The BreadCast
Daily Exposition of the Readings of Catholic Mass, from the book 'Our Daily Bread' by James H. Kurt (now with Chanted Verses, and added text of Prayer for the Day). Additional cast - SaintsCast, entries from the book 'Prayers to the Saints' (also by James Kurt). Both books bear imprimatur.

(1Sm.1:1:20-22,24-28;   Ps.84:2-3,5-6,9-10;   1Jn.3:1-2,21-24;   Lk.2:41-52) 

“Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 

If Hannah says of Samuel, “As long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord” even as she leaves her son with Eli in the temple, should not Jesus be equally dedicated to God, being His true Son?  If as John rightfully says of all those who live in God’s love and follow His commandments, “We are God’s children now,” how much greater a child of God is He who serves to make us children?  And so, where should He be but the temple of the Lord?

But Jesus’ parents do not look for Him there, indeed are “astonished” to find Him there – and thus perplexed at His answer to them – because they have no word that He will be like Samuel, that they are to leave Him in “the midst of the teachers.”  Surely Mary knows of her own kinship with Hannah, for this is indicated clearly in her Magnificat, which mirrors so closely Hannah’s own canticle of praise upon conceiving her son.  But that Jesus should be separated from them at this time, that He should in essence begin His ministry, begin plying the leaders of the people with revelatory questions so that “all who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers,” now, at twelve years of age, is not known to them.  Thirty is the customary age for the start of one’s ministry, is it not?  And their Son has not even reached His bar mitzvah yet!

It must be noted that Jesus gives place to the customs of the race.  We are told “He went down with [Joseph and Mary] and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.”  Though certainly the Son of God is prepared to teach even as He begins to talk, yet He does not remain in the temple at this time.  He is obedient.  And obedient particularly to Mary, who shall indeed indicate to Him the start of His ministry, at Cana.  And He shall be obedient there to her, too, even though He says then that it is not His time.

The Son must be in the Father’s house, for more than any of God’s children His “soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.  [His] flesh and [His] heart cry out for the living God.”  His heart is ever “set upon the pilgrimage,” for in the temple is His home.  But the truly Beloved Child of God remains among us in our mundane lives, taking the cross of earthly existence upon Himself, enduring all for the sake of God’s children.  And through His Mother’s intercession even “Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”  So may we all.  So may we all be so obedient, so prepared for the Father’s House.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Heaven" from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

 O LORD, remain in us and let us remain in you. 

YHWH, your Spirit you give us to make us your children, to make us even your very temples.  Let us remain in your House always!

One with the Holy Family let us become, blessed as Joseph and Mary, and your Son Jesus, blessed to be called your own – blessed to be one with all your chosen ones in the heavenly kingdom.  O LORD, remain in us!

If we must leave our earthly family behind, so be it, LORD.  If we must leave the caravan of our relatives and friends to enter your Temple, to remain with you, let us freely answer such a blessed call and dedicate ourselves to you alone.  And if we must return to the house of our mother and father, let us be obedient to them in your Name.  But wherever we are and whatever we do, let our lives be a holy offering to you. 

Our souls yearn for your courts, O LORD; our heart and our flesh cry out for you.  O let us dwell in your House!  Let our prayer come to your ears that we might be your beloved children, pleasing you in all things and growing unto your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-123012-Holy_Fam._C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

(1Jn.2:3-11;   Ps.96:1-3,5-6,11;   Lk.2:22-35)

 

“The way we can be sure we are in union with Him

is if one who claims to abide in Him

conducts himself just as He did.”

 

“The darkness is over and the real light begins to shine,” and we must live in that light. 

“My eyes have witnessed your saving deed displayed for all peoples to see,” declares Simeon in his prophecy over the Christ child.  “In accord with the dictate in the law of the Lord,” though He Himself is God, Mary and Joseph dutifully bring Jesus to the temple to be “consecrated to the Lord” as every first-born male must.  And there the “just and pious” Simeon who so patiently “awaited the consolation of Israel,” the coming of “the Anointed of the Lord,” takes the child “in his arms” and blesses God for His gift, His mercy.

Learn from these the attitude all must have.  In their faithful observance of the commands of God and the inspiration of the Spirit, they fulfill His Word.  And so light dawns for us and we know of its presence in our midst.  Now we must continue to “announce His salvation, day after day tell His glory among the nations; among all peoples, His wondrous deeds.”  Our deeds must mirror His deeds; His light, “a revealing light to the Gentiles, the glory of [His] people Israel,” we must shine.  The sign has come; the new commandment which has been of old must now be realized in each of us.  As a sword has pierced the heart of the Blessed Mother, so it shall pierce the heart of everyone who unites himself to the Blessed Child, who follows in the steps of our blessed Lord.

“The thoughts of many hearts [shall] be laid bare.”  There will be no hiding from this light that has come.  If you think you can claim to know Him “without keeping His commandments,” without conducting yourself “just as He did,” you must know that your lie will be exposed.  “The man who continues in the light is the one who loves his brother.”  Only this will save you, for only love is of light; hatred is only of darkness, and in the Lord there is no darkness.

Let us join with Simeon in proclaiming His salvation.  Let us join with David in singing of the “splendor and majesty” of the Lord.  “Praise and grandeur are in His sanctuary.”   And let us do this principally with our very lives, becoming as the temple of God who is presented to us this day.

 

*******

O LORD, let the light of your Son

be revealed to our eyes, and in our actions.

YHWH, your light be revealed in us this day as it was revealed in your Son to the eyes of Simeon.  May Jesus live in us and we shine His glory forth, that your Word may indeed be fulfilled in all our lives.

We are in darkness, LORD.  As we keep not your Word, your Law, your command to love, we stray from right paths and become blind to your presence.  If we do not live your presence, if we do not do your will, how can we claim to be of you?  How can we say we are your disciples if we do not do the things your Son has done?

Take us from the shadows, LORD, and reveal to our eyes the presence of Christ in our midst.  Dispel all the dark of hatred and doubt and error by this unending light you shine upon us.  And let us truly be transformed by the light of our Savior that we might announce His salvation every day of our lives until our last breath on this earth.  Then let us live with you forever.

Direct download: Fifth_Day_Oct._C.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Mi.5:1-4a;   Ps.80:2-4,15-16,18-19;   Heb.10:5-10;   Lk.1:39-45) 

“Blessed is the fruit of your womb.” 

From the womb of Bethlehem-Ephrathah, from the womb of Judah, has come forth “one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.”  Now “she who is to give birth has borne”; now has our Savior come.  Though He has existed from time’s beginning, it is now He is made flesh in the womb of this simple virgin.

“When Christ came into the world, He said; ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.’”  And so God comes in His own flesh to take away our sins.  Prepared in the womb of the Immaculate Virgin, in this bright cave He is knit with sinews as we… and who could proclaim loudly enough the majesty of this humble event; who could declare in fullness the blessing of this Mother and Child?  And their union is one which will save our race, as shown already in the Baptist’s leap for joy in his own mother’s womb.  The Holy Spirit is working fully in the wombs of these mothers and in their children’s flesh and blood.

And so the psalmist finds answer for his prayer to God: “Rouse your power, and come to save us.”  For here comes “He [who] shall stand firm and shepherd His flock by the strength of the Lord, in the majestic name of the Lord, His God”; here is the One whose “greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth.”  And so shall all who trust in Him be saved.

In body He comes like a Rock upon whom our feet stand firm.  In the Spirit has He been formed in His Mother’s womb.  And, yes, blessed is she “who believed that what was spoken to [her] by the Lord would be fulfilled”; and blessed are all those who have faith in the Son she bears.  For all time meets in this moment; all prophecy speaks with one voice of the birth of this Holy One.  And so, let us pray to God the Father: “Protect what your right hand has planted, the Son of Man whom you yourself made strong,” that we might praise forever the glory of your presence, in the salvation you have made known.  May the peace He is be with us always.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Baby Inside" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let the Mother of our Lord come to us, too,

that new life may stir in us as well.

YHWH, blessed is the womb of Bethlehem, of Israel, of Mary the Mother of your Son.  For in her you have prepared a body, the body of Jesus, the Word made flesh, that shall be as offering for our sins.  In Him we are saved, for in Him your majesty reigns, and so your glory is now in our midst.

O let us leap like John the Baptist at the approach of your Son and His Mother!  Bring to life what has remained dormant for such a long time.  Arouse within us the joy of new life that we might be stirred to proclaim your glory.  He has come who shall shepherd us, LORD; let us be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The sacrifices of old now pass away as all prophecy is fulfilled in the flesh of your only Son.  And so we pray, let your will be done.  Let your greatness reach to the ends of the earth and your peace reign in every heart by the power upon Jesus the Christ.  O LORD, let us be consecrated to you in His holy offering.

Direct download: BC-122312-Su_4_Adv_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(1Sm.1:24-28;   1Sm.2:1,4-8;   Lk.1:46-56)

 

“His mercy is from age to age

on those who fear Him.”

 

The Magnificat of Mary mirrors but, if I may say, far surpasses the Canticle of Hannah in beauty, in wonder, in grace… even as the perfection of the Son she bears far exceeds the blessing of the prophet Samuel.  As Jesus brings to fulfillment the greatness of all who came before Him, so Mary’s song expresses that perfection in the light of the same divine mercy.

Mercy indeed is infused in each line she utters under the power of the Spirit.  Mercy and truth, a love completely open to the blessings of God is hers and is revealed in the words which fall like cleansing rain from her immaculate lips.  She is blessed, she knows, and she shall be called blessed; for the truth, the Word of God, cannot be hidden, must be raised to meet the eyes and ears of all who seek His grace.  For “the hungry He [gives] every good thing,” and the lowly He raises “to high places.”  She is “His servant in her lowliness” and the joy of such blessing she cannot help but proclaim with all her being.

Hannah brings the child she has conceived in answer to her prayer, through the intercession of Eli – by the grace of God – and dedicates him to the Lord, leaving him at the temple.  She, too, “exults in the Lord” for the fact that, in the Lord’s will, “the barren wife bears seven sons”; for she who was thought sterile has borne the great man of God, Samuel.  Mary, in her grateful appreciation for the blessing upon her, will not need to leave her child at the temple, for He has been conceived entirely of the Holy Spirit and is Himself the Temple of the Lord, wholly dedicated to the will of the Father from before the inception of time.

As the ancient Israelites found the direction and guidance of God through the ministry of Samuel, as by him they were led to serve the Lord their God, so now in this the end of the age we have Jesus, the perfect light of guidance through the grace and mercy of God, to lead us to the total service of the Lord that Mary embodies so well.  God is “mighty,” brothers and sisters; “holy is His name.”  Let us rejoice in Him who “has upheld Israel His servant, ever mindful of His mercy,” and let us make that same blessed mercy the leaven that lifts us unto heaven.  To Him let us sing our song of praise.

 

*******

O LORD, Mary you have blessed

with your very presence,

and so she has become the Temple in which you dwell –

may we all become as your Temple.

YHWH, to the humble you show your mercy; you raise them up to dwell with you.  Our Mother Mary is the humblest of our race, and so she is at your side forever in Heaven.  O may we be blessed as she!

Hannah, too, you blessed, O LORD, she who had borne no children.  Samuel, the man of God, you gave to her, for she had promised to give him to you.  But the Son of Mary who could give to you, for He is with you always?  Let us be with Him this very day, that we might remain in your Temple.

O LORD, the proud and the mighty you tear down that they might know they are of the earth.  But the meek and humble you raise to high places, even to your presence.  Let us leave behind all the riches of this world; help us to escape the trap they are to us, the death they spell to our souls, that with the lowly we might dwell, in your eternal kingdom.  O let your servants live! 

Direct download: Adv._II_Dec._22.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Zep.3:14-18a;   Is.12:2-6;   Phil.4:4-7;   Lk.3:10-18) 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. 

I shall say it again: Rejoice!” 

“Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!  Sing joyfully, O Israel!  Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!” Zephaniah exclaims.  “Shout with exultation, O city of Zion”! Isaiah urges.  And Paul is overwhelmed with the spirit of rejoicing.  Why such joy?  Whence such celebration?  “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior,” Zephaniah declares.  “Great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!” Isaiah proclaims.  And Paul tells us simply: “The Lord is near.”  What could bring greater joy than such a prospect?

And so we “have no further misfortune to fear.”  And so we should be “confident and unafraid.”  And so we should “have no anxiety.”  For the Lord will “renew [us] in His love.”  Our strength and [our] salvation is the Lord,” and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard [our] hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Why should we not be joyful if He Himself “will rejoice over [us] with gladness,” if because of us He sings “as one sings at festivals.”  Should we not match His joy poured out for our sakes and sing the song of salvation?

And it is John the Baptist who hails most clearly the song of salvation coming into our midst.  It is he who “preached good news to the people” with all the power of God, exhorting them to holiness that they might be gathered as “wheat into His barn.”  By him “the people were filled with expectation”; by him and by his pronouncement of the coming of Him who “will baptize [them] with the Holy Spirit and fire,” the song of joy is ignited in their hearts.  He calls us all, by the Spirit that filled Isaiah, to “give thanks to the Lord, [and] acclaim His name.”  It is he who “among the nations make[s] known His deeds, [who] proclaim[s] how exalted is His name.”  And the souls of even tax collectors and soldiers turn to him in anxious anticipation.

And yes, what about us, brothers and sisters?  Is the joy of Christ brimming over in our hearts, despite any situation?  Do we hear the voice of the Baptist – and the prophets and the apostles – crying out His way of peace?  And do we follow as the voice instructs?  Indeed, the Lord is near; He is in our midst.  Let us welcome Him with the purest of joy.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Head Over Heels, Turn Around" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

******

O LORD, your Son is coming

and we should repent of all sin

that we might be ready to rejoice and give Him praise.

YHWH, the fire of the Spirit has come to us; John has proclaimed the light in our midst.  Jesus, your Son, is now among us, and what should we do but rejoice?

O LORD God, holy is your NAME, and holy is the One whom you send to us.  So holy is He that we are not worthy to kneel at His feet.  For He reflects your greatness, O LORD; His light is your own.  How can we stand in your overwhelming glory, except that in Him we receive your promised mercy in our soul?

What mercy you bring us this day, LORD God!  What grace is ours in the word the Baptist speaks.  For he proclaims the Christ come among us – he proclaims the salvation of your lowly ones.

We are but your servants, LORD, unworthy to wait on your only Son.  Yet you bless us with your loving mercy and invite us to perfection in Him.  And so, what can we do but rejoice?

Direct download: BC-121612-Su_3_Adv_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Is.35:1-10;   Ps.85:9-14,Is.35:4;   Lk.5:17-26)

 

“A highway will be there, called the holy way.”

 

Jesus is the highway; holy is He!  He is the stream that “will burst forth in the desert.”  It is He who “strengthen[s] the hands that are feeble [and] make[s] firm the knees that are weak,” that they might walk along His way.  It is He who forgives sins.  For “no one unclean may pass over” the safe path He makes in the wilderness of this world, and He wishes to “give His benefits” to all of faith.  “Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.”  

“Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing,” prophesies Isaiah.  And Jesus says to the paralyzed man, “Get up!  Take your mat with you and return to your house.”  And what did the man do?  “He picked up the mat he had been lying on and went home praising God.”  “We have seen incredible things today!” the crowd exclaims in awe, for the great vision of the prophet Isaiah has come to pass before their eyes: before them is being set the path to paradise.

“Hear what the Lord proclaims,” brothers and sisters: “Justice shall walk before Him, and salvation, along the way of His steps.”  Along His holy way “the redeemed will walk.  Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy.”  All those forgiven their sins will enter their homes praising God.  Yes, the “desert and the parched land… will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.”  We once paralyzed in our sin, by His hand, by His word, along His holy way, shall walk once again.

He has come.   “Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you.”  In Him “kindness and truth… meet, justice and peace… kiss.”  In Him we are made whole by the breath of His mouth, by the words from His lips.  And now we have “a journey to make.”  Now there is a way to walk.  Let us remain upon this highway.  Let us preserve the healing He has brought to our bones.  Let us now live in faith with our Lord.

 

*******

O LORD, tear down the mountains of pride

and fill in the valleys of fear

that we might come to you on straight paths. 

YHWH, how shall our flesh see your salvation?  How shall we come to your glory, we poor, miserable creatures?  Only because you call us to redemption.  Only because you desire us to share in your heavenly majesty.  And only if we make straight the way for your Son to come into our hearts.

O LORD, let us ever increase in knowledge of what is good and lasting, that we might be made pure and blameless for the day of Christ, that we might become as He is, blessed to be called your sons.  O let us give glory and praise to you for such a blessing!

Restore our fortunes, dear God; may we who have been separated from you and sent into exile be brought back to your holy City, to your mountain.  As on royal thrones let us be borne aloft to gaze upon your splendor and glory, O King of all the nations.  Great things you have indeed done for us, for now our weeping is turned to joy and we enter your presence bearing great fruit.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-120610-M_2_Adv.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Bar.5:1-9;   Ps.126:1-6;   Phil.1:4-6,8-11;   Lk.3:1-6) 

“All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” 

Yes, at a particular point in time, in the year delineated so precisely by Luke in our gospel, “the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.”  The Holy Spirit whispered in his ear, set his heart on fire, and so called him to cry out the coming of the Lord upon the nation.  And “John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,” calling all souls to “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”; being thus inspired, what else could he do?  The Spirit so powerfully upon him, of what else could he think?  The long-awaited Savior is finally near – and the people must be ready.

And so, sinful flesh is made clean in the Jordan River.  And so “the rough ways [are] made smooth,” “the winding roads… made straight,” for nothing crooked shall meet the Messiah.  We do not come to Him in sinful garb.  O “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever.”  Plunge yourself into the waters that make new.  Let all of the old man be washed away.  “For God will show all the earth your splendor; you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.”  “See your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God,” joyful that He has come.  All the earth shall be blessed through you and the royal tree that grows in your midst.

