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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

5th Sunday after TRINITY: Homily

Saint Luke 5. 1-11
5th Sunday after Trinity: 30 June Anno Domini 2013
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

    Sin is solitary. Your “old Adam” not only wants to be “god,” the autonomous authority unto…yourself…but it wants nobody else getting in the limelight.  Thus, Hell, will be what pagans and heathens actually craved all their lives…solitary confinement.

   Not so with the Lord and His Trinitarian love and communitarian Grace. The Lord desires His sheepfold be full and wills that His table be overflowing with joyful communion!

  And it comes to pass, that, God the Holy Ghost, presses upon Jesus the Word—here at Augsburg—people, YOU PEOPLE, to hear the word! Jesus now stands by the New Lake of Gennesaret, in its 8-sided wooden veneer banks!

   The great draught of fish: “what does it mean?”

   Your sinful nature can “take it,”accept it, if it’s only a mere story about Jesus being powerful—controlling nature stuff.  Yes, Jesus is God and can make fish jump into a net; yes Jesus is the real provider of fish and of all groceries, rather than Hy-Vee and Monsanto. The sinful man, including yours, always accepts power but recoils at Grace and Mercy. Repent!

   You are not Galilean fishermen and you don’t live by the Sea of Galilee. And something else…you are not called and ordained “fishers of men;” i.e. you are not tasked with the distinct vocation of the Office of Bishop or Presbyter. His words of Matthew 28.19-20 were not spoken to you but to His Church as Church and to the Apostles and their successors as Article Five of the Augustana correctly explicates. You do not have the weight of saving the world or converting the lost on your shoulders. Repent!

   But, if no one, no fallen creature—sinful in thought, word and deed—wants to be considered a dumb sheep, how much less does your Pharisee heart want to be called a fish? Repent. Repent and take supernal JOY that this Gospel is about you being saved by Christ Jesus, by His Grace, and not of your works.

   Jesus saw and beheld those “two ships” even as He saw you and loved you from before eternity. The two ships are both, the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures as well as, the Law and Gospel—the killing and re-birthing of His full counsel! The fishermen are His Patriarchs, Judges, Prophets, Good Kings, Psalmists, Apostles, Evangelists, Martyrs, and Bishops. The nets are the preached Word.

   Jesus enters the ship because the boat is HIS One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. There is but one Church and it’s the One wherein Christ is present with His Word and His Sacramental Word: period!  Simon pilots the boat on behalf of Christ—notwithstanding the errors of protestant and lc-ms (sic) Congregationalist/Voter-democracy heterodoxy. Jesus directs that His Church sail out into the deep waters, for it is only in the depths of misery, despair, degradation, sin, death, decay, and denial that the lost are swimming…swimming away from God. Such were all of you before He netted you in the Sacrament of Holy + Baptism.

   Simon and his successors, all the Bishops of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Shawnee...simply do the Lord’s bidding: “let down your nets for a draught.”  The Word, Jesus, is preached “in season and out of season.” Jesus, not Peter, not any of us, JESUS “toiled all the night”—the night of 30 years of Commandment keeping; the night of supernatural blackness—noon to 3pm on Golgotha.  Your words, your works, Saint Peter’s words and works account for nothing and accomplish nothing. The Christ’s Works and Words fill the net and inclose a “great multitude of fishes.” In this draught there are not only cod, i.e. white German-American Republicans (sic), but also sturgeon, mackerel and tuna, i.e. Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Arabs, and others…a “great multitude” indeed.

   You have been hauled out of the deep, De Profundis, by the net of Jesus’ Words, which are in reality the very pierced, Blood-red, hands of the God/Man Himself. Jesus voluntarily and willingly let Himself be “made a worm” by your sins that He might lure, hook, and gut the great devil-fish; not Monstro of Pinocchio fame, but the dragon of Eden infamy. You have been not caught so much as rescued, brought into the “live-well” of the Ark of Salvation; placed in the pool of Jesus’ Heart and now swimming as a School of Saints in His Water of Washing and His Blood of Eucharist.

