FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
Romans 13:(8–10) 11–14
Matthew 21:1–11 or Matthew 24:36–44
The Lord Comes in Meekness and Humility to Save Us Now
The Lord Jesus enters Jerusalem “humble, and mounted on a donkey,” riding on “a beast of burden” (Matt. 21:5), as He Himself bears the sins of the world in His body. Now He comes by the ministry of the Gospel to save us from sin, death, the devil and hell. Therefore, we sing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matt. 21:9). For we are called “to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob,” His Holy Church, “that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths” (Is. 2:3). By His Word, we “walk in the light of the Lord” (Is. 2:5). That is to live in love, which “does no wrong to a neighbor” (Rom. 13:10). We “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” for “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11, 12). Hence, the entire Christian life is a time to wake and watch, “for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42).
Posted on November 23, 2022 8:00 PM
DAY OF THANKSGIVING
Philippians 4:6–20 or 1 Timothy 2:1–4
We Praise God for Sustaining Life in and through His Word
The nation resounds with thanksgiving for the earth’s bountiful harvest, crops of wheat and grains, all beneath the canopy of God’s almighty care. But “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). The Church is the vessel through which the Word of God penetrates the world with its Law and Gospel. It is this divine Word that proclaims Jesus as the sole source of life, health and wholeness. It is Jesus who heals lepers with His Word: “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:14). Of the 10 cleansed, only one expresses thanksgiving to Jesus. But true gratitude proceeds from a heart sustained by faith. Jesus bids this one Samaritan to “rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19). So also, we are sent from the Divine Service, bolstered in our faith by baptismal and Eucharist blessing to be thankful in our circumstances of plenty and hunger, abundance and need (Phil. 4:6–20).
Posted on November 21, 2022 9:00 AM
PROPER 29C / LAST SUNDAY OF THE CHURCH YEAR
Jesus Christ Reigns, Enduring the Cross — Its Scorn and Shame
The Lord Jesus reigns in love among those who are baptized in His name. “They shall be mine,” He says, “and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him” (Mal. 3:17). Jesus’ service through crucifixion for sinful men anchors us in new life. In the proclamation of His Son, God makes His justice clear, defining “the distinction between the righteous and the wicked” (Mal. 3:18). He truly is “the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), who governs His Church with all authority in heaven and on earth. He has come into His kingdom by His cross, and He graciously remembers us in paradise. Therefore, do not weep for Him, but with repentant faith “weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). Then the mountains and hills of Jerusalem, His holy Church, shall cover you with His righteousness and peace. For He “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15). “All things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16), and “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” bodily in Him, reconciling all things to Himself “by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:19–20).
Posted on November 14, 2022 9:00 AM
2 Thessalonians 3:(1–5) 6–13
Luke 21:5–28 (29–36)
God’s Plan of Redemption Trumps Earthly Destruction and Violence
There are signs of the Lord’s coming all around: the cross that marks His Church, the violence and death of the sinful world, and the shaking of the natural order. “There will be great distress upon the earth” (Luke 21:23), but the faithful know that “the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31). Therefore, “straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28). Be awake and alert, and heed the words of Christ, which “will not pass away” (Luke 21:33). For you, “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (Mal. 4:2). He sends His preachers of repentance in the spirit and power of Elijah “before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” (Mal. 4:5), in order to “direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5). Although you are often faithless, “the Lord is faithful,” and by the preaching of His Word “he will establish you and guard you against the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3). Therefore, “do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thess. 3:13). In the midst of calamity, believe upon the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Posted on November 07, 2022 9:00 AM
2 Thessalonians 2:1–8, 13–17
The Triune God Curbs Evil and Overcomes Death with Resurrection
Christians live as “sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36), for the Lord our God “is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Luke 20:38). “Those who deny that there is a resurrection” (Luke 20:27) neither know the Scriptures nor the power of God, but the baptized faithful know “that the dead are raised” (Luke 20:37). For the Lord, who was and is and is to come, knows Israel’s sufferings and has “come down to deliver them” (Ex. 3:8). Moses reveals the name of Yahweh to God’s chosen people, by which He is “remembered throughout all generations” (Ex. 3:15). In contrast to that sacred remembrance of His name, St. Paul warns against the antichrist, who “takes his seat in the temple of God” (2 Thess. 2:4). That lawless man preaches and practices the activity of Satan. Christians, however, are comforted by the coming of the Lord Jesus, who slays the antichrist and refutes his false doctrine “with the breath of his mouth” (2 Thess. 2:8). By His preaching, “stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught” (2 Thess. 2:15). Hear, receive and believe God’s promise of love, comfort and good hope.
Posted on October 31, 2022 3:19 PM