“When the Lord brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming.”  How can it be our salvation has come?  And now “God is leading Israel in joy by the light of His glory, with His mercy and justice for company.”  In His Church this day we dwell; into His presence ever we come.  Obedient to the cry of the prophet’s voice, we turn from our sins and are made anew.  And now our daily bread we consume.

What joy should fill our hearts, brothers and sisters! that the Lord has come to dwell with us.  We eat “the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God,” and the strength we find herein He will “complete” on the day of His coming again.  Let our hearts be set on fire as was John’s.  Let us cry out to all flesh that the salvation of God is nigh.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Please Even Me Out" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, tear down the mountains of pride

and fill in the valleys of fear

that we might come to you on straight paths.

YHWH, how shall our flesh see your salvation?  How shall we come to your glory, we poor, miserable creatures?  Only because you call us to redemption.  Only because you desire us to share in your heavenly majesty.  And only if we make straight the way for your Son to come into our hearts.

O LORD, let us ever increase in knowledge of what is good and lasting, that we might be made pure and blameless for the day of Christ, that we might become as He is, blessed to be called your sons.  O let us give glory and praise to you for such a blessing!

Restore our fortunes, dear God; may we who have been separated from you and sent into exile be brought back to your holy City, to your mountain.  As on royal thrones let us be borne aloft to gaze upon your splendor and glory, O King of all the nations.  Great things you have indeed done for us, for now our weeping is turned to joy and we enter your presence bearing great fruit.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-120912-Su_2_Adv_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Jer.33:14-16;   Ps.25:4-5,8-10,14;   1Thes.3:12-4:2;   Lk.21:25-28,34-36)

“You are God my savior,

and for you I wait all the day.”

So does David sing of the “just shoot” that will be raised up after him; so does he anticipate the coming of Jesus into our midst.  But, though the Messiah has been born, though He has come among us now, yet the Lord will not “fulfill the promise [He] made to the house of Israel and Judah” until Jesus returns on the last day.  And so, we too await our Savior.

And how should we wait?  Brothers and sisters, you know “how you should conduct yourselves to please God,” to be found “blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones.”  You have been guided in His truth and instructed by the one who “teaches the humble His way.”  “The friendship of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and His covenant, for their instruction.”  And you fear Him, and so receive His instruction.  Continue to do so.  Continue to “increase and abound in love for one another.”  Let not the sum of your good works diminish in the least, but “strengthen your hearts,” and what you have been doing for Him, “do so even more.”  Until the Day He comes your justice must increase.

And “what is coming upon the world” you know as well.  The end of the world is upon us and has been since Christ’s crucifixion.  All is passing away and shall soon be no more.  The nations will look, but they will not see the things they trusted in so vainly.  Only “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” will be known; He will be all that is seen.  And will you recognize Him?  And will He recognize you?

Brothers and sisters, with the Lord’s own words I will leave you: “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Wait expectantly.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Salvation Army" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, in your justice make us blameless in holiness

for the return of your Son in glory.

YHWH, help us to increase and abound in love even as we await the return of your Son.  Though His coming be with great tribulation, let us not fear but welcome Him with open arms and heads raised to His glory.

Jesus is the just shoot you have raised up for the House of Israel; He is the fulfillment of your promise to all who strive toward you.  He has come and made Himself known with signs and wonders.  He has walked among us to show us the way to you.  Let us follow Him in humility, LORD, and we shall reign with Him on the last day.

Guide us in your truth, O LORD; teach us your way.  Let us remain constant on the path that leads to you, conducting ourselves as has your Son.  His apostles exhort us to remain faithful at all times, to be vigilant and pray.  His love will indeed increase within us, rising unto glory on the Day of judgment, if we do not turn away from His call, from His kindness upon our souls.

Soon shall come the end, O LORD; let us indeed be found ready and waiting.

Direct download: BC-120212-Su_1_Adv_C.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Rv.22:1-7;   Ps.95:1-7,Rv.21:20;   Lk.21:34-36)

 

“Remember, I am coming soon!”

 

And when He comes what blessings there shall be for those who have been faithful to Him.  They shall eat of “the trees of life which produce fruit twelve times a year,” which grow either side of “the river of life-giving water, clear as crystal” flowing from “the throne of God and of the Lamb.”  Healed entirely shall they be by the medicine of their leaves.

Then, brothers and sisters, if we wish to eat of this blessed, holy fruit, let us not now “become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares.”  For the bitter fruit of this earth will only poison our souls with sin and so prevent our tasting the food of the heavenly kingdom.  “Nothing deserving a curse shall be found there,” so let us remove all of this world’s bitterness from our tongues.

Oh my dear brethren, the promise is great for those who “serve Him faithfully,” who “acclaim the Rock of our salvation,” the Lord, the “great God,” and Jesus Christ His Son.  Listen to what our blessed brother John imparts to us today, for “these words are trustworthy and true,” and oh so beautiful: “They shall see Him face to face and bear His name on their foreheads.  The night shall be no more.  They will need no light from lamps or the sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever.”  Do you hear these words?  Does the promise take root in your hearts?  Oh let your heart be upon His light!  Let the glory of His face be all you aspire to, for it is not far from you.

“Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us.”  For “the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, has sent His angel to show His servants what must happen very soon.”  Let us listen to His words.  “Happy the man who heeds the prophetic message of this book!” who eats the Bread God provides.  His dawn is on the horizon.

 

*******

O LORD, come;

send your Son a second time  

and let us enter your kingdom.

YHWH, that we might be able to stand secure before your Son on His coming Day, that great and terrible day that leads to the eternal kingdom!  O that we might eat the fruit of the crystal river that flows from your throne and that of the Lamb, that heals us of all our illness and enables us to live forever!  O that we might stand in your holy light, that we might look upon your face, your NAME written on our foreheads!  O that we might forever reign with you!

O LORD, let us sing your praise even this day that we might come to sing your praise always in your kingdom.  Let us bow down in our worship and kneel before you who have made us.  You are our God, you alone; let our hearts not be set on any of the things of this world but on you who have made them all, that we might transcend this earth and all its emptiness and come quickly into your presence.  O let us heed your Word this day and ever serve you faithfully.  Glory to you, O LORD our God!

Direct download: BC-120112-Sa_34_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.18:1-2,21-23,19:1-3,9;   Ps.100:2-5;   Lk.21:20-28)

 

“These indeed will be days of retribution,

when all that is written must be fulfilled.”

 

The destruction of the world and the coming of the kingdom is our clear theme today.  It is what is written.  It is what must be fulfilled.

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” that “dwelling place for demons,” cries out an angel by whose authority and glory “all the earth was lighted up.”  He calls down the destruction of the evil empire that is the city of this world.  And the “assembly in heaven” sing loudly, “He has condemned the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her harlotry,” exulting in the salvation and glory and might of the One God, whose “judgments are true and just!”  For though “the blood of His servants… was shed by her hand,” “the great city” is “hurled… into the sea” like “a huge millstone,” “cast down” with such “violence” that it shall never rise again.  And so, “happy are they who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lord,” who sing “Alleluia!” to the great and wonderful presence of our God in the kingdom that is to come.

And in our gospel Jesus warns of the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and of the final destruction of the earth.  Yes, “Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles.”  Indeed its “devastation is near,” a mere thirty-five years from the death of the Lord.  But the devastation of Jerusalem will last beyond its destruction by Rome, by the whore of Babylon, around 70 A.D. – it will continue “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled,” until the nations’ drinking of the cup of evil to its dregs, and the consequent end of this world brought about by the mighty hand of God.  And so the blood of His servants continues to be shed, even as the kingdom is on the horizon.

“Those in the heart of the city must escape it.”  Here is a grave warning.  You must rise from the mire of the sin into which the world leads you.  For “the powers in the heavens will be shaken”; the walls of the city will be torn down, and you will be exposed and alone.  “Flee to the mountains” of holiness; take refuge in “the country,” where the Lord pastures His sheep.  Do not give yourself to the ways of this world or the mark of the beast – lust not for the gold in its hands.  For she is “a cage for every filthy and disgusting bird”; though the appearance may be otherwise, though the cage may be gilded, the horror within shall be revealed in the last days.

Brothers and sisters, we must find ourselves standing with those who “sing joyfully to the Lord,” who “enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise.”  On the last day we must not fear “the roaring of the sea and the waves” because of our complicity with evil, but “stand up straight and raise our heads,” ready for our ransom to come at the hands of our Lord.  Let His goodness which “endures forever” be fulfilled in our souls.  (With arms open upon the cross, we shall find our song.) 

 

*******

O LORD, as the great city of this earth

is destroyed by fire,

let us be welcomed into your kingdom by your Son.

YHWH, in you and in your Son our ransom is near at hand, ransom from this world of corruption, ransom to the wedding feast of the Lamb.  Your saints have shed their blood at the hands of the great harlot, but never again shall she sing her mocking song – all evil will be silenced before you as you gather your sheep into your arms.

Though by the nations your people be trampled, though great signs come in a bloodstained sky and a roaring sea… though it seem like the end has come upon us, it is only the beginning of your reign to come.  O LORD, may we let this world pass away in its iniquity as we join ourselves to you! 

Into your gates with thanksgiving let us come, O LORD; in your courts let us praise your NAME.  Let us raise our heads to see your Son coming, even as the earth and its wickedness pass entirely away.

Direct download: BC-112912-Th_34_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.15:1-4;   Ps.98:1-3,7-9,Rv.15:13;   Lk.21:12-19)

 

“By patient endurance you will save your lives.”

 

Jesus tells His disciples bluntly: “People will manhandle and persecute you.”  Some will be “put to death” as they are “brought to give witness on account of” His name – “All will hate you because of me.”  Yet in their witness He promises to provide “words and a wisdom” to serve as an impenetrable defense against their enemies… and in the end, after persevering through all suffering, eternal life shall be theirs.

John’s vision in our first reading reveals the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise.  Even as “seven angels holding the seven final plagues” of “God’s wrath” stand ready to cast these culminating tribulations upon the earth, the Evangelist sees “those who had won victory over the beast and its image” – over the illusory power of the evil one – “holding the harps used in worshiping God,” and singing “the song of the Lamb” who was slain but now lives forever: “Mighty and wonderful are your works, Lord God Almighty!  Righteous and true are your ways, O King of the nations!…  You alone are holy.”

Brothers and sisters, let us “sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wondrous deeds; His right hand has won victory for Him, His holy arm.”  Yes, “the Lord has made His salvation known,” and as those who stand “on the sea of glass” give praise to God with harps in hand, so does “the sea and what fills it resound,” so do “the rivers clap their hands, [and] the mountains shout with them for joy.”  Let us join their holy song “before the Lord, for He comes, He comes to rule the earth”; His everlasting “justice” is upon us.  And though we may have to suffer for a time in this world of darkness and sin, where light is shunned by the sons of men, yet even in our persecutions this eternal joy should take hold of our souls so that we know not the suffering from the rejoicing – for both are done in His name, and soon the former shall pass away. 

Indeed, the song of the Lord is already upon our lips; we wait now only for its eternal resonance before His throne.

 

*******

O LORD, let your will be done in us  

and our souls be saved,  

that we might praise you forever.

YHWH, let your song of praise be on our lips for the salvation you have wrought in our midst.  With the Lamb let us come into your heavenly kingdom.  Through all persecution let us endure with your Word within us. 

What is our suffering in this life, O LORD, when the eternal life of Heaven awaits us and comes to us even this day.  We shall rejoice with the rivers and mountains and all the earth, for we shall win victory with your Son over the devil and his illusions – that battle is being won even as we speak. 

Be with us, LORD, this day, this hour; every hour we toil on this plane, let us toil only with you and for you.  And we shall have nothing to fear at the death of the body or our being dragged before the rulers of this age.  For we shall never die!  For you who are life never die and our home is in you. 

Praise you, O LORD our God!  Do your mighty works in our midst and we shall glory in your holy NAME forever.

Direct download: BC-112812-W_34_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.14:14-19;   Ps.96:10-13;   Lk.21:5-11)

 

“Use your sickle and cut down the harvest,

for now is the time to reap.”

 

Brothers and sisters, you will “hear of wars and insurrections,” and “there will be great earthquakes, plagues, and famines in various places, and in the sky fearful omens and great signs.”  “These things are bound to happen first, but the end does not follow immediately.”  The end does not follow immediately from the signs, so do not set your hearts upon them – “take care not to be misled” by those whose seed has no root and so jumps up at any indication of travail.  There has been travail throughout human history and the end, which is upon us every moment now, will only be fulfilled at the angels’ cry.  When this will be, be assured you do not know.

In John’s vision, at the first angel’s cry “the one sitting on the cloud wielded his sickle over all the earth and reaped the earth’s harvest.”  At a second angel’s cry another “wielded his sickle over the earth and gathered the grapes of the earth… [and] threw them into the huge winepress of God’s wrath.”  And so the end comes.  But does John see the future only, the past or the present as well… or a time that exists quite apart from our own?  And even the angels did not know the time had come until they obediently acted upon the word of their God.  And would you yet listen to the anxious rantings of those without eyes, those whose vision does not approach the heavenly reality?

The Lord “shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with His constancy” when “He comes to rule the earth.”  This you can know even now; of this you can be assured.  But when “the heavens [shall] be glad and the earth rejoice… [and] the sea and what fills it resound,” none can say – this word is in His mouth alone, and when the Mighty One shall pronounce it is known to His Heart alone.  He has spoken once at the coming of Christ, but when He shall speak finally cannot be ascertained; it is but for us to be prepared for that Day.  For He will come again, we know, and the angels’ sickles shall be sharp, and separate with certainty the wheat from the chaff.  The time of harvest is at hand.

(In the harvest of the wheat and the grapes of the earth at the end of the age is made perfect this Body and Blood of Christ we eat and drink from our altar today.  The saints’ flesh and blood become the Lord’s own.)

 

*******

O LORD, when harvest time comes,  

let us not be fearful but rejoice  

in the return of your Son.

YHWH, you rule the world with justice and in the end your justice will be known.  There will not be left a stone on another as you reap the harvest you have sown and cast the unrighteous into the winepress of your wrath.

Those who love you, LORD, shall rejoice at your coming, at the return of your only Son and all His angels with Him.  They shall rejoice that the end has come and your justice will be fully known.  And you shall gather them into your barns. 

But those who are not your own, LORD, will not be able to endure that day, for they will be anxious and afraid at the glory that comes to rule the earth.  Turn all hearts from the empty illusion of this passing world and set them on your kingdom which passes not away but is fulfilled in the judgment of your Son on the Day of His return.  Let us not fear the violence coming upon the land but look to the peace that follows.

Direct download: BC-112712-Tu_34_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.14:1-5;   Ps.24:1-6;   Lk.21:1-4) 

“They are pure and follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”

Here is answered most definitively the question David sings: “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?”  In John’s vision, the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God “was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him were the hundred and forty-four thousand who had His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”  Here are they who are worthy to stand with the perfect and pure One, for their “hands are sinless, [their] heart is clean”: “on their lips no deceit has been found; they are indeed without flaw.”  And so they “receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God [their] savior.”  The greatest blessing of all is theirs – remaining in His presence forever.

And these holy ones play the thunderous song of praise “on their harps,” “singing a new hymn before the throne in the presence of the four living creatures and the elders.”  They indeed have found their place as firstfruits of the kingdom of heaven, singing a hymn no one else could learn.  And again, it is their purity, their perfection in the sight of God, that brings them to this holy place.  All they have given over to the Lamb, and so He makes them like Himself.

And in our gospel we see in the simple widow indication of the spirit necessary to enter God’s presence.  She holds nothing back from the Lord, but gives “every penny she ha[s] to live on.”  Yes, brothers and sisters, every penny must be paid; all we have and all we are must be given to Him.  If we are like this widow and like the holy ones who stand before the throne and give all while here on the face of the earth, we shall come quickly to heaven and find our place in His presence prepared.  If not, the purgatorial flames await to take away any flaw in our soul, to remove any selfishness from our hearts – to bring us then to give up all that we yet have to Him, that with Him we might truly be.  But the saints tell us these flames are not pleasant.  In fact, they say they are much the same as the fires of hell, though they shall come to an end.

So let us here and now offer all we have to the Lord; let us seek to serve Him with all our lives, that we might by His grace avoid the cleansing fire and come immediately before Him.  Only those in absolute purity follow Him and stand in His place.

*******

O LORD, come;

send your Son a second time

and let us enter your kingdom.

YHWH, that we might be able to stand secure before your Son on His coming Day, that great and terrible day that leads to the eternal kingdom!  O that we might eat the fruit of the crystal river that flows from your throne and that of the Lamb, that heals us of all our illness and enables us to live forever!  O that we might stand in your holy light, that we might look upon your face, your NAME written on our foreheads!  O that we might forever reign with you!

O LORD, let us sing your praise even this day that we might come to sing your praise always in your kingdom.  Let us bow down in our worship and kneel before you who have made us.  You are our God, you alone; let our hearts not be set on any of the things of this world but on you who have made them all, that we might transcend this earth and all its emptiness and come quickly into your presence.  O let us heed your Word this day and ever serve you faithfully.  Glory to you, O LORD our God!

Direct download: BC-112612-M_34_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Dn.7:13-14;   Ps.93:1-2,5;   Rv.1:5-8;   Jn.18:33b-37) 

“My kingdom does not belong to this world.”

“The Lord is King, in splendor robed,” our psalmist cries.  “King” is our word for our great Lord; it is the best our imperfect thoughts and pale vocabulary can utter.  But much more than king is our Lord Jesus Christ, for kings do come and go but “His kingship shall not be destroyed”; His “throne stands firm from of old” – it is “from everlasting” to everlasting.  More than a king… He is God.