   First, with Petros, you fall at Jesus’ knees, saying: “depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” And then secondly, Jesus lifts you from your knees speaking: “Son, Daughter, I have + forgiven you, and I love you.” And then He ushers you to your exalted seat at the High Table, to be fed, not fish sticks, not even lobster, but the Paschal Lamb Himself.

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

Sunday, June 23, 2013

4th Sunday after Trinity: Homily

Saint Luke 6. 36-42
4th Sunday after Trinity: 23 June Anno Domini 2013
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In the Name + of Jesus

    Stop judging people! The 8th Commandment tells you stop doing it! Discern false teaching, repudiate false doctrine, and avoid and mark false teachers…but stop judging people.

   But you don’t. You constantly hate and hurt others. Repent.

   Forgive people! You pray every day (don’t you?) in the Our Father, that you forgive those who trespass against you, so do it! There are no exception or exclusions; you are to remit sins and set people free.

   But you don’t. You hold grudges as if they were badges of integrity and strength and not the leprous stinking sores of sin which all unforgiveness is. Repent.

   Give to your neighbor, your brother yes, but to all your Samaritan neighbors (the Mexicans, Haitians, Blacks, and “non-yous”) that you despise so much. See the face of Christ in the faces of the despised and miserable and give unto them from your bounty.

   But you don’t.  You hoard and amass your own fortune of good works and pious confessions while your neighbor lies dying naked and hungry like the publican, like Lazarus. Repent.

   You can hear the admonitions of the Lord, the exhortations of God in the flesh, and STILL you “old Adam nature” will rebel, obfuscate, and rationalize away the import…because it is still all LAW…”Do!”  And, at some level you know you don’t and can’t “do” what is demanded and required. You fear…and fear hurts, lessens and weakens, and leaves you without peace.

   The Lord is your “Light” and “Salvation;” fear not! Jesus is not mere light and saving, but even better, HE IS IN THE FLESH, “Light of Light” (i.e. God) and “THE” Savior—the Saving One—Christ & Messiah the Redeemer.

   His parable is a story but it’s truth from the lips of THE TRUTH enfleshed. You are condemning, greedy and vengeful because you are blind. You were born dead and blind. Your efforts to lead others from your own “resources” your own programs, disciplines, and “heart” are doomed to end up in the deep ditch of brimstone.

   Jesus the Master leaves the mansion and comes to the ditches of your disobedience and evil deeds. Jesus the Master becomes the servant, the suffering disciple of His Father’s love to do and be the perfect and obedient Second Adam, the True and loving Israel and to pull all of you out of the pit of pain and the ditch of damnation.

  Jesus pulls the beam, the heavy, crushing, splinter filled beam out of your eyes and lives. He takes the burden of your sins and guilt off your head by letting his Sacred head be punctured and His Precious Body be nailed onto the beam. The beam with the spear head of sin is rammed deep into His immaculate Heart so that all dead wood would be removed from your eyes and your hearts. You see and breath again because of the Blood gushing from His five wounds washing away the Five Books of Law that you can’t “do.” He had His piercing eyes shut in death by piercing wooden crucifixion so that when He opened them up again, alive on Sunday, EASTER, your eyes would be forever opened in Him. The sawdust of failure and the stench of rot is washed away + at the font, and the dead wood is alive in the vibrant Green Tree of Life at this Holy Banquet Table. Eat and drink your Master. You are perfect in Him as He is in you!

