Jesus’ miracle in healing ten lepers in Samaria is one of two stories about Samaritans in the Gospel of Luke. The other, the Good Samaritan, is familiar, but what about these sick men, one of whom was a Samaritan who turned back to thank Jesus? In this homily, offered on Sunday, Trinity 14, 2016, Fr. John shows us what leprosy meant for first century people, and how the Old Testament used it to teach us about our condition. We learn a few surprising things. Listen here:
John the Baptist is as colorful as he is familiar to us. His life and times are far away, but his struggles are surprisingly contemporary. In today’s Gospel lesson we find John in prison because he publically called Herod an adulterer. John was not in prison because the kingdom of God had failed him. He was in prison because he had not failed the kingdom of God. The fact that God does not deliver us from the enemies we are just now coming to fear is as much a proof of the presence of the kingdom as a peace and prosperity. In this homily, offered on Advent 3, 2015, Fr. John encourages us to walk humbly with God amidst the decay of contemporary culture.
In today’s Gospel lesson Jesus healed a paralyzed man who was let down through a rooftop. He was sharply criticized because in doing so he pronounced the man’s sins forgiven. Such words were loaded with meaning. In this homily offered on Trinity 19, 2015, Fr. John explains how the Jews understood that forgiveness of sins was a signal blessing of the Messiah, but how they did not believe that such a thing was possible apart from the restoration of the temple and the observance of Torah. In other words, the Messiah, they thought, would respect their power structures. Jesus did neither, but rather announced forgiveness autonomously. He thus declared himself to be the Messiah, who brought the long-awaited future blessings into the present. His was a voice from the future with a message of “Be of good cheer! Your sins are forgiven.”
The parable of the Good Samaritan is simple and well-known. It is as powerful as it is brief. One does not get crucified, however, for preaching that we are to love others as ourselves. In this homily offered on Trinity 13, 2015, Fr. John shows how this familiar story by Jesus was revolutionary in its day and how it redrew the boundaries between the Jewish people and the world. Finally, we learn that the whole world can have a share in the family of God, just as God had originally declared to Abraham.
This week’s Gospel reminds us that those who expect to find themselves in the Kingdom of God are most in danger of missing it. This was true of the Pharisee, one of two men who went to the temple to pray. From this familiar parable, Fr. Davidson reminds us that grace and mercy are at the heart of God. This homily was offered on August 16, 2015 on Trinity 11.
The recent decision regarding same-sex marriage by the SCOTUS represents a dramatic moment in the history of our country. While political pundits debate the implications for politics and democracy, Fr. John address the moral issues at stake in this decision. This homily, National Sins, pt 2, was offered on June 28, 2015, Trinity 4, and in it Fr. John seeks to clarify the issue of marriage with respect to our families and the world.
The New Testament teaches us that Israel’s exile ended with the coming of the Messiah and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The long wait for deliverance was concluded. So why does St. Peter talk about Christians as sojourners and exiles? In this homily, offered on the third Sunday in Eastertide, 2015, Fr. John explains the new status that believers enjoy, and how this changes the kind of people they should be.
The liturgy of Maundy Thursday focuses upon Christ’s action of washing the disciples feet, by which he shows them the true meaning of the incarnation. In this sermon offered by Fr. John on Maundy Thursday, 2015, we see Christ setting aside his glory and taking the form of a servant. In this hour all things were committed to him, but Jesus did not use his power to stop the train of events about to unfold. Rather, he reveals the power of God unto salvation.
The liturgy of Palm Sunday is clear and most people know the basic features of the story. What is not always clear is that resurrection is in view from the start of Holy Week until it triumphantly concludes on Easter. This morning we walk with Jesus in “real time” on the way to Jerusalem, on the way to the cross. In this homily offered on Palm Sunday, 2015, we learn how our ambitions – our dreams – may not be God’s dreams.
During the season of Lent the Gospel readings take us to close encounters with our Satanic foes. Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness for 40 days recapitulates the wanderings of Israel in the desert, and shows us how we struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil. In the Gospel lesson for the second Sunday in Lent, we meet the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon, but who experienced the salvation of God. This sermon was offered by Fr. John on March 1, 2015.