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.’”  He has no beginning or end but is Himself the beginning and end of all things.  He “came into the world to testify to the truth,” and now His truth is spoken, and His kingdom is coming.  “Behold, He is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him.  All the people of the earth will lament Him.  Yes.  Amen.”  None shall be able to hide from the Truth, from the King of “all peoples, nations, and languages.”  And the same vision as John has Daniel had so many centuries before: “I saw one like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven,” He whom the Ancient One gives “dominion, glory, and kingship.”  And the testimony of two witnesses holds truth, cannot be broken.  He is coming, and all are called to “serve Him.”

Brothers and sisters, He “loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood,” which He offers without a fight before Pilate this day.  By His sacrifice He “has made us into a kingdom, priests for His God and Father.”  And the kingdom we are is not of this earth, is “not here”; and the sacrifice we offer now is heavenly – it comes down to us from above… this miraculous blood we drink and shed ourselves in His Name.

Here our King stands before us, standing in the hearts of all His holy ones.  He who lives forever now draws us into the kingdom where He ever remains.  Not of this world, we come before His radiant majesty.  “To Him be glory and power forever and ever.  Amen.”

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Vision of Children" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, your Son’s kingdom is not here,

is not of this world, but remains forever in Heaven –

let us meet Him in His reign.

YHWH, from you Jesus has received dominion, glory, and kingship.  From all eternity He is your Son.  To Him be glory and power forever, and may we join Him at your side.

To testify to the Truth He came into the world, to reveal your presence unto us, dear LORD.  And so that we might become holy as He, as you, He died to take away our sins.  May our hearts be set upon the Truth you are, the Truth He declares by His very presence among us, and may we follow Him through this world on His way to Heaven.

To this world He does not belong, and so should we transcend this place.  Its honors and its power are as the dust, but with Him is life everlasting.  He is the One who is and who was and who is to come – He is all things, dear God.  And with Him we shall be made into a kingdom, and share in your eternal glory.

Direct download: Christ_the_King_Sun._-_Year_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Rv.11:4-12;   Ps.144:1,2,9-10;   Lk.20:27-40)

 

“After three and a half days,

the breath of life which comes from God

returned to them.”

 

And these his two witnesses “went up in a cloud as their enemies looked on” “in sheer terror.”  For it seemed they had “conquer[ed] and kill[ed]” the Lord’s prophets.  Their corpses had lain “in the streets of the great city, which has the symbolic name ‘Sodom’ or ‘Egypt,’ where also their Lord was crucified.”  Fire had “come out of the mouths of these witnesses to devour their enemies,” but now it seemed the truth had been overcome and sin and death had won the day.  And so “the earth’s inhabitants gloat[ed] over them and in their merriment exchange[d] gifts.”  But their death, as with the death of the Lord, was not to last, was only to show the absolute power of the God of life.

And fire comes from Jesus’ mouth today to silence the evil conjurings of the enemies of life.  His word is truth and cannot be answered, cannot be gainsaid by even the most unbelieving mind.  And what He tells all today is that “the dead rise again,” that death has no dominion in the kingdom of the living God.  The Lord is “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” and these fathers of the faith along with the prophets and saints of any and all time “are alive for Him,” for He is but Life: in His reign all His children “become like angels and are no longer liable to death.  Sons of the resurrection, they are sons of God.”  This truth cannot be denied, will not be conquered.

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.”  It is He who is “my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues peoples under me.”  As He was with His only Son, giving Him victory in every battle and final victory over death; as He was with His witnesses who devoured their enemies’ lies and rose from the dust after three and a half days; so He is with all who put their trust in Him, enabling them to conquer all doubt and fear, all surrounding sin and death.  For Jesus crucified sits now at the right hand of God, and His witnesses with Him; and all who take their refuge in His power, though they die, cannot but rise to life.  Yes, they will hear “a voice from heaven say to them, ‘Come up here!’” and will again have the breath of life.  Alleluia!

 

(Note on “three and a half days”: more than its obvious similarity to the three days the Lord spent “in the heart of the earth” (Mt.12:40) may be an allusion to His approximately thirty-five years spent on this earth (which is half the span of a human life – “seventy is the sum of our years” (Ps.90:10)), itself a kind of death for Him.)

******* 

O LORD, let us be set free from death;

raised from the grave,

may we praise your NAME forever  

with your angels and your saints.

YHWH, what need we fear if you are with us, you who hold even death in your hand?  If we serve as your witnesses, we will be united to you who are life; and even though we die, in the sight of our enemies, in the sight of the devil and death itself, we shall be raised up to Heaven on a cloud.  You are our refuge!

With you as our stronghold, LORD, with you as our God, we shall indeed gain victory over all the forces of evil – nothing shall keep us from you who desire our presence in your kingdom.   

Make us as your Son who has died and been raised; make us sons of the resurrection, like angels, no longer subject to death.  This is our hope, O LORD; this is our desire…  Let us not wait long for Jesus’ return. 

Then we shall be one in your presence, your holy children, O Most High God.  Then we shall celebrate forever your glory in Heaven, all our enemies cast far away.

Direct download: BC-112412-Sa_33_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.10:8-11;   Ps.119:14,24,72,103,111,131;   Lk.19:45-48)

 

“I gasp with open mouth

in my yearning for your commands.”

 

In our first reading, John is told to “take the open scroll from the hand of the angel” and to “eat it.”  In his mouth “it tasted as sweet as honey.”  And now he who has eaten of the blessed word of God “must prophesy,” must speak the words upon the scroll, despite the sour stomach, the persecutions, it will inevitably bring.

In our gospel we hear that “the entire populace was listening to [Jesus] and hanging on His words” as He taught daily in the temple.  The Lord has cleansed the temple of the impure forces at work within it, and for this and for His speaking the irresistible words of Truth He shall know the sour stomach of persecution – the cross is now quite close on the horizon as the leaders of the people seek “a way to destroy Him.”

O Lord, “how sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  “The law of your mouth is to me more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”  “Your decrees are my delight,” “the joy of my heart,” and despite the cross I find in consuming and then having to proclaim them, I shall not cease to eat of your glorious presence.  Day to day you come to me.  Moment to moment you whisper in my ear.  You speak to my heart your wondrous promises, instilling faith and hope in my soul, and I shall not turn back from loving you.  May all “peoples, nations, languages, and kings” know of your greatness; may all embrace the inheritance you offer by the death of sin in our lives.

Open your mouth, brothers and sisters, and He will fill it.  He will feed you with the food that comes without cost; the sweet Bread of Heaven shall be yours.  Even at His altars and from His pulpits it is today offered forth.  Eat, and it will bring life to your soul, life that lasts beyond the destruction of the world.

 

*******

O LORD, let us listen devoutly to your Word  

that we might be cleansed of sin

and made whole in your sight.

YHWH, your words are sweeter to us than honey, and your NAME the sweetest Word of all.  Speak to our soul this very day; let us hear your truth in our heart, though it bring persecution and trial. 

As your Son let us be, O LORD, unafraid of the Cross which comes from doing your will.  Let our concern be to cleanse your Temple, to make your House a house of prayer, though it bring the body’s destruction.

We are in your Temple, O LORD, and you call us to eat of your words and partake of your Son’s Body and Blood.  This gives life to our very spirits, a life that does not pass away.  Be our inheritance, all that we desire in this land.

LORD, we are unworthy to proclaim your words, to receive them in our souls and speak them to the world.  How can we prophesy in your holy NAME?  Let your Son be with us every step of the way; may His blood strengthen our service.

Direct download: BC-112312-F_33_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.5:1-10;   Ps.149:1-6,9,Rv.5:10;   Lk.19:41-44)

 

“Do not weep.  The Lion of the tribe of Judah,

the Root of David, has won the right by His victory

to open the scroll with its seven seals.”

 

“Jesus wept over” Jerusalem “because [she] failed to recognize the time of [her] visitation”; and so she will be destroyed, and so her enemies will “leave not a stone on a stone within” her walls.  And John “wept bitterly because no one could be found to open or examine the scroll” “in the right hand of the One who sat on the throne.”  The scroll “had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals.”  How wonderful it must be!  But “who is worthy to open” it?

The tears of both will be appeased, both by the One.  For whom does John see appear at the throne of God but “a Lamb standing, a Lamb that had been slain” – Jesus, our Savior! who is on His way even in our gospel today to conquer death, to receive the wounds John witnesses, that by His blood He may purchase for God “men of every race and tongue, of every people and nation”… that He might take the destruction of Jerusalem upon Himself and thus redeem her from annihilation.  Because of His sacrifice, He is able to read the wisdom of the ages to all waiting hearts, for that wisdom is known only in such dying, only in His redeeming love.

And so, let us join with the elders who fall “down before the Lamb.”  Let our prayer unite with “the prayers of God’s holy people,” which rise up like “aromatic spices” before the throne of the One on high.  Let us sing the new hymn unto the Lamb who was slain for our sins and so saved us from all tears.  “Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful.”  Weep no more but “let the high praises of God be in [your] throats” and “praise His name in the festive dance.”

How great is our God!  How profound is the revelation of His wonders in our midst!  What joy do we find in His blood!  His wounds bring us victory over death, and we reign now in the New Jerusalem as priests in the service of our King, joining ourselves ever to His sacrifice, finding ever the wisdom only He brings.

*******

O LORD, offering the sacrifice of your only Son,

we become priests in your Temple; 

this blood we shed He makes holy by His love.

YHWH, you have made us a kingdom of priests who offer continually to you the blood of your Son in our holy prayer. 

O LORD, it is we who have slaughtered Jesus, your Lamb, we who by our blindness have caused Him to be pressed hard from every side, not a stone left on a stone in this holiest Temple…  Yet by His willing acceptance of our sins He washes clean the blood upon our unholy hands and redeems our souls from destruction.  By His blessed sacrifice He makes us holy, as holy becomes the sacrifice we make.

O how can we fathom your love for us, dear LORD?  How can we plumb the depths of your Son’s sacrifice?  We are left with nothing but high praises for you in our throat! 

O LORD, let us exult in your glory this day, in the glory that is ours by the wounds upon your Lamb.  Make us a nation of priests offering always this living sacrifice in your NAME.  Let us ever praise you and the One who was slain – save us from all sin!

Direct download: BC-112212-Th_33_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.4:1-11;   Ps.150:1-6,Rv.4:8;   Lk.19:11-28)

 

“O Lord our God, you are worthy

to receive glory and honor and power.”

 

“A man of noble birth went to a faraway country to become its king.”  And of this faraway country and of its king, whom “everything that has breath” should praise, John has vision today.

“Above me there was an open door to heaven”; and a “trumpetlike voice” called the great Evangelist, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place in time to come.”  And so, “caught up in ecstasy” he sees the “One whose appearance ha[s] a gemlike sparkle,” the Lord of all, seated upon His throne.  And on twenty-four thrones surrounding this King he sees the elders, “clothed in white” with “crowns of gold on their heads,” sharing in their Master’s Kingship.  And the four living creatures are at the center, singing, “without pause”: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!”  And ever do the elders worship Him and join in the song of praise which rises continually to the One through whom all things “came to be.”

“Praise the Lord in His sanctuary… praise Him for His sovereign majesty,” for He reigns justly over all and is indeed worthy of all praise.  “With the blast of the trumpet… with lyre and harp… with clanging cymbals” – with every instrument that is placed in our hands, with all the talents He provides here as we wait for His return, we must join in the song of the angels and the saints in the heavenly kingdom and praise His holy Name.  For He will seek “to learn what profit each [has] made” when He returns to us from His journey.  He will “send for the servants to whom He [has] given” His possessions, and call them to account in His love.  Will our deeds then praise “His mighty deeds”?

Glorious is the kingdom of the Lord, and blessed are they who join Him in such marvelous glory.  These He puts in charge of His cities; with these He shares His crown and His throne.  And everywhere He has a right to reap, for only He does so in love – and there is nowhere He has not sown.  All are invited into His radiant presence: to all He gives gifts that will bring them there.  And but for their employment does He wait, that they might learn to praise His glory.

Follow Him as He continues “with His ascent to Jerusalem,” and the cross He meets in this city will lead you to the light of paradise.

 

*******

O LORD, let us rejoice in serving you all our days,

and praise you forever in your kingdom.

YHWH, let all your creatures give you praise: by your will we came to be and were made.  We are in your hands; by all that is at our hands may we give you glory and honor and praise.  May we know the blessing of praising you with full voice.

Before you let us bow, O God; before you let us throw down our crowns.  All we have is from you alone – let us return it to you with great profit.  May your glory be multiplied in us and we enter your holy City with joy.  Holy are you and worthy of all our praise, and by our praise we enter your glory.

Who are we, O LORD, that you place talents in our hands?  Who are we that you would put a crown upon our heads?  Are we to be even as your Son, our King and Savior?  Is His reward to be our own?  For this gift we could not praise you enough, and so we shall praise you forever.

Direct download: BC-112112-W_33_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.3:1-6,14-22;   Ps.15:2-5,Rv.3:21;   Lk.19:1-10)

 

“Today salvation has come to this house.”

 

To two of His houses, two of His seven churches, does the Lord speak today, calling them both to repentance, that they might know the salvation Zacchaeus has found.

In no uncertain terms does the Lord call the churches in Sardis and Laodicea, chastising both dearly, telling the first: “I know the reputation you have of being alive, when in fact you are dead!” and the second (who think themselves “so rich and secure that [they] want for nothing”): “How wretched you are, how pitiable and poor, how blind and naked!”  In Sardis there are only “a few persons who have not soiled their garments”; and the Laodiceans, who are “neither hot nor cold,” are promised by the Lord, “I will spew you out of my mouth!”

All the unfaithful, all those who have lost their fervor and who pride themselves on their own works shall be spewed from the Lord’s mouth, shall be cast from His presence.  All He calls to “wake-up,” to “repent,” to “buy white garments in which to be clothed, if the shame of [their] nakedness is to be covered.”  All He summons to rouse themselves in sharpest and truest of words, for “whoever is dear to [Him] [He] reprove[s] and chastise[s]” – for He knows that only by the jettisoning of our sin will we find the salvation He so dearly desires for each of our lives.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord “stand[s] knocking at the door.  If anyone hears [Him] calling and opens the door, [He] will enter his house.”  And He will sup with him, and He will sit him on His own throne.  Listen to the promise our Lord makes: “The victor shall go clothed in light.  I will never erase his name from the book of the living, but will acknowledge him in the presence of my Father and His angels.”  And see how the promise is fulfilled in Zacchaeus, who in his great fervor “climbed a sycamore tree which was along Jesus’ route, in order to see Him”; who in his great generosity promised “to give half of [his] belongings” to the poor – and who has had the Lord in to sup in his home and has heard the blessed words spoken over him: “Today salvation has come to this house.”

And so, strive with all you have to be as “he who walks blamelessly and does justice, who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.”  Let His chastisement bear blessed fruit in your life; turn from your sin… and you too will know the victory the Lord Himself has won for all faithful souls.

*******

O LORD, save us from our sin

by your chastising Word,

that we might walk in white before you.

YHWH, let us hear and heed your Word: let us repent of all our sin that we might enter in and sup with your Son.

Do we not have ears, O LORD, and should we not have hearts set on you and the doing of your will?  And yet, are we not lacking in zeal, are we not pitiable and poor in accomplishing your work?  Are we not dead?  Have we not soiled our garments instead of purifying our souls to receive your blessings?  O how shall we turn from our sin to your Son’s presence among us?

Save us, O LORD, from the thought that we are safe and secure, from putting our faith in the riches we amass in this world.  Let us know and remember the only true riches are of the Spirit and come to us only by your grace.  And only by your grace do they remain.

Make our hearts blameless, dear LORD; cover over our nakedness with your white garments, and we shall rejoice in your glory.

Direct download: BC-112012-Tu_33_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Rv.1:1-4,2:1-5;   Ps.1:1-4,6,Rv.2:7;   Lk.18:35-43)

 

“Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.”

 

A blind man sat begging by the side of the road.  “Hearing a crowd go by the man asked, ‘What is that?’”  And he was told that “Jesus drew near,” that all he could possibly ask for was upon him – and so he begged with the greatest sincerity he could muster.

And as the end of the Church year approaches, we hear from the Lord’s beloved “servant John” “the revelation God gave to Jesus Christ”; he “bears witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ,” telling us truly that “the appointed time is near,” that He “who is and who was and who is to come” is passing by the way.  It is time to call out to Him, and know His healing touch.

To the church in Ephesus specifically, the Lord instructs His apostle to speak today, to commend the disciples there on their “patient endurance” and their lack of tolerance for “wicked men,” and to call them back to their “early love… the heights from which [they] have fallen”; thus do they need to “repent,” to call out themselves to the Lord for renewal of their innocent hearts and their burning love for God.  You see, all have their own reason to call out to Jesus as He passes by.

What need have you to call upon the Lord’s Name as He passes by here at the end of days?  Do you walk at every point in “the way of the just,” or are you somehow blind to His presence, or are you in some way cold in your love?  Or have you any of innumerable other sins that keep you from His kingdom?  Be careful.  The time is indeed short, and we are indeed sinners – and Jesus is indeed still passing by to heal us.  Do not be afraid to cry out to Him, to leave “the company of the insolent” and find His redeeming graces.  Let the light of faith burn in your soul that you might know “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven lampstands of gold.”  His holy light is coming now upon the earth, and you must join yourself to it.

“Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”

 

*******

O LORD, heal us of all our sin  

that we might walk in the way of your Son. 

YHWH, grant us vision to see the appointed time is near and Jesus is passing by to heal us of our blindness, to return us to our early love.  And let us not be afraid to cry out to Him.

Bring us healing, Lord Jesus, for you have come from the Father and pass through our midst this day.  To us you bring His surpassing love; may we join ourselves to it and follow you along your way. 

You speak to us by your Spirit, LORD; you inspire your apostles with your Word.  You teach us of the way to you, and that with all our heart we should walk it.  Help us to meditate on your Law day and night; ever let us dwell in your light. 

Make us always fruitful, LORD, as we delight in serving you.  Let our hearts cry out in joy for the blessings you bestow on faithful souls.  Make us your own and let us enter your glory.

