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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Third Sunday after The EPIPHANY: Homily

Saint Matthew 8. 1-13
The Third Sunday after the Epiphany: 26 January 2014
(edited & revised from an earlier preached version)
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

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

   When Moses came down the mountain, great multitudes were caught with their pants down. The stiff-necked and willful Israelites had given up waiting for their fallible pastor. This is what sinners do. Today’s congregations are true brethren of those Hebrew hedonists. It’s what sin does. The “old Adam” can’t wait in patience or pray in watchfulness.  Fallen nature does not abide things unseen and un-proven.
   The Jews wanted a God Who was grand the way they desired Him to be grand. The miracles worked on Pharaoh and in the desert were good, but too far and few between to keep their spiritual immaturity stimulated after only 40 days of silence.
   The multitude didn’t follow Moses they fled from Him.  They fled from the consequences of the real Law of God: obey or die.  Many of them were slain that day. The ground ran red with the blood of unbelief.
   The Law of one’s own choosing is more acceptable.  People, just like children, love to follow easy rules that provide rewards.  It’s more “do-able” to worship a Golden Calf than an unseen Being of unwavering expectations. It’s far more affirming to perform activities of one’s own choosing than to be brought in to a Liturgy of the great “I AM” Who not only does all the doing, but still demands perfect Love.
   All sinners, all humans are diseased and lazy. Sin brings the wages that terminate the symptoms of hurt, unhappiness, depression, old age, sickness, estrangement.  That pay-off is death.  Congenital and in-born spiritual sloth results in sinners refusing, indeed being incapable of, fixing things themselves. The best that the pagan, or the sinful “old man” can do is to dance around the Golden Calf.
   When the Lord came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. “For the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. [St. Jn. 1.17]
   You don’t need Moses making you drink the ground up tablets and ordering your death by sword if you already know you’re dying and have given up hope in your own abilities to save the situation. Even as the Law need not be preached the same way at a funeral as it is on Sunday (it still needs to be preached but in a subtle way), so too the Law was thundered into the rotting puss-filled face of a Leper whose own tears and pleas showed that the Law had already done its work.  It had. “And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him, saying “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
   The Leper believed Jesus was the only person Who could heal him.  He believed Jesus was the long-promised Messiah.  It wasn’t the man’s faith that loosed him from his physical ravages; rather it was the Grace of Christ.  Jesus is the Way and the Truth, yes, but He is also the Life.  Only in Christ is there life now, through forgiveness of sins, and life hereafter through salvation worked by Grace through Faith.
   The Leper knew he couldn’t cure himself but he had faith that the Rabbi from Nazareth could. The Leper experienced first-hand, in his own body, a miracle of almost unprecedented wonder. The healing was almost singular but for the fact that even in the distant past times of Moses, God had healed Miriam of her temporary leprosy. God had healed her as only God can. And in today’s Gospel, for this newly washed and clean man (baptized into + Christ most holy), the light went on, if it hadn’t already prior to his plaintive request, Jesus is God!
   Yes, you too flee from Mt. Sinai, either pretending that it doesn’t exist or doesn’t really pertain to you--after all, you’re pretty good, you love your kids and spouse and are a patriotic citizen. And while the mountain doesn’t chase after you, the two Stone Tablets are always there sitting on your chest with all the weight of the universe: Love God perfectly or die; love that rotten neighbor—the one that defamed your family or spouse, that hurt your feelings, that let you down when you trusted in them—love them perfectly or die. Repent.
   Breathe deeply through your ears beloved leprous brethren, for the crushing weight has been lifted off of your windpipe; the cancerous tentacles have been cut off your spiritual spine, the leprosy has been washed away by the Second Mountain, Mt. Calvary.
    And yes, that mountain doesn’t come for you itself, but the God-Man Who suffered and died there does. The same Lord Jesus who healed the leper and Who healed the Centurion’s servant comes right up into your face this morning in the third and most intimate mountain; Mount Zion—the Church itself. It is in this mountain; here today, that Christ applies Himself into your ears and upon your tongues. It is here that he puts out His hand and touches your forehead, your chest, your heart, soul, spirit and mind, and says “I Am willing be cleansed.”
“Go your way, the way of Him Who is The Way, and as you have believed, so let it be done for you”
In the Name of The Father and of The Son + and of The Holy Ghost

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2nd Sunday after The EPIPHANY: Homily

Saint John 2. 1-11
2nd Sunday after Epiphany: 19 January Anno Domini 2014
Sermon Text taken from a Family Devotion written by Bishop Nils Laache c. 1884
Modified, added to, and amended by Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

   Our Lord may have performed miracles before the revelation of Holy Writ, but we don’t know them because God did not preserve them for our learning, marking, and digesting. While some consider Jesus’ encounter with the Apostle St. Nathanael (Bartholomew) in John’s Evangel [Jn. 1. 44-50] to be the Christ’s first miracle, it is our lection this morning that IS considered Jesus’ First Public Miracle!

