Saturday, June 22, 2019

Trinity 1 Sermon

Trinity 1 – June 22nd and 23rd, 2019 – Luke 16:19-31

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit +
No, father Abraham.” You may not realize it, but those are some of the most shocking words in the Bible right there. Jesus is telling a story, the tale of Lazarus and the wicked Rich Man, and from torment in Hades, the Rich Man gives Abraham some sass. That would be unthinkable – I can't think of something as shocking today. We're Americans, we're used to complaining and backtalking to anyone – but this was just not done. It would be like me trying to teach Michael Jordan how to really dunk a basket ball, but that's not even close. If you didn't backtalk your grandma, you certainly didn't backtalk Father Abraham!

So, how we did get here? What was the idea that was so offensive to this Rich Man in hell that he figured he needed to run his mouth? Abraham had just said, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” The question of salvation has been raised, the question of how one avoids hell, how one is saved. And Abraham's answer is simple – listen to the Word of God. It's actually a profound answer on Abraham's part – the Bible was written after Abraham's day – Moses lived over 5 Centuries later. Abraham sees what a fantastic gift the Scriptures are – one he would have given his eye teeth for. But the Rich Man, he couldn't care less about the Bible. “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Eh - the bible is worthless – who cares about that? Send them something flashy. Lazarus back from the dead, that will grab attention, right? To which Abraham gives the answer: “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” And it's true. Jesus did plenty of Miracles, and the crowds went wild... but most of them soon fell away. Miracles are like fads – always need something new to keep your interest. And even when Jesus was raised from the dead Himself, and appeared to folks over and over – so many just went “meh.” Why? Father Abraham would suggest that it is because they didn't hear the Word of God in the Scriptures.

As Jesus had told the story, it was pretty clear that the Rich Man hadn't paid much attention to the Scriptures, just from the set up. “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table.” Dude is rich and doesn't even give the beggar at his door his table scraps. He's a grade A jerk, right? Well not just that. Let's think about what this means from what the Scriptures teach. The Old Testament was filled with things instructing the rich to care for the poor. First of all, that whole idea of “love your neighbor” is all throughout the Old Testament. Or think on the 2nd table of the Ten Commandments, or the meanings from the Catechism. 5th Commandment – help your neighbor in his body and life - 7th Commandment – help your neighbor protect and improve his possessions and income. But more than that – the scraps language. The scraps always were to go to the poor. When you harvested a field, you were forbidden from picking up the grain that fell on the ground – that was for the poor. That's what Ruth is doing in the book of Ruth – she's gleaning. Or the Passover meal – if you had too much, you would invite your poorer neighbors. The Rich Man is utterly ignoring the Word. And why? Well – that Word of God would tell him that He is wrong. It would show him his sin. And he doesn't want that.

My friends, we are tempted to not want that either. We're tempted to avoid the Word of God because it shows us our sin. And we fight against that – we have developed this nasty habit in modern religious culture where we read the Bible to show other people their sins while nicely skating past our own. “Well, see here – this fella is being a jerk.” “That's nice, and the bible says to love your enemies, so how are you loving him?” “The bible says that homosexuality is a sin.” “You're right, it does – and you're straight and it says looking at someone of the opposite sex with lust is a sin too – how's that working out for you?” God's law isn't meant to be a hammer to bash your neighbor over the head with and justify your ill treatment of them – it's a hammer God uses to crush our own pride and arrogance, to drive us to repentance. And we don't like that. So we try to apply the Scriptures to others instead of us.

As an example of this – how many of you heard of this rich man and thought, “You know, I'm awfully rich”? Because you are. How many of you are wearing decent clothes? A rich man in Jesus' day would have had maybe 10-20 changes of clothes. How many of you have more than that in your closet? Or feasting sumptuously – how many of you have plans for a tasty meal after service? Americans on average eat 220 pounds of meat a year – that's more than the typical person in Jesus' day would eat in 20 or 30 years. And that's just comparing with the past – Currently, if you pull in more than $32K a year, you are in the top 1% of earners in the world. So, hearing about the Rich Man in the text, did you hear about some jerk over there, or did you hear a warning about temptations you yourself face? “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.”

