Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον [Luke 1. 46b]

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Saint Luke 2. 21
31 December Anno Domini 2013
Fr. Jay Watson SSP
In The Name
In The Name
In The Name + of Jesus

   “And when eight days were accomplished…”  

   Many Baptismal Fonts have 8 sides because 8 is the mystical (not as in make-believe fantasy or fictional magic but in true transcendent mystery—Sacramental fullness) number for the new beginning and eternal life in the Lord!

    God created all that is in 6 days, “rested” on the Seventh, and thus the 8th day was the “new” day, the beginning of all the rest…

    There are 8 songs in the Old Testament; the Feast of Tabernacles lasted 8 days; Elijah performed 8 miracles and his successor (given a double portion by the Holy Spirit) performed 16;  8 is the first cubic number, and both the Tabernacle and the Temple are cubic in number; there are 8 resurrections from the dead in Scripture [3 in the Old Testament, 2 in Acts, and 3 in the Evangels];  When the whole earth was covered with the flood, it was Noah "the eighth person" (2 Peter 2:5) who stepped out on to a new earth to commence a new order of things. "Eight souls" (1 Peter 3:20) passed through it with him to the new or regenerated world. The number eight has its greatest significance in that Christ Jesus the God/Man rose from the dead on the 8th day, and thus for two thousand years plus, and forever and ever, Sunday is the Day that His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is brought to meet Him again in all His fullness to receive His gifts! The eighth day Sunday is the First Day of the week and of eternity.

   “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child…”

    For the great Abrahamic Covenant between the Trinity and Abram was made in Genesis 17: “And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among  you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt Me and you…And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child…and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.”

   This Old Covenant which was carried in the flesh of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Moses, Aaron, Samson, Samuel, David, Elias, John Baptizer, and Saint Joseph—Guardian of Our Lord—(and all the other males) was the foreshadowing, the “type” of the true circumcision of the heart, which was fulfilled in Jesus.  “And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power:

In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” [Col. 3]  Thus your washing of regeneration in an 8-sided + flood of Grace. And hence the salutary inclusion of Luther’s great “flood prayer” in the Church’s Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

   But Jesus of Nazareth was not just symbolically marked and covenanted for you; He was cut into and bled for you, He suffered for you, and He had part of His sinless, immaculate, and perfect Flesh cut off for you when He was only 8 days from His Nativity!  His Holy Circumcision points to His Atoning Circumcision on Calvary for your sins and the sins of the world.  Do you like “precious moments” and cute cuddly soft and nuzzling stuff; do you like sweet babies? Your sins didn’t just pierce Him at age 33, and nail Him onto wood to be asphyxiated with your poisonous deeds, but your daily insults, mutterings, dagger-eyes, gossiping, cruel put-downs and selfish desires, cut into a baby—the Christ Child which so warmed your heart this past December 24th.  God the Father is no child abuser…you are! Repent. Repent and believe.

    “His name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.”

   The Christ, the Anointed One of God, is but a title, like King. It is true enough, but it is not His Name. His Name, first given to Moses from the burning bush, is I AM. The Great I AM is Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But His Name now and forever is also the Name given the Second Person from before eternity: JESUS—SAVIOR, for He shall save His people from their sins and from their sin! That Holy Name, “Thou shalt not take the Name of The Lord thy God in vain” is now the Name you call your Brother, which Paul told the Philippians: “that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” [Php. 2.10]

   Your baptism is not over or past, for Jesus is not over or past but here tonight to give you His Body and Blood to eat and drink. You will receive the true and real Flesh and Blood that was cut, bled, and given for your sins; you receive it not in an Old Covenant but in a New Testament of His mercy and peace—to you!  “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” [Gal. 3. 26-27]

   You were given your real name at the font. Your surname, your “second” name, helps the world know from which “tribe” or “clan” you are from. But your first name, your given name, is for a Royal Priest of the Lord’s Church; it’s your “Christian” name for it is Christ’s Name itself. You may think your name is “Joe, Charlie, Emma, or Betty” but it’s not. Your name is who you really are and to Whom you belong. Placed into Jesus’ death + and resurrection, and soon to have the same Jesus placed inside you, you are what you eat—brethren of your Savior.  Savior—Saved; Christ—Christians; “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

   Not “Happy New Year” but Happy Eternity dear Christians in Jesus. Not champagne, cognac or your 11:59 and midnight liquor of choice, but the Bread from Heaven and the elixir of immortality. It is time for “THE” Banquet and “THE” Ever and Ever, world-without-end Toast of Peace and Family for you.

In The Name
In The Name
In The Name + of Jesus

Monday, December 30, 2013

Nunc Dimittis


Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Sunday after The CHRIST MASS: Homily

Saint Luke 2. 34-35 (33-40)
First Sunday after Christmas: 29 December Anno Domini 2013
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

   Like Saint John Baptizer, Saint Simeon is a bridge or hinge between the Old and New, the Prophecy and its fulfillment. He was faithfully waiting for the consolation of Israel and He received the release—in the flesh.

