Sermons preached at various occasions by Brothers of St Benedict’s Priory

Sermon for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings

I feel there is a sadness underlying the gospel reading for today. This is not the first time in Matthew’s telling of Jesus’ story that Jesus has entered the temple. The day before, after his arrival in Jerusalem, Jesus had gone into the temple and caused a commotion, upsetting things and driving out those who were trading instead of praying. The temple authorities were indignant, confronting Jesus about all the turmoil around him. Though they could see the healing of the blind and lame, they excluded themselves from the joy of the children who shouted with delight at the wonderful things Jesus was doing as he confirmed the presence of God’s kingdom among them.

Thursday at Volmoed – Season of Creation Week 4 – Preached by Br Robert James

Scripture Readings

Br Robert James
Br Robert James

During this Season of Creation, we join with Christians around the world to celebrate our calling to protect the Earth that God has entrusted to our care as stewards. Today’s Gospel sheds some light on a human tendency that contributes to our failure to be good stewards.

Jesus speaks this parable to his disciples as they struggle to understand the reign of God within the framework of the world in which they live. Like them, more often than not, we view the world, ourselves, and others through the lens of fairness rather than grace. We’ve been taught from an early age that fairness matters. Too often, however, fairness rather than love, acceptance, mercy, forgiveness, or generosity is the measure by which we act and judge another person or life circumstance. In contrast, grace is how God views the world and our lives.

Sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings

Today’s gospel reading marks a turning point in the story of Jesus’ life on earth as recorded by Matthew. It should be read together with the gospel reading from last Sunday, as it continues that narrative while introducing a stark contrast.

Last week, the apostle Peter experienced one of the high points in his relationship with Jesus, when Peter proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Jesus responded enthusiastically by declaring Peter blessed for having received a revelation from his heavenly Father. This week, Peter has suddenly become an obstacle in Jesus’ path, earning a swift and sharp rebuke.

Sermon for Sunday, August 20

Readings for the Day

Today’s reading from Matthew is unsettling to say the least. And a bit chaotic… We begin in the region of Galilee and we’re heading for the region of Tyre and Sidon – a coastal region north of Israel. It would have been a multi-day journey from Galilee – perhaps about as far as from here to Sommerset West. But remember, they were travelling on foot…  

Sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings

Our Gospel reading this morning opens in the space between two significant events in the life of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus has just finished feeding over five thousand people, starting with just a few loaves of bread and some fish. Now it is evening and Jesus seems eager to set the stage for the next scene in the drama of his ministry, sending the disciples off in the boat, dismissing the crowd to their homes, and going up the mountain by himself to pray.

Just as Jesus had looked to heaven before distributing enough food for all the people, so he absorbs himself in prayer before rejoining his disciples in a way that will further expand their sense of who he is. In accord with the biblical tradition of a God who makes a path through the mighty waters, Jesus walks across the stormy sea to the struggling boat. He then calms his disciples’ fear by identifying himself in the words of God: “Take courage. I am.”

Transfiguration Sunday 2023 – 06 August 2023

Readings for the day

Preached by Br Josias

Today the church commemorates the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord. The feast is also celebrated on a Sunday before Ash Wednesday. I think that is done so to alert us to keep the radiance of God always before our eyes as we enter into the solemn period of Lent. Traditionally the feast is commemorated on the 14th Sunday after Easter, or the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, depending on how you look at it. I believe the feast is observed around this time just to remind us that God’s glory is still in our midst. It is also meant to remind us to always keep the presence of God in our daily lives.


Sermon for the Feast of St James the Great 

This week the Church keeps the feast of St James the Great. He is an important saint in many ways. He gets the title “Great” however, not as a mark of stature, but to distinguish him from the other James, James the Less, also a disciple… And while the Gospel reading is very specific to James the Great, the name does not appear. Instead, we hear about the sons of Zebedee, also known as the sons of thunder, also known as James and John… 

Sermon for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Readings

I like the way today’s gospel reading begins, with Jesus going out to sit beside the sea. I can easily imagine that, as sitting beside the sea is one of my favourite things to do. I generally prefer my own company when I do that, so I would have been less happy with the crowd that gathered around Jesus. He doesn’t seem to mind, though; he just gets into a nearby boat, using it to create a bit of space while he tells the crowd some stories.

The crowd hears only the stories, we are told, while any explanations, such as in the second part of today’s reading, are reserved for the disciples. Perhaps that’s how one became a disciple, by listening to the stories Jesus told and finding oneself sufficiently intrigued by them that one later goes to Jesus and asks him what he’s talking about. Listening is what Jesus asks the crowd to do; hearing what his stories are really about is what Jesus invites the disciples into.