quite as good as He says He is. Do you ever look at the wicked and wonder why their lives seem so much better than the lives of the righteous? Asaph ponders this in the seventy-third psalm. He confesses, “I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm” (Psalm 73:3-4). Asa…