sermon

SERMON: The First Sunday after the Epiphany, by David Curry

Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2) The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany, the last and great festival of Christmas. Epiphany is, as it were, the Christmas of the Gentiles, for in the journey of the Magi-Kings, the birth of Christ is made known to all the nations of the world. As a 17th century Anglican divine, Bishop John Cosin of Durham puts it: Christmas has been indeed a feast of joy to us all this while but our fullness of joy comes not until now, for the Angelic tidings of joy came first to the shepherds, to Israel, to those near at hand, but upon this feast it is omni populo (to all people), news which the star brought to all the world, and to us [...]

SERMON: From Sorrow To Joy, by Charles Spurgeon

Your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (John 16:20) Our Lord was very honest with his followers when any enlisted beneath his banner. He did not profess that they would find an easy service if they took him to be their leader. Over and over again he stopped some young enthusiastic spirits by bidding them count the cost; and, when some said they would follow him wherever he might go, he reminded them that though the foxes had holes and the birds of the air had nests, yet he had no where to lay his head. He never duped any man. He told all the truth to them, and he could honestly say to them, If it were not so, I would have told you. He kept back nothing which it was needful for them to know in enlisting under his name. In this verse he [...]

ALL SAINTS: A Negative Definition, by L. R. Tarsitano

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19) In this octave of All Saints’ Day, on one of eight days when we consider every year what it means to be called to be the “saints” of God, we would do well to heed this negative definition from Saint Paul. One of the best ways to know what a saint is is to know what a saint is not. I think that it was the Renaissance artist Michelangelo who explained that when he worked in marble, he didn’t so much try to carve an image as to take away any of the stone that did not [...]

HOMILY: Towards Holiness, by Josemaría Escrivá

We are deeply moved, and our hearts profoundly shaken, when we listen attentively to that cry of Saint Paul: This is God’s will for you, your sanctification.  Today, once again, I set myself this goal and I also remind you and all mankind: this is God’s will for us, that we be saints. In order to bring peace, genuine peace, to souls; in order to transform the Earth and to seek God, our Lord, in the world and through the things of the world, personal sanctity is indispensable.  In my conversations with people from so many countries and from all kinds of social backgrounds, I am often asked: What do you say to us married folk?  To those of us who work on the land?  To widows?  To young people? I reply systematically that I [...]

SERMON: Men In White, by Graeme Hotter

The other day I was listening to the radio in my car and heard an interview with a lady called Genelle Guzman-McMillan who was the last survivor pulled from one of the twin tower buildings. She had written a book that is called Angel in the Rubble which is all about the 27 hours she spent pinned under the tangled mess of steel and concrete. She wasn’t a Christian before the terrible event but she became one because of it. While trapped in the darkness she cried out to God time and time again. Just before the rescue crew got to her, a man came to her through the hole that her hand was stretched out in and said his name was Paul. He comforted her and placed his hands around her one outstretched hand that was free. When the rescue crew [...]

SERMON: Why Stand There Looking Up Toward Heaven?, by C. S. Song

From And Their Eyes Are Opened So when they [the disciples] had come together, they asked him [Jesus], “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”  When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  While he was going and they were gazing up toward Heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.  They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking [...]

SERMON: Love Thine Enemy, by George MacDonald

  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48) Is not this at length too much to [...]

SERMON: Sympathy With Saints And Martyrs, by John Keble

Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter v.9) When people are sick and in bad pain, we know how apt they are to imagine, Surely never anyone was so afflicted as I am.  How often do we hear them say, they are sure no person living can have a notion of what they suffer: no tongue, they are certain, can tell, no thought imagine it.  Yet all the while, physicians and nurses, and those about them, who are experienced in sickness, can tell them a good deal about their own feelings.  When they see their patients cast down with the notion of there being something new and strange in their trial, something worse than others have to bear, they would tell [...]

SERMON: The Mysteriousness Of Our Present Being, by John Henry Newman

I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14) In the very impressive Psalm from which these words are taken, this is worth noticing among other things, — that the inspired writer finds in the mysteries without and within him, a source of admiration and praise. “I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works.” When Nicodemus heard of God’s wonderful working, he said, “How can these things be?” But holy David glories in what the natural man stumbles at. It awes his heart and imagination, to think that God sees him, wherever he is, yet without provoking or irritating his reason. He has [...]

THE CHURCH YEAR: Rogation Days, by James Bordner

The Reverend Father James Bordner serves St. James Anglican Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the father in my name, he will give it you. (John 16: 23-33) Today, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, (the four days before Ascension Day) are known as rogation days (or days of fasting and preparation for our Lord’s Ascension). It was a part of the church’s calendar from about 470 A.D. till 1970 when it was dropped from the calendar. It comes from the Latin word “regare” which means “to ask.”  Farmers would ask the priest to bless the crops and in some parishes the priest and choir would process around the boundary of the parish praying for its protection in the coming [...]