Of course, even Lazarus shows us another reason why we fear to hear the Word of God. He's the “good guy” in the text. The believer – ends up in heaven. Yea! But... what's his life like? “Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.” It seems as though the Christian faith isn't a magic bullet to get out of pain and suffering. Being a Christian doesn't mean that suddenly everything will go great in terms of health. We've had a lot of names on our prayer list who have been there for quite some time. But more than that, the scriptures actually teach that as a Christian you will suffer more. What do you think loving your neighbor actually entails – it means hardship to you for their benefit. And being a Christian means people will reject you. Being a Christian means you'll be given crosses to bear, to bear for the sake of your family and friends and neighbors. And again, this is something in the Scriptures that we don't like to hear.

And thus the Rich Man looks at Abraham and says, “No, Father Abraham!” The Scriptures show us the harsh and brutal realities of our lives as sinners in a sinful world – that there are things that we fail to do, that we are stuck in a world that will always be rife with suffering. That we will eat bread by the sweat of our brow and die, that the poor we will always have with us, that death will always hound us here. And these are things that our old sinful flesh cannot stand, cannot bear. But, my friends, you are no longer just a sinner – oh, a sinner you are with faults, grievous faults even – but you are also a saint, a holy one of God, redeemed by Christ Jesus. Because while the Scriptures do show you your sin, the most wondrous thing is that the Scriptures are also the story of Christ Jesus, the Messiah. They are the story of the One who was promised to Adam and Eve even while they were still naked and ashamed in the garden having just fallen. They are the story of the One who was promised to Father Abraham as His descendant in whom all nations would be blessed. They are the story of the One who would sit on David's throne, they are the story of the Job's Redeemer, they are the story of Emmanuel – God with Us.

And then Jesus comes. And what happens? Well, He fulfills the law. He does what we can't. He actually loves His neighbor, over and over and over again. He takes all that He has and gives and gives. And as for sin, well, He who knew no sin became sin for us – He takes our sin upon Himself and He goes to the Cross. And does the Christian life mean you'll face suffering for the good of your neighbor, even to the point of death? Well, it did for Jesus – and He does it. For you. That's what's in the Scriptures, that is what Moses and the Prophets teach – that is what the Gospels and the Epistles teach, over and over again – that while our sin is great, actually and truly great no matter how we like to dance around it – Christ Jesus our Savior is actually greater.

And then the comfort. And then the consolation. Because Christ Jesus does not and will not ever fail you; He never fails to be merciful and gracious to you, to forgive you, to strengthen you to see you through the trials of your life until He delivers you from them – that is why He taught us to pray “But deliver us from evil.” He redeems you, forgives you, and uses you for His good. And that is where we live by faith.

And that is why He brings us together here. So that we all hear the Word of God from each other, so that we don't stop up our ears and wander off, but so that we hear His Word and are brought to repentance and forgiveness again. So that we are gathered here as the Baptized around His table and get not scraps but His own Body and Blood to forgive us, to strengthen us both in faith towards God and love toward our neighbor. This is a Word place, a hearing the Word place. And it's not always pretty. Of course its not – the Scriptures speak about us, and we are not always pretty. In fact, sometimes our lives are just down right messy. That's no surprise to Jesus – He took that all in hand even before the Creation of the world and planned out your salvation. And His Spirit calls you here to keep you and preserve you in His Word. He has given us Moses and the Prophets, the Gospels and the Epistles – let us hear them and thus always see Jesus our Savior. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit +

Thursday, June 20, 2019

To Pull, Not Push

In the 12 years or so that I've been doing this blog, I've noticed people swing all over the place.  Some folks who were staunchly in one camp are now over in another.  Some who were mild are not hot.  This isn't just a religious observation - politically, we are going more and more to the extremes.

Theologically, this is a bad thing, especially for Lutherans.  We are the lonely way, threading the theological needle between often opposing, lousy ideas.  We are neither Calvinist nor Decision theologians - we are neither Roman nor Protestant.  Reformed, but not Radically so.  Keeps traditions but not worshiping them.