Direct download: BC-111912-M_33_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Dn.12:1-3;   Ps.16:5,8-11;   Heb.10:11-14,18;   Mk.13:24-32)

“He will send out the angels

and gather His elect from the four winds,

from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”

On that Day “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky.”  On that Day we “will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory.”  “It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress,” but “everyone who is found written in the book” of Life “shall escape”; all His chosen He shall rescue.  For He will not “suffer [His] faithful one to undergo corruption,” but “show [him] the path to life” and give him “fullness of joys in [His] presence.”

Brothers and sisters, the Lord has taken “His seat forever at the right hand of God; now He waits until His enemies are made His footstool.”  Though “He has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated” and “there is no longer offering for sin,” the time is yet to be fulfilled for all His chosen to partake of His “one sacrifice for sins” – He who is our “allotted portion and [our] cup” must be drunk to the full by all His elect, must be made perfect as He by joining in His sacrifice.  And though “He is near, at the gates,” ready to break in upon our world in His time and according to His ways, yet “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place”: all the tribulations must come upon this earth, and all His children must be made ready for His Day.

Brothers and sisters, He “hold[s] fast [our] lot” and “with Him at [our] right hand [we] shall not be disturbed.”  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but [His] words will not pass away,” and it is in His word we trust.  So let your heart and soul rejoice and your body abide “in confidence” for “the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament” on the Day of the Lord’s return.  We shall not join those who “shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace” but “shall live forever” in the light of His face.  Hear the word the Lord speaks to your heart; see the signs before your eyes.  Join yourself to His holy sacrifice, and you shall know “the delights at [His] right hand forever” in heaven where He now reigns.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Salvation Army" from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us shine brightly in Jesus’ presence

when He comes.

YHWH, how could we escape the judgment coming upon the face of the earth and stand in your presence forever except that Jesus has offered His sacrifice for our sins and now waits with you in Heaven for us to turn to Him and join you there?  He is our assurance of your blessing.  When He returns again may we be found ready to be gathered to you.

Send your angels forth, O LORD, to save us from all tribulation, to strengthen us to stand in peace even as the stars fall from the sky.  The darkness let us not fear; rather, let us be purged by it of all our attachment to this forsaken place.  O let us not be counted among those who have forsaken you!  Abandon us not to the nether world, but let our souls rejoice in the light of your face – let us shine with you forever.

The path to life you show us, LORD, that we might find the fullness of joy in your presence.  Open our eyes and hearts to your glorious coming.

Direct download: BC-111812-Su_33_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(3Jn.5-8;   Ps.112:1-6;   Lk.18:1-8)

 

“When the Son of Man comes,

will He find any faith on the earth?”

 

So beset by weakness are we on this earth, brothers and sisters.  So doubtful, so fearful… so seemingly without help, alone.  And so our faith does falter, and so we do fall.  And we wonder, “Where is God?”

But the Son asks us today where we are.  He emphasizes “the necessity of praying always and not losing heart.”  Why should we think that God does not listen to us?  If the corrupt judge can give justice to the widow who begs him constantly for her “rights against [her] opponent,” “will not God then do justice to His chosen who call out to Him day and night?”  Do we make Jesus a liar by failing to believe in the Lord’s “swift justice”?  Is this corrupt judge more reliable than He?

And listen to what John writes to Gaius.  He says to him, “You demonstrate fidelity by all that you do for the brothers.”  He has “testified to [his] love before the church” by caring for its members.  And John now asks this beloved disciple to support those who pass through his neighborhood carrying the message of the Gospel to the nations, to “help them continue on their journey.”  And we can be assured that this child of God does continue to demonstrate his generosity, that “he is gracious and merciful and just” toward his brothers in their need.  And if this man “dawns through the darkness, a light for the upright,” shall the Lord Himself then leave us alone when we call out to Him in our need?

Why are we of such little faith?  Why do we so easily falter in our trust of the Lord’s protection, of His grace at work upon our souls and His providential hand in our lives?  If weak human beings can give aid to those in distress, cannot God?  Are not all “wealth and riches… in His house”; does He not hold all the world and all our souls in His loving hand?  Then why should we be afraid?  Why should we think He does not answer our prayer?  It is not because He is not listening that we have not the good we desire – this lack is from our lack of faith.

Brothers and sisters, be encouraged by the Lord today to never give up hope, to never give up our petitions to the Lord.  He does not need to be worn down, but is ready at every moment to help us.  Seek but to believe in Him.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son will come to us

as the answer to our prayers –

let us do all we can this day to bring Him here.

YHWH, why have we not faith in your care for our souls?  Why do we so easily cease praying to you?  Do we not think that you can answer our calls?  Those who follow in your way care for those in need, and so should we not trust that you watch over us this day?

O LORD, take our lack of faith from us; let us cease to doubt your loving concern.  Help us to open our mouths and cry to you, who know what we need before we ask.  For if we do not ask, you cannot answer – how can a prayer be answered that is not made?  You wait for us to turn to you… let us do so this day in faith.

And let us then treat others as you treat us; let us respond in generosity to their needs.  Let us be ready to help your children on their way, that your work might be accomplished on this earth. Your light break forth upon all just souls.

Direct download: BC-111712-Sa_32_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(2Jn.4-9;   Ps.119:1-2,10-11,17-18;   Lk.17:26-37)

 

“Anyone who remains rooted in the teaching

possesses both the Father and the Son.”

 

While “anyone who is so ‘progressive’ that he does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God.”  Rather, he possesses but the emptiness of this earth.

And what is this teaching so necessary for our salvation, for knowing and possessing the Lord our God?  It is indicated clearly in John’s request of the Lady to whom he writes (whom we may take as the Church herself): “Let us love one another.”  Here is the commandant we “have heard from the beginning,” which we need to find rooted in our hearts – this “commandant is the way in which [we] should walk.”  For “happy are they… who walk in the law of the Lord… who observe His decrees, who seek Him with all their hearts”; for they shall find Him, and they shall possess Him forever.

Love has come, brothers and sisters: Jesus Christ has “come in the flesh.”  And though the people in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot were particularly wicked and meriting condemnation from the Lord, they at that time did not have the Son of God come in their midst.  And so if their punishment was great for turning from the way and the call of God, how much greater will be our own if we set our hearts on the possessions of this land and thereby lose Him whose love knocks upon the door of our hearts?  It is now among those who deny Him as if they stand under the brightness of the noonday sun and say, “I see no light.  I feel not its heat.”  If we refuse to open our eyes to what is so obvious, what punishment will be enough for our souls?

Learn the lesson of the two men sleeping and the two women “grinding grain together.”  Though they lie and sit or stand in close proximity to one another in this place, seeming no different one from the next, yet “one will be taken and the other left.”  While one flies up to the reaches of heaven, the other will rot like a carcass on earth.  And why?  Who can tell which one says within his heart, “I treasure your promise, that I might not sin against you,” and which has turned his heart from the Lord?  “On the day the Son of Man is revealed,” so will be the thoughts of all hearts.  And He who is Love alone will know who owns the love He alone imparts.  He will say who has walked in His teaching.

 

*******

O LORD, your Son calls us from our earthly lot  

to your kingdom on high –

let us walk His way of love that leads there this day.

YHWH, let us walk in your way, in the way your Son has marked out for us, He who has come in the flesh to show us indeed how we should live, how we should walk in this world.

And your way, O LORD, the way Jesus has trod, is the way of love.  This is your commandment to all souls; this is the truth He has revealed to all eyes.  And love is not turning to our own desires, putting faith in our possessions, in the empty things of this earth, but rather the laying down of our lives and all these things about us that we might come to you and serve you alone with all our lives.

Let us not be blind, dear LORD, to your Son’s coming and to your command.  Let us not continue in ignorance even as He stands at the gate.  Our very flesh let us give to you that the flesh we might transcend as we walk in purity with your Son.  Take us unto Heaven on the Day of His return.

Direct download: BC-111612-F_32_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Philm.7-20;   Ps.146:7-10;   Lk.17:20-25)

 

“The reign of God is already in your midst.”

 

Brothers and sisters, Jesus the Christ has come, He has “suffer[ed] much and be[en] rejected by the present age”… and He has risen.  This is all you need to know.  There is no need for “careful watching when the reign of God will come,” for it is not “a matter of reporting that it is ‘here’ or ‘there’” – it is among us today.  And when it shall be fulfilled, you will never know.

“Through you the hearts of God’s people have been refreshed,” Paul writes to Philemon: does the kingdom of heaven not come through this man?  “Refresh this heart of mine,” the Apostle adds – does he not call for an increased manifestation of the kingdom?  A slave has stolen from his master and run away.  Paul has discovered him and now calls him, “My child whom I have begotten during my imprisonment.”  The slave has run to the prisoner and found freedom; does not the kingdom of God come to this place?  And certainly Philemon will accept his slave back as a brother in the Lord, his arms open like the father of the prodigal son… how the Lord does work among us.

And our psalm presents a litany of the Lord’s work: yes, “the Lord sets captives free,” as we see in our first reading; but whenever the eyes of the blind are opened or the widow and the stranger are cared for, whenever justice is secured and the hungry are fed… the Lord is at work, His kingdom comes.  This world is in His hands, after all, and whenever love is “freely bestowed” by any of us toiling upon this earth, the Lord shows Himself indeed in the beat of our heart and our arms open wide.  It is not difficult to see.

You must remember, my brothers and sisters, that all prophecy has been fulfilled; all revelation is complete in the coming of the Son of God, in His death and in His resurrection.  There is nothing left to await but the final day, a Day about which false prophets conjecture and faithless souls run anxiously about to find, only moving themselves further from its presence.  “The Son of Man in His day will be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other” – don’t worry, you will not miss it; nor can you mistake it.  Your purpose in the meantime is to spend yourself bringing His kingdom to this earth in the love you share with your neighbor.  In such love come only from Christ, the kingdom is already here.

*******

O LORD, let us be useful to you  

in these days before your Son’s return –

let us bring your presence to this world.

YHWH, make us useful to you and to your Church, that we might serve to bring your kingdom to this dark world of persecution, to this prison in which we dwell.  Though we be apart from you as long as we are in the flesh, let us do your work while here, and captives will be set free. 

You are with us, LORD, in those who give sight to the blind, in those who instruct the ignorant and lead them to your love.  May we be brought to share in your surpassing love!  Help us to feed the hungry and care for the fatherless and widows.  May every stranger be welcomed into the arms of your Church. 

Then we shall find a home in this world, a dwelling place in your arms, O LORD.  Though there be suffering every day, you will be with us through it all; your Son will bear every blow in our stead, and we will come in this way to your eternal dwelling.  Let us have no fear about His return, for He is with us in this prison.

Direct download: BC-111512-Th_32_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ti.3:1-7; Ps.23:1-6; Lk.17:11-19)

 

“Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

 

Such is the cry of the ten lepers standing at a distance from the Lord.  And such is the cry that wells up in all our hearts when we realize we must keep ourselves far from His company for the sin that festers like a disease in our souls.  Desiring no longer to be outcasts from His love, we call out… and He answers.

Do you think you are something different than these lepers?  Do you think your status with God is somehow raised above these poor souls?  Beware.  Heed the words of Paul: “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and far from the faith; we were the slaves of our passions and of pleasures of various kinds.”  Was our soul not then in a diseased state?  And was it any work of our own that brought us healing, that brought us to “baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”?  No.  Rather, “when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy.”  So, by rights we should yet be in the mire of our sin; we should yet be as lepers outside the gates of salvation.  But His “Spirit He lavished on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs, in hope, of eternal life.”  And do we appreciate what He has done for us?

Indeed the Lord indicates today that most of us are ungrateful wretches when He asks, “Were not all ten made whole?  Where are the other nine?” at the sight of the single leper returning to give praise to God.  “Where are the other nine?”  Only one of ten falls “on his face at the feet of Jesus”; and to how many of us does this lack of thanksgiving speak?  And so, how many of us remain with more than a trace of our leprosy?

“He refreshes my soul,” David sings in humble appreciation of the blessings of the Lord he finds before himself in all things.  It is He who gives “repose”; it is He who “anoints [our] head with oil”… it is He who cleanses our soul.  And if we fail to realize this grace at work within us, then a measure of pollution remains, and still we need to cry out to our God, and fall on our knees in praise for His answer.  Ever is He our Master; ever are we His slaves – ever do we need His mercy to live in righteousness each day.

 

*******

O LORD, save us from enslavement to our passions –  

let us have faith in you

and in your grace upon our souls.

YHWH, our faith has saved us, has it not?  Our faith in you and in your Son has brought the Spirit upon us to cleanse us from our sin.  Now we have new birth and look forward in hope of eternal life.  You are ever at our side as we travel through this dark world.

But do we give you due praise, O LORD?  Do we see what you have done for us and bow before you in adoration, in recognition of your greatness?  Without your grace we would yet be lost – help us remember it is only through you our cup overflows.  And so, let us remain with you forever.  

What sin has been ours in the past, O LORD!  What disease has troubled our souls!  Though we have been rebellious before, let us now be obedient to your command and serve you and others as you call.  The passions and pleasures that once enslaved us cast away, and let us be humble in your sight.

Direct download: BC-111412-W_32_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ti.2:1-8,11-14;   Ps.37:3-4,18,23,27,29,39;   Lk.17:7-10) 

“Live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.”

Brothers and sisters, be “eager to do what is right” as servants of the Most High God.  “Trust in the Lord and do good, that you may dwell in the land and enjoy security.”  For “the Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever.”

Paul gives instruction to all on how to live a godly life here on this earth.  He “tell[s] the older men that they must be temperate, serious-minded, and self-controlled”; the older women that they must give “good example” to the younger women, teaching them thus “to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, loving at home, kindly, submissive to their husbands”; “the young men to keep themselves completely under control”; and those who teach to “have the integrity of serious, sound words to which no one can take exception.”  Then “no opponent will have anything bad to say about us”; then we will have given right witness to Christ in this age.

And “when [we] have done all [we] have been commanded to do” by the Lord and His apostles, when we have fully served Him and one another in our life on this earth – when we have finished “prepar[ing] [His] supper” and “put[ting] on our apron and wait[ing]” on our brothers – what should we do but say in all humility and in all truth: “We are useless servants.  We have done no more than our duty”?  For this is what will assure us that we will “abide forever”; this will prove that we are as our Lord, “who sacrificed Himself for us,” and so, with “the just [we] shall possess the land, and dwell in it forever.”

Our God has come “to redeem us from all unrighteousness and to cleanse us for Himself as a people of His own.”  Let us show we are that people by ever being “sound in the faith, loving, and steadfast,” doing all for the Lord and our neighbor.  In this way we indicate that even upon the dust of this earth “we await our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ.”  In this way we attain to the age to come, where we shall be seated at His table.

*******

O LORD, help us to turn from all sinful ways

and complete the work you command us to do.

YHWH, we are useless servants; help us to fulfill the tasks you set before us, to be eager to do what is right.  For this is what will gain us entrance to your kingdom, to a place at your table – if we live temperately, devoutly and justly in this world, as even your Son has done.

Should we fall into disrepute?  Should we not be self-controlled?  It is serious work to which you call us, O LORD, and so let our words be sound and our behavior above reproach, and to you we shall be as witness and bring our souls with the souls of others into the security of your blessed land, where we shall dwell forever.

We are blessed to do your work, LORD, to serve you in this world.  For in such work you are with us; your will is accomplished even in this flesh and bone.  And so, let us give ourselves entirely to you and to your ways, submissive in all things, and we shall be redeemed from all unrighteousness and cleansed for your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-111312-Tu_32_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Ti.1:1-9;   Ps.24:1-6;   Lk.17:1-6)

 

“Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?”

 

“He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.”

Of priests and holy men our readings speak, yes, but most especially of bishops, who are most entrusted with the Word of God, with the preaching of the Gospel of eternal life… and how silence in this regard leads but to condemnation.

Paul sets the standard for the “servant of God.”  He presents himself “as an apostle of Jesus Christ for the sake of the faith of those whom God has chosen and to promote their knowledge of the truth as our religion embodies it.”  Here is the bishop in sum.  Here is the priest in sum.  Here is the sum of any sent to teach in His name: increase the faith and knowledge of the flock.  And in this service certainly a priest must be “irreproachable,” and “the bishop as God’s steward must be blameless.”  He must be “steady, just, holy, and self-controlled.  [And] in his teaching he must hold fast to the authentic message, so that he will be able both to encourage men to follow sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.”

But how many of our leaders hold to Paul’s words?  How many encourage the keeping of sound doctrine, and, perhaps more to the point, how many refute error?  Worse yet, how many travel merrily along with the error of the day?  “If your brother does wrong, correct him,” Jesus says.  But how many tell their flock, “You should not fornicate or commit adultery” or “You should not abort a child or contracept him” or “You should not be ‘self-willed or arrogant, a drunkard, a violent or greedy man’”?  And how many freely engage in sins such as these themselves?  Yes, Jesus says, “If he repents, forgive him” (even “seven times a day”) of the brother in your care; but how can he repent if he knows nothing of the wrong he does, and how can you instruct him if you are committing the same sins as he?  And so where is true forgiveness?

“Scandals will inevitably arise, but woe to him through whom they come.”  It is a terrible warning the Lord gives today, particularly to those entrusted with much, for how great will be their punishment for the abuse of their call.  And of course, the source of such travails in the wayward soul is simply a lack of faith.  Not “the size of a mustard seed” or a speck of dust is the faith of too many.  If even it could be detected with a microscope it would show itself in good works.  But it is not there.  And so, who indeed shall climb the mountain of the Lord?  How many vainly grovel at its base?  And if our leaders do not climb, how shall any follow?  So, who shall come to holiness?

Let us awaken to the call of our God!  Let the Church serve as His presence in this world.  Let us be “the race that seeks for Him,” putting holiness before all else.  And let the ordained among us lead us in this way.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be men of faith  

who carry your Word forth blamelessly,  

that all may come to see your face. 