   The chief result of Adam’s sin is the corruption of human nature and the loss of the Edenic image and likeness of God.  Being thrust from paradise, with all his future children also banished, man lost communion with the Holy Trinity—no more “face-to-face” walks in the garden in the cool of the afternoon.  Take heed lest ye fall!

   The danger of Lutheranism, confessionalism, or for that matter, all “isms” is that ideology, knowledge, systematics, dogmatics, exegetical prowess, and historical mastery, taken as an “end” in themselves, can cloud over the true Image of God. The Lord is not a body of “knowledge” to be mastered but Love Incarnate to be received—a Body to be touched.  Gnesio-Lutherans, i.e. “genuine” Evangelical-Catholic-Christianity, which  is YES what we all desire to have by Grace through Faith, is still no antidote to sinning daily, nor to being sinners in our old-nature core.

   Lutherans are as prone to hypocrisy and Phariseeism as anyone else. Just because you believe the truth does not mean that you’re instantly outside of time, and inside the Heavenly gates of splendor. The Church Militant grinds on, and more work and blood will be shed by martyrs such as you.  And like Simeon, Anna, Joseph and the Blessed Virgin, you too still need the Law.  

    But, the Old Covenant has been kept and fulfilled in the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day package. The Christ is the end of the Law’s curse because He  fulfilled all of those 10 Commands perfectly and then become “THE” Curse of your falleness on the Tree!  But during your remaining sojourn, like the long and difficult life of Simeon, you will still have those 10 Commandments staring you in the face like an interrogation lamp and clear mirror—reflecting back the sweating and puffy face of a dying, lying, cheating, venal, cowardly, lazy murderer.  You don’t love your neighbor as yourself: GUILTY as charged.  As bad as your breaking of this second table (Commandments 4 through 10) is, the greatest Law which you transgress every day is the reason why you can’t keep the others: “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me.” This, and the following two Commands about the Lord’s Name and His Worship, were reduced by Christ to: “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  Nope, not this One either: Guilty as charged.  This means that your sinner, your “et peccator” still requires the tutor and governor until the time appointed of the Father—your death.  But as Paul teaches, not just the Law as killing mirror is necessary, but you also need the Law as guide to your new creation, your re-born and imputed righteous New Man and Woman.  The most important death you underwent was your death to sin in Holy Baptism + where you were plunged into Christ’s watery and bloody burial at the font! There you went from being a child of wrath to a royal priest and co-heir to your Father, Abba—sons of God—true New Testament Israel in, with, and under, your Savior Christ THE ISRAEL IN THE FLESH!

    Jesus’ bondage in ropes and thorns, in spikes and nails, in hillside tomb, in death’s dark domain, frees you from the eternal death and the eternal slavery to a Law you can’t keep—now. 


   It’s not spiritual it’s fleshly.  It doesn’t happen by your work or actions, your discipline or even your “confession;” it happens by the Christ coming to you and giving Himself to you…as He gave Himself to Simeon.

   Simeon blessed the Holy Family, which means He praised God for His acts of Mercy showed to Joseph and the Virgin.  Simeon prophesied to the Lord’s dear Mother the eternal truths that all the prophets foresaw, and that the Apostles and Evangelists preached and wrote, and which you live and experience: Repent and Believe!  The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  Simeon was given that!

    The Christ-Babe, the God/Babe, soon to grow in wisdom and strength into the God/Man, was/is destined for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.  This is Law and Gospel…sin and Grace, condemnation and binding followed by forgiveness and loosing for all who believe because the Christ comes to them.  Jesus wasn’t betrayed, tortured, and cruelly murdered for being wise, and kind in His healings.  He wasn’t even crucified for being an enemy to the Sanhedrin’s unbelief and Caesar’s hegemony.  Jesus was slain to atone for the sin of the world—The Paschal Lamb slain as the true Passover so that the destroyer might pass you by.  He was slain, as His enemies maintained, for blasphemy—claiming to be GOD, I AM.  Except it wasn’t blasphemy but the Truth!  This is the sign that continues to be spoken against to this very day and moment.  The exclusivity of His revelation…“neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” [Acts 4.12]  “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” [Jn. 14.6] The scandal is His claim not of truth, but of BEING THE TRUTH ENFLESHED.  His scandal is the Flesh and Blood Itself of Immanuel—the cross, the Crucifix, which still causes nothing but rage and hatred and satanic attack!  “Under the elements of the world” as the Apostle instructs.