SERMON: The Canaanite Woman, by Bede the Venerable

Then 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 [...]

SERMON: Welcome, Dear Feast Of Lent, by Mark Haverland

…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: Returning Good For Evil, by John Chrysostom

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)   If we are to attain to the kingdom of Heaven, it is not enough to abandon wickedness, but there must be abundant practice of that which is good also. To be delivered indeed from hell we must abstain from wickedness; but to attain to the kingdom we must cleave fast to virtue. Know ye not that even in the tribunals of the heathen, when examination is made of men’s deeds, and the whole city is assembled, this is the case Nay, there was an ancient custom amongst the heathen, to crown with a golden [...]

SERMON: The Candle Of The Lord, by Phillips Brooks

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord. (Proverbs 20:27) The essential connection between the life of God and the life of man is the great truth of the world; and that is the truth which Solomon sets forth in the striking words which I have chosen for my text this morning. The picture which the words suggest is very simple. An unlighted candle is standing in the darkness and someone comes to light it. A blazing bit of paper holds the fire at first, but it is vague and fitful. It flares and wavers and at any moment may go out. But the vague, uncertain, flaring blaze touches the candle, and the candle catches fire and at once you have a steady flame. It burns straight and clear and constant. The candle gives the fire a [...]

SERMON: The Coming of Jesus Into Our Midst, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20) When early Christianity spoke of the return of the Lord Jesus, they thought of a great day of judgment. Even though this thought may appear to us to be so unlike Christmas, it is original Christianity and to be taken extremely seriously. When we hear Jesus knocking, our conscience first of all pricks us: Are we rightly prepared? Is our heart capable of becoming God’s dwelling place? Thus Advent becomes a time of self-examination. “Put the desires of your heart in order, O human beings!” (Valentin Thilo), as the old song sings: Our whole life is an Advent, a time of waiting for [...]

SERMON: The Earthly And Heavenly Citizenship, by Isaac Williams

…No one serves an Earthly master so faithfully, no one honors an Earthly king so truly as a good Christian, because he does it for the sake of a Divine Master and a Heavenly King. Now this the Gospel sets before us in a very memorable incident and divine saying, to which it gave rise. When our Lord was teaching in the temple, a few days before his death, we read, Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that Thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute to [...]

SERMON: All Saints And All Souls Day, by Karl Rahner

All Saints day and All Souls day are the feasts of every saint and of every soul who has died and gone home into the eternal love of God.  All of them and therefore not only those already celebrated by name in the church’s feasts throughout the year but also the silent, unknown ones who have departed as if they had never even existed.  There are no legends about them; their lives are recorded neither in poetry nor in history, secular or ecclesiastical.  Only one person knows anything about these saints, and that of God.  He has inscribed their names in the book of life, which is the heart of his eternal love. But we are supposed to celebrate these saints who are not known to us by name.  How can we do this – really do [...]

HOMILY: Three Movements Of The Christian Life, by Pope Francis

From Walking With Jesus Homily for the Mass with the cardinals, March 14, 2013 In these three readings for today’s Mass, I see a common element: that of movement.  In the first reading, it is the movement of a journey; in the second reading, the movement of building the church; and in the third, in the Gospel, the movement involved in professing the faith. Journeying.  “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord,” (Isaiah 2:5).  This is the first thing God said to Abraham: Walk in my presence and live blamelessly.  Journeying: our life is a journey, and when we stop moving, things go wrong.  Always we are journeying, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with the [...]

SERMON: The Day of Visitation, by Isaac Williams

If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! (Saint Luke 19:42) When the Epistles and Gospels were ranged differently to what they now are, the Epistle for last Sunday attached to the Gospel for today added a peculiar force to it; for the Epistle gave warning of Israel in the wilderness not entering into God’s rest, while this Gospel speaks of the Israel of later time being in like manner wept over by their own Messiah, and by Him cast out of His temple; and both for the same reason, on account of God being forgotten in the love of this world. But our Epistle for today has for us in store another lesson of edification. Let us endeavor to read and ponder it with the light of God’s [...]