   Light and Salvation—fear not, Peace to you…

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

Saturday, June 15, 2013

3rd Sunday after Trinity: Homily

Saint Luke 15. 1-10
3rd Sunday after Trinity: 16 June Anno Domini 2013
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

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

   “If [you] say [you] have no sin [you] deceive [y]ourselves and the truth is not in [you]” [1 Jn. 1.8]

    Repent and admit that you have sin inside of you. Confess to the Lord and confess to yourself. Repent and be honest. Don’t just speak the general confession. You’ve never once just “broken” the sixth, fifth, first, or eighth commandment—there is no “generic” number anonymity with God. You sin actual sins in thought, word and deed not systematic categories. You have lusted, cheated, or looked at pornography; you have hated, loathed, mocked, or eye-rolled with contempt; you have put your time and energy into things above and instead of the Lord or refrained from assembling here to receive His gifts; you have gossiped, slandered or spoken ill of your neighbor and friend as often as your enemy. Repent. Strike your breast and say “my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault; Lord have mercy upon me a miserable sinner!”

   “I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

    Where are you right now at this very moment? You ARE in the presence of angels and archangels and the host of heaven. They are rejoicing for you and with you. There joy is yours and will soon be yours as you are ushered to the high table of joy! Rejoice!

    Don’t worry and fret about animal husbandry and agricultural knowledge. You don’t need to pull out your I-phone or Bible atlas & commentary to “study up” on lambs, shepherds and flock dynamics. You don’t presume to criticize God the 1st Person—The FATHER—based upon your understanding of your own Dad or other Fathers. The fact that earthly Fathers can beat their wives, neglect their children, or drink and gamble does not affect the perfect nature of the Loving Father Who art in heaven. One is a distorted and fallen image, an imperfect reflection in a cracked surface the other is SOURCE and TRUTH.  So too it is with lambs, sheepfolds and Shepherds. Do not judge Jesus and “The” eternal flock by the apparent “results” of your cracked and ugly pastors and your smelling and dysfunctional fellow sheep.

   The fact that in the Lord’s parable, the Good Shepherd HIMSELF does the rescue…means that here, in His actual earthly, incarnational, real-world, “means-of-grace” approach…it’s still HIM (the Good Shepherd) actually doing the... “doing!”

   So you don’t have to fret that your friend who raises sheep over in Missouri tells you one thing about how actual sheep behave or that you have countless anecdotes about how actual pastors let you down know this: THE 99 ARE SAFE!  The Good Shepherd says in John 17 “…I guarded them. I kept them safe through the Name You gave Me. None of them has been lost.”  To be sure, breath and mouth contrition for your OWN trespasses, but breathe easy about the flock and do not be consumed with angst and panic over the lost. The wandering, hiding, trapped, deaf & dumb, as well as the ignorant, mean, cussed, deliberately hiding and rebelling sheep…that is, the sheep that are part of The Good Shepherd’s family of wooly whiteness…simply CANNOT thwart the will of the Good Shepherd! 

   Again the Good Shepherd says: “I am praying for those You have given Me, because they are Yours” [Jn. 17.9] and “My sheep listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me.” [Jn. 10.27]

   Is this parable about evangelism and mission work? Well, yes.

   Is this parable about reclaiming the delinquents and sinful erring? Well, yes, such is always the joyful communion of the Church.

   But, is this parable MOST CERTAINLY TRUE about your own birth-rite, biography, and personal history? Oh yes, O joyfully YES!

   The sheep, the Lamb, away from the flock is dead. The Good Shepherd is not a Gideon Bible linked up to a solo recluse (you know, the “I find churches filled with hypocrites…and I can worship God in nature” crap) but an organic flock, ALL feeding together on the same green grass of Gospel purely preached and Eucharist rightly administered.

   Not acting like a sheep in the pasture? Well, then, be aware of the eyes, feculent breath, and glistening teeth of the circling wolves—the demons.

   Now rejoice with your Shepherd for He has called together all His friends (Adam, Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and David) and neighbors (Gentiles by the myriads) and says “Rejoice with Me; for I have found my sheep which was lost!”  He’s talking about you!

   But not just found. The Good Shepherd became a replacement sheep for you. His death in the wilderness of sin was what bought your rescue. His surrender to the wolves—to the dragon—is what freed you from the murderous maw of evil. His Blood, not gold, not ten pieces of silver, was shed so that yours would not be; He Body was bit into and His heel punctured (His life given) so that your body would rise again glorified.

