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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Festival of The REFORMATION (transferred): Homily

Saint Matthew 11. 12-15
The Festival of The Reformation [transferred] 30 October Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus

    From the days of John the Baptist, indeed, from way before the days of Saint Baptizer “old Adam” has punished us all with the lies of Satan! The deceiver spoke to the woman “you can be like God!”  How noble, exciting, and heroic. Even Milton put a spin on the perfidy of the snake by making him quasi-bold and existential—a “self-made serpent!”

   So the danger of even an historically significant event in the life of the Church, such as the Festival of The Reformation, is, that our sinful selves will always seek to turn it into an excuse for self-pride and self aggrandizing triumphalism; i.e. theology of glory!

   Yes, Dr. Luther was courageous and fearless in the face of real physical danger—so too were his compatriots: Dr. Melanchthon, Fr. Bugenhagen and the rest. But, as in the celebration of any Saints Day, the emphasis is never on the merits of the Brother-in-Christ, no matter how brave and confessional.

   The focus of your eyes, and your spiritual eyes, is on The Christ; “The Brave One,” and The Confession of The Truth, The Way, and The Life!

   Polycarp like the martyrs before him, Peter, Paul, the Apostolic Band, Stephen, and the Old Testament titans suffered all for Christ and Christ’s Confession up to physical persecution and horrible suffering and death. The martyrs of the Coliseum all the way to the martyrs of corrupt papacies—Saint John Huss—R.I.P.—give us fine exemplars of Jesus’ own cruciform life and a testimony of how the Lord and The Holy Ghost do more than give us “what to say or how to say it” [Mt. 10.19]  The Lord takes you all and gives you the wisdom IN CHRIST of Solomon; the strength IN CHRIST of Samson and David; the patience IN CHRIST of Job; and the tenacity, courage, and endurance IN CHRIST of Elias, Elisha, Esaias, John Baptizer, and the “12.”  But it isn’t the kind of strength that puts you in the “center” of the color portrait standing cinematically like Luther at Worms “here I stand.”  Again, we give Jesus all glory, laud, and honor…and humble thanks, that He raised up good Dr. Martin and solidified his backbone.  But in those dark and lonely days when Luther was just like you…sinner in thought, word, and deed; unsure; despondent; fearful and wavering, It was The Righteous Reformer Christ Himself who saved the day, won the field, and rescued all the P.O.W.s. 

   Jesus’ Kingdom suffers violence, always has, and always will.  The violence wrought against His own: His own Pastors, His own parishioners, is typological of that which would befell Him. The violence suffered by the first Shepherd Abel points to the Good Shepherd Who lays down His life for you…reforming you into His Holy Body. The violence suffered by Samson, eyes put out, arms strapped out, dying under tons of rubble points to the real Strong Man who rips the gates off the false strong man Satan’s prison, Who lets His clear eyes be closed in death; Who is buried in a hillside under the rubble of the sins of the world and YOUR trespasses…reforming you by His Blood of cleansing.  The violence suffered by Saint Elias, a true martyr in white, if not red, points to the real Holy Prophet of The Trinity, the one Who didn’t just go back to heaven in a whirlwind and fiery chariot, but Who first experienced the darkness at Calvary of the Father’s whirlwind of wrath against sin and then Ascended not in a chariot of angels but from Olivet in the sight of His appointed Apostles—ascended to fill all things most especially His Apostles mouths and hands that they might bind, lose, Baptize, Preach and Serve…that they might also suffer violence in Martyr deaths.  Every beheading from John Baptizer to Paul; every crucifixion from Peter to Andrew, every lancing, clubbing, burning (from Polycarp to Jan Hus), and every exile, banishment and hiding from Athanasius, to Chrysostom, to Luther, points to the one Who was reforming all of you with His Sinless Flesh obeying your broken laws, His Perfect Will and Love being slapped, spit upon, whipped, beaten, punctured, nailed, asphyxiated, and speared to fulfill “all the prophets and law prophesied.”