   Saint Simeon speaking by the Holy Spirit, “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” [1 Cor. 12.3b] also delivers a truth about Christ’s Church when he tells the Virgin: “yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  To be sure, that was a reference to Our Mother’s singular anguish at the foot of the Cross, but it was also more—a prediction of how so many heretics, heterodox, and protestant minimalists, would treat the legacy of Saint Mary of Nazareth—the “type” of the New Testament Church herself. One who attacks, besmirches, or covers Mary up, only to let her “pop out of a box” on Christmas Eve just so the Creche looks correct, is no Christian, for to dishonor or marginalize the Mother of God is to do the same to the God/Man Himself.

   And finally, talking about “boxes” leads back to Simeon and just Who He had in his hands and to Whom He was singing when He chanted the Nunc Dimittis.  So many people not understanding the Christ of Holy Scripture, The Christ of the Historic Liturgy—i.e. “His Words for us and His Service for us,” like to say... “well, you know, you can’t put God in a box.”  No, you can’t and they can’t true enough; but the Lord can choose, as He does, to work only through Word and Sacrament.  The Second Person of the Trinity can chose to take on flesh and blood from the Virgin and become Man; the God/Man for you.  He can be born from a Virgin, suck milk from her breasts, and be held in the hands of an old Hebrew by the name of Simeon; and held on the tongues of each of you this morning.

   It is meet, right, and salutary that you will sing Simeon’s Canticle at the very conclusion of the Holy Mass. For you with Simeon, have been permitted to see God, look upon God, and to hold God.

    Lord, lettest Thou Thy servants depart in Peace.

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Saint John 1. 1-14
The Nativity of Our Lord—The Feast of The Christ Mass
25 December Anno Domini 2013
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

    Of course God has no birth day. The Holy Trinity has no nativity or moment of conception, delivery, or arrival. God is not just omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, God is both infinite and eternal. God is without beginning, middle or end.  God is.    I AM.  The Lord is truly alpha and omega but not in a way that we could ever understand.

   “In the beginning” doesn’t mean that God had a beginning but that the created universe did…Scripture as reduced to stone, animal skin, papyrus, and paper had a beginning. The Church had a beginning. The Scriptures, the Bible, had a beginning…but THE WORD had no origin. The Word which you confess in The Creed… “was begotten of His Father before all worlds…God of God…”  This is deep primary theology, “God talk” that bespeaks the Son of God’s existence outside time and His total sharing of the Godhead in essence and substance. There is One God in three persons. There has always been a Triune One Lord and God. The Word was before Genesis 1.1…but not in a time-line kind of way, in a Godly I AM kind of way!

   The blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John the Divine, the theologian,” the beloved Disciple, did not know the Son of God when He was the pre-incarnate Malek Adonai, the “Angel of the Lord” the way Adam and Eve did; the way Abraham and Jacob did; the way Moses, Aaron and Joshua did; or the way Samuel and David did.  John was blessed far above all these Old Testament titans of the faith. Or as John’s contemporary fellow deacon wrote to the Hebrews in diaspora: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” [Heb. 1.1-3]

    John’s prologue is the appointed Gospel for Christmas Day because Christmas is about the Incarnation into the Flesh of God the 2nd Person. God the Father is Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is Spirit. But The Son enfleshed is both God and Man.

   The Son, as God, was before Genesis 1.1 and in Genesis 1, along with the Spirit and the Father was active and working creation.  “All things were made by Him,” Him being the Son of God, “and without Him,” the Son, “nothing was made that was made.”  This God Who was born in time, in a place, according to the plans of the Trinity: “but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” [Gal. 4.4-5]  He was given the Name above all names: Jesus—which means Savior, but He was the Christ, the Anointed One sent to Redeem…buy back by the purchase price of His physical work and obedience and by His own Body and Blood. This is what the Christ Mass is all about. You don’t have Spirits, the 1st and 3rd Persons of the God Head, fixing the mistake, the sinful treason and destruction of Eden, the poisoning of all mankind, and the attempted murder of God, by being the Second and Perfect Adam…they can’t…they are not flesh and blood. But the Son of God could and did obey where Adam, Abraham, the Israelites, David, the Baptist, John the Evangelist, and all of you do not obey. The Son of God with His Body was nailed to the Tree—did bleed the cleansing Flood of Grace to wash away all your sinful trespasses. The Christ Mass makes possible the Easter Mass, The Ascension and Pentecost Mass, and all of your Communions with the Godhead and it’s Apostle of your Peace—the God/Man Christ Jesus!

   The Baptist, says John Zebedee, was the Voice for that’s what Angelic Heralds do—they announce, trumpet, and broadcast the Good News of the Good One!  The Evangelist wants you to know that the Son of God is not only Our Man/God, the Crucified Suffering Servant of Esaias, but also the God/Man Who is “light of light, very God of very God, begotten not made.”  John’s Gospel uses this motif of “light” wherein the other Three Evangelists do not.   Light…something fallen man understands.

