Tag Archives: homily

The Annunciation

Trusting in the Promises of God

Today we read about the greatest announcement in all the world:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”   (Luke 1:26-37)

Surely Mary has been called blessed by all generations. She was selected by God the Father to become the mother of Jesus. By faith and trust she received the gift of God promised to her by the angel Gabriel. Mary’s reply to the angle was:

Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.   (Luke 1:38)

The blessing is in the receiving. This was not the case for King Ahaz in today’s Old Testament reading who refused to do what God asked of him.

Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.  (Isaiah 7:10-14)

The message from God was not only for Mary. It is a message of hope and salvation for the entire world. Believing and receiving this message brings to each of us the greatest blessing from God. We are destined to participate in the eternal kingdom of God under the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we an Ahaz or a Mary? King Ahaz said that he did not want to trouble God. He did not want to hear from God. He did not want to listen to His Word. The Season of Lent is a time to open up to God and not be so busy or distracted. This is not so easily done by people who are full of this world. We need to empty ourselves before our maker and hearken unto His Word.

In today’s readings two people heard from God. One was King and one was a peasant. God made promises to them both. One refused to listen and one welcomed the promise of God. We give thanks to God for Mary and for her example. What is our example?

Leave a comment

Filed under Feast Day, Holy Day, Jesus, lectionary, Lent, liturgical preaching, liturgy, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, sermon preparation, The Annunciation, Year A

Friday in the Second Week of Lent

Joint Heirs with Christ

The lie which Satan sold us in the Garden of Eden was that we could and should stand in the place of God. Do we aspire to a place that is not rightfully ours and miss out on the great blessing which God freely gives to us? Jesus told a parable about workers who would kill the rightful heir of a vineyard and steal his inheritance:

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance (Matthew 21:37-38)

The brothers of Joseph were jealous of him and wanted to kill him. Why must we attempt to steal that which God will freely give to us? We cannot be God, but we can be joint heirs with Christ Jesus.

How do we become a joint heir? We can accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Then we can follow him by trusting in God through all the circumstances of our lives. This is what Joseph did in Egypt. Joseph was falsely accused and thrown in prison. Nevertheless, Joseph accepted his tests and trials, but remained obedient to God, trusting in God to vindicate him. As a result, Joseph became second only to the king.

God has a high place for those who put their trust in him and follow him. We are to become joint heirs with Christ through his shed blood. There is no greater position in all the world!

Leave a comment

Filed under homily, Jesus, lectionary, Lent, Lenten daily readings, Lenten study, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, Year A

Thursday in the Second Week of Lent

A Tree Planted by Living Water

Jesus told this parable:

Jesus said, “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’   (Luke 16:19–24)

How the rich man, in hell, longed for just a taste of water! How much do we long for a taste of living water? We read from the Prophet Jeremiah:

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes,
and its leaves shall stay green;

in the year of drought it is not anxious,
and it does not cease to bear fruit.   (Jeremiah 17:7–8)

Jesus desires to give us living water that we might bear fruit in his name. But we must put our trust in him. There are so many distractions on the earth to lead us away from him and what he has to offer.

The psalmist wrote:

Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked,
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!

Their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and they meditate on his law day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither;
everything they do shall prosper.   (Psalm 1:1-3)

Are we planted in Christ? Are we planted in his word? Or are we planted in the culture of this world? This world as we know it is passing away. Worldly success is not our salvation.The rich man achieved his worldly goals but failed to recognize the gift of God, when Christ was right at his door.

‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Leave a comment

Filed under homily, lectionary, Lent, Lenten daily readings, Lenten study, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, Year C