Sermon: Proper 21 RCL C – “Decision Time”

One day Pierre went to Boudreaux’s house and Boudreaux was working on a jigsaw puzzle.

A year later, Pierre again visits Boudreaux and Boudreaux is still working on the puzzle.

Another year after that, Pierre went to Boudreaux’s to go fishing with him.
Boudreaux comes out of the house and says “Mais Pierre, I’m so proud of myself, I finally finished dat puzzle and it only took me two years!”

Pierre says “Mais, Boudreaux, I don’t tink dat it should take you dat long!” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 21 RCL C – “Decision Time””

Sermon: Wednesday / Feria

Have you ever read this parable and simply responded, “Huh?” “Then the master commended the dishonest steward for his prudence.” Something just does not seem to be making sense here.

Julian the Apostate, a forth century Roman emperor wrote that this parable, “Showed the inferiority of the Christian Faith and its founder [Jesus]” by promoting such evil. Yet, a closer examination demonstrates that Jesus is not commending the steward for lying and stealing, but instead for being shrewd, for thinking. Remember Jesus says, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Continue reading “Sermon: Wednesday / Feria”

Sermon: Heritage Sunday / St. Matthew

I suppose that there are a few perfect families, but I also suspect that there are varying degrees of dysfunction in every family. It might not be out right insanity, but there’s probably enough to keep things interesting. However, I read of one family that may win the prize: the Donohoe family. The level of dysfunction is clearly seen in the last will and testament of the father. It reads, “Unto my two daughters, Frances Marie and Denise Victoria, by reason of their unfilial attitude toward a doting father, . . . I leave the sum of $1.00 to each and a father’s curse. May their lives be fraught with misery, unhappiness, and poignant sorrow. May their deaths be soon and of a lingering malignant and torturous nature.” The last line will make you truly appreciate your dysfunctional family and make them appear to be saints. Mr. Donohoe concludes with his daughters inheritance by stating, “May their souls rest in hell and suffer the torments of the condemned for eternity.”

George Carlin, “The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, Continue reading “Sermon: Heritage Sunday / St. Matthew”

Sermon: Holy Cross

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians, “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. … From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.”

“I carry the marks of Jesus branded on me.” That is a rather interesting statement and can be taken literally or figuratively. In a literal since, many believe that he is speaking of stigmata. When a person has been blessed with the stigmata they will often exhibit sores or bleeding wounds corresponding to the wounds that Jesus received when he was crucified. One of the more famous stigmatics was St. Padre Pio. He bore the wounds of Christ for fifty years and it is reported that they mysteriously disappeared shortly after his death. Continue reading “Sermon: Holy Cross”

Sermon: Proper 19 RCL C – “Lost Sheep”

A brother whom another brother had wronged came to see Abba Sisoes and said to him, “My brother has hurt me and I want to avenge myself.” The old man pleaded with him saying, “No, my child, leave vengeance to God.” The brother said to him, “I shall not rest until I have avenged myself.” The old man said, “Brother, let us pray.” Then the old man stood up and said, “God, we no longer need you to care for us, since we exact justice for ourselves.”

Today in our Gospel we read the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, which Jesus tells in response to the Pharisee’s criticism: “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The parable of the coin less so, but the parable of the lost sheep is probably one of the most familiar and iconic. All those pictures of Jesus walking along with a young white lamb on his shoulders. Simply put, in both parables, we understand that the lost sheep or coin represent the sinners, and it is Jesus who comes to find them. Luke 19:10 – “For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” When they are found, when they come to faith, there is a great celebration, for in being found, they are forgiven. They have been restored to God. God forgives out of his great love and mercy, but we… sometimes we can be very stingy in giving that forgiveness and sometimes we say with the young monk, “I shall not rest until I have avenged myself.” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 19 RCL C – “Lost Sheep””

Sermon: Constance, Nun, and her Companions (The Martyrs of Memphis)

In 1873, the Sisters of St. Mary, led by their superior, Constance, came south from New York to Memphis to establish a school. I was unable to determine exactly why, I suspect it had something to do with Yankees coming to the South soon after the Civil War, but whatever the case, it is implied that the presence of these sisters was not appreciated. However, undaunted, the sisters proceeded with their work, but no sooner had the school been opened when the first of two Yellow Fever epidemics broke out. When most of the city was fleeing, the sisters remained and cared for the sick. A member of the community wrote of Constance:

“Sister Constance went out first to the sick. Before she reached the house to which she was going, she was met by a young girl weeping and in great distress. She said her sister was just taken with the fever, that they could get no doctor, and did not know what they ought to do for her. My Sister went immediately to the sick child, did for her all that could be done, and ministered to her wants daily till her recovery. My Sister always loved to speak of this little Louise as her first patient.” Continue reading “Sermon: Constance, Nun, and her Companions (The Martyrs of Memphis)”

Sermon: Proper 18 RCL C – “The Greats”

Little Johnny was out in his backyard. He had his baseball cap, his baseball knickers, and his socks pulled up to his kneecaps. He had his plastic bat and plastic ball. His mother overheard him as he announced, “I am the greatest hitter in the world.”

He threw the ball up in the air, swung the bat, and missed the ball completely. He said aloud, “Strike one.”

He picked the ball up and said a little louder, “I am the greatest hitter in the world.”

He threw the ball up again, swung, and again, missed the ball. He said, “Strike two.”

He stopped to examine his bat. Satisfied there was no hole in it , he retrieved the ball and said with determination, “I am the greatest hitter in the world.”

He threw the ball up a little higher than before, got set, and then swung the bat with all his might. He missed. “Strike three,” he said, and then added, Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 18 RCL C – “The Greats””

Sermon: Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne

Along the Northeast coast of England, was the kingdom of Bernicia. It changed hands several times between Christian and pagan kings, but in 633 it was conquered by Oswald who was a devout Christian. Having the desire to spread the Good News throughout his kingdom, Oswald sent to Iona for a Bishop. The abbot of Iona agreed and sent to Oswald a bishop named Corman. He failed and returned to Iona, declaring, the “English have no manners; they behave like savages.”

So concerned was the abbot that he convened a synod of the monks. After hearing Corman’s report, one of the monks said to him, “I think, brother, that you may have been to severe for such ignorant listeners, and that you should have led them on more gently, giving them first the milk of religion before its meat.” Agreeing with him, the abbot sent that priest, Aidan, back to Bernicia where he engaged in the work of God among these savage English and was quite successful. His story was recorded for us by the Venerable Bede. Continue reading “Sermon: Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne”

Sermon: Proper 17 RCL C – “Take a Seat”

A man arrives at the gates of heaven. St. Peter asks, “Religion?”

The man says, “Methodist.”

St. Peter looks down his list and says, “Go to Room 24, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.”

Another man arrives at the gates of heaven. “Religion?”

“Lutheran.”

“Go to Room 18, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.”

A third man arrives at the gates. “Religion?”

“Episcopalian.”

“Go to Room 11, but be very quiet as you pass Room 8.”

The man says, “I can understand there being different rooms for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass Room 8?” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 17 RCL C – “Take a Seat””