   The experts tell us that all babies are born with three instinctual fears: the fear of falling, the fear of loud noises, and the fear of either reptiles or the dark…which is the same thing as Satan the serpent is darkness, spiritual black.  Darkness has no positive being but is the absence of light. Before Genesis 1.1 when all there was, was the Beatific Inter-Trinitarian Love and Communion of the Godhead…it was pure Light.  Light gives light, life gives life, and love shares love with the beloved—all of you, beloved of your Father, In The Son, + through the Spirit.  Blackness, darkness, is the sinful decay and rot of the good, true, and beautiful.

    Adam and his offspring was not just plunged into a world of thorns, pain, dust, sweat, and decay leading to death, but also into the dark…the cold and lonely dark.  Jesus reverses all of that. Jesus takes away the long dark night of your soul by filling you up with Light: The Light of His tender touch—His soothing Word of forgiveness and acceptance. Everyone wants to belong, to have a home that is warm and welcoming. Everyone needs food, water, clothes, and shelter…everyone needs medicine for pain and balm for wounds…yes, but more than all of these things everyone needs to be needed, to be embraced and kissed and loved. The Light of Jesus’ face giving faith to receive His Grace is Your Christ Mass. 

   As a plant, a sunflower for example, turns towards the sun up in the sky, indeed, follows it during the course of the day—turning to always receive its warming and growing rays of radiance, so too the Christian, the brethren of Christ and children of the Father, turn by the Holy Ghost to receive Jesus’ countenance through His Word and through His Sacramental Word.  The Word is always the same: “I love you, I have made all things well, come to me and have Peace—have Me!”

   “And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth.”

   Come now and have Him dwell in you again: A Blessed Christ Mass.

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Eve of the NATIVITY OF OUR LORD: Homily

Saint Luke 2. 1-20
Eve of The Nativity: 24 December Anno Domini 2013
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   Everyone who is a sinner absolutely loves and resonates with warm feelings over a gauzy, sentimental and family Christmas Eve with attendant fuzzy homily—providing said sermon is also standard two-part Law/Gospel that contains the necessary Lutheran “buzz-words:” grace, faith, scripture, alone, and amen after 12 minutes.

   But grimy, aggravating, and boringly normal circumstances always intrude. Life happens (and I’m thinking of a more earthy word than “life”) and it happens 365.  Deliciously ironic in our own current age of confiscatory taxes, governmental intrusions, and authoritarian busy-bodies, that an empire-wide census and an additional head tax would be what the Lord permitted to bring His pregnant Mother to the House of Bread.

   Faithful Saint Joseph, Guardian of Our Lord, and our Blessed Mother, both faithful Jews (i.e. believers in the Lord’s promise to Eve of the coming Messiah) were Galileans…living amongst many Gentiles in a land cursed by the darkness predicted by Saint Jacob almost 1,900 years earlier.  Zebulun and Naphtali (Nazareth, Nain, Cana, Capernaum, etc.) were lands of the people living in a great darkness. But praise be to God a teen-aged Virgin mother would carry in her womb the Light of the World to a place where Mother Saint Rachel had died in childbirth during the nativity of Benjamin. So as Rachel, who had been barren, and Jacob, renamed Israel, had once traveled south from Bethel (House of God) only to have Rachel die giving birth in Ephrathta, i.e. Bethlehem, so too centuries later a man and His wife, Virgin not barren, would make Ephrathta and its manger the true House of God the tabernacle for the True Israel. Every place where the Bread of God is becomes Bethel as well as Bethlehem.

   In that stable the large bellied Theotokos (God-bearer) delivered her Baby. God’s Son, the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, the Angel of The Lord, Who had appeared to Saint Moses from the Burning Bush that was not burned, was delivered from Mary, out of Mary, and was her Son in every way a son is a son to its mother.

   “And she brought forth her first born Son” writes Saint Luke. The Symbols say (by way of Luther’s Smalcald Articles—Henry Jacob’s English translation): “That the Son became man thus; that He was conceived, without the co-operation of man, by the Holy Ghost, and was born of the pure, holy and always Virgin Mary.” [Jacobs p. 311]

   We whine and complain if our central air and heat don’t keep us at the proper year round temperature of comfort while we text, surf, view, listen to the entire world (the Kingdom of the prince of the air—who is a snake) while Gottesmutter, God’s Mother, is on straw and hay surrounded by oxen and mules in a stable giving birth by oil-light. Be like Paul. Stop complaining about every little thing, and criticizing everyone for not meeting your expectations, and being so self-willed all the time…maybe even now during this evening’s festival and tomorrow’s Feast, and rather boast in the Lord…glory in the Gloria in Excelsis as we join the angels again at tomorrow’s Mass in praising Jesus: Glory be to God on high.  Glory be to Him Who deigns to stoop down to earth, to a Virgin’s womb, to a manger, to water, bread, and wine, to a tiny house in Shawnee with not many more than were in the stable when the Shepherds arrived.