   And mysteriously, sacramentally, what was poison for the wolves and the serpent, for He defeated death and Satan when He rose again, now becomes the medicine of immortality and the everlasting life meal for you: His Body and Blood as your food and drink.

   As the mother pelican vulns herself to feed her young chicks on her own blood; as an earthly Mother and Father will give up their own meals and sustenance to feed their beloved children, THIS Shepherd is Good incarnate as He feeds His flock Himself—The Shepherd for the Sheep!

   The world will murmur and gnash its teeth; nothing you can do about that. The Pharisee and scribe in your heart will mutter and curse; REPENT in the presence of angels, and of The Good Shepherd’s appointed angel, at this font and rail! And joy now in peace and mercy as He brings you the restored flock to the table-trough as forgiven sinners…and you eat with Him, you eat Him and He embraces you on His shoulders---in His arms and heart forever!

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

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2nd Sunday after Trinity: Homily

Saint Luke 14. 16-24
2nd Sunday after Trinity: 9 June Anno Domini 2013
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

   The Lord’s parable is about His Kingdom and thus, about Himself. It is about His unconditional love for miserable sinners and crushed victims of the Law. It is also about the hard-hearted and uncircumcised Pharisees who seek to justify themselves.

   So, is the “great supper” to which a “certain man” “bade many” about: election, salvation, the Eucharist or heaven on the Last Day?

   From other words, the Savior makes clear that His Father loved the world (Universal Atonement) and that whosoever believes (subjective individual faith necessary for Salvation) will be rescued. You also receive His word that “many are called but few are chosen” which, in that context, has the word “many” meaning all and “few” meaning those who come to faith through the Word.

   But rather than attempt to read your own correct theology, taken from the Lord’s full counsel, back onto and into this parable, it behooves faithful listeners to let Jesus’ Words convey His meaning in the context to which He spoke them.

   “Come for all things are now ready,” and “there is room,” and “that My house may be filled.”

   Jesus parable, while of course spoken in the presence of the “12” or now this day in the presence of the New Testament disciples, was spoken TO the Pharisees, Scribes and all the rejecting Jews, who both condemned Christ for eating, drinking and associating with unclean losers and the dregs of “proper” Jewish society, as well as actively watched and waited for Him to do “something” that they could accuse Him of to the High Priest. He also spoke the parable to condemn your own sinful nature which is also self-justifying and hateful of your fellow man.

   Paul gives Gods words, when in writing to Saint Timothy, he states “God desires all men to be saved.” [1 Ti. 2.4]  Jesus wants and commands that the Gospel be preached in all the world. The good news of the Kingdom of Heaven being “at hand” and “repent and believe” and “given and shed for you for the remission of sins” is to be heralded to the many, that is, to all ears, all nations, all peoples!

   “All things are now ready” because “for us men and for our salvation”…“the Son of God came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.”   The Feast is ready because it has been prepared! Christ bought the ground when He made the world (Jn. 1) and He bought the land back when He restored the world in HIM by lawful obedience and by taking that of the world “flesh and blood”—this “sinful dust” from the Virgin and sanctifying it perfectly in the Personal Union with His Godhood. Adam is restored in Jesus the second and perfect Adam as well as nature—though but for a little while longer, she groans awaiting her own Eden-resurrection. Christ bought and paid for, satisfied and accomplished all the plowing, by being the five yoke of oxen; by doing all that the 5 Books of Moses demanded of the Israelites. Not all the blood of beasts, not all the yokes of oxen, on Jewish altars slain…but Christ the Paschal Lamb…Whose Blood sets you free.  The plowing was made in Jesus’ own virgin Body by whip, thorns, nails and spear. Jesus planted in the tilled earth of His Work.  “It is finished” and thus no feeble excuses of having to do or to test or to “prove” can be accepted. The fatling is killed—nailed to the crucifix; the finest wines on the lees have been poured—poured out into the Holy Chalice, held and collected by attending Seraphs.