YHWH, how shall we serve you if we have not sinless hands or clean hearts?  And so, how shall we find our reward in your kingdom?  Will we not rather be cast into the sea for our unfaithfulness, for our failing to hold to your true teaching and leading others astray?  Help us who are far from you.  Forgive us our sins.

Do we not travel blindly in this day, dear LORD, lacking the guidance of holy shepherds?  Does your people not suffer for lack of knowledge of you and your ways?  Is the truth not hidden from our eyes by the silence of your teachers?  And are many not led away from you by their example? 

Who is there that stands in your stead; who climbs your holy mountain, making a way for others to follow?  There are a few, no doubt; but are there not more who are afraid to speak in your NAME?  Help us, LORD, for your Church shall be lost without the guidance of good shepherds.  Encourage all souls to seek your face, and so find the blessings of Heaven. 

Direct download: BC-111212-M_32_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(1Kgs.17:10-16;   Ps.146:1,7-10;   Heb.9:24-28;   Mk.12:38-44) 

“She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,

her whole livelihood.”

Jesus sits in the temple and watches as “the crowd put[s] money into the treasury.”  When He sees “a poor widow… put in two small coins worth a few cents,” He calls His disciples over, and speaks the truth to them: “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.”  Whatever wealth anyone else might have stuffed into the box cannot begin to compare to her whole sacrifice – it mimics His own.

And in our first reading we find another poor widow sacrificing her livelihood to the Lord and His prophet.  It is the time of a great famine upon the land (called down from heaven by Elijah himself) and the widow has nothing left to eat but “a handful of flour in [her] jar and a little oil in [her] jug.”  She tells us her situation: “Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.”  A last supper.  Straits most of us can only imagine.  Yet when the prophet Elijah asks her, “First make me a little cake and bring it to me,” invoking the name of the God of Israel and promising His blessings, this woman who is not even of the house of Israel does not hesitate to give first to this stranger of the only sustenance she has for herself and her son.  Another sacrifice mimicking Christ’s own.

Both widows’ sacrifices shall be blessed by the Lord; we can be assured of this.  For “the widow He sustains”; it is He who “gives food to the hungry” and “protects strangers”… and any offering made in His name can only be multiplied.  Indeed, Elijah proves himself not to be as the Pharisees who “devour the houses of widows,” for by his presence with his benefactor “she was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well,” the flour and the oil remaining until the rains returned.  “The Lord keeps faith forever.”

Brothers and sisters, Christ “has appeared at the end of the age to take away sins by His sacrifice.”  He does this “once for all,” and so does not “offer Himself repeatedly.”  But we, brothers and sisters, we must join with that sacrifice – it is for us to offer ourselves as He has, as these widows have, if we are to partake of its graces.  As it is manifested on our altar each day, we renew our commitment to be sharers in the blood He shed.  As we drink from His cup let us remember always that it is our very lives that we are giving up.  And the Lord will bless us as His own.  And with these widows we shall sit at His table in heaven.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Under God" from The Innocent Heart, first album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, we must give what we have to you

or we shall have nothing.

YHWH, help us to give our whole livelihood to you, to join in the sacrifice of your Son.  For you will not abandon those who hunger for your love but bless them with all they need for their journey to Heaven.

The widow you sustain, dear God; those who believe in you, you indeed bless.  And we must show that we eagerly await the Second Coming of your Son by not being attached to the things of this passing earth.  We must rather make known our faith in you by entrusting all into your hands.  For Jesus, who has entered Heaven on our behalf, taking our sins with Him that we might be purged, will not abandon us on the last day if we offer ourselves in union with His sacrifice.

All we have let us give to you, O LORD, even our food for the day, and you shall feed us from Heaven with the Bread that sustains all poor souls unto eternity.  Our jar of flour shall not go empty nor our jug of oil run dry, for in them are the Body and Blood of your only Son.

Direct download: BC-111112-Su_32_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Phil.4:10-19;   Ps.112:1-2,5-6,8-9;   Lk.16:9-15)

 

“Well for the man who is gracious and lends.”

 

“Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory.”  Such is the man who knows the proper use of this world’s goods, that is, to give them all as “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”  This shows that he “fears the Lord,” that his heart is not set on the things of earth but the riches of heaven; and so to these shall he come.

“Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world’s goods,” Jesus instructs His disciples, “so that when they fail” – when the goods of this world have faded into eternity – “a lasting reception will be yours” in the kingdom which does not pass away.  Our life on this earth serves indeed as a kind of test.  The Lord needs to see if He “can trust [us] in little things,” in the passing things of this passing day; then He will know that He “can also trust [us] in greater,” in the eternal graces of our heavenly homeland.  How well shall we prove ourselves?

The Philippians prove their generosity well.  The Apostle Paul commends them for their repeated gifts to supply his needs as he preaches the Gospel.  Here we see a perfect example of wise use of this world’s goods, of their being given in service of God and man.  And because of their generosity, there is “an ever-growing balance in [their] account,” not of silver and gold, but of the “magnificent riches in Christ Jesus.”  As they empty themselves of what they have, as they give of their riches on this earth, the Lord gives them all they might desire of the true riches; as Paul says as he assures them he has been “fully paid” by the fruits they have offered: “My God in turn will supply your needs fully.”

“No servant can serve two masters.”  We either amass wealth for our own benefit in this world – and toward our own condemnation – or we give what we have for the benefit of God and others.  We love God or we love money; there are no two ways.  “The Pharisees, who were avaricious men, heard all this and began to deride Him.”  Does your heart tend to deride the generosity to which the Lord calls you, as do these?  Is there yet mockery upon your tongue and lips against the preaching of the emptiness of this world’s possessions?  Do you also “justify yourselves in the eyes of men”?  Know indeed that “God reads your hearts” and “what man thinks important, God holds in contempt.”  And if you would have it go well with you in the heavenly kingdom, you must practice the abounding generosity that is the heart of that kingdom (shown in our Lord’s limitless mercy upon our souls), here with what is at your hands.

 

*******

O LORD, take all that we have, all that we own,  

for your use and that of your Church. 

YHWH, let our hearts not be set on the wealth of this earth but let us rather use the goods at our hands to serve your kingdom.  A fragrant offering let us make to you of our wealth and of ourselves that we might be acceptable in your sight. 

How shall we come to your kingdom, LORD, if we cling to this earth and its goods?  How shall we share in your glory if our hearts are not generous as your own?  We cannot be blessed if we are not a blessing to others, and your everlasting wealth, your eternal graces, we shall not find if we grasp at the possessions at our hands.  We must indeed give generously of the things you provide here, and we will have the love that lasts forever. 

Your love let us know even now, O LORD; your joy let us take in providing for the poor, in supporting your workers in the vineyard.  And you will lavishly bless us when the last day comes.

Direct download: BC-111012-Sa_31_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Phil.3:3-8;   Ps.105:2-7;   Lk.15:1-10)

 

“I have come to rate all as loss

in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Paul tells us, “Those things I used to consider gain I have now reappraised as loss in the light of Christ.”  The “legal observance” he grasped so tightly – having been “circumcised on the eighth day,” “a Hebrew of Hebrew origins,” himself a Pharisee – he now looses to the wind, desiring only to be among those “who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus,” and “seek[ing] to serve Him constantly.”  What matters but Jesus and His love, and “the judgments He has uttered”?

But this justice those who remain as Paul was cannot begin to consider, for they say to themselves as Paul once said of himself: “I [am] above reproach when it [comes] to justice based on the law”… yet do they hold tightly to their fine legal observances, looking down upon those who are below their reproach and judging them all as loss, as wayward sheep destined for the fires of Gehenna.  And this Man eats with them!  But what is loss in their eyes becomes great gain in the eyes of God, for there is “more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent”; and the angels sing in praise as they see the Son of Man sitting and ministering to these sinners, drawing them, as He has been sent to do, into the kingdom’s gates.

The Lord “light[s] a lamp and sweep[s] the house in a diligent search” for straying souls.  When He succeeds, He calls us all, saying, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.”  And will we be jealous of the Lord’s discovery, as the Pharisees and scribes, or will we realize that we all have need of repentance, that we are all that lost sheep, that lost coin which the Lord treasures so once He holds it in His hand again?

Brothers and sisters, it is in the Lord’s hands we must always place ourselves; this is to be in the light of the surpassing knowledge of Christ.  By our own hands, in our own wills – “putting our trust in the flesh” – what do we make but corruption, even as our first parents who desired so to hold the apple in their hands and eat it at their pleasure?  In things themselves, and our willful manipulation of them, we find only a knowledge that brings death, that leads to darkness.  And who will lead us out of such darkness?  Jesus, who is Light.  In trust in Him we realize we do not know the good we do, for all of any worth is of His making.  And so all our desire is for knowledge of “the wondrous deeds that He has wrought” and forgetfulness of our sinful selves.  Rejoice in the Lord’s salvation! 

*******

O LORD, help us to repent of our sin

and leave behind all things of the flesh,

that we might live in the glory of your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ.

YHWH, how you desire our repentance, our return to you.  For this you send your only Son to sit among us and call us to your side – for this He shall even die.  May the light He shines find a place in our hearts that we shall be found by Him and lifted up on His shoulders… that we might be raised to Heaven. 

We are all poor sinners, LORD, lost to ourselves and lost to you.  We are all blinded by the things of this world and the pride we take in our work among them.  And so, darkness overtakes us.

Yet you call us to glory in you and in the wondrous deeds that you have wrought in your mercy.  Yet we may be gathered into your arms and rejoice in your NAME.  Yet if we listen to your Son we shall know redemption, we shall return to you. 

And you will rejoice with all your angels that we have come to you, that we have found your glory.  Our joy will be your joy, good God, for your love will be our own.

Direct download: BC-110812-Th_31_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Phil.2:12-18;   Ps.27:1,4,13-14;   Lk.14:25-33)

 

“Work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation.”

 

Strive we must always to attain the kingdom of God, setting our hearts on salvation alone, and trusting in the Lord all the while.

“If one of you decides to build a tower, will he not first sit down and calculate the outlay?”  And do you think the outlay for being a follower of Christ is any less important to consider?  For what is required of the soul on the path to the kingdom is nothing less than all he owns, and the work involved is the laying down of his very life.  And so we must be prepared; and so we must act with conviction, to dispel any “fear of laying the foundation and then not being able to complete the work.”

It certainly cannot be said of St. Paul, “That man began to build what he could not finish,” for he states with absolute conviction to his beloved Philippians, “Even if my life is to be poured out as a libation over the sacrificial service of your faith, I am glad of it and rejoice with all of you.”  He is prepared to die to accomplish the work the Lord has set for him, and he shall.  But he witnesses the fruit of his efforts: “As I look to the day of Christ, you give me cause to boast that I did not run the race in vain or work to no purpose.”  In his disciples he sees the faith he has planted grow.  And now throughout all the earth do his words go forth, bearing the fruit of Christ among all who listen.

And so, brothers and sisters, set your hearts on accomplishing the work the Lord places before you.  Let no doubt or fear cause you to stumble on the way.  Proclaim with David, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?”  Have this same confidence and commitment to His grace.  For “it is God who, in His good will toward you, begets in you any measure of desire or achievement.”  It is His work you do and so He will surely bless it.  Know that your King is able to do battle with any enemy, that none holds any sway over Him, and be as He is, giving yourselves entirely to His mission, His cause.  And you shall “gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate His temple”; and you shall certainly achieve your salvation.  Onward, soldiers of the Lord.

 

*******

O LORD, help us to renounce the things of this world

and come into your Temple, into your presence,

and there remain all our days –

accomplish your work in us.

 YHWH, you are our light and our salvation; it is you who beget in us any desire for you and your kingdom.  And it is you who bring this desire to fulfillment, if we but work to achieve it.

Help us, O LORD, to know the way you call us and prepare us to walk your way without fear, without hesitation.  In you we take our courage, for you are great and care greatly for our welfare.  It is your bounty alone we desire, and so you will bring us to your House where we may gaze on your face in holy light.

 What need we but to dwell with you, O LORD?  What of this world could keep us from coming to you?  Help us to renounce all else but your holy presence; even our lives let us lay down in service of you.  And we shall find our salvation, despite the darkness all around.

It is you who defend us in battle, LORD; it is you who build our house.  May we carry our cross with your Son this day, and so be blessed with confidence in your kingdom.

 

Direct download: BC-110712-W_31_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Phil.2:5-11;   Ps.22:26-32;   Lk.14:15-24) 

“The lowly shall eat their fill.”

Yes, “happy is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God.”  Indeed, he shall have his fill.  But who shall partake of such grace?  Who shall come to the feast when the Master calls?

Brothers and sisters, our “attitude must be as Christ’s: though He was in the form of God, He did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at.”  Rather, He made Himself lowly, as we are lowly.  And now He is exalted; now He prepares the banquet of salvation for all lowly souls.

Who are the lowly souls?  The lowly souls are they who bow down before the Lord.  “At Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth.”  If one does not bend the knee before our Savior, he is not humble, he is not lowly – rather, he stands in his vain pride.

And these proud souls shall not come to the table in the kingdom.  If when He calls they turn away unto their own affairs, spurning the only appointment which carries importance, they lose their place in the Banquet Hall.  And listen to the command of the “master of the house” to his servant: “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.”  The Jews having rejected the invitation which was most especially theirs, we the outcast Gentiles now hear the call of the apostles of the Lord, a call that goes out to the ends of the world.  All the poor souls are now invited.

Brothers and sisters, “all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; all the families of nations shall bow down before Him.  For dominion is the Lord’s, and He rules the nations.  To Him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth,” all in the heavens, and all on earth.  None shall be deprived of hearing the call to the feast the Son prepares; all shall stand before Him and have opportunity to bend the knee, to realize our lowliness before Him whom every tongue does praise.  So “let the coming generation be told of the Lord that they might proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice He has shown,” that all forever might bow their hearts before His majesty and proclaim: “JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!”  In such humble praise they shall eat their fill of the blessings of the kingdom.

*******

O LORD, let us honor your Son

who has given His life for the salvation of all,

that we might enter your kingdom

and eat the Bread He sets before us.

YHWH, let us bow down before your only Son and give Him due honor and praise, for He alone is Lord; He alone among us is worthy of our worship, for He alone is your Son.  Let us humble ourselves as He has done and so find ourselves in your kingdom with Him.

O LORD, if only we could eat bread at your table, if only it were the desire of our heart to enter your presence and rejoice in your glory.  It is your desire to share with us all your gifts and graces, to feed us with your finest fare.  But how can we celebrate in your House if our hearts are turned to earthly matters, if our thoughts are vain and our souls proud?

Your Son has humbled Himself to come among us and call us to you, LORD.  He has set aside His place at your side that He might become as a slave in our midst, that He might lead us to your side.  Let us not reject His holy sacrifice but proclaim it with our lives as we eat bread at your table this day.

Direct download: BC-110612-Tu_31_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Phil.2:1-4;   Ps.131:1-3;   Lk.14:12-14) 

“Let all parties think humbly of others as superior to themselves,

each of you looking to others’ interests rather than his own.”

The key to Christianity is to see others, even the blind and the lame and the crippled beggar, as superior to ourselves, and place ourselves at their service in love.  As Christians we can never look down upon another individual; if our heart is proud and our “eyes haughty,” we are certainly set up for a fall, for the Lord who sees all and humbles Himself before all will certainly humble our proud souls.  Rather, we must maintain the “fellowship in spirit, compassion, and pity” of which Paul speaks, “possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals” and thus always giving one another the “encouragement” we owe in Christ.

Jesus would teach this humility and unity of spirit to the chief of the Pharisees today.  He would have him adopt a truly Christian attitude, expecting nothing in return for his feeding of the sheep, concerned only for the welfare of the poorest in his midst.  Thus He would convert him to the faith by wiping the mocking smile from his face in a spirit of genuine compassion.  He tells him, “Whenever you give a lunch or dinner, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or wealthy neighbors.”  He should not be concerned simply with those of his blood and the people of means, for certainly these would “invite [him] in return and thus repay” him.  No, quite a novel idea has the Son of God for the head of the Jewish Church: expect your recompense at “the resurrection of the just,” not on earth.  Set your heart on things that are above, not below.  And go beyond your blood to invite all into the hall of the Lord, especially those most in need, those most outcast.  Such a call must have been shocking to the sensibilities of this Pharisee, as indeed it remains shocking to most even today.  But He only calls us to do as He has done – empty ourselves completely for the good of others.

“Make my joy complete by your unanimity,” Paul begs the Philippians; and unanimity in the Lord encompasses all.  In it there can be no “rivalry or conceit” because in it there are no factions: all are one in the Lord.  To this unity, found only in humility, the only Son does call us all, for He knows it is there we shall find our peace; in such humble service we find our eternal rest upon the lap of our Father.

*******

O LORD, let us not seek our reward

in the things of this world or follow in its ways;

rather, in all humility let us find our peace in your arms.

YHWH, help us to look to others’ needs and not our own, to seek to serve you in all things, not looking for reward.  How shall we be humble as your Son, placing ourselves entirely in your hands?  How shall we become as your children if you do not bless us?  For we are selfish and self-seeking and need your grace upon our souls to save us from such vain pride.

To sacrifice your Son calls us, LORD, to unity with all our brothers and sisters.  He would have us empty ourselves as He has done in coming among us and dying on the Cross.  This great blessing He would make our own, if our desire were for Heaven.

Give us, O LORD, true wisdom and peace of soul to see and know the glory to which Jesus calls us by His holy sacrifice, to share the love that exists between you and Him alone.  O let us be your children! free of all snares of the flesh and the world and the devil, desiring only to sup with you.

