Showing posts from April, 2019

Quasimodogeniti, the 1st Sunday after Easter + John 20:19-31

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
On the evening of that day when Christ rose from the dead He appeared to His disciples. They had heard the testimony of the women who had gone into the tomb and heard the angel’s words. Peter and John had ran to the tomb and found it empty as well. Yet they were afraid. They feared the Jews who had crucified Christ. If He was not in the tomb, the Jews would come looking for them. But they were also afraid of their sins. Each of them had deserted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. All had fled. Peter followed behind at a distance but then publicly denied Christ three times. They fear the Jews and their threats and wrath. They feared their own sins.
Gathered together in their fear, the doors shut because of that fear, “Jesus came and stood in the midst.” Using His divine power He passes through the door and stands there in the middle of these men full of fear and says, “Peace be with you.” He had every right to scold them. “Why did you flee i…

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

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Jesus had died the shameful death of the cross on Friday afternoon. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took His body, hastily prepared it for burial, and interred him. Then there was nothing to do but wait because the Sabbath began and no work could be done on the Sabbath. The only thing they could do was mourn. There was plenty of that, in spite of how many times Jesus had taught His disciples that it was necessary for Him to die and rise three days later. Once the Sabbath is over, very early on the first day of the week, this day, the woman venture to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body again. But they soon see that the stone which blocked the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away and the seal with which the Jews had secured the stone was broken. The woman enter the tomb to find the exact opposite of what they expect to find. Instead of the lifeless corpse of Jesus they see “a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right sid…

Good Friday + John 1:29 + John 18:1-19:42

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
After Jesus had been baptized by John in the Jordan River, the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to fast forty days. There He faced the Devil. Afterwards He walked along the Jordan River again. John sees Him, points to Him, and cries out for all the world to hear, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” The sacrifices prescribed in the Old Testament did no such thing. They were only good for the man offering up the bull, lamb, or goat. Those sacrifices also were unable to atone for sins. It is written in Hebrews 10:3-4 that “those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” The Old Testament sacrifices kept Israelites civilly righteous and forgave sins according to the righteousness of the Law. They kept you in Israel, God’s covenant people. But they couldn’t atone for one’s sins and take them away. Each sacrifice looked forward to the Lamb of Go…

Maundy Thursday + 1 Corinthians 11:23-32

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
On this evening Christ entered into His sufferings for the sins of the world. His suffering began in the Garden of Gethsemane. He tells Peter, James, and John, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death” (Matthew 26:38). St. Luke records that “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). What caused such immense sorrow? The cup which He was about to drink. He prayed “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). The cup which He had to drink was the cup of God’s wrath against the sin of all mankind, for He suffered as our substitute, bearing our sins in His own body and all the wrath that we deserve on account of our sins.
His sorrow continues when Judas arrives with a cohort of temple guards to arrest Him. He’s betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of His own disciples. Judas had been with Christ for…

Palmarum, the 6th Sunday in Lent + Matthew 21:1-9

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Jesus, the Son of David, rides into the holy city of Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of a donkey. When David was at the end of his life, he put Solomon on his own mule and had him ride to the Gihon, a spring outside of Jerusalem where the son of David was proclaimed king. Christ told His disciples to fetch this colt so that He could enter the city as its king. And the crowds of people present in Bethphage seem to get that. The great multitude went before and after Him, giving Him a king’s welcome. They “spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.” They greet their new David and praise Him with the words of Psalm 118, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” On that glorious day, Jerusalem received Jesus as her king.
Yet the people imagined that this Son of David would be a worldly king. The Jews a…

Wednesday after Judica + 1 Peter 5:1-14

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
On Sunday we entered into the most solemn part of the Lenten season. Passiontide directs our focus upon the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ for our sins. St. Peter has written quite a bit about Christ’s suffering and death for such a short epistle, saying that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (3:18). He has said that Christ “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed” (2:24). Peter has taught us much about the significance of Christ’s death. But He teaches us more. At the beginning of this final chapter he calls himself “a witness of the sufferings of Christ.” He witnessed Christ’s agony in Gethsemane. He saw Christ’s trial in the house of the High Priest. That’s where he denied his Lord…

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

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Which of you convicts me of sin?” None of them can do this. Jesus had lived among the Jews His entire earthly life. For several years He had taught amongst them, performed miracles, when they thought they had caught Him in sin, violating the Sabbath, He taught them the true meaning of the commandment. They can’t convict Him of any wrongdoing. Neither did He teach anything discordant with the Scriptures. Earlier in this chapter He told the Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Before that He said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). But now they reject Him and refuse to hear Him. And while we might imagine all sort of reasons for their rejection; false expectations for the Messiah, spiritual elitism, and the like, t…

Wednesday after Laetare + 1 Peter 4:1-19

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Christ suffered for us in the flesh.” This is mystery of the gospel. What’s so mysterious about it is that Christ consists of two natures, a human nature and a divine nature. It’s impossible for divinity to suffer. Suffering is the antithesis of divinity. So God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity, condescends and assumes human flesh. He doesn’t possess a man that already existed. Nor did He come only in the appearance of flesh, like a hologram man. He assumes human nature so that He might suffer and die. This means that we can call Christ’s suffering God’s suffering. Christ’s blood is God’s blood. Christ’s death is God’s death. All these happened according to the human nature in Christ, but that humanity is inseparably united to the divine nature. That’s what makes this suffering and death so mysterious. On Sunday we enter into Passiontide, the final two weeks of Lent and those final two weeks focus o…