   Christ has married the “wife” of His own flesh, first by His incarnation—His redemption of all human flesh by sanctifying it in Him, and also by giving His life for His adulterous bride and washing her clean and white in the red Blood of Holy absolution.  All other “marriages” are feigned and bigamous.

   The Pharisees objected to Jesus eating with sinners. The Pharisees objected to what Jesus was feeding the sinners—Himself—His words of forgiveness and peace. The Pharisees objected to what they, “correctly” understood to be Jesus’ intimations and assertions of His identity. The Pharisees, then and now, the “old Adams” for them, and for you, objects to passively being brought into the nuptial hall, and being fed. There’s no satanic pride, or Eve-like acquiescent “empowerment” in being taken care of and clothed and fed. There are no “bragging rights” in being rescued from the dead, washed, clothed and fed like a babe.  And thus, the Pharisee will always object to being with the “poor, the maimed, the halt, the blind” because it is an open admission that he too is sinful and unclean.

   But you, dearly beloved of the Father and bought-back by the Son; you have been carried in from the streets and lanes of the city of man; you have been gathered before the creation of the world from the highways and hedges to be HERE, in THE WAY, surrounded by the hedge of Jesus’ arms, HERE in the City of God to eat His Supper. “It is finished.” The sacrifice of the Lord’s Body and Blood on Calvary has cooked the Feast in the heat of the Father’s wrath against your trespasses—trespasses which are no more.  Receive the banquet prepared two millennia ago and served up this Mass day!

   Yes, you will very soon dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at that eternal Eucharist of Life. But now, this day, His house is filled and you need His food and drink; His Body and Blood; His mercy and peace. 

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

Sunday, June 2, 2013

1st Sunday after Trinity: Homily

Saint Luke 16. 19-31
1st Sunday after Trinity: 2 June Anno Domini 2013
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus said the second commandment was like the first—love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus is God and His words are true. His words here are commandments which mean that they’re not suggestions. Jesus said “do them and live.” Do them not, and you are not just dead, but damned to hell.

  No, you, that is, your re-generated “new creation in Christ” is NOT the “rich man.” But, your old-Adam remaining sinful-self IS most assuredly like the rich man.

   Jesus tells a story. Is it true? Well of course it’s true since Jesus is THE TRUTH enfleshed and His words are truth. Is it a parable or is it history? Why do you want to know? What difference does it make for what the Lord wishes to give to you?

   “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar” speaks Jesus through the pen of His Apostle Saint John.  Jesus also said that anyone who hates his brother from the heart is a murderer.

   You are all, by Jesus’ standards, haters, murderers, and liars. Repent of your eye-rolling, smirking, anger and resentment of your neighbor. Repent of your racism, harpy-like gossip tongues and need to control and dominate others.

   You are the rich man to almost anyone else who doesn’t have as much as you have.  You share not, and you care not, because you love not as He first loved you! You are fearful of not having enough, of running out, of being destitute. Your faith weakens at times and you misuse the Scriptures and Sacraments by absenting yourselves from their presence. And so, you build bigger barns to hold your “stuff,” your mammon, while tonight your soul may be required of you—like it was of the “rich man.”

   When Lazarus died he was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom. As the Lord said to Moses from the bush that burned but was not consumed “I AM;” and as the same Lord, incarnate from the root of Jesse by the Virgin that gave birth but whose virginity was not consumed, “God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Abraham is not dead but alive in Christ. Abraham’s sprit is with Jesus awaiting the final trumpet! Even as the Apostle John rested his own head on Jesus’ bosom during the first Eucharist, “Abraham’s bosom” is a way of saying: “safe with Jesus” waiting the day of the resurrection of all flesh—secure and in peace.