Direct download: BC-110512-M_31_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Dt.6:2-6;   Ps.18:2-4,47,51;   Heb.7:23-28;   Mk.12:28-34) 

“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

If you “fear the Lord, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all His statutes and commandments,” you will have “long life”; the Lord will “give you a land flowing with milk and honey.”  The promise spoken by Moses to the people stands true, and truer, today.  If we “take to heart these words which [both Moses and Jesus] enjoin on [us] today,” the kingdom shall indeed be not far from us.  For these words are life-giving, they are the heart of the law, the heart of God’s love, and so breathe the breath of life upon the obedient soul: “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  (And the seconding of the Commandment is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”)  This Command, this word of Truth and Life, the ancient Israelites inscribed upon their doorposts and lintels, and wore upon their person, never to forget what wisdom had been imparted unto them. 

And now we, where shall we wear this essential Command, which silences even the hardest skeptics…?  It should be inscribed upon our hearts.  It should pour forth as praise from the mouth of all, all the faithful exclaiming with David in song, “I love you, O Lord, my strength.”  “The Lord lives!  And blessed be my rock!”  Our hearts indeed should overflow with love of God, who is so near us.

Oh brothers and sisters, do you not know how near He is to you now?  Do you not know that Jesus “is always able to save those who approach God through Him, since He lives forever to make intercession for [us]”?  Do you not know that you have a high priest who is “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens,” and that He draws you unto the Heaven where He dwells?  No longer do we turn to weak men, as even Moses was, but to “a Son, who has been made perfect forever.”  And His Sonship we share even this day when we love as He has loved.

Love God, brothers and sisters.  Love Him with heart and soul, mind and body.  Let the four corners of the universe declare His praise and honor His Name in unending love of all.  It is Jesus’ blood, Jesus’ love, which courses through our veins now.  How much closer can we come than this Bread of Life?  Heaven has come to earth in flesh of love, and raises these earthen vessels we are unto the gates of the kingdom.  On the doorstep you stand; only enter in.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "Love, The Meaning Of (Liars Don't Love, Lovers Don't Lie)" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, if we love you and our neighbor,

indeed we draw close to your kingdom.

YHWH, if we but keep your Word, we shall be blessed; if we but love you, O LORD our God, we shall know your love.  If we worship you alone, we shall soon come to Heaven.  O let your love fill us with praise of your NAME!  And may that love overflow to all souls.

We love you, O LORD; we praise your holy NAME.  You are exalted above all gods and your reign endures forever.  And that reign you would share with all who are obedient to your Word, to your call to love.

And so your Son has come among us as our high priest; as priest and victim He stands in our midst and calls us to your kingdom through His holy sacrifice.  Once for all He offered Himself that we might be saved, that He might live to make intercession for us all our days – that we might learn to love as He loves, as you love, dear God, giving all our lives for your sake and that of our neighbor.  Alleluia!

Direct download: BC-110412-Su_31_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Phil.1:18-26;   Ps.42:2-3,5;   Lk.14:1,7-11)

 

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding party,

do not sit in the place of honor

in case some greater dignitary has been invited.”

 

At the feast of the marriage of Christ to mankind, we are the lesser party, and must act humbly before our God.

Jesus comes among us as a guest to eat a meal in our house; He humbles Himself to sit at our table.  And this guest who sits in the lowest place among us is in fact the Host of the banquet of which all are invited to partake.  Though the Lamb that is slaughtered for all to eat, He the sacrifice rules at the altar of our worship.

Listen carefully to what Paul says to his beloved Philippians; see how his own attitude mirrors that of the humble Christ, and how it must be imitated by us all.  He says quite openly, “I long to be freed from this life and to be with Christ, for that is the far better thing.”  In the choice of living or dying, he would opt for the latter, “for, to [him], ‘life’ means Christ; hence dying is so much gain.”  As the psalmist sings in comparing his soul to “the hind [that] longs for the running waters”: “When shall I go and behold the face of God?”  When shall he know full union with the Lord?  Only in death, the dawn of perfect day.  But though “strongly attracted” to death, Paul has equal attraction to life, and accepts that he must “go on living in the flesh” for the “productive toil” it means; and so he will “persevere with [his disciples], for [their] joy and [their] progress in the faith.”  He will remain “with the throng” that he might lead them “in procession to the house of God… amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,” though he himself is already prepared to enter the festival gates.

Do you not see how this attitude is as Christ’s own?  Would not the Lord Jesus have preferred to remain in the heavenly kingdom with the Father?  Would this not have been better for Him by far?  And yet He comes among us, and yet He remains with us.  And yet He takes on flesh which is as the cross itself and bears it with all patience for our benefit.  He gains nothing by sitting with us at table as a dishonored guest, but we gain life eternal as we eat the Bread He feeds us.

And so, listen to the Lord’s teaching.  Pray that “when your Host approaches you He will say, ‘My friend, come up higher.’”  Let His sweet words of humility and sacrifice be in your ears and in your heart – and upon your lips, lived through your body – that with Paul you will “have full confidence that now as always Christ will be exalted through” your own humility; then you will find the same “conviction that this will turn out to [your] salvation.”  If here you sacrifice your life, at the wedding party of our Lord and our souls you will be given your due place of honor at table in the kingdom.

 

*******

O LORD, may the humility of Jesus be proclaimed to all 

who wish to see your face. 

YHWH, help us to be your humble servants, coming to others as a slave, as your Son, concerned only for the welfare of your flock, even as the Apostle Paul.  How shall we have the Spirit of Christ within us?  How shall we set our hearts on seeking your face and helping others progress in the faith?  Let us not care if we live or die, but only that your NAME goes forth. 

To your House let us come, O LORD; at your table let us sit.  The lowest place let us take, for this is the place we deserve.  It is only by your grace we come to the table at all, and so, how can we boast of anything?  Your Son is the exalted guest among us – let us give place to Him in all things. 

Call us higher, dear LORD.  Call us to your side.  Without your call we shall be lost, scrambling blindly for adulation on this empty earth.  O let us rejoice as we enter your presence!

Direct download: BC-110312-Sa_30_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.6:1-9;   Ps.145:10-14;   Lk.13:22-30)

 

“Do God’s will with your whole heart

as slaves of Christ.”

 

These words Paul addresses to the slaves of his time, instructing them to “obey [their] human masters with the reverence, the awe, and the sincerity [they] owe to Christ,” but they apply well to us all, who are in all things to serve the Lord.  Always we should “give [our] service willingly, doing it for the Lord rather than men.”  This is as “the narrow door” of which our Lord speaks; this is what will bring us into His heavenly kingdom.  For it is certain that “each one, whether slave or free, will be repaid by the Lord for whatever good he does.”

Brothers and sisters, the Lord’s “kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and [His] dominion endures through all generations.”  It matters not when we live or where, or what position we have in society – none of these things pertain to the reign of God.  For those who are to be saved shall indeed come from the four corners of the universe and from every period of time, and as Paul says to masters of their slaves: “You and they have a Master in heaven who plays no favorites.”  So if you think that any honor or preference of this earth will smooth your way into the kingdom, you are surely mistaken and risk the grave disappointment of discovering that “some are first who will be last,” or finding yourself barred from His House for failing to serve the Lord with all your heart in all the things of the world.  For He has come to serve and not to be served, and He “lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.”

Jesus goes “through cities and towns teaching – all the while making His way toward Jerusalem.”  Even unto the cross He offers instruction to those who would follow Him.  He is as the fathers Paul instructs to “bring [their children] up with the training and instruction befitting the Lord.”  But we must heed His words; we must honor and obey the Lord as children are expected to honor and obey their parents.  For His words are wise and they carry the greatest promise: “That it may go well with you, and that you may have long life,” not so much upon this earth, but in the heavenly kingdom.

Do all things in His name, brothers and sisters.  Honor Him.  Obey Him.  Serve Him well that He might see you and “know where you come from” and thus honor you “at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

 

*******

O LORD, let us follow in your narrow way  

that we might be saved;  

let us honor you with all our lives. 

YHWH, all are one in your kingdom, for you do not play favorites with your children but call all the same to your presence.  And so the lowly you raise from the dust and the exalted you tear down… for all must come to you on an even path.  The narrow way that leads to your glory is not dependent on the concerns of this age.

And so slaves are no less your children than their masters; masters no less than their slaves – it matters only their devotion to you.  All are called to serve you, LORD, to follow the command you give to each one.  And so father and son may come equally unto Heaven if they do as fits their role, as fits your call. 

Let children obey their parents and parents nurture their children in the faith.  Let workers perform their tasks with zeal and those over them treat all with respect and love.  Let all discourse of your glory by their service to you, giving you thanks for the splendor of your kingdom, to which they thereby come.  Praise you, LORD, for your goodness toward all!

Direct download: BC-103112-W_30_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.5:21-33;   Ps.128:1-5;   Lk.13:18-21)

 

“To what shall I compare the reign of God?”

 

Jesus Himself compares it to a mustard seed which grows so steadily into a “large shrub,” and to yeast which makes “the whole mass of dough” rise.  And Paul tells us of the marriage union that it “refers to Christ and the Church.”  These images should lead you, brother, to understand the glorious kingdom that is beyond all image.

“The husband is head of the wife just as Christ is head of His body, the Church,” and husbands should “love [their] wives, as Christ’s loved the Church,” giving themselves “up for her” as the Lord has done for us.  A wonderfully beautiful call; a marvelous image which is to bring the Lord so really into our midst: love between husband and wife – the love of love upon this earth, which indeed brings the fruit of new life.  “A man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  Here is a word of truth incomparable to others in the joy it brings the ear and the heart open to its call.  For by it is promised great happiness to those “who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.”  Yes, the obedient man will find that his “wife shall be like a fruitful vine” and his “children like olive plants around [his] table”; great is the blessing upon those who wed in love, the true love of the Lord.

But a greater promise than this does this word bring, for in it is indeed “a great foreshadowing”; in it we see not only the fruitful love of man and woman, but of God and His people.  For does not Jesus leave His Father in heaven and cling to us?  Does it not bring the great knowledge that we shall be made one with Him and with His Father in heaven?  If “he who loves his wife loves himself,” does this not emphasize the absolute oneness of husband and wife?  And if such marriage foreshadows Christ’s love for us, can we not conclude that we will be as He is?

Oh to what glory we are called!  To be as the only Son of God, to be one with Him.  Indeed “we are members of His body” even now, certainly.  Has Jesus not asked Saul why he was persecuting Him, referring to His Church (Acts 9:4); and has He not said what we do unto the least of our brothers we do unto Him?  We are one with Him even now, but yet we are growing, yet we are rising.  And the immeasurable glory to which we come is beyond even the most poignant image to depict.  It is absolute fullness, absolute union with our Lord and God.  Alleluia!  “The prosperity of [the New] Jerusalem” is ours.

 

*******

O LORD, teach us to love one another 

that we might be joined to your Son 

and so enter your reign.

YHWH, may husbands and wives be truly one in your sight; let there be no separation between them.  For they are one as we are one with your Son, and why would we separate ourselves from our Lord?  Salvation is ours in Him and in our love for one another.  Let us be obedient to His voice and fear you and walk in your ways, and we shall grow unto Heaven. 

O LORD, you greatly bless those who fear you, who worship you alone and always do your will.  Help us to live according to your Word, particularly as it affects marriages.  For this day there is great separation between husband and wife, between man and woman; no sense of their oneness seems known anymore.  Set against one another do they not set themselves against you?  And living thus, how shall their love grow?  Then what hope have any of being fruitful in your sight and coming into your eternal presence?  It seems their children they would let die.  O save us from such destructive pride that we might love one another as ourselves, as you love us in your Son.

Direct download: BC-103012-Tu_30_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.4:32-5:8;   Ps.1:1-4,6,Eph.5:1;   Lk.13:10-17)

 

“There was a time when you were darkness,

but now you are light in the Lord.”

 

Brothers and sisters, remember always that “God has forgiven you in Christ.”  Once you “walk[ed] in the way of sinners,” but now you are as he who “delights in the law of the Lord.”  And so as God has shown His mercy to you, so should you do unto others; we must “be imitators of God as His dear children.”  As when Jesus saw the woman who “was badly stooped – quite incapable of standing erect,” for eighteen years afflicted by her infirmity, He had pity for her, called her to Him and “laid His hand on her” so that “immediately she stood up straight and began thanking God”… so should our hearts go out to all those in need, all those afflicted by infirmity and sin, that all might be as well as we have become, that all might praise God as we do.

“Make no mistake about this: no fornicator, no unclean or lustful person – in effect an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”  Brothers and sisters, how many of us have been guilty of the deadly sins of which Paul speaks today?  (And if not these, what others?)  How many of us have deserved to be barred from the kingdom?  In truth we must say that all of us have fallen short of God’s glory and found ourselves in desperate need of the salvation only Christ brings.  And so should we hold out no hope for those who commit such sins now, who are as we have been?  Certainly “there are sins that bring God’s wrath down on the disobedient” and put them in danger of dying; but do we instruct these to “have nothing to do with them,” do we offer light to those in such darkness… or do we presume their condemnation?

The Lord left not the stooped woman in Satan’s clutches, despite the “indignant” attitude of the leaders of the synagogue – whose own inability to stand erect is so much more difficult to cure.  No, the Lord saw a soul in need and reached His hand out to her; and should we not do the same with those we see suffering affliction, if not with a healing touch of our hand at least with the healing touch of devout prayer?  The well-being of others must always be our concern.  We must ever “be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving.”  For if our hearts stoop to jealousy and judgment as does the leader of the synagogue’s, what hope shall there be for us then of entering God’s kingdom?  We must ever be children of light, dispelling all darkness, if we are truly to be the “dear children” of our Lord. 

*******

O LORD, let us stand up straight before you,  

turning from sin and walking in your way at all times. 

YHWH, let us be as your dear children, kind and compassionate toward others, ever reflecting your glory.  Let there be no sin among us, not even the whispering desire for sin.  Let us live as your children of light – banish all darkness from us. 

Help us to walk in your way, O LORD, to be well instructed in your paths; for there are many who wander aimlessly and are easily subject to Satan’s wiles.  Let us be taught as the Jews of Jesus’ day and listen with attentive hearts to His words.  Indeed, like Him let us become, like a tree planted near the running water of the Spirit, and we shall prosper all our days, ever bearing fruit in your NAME. 

Make clear to all, O LORD, that sin is sin, that the idolatry of lust is a turning from you and the light of your truth and the love of your heart.  Keep us from certain death, from the counsel of the wicked, delighting only in your Law day and night.

Direct download: BC-102912-M_30_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Jer.31:7-9;   Ps.126:1-6;   Heb.5:1-6;   Mk.10:46-52) 

“They departed in tears,

but I will console them and guide them.”

Through Jeremiah the Lord prophesies that His people Israel “shall return as an immense throng,” that He will “gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst.”  And in our gospel we see Jesus “leaving Jericho with His disciples and a sizable crowd,” picking up the blind Bartimaeus along the way.  How the Lord fulfills the ancient prophecies.  And now Jesus stands as our high priest in heaven, “offer[ing] gifts and sacrifices for sins,” bringing all by His cross to the kingdom of God.

“Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.”  Brothers and sisters, we are all like the blind Bartimaeus, sitting “by the roadside begging,” calling out to the Lord for forgiveness and guidance, saying to Him as He calls us before Himself, “Master, I want to see.”  How blind we all are, how deaf and how lame.  How we need our vision renewed by the Lord of all, that indeed we might see as He sees, with a purity beyond the scope of our race, to penetrate the mysteries which shroud us like the blind man’s cloak in this life.  We must throw off the darkness, cast aside the shroud of death that weighs upon our shoulders by our sins and take upon ourselves the cross of Christ and walk with Him “on the way,” on the road to the New Jerusalem.  How shall we know the “brooks of water” which satiate our thirst, “the torrents in the southern desert” that cleanse our arid souls and bring them to life once more, except by the tears we cry, except with hearts reaching out and voices reaching up to Him who is so far above our ways?  In His way alone we will find the “level road” on which “none shall stumble.”  Only by this cry will we know the graces our high priest offers all our lives.

“Although [we] go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, [we] shall come back rejoicing, carrying [our] sheaves.”  For the Lord shall not forget us; He will not pass us by and leave us in our tears alone.  But through our tears we shall see His holy light descend like a dove of peace upon our souls.  Yes, we shall see; our eyes will be opened and our path will be set.  And He shall guide us every step of our way.  And “our mouth [will be] filled with laughter, and our tongue with rejoicing” on that holy Day.  Praise our merciful God!

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "No Paranoia" from Cleansing Human Frailty, fourth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, let us follow Jesus on the way to the Cross

that we might follow Him to Heaven.

YHWH, in Jesus your Son we are returned to sonship with you; we who had been exiled because of our sins are brought back to your presence, and as a Father you embrace us and open our eyes to see your glory.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD.  In tears we come before you, to your Son we cry out for mercy, and He cannot but hear and answer our call, He cannot but call us before Himself and grant the desire of our heart.  O let us have the faith needed to believe in Him and so find the blessing only He holds.

Jesus, you are our high priest, you are Son of David and Son of God.  Let us run to you for healing of our blindness and lameness that we might see you and follow you along the way to the New Jerusalem.  In the peace of the Father let us rest, in the joy of our salvation.

With all your saints let us enter your gates, O Father in Heaven, by the grace that comes to us in your only Son.

Direct download: BC-102812-Su_30_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Eph.4:7-16;   Ps.122:1-5;   Lk.13:1-9)

 

“Each of us has received God’s favor

in the measure in which Christ bestows it.”

 

Paul reminds us today of Scripture: “When He ascended on high, He took a host of captives and gave gifts to men.”  Christ Himself “descended into the lower regions of the earth,” coming to the place where we lowly humans dwell, and then “ascended into heaven, that He might fill all men with His gifts,” that those to whom He comes here on earth might know the riches of heaven to which He draws us all.

“It is He who gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in roles of service for the faithful to build up the body of Christ.”  Yes, He gave us these leaders such as Paul to guide us to all truth, but He no less has given us each a share of His heavenly glory and bestowed upon each of us the gifts that are our portion from Him.  None is without gifts, and none can fail to employ these gifts.  It is necessary that the Body of Christ has “the proper functioning of [its] members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament” if it is to grow in love as it is called to do.  All our gifts must be employed to the full; each must fulfill his role.