   As The Lord wraps Himself in flesh and blood—real cellular and DNA—official flesh and blood—His Mother wraps Him tightly in swaddling clothes. Such a wrapping, which did serve an important health and developmental purpose, was a “type,” a harbinger for when a different Joseph assisted by Nicodemus would wrap the Christ in a different set of clothes.

   Oh Mystery of mysteries, oh Sacrament of sacraments…that God and man are one in this Holy Babe. What allows us to sing truthfully TLH hymn # 104 s. 5: “Upon a manger filled with hay in poverty content He lay; with milk was fed the Lord of all Who feeds the ravens when they call?” Again the Symbols say it so well (this time by way of Jacob Andreae and Martin Chemnitz) in the Formula of Concord: “On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the Blessed Virgin, bore not a mere man, but such a man as is truly the Son of the Most High God, as the angel Gabriel testifies; Who showed His divine majesty even in His mother’s womb, that He was born of a virgin, with her virginity uninjured. Therefore she is truly the mother of God, and nevertheless remained a virgin.” [Jacobs p. 628). 

   With God all things are possible. The Lord Who can make Mary his true mother is the one Who makes you His true brothers and sisters. While you do not become God or have His Divine Nature (nor did the Virgin become Divine) you are not just his adopted sibling but you do actually share in His Nature by way of the Holy Communion of His Sacramental Body and Blood.  The Facebook meme though a bit “tired” now and an example of “preaching to the choir” is nonetheless true: “It’s not about keeping Christ in Christmas, but rather keeping The MASS in the Christ-Mass!”

   Mary laid Jesus in the feeding trough for it mysteriously pointed to His being laid tomorrow morning in the Ciborium or on the Paten in the Sacrament of the Altar, to be laid upon your tongues and into your souls!  God became man in order for man to be in communion with God once again. Bethlehem began the process of re-establishing Eden now in the Church Militant; soon in the Church Triumphant.

   God incarnate to never be un-incarnate again; to never be anything but our Flesh and Blood Lord and Brother.  He was born in a cave so that He could be laid dead in another hillside cave, forever burying your sins.  He was laid in a wooden manger so that He could later be laid out on a wooden Crucifix to atone for your falleness.  He was lulled to sleep by doves and snuffling donkeys so that during Palmarum He could be carried into Jerusalem on a donkeys back, to be not just the redemptive price of two-turtledoves (the God/Man) but the very Paschal Lamb Itself—the Propitiation for the world!

   The Christmas star shines bright this evening as it is Christ Himself in His Word lighting your way to His pulpit, font and altar.  Shepherds, Guardians, Saints, and Angels sing with you this eve as you too will soon find the Babe, the Son, lying in a manger for you.  Fear not.  I bring you good tidings of great joy. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, on this altar, PEACE, God’s will and food for men!

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Saint John 1. 19-28
Rorate Coeli: 22 December Anno Domini 2013
Fr JW Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

   Is this your record? If so, then who are you? What is your self-identity—your confession and profession of self? Are you an American, Patriot, Conservative, Traditionalist, or Confessionalist? Do you stand on your biological or social functions? Are you a Man, Woman, Husband, Wife, Father, or Mother? Are you White, Hispanic, African-American, or Asian? Are you a Capitalist, Communist, or Fascist?  I don’t care. The Lord doesn’t care.  He loves Socialists as much as you—you’re both thieves, but He came to forgive thieves—like Saint Matthew and Zacchaeus for example.  He loves gays and hookers as much as He loves you. You’re all breakers of the 6th Commandment, but He came to forgive the sexually (and spiritually) impure—like David, the Woman at the Well, and the Magdalene.  John 3. 16 is true!

   This text isn’t about you. This record, these Sacred Scriptures, is not your record—if by “your” you assume you’re the star, hero, and center of the action. Yes, you are the object of the action but not the Subject.  Scripture is the Lord on paper with pen—giving you the Lord’s Body and Blood, Mouth and Words, Heart, Soul, and Actions. 

   The Christ had been busy teaching with wisdom and authority—backed up by “signs,” mighty miracles, that hearkened back and reflected the LORD’S great miracles of Old Testament times. And now there was this Nazarene Rabbi—why, there had not been such mighty acts of physical deliverance in Israel since the days of the great Prophets…and Moses himself.  Very soon Jesus would ask the “12” themselves Who they thought He was…but in today’s text, it’s the Baptizer’s stage as he is permitted to again point to the Lord, even as he slides off into the wings of the stage giving the Holy Spirit sole spotlight on the Paschal Lamb.

   It’s the same today. If priests, and Levites, if pastors, televangelists, youth-leaders, CCR artists, district officials (sic), DCO’s, DCE’s, bloggers, podcasters, and self-appointed Confessional “Maharishi’s” don’t know the answer to the questions: “Who art thou,” when applied to both John and to Jesus…they should be ignored at worst, and resisted and driven out at best.