   Lazarus did not go to heaven BECAUSE he was a beggar for food, medicine, clothes, or human companionship; he went to heaven because he begged for God’s mercy as a repentant sinner who knew that all good things come from the God Who is love. Even during his life Lazarus had angels, the Lord’s Old Testament Prophets and New Testament disciples/messengers, bring him daily to Abraham’s bosom—the Word of Jesus: “repent and believe, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

   When the rich man died he was drug by demons to Satan’s bosom—he went to hell: “being in torments.” In life the rich man, he did it all. He ate; he dressed in kingly colored linen; he dined sumptuously every day; he lifted his finger to his servants and they jumped; and he ignored his neighbor.  Unclean dogs, fellow mongrels with the poor man, showed more love and compassion to than this rich man.  But he did not go to hades because he was rich but because he did not believe Moses and the Prophets. He rejected the Christ of God, Jesus, because He rejected the Word of God; the words of God!

   Even in torments the rich man still presumes, still is requesting, and still is expecting Lazarus to “do for him and his brothers.” Lazarus does not see the rich man or the torments for Lazarus “is comforted.” Lazarus does not demand or speak for he is still listening to Moses and the Prophets as they all together, with all the Saints under the altar of Revelation, are too busy praying for the Lord’s return: Maranatha! Lazarus is surrounded by the Seraphs singing the Sanctus and the rich man is surrounded by the wails and gnashing of teeth.

   Moses and the Prophets gave and preached the Law to be sure. But the 10 Commandments never save, never can save. The Law only kills. Lazarus too broke the law and died. Only the Gospel of Jesus saves, because only Jesus saves! To know of this God/Man and His work, He gives the good message, the Evangel.

   The Christ Who tells this truthful story tells you the truth: “You have Moses and the prophets; hear them!” Moses in his Pentateuch preached the sweetest gospel of the forgiveness of sins and the merciful and long-suffering God of love. The prophets likewise shared the pure remission of sins for the sake of the suffering servant Messiah.  The Hebrew Scriptures are overflowing with Christ Jesus.

   Jesus said to the hypocritical “rich men” who were persecuting Him by rejecting Him: “…ye have not His word abiding in you…search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me.” [Jn 5. 38-40] Jesus meant Moses and the Prophets. For in the Hebrew words of the Pentateuch there is Jesus with forgiveness, life and salvation. To the Emmaus disciples Jesus spoke: “…then He said unto them, o fools, and slow of heart to believe All that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things…and beginning at Moses and ALL the Prophets, He expounded unto them in ALL the scriptures the things concerning Himself. [Lk 24. 25-27]  For in the Hebrew words of Joshua, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Nahum, Habakkuk and all the rest, there is Jesus with forgiveness, life and salvation.

   The rich man wanted a miracle. The rich man was like the Pharisees who demanded a sign. He was like a Greek, or an American, who demanded evidence in the way of verifiable science and empirical proof. If seeing the Lord bring Mary and Martha’s brother back to life wasn’t proof enough for hardened hearts that rejected Life and Light (c.f. John 1) than Easter morning miracles and trips to the netherworld with water on finger tips, or visions to brothers, would not be proof enough. The only proof is the Word of God which brings Jesus the Word made flesh. The Holy Ghost does not work through the signs and wonders demanded by rich men or the rich man of your falleness. The Spirit draws, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and saves through the Word of Jesus in Scripture and through the only signs and wonders that there are—the Blessed Sacraments of Baptism, Absolution and Supper—the Word attached to elements.

   If one does not hear Moses and the Prophets during this life, that is, Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of your sins, then one will be in flame. The only water to quench a hot tongue and a guilty conscience is the water of rebirth through the Word which flows from Jesus’ mouth and His riven side, into + the font…from the Blood flowing from His precious Body into the Chalice. 

   The unbelieving rich man glories in his riches unto damnation. But you glory in the loving kindness and righteousness of the Lord.

   And now the angels carry your forward to eat and drink peace and joy with Moses, ALL the Prophets, the Blessed Virgin, Saint John the Theologian, Saint Peter, prince of the Apostolic band, Jacob, Isaac, and Father Abraham.  They all testified to Jesus.  So now receive Jesus. Your sins are forgiven.

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