SERMON: The Lord’s Supper, by Martin Luther

Of Confession And The Lord’s Supper In General Although I have often preached and written on the Lord’s Supper and Confession, yet annually the time appointed for the consideration of these subjects, for the sake of those who desire to commune, returns, and so we must review them in a summary and speak of them once more. In the first place, I have often enough said that Christians are not obliged to commune on this particular festive day, but that they have the right and authority to come whenever they desire; for God established the office of the ministers for the purpose that they might at all times serve the people and provide them with God’s Word and the Sacraments. Therefore it is unchristian to force people under [...]

SERMON: Following the Lamb of God, by Isaac Williams

…Thus terminates the Epistle for today, speaking of the lost sheep who have returned to the Shepherd of the soul; and then the Gospel gives our Lord’s own account of the good Shepherd who dies for His sheep, Who knows them all, and brings them that have been scattered abroad into the one fold. And thus again is He brought before us in a new and endearing character and relationship, over and above all that was said in the Epistle. For in the Epistle He is as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world; He would fix our eyes on Himself in His sufferings, that when we see Him upon the Cross we may learn to be of the same spirit, and derive inexpressible comfort and strength from His atoning Blood. But in the Gospel for [...]

HOMILY: (excerpt) Christ the Good Shepherd, by St. Gregory The Great

“I am the good shepherd.  And I know my sheep,” (that is, I love them) “and my sheep know me.”  It is as if he said plainly: “Those who love me, obey me.”  For those who do not love the truth do not yet know it. My dear brethren, now that you have heard of the test I must undergo, consider how these words of the Lord imply a test of your own.  Ask yourselves if you are his sheep, if you know him, if you recognize the light of truth.  What I mean is that you recognize it not simply by faith but by love, I mean, you recognize it not just by belief but by action.  For John the apostle, whose words we have been discussing, also said: “He who says he know God but disobeys his commandments is a [...]

SERMON: A Homily For The Feast Of Epiphany, by John Chrysostom

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Judea, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying: Where is that is born king of the Jews. For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. Isaias had foretold that this would come to pass, saying: The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Apha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense: and showing forth praise to the Lord. (Isaiah 60:) This is He, Christ the Lord, whom the Magi, having seen the sign of the star, announce as the King of the Jews. Things unheard of, and exceeding the measure of human astonishment, all took place together at the birth of our Lord. An angel appears and speaks to Zachary, promising that [...]

EASTER: Easter Sermon, by St. John Chrysostom

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord! Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages! If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay. For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the [...]

SERMON: Easter — Not Magic But Mystery, by J. R. Burkholder

We are standing in the darkness before the dawn – facing the tomb.  It is empty.  Where is the light of Christ? From the very first, men and women have been baffled by the claim that Jesus was risen from the dead.  “He is not here, for he is risen.” Thus the Gospels tell of mixed and contradictory emotions – fear and great joy, (Matthew 28:8) – and diverse responses: when the eleven came to Galilee, (28:17), we are told that some worshiped and some doubted. Luke’s account puts it even more bluntly; the words of the women witnesses “seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them,” (Luke 24:11). In John’s Gospel we walk through the struggle of doubting Thomas  – and who [...]

SERMON: The Gospel Feast, by John Henry Newman

When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?” (John 6:5) After these words the Evangelist adds, “And this He said to prove him, for He Himself knew what He would do.” Thus, you see, our Lord had secret meanings when He spoke, and did not bring forth openly all His divine sense at once. He knew what He was about to do from the first, but He wished to lead forward His disciples, and to arrest and open their minds, before He instructed them: for all cannot receive His words, and on the blind and deaf the most sacred truths fall without profit. And thus, throughout the course of His gracious dispensations from the [...]

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

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

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 [...]

HOMILY: Such Love, by Bonaventure

Her many sins have been forgiven her, for she has shown great love. (Luke 7:47) First of all, let us ask. . . . Dear friends in Christ Jesus: According to the tradition of sacred scripture, when the world lost its wholeness, “woman” who had been created to help “man” became, in an important way, a stumbling-block for him.  She was involved in the loss of his integrity for, through her, man stumbled into sin; she was also involved in his delay to repent for he used her as the motive to counter his own blame.  Both were important failures.  To right the balance, in the rebuilding of the world, “woman” is also presented to us – first, as a mirror of integrity and second, as a model for repentance. [...]

SERMON: The Fire And The Calf, by Phillips Brooks

So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. (Exodux 32:24) In the story from which these words are taken we see Moses go up into the mountain to hold communion with God.  While he is gone the Israelites begin to murmur and complain.  They want other gods, gods of their own.  Aaron, the brother of Moses, was their priest.  He yielded to the people, and when they brought him their golden earrings he made out of them a golden calf for them to worship.  When Moses came down from the mountain he found the people deep in their idolatry.  He was indignant.  First he destroyed the idol, “He burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel [...]