Lenten Sermons

SERMON: The Temptation In The Wilderness by George MacDonald

March 10, 2019

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said [...]

SERMON: A Sermon Of Saint Augustine On The Gospel For The Fourth Sunday In Lent

March 11, 2018

Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lift up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (And this he said to prove him; for he himself knew what he would do.) Philip answered him, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, “There is a lad here, which [...]

SERMON: The Dumb And Deaf Spirit by John Keble

March 4, 2018

He was casting out a devil, and it was dumb, and it came to pass that when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake. (Luke 11:14) As the holy time of Lent begins with the remembrance of our Lord overcoming Satan, so during the course of it we are warned by the church, again and again, of our warfare with the same evil spirit. Last Sunday we heard of an unclean devil being cast out of the daughter of a Canaanitish woman; and by and by, as the week of Christ’s Passion comes on, we shall hear more and more of Satan entering into Judas, and continuing to do Christ all the mischief he could. And on the third Sunday again we are told of a very remarkable case, a very signal blow struck in the warfare betwixt our Savior and our enemy. Jesus was [...]

SERMON: Homily For Lent by The Venerable Bede

February 25, 2018

Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto [...]

SERMON: On Lent I by Leo the Great

February 18, 2018

I. The benefits of abstinence shown by the example of the Hebrews In former days, when the people of the Hebrews and all the tribes of Israel were oppressed for their scandalous sins by the grievous tyranny of the Philistines, in order that they might be able to overcome their enemies, as the sacred story declares, they restored their powers of mind and body by the injunction of a fast. For they understood that they had deserved that hard and wretched subjection for their neglect of God’s commands, and evil ways, and that it was in vain for them to strive with arms unless they had first withstood their sin. Therefore abstaining from food and drink, they applied the discipline of strict correction to themselves, and in order to [...]

SERMON: Welcome, Dear Feast Of Lent by Mark Haverland

February 21, 2016

…as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (2 Corinthians 6:10) “Welcome, dear feast of Lent.” So begins George Herbert’s poem on Lent. In five brief words, “Welcome, dear feast of Lent,” Herbert manages to use three words that we do not normally associate with Lent at all: is Lent either “welcome,” or “dear,” or a “feast”? I must confess that for me Lent is often not very welcome. Where the forty days of Eastertide seem to fly past, Lent goes on and on. In Lent difficult things always seem to happen. I miss my wine and chocolate in Lent. Instead of remembering not to eat meat on Fridays, I have to [...]

SERMON: Of The Struggle Of The Flesh And The Devil Against The Human Spirit, And The Efficacy Of Prayer by Bernard of Clairvaux

March 8, 2015

1. My loving concern for you, brothers, is why I speak to you.  It is so more often if I were not prevented by much business.  You should not wonder if I am concerned for you, since I find in myself much matter and cause for concern.  As often as I think of my own miserable condition and perils of every kind, my soul is troubled within me.  I must have no less concern for each of you if I love you as myself.  The one who searches hearts knows how often concern for you outweighs concern for myself in my heart.  You should not wonder that I have so much concern for you and that great anxiety disturbs me over every one of you when I see you in so miserable a condition and in such great danger.  It is clear that we make our own snare, [...]

SERMON: Second Homily On Fasting by Basil the Great

March 1, 2015

1 Comfort the people, you priests!  Speak to the ears of Jerusalem!  Speech is of such a nature that it has the ability to increase the desires of the eager and to awaken the eagerness of the lazy and sluggish.  Thus after generals have arranged their army into a battle line, they give an encouraging speech before the battle begins, and their exhortations have such power that quite often they produce contempt of even death in the majority.  And as trainers and coaches escort their athletes to contests in stadiums, they exhort them vehemently about the necessity of toiling for the crowns, such that many of them are convinced to disdain their bodies out of ambition for victory.  And indeed, though it falls on me to array the soldiers of [...]

SERMON: The Faith In Four Days by Martin Thornton

March 28, 2013

From A Joyful Heart: Meditations for Lent There are many ways of observing Holy Week, ancient and modern, traditional and experimental, all concluding with the tremendous impact of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Day.  An obvious and exciting thing about these four days is their distinction in message and devotional emphasis.  What is frequently brought out less clearly is the essential interrelation between them; to live through these four days is to cover the calendar, virtually to live through the creed. Maundy Thursday is basically the day of the eucharistic celebration, which word has its particular theological relevance.  For significantly, the sacraments are administered; only the Eucharist, in normal [...]