   And what did the prophets and law prophesy? Moses said the Lord would raise up one like unto himself to be a Prophet, Priest and King Redeemer. A new and better Joshua would come from Judah’s lineage, true Man born of the Blessed Virgin yet true God, Who would speak, talk, and teach the Trinity’s design—the Father’s will; Who would be King of a Graceful Kingdom of love and obedience but “not of this world;” and Who would be The great High Priest Who would offer not a lamb but Who would Himself be the Agnus Dei—what John said and which you repeat in the Communion liturgy: “behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.”

   Reformation like formation/creation (“in the beginning was The Word…all things were made by Him” Jn.1), like Redemption (“Christ crucified, the power of God” 1Cor.1.23-24) like Sanctification is all Jesus “for you.” 

   We refute heresy when it confronts and attacks The Christ—whether from Rome, Geneva, or our own seminaries. We honor Luther, Walther, and all our forbears because they are earthly fonts into which Jesus has poured His gifts that they might be washed on to all of you; fed to all of you; preached to all of you.

   We pray for Jesus’ imminent return and we desire the Kingdom of Glory to come quickly. We receive our Lord in His Word of release, in His cleansing of + regeneration, and in His reforming meal of Life Eternal.

   On Reformation, on every Mass Day “he that hath ears” has Jesus preached into them…and “He that hears” comes to Table to eat His Body and Drink His Blood—Reformation.  Here endeth the Gospel-

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014



10. If God had wanted you to go to individual confession He wouldn’t have
      written TLH the way He did!

9.  What would your hero Carl Vehse have done?

8.  If Grandma Schmidt sees your car in the church parking lot during those appointed hours
     everyone will know you’re a sinner.

7.  The 1943 SYNODICAL [genuflect] Catechism says there are only TWO Sacraments…so that    
      settles it.

6.  Well! What happens if someone goes to Private C&A and isn’t really repentant and
      threatens to poison the town’s water supply, or is committing child abuse, or won’t
      pay the money back, or…………………………….[insert bogus casuistry here]

5.   The only thing you remember from Confirmation Class (your new ‘smarty’ pastor calls it
      Catechesis) is:  ADIAPHORA

4.  Okay…you knew this one was coming, but thought it would be like #1, ahem:
      It’s C-A-T-H-O-L-I-C
      (make sure you spit like cat when saying this one out loud)

3.  You don’t really believe that John 20:23 applies to your pastor…who you don’t really
      like anyway!

2.  You don’t sin all that much and besides you’ve got plenty of them snazzy GIDEON Bibles
      around the house…somewhere





1.  You’re not really Lutheran.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

19th Sunday after TRINITY [2014]: Homily

Saint Matthew 9. 1-8
19th Sunday after Trinity: 26 October Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   “O almighty and most merciful God, of Thy bountiful goodness keep us we beseech Thee, from all things that may hurt us…”

   But does He?

   Did He protect all of us from cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Lyme and Guillain Barre?

And even if you may be in a temporary remission or surcease of painful symptoms, how long will it last?

Did He protect you and your parents? Did your Father die from a heart attack or congestive heart disease? Did you Mother succumb to emphysema or stroke?  

   There might appear to be little “Law” in Saint Matthews account of Christ’s visit to Capernaum but it’s there. The Law is to obey God above all things and to love the neighbor perfectly. Everyone, save the Lord, in that ship, in that city, in that house…in this world…in this parish…breaks the Law daily! Adam broke it and infected everyone with a 100% infectious rate and 100% kill rate. Ebola is a skinned knee compared to original sin and its symptomatic daily trespasses!

   The Second Person of The Godhead didn’t just enter a ship to pass over to His own city but He entered the womb of the Virgin by the same wind of the Spirit to pass from heaven to earth. It is with His incarnate/enfleshed Body that he rescues of all His lost lambs in this broken and dying city. That’s why He is here right now in this ship, this “nave;” for you are all sick of the palsy.

   But you don’t love God any more completely than they did. And you don’t love your neighbor—to you they’re either scribes or Pharisees—either protestants or Romanists…Jews, pagans, Mexicans, queers, or the worst possible (according to most lcms-types) “liberal Democrats.” Repent!  “Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”  You are the Pharisee; you are the Scribe.  Repent!  “Putting away lying speak every man truth with his neighbor for we are members one of another.”  For the same Law that we all break is the reason the world is broken. Repent!  “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath…working with hands the thing which is good, that [you] may have to give him that needeth.” The same Law we don’t keep is the reason there are men “sick of the palsy” and babies dead in cribs, and parents lost in the heart-breaking maze of Alzheimer’s.  The sin, the Law breaking, is in not believing. A man may curse, swear, lie, use witchcraft and even blaspheme (like Paul/Saul did)…but denying The Christ is God puts one outside the sheepfold of faith; the New Testament Garden of Grace.

    To be sure it is sinful to be angry with Jesus for not treating your medical condition the way He treated the unknown palsied man.  It is sinful to “hold it” against the Lord that your parents, children, spouse, or siblings were taken before you thought they should have been.  But this text is not about physical miracles of healing here and now…for there weren’t all that many then (considering the world’s population in 30 A.D.) and there are not many now.  The events in Capernaum then and at this altar, font, and pulpit today, are about Grace through Faith giving you the God/Man Christ so that you will have your sins washed away once again and marvel of His Mercy and glorify God for the promised reward in heaven.

   This is life under the cross—to believe in Jesus’ love for you even when all you see sometimes, maybe daily, is suffering, injustice, squalor, depression, pain, decay and tragic death.  Does Jesus blaspheme or not?  Does Jesus blaspheme when He says “you are baptized in the Name of the Father and of The Son + and of The Holy Ghost?”  Does Jesus blaspheme when He says “I forgive you all your sins?”  Does He blaspheme when He says “take eat This IS My Body; take drink This IS My Blood—given for you and shed for you for the remission of sins?”  Does He blaspheme when He says “where two or three are gathered there Am I (I AM) in the midst of you,” and “lo I AM with you till the end of the age,” or “in the world ye shall have tribulation; [cancer, heart disease, dying parents, lost children, blindness, lameness, and uncounted sorrows] but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” The world of sin, death and Satan was overcome but not by power and glory but by suffering and death…by a bloody victim nailed to a tree!

   Jesus enters the ship of Augsburg and comes to His own city—the House of the living God. Jesus has His Holy Spirit carry all men and women sick of the palsy of sin to His presence. Jesus laid down on the bed of the crucifix and became palsy for you and in your stead—became a cripple, became bearer of all the evil in the hearts of the scribes and in our hearts, that He might speak absolution to you: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee!”

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

18th Sunday after TRINITY [2014]: Homily

Saint Matthew 22. 34-46
18th Sunday after Trinity: 19 October Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus

   Jesus had silenced the empty ritualistic Sadducees. He needs to daily silence the pompous obsessive/compulsive sinner in you as well.  Rubrics in church or in your private life—how you “do things the way you do them” have value and worth to God ONLY if they serve His Gospel—His beloved Son and His mission.

   Jesus was about to silence the Pharisees and the Scribes…one particular scribe (Lawyer) who was an expert in Torah—the Law.

    He needs to daily silence the hypocrite in you as well. The Law was NEVER meant to make you feel good about yourself (not even over against the other guy that you think isn’t keeping it as good as you). The 10 Commandments, or the Law as reduced and summarized as Christ does to two great commands—One for each tablet, are meant to do one thing—KILL you!

    The two parts to Saint Matthews Gospel (vv. 34-40 & vv. 41-46) fit together, subsist one in the other in perfect union as Christs two natures of Divine and Human subsist perfectly in the personal union in One Christ Jesus—the God/Man!

   The first section is the “What” and the second part is the “Who.”

   These two components are the two hands that lift you out of hell. They are Jesus’ pierced and scarred hands—the hands of Whom….?  Well, that’s the second part of our pericope.

   Who was it that stood in front of the group of Pharisees that day?   Who do you worship and call your Savior? Who is it that you confess in the Creed and that you confess when you come forward to the Altar to receive The Sacrament?  And what do you receive when you receive The Sacrament?

   Putting the best construction on the Pharisees…even the serious minded ones who were looking for Messias (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea)…they still completely misidentified Jesus.  They thought the Nazarene at best was a smart, clever and facile teacher Who was popular because of His zeal and healing skills. The Galilean at worst was a troublesome con-man stirring up anti-Roman and anti-Sanhedrin opinion.  And, maybe He was actually an evil sorcerer in league with the devil. Whatever this rabbi was He certainly was no Moses. Ah, there’s the rub!  Moses was not God. Moses doesn’t save or bring life.  The Law saves no one. If Jesus was only a super-sized version of Moses; a better resurrecting prophet than Elias; a stronger warrior than Samson and a greater King than David and Solomon, then we are all dead in our trespasses waiting pain, death, rotting, and hellfire for eternity. “Who do men say that I Am” He once asked the “12.” Peter answered correctly “the Christ the Son of the Living God.” But to unpack Peter’s Christological confession for hard hearted Pharisees and even harder hearted Americans, pagans, heretics, Jews, Unitarians, and Muslims…Jesus IS GOD.   Jesus is Who you confessed Him to be in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed a few minutes ago. Jesus is Who He says He is “‘The Son of David’…David in spirit call[ed] Him Lord, saying ‘The LORD said unto my Lord, sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.’”  This is pure Trinity talk—period. Failing to see this and to confess this puts one outside of The Faith and outside of Christ Jesus.  As The Son of God IS GOD and sits on the right hand of The Father; so too He speaks, writes, and is given through the Holy Ghost who first “spake by the prophets” (including King David) and speaks by His Word and Sacraments to His New Testament Church.

   The “Who” of God takes care of the “what.” To rescue sinners from the prison house of Satan means the Law must be obeyed…perfectly, and that the penalty for you NOT obeying the Law must be paid. There must be first an active obedience of keeping the Two Great Commands and then a blood sacrifice—a dead innocent Lamb in your place!

   If God as God…omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, was to keep Adam’s burden, your responsibilities…so what?  Of course God as God can obey His own will.  If that were the case the cross becomes an empty ornamental rabbit’s foot. And, if you try and nail God as God up on the wood—God as God can’t suffer and die. No, Jesus has to be both God and Man.  He is God; a Person of the Triune Godhead as David, the Holy Spirit, testifies in Hebrew Scripture and as Christ speaks to the Pharisees.  He is Man, born of the Virgin, as was seen in His 33 year visible ministry. He was a baby; He grew; He needed to suck milk from His mother and be protected by Saint Joseph; He became tired, hungry, cold, and wet; and He wept when His friends died and felt hurt when His flock rejected Him.  He had the flesh and blood from His mother which is the same flesh and blood you, and all Adam’s offspring have…have ever had.  Jesus is the Perfect Man and Perfect God; the Second Adam and the Son of David—Son of The Father.

   Repent of not knowing Who your God is at all times. Repent of treating Him as only an ethereal, distant, cosmic “big man in the sky” Who has no imminent presence in your life.  Repent also of treating Him as only a buddy, pal, and accepting enabler, Who is more life-coach and drill sergeant than Creator. Your sanctified life IN HIM reflects by worship, laud, and honor God of God. Thus your actions and gestures and curbed tongue testify your hearts confession. Your sanctified life IN HIM also reflects belief in His words to you about His love and care for you, that He is true Man born of the Virgin Mary; with His tender shepherding of you by His actual and real presence. Repent of ever thinking He is sleeping, uncaring, or not with you every painful step of the way.

   Repent of thinking you can chose which Laws to obey, when to obey them and how to split them into partial obedience relying presumptuously on guaranteed forgiveness as if it’s a license to sin with abandon.  All Gods commands are one there is no dividing His will or Word. The God/Man, He Who is a Person of the Trinity, The One with two-natures compresses the Decalogue into the two great commands: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind.” “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    These you must do if you wish to live. These you must obey if you wish to be saved by your obedience.  These twin towers come crashing down upon you like a double punch of gravestones.

   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. On the two-natured One God/Man all of Gods will as preached by Moses and Elijah, the two that stood by Him on Mount Transfiguration, were hung on Mary’s Son and the Father’s only-begotten.  Those two Laws, as giant iron spikes, were driven into Jesus’ precious Body to break your shackles and to tear the gates of hell off the tomb(s).

   Where was God when you lost….?

   Where was God when you cried and felt so empty you couldn’t go on…?

    Where was God when you felt alone and lost on a friendless voyage…?

    He was hanging, bleeding, and dying…each lung of the innocent lamb, crushed by those two tables…cleansing you and purifying you by His suffering and His blood, His perfect death.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  Jesus is the Law fulfilled and the prophecies culminated. Jesus is the Prophet of the Godhead speaking the Trinity into you now and forever.

   Jesus says to you now: “come up to the rail and sit thou on My right hand.  Let me feed you My Body and Blood and make all your enemies your footstool.”  At Calvary the Law of Moses and the Prophets hung deep into His Flesh.  But this day He embraces you as His dear lambs close to that same Vivified and Eternal Flesh.

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

17th Sunday after TRINITY (2014): Homily

Saint Luke 14. 1-11
17th Sunday after Trinity: 12 October Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   Since you don’t own an ox or an ass, and since you don’t observe man-made restrictions on how you do things on Saturday (the Old Testament Sabbath) or Sunday, the day of The Resurrection…Christs question about pulling victims out of pits may seem distant.

   The reason the Pharisees objected to Christ healing the palsied man on the Sabbath was that they didn’t believe Jesus was The Christ. They not only didn’t trust Jesus and all the signs, the fulfillment of Hebrew Scriptures’ prophecies, but they were also overcome with sinful hatred, envy, and self-centered pride. They in fact rejected God and instead enshrined the false god of self-obedience, works, and slavish misinterpretation of Moses. He who worships Moses and rules goes to hell. He who receives Jesus’ mercy and healing…be it an ox, an ass, or an ass like one of us—palsied, depressed, fearful, lonely, and feeling empty too much of the time, receives the Kingdom of Heaven.

   Jesus came to help the palsied, that is, all who are broken and diseased. He came for those with dropsy and those with Ebola. He came for the sick of Haiti and the border areas between Texas and Mexico. He came for those dying from HIV in San Francisco (or Lenexa) and from starvation in Calcutta. You are not condemned for refusing to travel as a doctor, nurse, or Peace Corps volunteer to West Africa (you all have vocations where the Lord has placed you) but you are confronted by the Law when you fail to love your neighbor (including those from West Africa) as yourself! Your neighbor is the ugly, smelly, diseased, different, and strange.

   Where do your excess resources go? Do you spend only on yourself and your immediate family or do you share your bounty with the saints? Where does your friendliness and charitable interaction go? Are you only caring and loving with those “just like you,” those who measure up to your own little ego-checklist, or do you icon Jesus to those Who He would sit with and talk to?  Or are you always just this damn arrogant and full of yourself? “Well are you…Pastor…?”  Yes I am. I repent.  Yes you are—Repent!

    The parable of Christs accurately describes not pagans versus believers but “old Adam” sinners—one and all…everyone!

    How would you react if at the wedding of your best friend or sibling, someone who barely knew the couple strode right up to their head table at the reception and sat down in the seat meant for the best-man?  “Who is THIS fool” you would mutter to yourself.  If you were invited to an upscale banquet for President Matt Harrison at the Hyatt Regency would you march up to his table and sit down next to him, displacing his wives position?

   In point of fact, you do this all the time; we all do. We think only of ourselves and walk right by the wounded man in the ditch. We are the Pharisee. We are the Sadducee. We are Adam and Eve thinking only of our wants and desires. The reason so few repent is that so many don’t think they’re all that bad.

   And no, you don’t earn salvation and heaven by striving mightily to be modest and lowly. A feigned lack of arrogance and a check-list showing your feats of humility is as bad as your constant back-patting and pontificating.

   Only Christ pays for your sins. Only Christ’s true humility—all the way to the tree—through suffering and much blood—atones for our cock-crowing and popinjay swagger.

    But you have not gate-crashed. You are not an uninvited guest—you belong. Jesus has bidden you to a wedding—His wedding. You are honored royalty, best man, maid of honor, and indeed BRIDE of Christ.  While you first sit in a low room of simple + water, and then in a low room of humble word on paper, you are bidden this day “friend go up higher.”  For your Groom is God, the God/Man your Redeemer. He has bought you out from slavery and prostitution to Satan and has made you a pure spotless virginal and most beloved Bride of Righteousness.  He has done this by His own obedience, humility, suffering and death. He has done this by willingly taking the lowest room—the lowest seat. He took the seat of three decades of veiling His Godhood. He took the lowest room of being convicted for crimes of which He was innocent and of being tortured and crucified for crimes which He did not commit—which you did—which sadly, you do!  He took a low room in the ground and in Hades so that you would be exalted in a Washing + of regeneration, in the dynamite of absolving + forgiveness and now this Feast Day, in the Wedding Banquet of peace and immortality.

   Being “in Christ, in Jesus” doesn’t mean your earthly problems cease and things become story-book perfect as happens only in fairy tales and television sitcoms. Being at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with Christ as your server, meal, and spouse, is a supernal peace that passes understanding. “Worship in the presence” is to receive Him Who is truly present. Be exalted—

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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

16th Sunday after TRINITY (2014): Homily

Saint Luke 7.11-17
16th Sunday after Trinity: 5 October Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   Before God and man you just confessed that you “look for the resurrection of the dead.” You also maintain a belief in your Baptismal + Creed “the resurrection of the body.”  Do you? Do you believe that the dead rise again? Do you believe in God or do you only call out in fear and pain in those times of distress to your own conscience and sense of fairness or frustration?

   “Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” [1 Cor. 15.12] That was Pauls question to the doubters of Corinth. It is Law spoken against your cowardly “old Adam” as well. “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is not Christ risen. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” [vv. 13,16,19]  If Christ is indeed triumphant over the tomb, and if you are “in Him,” than you too have conquered mortality. Believe His Word and Believe Him! “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying. ‘I Am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” [Mt. 2231-33]

    Not everyone you meet is a Christian. Not everyone you hope will be saved or that you pray for will necessarily be saved. But everyone you meet is eternal. Everyone matters. Every soul is eternal. And the Christian truth is that every body—flesh and blood—is also eternal!  There was a popular “catch phrase” (popular for only a few months as they all seem to be) in the mid-90s that kids had emblazoned on tee-shirts and ball caps that said “No Fear!” It was of course used in a totally secular, self-help way, but nonetheless could be, and must be, a Christian’s motto when facing sin and its consequences.

   Your reaction to Ebola, or any new H1N1 flu strain, Cancer, ALS, or the zombie apocalypse should be, and must be, the same reaction as your Christian forbears reaction to the Black Death, the death of countless American Christians during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, the Viking destruction on the British isles, the Visigoth sacking of Rome, or Nero’s slaughter of the Saints in the Coliseum: “Fear not!”  That phrase is used over 170 times in Sacred Scripture. Your Lord speaks “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Mt. 10.28]. 

    Repent of your fear and your yellow spiritual streak. Trust not in princes but in He who gave courage to David in the face of a monster giant, Daniel amongst lions, the three men in a fiery furnace, and Elisha surrounded by a Syrian army. “And He answered, fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” [2 Ki. 6.16]

    And weep not as those who have no hope. For even when your fortitude in the face of your own death is buoyed up by your Baptismal + life vest, you will still feel the salt-sting of tears at the loss of dear loved ones. Placing mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and spouses into the ground, into the grave, will be as devastating and tragic for you as for the woman of Nain!

   Jesus has the same mercy on you in your loss, emptiness, and pain as did for her “and when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, weep not.”  

   Not everyone who dies is then brought back to earthly life for a few more years by God. Two young children in the Old Testament were. The Christ Himself raised three dead persons back to more earthly years. But living a few more years, or few less years, in this broken, decaying, sin-filled, post-Eden world is not what Jesus has in store for you. Satan is the prince of the air and the marauder of this crumbling planet. Al Gore and the fake-eco alarmists are wrong, of course, but it’s not wrong to believe that the earth, as is, will come to an end when Christ returns at the Parousia! The end is near.

   The wages of sin is death. You will die because you are sinner—that part of Gods judgment on Adam and his children remains. And yes, it is horrible and gut-wrenching, and not right. Only God is right. Only Jesus is right—Righteous!  Jesus took all the pain of you losing loved ones, all the fear of your own death, all the corruption, change, decay, and fetid dust of every crypt, and carried it IN His own perfect body to the tree.  “He came and touched the bier.”  Jesus came and touched death, the corpse, and said “here I AM death…take me…do your worse…” but to the young dead man, to all of you He said and says “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” 

    Christ’s victory at Nain shows His Divinity. His miracle proves His identity and gives His Church another taste of the Banquet to come…another reminder of the joys awaiting the Church victorious. But also, in not raising everyone who dies their earthly death, He reminds us that we still live under the Cross of suffering and servanthood. We still, with Paul, fight the fight, run the race, and push on towards the prize. But we all march in a parade that is indeed a celebratory victory parade. Christ has won!  All that death takes from us, and it does…it takes and takes and takes…is stopped cold when it took our Lord on the Cross…and in the hillside sepulchre.  “And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory.” [Is. 25.7-8a]

    Jesus pulls the evil magician’s, the devil’s, cloak (the covering cast, the vail) away to reveal that behind the menace of death, there is the Lamb, once slain, upon the throne “and I beheld, lo, in the midst of the throne…stood a Lamb as it had been slain…And the four beasts said, amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.” [Rev. 5.6,14]

    You have the very Cruciform spine of Christ when He speaks to you in His Church’s hymnody, Psalter, and His own Words. ‘Jesus lives the victory’s won! Death no longer can appal me; Jesus lives! Death’s reign is done! From the grave Christ will recall me. Brighter scenes will then commence; this shall be my confidence!’ [201.1] ‘The strife is o’er the battle done; now is the Victor’s triumph won; now be the song of praise begun, Alleluia.’ [210.1]

   “Oh death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Cor. 15. 55-57] 

If Christ is indeed triumphant over the tomb, and if you are “in Him,” than you too have conquered mortality. Believe His Word and Believe Him!
   “Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” [Jn. 11.23-25]

   On that day the tears will be wiped away for every eye.  Downs patients will have the alacrity, poise and wisdom of St. Paul and the Blessed Virgin Mary—times infinity. Every cripple (polio, thalidomide, cp) will dance with the grace of Baryshnikov and Astaire & Rogers—times infinity. Every still born, miscarried, crib-dead, and infant lost to childhood tragedy will stand in Adamic strength and vitality—times infinity. Every parent and grandparent will greet you with shouts of joy and laughter. Your pets will surround you happier than ever—times infinity. The infinite will be the eternal In Jesus!  

   For where there is forgiveness of sins there is Life!

   I forgive you all your sins in:

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