   John’s confession must be the testimony of every pastor, parishioner and faithful Christian: “I am not the Christ.”  There are no ministries based upon, or founded upon, personal charisms, gifts, private revelations, or self-calls. There are no independent churches or break-away groups. There is only the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church established by Christ.  There are, to be sure, some administrative, historical, and ethno-political “hiccups” that have ruptured perfect outward unity, over the centuries, and we pray and strive for family unity; but the Church of the Scriptures; the Church as historically understood; The Church of the Creeds and the Councils, is One. The Church is One in understanding Christ’s identity and work.

   John’s personal opinions about Judean society or the political realities of Herod and Caesar didn’t matter.  My personal opinions on extraneous political issues don’t matter. All eyes, your eyes, must be directed to the Word. And when you’re just too lazy to read and digest the Word, then your head, like a mule must at least be turned to the Crucifix, to the Font (your + Baptisms), the Communion Rail and the gifts given out there/here!

   They, the enemies of Christ, asked John if he was Elias come back to life.  Whether they were mocking him or not (although Pharisees did believe in the resurrection of the dead) they at least demonstrated knowledge of the Greatest of Old Testament Prophets: Saint Elijah of Mount Carmel.  So, how’s your knowledge of the Second Book of Kings?

   John, in his old-man sinful nature, was as vain and conceited as anyone else. John had to resist the urge to exude or demonstrate personal superiority in his unique and greatest of missions.  But by the Holy Spirit’s constraint John was able to recede and become less so that Jesus would become more, and be The focus and center.

   Elias lived on in John like no other before, then, or ever to come.  I know Dr. Luther…and Luther was no Saint John Baptizer.  And still, John lives on today in the Word Made Flesh being proclaimed, applied, and fed into Christ’s family.

   I AM, the LORD Almighty, lets His called and ordained bind and loose…and oh how Christ smiles in joy, and Angels sing, when one little lamb is found, and in repentance is loosed to be clothed and fed and given safety!

   “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness [I by virtue of my Office as a called and ordained servant of The Word] make straight the way of the Lord [repent and believe for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand], as said the prophet Esaias…as say all under-shepherds and presbyters (pastors) under orders from their Over Shepherd.  Though your sins be as scarlet, I forgive you all your sins in the Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost.  John baptized with water, Jesus baptized with Blood and Water; with Body and Absolving sighs and groans.  I baptize with Jesus PRESENT in His Word and Sacramental Word.

   Jesus Who was born of the Blessed Virgin a few months after John, Who arrived in a public ministry after John’s mission of God was initiated, is preferred before John, that is, was before John.  As Christ said: “Before Abraham was, I AM.”  The Son of God is eternally begotten and not made. The Word of God is not One Who “became” but is THE ONE Who always was.  John was not worthy to untie the Christ’s sandal strap…true enough, but The Lord stooped His sacred Head to let John Baptize Him, wash your sins onto His innocent head, the Scapegoat Savior!  Jesus ties upon John and upon all of you, His robes of royalty and salvific security; He stoops down to wash John’s feet along with the “12” along with yours, and He ties the latchets of your shoes because He allowed Himself to be stripped and beaten and crucified for your trespasses. 

   “These things WERE done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John WAS baptizing.”

     These things are being done in Shawnee beyond the Kaw, where Christ is baptizing, loosing, and feeding.

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

Thursday, December 19, 2013

ADVENT Mid-Week III: Homily

1st Corinthians 4. 1-5
Advent Midweek Vespers III: 19 December Anno Domini 2013
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

Grace Mercy and Peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord + Jesus Christ.

   Paul writes to a very difficult congregation—the Christian parish at Corinth. These new Christians were surrounded by wealth, entertainment, sports, food & drink, cults, pagans, antagonistic Jews, and a Militaristic preoccupation with State. And what does Paul do? He doesn’t start a rival political party or movement (the Olive Party or Myrrh Movement); he doesn’t start his own talk-show (the Faith Forum with Rabbi Saul-bo); and he certainly doesn’t start, lead, put at the center, crux, and heart, a “list of do’s and don’ts.”  Paul talks Incarnation. Paul talks flesh and blood. Paul talks—Gospels—Jesus. This is because Paul is THE Prophet of Christ’s Advent: Past, Present and Parousia.

