daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 24th Week of the Year, September 18, 2015
1 Tim. 6:2-12, Ps. 48, Luke 8:1-3

Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.


"Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him" (Luke 8:1).

This was Jesus' mission, to preach and evangelize the people concerning the kingdom of God, and he traveled all about Galilee doing this, preaching in their synagogues. He had a gospel to preach. He had good news to proclaim. He told the people that the time was now fulfilled and that the kingdom of God was at hand and that they should repent (change their heart - metanoeite) and believe in the gospel, that is, in this good news of salvation in him that he was now bringing to them (Mark 1:14-15).

Jesus had a message, he had good news, he had a gospel to preach, and he preached it in a way that was appropriate to that point in salvation history. The central event in the salvation of the world, the Paschal Mystery - Jesus' death and resurrection - had not yet taken place. So Jesus could not openly preach in the same way that his apostles would preach after Pentecost. Yet, even so, he preached quite a bit. He told the people that he came to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45) and that his blood was to be shed for the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28).


In this way he told them that he was dying as a lamb of sacrifice to take away their sins. And John the Baptist proclaimed him publicly as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). As a lamb died for the sins of the people to propitiate for their sins, instead of the people dying for their sins, so would Christ die for the sins of the world, so that we would not have to die for them. In that way his blood would be "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt. 26:28).

After Jesus' death and resurrection, dying for our sins on the cross (1 Cor. 15:3; Rom. 4:25), suffering our just punishment for us in reparation for our sins, and rising for our justification, the gospel began to be preached by the apostles in a much fuller and more open way. They now preached Jesus' Paschal Mystery - his death and resurrection - to give us repentance (metanoia - a "change of heart") and forgiveness of sins. Because of Jesus' death on the cross, they preached that God now declares us unrighteous sinners righteous and acquitted, because his death made just reparation for our sins. And they called all to faith in him that this reparation might be credited to them. They preached Jesus Christ, "who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Rom. 4:25).

The apostles had a clear message to preach, a clear gospel, the good news of salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Do we also have a clear and meaningful gospel to preach? Is our preaching centered on the Paschal Mystery as the source of our salvation, as the means whereby God justly declares us ungodly sinners acquitted and righteous through our faith, which applies the merits of Christ's death to us, who are without merits or good works, since we are ungodly sinners? In other words, do we clearly preach God's reckoning us as righteous by faith (Rom. 4:22-24), because of Christ's reparation-making death on the cross for our sins (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2), "apart from works" (Rom. 4:6), which we lack as ungodly sinners? Do we clearly preach the basic New Testament theology of salvation? Do we clearly preach that in Christ's death, through which our sins are justly propitiated for and expiated (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2), we also die to our old man, and rise with him in his resurrection to be a new man in Christ (Eph. 4:22-24) with our sins forgiven and with Christ's own righteousness now shining in us? Do we clearly preach redemption through Christ's blood shed for our sins on the cross? In short, do we clearly preach God's salvation and redemption of the world by the Paschal Mystery of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, through our faith in him?

Here is an example of apostolic preaching, the basic kerygma or proclamation of the apostles, that is the norm for all authentic Christian preaching. It is the sermon that St. Peter gave to the Gentiles in Cornelius's house. Talking about Jesus Christ, he says, "They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest ... To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:39-40, 43). That is, through his name or through his power, which means through his death and resurrection that he just mentioned, we receive the forgiveness of our sins.

There are also other things that we must preach about, but if our preaching is to rise to the level of authentic Christian preaching, and not just be talking in church after the reading of the gospel, then salvation, redemption, and justification by the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, through faith, apart from works, must be the center of our preaching. Is it? Does our preaching pass the New Testament criterion of authentic Christian preaching?


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