Sunday, January 18, 2015

Epiphany 2

John 2:1-11 - Epiphany II - January 18, 2015         
Jesus Honors Marriage
This morning I’d like to talk about marriage since our Gospel lesson certainly lends itself to such a discussion.  In fact, the entire Epiphany season lends itself to the discussion of marriage.  Consider what we’ve been celebrating during Epiphany and how it speaks to marriage:
God became man and wed himself, so to speak, to our flesh forever – not just to Jewish flesh, but to all human flesh.  The divine Christ will never divorce himself from his humanity.  He remains God and Man forever.  He did not borrow his human nature the way a man borrows the company of a woman to meet some fleeting desire.  No, he assumed a human nature the way a man is permanently joined to his wife and becomes one flesh with her in marriage.  In this way he fulfills his enduring desire to save us.  Through this union of God and Man, this divine marriage of two Natures, Jesus creates new life.  As a faithful Head and honorable father, he cares for the life that his Church gives birth to through Baptism even as he remains with his Bride until the end of the ages.  Since he lives forever, the two shall never be parted, and he will never cease to care for his spiritual children. 
Jesus honored marriage. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Baptism of our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17 - Baptism of Our Lord - January 11, 2015         
There Must Be Something in the Water
I recently heard a new song by a popular country music singer named Carrie Underwood.  I’m not really a fan of her music, but the theme of her song really impressed me, because it deals very clearly with a Christian theme, which itself is pretty remarkable for a song that has over 5 million views on YouTube.  It’s called Something in the Water, and refers very directly to the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  I think it’s commendable for someone in today’s increasingly hostile climate to sing a song like this.  But, as has always been the case with country singers who sing about God, it also has much to be critiqued.  
She begins her song by saying she’s stuck in the drudgery of a sinful life: “No way out, no one to come and save me; wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me.”  Then someone told her, “I’ve been where you’ve been before.”  He then opened her eyes and told her the truth, saying, “Just a little faith, it’ll all get better.”  So then she says that she followed the preacher man down to the river: “And now I’m changed – And now I’m stronger – Oh, there must’ve been something in the water.” 
Like I said, there’s much to be commended here.  It’s pretty clever.  But as it often is with popular Christian songs, it’s not always what’s said (although it very often is) as much as what remains unsaid.  So now as I use parts of this song as a sort of outline, I’m going to pick it apart a little bit at a time, and also point out where it makes some good points. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Matthew 2:1-12 - Epiphany - January 6, 2015         
A Light to Lighten the Gentiles

When God’s people were unfaithful to God’s word, God punished them.  He punished them in the worst way imaginable.  He didn’t rain fire or send plagues.  He sent the Babylonians to come and destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Temple that had once housed the glory of the Lord.  The Babylonians forced God’s people out of the Promised Land and made them move hundreds of miles away to the land of modern day Iraq.  This was known as the Babylonian captivity. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas 2

Matthew 2:13-23 - Christmas Two - January 4, 2015         
Our Father Guards His Children

Joseph was a just man.  Just means righteous.  This is what St. Matthew calls him when he reports how Joseph had the mind to secretly divorce his young betrothed wife.  He of course knew that he was not the father of the Child she was carrying, and supposed that Mary had behaved unchastely.  But he was a just man.  He was concerned about not publicly shaming her.  That’s why he sought to secretly divorce her – that is, until the angel assured him that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. 
Joseph was a just man:  This has a double meaning.  The first is the more important.  And the second flows from the first.  But the two meanings go together.  The first refers to the righteousness by which he stood before God by faith, given to him as a free gift in Christ.  The second refers to the righteousness of the sanctified life, which he did before men in response to the free gift.  Joseph was righteous by faith.  He was also a just man in word and deed.  Righteous men do righteous things.  Go figure.