The Lord makes clear the call upon each of our souls to utilize the gifts He grants to each of His members.  Listen to the words of the vinedresser in His parable: “For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree and found none.”  Who is that vinedresser but Jesus Himself and who is that fig tree but we who claim to be His disciples?  And finding no fruit on the fig tree, what does the vinedresser say?  “Cut it down.  Why should it clutter up the ground?”  Why indeed should we drag down the Body of Christ struggling to grow in love in this world; if we are dead members, what place have we in His kingdom?  And unless we reform in the short time we are given, what shall become of our souls?

Brothers and sisters, do we not wish to “go up to the house of the Lord,” to rejoice in the heavenly Jerusalem, to “form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature”?  Then our tree must bear fruit in His name and serve to build up the Body in love; “if not, it shall be cut down,” and we shall be separated from the glorious presence of the Lord.  See the great graces and gifts the Lord showers upon you; pray for their fulfillment, for their growing more and more – “profess the truth in love” and the favors you have been given will bear their fruit, for your benefit and that of the whole world. 

*******

O LORD, let us not be cut down

 but built up as the Body of your Son. 

YHWH, let us make our home in you; in the Body of your Son let us find our place.  In your holy Church may we ever dwell, bearing fruit in your NAME.   To full maturity let us come, in Jesus who has come to us.

O LORD, in your House let us rejoice; let us find our peace in the New Jerusalem.  Within Her gates we are safe from every false doctrine, from every whim and fancy of man.  For divine wisdom rests in Her whom the Christ has formed by His own hands, in His own blood.  Since He has founded the Church and its servants, it is He who lives in it with you. 

But we must leave behind our sin if we are to find such perfection in Him.  We must reform our lives if we are to be made in the image of Christ your Son.  O LORD, let our lives not be empty; let us not come to a sudden end…  May we please you by our repentance and know your blessings upon us this day.  Let your Church and all its members grow and bear fruit in Jesus’ Name. 

Direct download: BC-102712-Sa_29_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.4:1-6;   Ps.24:1-6;   Lk.12:54-59)

 

“Make every effort to preserve the unity

which has the Spirit as its origin

and peace as its binding force.”

 

Is this not what Jesus instructs the crowds in saying, “When you are going with your opponent to appear before a magistrate, try to settle with him on the way”?  Do not both Paul and Jesus speak of the love we must have one for another, even for those who may seem our enemies?  Again, in the House of God there is unity, there is peace.  Among His children there should be understanding, there should be grace.  We must make every effort to have no enemies – to hate no one, to bear no grudge against any – in this life or the next.

Brothers and sisters, we are called to live as one, “bearing with one another lovingly,” for “there is but one body and one Spirit” in Christ; “there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” which we all share, and so we should live as children of the “one God and Father of all.”  On our oneness in the Lord our hearts should be set, and nothing should disturb the peace we find in Him.  We see so many other things, we understand so much of the world and its ways… why do we not understand this?  Why do we not know and practice God’s way?

“The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it.”  This David tells us: all are one under the Lord God.  But only those “whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,” “may stand in His holy place.”  We cannot “ascend the mountain of the Lord” if we are not made perfect as He.  And so the Lord warns us of the necessity of settling all our accounts here, now, while there is time – while we yet have breath and eyes to see – lest we come to the judge at the end of time with the darkness of sin upon our soul.  Now is His mercy offered forth, and we are called in turn to offer it freely to others.  Then will be grave punishment for sin, for failures to love and maintain unity.

“A blessing from the Lord” awaits us all.  He “that seeks the face of the God of Jacob” shall receive his reward.  Even now the Spirit of the Lord grants us a foretaste of such grace.  But we must be ever diligent to maintain it.  We must be ever ready to forgive one another if we are to remain in Him.  And so I ask: forgive me, brother; forgive me, sister, any wrong I have done you… and be assured of my forgiveness. 

*******

O LORD, help us to stand in your holy place,

as reflections of your peace and your love for all. 

YHWH, you are LORD of Heaven and earth and all is under your watchful care.  We are in you and in your Son and have your one Spirit at our heart’s core.  Let us live in peace!  Let us live as your children, holy as you are.

If we maintain not humility and peace in our souls, can we be said to be your own?  O LORD, if we settle not with our opponent here on this earth, how can we come unto your heavenly presence?  There can be no anger or hatred in us; indeed, our hands must be sinless if we are to enter your eternal kingdom and make our home in you.

And so, dear LORD, help us to forgive one another, to love all as you love them – let us be the race that seeks ever your holy face and never turn aside from such desire for utter love in your presence.  Forgive all those who sin against us, and please let us be forgiven in your sight.

Direct download: BC-102612-F_29_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

 (Eph.3:14-21; Ps.33:1-2,4-5,11-12,18-19; Lk.12:49-53) 

“Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth?”

 

Strong contrast we find in our readings today.  Jesus speaks of the division He has come to bring by the fire of truth He lights on this earth – fire like a sword separating even the closest of family members one from another; whereas Paul speaks of “the breadth and the length and the height and the depth of Christ’s love” and the great oneness found in “the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.”  How does one reconcile this apparent contradiction?  Is the Lord of peace or division?

Brothers and sisters, there is no contradiction here.  Paul speaks of the “glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus” which exists “through all generations” and which we share “with all the holy ones” for whom “charity [is] the root and foundation of [their] life.”  As our psalmist proclaims, “Happy the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen for His own inheritance.”  In the House of God is peace.  In His Church is the oneness of perfect love, and all its members “experience this love which surpasses all knowledge” and “attain to the fullness of God Himself.”

Then whence the division the Lord emphasizes?  The division exists here on earth, as He Himself states.  When the light of truth comes up against the darkness that is this world, when the holy ones of God meet up with the children of this evil age, there is necessarily division.  Despite the best efforts of the just to bring peace to all, how often is our offering of peace rejected – how frequently is Christ nailed to the cross.  So, though we yet hold love for all as the disciples of our living Lord, it cannot but be that many will cling to darkness and so find an enemy in the light.  And thus division comes.  Though in heaven and in the Church there is nothing but peace, the world breeds only division.

Brothers and sisters, “may Christ dwell in your hearts through faith.”  “May [the Father] strengthen you inwardly through the workings of His Spirit” as you undergo the anguish of the baptism His Son has known.  May He keep you in peace and “bestow on you gifts in keeping with the riches of His glory.”  For soon division will be gone and His peace will be all that is known.

 

*******

O LORD, how your love separates

the evil from the good! –

may we know the fullness of your love

 at work in our lives. 

YHWH, great is your glory, far above the ways of men – how can we grasp this surpassing knowledge, how can we know your all-encompassing love?  Though you dwell beyond our reach, in your kindness you stoop down to us, to share with us the great riches of your glory.

And so, what should we do but praise your NAME?  What should we do but thank you in song?  For you have looked upon us in our lowliness and delivered us from death and sin, and made us one with all your holy ones in your eternal kingdom.

But what of those who reject you, LORD?  What of those who spurn your love, who desire not the peace which surpasses understanding?  What can they do but fight against your Church?  And those may be of our own family.  Then where are we?  How shall there be peace on this earth among those who despise your gifts?  Give us strength to share in the baptism of your Son, in the fire we must endure on our way to Heaven; help us to conquer all division and stand always with you.

Direct download: BC-102512-Th_29_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.3:2-12;   Is.12:2-6;   Lk.12:39-48)

 

“When much has been given a man,

much will be required of him.”

 

Yes, “more will be asked of a man to whom more has been entrusted,” and today we see two of the men to whom the most has been entrusted.  First, of course, is Peter, who queries the Lord and to whom the Lord addresses His question, “Who in your opinion is that faithful, farsighted steward whom the master will set over his servants to dispense their ration of grain in season?” knowing full well it is to the blessed Rock of His Church He speaks.  And Paul tells us how “through the gift God in His goodness bestowed on [him] through the exercise of His power, [he] became a minister of the Gospel.”  Paul has been “given the grace to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ and to enlighten all men on the mysterious design which for ages was hidden in God, the Creator of all.”  The Rock of the Church and its great Apostle – how much has been entrusted to these two men!

And what has been entrusted to these is entrusted to all who follow in their wake, to all “the holy apostles and prophets” to whom “the mystery of Christ” is “revealed by the Spirit.”  And so the same responsibility is upon them as well.  The Lord has promised, “With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation,” and how can the faithful find such life-giving water if the Lord’s priests and preachers do not offer it forth freely as it has been given them?  If they withhold the children’s food and their tongues cleave to the roofs of their mouths, how shall the Church be fed, how shall she be instructed in the way she should walk?  If the guardians of the truth are not vigilant, but rather begin “to abuse the housemen and servant girls, to eat and drink and get drunk,” feeding only themselves, their own bellies… what shall become of the Body of Christ?  And what shall become of those who have allowed the Lord’s House to be broken into?

“Sing praise to the Lord for His glorious achievement; let this be known throughout all the earth”: that “God indeed is [our] Savior,” and all are called unto Him.  Brothers and sisters, we all share in the priesthood of Peter and the evangelical ministry of Paul, and so, “drawing near Him with confidence,” we must all “among the nations make known [the Lord’s] deeds.”  All have been given a measure of the Lord’s grace and power, and all are responsible for fulfilling the “master’s wishes” with regard to our call.  This is our gift from God, to share in His work of service, in His cross.  Let us embrace it as readily as have Peter and Paul. 

*******

O LORD, may we all be faithful stewards

of your manifold gifts 

and find our salvation in your Son.

 YHWH, you are in our midst and you call us all to your work, to service of your Church in your holy NAME.  Through your Son Jesus Christ we all may share in your manifold wisdom, in the salvation to glory wrought by His blood…  Let us give thanks to you and acclaim your NAME, serving you faithfully all our days.

LORD, it should be our joy to serve you; it should be our very food.  What greater gift could we hope for than to share in your promise and in your blessed ministry with Peter and Paul?  One are we in your Body, in the flesh of your Son, and freely may we come to you now with all our petitions and find you ready to answer our plea – what blessing is ours by your grace!

Let us draw water at the fountain of salvation, LORD; let us drink freely of the glory you offer forth.  Remaining ever faithful to your will, let us draw ever closer to you, till we sing your praises forever in your kingdom.

Direct download: BC-102412-W_29_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.2:12-22;   Ps.85:9-14;   Lk.12:35-38)

 

“You who were once far off

have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”

 

We who “were excluded from the community of Israel,” who were not of His chosen people upon whom His Spirit rested and so were “without hope and without God in the world,” now are “fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God” by the great grace of the cross of Christ.  Now, “in Him [we] are being built into this temple”; now all “have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

“He came and ‘announced the good news of peace to you who were far off, and to those who were near” – to us who were far off, we of the nations apart from “the covenant and the promise,” that the promise might be ours as well; but also to those who were near, those to whom the covenant had been given.  For those who were near were also far off; they too were blind to His presence in their midst and needed their eyes opened by the living Christ.  For though the word and the sacrifice were at their hands, far was He from their hearts, and so the blessed coming of the Messiah is for these, of course, as well.  He came, in fact, for them first of all.

“Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him.”  Gentile or Jew, it does not matter.  Now there is but one race: Christian.  Now there is but one Savior for all.  For now indeed there is “glory dwelling in our land,” and any who come to it become children of its light and are fitted into the House of the Lord.  “He proclaims peace” now unto all, that all might know “His benefits.”

And are we ready for His coming again?  Do we heed our Lord’s exhortation in our gospel today?  Do we serve Him constantly, ever keeping a place for Him in our hearts and at our tables, that when He comes the great promise He makes to His servants – “He will put on an apron, seat them at table, and proceed to wait on them” – we will know?  Will we be gathered into His heart and His home?  Brothers and sisters, “become a dwelling for God in the Spirit.”  Realize the blessing that is ours now through the cross.  If under its blessed shade we take refuge, if we heed the call to come from our former residences so distant from Him and draw near to the love of the Lord, then already we will sense “the master’s return” upon us, and holy light it will bring to our souls.

 

*******

O LORD, let us be built into your Temple

and become your dwelling place in the Spirit –

your light in our eyes, your peace in our souls,

your love in our hearts at all times.

YHWH, let us be prepared for the second coming of your Son; may the blood He shed make us one with you and with one another, that in peace we might wait for His return, that in your Spirit we might dwell even this day.  As your holy temple let us be, that we might know your call in our souls and do your will in all things.

You look down upon us in kindness, LORD, and so your Son you have sent.  He is Truth walking among us, leading us on the way of peace.  And so, your benefits we may know; our work may yield its increase – our lives may be made worthy of your coming kingdom.

O LORD, let our eyes be open, looking for your Son’s return; let our hearts be set on the promise He leaves us.  O let Him freely enter our homes and we be fed by His hand alone – please let us be joined to your saints in Heaven, forming one House in your NAME.

Direct download: BC-102312-Tu_29_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.2:1-10;   Ps.100:2-5;   Lk.12:13-21) 

“It is owing to His favor that salvation is yours through faith.

This is not your own doing, it is God’s gift.”

Brothers and sisters, salvation is no “reward for anything [we] have accomplished.”  It is nothing we make by our own hands, but comes only by God’s “kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

“God is rich in mercy.”  Here is the great truth; this is our great hope: “Because of His great love for us He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin.”  By our own hands we had but built up our condemnation and so “deserved God’s wrath.”  Like the foolish rich man, we thought we could take our refuge in the things of this earth, that in them we would “have blessings in reserve for years to come.”  But however much we “pull down [our] grain bins and build larger ones,” filling them with all the “grain” and “goods” of the world, we yet will have nothing; yet will we be empty and in need.  For our life is in His hands alone.  “He made us” and not we ourselves; “we are truly His handiwork,” and so, dependent on Him for all things.  And if not for His mercy we would yet be dead in our sin.

Brothers and sisters, we must not “live at the level of the flesh”; we cannot give our “allegiance to the present age and the prince of the air” and remain in the favor of God.  “Following every whim and fancy of our own” will but lead us down a dark road, and all the “piled-up wealth” we can amass will give us no light for the night ahead.  Truly we must realize that we are “created in Christ Jesus to lead the life of good deeds which God prepared for us in advance.”  Now that by His mercy He has saved us, has lifted us from the mire into which we’d sunk, it is ours to “serve the Lord with gladness” and “come before Him with joyful song.”

“In Christ Jesus [God] raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens, that in the ages to come He might display the great wealth of His favor.”  And should we not but accept this gift from Him “whose kindness endures forever”?  Should we not humble ourselves before our Holy Lord and “enter His gates with thanksgiving”?  All He requires of our souls is to accept the salvation He brings us, and to grow “rich in the sight of God.”

*******

O LORD, make us rich in your sight;

by the favor you have granted us

through the salvation wrought in Christ Jesus,

remake us in your image. 

YHWH, you made us and have remade us in the image of your Son who has died for us that we might be dead in sin no more.  Let us praise the great favor from you and live always according to your Word.

We have accomplished nothing, LORD, nothing but our own condemnation, nothing but distraction from you as we turn to the flesh and riches of this world.  As to the evil spirit we give our allegiance, we find your wrath upon us; we find the death we have wrought by sin.

But you are merciful, LORD, and call us through your Son to salvation from this darkness that has enveloped our souls.  You would indeed remake us in Christ; He would indeed restore us to our former glory and carry us to your kingdom.  O let us not set our hearts on the riches of this earth but seek only the grace that comes to us at your hands, in His blood.  Let us enter your courts with songs of praise this day.

Direct download: BC-102212-M_29_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Is.53:10-11;   Ps.33:4-5,18-20,22;   Heb.4:14-16;   Mk.10:35-45) 

“We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,

Jesus, the Son of God.”

And this is He who is both priest and victim, for “He gives His life as an offering for sin” – He Himself is our sacrifice.  Here is one who is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses… one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”  Here is He who has suffered the affliction of our fallen state but to raise us up with Himself from the mire, from the lowly condition we have come to know as our own.  Here is He who “give[s] His life as a ransom for many.”

But why?  Why is the Lord “pleased to crush Him in His infirmity”?  Why is our high priest so humbled in the sight of all?  Why is there such suffering in the world…?  Why need you ask?  Why need you question the will of God?  Do you not believe that “upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy”?  Do you not realize that the Lord looks with kindness upon all “those who fear Him… to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine”?  Do you trust your own eyes more than the vision of God?

But if you must know, the Lord God tells you, “Through His suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt He shall bear.”  If you must inquire, hear that it is for your sin there is suffering in the world and the Lord and His followers must carry the cross.  You need look no further than the blood on your hands…  But seeing this, do not fear – rejoice.  Rejoice, for now we may “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”  Now the Savior does “lord it over” us by His sacrifice.  Now this “slave of all” has “authority over [us]” by the suffering He has undergone.  And now we must join Him on this cross.

“The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized” – His words to James and John are spoken to us all.  Glorious is the sacrifice to which we are called.  For He who is both priest and victim would now lift us with Himself through the veil of pain to the holy heavens, that knowing the fruit of “His affliction,” with Him all might “see the light in fullness of days.”

“Our soul waits for the Lord”; it suffers with Him.  And it is not disappointed by the sacrifice it shares.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "The Sunset Bleeds Me Clean" (2nd half) from Bearing the Birth Pangs, tenth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, He who is slave of all,

He who has shed His blood to save our souls –  

with Him let us be one.

YHWH, your Son has given His life as a ransom for sin, that we might approach the throne of grace and find mercy, and find the blessing of your kindness upon our souls.  He has borne our guilt, and so from it we are freed.  But we must bear the Cross with Him if we are to find our way to Heaven.

This is the greatest grace, is it not, O LORD –  that we are called to share in the suffering of your Son, to drink of His cup and be baptized with His baptism?  We are called to serve as He has served, to give our lives with Him, and so to come to the place He has come, to your right hand in the kingdom.  O if we could only be as slaves of all!