   “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Therein you find Paul’s mandate and “marching orders.” What the Christ did for His “12” on Easter Eve and Quasimodogeniti Eve, He did to Paul as well in Damascus, in the house of Judas on Straight Street. The Lord Christ breathed on Saul as He had breathed on denying Peter, wrath-filled James, jealous Philip, doubting Thomas and the rest. Jesus used another of His instruments, the truly “forgotten disciple” and anonymous pastor, St. Ananias “the brave.” In a vision Jesus told Ananias to go to the house of one named Judas and meet the Christian-killer Saul of Tarsus for “he is a chosen vessel unto Me to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the Children of Israel. For I will show him how great things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.” [Acts 9. 15-16] Ananias was a faithful minister and steward of The Word and did what he was elected, called, and graced to do—he went into the ‘lions-den’ and: “putting his hands [the Hands of Jesus] on him said [the Breath of Jesus], Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” [vv. 17-18]

  The killer became the pardoned. The adversary became the ally. The disbelieving Jew became the believing brother and vessel of the God/Man! “Let a man, (Jews, Gentiles, kings, all creatures,) account of us...(us now including Saint Paul,) as of the ministers of Christ…” Ministers: is the English of uperetes (hupayratus)…helper; one in service to another. Paul would usually refer to himself thereafter as diakonos—deacon. And when Paul said he was a servant of Christ Jesus, he meant slave. For now His Master, His Messiah was not his own twisted Pharisaical imaginations and self-works, but the Living and Resurrected God/Man in the Flesh and Blood! Now the mysteries were the same revealed Words of Hebrew Scriptures which Paul had thought he knew so well. Now, Paul is known by Jesus, loved by Jesus, and is appointed a “steward[s] of the mysteries of God.” Paul received meat and was strengthened. Soon he would receive more of what all the Lord’s Baptized need, the “Meat of the Word” which always follows the “Milk” of the Word. Soon he would receive and distribute the Very Word made Flesh in the Sacramental Body and Blood of His Incarnate Redeemer.  Paul would be taken not only into the Arabian desert but also into the Third Heaven—the throne-room of the Ascended Christ sitting on the Right Hand of Majesty—to be filled with the Three-in-One, in the Person and Face of the Incarnate Man of Bethlehem and Galilee. Paul was called and ordained to be a “steward[s] of the mysteries of God”—a house servant/slave of the mysterions of God. Mysterion is also translated as Sacramentum, or Sacrament[s].

   As Adventide draws to a close, as the great Feast of The Nativity is close—The Lord “stands at the door,” we celebrate the remembrance of the Bethlehem stable and manger—the Fruit of the Annunciation and Incarnation of God by the Holy Spirit of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Adventide 2013 moves to the Eucharistic Feast of the Christ-Mass 2013, we celebrate the Advent King’s Imminent Return in Glory to take us home…but we also have our Home, temporarily HERE at His stable, manger, crèche, altar, Table of Communion! All of this December preparation is not about snow, presents for our loved ones, legends of Saint Nicholas, evergreens, lights, and eggnog. Our lives are in, with and under the Incarnated Jesus PRESENT: Immanuel!

   Paul, like Mary of Bethany, knew the one thing needful: “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” [1 Cor. 1. 22-23]

   But Christ is not a slogan, program, systematic text book, or distant memory. Jesus is not a way of life, He IS LIFE. Jesus is not a body of knowledge, He IS KNOWLEDGE.  Jesus is not “out there,” He IS INCARNATE for you!

    Baptism is a Sacrament.  Absolution is a Sacrament. Marriage has Sacramental characteristics and the Symbols do not wish to quibble over semantics. The Eucharist is considered not only the pre-eminent Sacrament but the Very New Testament itself—Himself. But all of these are predicated upon; depend upon Christ Incarnated the TRUE AND ULTIMATE Sacrament, Sacramentum, and Mysterion.  Paul the Advent Apostle of Hebrew and Greek, of Jew and Gentile, of Old Covenant and New Testament speaks into your ears: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations.”  That mystery is, which Paul and all his successors over the centuries have stewarded and guarded so that they might give Him to you freely by Grace to your Faith, the Body and Blood; the Word, of Jesus Christ.

   Jesus’ obedience to the Decalogue which you break is your obedience. You joyfully can now fight the fight of love, duty and compliance because your Advent King fights for you and intercedes for your daily sins. Jesus’ Paschal Mystery atoning for your guilt and rightful punishment on Calvary is your liberation and complete verdict—not guilty—Alive in His Resurrection and Eternal reign—His physical, bodily, Incarnated reign.

   “Moreover it is required in stewards, (and in disciples), that a man be found faithful.” You are faithful because Jesus is faithful. You have faith because Jesus is faith in Flesh. Happy Advent to Saint Paul.  Happy Advent my fellow martyrs.

In the Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost

Saturday, December 14, 2013


“Gaudete, Gaudete”
Saint Matthew 11. 2-10
Gaudete: 15 December Anno Domini 2013
                                                           Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

    Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!” The Third Sunday of Adventide is named Gaudete Sunday because the Introit has Philippians 4.4 as its antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, Rejoice!”

   How fitting that one of the most recognized, used, and beloved of all icons (even amongst us Evangelical-Catholics of the West) is the triptych of Christ enthroned on a center panel, flanked on the right by the Blessed Virgin and on the left by Saint John Baptizer.