SERMON: Nightmare Interlude by Martin Thornton

March 21, 2013

From A Joyful Heart: Meditations for Lent My recurrent nightmare grows out of a pastoral dilemma.  I have hinted more than once against the prevalent habit amongst clergymen of treating their congregation, not only as an audience but as a near moronic one.  In the bad old days when a congregation was regarded as a crowd of individual spectators, there may have been some excuse, but with the concept of full participation within the organism of the Body of Christ such an attitude will no longer do.  Traditional Anglicanism claims appeal to mature religion, to a laity who are informed and knowledgeable.  Yet the idea persists: everything has to be simple, nice little moral tenets, and above all, no theology. It is a nineteenth-century [...]

SERMON: Christian Cricket by Martin Thornton

March 14, 2013

From A Joyful Heart: Meditations for Lent Apology is necessary to those who do not understand cricket, more especially perhaps to possible readers from across the Atlantic Ocean.  I much enjoy the great American ballgames, their particular brands of football, ice hockey, and basketball.  Golf, tennis, swimming, and athletics are thoroughly international, while Saint Paul’s askesis analogies are confined to running and boxing.  Why not use one or other of these less esoteric games as analogy for the organization, function, individual-corporate interplay, and liturgical devotion of the Christian church?  The answer is because, as illumination and insight into all this complicated theology, the cricket analogy is unique and [...]

SERMON: The Woodlouse Sermon by Martin Thornton

March 7, 2013

From A Joyful Heart: Meditations for Lent I am very fond of woodlice: isopoda armadillidiidae.  All the best cathedral sermons have a bit of superfluous Latin, it raises the tone of the thing and makes everyone feel learned, although curiously enough we shall see that this bit of latinity is not wholly irrelevant. They are catholic little creatures because their habitat is universal, they are found under various subspecies in pretty well every country in the world.  Many such foreign species have established themselves in company with the native British variety, which conversely have managed to get themselves established in  most other countries: quite Anglican in fact. So I feel some friendly rapport with the woodlouse, and was [...]

SERMON: The Thomist Football League by Martin Thornton

February 28, 2013

From A Joyful Heart: Meditations for Lent For the sake of the uninitiated let me explain the ramifications of the English football league.  For any possible transatlantic reader it should not be too difficult to translate the analogy into the American game (this might be more difficult when we get on to cricket). The league comprises ninety-two clubs divided into four divisions.  The first division consists of the best, the top grade, and the most wealthy, with magnificent grounds and stadia.  The second division is roughly the same but not quite, and we shall see the significance of this later.  It is also important to see that there are subtle variations within these two divisions themselves, as well as something of an overlap. [...]

SERMON: Lent — My Night Knows No Darkness by Karl Rahner

February 24, 2013

Even today, the liturgical year of the church has a time dedicated to penance.  Does this not seem strange?  We certainly understand that in former centuries such at time was considered necessary for the management of the spiritual and the religious life.  People back then were full of life’s joy, satisfied and carefree, and they celebrated Mardi Gras in the streets and laughed the laughter that still came from the heart.  Therefore, they could presumably experience a brief period of recollection, of contemplative seriousness, and of ascetic restraint from life’s luxuries as a beneficial change from everyday life and for the good of the soul. What about us?  Do we not consider the proclamation of the church about the start of a [...]

SERMON: Homily On The Beginning Of The Holy Season Of Lent (On fasting) by John Chrysostom

March 19, 2012

I am pleased and delighted to see the church of God adorned today with the throng of her own children, and to see you all coming together with great joy.  I mean, whenever I look upon your beaming faces, I take it as an infallible sign of the satisfaction you feel at heart. — As the wise man said, “The face betrays the joy of the heart.”  So naturally I myself arose this morning with more than the usual enthusiasm since I was to share with you this spiritual happiness and I wanted to become a herald for you of the approach of Lent — the medicine, I might say, for your souls.  Like a loving father, you see, the Lord of us all, in his desire that we be cleansed of the sins we have committed with the passing of time, desired a [...]