   This supernatural wonder was done before the “12”—producing eye-witnesses and, thus, a contemporary account. This sign was done at a wedding. There is a reason, many reasons, that the Lord chose such a celebration for His revelation.

   The creator who made the earth, the vines, the grapes, and everything else—including the bride and groom—turns (transubstantiates) water into wine and thus changes this Cana ceremony from emptiness to fullness, from potential ennui into full joy!

   Matrimony is God’s core and crux of His highest creation—man; “in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”  [Gen. 1.27]  “And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helpmate for him.”  Jesus said: “a man [shall] leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” [Mt. 19. 5-6] The first two, your “parents,” become one flesh. God created this holy comm[union] and sanctified it in the sanctified garden—the original “marriage hall.”  And when fellowship with God was shattered at the tree, so too was true fellowship with one’s help-mate and head.  Since sin corrupted not just the ground and the individual’s own body, but also the beloved as well, sin has raged through the ages against all husbands and wives.  Satan understands, with a twisted animal cunning, that he rots marriages and thus perverts the true and perfect picture of Christ and His own Bride the Church.  The devil by severing man from God severs man from woman…the carnage is horrendous: adultery, divorce, spousal abuse, abandonments, abortions, rampant promiscuity, loneliness, unnatural affections, and an endless list of tears and heartbreaks.

    You the brethren of the Nazarene, like the “12” are also His Holy spotless Bride as the elect ekklesia—the Church!  And thus, you loathe and despise the falsehoods of Satan.  By the power of the Holy Ghost your new creation confesses and fights for the sacred and unbreakable “let not man put asunder” nature of Holy Marriage.

    Why did Christ let His Divine Nature peek forth for a moment at Cana? Why was this miracle shared with an unnamed couple?

   Jesus is the God/Man and all that He does, all that He is, is to forgive and save—not just to rescue and redeem, but to give Life in its abundance; to give peace and family!  Messias was in that house at that feast to drive the devil out of the banquet hall and back to hell.  The Lord was there, as He is here in this nuptial hall, to create and sustain for Himself not independent people without burdens and restraints, but a Holy People, a peculiar people strong in faith which produces good works and good hearts.  To drink the heart of God is to drink the Blood which flowed, and flows, from that heart. Water that become wine pointed forward to wine that becomes The Blood of The Lamb!

   He takes infants in His arms by the Sacrament of Holy + Washing, catechizes the young to fear God by feeding them the Word, and is with them in their own marriages “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” [Eccl. 4.12]  Jesus enters the marriage, their marriage and YOUR marriage as the Third strand Who is the FIRST and ETERNAL strand. He then twists the two strands in, with, and under Him so that unity in community would be sanctified. Christ sees that the children, the fruit of the womb, might also be Holy, fed by the Paraclete and also brought to the Font that the birthing cycle would continue in His Water and Blood.

    Jesus draws to Himself a bride on earth:for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.  For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” [Eph. 5. 23-32]

   Jesus fights for His spouse collectively and individually in each of your lives—when you are single (and the gift of purity, chaste and celibate virginity is a high, high gift indeed) or when you have a spouse.  But remember; the water of tears becomes the wine of gladness and merriment.  Water brings life and wine brings table joy!  Baptism ushers and initiates and the Sacrament of the Altar brings spiritual joy and peace.  The Lord’s time came that day in Cana, at least for a moment; His time has now come in fullness and abundance—the fast is over.

   The filthiness of your good works is cleansed and that mediocrity of cheap wine is trumped. The Law’s five stone jars is now fulfilled and FILLED with the sweet fine wine of Jesus’ obedience and atonement.

   His “Highly favoured” Mother, the Blessed Virgin, submits to His word and will, even as her “fiat” acquiesced through the Spirit’s Grace to Gabriel’s Gospel.  Mary on behalf of the Church says well: “whatever He says…”

    This is your wedding, this morning’s meal and every day’s nourishment as well; Jesus is with you!

Drink deeply spotless and pure blessed Bride. The Kingdom of Heaven is with you. The King is with you and in you!

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


* (but not like Ozzy before Sweat Leaf)

The Rev'd Dr. David P. Scaer used to say: "Gentlemen, get used to the incense NOW, because they'll be plenty of it in heaven!"

Saturday, January 11, 2014

1st Sunday after The EPIPHANY: Homily

Saint Luke 2. 41-52
First Sunday after The Epiphany: 12 January Anno Domini 2014
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

   The Holy Family went up to Jerusalem because that is what Christians do; by the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Followers of the Lord follow Him. Christians are drawn to Christ.  They had the God/Man with them in Nazareth, in their hands, but the Lord wanted them in Jerusalem at His special house where He tabernacled with His flock. The city of Jerusalem was the city of Peace—God’s special peace. It was where the sacrifices were made; it was where incense was offered up, prayers and Psalms were sung, and where blood was spilled.

   The Blessed Mother, the Guardian of our Lord, and The Christ went to Shalom to celebrate the Passover. The Passover, and it’s following Exodus, was “the” salvific act of the entire Old Testament. But it was more than deliverance of the Hebrew slaves…then…it was the “type” pointing directly to the Cross and ultimate Passover—the Passover of your sin.  If you ever take your sins and your sinful condition a bit too lightly or cavalierly (which you do every day, every moment) look up at the Crucifix and see what your sins demanded.

   The blessed physician, Saint Luke the Evangelist, records this event (no doubt shared with him by Saint Mary) because the Lord was 12 years old. 12 is the number of God’s people—the 12 tribes of Jacob/Israel reconstituted in the 12 Apostles—the Office giving the gifts of the Giver: Christ! It was THE FEAST because blood was spilled. Moses wrote by the Holy Ghost “in the blood is life.”

   Any earthly savior can talk about helping people, usually by breaking the 7th commandment; robbing one group of their money and resources to redistribute either to their own cache of mammon or to a group of sycophants and “house slaves” (let the reader understand) but a real savior gives his very own actions and life…and blood. The Savior is Jesus. It’s not just His Name it is His Person! The Savior is God. The God/Man saves by obeying His Father’s wishes and commands.

   Did the Lord at 12 need to be in the Temple? Yes.

Did He need to learn anything at the hands, the “wisdom” and knowledge of the “doctors” (the Scribes and Old Testament exegetes)? No—not according to His Divine Nature, and no not even according to His Human Nature for He knew His Work and Person from the beginning. He was there for His Mother, His step-father and for His New Testament “12”—you the Christ’s true Israel. The young Christ “increasing in wisdom and stature” had nothing to do with the Jewish experts catechizing Him but with His every step obeying His Father, His earthly family, and His will to do “His Father’s business.” The only “favour with God and man” is for the God/Man to be the Savior, the Suffering Servant, the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world—YOU!  God’s “favour” is His Grace and Mercy poured out for you—on Calvary and in the Holy Chalice of His Blood given “for you.” 

   The 12 year old God was not lost. Jesus is never lost and never needs to be “found.”  No one discovers the Christ but rather He comes to His own. His own will be in His Temple.  Not the Temple in Jerusalem but the tent, the structure, of His Word and most mysteriously in the Temple of His Body—His Body the Church for that is where His Body and Blood—the New Testament—is given for His New Testament family.

   His Father’s business is Mercy and Peace. His Father’s Business is His business for He and the Father are one. The business of Jesus is to be at the place of sacrifice, not in Jerusalem the city of David, Solomon and Nehemiah, but in the Jerusalem outside the walls of sins and unbelief—on the lonely hillock of Golgotha giving His Body and shedding His Blood for your forgiveness and restoration. “There” 2,000 years ago, and “Here” this very day.

   Ponder these things in your heart, and receive absolution, strength, and joy in your ears and mouths.  No more sorrowing, only Jesus and salvation.

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

Saturday, January 4, 2014

THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD [Transferred] : Homily

Saint Matthew 2. 1-12
The EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD (transferred)
                                                   5 January Anno Domini 2014
Fr. Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   The wisdom of this age is foolishness. It was a devilish temptation for “knowledge” that doomed Eve and fell Adam and his kin.  To “know” is not as important as to be known when it comes to the love of God in Christ Jesus. “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.” [1 Cor. 1. 22-23]

   The “wise men from the east” who came to Jerusalem were wise not because of their knowledge of the existence of Hebrew Scripture and Prophecy—but because they believed it to be true; they believed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to be true. They believed in the truth of God’s promise of the coming Messiah. They believed that He was the One “born King of the Jews”…and of the Gentiles such as themselves.

   The Magi did not come to Jerusalem for an exegetical conference or even an Israelite historical symposium—they had seen His star in the east, and simply told Herod “we have come…to worship Him.”  But to worship means that the Holy Ghost makes one submissive and passive to receive the gifts of the One worshipped. True worship is not in giving money or obeisance, but in receiving Jesus’ Person and Work.

   The only Wisdom is the Wisdom which is God. The only Wisdom is the Way and Truth of the God/Man. This deep ontology comes not in power and might, but in the revelation of weakness and poverty. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” [1 Cor. 1.27]  The Herods and Pilates are neither truly wise nor even really very mighty. They are but manipulative and clever. Herod may have had his chief priests and scribes, he may have had the ability to “read” the Prophets Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Haggai, Micah and Malachi, but without the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, without faith, he had the same vail over his eyes and heart that all law-centric Jews, Muslims, and works-righteous do.

   Wisdom, God’s Wisdom, is paradoxical. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. He who saves his life will lose it but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake will gain it. He who crucifies the “old Adamic flesh” and is buried with the convicted Nazarene will rise to die no more. Not King Caesar—for those empires are foolish and filled with lies of mammon; but King Jesus, the Suffering Servant—bound, whipped, stripped, thorned, spiked, and lifted up on cross to bleed out like the sacrificial lamb He was. The only Wisdom is in His Body and His Blood; in His Word of “Repent and Believe;” in His crushing of Satan and sin by His atoning crucifixion, and in His liberating absolution by His death and resurrection. “It is finished” gives way to “Peace to you!”

   The scandal and worldly embarrassment of a God/Man hanging on a tree like a criminal low-life, is the same scandal and humiliation of worshipping a young child as God in the Flesh.

   Hallelujah that the Spirit worked faith in the wise men making them wise like you—i.e. filled with the Word.

   The contingent from the East found the house where Jesus was. God may be in nature, and everywhere else, but He still, always, tabernacles (tents) with His children in His House of worship and prayer, His Temple of Body and Blood.  “They saw the young child with Mary His mother,” for the Christ of Scripture, the real Redeemer, brooks no sectarian, lone-ranger, independent relationships with special and individual connections. One finds Christ always and only with His Mother, the Church, because it is HIS One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of His Mother, brothers, sisters, and sons. There is no salvation outside The Church for the Church is Jesus where He deigns to be present in Word and Sacramental Word!  In Jesus’ presence, like Joshua, like Isaiah, like Peter, they “fell down, and worshipped Him,” much like we do when we genuflect during the Creed’s ultimate Gospel “and was made man!”

    Jesus certainly did not need the gifts given by the Magi, though to be sure, His Mother and Guardian used them wisely as good stewards. The gold bespoke the precious Body He would give and Blood He would shed on Calvary for your transgressions, for His sacrifice is the precious gold of God’s Grace. The frankincense, burned in the Tabernacle and Temple both in the Old Testament and in Jesus’ own day, acknowledged God’s presence and the uplifting of prayers and sacrificial hearts. The true incense would be Jesus’ pleas and intercessions to the Father on your behalf. Christ is the sweetest smelling savor of love and mercy in the nostrils of the Blessed Trinity. The myrrh “typified” the ointment which Christ’s dead Body would be treated with by Nicodemus and Joseph when He was laid in the tomb.  Your myrrh is the oil, or the Water of Holy Baptism, which lays and + dresses out your body in the tomb and Easter rising of Christ’s beckoning arms.

   It may look to the eyes of worldly wisdom that Jesus is not doing anything in this morning’s text, and that the wise men and the others are the actors and do-ers. But it was Christ, even the young child Christ, who was shining. It was Jesus, the glory of the LORD, that was rising upon all of them. The darkness of Herod and Caiaphas and all unbelievers which covered the earth was being dissipated by the brightness of Christ’s Light.  Those wise gentiles were only the first of many.

   Augsburgers, lift up your eyes of faith and see; you have been gathered together.  Fall down and worship your King—that is, come to His Table and be served; receive Him!

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

We Three Kings Of Orient Are : Kings College, Cambridge

NOTE TO ALL 5th GRADE BOYS:  No Rubber Cigars allowed!    :D

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Hymn for a New Year

Lyrics: Jay W. Watson (from Psalm 23)
Meter: 11, 11, 11, 11
Suggested Tune: Walther
Dedicated to: The Rev’d Michael A. Penikis

Christ and my Pastor they both watch over me  
Through His Holy Office entrusting the Keys 
He feedeth food healthy in the Scripture’s Word  
Preaching Law and Gospel by the Spirit’s sword 

Washed in living water from the Church’s womb   
Babes reborn and clothed in Him risen from tomb 
A conscience at peace by The Holy Ghost’s breath  
My soul is restored by His atoning death    

Now led by The Life and The Truth and The Way   
Rightly named and placed on the blood path this day 
And though only death’s evil shadow is sensed
I fear no ill whilst in dear Jesus’ Presence

His crosier and staff given to the Bishops 
He exhorts and reproves the wolves to now stop
Pastors to set forth now His Eucharist feast  
Made royal priests holy by His being least

Baptismal crowning with the oil of grace
Joy’s cup overflowing on bride’s bright new face
Lambs gently forgiven eternal to tend
Secure in His mansions and world without end


Copyright 2014 Jay W. Watson & MEGALUNEI PRESS