   John is the last of the Old Testament Prophets. Saint Mary is the type of the New Testament Church.  Both are on the Lord’s flanks looking at and toward Salvation in the flesh—the Advent of release and Peace. “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” booms John. “Whatever He saith unto you, do it” intones Our Mother. For as the Archangel said, so it is: “Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee.” The greatest of women and the greatest of men are both pointing to and bowing to the God/Man who has loosed them from prison and regarded the low estate of a handmaiden. Jesus made the one strong to withstand the shaking of the winds of trials and physical depredations. The Lord fed the Baptizer with faith by Grace that this man accepted locusts and wild honey as suitable sustenance—for He had Christ to eat as His true Bread of Life. The Lord so clothed him with absolving love, and peace of conscience, that he was content with camel hair garments and a leather girdle. Jesus chose John and made him not just the last of the Prophets but the Elias to come…the very “messenger before Thy face.”

   Jesus, God of God, made the other His mother, God’s Mother; crowning her with the eternal title “Blessed Virgin” for she is as Gabriel gospels “blessed…among women.” Indeed, Saint Mary herself filled with the Holy Ghost sings “Megalunei” as Saint Luke records…”Magnificat” as Saint Jerome translates, and, as you sang Thursday past “My soul doth magnify the Lord” in the Church’s greatest canticle of praise.

   A pregnant teen-aged mother not sure whether her heretofore fiancé is going to marry her or “put her away” has the presence of Christ sustain and bring hope and perseverance. She who was gossiped against and ridiculed in her home-town as mother of an illegitimate child, had the reality of the Lord’s imminence and love to give her comfort and balm. And, the other one rotting away in a vermin infested cesspool of a prison, knowing that Herod’s blade is fast approaching, had the works of Christ confirming the revelations of God the Holy Spirit.  These works of the Savior brought John courage and inner joy even in his upcoming martyrdom.

   So, all the questions about whether John lost faith while in prison; did he doubt; was this an existential moment of despair or fatalistic resignation, are wrong at best and diabolic at worst. John, like our Blessed Mother Mary, was a sinful human in thought, word, and deed. Of course John’s faith was not perfect. Like you, his prayer life was not perfect nor was His Scripture study all that God demands in keeping the First Table. But to pull down the Baptizer to some lower level in a misguided and twisted egalitarian/American scrum of democratization is un-Christian. There are all the Saints to be sure, the “Communion of Saints.” And then, there are the titans of the faith, the Martyrs of the Merciful One, Saint Stephen, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Polycarp, and others. There are the indispensible pillars of reflected light: the Evangelists, Saint Moses, Elias, and of course Saint Mary herself. And there is John as Christ describes him in Matthew 11: “verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” [Mt. 11.11a]

   No, John knew Who Jesus was…Scripture is irrefutable on this.

   “Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples.” Full stop! John had seen Jesus at the Jordan. John had seen the descent of the Paraclete. John had heard the voice of the Father. These three auditory and visual manifestations had confirmed all that the Spirit had already revealed to John. John had both read the Old Testament prophecies but also had special revelation.  But then, John went his way and the Christ went his way. John was soon arrested and placed deep into darkness. John did not witness the healing miracles that the Lord had worked thus far.

   When John, as the Evangelist Matthew records for us, finally heard of Jesus’ great signs, he was overjoyed in this confirmation. He knew it would be what his own “hangers-on,” his own last few followers, needed to see and to hear in person. So, John sends the final two of his students to become disciples of the only true Teacher of Truth: The Truth.

   This Gospel text is not about John and not about Mary and not about the two disciples. This event is about the Word that is confirmed by THE WORD. Scripture, the Old Testament, is confirmed in the Flesh and Blood and Voice of the Nazarene: “The bind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” 

   You were blind in your damning sin. You were living in a darkness far blacker and filled with more despair than John’s prison cell. Jesus spit and made new restorative and regenerative clay, not of the earth, but of His Flesh and Blood, and placed it on your eyes to open you to His Light. You were lame. You were bent over and crippled not with polio or arthritis or some exotic palsy, but with an Old Adam curvature of self—causing you to grown twisted and malevolently in on your own foul heart. Jesus touched you with the hem of His garment, placed His own robe upon you and straightened you and lifted you up off your pallet; He dipped you in the New + Pool of Siloam and His waters energized your mended body and bones.  You were leprous but Jesus washed off your lesions, pustules and scars with the salve of His precious cleansing Blood. You were deaf but the Lord’s fingers, His punctured palm-tips placed His Word of Peace and Forgiveness into your ears—and thus into your hearts. You were dead and filled with the venom of enmity and hatred towards God. But Christ resurrected you from the + Font wherein He buried you with Him into His death and raised you again in His Easter Resurrection. You live; you are forgiven; you are at Table with your Master, your Meal, and your merciful Messiah!

   My fellow poor, my fellow prison mates, my fellow brothers and sisters of our Mother, Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!  Deus homo factus est!

   John is freed from his prison given back his head—Christ the Head—and seated with the Virgin, the Sabaoth, the Saints, and shortly all of you.

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost