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

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


  1. "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?"

    I don't know for sure, but let's just say that I can't be in two ... much less seventy ... places at once.

    Okay, so I just got back from the blessedness of Oktoberfest in Kewanee, through rain and turnpike, and only now do I hear that the St. Louis princes have evidently pulled up stakes and moved to either Nauvoo, or maybe the pleasures of Salt Lake City. But still, on balance, thank God for the telegraph! I think this proves that, in my better moments, I can be reasonable.

    All kidding aside ... Ahem. No, no; really, I mean it. Although I have to warn the dear reader, that this does leave lots of room for some significant goring ... As Mr. J. Gleason used to say, on national TV, "And awaaaay we go!"

    MagnifiCAT v. 2014
    "Your Seminary Admission Test Which Pulls No Punches, But Admits to a Highly Favored Draft Stout Now and Then"

    666. ["And this Senselessness was First Made, When Carl Vehse was Tyrant of Devil's Bakeoven" Dept.] The actual site for the upscale banquet held in honor of the Prez was at ...

    A. Caesar's Palace (Las Vegas), with featured entertainment provided by the uniquely talented Wayne Newton
    B. Herod's Palace (Jerusalem), with featured entertainment provided by the uniquely talented Salome
    C. the Marriott Regency
    D. some kind of locked room, "for fear of the Polycarpians"

  2. and there you have it again (the above comment and the man behind it), to-wit: Herr Doktor...the wisest, friendliest, and funniest Evangelical/Catholic I have met (i.e. 'lutheran'). 2014 has been a banner year for me with incredibly enriching vacations spent at both CTS Symposia (Jan 2014) and the SSP Retreat (June 2014). But the ultimate moment of this Anno Domini was in meeting Dr. Anderson (in concreto; incarnatus) at Kewanee this past weekend. The Lord has truly blessed me with his friendship.

  3. "Life is a long lesson in humility." -- James M. Barrie, author (1860-1937)

    Speaking of entrance examinations and such ... if the accolades showered by the gracious Fr. Jay were anywhere near the truth, I could be in a great danger of flunking Barrier's classroom, or of not wearing my Scottish gillie again, because of an overly inflated noggin. Of course, in reality (something which Barrie had troubles with), I'm but a scarred curmudgeonly worm, and no man, with a sin-soaked brain so small as to its merit, that Tinkerbelle would laugh at and deride it.

    Okay, now THAT makes me REALLY uncomfortable.

    Although why is that the case, exactly, I ask? For if I remember my training days correctly ... not necessarily a slam-dunk, these days; especially since I'm referring not to any imbibed clinical pedagogy, but to instructions of residency secured inside the Anderson home, as a 2 yr old ... then I'm pretty sure a Tinker is only a Tinker.

    Fr. Jay (the most compassionate and ablest homiletical divider of Law and Gospel since Christ stepped into a boat, to the point of successfully driving me both to remorseful tears and repentant knees, time and time again through the means of sermons posted here) is most certainly true on this one, though ... 2014 is indeed an annus miribilis, of the first rank, deserving both cheery note, and a attentive spelling of the Latin. But what glory I have beheld, now with my own eyes meeting and conversing with several Polycarpians and the ever-inimitable Fr. Watson.

    Barrie's Peter Pan is quoted as having once wistfully confessed "To live would be an awfully big adventure." Avoidant Master Pan is something of a tragic protestant figure, in my book. But he's right, in this instance. Communing with the Lord IS a big adventure, deserving of awe, as will be Heaven; of which both entities, I had a splendidly great taste and foretaste, at St. Michaelmas (Detroit) and Oktoberfest (Kewanee). Next year at the SSP Retreat, too, Deo volente.

    Extend greetings to the amiable and knowledgeable layman Geoff. "Wittenberg Tales" aside, a pew-sitter picking up the tab for the under-Good Samaritan ... and a neighbor ... is obviously being well catechized.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor

  4. Well Met my good and faithful friend and brother! Oh that I were "Bishop of the World" (or at least head honcho of a 'confessional' lutheran church body ;) ) for I would quickly colloquize you to be a pastor. You (as I've said many times before) have forgotten more theology than most ordained will ever know. Meeting you "in carne" at Kewanee two weeks ago is the high-point of my 2014 to be sure. It is with faithful, articulate and joyous (YOU ARE A HOOT) laymen such as yourself that we in the ministerium are lifted up by...you are our angels. Amongst WE the Church, Christs gifts through His Means, through His Incarnate Presence, the gates of hell continue to be kicked all the way to the lake of fire like a happy (very happy) boy kicking a tin can down an autumn street. Doctor A, you are truly an Evangelical/Catholic/Lutheran version of G.K.Chesterton.
    With admiration, love and respect,