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Quasimodo Geniti, the 1st Sunday after Easter + John 20:19-31 + April 8, 2018

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The first part of today’s gospel lesson occurred on the evening of the day Christ was raised from the dead. The disciples had heard the report of Mary and the other women who had found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. The doors are locked because they feared the same Jews who had arrested and crucified their Lord. Perhaps they reasoned that as word of Jesus’ resurrection got out, the Jews would come for them next. They also had fears within themselves. Each of them had, after all, fled from Jesus in the Gethsemane garden. Peter had even drew his sword and cut off a man’s ear. He later followed Jesus to the High Priest’s home where he publicly denied Christ three times. It was in the midst of their fear and guilt that the resurrected Christ suddenly appeared in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” He goes on to show them His hands and His feet, where the nails had fastened Him to His cross. …

The Resurrection of Our Lord + Mark 16:1-8 + April 1, 2018

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!
Christ is risen from the dead. It was impossible for death to hold him because death had no real claim on Him. We die because we sin. This is the order established in Paradise when the Lord told Adam concerning the tree, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). By his disobedience Adam brought death upon himself and his entire race. “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men” (Romans 5:12). The Lord says in Ezekiel 18:20, “the soul who sins shall die.” St. Paul tells us in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” It is only because we are sinners that death has become part of this life. Death has a claim on us because we are born of sinful stock and our sinful nature spends a lifetime bringing forth its wicked fruit of actual sins in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.
But death has no claim on Christ for two reasons. First, as a man He had no sin.…

Good Friday + John 18:1-19:42 + March 30, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
We are always tempted on Good Friday to think that it’s not actually all that good. We hear the account of Christ’s betrayal, His trials, His scourging, the crown of thorns, and His rejection by man and God the Father, and we think that evil has one the day, that the sufferings and death of Christ are the triumph of darkness over light. If viewed this way, Good Friday becomes a day of mourning and sorrow over Christ’s death, almost like a yearly funeral for Jesus. But this is not how the Scriptures teach us view Christ’s passion. It is not the triumph of darkness over light. It is not Cain murdering Abel for no reason than to satisfy his own rage. We mustn’t imagine that that on this day that the devil, the world, and the wickedness of men prevail over the goodness of God.
Jesus was not at the mercy of bloodthirsty Jews, just as His life was not in Pilate’s hands. When Pilate reminds Jesus that he has the power to …

Maundy Thursday + 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 & John 13:1-15 + March 29, 2018

In the Name of the Father and the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
On the night in which our Lord was betrayed, before His suffering began, He gave two things to His church. The first is that which we heard about in tonight’s Gospel lesson. After finishing the Passover meal with His disciples, washes His disciple’s feet. This was not an ordinary foot washing. Ordinarily this was one of the first things that would happen before a meal. It was also typically done by a servant. It’s a humble task to wash the desert dust and grime from another’s feet. Yet Jesus takes this humble task upon Himself in order to teach His disciples two things.
First, Christ wants to teach them what king of king and master He is. That Jesus would wash the feet of His disciples shows them that Jesus’ ministry is one of humble service to mankind. It is as He told them in Matthew 20:28, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” He shows them the nature of this service by taking upon Himself the …

Palm Sunday + Matthew 21:1-9 + March 25, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Jesus enters Jerusalem the way does today to teach us what kind of King He is. On Friday morning He would tell Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). On Sunday He demonstrated that difference. He begins His journey by sending two of His disciples, which two we’re not told, into the city of Bethphage. Jesus tells them that immediately upon entering the village they will find a donkey and her colt tethered. They are to bring the colt and her mother to Jesus. If anyone says anything about it, they are to answer simply, “The Lord has need of them.” This is a strange errand. Jesus had entered Jerusalem many times during His earthly ministry and never asked for two beasts of burden before. But this day is different. This is the day the prophet Zechariah foretold. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, low…

Wednesday after Judica + Mark 15:20-47 + March 21, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Christ had been awake all the night before His crucifixion. His sufferings began in the garden with the anguish that came with drinking the cup of God’s wrath against sin. After His arrest He was taken to Annas, then to Caiapha. In the early hours of the morning He was sent to Pilate, who, after interrogation, sent Him to Herod. There Herod’s soldiers mistreated Him before sending Him back to Pilate for His final sentencing. He has been beaten and flogged. Then He is expected to carry His own cross to Golgotha, the place of the skull. It must have been massive if He was to then be nailed to it. As He carries the hulking instrument of His own death the soldiers escorting Him to Golgotha realize He is exhausted. “Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.” Here is a man, pulled out from the crowd of the…

Judica, the 5th Sunday in Lent + John 8:46-59 + March 18, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Today’s appointed Gospel lesson begins near the end of a dispute between Jesus and the Jews. They had sought to kill Jesus for some time now. Ever since Jesus healed an infirmed man at the pool of Bethesda they wanted to murder Him. They claimed He sinned by healing the infirmed man on the Sabbath, that that was a work which violated the commandment. But Jesus puts them in their place by pointing out that the Jews circumcise their children on the Sabbath. They do the work of God even on the rest day. He said, “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?” (John 7:23). He didn’t sin against the commandment. Yet they sin because they desire to kill Him, a clear violation of the commandment! That hatred boils over in today’s gospel lesson because they are unable to convict Him of sin. There’s no…