This all requires balance.

The problem is this - we all shuffled off away from that nice balanced center of Christ on occasion.  We all end up tossing out our own ideas rather than the clear words of Scripture.  So what is needed then?  We need to be pulled back - a friend, a colleague reaches that hand out and pulls us back into the middle.

That's gentle.  Quiet.  Simple.

We do not live in gentle, quiet times.  Our simple goal today to is show how we are right and they are WRONG.  And so, we push.

Consider the past decade or so.  Think about the discussions you've seen.  See if this theory doesn't play out.  How often has someone been slightly messed up on something - and then they get hammered - get "pushed".  They are declared wretched... and then there's no where for them to go but more and more extreme.

I think it happens quite often.

"But what about doctrinal purity?  What about the truth?"  Yes, the truth is important - but the point is to center people upon Christ Jesus the Truth, not see how quickly we can kick them off the island to prove how right we are.  I've done it too.

I think for us amongst the relatively conservative Christian crowd, some of this is because toleration became such a dirty word.  The left kept clamoring for tolerance, and that "tolerance" became more and more demanding and now tyrannical.  Therefore, we determined we would tolerate less and less.

But in so doing I think we may have jettisoned patience.  Long-suffering.  Bearing with one another.  Tolerance and acceptance are not our ideals, but patience and kindness are fruits of the Spirit.  Pulling fruits.  Restoring fruits.

Go be kind to someone.  Especially if they are wrong.  That is what Christ Jesus did for you.  He did not seek to push you away - He did not come to condemn the world.  Rather, He pulled all its sin upon itself and crucified it.  He saved us.

Pull, don't push.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Trinity Sunday Sermon

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit +
In the Gospels, there are two phrases, two introductions that Jesus uses that let us know that something very important is coming up. One of those is “Behold” - and that was just a common technique of the day. If you hear behold, you better start beholding because something important is going to happy. Jesus uses another phrase today, three times in fact, a phrase that says you need to be quiet with your jibber-jabber and listen - “Truly, truly, I say to you.” Amen, amen, lego humin! Whenever you hear Jesus say, “Truly, truly, I say to you,” this means He is going to speak a profound, deep truth – one that you'll never understand on your own, one that can only be revealed by Him. So, let's listen to Jesus.

Here's the setting. Nicodemus, a Pharisee big wig, had come to Jesus at night, when no one was around, and Nicodemus starts blowing smoke up Jesus' skirt. It's all an ancient political feeling out flattery thing – the beginnings of a dance to see if they could be allies. And Jesus just cuts him off: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Understand how blunt this statement is. Nicodemus is feeling out an alliance, he's wanting to make his own power plays – and Jesus flat out tells him that what is going on is above his pay grade – that Nicodemus can't even begin to see the kingdom of God at work right now. This is as brutal a shoot down as has ever been seen. “Mind if I buy you a” - “I don't date short people.” You're out of your league, Nicodemus.

So, what is going on? Why the bluntness. Lesson 1 – unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. In the world, we are used to wheedling, whining, begging, and seducing people in order to get our way. From the time we are infants crying for milk or a change to the time we are the old folks putting a guilt trip on the youngins, that's just how we do things. We think in terms of manipulation – and that's not always bad. I mean, if you are a month old, how else are you going to get out of a wet diaper? But it is built into us – we manipulate, we build power bases, we build up support for our ideas and then try to get everyone on board – by hook or by crook we try to convince people to jump to our side and do what we want.

That is not how the Kingdom of God works. Period. That's not how you relate to God. The Church isn't just a political party where we've convinced people to see things our way. The plan of salvation wasn't thought up in some committee somewhere. We don't twist God's arm to make Him do things our way. No – the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – He is in charge. He has created us, He has redeemed us, He is the One who is going to do everything required for your life and salvation. And unless He Himself gives you faith – unless He gives you eyes to see, unless He gives you the new birth, you will not understand. You won't be able to see it. The Christian faith is utterly incomprehensible apart from the Holy Spirit, my friends. I mean, an unbeliever can say what we believe, but they won't see it, they wouldn't get it. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a work of the Spirit.

