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

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Readings for the day

This morning’s Gospel reading starts in an unusual place… That would be in the middle of a thought… Luke tells us that Jesus reads from Isaiah and says – “… today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing…” But we don’t hear anything being read… I don’t know about you, but I’d be curious to know what is being fulfilled. So, let’s take a little trip back in time. 

Baptism of Jesus – 1st Sunday after Epiphany

Readings for the day

A pic from the early ’80s… I’m just a few years older…

The great minds behind our Lectionary have us on a wild ride: Advent, Christmas, Holy Name or Circumcision, that was two weeks ago… Then adolescent Jesus acting out in the Temple last week, though it was twelve years later in real time. In the midst of this the Wise Men, or Magi, or whatever, finally arrived on Epiphany and the twelve days of Christmas officially came to an end. And now we are at Jesus’ baptism – some twenty years have elapsed since Thursday… it’s like watching a movie with the fast forward button pressed…

The Second Sunday After Christmas

Scripture Readings

Unusually, the various lectionaries I consulted regarding the scripture readings for today all had different opinions. As I was reading through the various options, it seemed to me that several of the gospel choices suggested a larger story when taken together. So, rather than select one gospel reading to focus on, I will share some thoughts about three of them and the conversation I imagine them to be having amongst themselves.

Christmas comes a little early…

Readings for Christmas

Well… Merry Christmas. The literal calendar may tell us that we still have a few days to go until Christmas… But we don’t need to be too literal… And part of the Volmoed tradition for these Thursday services is to anticipate a bit… So, let’s just go with the assumption that today is Liturgical Christmas. Christmas is set on a fairly arbitrary date anyway – so we can just arbitrarily move it to suit our needs.  

Last Sunday in Advent

Readings for Advent IV

Advent – that great period of waiting – is almost at an end. Our waiting is nearly finished. Which leaves just one big question: If Advent is a season that is all about waiting, then what, exactly, are we waiting for?

The short answer is we’re waiting for Christmas, the coming of Christ into our world. But that is an answer that carries its own supply of questions: Who, or what is the Christ, the marked one. And what did the coming of the marked one mean to those folks back then? And why are waiting for it now if it happened back then? Are we even waiting for the same thing as Mary and Joseph were waiting for? We are in some way like kids around a Christmas Tree wondering what could be in the beautifully wrapped packages. What surprise has God got in store for us?

I’d love to say that I will spend the next few minutes answering these questions, but in fact all I’m going to do is raise more questions…

Second Sunday of Advent – Sermon by Br Daniel

Scripture Readings

Brother Daniel
Br Daniel

Todays’ Gospel begins as follows:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

However, I want to paraphrase this:

“Despite Tiberius being Emperor of Rome, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Phillip and Lysanias being provincial governors, and despite Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, God chose to speak to a nobody named John, living in the desert.”

First Sunday of Advent

Here are the readings for Advent 1C

First, let me wish you a Happy New Year… As far as the Church is concerned, Advent starts a new year – a new liturgical year. At the end of December there will come a time that also calls itself New Year’s… but while January 1st, New Year’s Day may claim greater notoriety, it is just another day of Christmas to the Church.

Advent is the beginning of something, but it can feel like little more the prelude to Christmas. Everything in Advent seems to point to Christmas – whether it is candles on a wreath or chocolates behind little doors in a calendar… Advent is only important because what comes next is extremely important… And that is just not true, even though it is not false.

Feast of James Otis Sargent Huntington

Readings for the feast are here

Today the Church remembers James Otis Sargent Huntington. We think of him as founder of the Order of the Holy Cross. Typically, the Church remembers people on the anniversary of their death, or sometimes their birth. But this is neither the anniversary of his death nor his birth. Rather this is the anniversary of his life profession in the Order of the Holy Cross. Father Huntington is perhaps most remembered as a monastic, so this seems appropriate. But the truth is that the other dates were already claimed by other saints… 

Remembering the Founder of the Order of the Holy Cross seems like a straightforward thing… and yet it offers food for thought… 

25th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 28B)

(Here are the readings)

This morning’s reading from Mark is located at an important turning point in this Gospel. Up to this point Mark has been mostly concerned with Jesus’ actions and interactions. Now Mark’s attention turns to what will happen next. Jesus is preparing his disciples to continue after his death. The Gospel of Mark ends, as you may recall, very abruptly. Jesus is killed and then there is only a very brief mention of resurrection. In a sense Mark is giving a Spoiler… Mark is telling us now, before the crucifixion, how life will continue after crucifixion. 

We humans have an interesting ability to reorient messages to suit our desires. This 13th Chapter of Mark has hints of apocalypse, so we rush ahead to the Book of Revelation and the so called “end times.” 

Thursday at Volmoed – Sermon for the Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost (Proper 26B)

Readings for Sunday

For the past several weeks of our journey through Mark’s Gospel via the Sunday lectionary, Jesus has himself been on a journey, his increasingly bewildered disciples following him to Jerusalem. Between last Sunday and this coming one, the lectionary skips over quite a lot of what happens after Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. This Sunday’s gospel reading describes an encounter that takes place after an extended series of disputes between Jesus and various factions constituting much of the religious leadership of Jerusalem.

In some ways, this encounter reminds me of one Jesus had while still on the road with a young man concerned about eternal life. In that case, it seems to me that Jesus’ first response is almost dismissive, until the young man stands his ground and insists that his question be taken seriously. It is then that Jesus really looks at him, and when he actually sees him, he loves him. Of course, Jesus then tells him the last thing he wanted to hear, but that’s another story.