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Showing posts from September, 2019

15th Sunday after Trinity + Matthew 6:24-34

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Dear saints, why do you worry? Your Lord tells you, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.” Twenty-first century worries seem so much more treacherous and frightening than worrying about clothing, food, and drink. We have mortgage payments and student loans, medical bills and prescription drug costs. There’s the stock market and retirement accounts. Don’t forget health, our spouse’s health, job security, houses, children and grandchildren. I’m sure you could add a few items worthy of our worry to the list. Clothing, food, and drink may seem light years away from what you worry about. But for as simple as they may seem to modern ears, clothing, food, and drink get to the heart of the matter because they are the chief things of this life. Jesus begins by saying, “Do not worry about your life.” All your worries about all your tomorrows are w…

14th Sunday after Trinity + Luke 17:11-19 and Galatians 5:16-24

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
We know the story of the ten lepers well. We hear it every year on this Sunday and most years we hear it on the National Day of Thanksgiving as well. Jesus passes through Samaria and Galilee, the areas north of Judea. As He enters a village ten leprous men confront Him. Standing far off from civilization so as not to infect others, they cry out with a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” And of course He does, for Christ did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. He tells them to go show themselves to the priest because according to the Law of Moses the priests were the public health officials. They examined people for leprosy. If they didn’t have it the priests declared them “clean;” if they had contracted leprosy they were declared “unclean” and cast out. Jesus sends these ten men to the priest to be declared “clean” according to the Law. “So it was that as they went, they were clean…

13th Sunday after Trinity + Luke 10:23-37

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Most people think that all religions are basically the same and the common denominator between them all is that they teach people how to be good. Not only do they teach morality but they teach it for the purpose of earning salvation and eternal life of some type or another. This was the mindset of the Jews at the time of Christ, and this mindset is why the lawyer stands up to test Jesus in today’s Gospel lesson. His question runs the way of the law and morality. “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” In order to achieve this lofty goal what do I need to be doing and how do I need to be living? His question resonates with us and will all mankind because his question sums up how mankind thinks of religion: it’s a moral system by which we earn future in paradise.
The question is a law question so Jesus directs him to the law. “What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?” The lawyer a…

12th Sunday after Trinity + 2 Corinthians 3:4-11 and Mark 7:31-37

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
St. Paul writes that the ministry of the New Covenant is not one of the letter but of the Spirit. The letter kills. The Spirit gives life. With these words of St. Paul, many would have us understand the letter to be the words of Holy Scripture, since it consists of letters on the page. They would turn Christians away from the Scriptures as a letter that kills. When someone preaches or says, “It is written” as the Savior did when fighting the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, such folks will have none of that unless directed by an inner intuition or idea which they assume is the Holy Spirit. So they pit the Spirit against the words of Holy Scripture so that the Holy Scripture has to be read and understood through the Spirit’s contemporary words spoken directly to their human heart.
But it’s silly to imagine that St. Paul would disparage the Holy Scriptures and treat them as mere letters on the pa…

11th Sunday after Trinity + Luke 18:9-14

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Jesus tells us a parable about two men who go to the temple to pray. The first is a Pharisee. He goes to the temple to thank God, though not for anything that God has given him. He says, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men -- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” He asks nothing from God because as far as he’s concerned he needs nothing from God. He can take care of himself and God should know how good He’s got it to have such a fellow in His temple. He doesn’t extort money or goods from others. He’s just in all his dealings with others. He’s faithful to his wife. And he’s certainly not like the tax collector, a public sinner who works in a profession known for its covetousness and greed and extortion. He’s not like other men, sinful men. Instead he fasts twice each week, disciplining his body. He gives tithes of all t…