This is third article of the creed stuff from the Small Catechism – I believe I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. Or – Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. And this means that you will never be able to nag, or arm twist, or bat your eyes at someone to faith. It has to be the Holy Spirit doing the job – not our machinations.

And we don't like that. We want to be in control of things, and we hear that we aren't in control, and we get mad and say, “What, so I'm useless here – utterly uninvolved?” Not quite. Nicodemus is flummoxed by Jesus' answer, and so Jesus speaks again. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus starts talking about baptism. While the Spirit alone grants faith, the Spirit doesn't just wander along and randomly zap people out of the blue. He works through means – He uses tools to accomplish His tasks. Not because He has to, but for our good. The Holy Spirit can do what He wants – but in His wisdom and love, He has tied Himself to things, physical things, so that we can see and know what is going on. Such as Baptism. I don't control other people's faith – I don't control the Holy Spirit. But, I, we together, have the gift of Holy Baptism. We've been instructed by God to baptize people – Make disciples of all nations [by] baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Baptize people, and the Holy Spirit will work upon them. I can't make the people I love believe, but I can bring them to the font where the Holy Spirit has promised to work. And there God has promised to bring people into His Kingdom. And the baptized are – even if they don't see things yet and don't understand yet – at the font the Triune God claims them as His own – claimed you as His own. God is not uninterested in you – He is fully vested in you as His baptized child. He has a stake in you – you are part of His Kingdom and it is His job to care for you and redeem you – and that's His Job, and He'll be the one to do it.

Do you see how this works – it's not a matter of our control, but rather the control that we in our sin so desperately want to exercise is shown to belong to God. That's what Baptism is – it is the public declaration that this person is part of God's family, God's kingdom, under God's authority and control – and that God will work salvation for them, not they themselves. Baptism is the promise of God to be God for you, for your benefit – and the Holy Spirit is there assuredly working for your good.

One other place of focus – because Nicodemus balks at this (and let's be honest – we do too a bit). Jesus makes an analogy to the wind and weather – you don't control the wind. You can see it and know that it's at work – but you don't get to control it. Same way with the Spirit. You don't get to control the Spirit, but you know where He is working for your good. And in exasperation Nicodemus says, “how can these things be?” How, how can all this be? So Jesus responds – Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Dude, have you not read the Old Testament – this is precisely how I worked throughout all of Moses and the Prophets! “Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak of what We know, and bear witness to what We have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things.” Now, this sounds very odd to our modern ears – we don't talk this way anymore. The point is this – the Triune God is revealed in the Scriptures, in the Word. It is in the Bible that God reveals Himself – where that “We speak of what We know” happens. The Scriptures are God giving Himself to us in a way that we can understand. But that doesn't mean that God is suddenly an object to study – no, God is utterly above and beyond us and there are things we cannot fathom nor wrap our heads around. The Trinity for example – we have named our congregation Trinity, but not a one of us can figure out how that works – We get that there is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and yet these Three are One – because that's what the Scriptures say and teach, but how in the world that works – that's beyond me. That's beyond any of us.

When it comes to this church, when it comes to the Christian faith – we don't get to be in charge. We don't get to throw around our own ideas or what we would like – we must remain with what God has said in His Word – and we believe and go with that by the power of His Spirit, even if it is beyond us, even if it is something we cannot explain. Even if it is a mystery. The Scriptures teach that Jesus is both at the same time true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary. How that gets pulled off – beyond any of us. But that is what God reveals and has said, and so we believe, teach, and confess it. And that this Jesus dies – God Himself dies and rises – and because of this our sins are forgiven and atoned for and we are rescued from Satan – theologians have spent 2 millennia trying to sort that out, and we can scratch the surface of what happened, but it's still too wondrous for us to comprehend. In a few minutes, we will celebrate the Lord's Supper – It is the true Body and Blood of our LORD Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink. I can't tell you “how” that works, other than “Jesus says so,” and so we believe, teach, and confess it to be true. It's a mystery far above my pay grade.

