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Showing posts from October, 2018

Festival of the Reformation + Matthew 11:12-15 + October 28, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. This expression is different than what we are used to hearing about the Kingdom of God. Jesus isn’t saying that the kingdom suffers the violence of persecutions, crosses, and trials. Although that’s true, that isn’t what Christ speaks of in the Gospel lesson. Nor is Jesus saying that you can enter the kingdom by violence and physical force. That would go against the rest of Christ’s teaching. So what does He mean when He says the kingdom suffers violence and the violent take it by force? Perhaps a better way to translate Jesus’ words go like this: “The Kingdom of Heaven advances forcefully and forceful men lay hold of it.” That’s a bit better and it makes sense with how Jesus says it in Luke 16:16, “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.” The kingdom ad…

21st Sunday after Trinity + John 4:46-54 + October 21, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. 
Today’s appointed gospel lesson tells us how Jesus left Judea and traveled north into Galilee. He came into Cana of Galilee where He had turned water into wine. There He is met by a nobleman. This nobleman had heard about Jesus’ miracle at the wedding when He had turned one hundred and eighty gallons of water into wine. Knowing Jesus’ power, He goes out to meet Him. The nobleman has a son who sick to the point of death. Not content to remain at his dying son’s bedside, He hurries to intercept Jesus where he implores Him to come down and heal his son. The man comes to Christ in faith, but it is weak faith, for He imagines that Christ has to be present in his house, in his son’s room, at his son’s bedside in order to heal him. Jesus’ answer isn’t what the nobleman expects. “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will be no means believe.” It’s as if Christ were saying, “Everyone believes in me when I do a mira…

20th Sunday after Trinity + Matthew 22:1-14 + October 14, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Christ compares the kingdom of heaven to a king who has prepared a marriage for his son. When everything is prepared, he sends his servants to call those who had been invited to the feast. It should have been a joyous occasion for the king’s subjects. But “they were not willing to come.” The people despise the king and this wedding so they simply refuse the invitation. The king shows patience and mercy by sending out other servants. They are to tell those invited about the benefits of the wedding. “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle are killed, and all things are ready.” Many made light of this message and went their way. They had better things to do. One goes to his farm. Another goes off to his business. This first group is apathetic toward the wedding. They could care less. The rest though, they go much further than simply despising the king and His gracious invitation. They hate the ki…

19th Sunday after Trinity + Matthew 9:1-8 + October 7, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
They brought to Jesus a paralytic man lying on his bed. The men who carried the man, along with the paralytic himself, surely believed that Christ would give him a new life, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble. And it was quite a trouble. St. Mark records that “when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying” (Mark 2:4). Great was their faith in Christ’s mercy. Invincible was their trust that Christ would grant the paralytic new life. This all happens in Capernaum, Jesus’ own city, where Christ dwelt, taught, and did many miracles. These men, the paralytic included, would have heard the good news about Jesus. They believed Him to be compassionate toward the poor, the infirmed, and brokenhearted. They go in faith in Christ’s mercy and His ability to save. This is what fa…