And that's okay. You see, part of our sinful arrogance and pride is the idea that we need to know and understand everything – because if you know and understand something then you can manipulate it and make it the way you want it to be. That is part and parcel of the fall – that is our sinful, selfish pride wanting to be “like God”. And so there we are, sinful folks, just messing around and hurting each other and being utterly selfish jerks to everyone – and then God decides to act. He Himself sees that you are dead in your sin, and He gives you a new birth – a new life – makes you to be born again by His Spirit. He washes you in Holy Baptism and brings you back away from Satan's rebellion unto His own Kingdom. He gives you His Word and Spirit so that you can see and believe these wondrous things that are so far above you that you cannot understand them. That's okay – we see Jesus at work for us. And that's all we need.

This summer, as we move through the Trinity season, we will hear Jesus' teaching, we will get glimpses of great and wondrous mysteries. But through all of them, remember that you have been baptized, called into His kingdom, and that they are all for your good. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit +

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Ascension Observed

Ascension Observed – June 1st and 2nd, 2019 – Luke 24
Christ is Risen (He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia) Amen
In the Creed, we confess that Christ has not only risen, but that He has ascended, and is at this moment seated at the right hand of the Father, that He is exercising His divine power on our behalf. This past Thursday was ascension day, 40 days after Easter. This morning, we will look at our Lord’s Ascension, and in particular what Words He speaks to the Disciples in the Gospel of Luke just before He ascends, and we will see how He shapes His Church on earth until He returns again on the last day in Glory. Let us dive in.

Then He said to them, “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. So, here we are today, almost 2000 years after the Ascension, and I want you to notice, dear friends, that what we end up doing here is exactly the same as what Christ Jesus our Lord and the disciples were doing right in our text. Our eyes are focused upon the Scriptures, and by the Holy Spirit, the Helper, God opens our eyes to understand them, to see Christ Jesus and His Gospel. We don’t simply look to the Scriptures for rules or advice; in the Scriptures we behold Christ Jesus our Lord. We are focused upon and shown Christ in God’s Word – be it the Word of the Old Testament which points forward to Christ, which declares what the Christ would do – or be it the Word of the New Testament, which declares what Christ has done. Whether the text is pointing to what the coming Messiah would do or whether it declares what Christ Jesus has done, what our Lord says is true – Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. There it is – the point, the entirety of Scripture summed up. What is the point of God’s Word? What is the point of our time spent together in that Word, be it here in worship, or be it in study, be it at home in private devotions? That Christ Jesus suffered, died, and was buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead – and because of this, we have forgiveness.

This is what Christ gives the Apostles – this is what He tells them to preach and write as He sends them out into all the world. So, isn’t this what we proclaim even unto this day? You see dear friends, the Apostles went out and preached, they did come down off the mountain, they stopped staring at the sky, and Christ and Him Crucified was preached throughout the world. Indeed, because Christ and Him Crucified was preached, this congregation came into being, formed by people who wanted to see that Christ and Him Crucified would be rightly preached in Herscher. And this is and shall remain our focus here in this place.

But how to keep that focus? We live in a day and age of great distractions, of continual promises of the new and improved. And the temptation is even for folks in the Christian community to go off and find new and novel spiritual quests or programs or the like. Here we need to listen to Jesus, for He tells us how He is to be preached and proclaimed. And that repentance and forgiveness should be proclaimed in My Name to all nations. Repentance and Forgiveness. So, let us do that again today. Is repentance a part of your life, dear friends? For you, as an individual, is repentance a part of your life? Do you pause, do you think where you have erred, where you have sinned, and do you strive to turn away from that sin, to repent of that sin? Is repentance a part of your life?

Repentance isn’t popular. Well, actually, it is if we think the preacher is telling other people to repent. It’s quite popular if the preacher rails on the person next to us, or the people out there. But the message that each one of us needs to take a good hard look at our own lives, needs to see where we sin and beat that down. Daily. Continually. None of us really likes that. We don’t want to deal with sin – don’t tell me I have to struggle against sin – rather just give me a few easy, simple things to do that prove that I’m a good person. Thing is – scripture says that we are sinful, sinners through and through, sinners in need of forgiveness. Scripture says that we are to turn away from our sin. Luther says that Baptism is to lead to daily contrition and repentance – more thought should be given to your struggle against the sins and temptations that hound you other than just breezing through the general confession at the beginning of service. Our lives are to be ones of repentance.

And there is a reason for this. God isn’t just some meanie, He doesn’t like to brow beat you over the head – rather He wants to give you forgiveness, He wants you to cherish your forgiveness. Repentance and forgiveness are to be preached in the Name of Christ. We are people who need forgiveness, forgiveness is the cause and the source and the content of faith. But what happens if we ignore repentance? We stop wanting forgiveness, and if we stop wanting forgiveness – faith dies. Think about it – in your own life, think on the times when you have been the most smug, the most confident in how good you were and in your own works – the times when your own sin was something that you never thought about. Did you look to Christ Jesus? Did you ponder the wonders of the Cross, that God Almighty would die to give you life? The old Lutheran hymn proclaims “faith clings to Jesus Christ alone” – and when you were so sure that you were a good person, were you clinging to Christ, or were your hands busy patting yourself on the back?

This is why there is the need for repentance – for when we do not see our sin we see no need for a Savior. When we do not see our sin, we see no need for the Cross. Give us other things, God – just make things easy here – after all, I’m a good person, don’t I deserve it? We lie to ourselves and lie to God. Our focus is shifted away from Christ, and we forget who we are. We see no need for Church. But think on what we teach here. Although you are a sinful being, God gives you forgiveness and life and salvation here in His Word. He gives you His Body and Blood for the remission of your sin. God is active for you here. Could there be anything that we would see as more important? And yet, what is the temptation that arises? To push Christ and His forgiveness to the side, to treat it as something that we don’t need.

That is why Christ and Him Crucified is preached. We see our need for a Savior, and then our Savior is proclaimed to us. This is the pattern, this is what we have done as the Holy Christian and Apostolic Church. And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God. Why? Why the continual blessing? Why the continual thanksgiving? Because their eyes were focused on Christ and not only what He had done in the past, but what He continues to do, what He continued to give to them each day in His Word and Sacraments.

We must not think, as some Churches teach, that with the Ascension our Lord leaves us behind. He has said that He is with us until the end of the age. And He is. He is present in His Word. He is present in His Supper. He has bound Himself to you at your Baptism. The reality of the Christian faith is that God Himself is present. He wants this truth preached – but we are to remember another thing – and this is the particular joy of the Ascension. Christ desires that He be preached so that we know that He is with us – that He gives us forgiveness and salvation – that He is indeed Emmanuel – God with us. That is true. That is the truest thing in your life. Christ is with you – and you are with Christ. As Christ has ascended, as Christ has risen to heaven – where will you be, O Christian, you who are forgiven and attached to Him? You will be where He is. The fact that God is here for you now on earth in His Word and Sacraments is the proof that God desires you to be with Him for all eternity. And God desires that nothing distract you from this truth. Throughout our days on earth our eyes are pulled away from the earthly, the mundane, the nice worldly advice, and rather placed upon Christ Jesus who has died, risen, and ascended – so that we might be sure of our salvation, that we might be sure of our eternal home.

This is what we see Christ Jesus doing in our Gospel. He anchors the Church, He ties the Church to His Word, so that we might always know His forgiveness and be tied to Him – so that for eternity we might be with Him as well. This is why the disciples departed in joy, this is the same joy which we proclaim to this day as well. Christ has ascended to the Father, and so too shall you, for Christ has claimed you as His own and given you His forgiveness. Cling to Him, rejoice in His forgiveness, and know that as He is in Heaven so shall you be as well. Amen. Christ is Risen, He is Risen indeed – Alleluia.