By His death He has ransomed many.  Sharing in our weakness, suffering for our sakes – bearing His affliction, He shall see the light in fullness of days.  And we poor souls who trust in Him find our hope fulfilled, dear LORD, in that same light of your face.

Direct download: BC-102112-Su_29_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Eph.1:15-23;   Ps.8:2-7;   Lk.12:8-12)

 

“Whoever acknowledges me before men –

the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God.”

 

We are only very small, less than a speck of dust in the eyes of God.  Beholding His heavens, “the moon and the stars which [He] set in place,” should we not cry out to God with David in our psalm: “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?”  Truly we are but miserable creatures.  And yet the Lord of all has deigned to make man “little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor”; and yet through Jesus Christ He raises him up to His heavens.

How like the acknowledgment the Lord promises is Paul’s acknowledgment of the Ephesians: “I have never stopped thanking God for you and recommending you in my prayers.”  For their “faith in the Lord Jesus and [their] love for all the members of the Church,” rightly do they gain honor from the Lord’s Apostle, and from the Lord Himself.  And all who are like them shall know “the wealth of glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the Church.”  “Like the strength [God] showed in raising Christ from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in heaven,” so will be the strength and grace Jesus shows in raising us up to be one with Him and His Father among the angels of heaven.

“He has put all things under Christ’s feet and made Him head of the Church, which is His body.”  And all who acknowledge His greatness, all who serve the Lord and His members, become part of “the fullness of Him who fills the universe in all its parts.”  Indeed they will be lifted up with Him who is “high above every principality, power, virtue, and domination, and every name that can be given in this age or in the age to come.”  For the body shares in the blessing of its head; the oil poured upon our Lord flows down upon all His members through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 And, yes, the Spirit is with us, brothers and sisters, defending us always and teaching us at every moment just what we need to do and say, if we have but faith.  He gives us all the “wisdom and insight” we need to know the greatness of our call in Him and to accomplish all His works, if we but call upon the Lord’s Name.  Acknowledge Him always in all you do; be among the “babes and sucklings” who praise His majesty and glory, and His blessing you shall know to the depths of your soul, and the heights of heaven. 

*******

O LORD, let your Spirit be upon us to speak in us

and work through us always.

YHWH, teach us by the Spirit all we should say and do; may He enlighten our innermost vision that we may know the great hope to which you call us.  How great is your power in us who believe!  To what glory we are led by the Spirit!  For we are  thus joined to your Son who has all power in Heaven and on earth – members of His Body do we become.

You have put all things under Christ’s feet, dear LORD, crowning Him with your own glory and honor.  And as you have raised Him from the dead and seated Him at your right hand in Heaven, so you will raise us up with Him whose Name is above all names.  And so, what should we do but praise you and honor you with all our lives.

O LORD, let us indeed acknowledge your Son here where we stand, before all men, that He might indeed acknowledge us before your angels and they might lift us to your presence at His command.  Glory to you forever!

Direct download: BC-102012-Sa_28_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Eph.1:11-14;   Ps.33:1-2,4-5,12-13;   Lk.12:1-7)

 

“What you have whispered in locked rooms

will be proclaimed from the housetops.”

 

What we have whispered and what has been whispered to us, the teaching of the Lord, the truth of the Spirit, is destined to grow unto praise of God – to be proclaimed to the ends of the earth.  What begins here in a small way in Jesus the Messiah, shall proceed in His disciples to all nations.  In the dark, first it is but whispered.  It sinks deep into the locked rooms of our guarded hearts.  There the truth finds a home, takes root, and grows.  And all the world shall know…  All the world shall know all that is spoken in your heart.

Brothers and sisters, “when you heard the glad tidings of salvation, the word of truth, and believed in it, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit who had been promised.”  In Him and in His truth whispering in your heart you found “the pledge of our inheritance, the first payment against the full redemption of a people God has made His own to praise His glory.”  Though a tiny spark at first, concealed in the dark, this flame has burned intensely, and now becomes the fire of praise unto God.  “We were predestined to praise His glory”; this was the Lord’s desire from the first moment He touched us with His Word.  And now His plan must be fulfilled.

As Jesus looks about in our gospel and sees “a crowd of thousands had gathered, so dense that they were treading on one another,” He realizes how the flame has already begun to grow.  And so He warns His disciples to be true to the Word He has labored to plant in their minds and hearts and souls.  He knows that they will be tempted by “the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” that they may be inclined to speak what will tickle the public’s ear in order to gain their approval and support.  Thus does He say, “Do not be afraid”: do not be afraid of what the truth may bring or that you might be killed for speaking it.  Remain true to what I have whispered to you in our locked rooms, for the Word must go out to the ends of the earth.  Their mission upon them, He calls His friends to fulfill it.

And so let all our voices resound with the praise of God who has saved us, for “praise from the upright is fitting.”  “Exult, you just, in the Lord… for upright is the word of the Lord, and all His works are trustworthy.”  Now all must know that “of the kindness of the Lord the earth is full,” so fail not to “chant His praises,” to proclaim His truth to all the world.  It is here we are called to do so.

 

*******

O LORD, let us not fear to praise your glory

before all the world.

YHWH, we are called through your Son to declare your glory, to sing your praises in the light of this day.  May we in faith and sincerity fulfill this call and come at last into your kingdom.

You are our LORD, you are our God, and all things are known to your eyes.  Life and death are in your hands, and only in you do we find the promise of the Holy Spirit fulfilled – only in you and by your Son will we inherit eternal glory.  Let us be your true disciples that, though we die for your cause, we may ever have life in you.

Praise you, LORD, for your goodness to us, for your watching over us and providing your Son to save us and your Spirit to lead us to your glory.  Let the truth you have spoken in the depths of our hearts be proclaimed openly to the ears of all men that the devil may be overcome and all your poor sparrows find their home in you.

Direct download: BC-101912-F_28_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gal.5:18-25;   Ps.1:1-4,6,Jn.8:12;   Lk.11:42-46)

 

“Since we live by the spirit,

let us follow the spirit’s lead.”

 

“Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent”; these indeed follow not the spirit’s lead but the dictates of the flesh.  And all their “licentiousness” and “drunkenness,” all their “hostilities” and “envy,” shall but lead to their doom.  For “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!”  When they die – as already they are dead – the grave alone shall be their home, with the tortures that are found there.  But “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires” and so know the “fruit of the spirit” and not the flesh.  “Love, joy, peace” and all the precious gifts are theirs in this life, and shall remain with them forever.  The Spirit leads us to such blessing.

As for the Pharisees in our gospel today, they prove themselves children of the flesh and not the spirit, for though they “pay tithes on mint and rue and all the garden plants,” though they are so careful about the details of the letter of the law, their worship is in vain for they do all “while neglecting justice and the love of God,” thus tearing out the very heart of the law of God they presume to follow.  And so their path is the one which leads but to the grave.  They clearly are even now dead, “like hidden tombs over which men walk unawares.”  Here are “the insolent” the just must avoid.  Here are those who build pretense of holiness but have nothing of the spirit inside.  And so their decaying souls shall crumble from within, and “like chaff which the wind drives away,” so shall their remains be scattered like dust by the truth of the Spirit, which exposes and destroys all lies.

“The way of the wicked vanishes,” brothers and sisters.  It cannot stand, for there is no foundation, there is no truth on which it rests.  It is but empty, illusory, passing.  But we who claim to be sons and daughters of the living God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and following the lead of the Holy Spirit, must have nothing to do with the fruits of this way.  Our worship must be true, must be genuine, must be that in which the flesh is crucified and the spirit allowed to breathe, that none of us will be crushed under the burden of sin but all be set free to walk in liberty now and forever.

*******

O LORD, let us not be counted among the wicked

but have your love and your truth burning in our souls.

YHWH, let our worship be genuine, let our hearts be set on love of you.  Let us follow the Spirit’s lead; your way of truth be our own this day.  Meditating on your Law, let us live it and bear its fruit.

Apart from you let us never be, O LORD, never separated from your love.  Crucified let our passions be, that we shall share in new life with your only Son.  Your joy and peace be with us always; keep us forever from jealousy and outbursts of rage.  In the Spirit let us make our home, never turning to what comes of the flesh.

Far from the paths of the wicked please keep us, LORD, that we shall not live our lives in vain; day and night let us think of you, and we shall be ever blessed.  O that we might bear your fruit all our days, that our leaves might never fade…  Keep us always close to you by your chastising word of truth.  Then the water of your Spirit will nourish us well and our sin will be known no more.

Direct download: BC-101712-W_28_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gal.5:1-6;   Ps.119:41,43-45,47-48;   Lk.11:37-41)

 

“Any of you who seek your justification in the law

have severed yourselves from Christ

and fallen from God’s favor!”

 

Brothers and sisters, “it is in the Spirit that we eagerly await the justification we hope for, and only faith can yield it.”  The works prescribed under the testament of old have had their day and their time is passed.  Circumcision, the central act of the law, along with the temple and its sacrifices, has been rendered useless.  Physically there may yet be benefit to this practice, and so it is employed widely, but spiritually it is now without merit.  All that is of the old law has been subsumed by the new, and to set our hearts on what is now dead will leave us but as empty and dead ourselves.

Now there is baptism in the name of the Lord.  Now there is Jesus and His Body, the Church.  Now there is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  With these in our midst all else pales, for these are set upon the Rock of eternal life; these are founded in the Spirit which does not pass, nor can be destroyed – and these are known only by faith.  Truly, “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; only faith, which expresses itself in love.”  Now that love has overcome the law, now that it has fulfilled it, why should we be concerned with the cutting of flesh?  It is our hearts that must be circumcised.

What is inside is what matters.  Jesus has said this repeatedly and He declares it again today to the Pharisee who is so preoccupied with physical washing, with the need to “cleanse the outside of the cup and dish.”  This is slavery!  Indeed it is born of an attachment to the things of this earth and places our neck under its yoke.  If we do not “give what [we] have as alms,” if we do not open our hearts to love of the Lord and love of neighbor, all the scouring of our skin will be utterly useless – in this way we shall never touch our souls.  We must have love, we must have faith, and do the outside things only as necessary.

“Let your kindness come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise.”  Though I am no longer under the law of old, yet I see how weak I am, how reliant on the works of faith, and how ignorant and blind to your presence I can become.  And so I pray that you “take not the word of truth from my mouth.”  I pray you enter my house and recline at my table, and that my heart will be set on love of you above all… and that all things else will but serve this love.  Let me not fall from your favor, from your love.

 

*******

O LORD, help us to cleanse the inside of the cup

that by faith and love

we shall come to new life in the Spirit.

YHWH, you call us to love what is within, where you live, where you make your home.  But we are distracted by what is without, so shallow is our vision.  Help us to see as you see, to desire what is in your heart.  Then truly we shall be set free to walk as your sons.

O living God, your love instill within our souls; your truth alone let us speak.  Let us not be concerned with the works of the law, with the cutting of flesh and the washing of hands, but with the accomplishment of your will.  And so, to save ourselves from such empty worship, let us give all things to you.

If we had but faith, O LORD, then our vision would be clear, our hearts would be set on you alone, and all things would be ours.  Let us but seek our salvation in the keeping of your Word, and you will care for all else.  Make us clean in your sight!

Direct download: BC-101612-Tu_28_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gal.4:22-24,26-27,31-5:1;   Ps.113:1-7;   Lk.11:29-32)

 

“At the judgment, the citizens of Nineveh

will rise along with the present generation,

and they will condemn it.”

 

Paul’s words to the Galatians today sound much like a parable: “Abraham had two sons, one by the slave girl, the other by his freeborn wife.”  He himself states pointedly, “All this is clearly an allegory: the two women stand for the two covenants.”  But though Hagar may be seen as the mother of all “children [born] to slavery” and Sarah may be compared to “the Jerusalem on high,” which is free, the allegorical significance notwithstanding, both Hagar and Sarah were flesh and blood human beings who walked the face of the earth along with the father of their children, Abraham.  So, though the life of anyone may be seen in an allegorical light, it does not mean the life itself is but an allegory.

And yet the scholars of our day would turn the life of Jonah into a mere allegory – as they would, it seems, with Jesus.  They say that Jonah did not exist, that the book written of him is but a story, a parable.  And so they say that the Lord would compare Himself to a parabolic figure: “Just as Jonah was a sign for the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be a sign for the present age.”  And so they say we will be judged by fictional characters.

The Lord’s words remain ever true: “This is an evil age.”  It is given a sign, the greatest of signs, and it denies it.  It seeks further sign with a heart only to deny once more.  Why?  Because it has no faith.  And without faith one cannot reason; without faith one can see nothing.  Truth remains ever hidden from one’s eyes.  And so those with empty minds stumble blindly through their theorems, the products of a diseased imagination.  And so those without faith seek at every turn to tear down the faith, which ever eludes their clawing grasp.  But they shall be judged.  What shock will be theirs when the ones they have sought so vainly to make into fictional characters stand before them to condemn them to death.  Perhaps then they will see.  Perhaps then there will be an end to “the yoke of slavery” they would place upon the “freeborn” children of God.

Beware the faithless soul, dear children.  Remember only, “From the rising to the setting of the sun is the name of the Lord to be praised.”  Indeed, “high above the nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory,” and He shall lift you “lowly from the dust” to be with Him.  As He tears down those who exalt themselves and reveals their children to be so vain, then He will bring your fruits to light and you will bear many.  The works of all will be exposed on that Day.

 

*******

O LORD, how great you are

and how great is your gift to us,

for your Son has freed us to walk with Him –

let us repent at His word.

YHWH, we are your freeborn children for whom your Son has died; in Him we find new life.  In the blood of Jesus is found the New Covenant, a covenant which unites us with you in glory.

Praise you, LORD, for such a great gift!  Thank you for the grace that comes to us, your once wayward sons.  Though we have been barren of children, empty of any fruit as we wandered far from you outside the walls of Jerusalem, yet you have looked upon us with mercy and called us to your side.  Help us to reform our lives that the fullness of your gracious gift might be known to us on the Day your Son returns to judge all souls.

Yes, LORD, the lowly ones you raise from the dust to sit with you in heavenly places, to know your great blessings in the kingdom on high.  Free our souls to praise you for your glory.  Set free from slavery to sin we shall share in the joy of the New Jerusalem and declare your wonders forever.

Direct download: BC-101512-M_28_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Wis.7:7-11;   Ps.90:12-17;   Heb.4:12-13;   Mk.10:17-30) 

“The word of God is living and effective,

sharper than any two-edged sword.”

“Penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart… everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must render an account.”  Here is His Spirit of Wisdom, whose “splendor… never yields to sleep,” who has “countless riches at her hands.”  It is this penetrating Wisdom we must pray to be with us, if we are to save our immortal souls.  Without her nothing has any worth at all.

How shall we “number our days aright” and “gain wisdom of heart”?  How shall we walk the road the Lord leads us upon and find His “gracious care” to “prosper the work of our hands”?  How shall we avoid the emptiness the riches of this world inevitably bring and acquire the conviction needed to follow the Lord?  The allure of gold, of mammon, is so great, is so easy to set our hearts upon – how shall we hear what the Lord says in love to the man who falls on his knees before Him: “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven”?  How shall we give up house and family and lands all “for [His] sake and for the sake of the Gospel” to find “a hundred times more” these things, “with persecutions, and eternal life in heaven”?  Only by the Wisdom that comes from God, never by the thoughts of our own heart.

Clearly the disciples do not yet understand this or they would not ask with such amazement, “Then who can be saved?” when told of the difficulties riches bring.  For still, though not for long, their hearts are set on the things of this earth, and still they judge with a worldly eye.  The vision that comes of the pure light of Wisdom will not be theirs until the flame of the Holy Spirit burns in their souls.  Then their own spirits will be one with the Lord and they will be able to discern that “all gold, in view of her, is a little sand.”  Then the length and breadth and depth of their mission they will comprehend.

Let the word of God be heard by all, spoken by all His prophets and priests.  Let it pierce many hearts, that some may be saved by the grace that enters where it bleeds.  Here is the only way to life.

Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.

Music: "In Your Eyes" from Loving Spirit, third album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.

*******

O LORD, do we desire life with you,

or the riches of this world?

YHWH, your Son stands in our midst looking at us with love.  To Himself He calls us that we might enter the kingdom.  And who would not follow?  What riches of this age are greater than the divine riches He offers?  What else could we need if we have eternal life?  With Him is true wisdom; let us give up all to follow in His way.

O LORD, all gold is as a little dust to the one who has been blessed to see with your eyes, to the one who has been graced with your Wisdom.  Though it be painful to stand in your light and be pierced by your sword, what glory it brings to your children!  Your truth upon our souls, we have all the food we need.

And so, what can persecutions bring us but greater joy?  What can we lose in your Name that we will not regain a hundred times over?  All things are in your hands, O LORD, and we live in your eyes.  Pierce us with your Wisdom, that we might number our days aright.

Direct download: BC-101412-Su_28_OT_B.mp3
Category:Sunday -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

(Gal.3:22-29;   Ps.105:2-8;   Lk.11:27-28)

 

“Each of you is a son of God

because of your faith in Christ Jesus.”

 

Praise God!  “Glory in His holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!”  For He has come among us.  Born of the womb of Israel, the Messiah is in our midst.  And so we should “sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds.”  For now by faith in Him we live, and are truly blest.

Brothers and sisters, “before faith came we were under the restraint of the law… the law was our monitor until Christ came to bring about our justification through faith.”  Under the law we lived in sin, for who could fulfill all the demands of the law?  “But now that faith is here, we are no longer in the monitor’s charge.”  We have found One who has fulfilled the demands of the law, and who is perfect in the eyes of God; and He makes us as Himself, as sons of the living God!  And so what can we do but rejoice.  We “who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have clothed [our]selves with Him.”  And so we stand naked to the world no more.  And so we hide no longer from the sight of God, for our sin before Him has been taken away, and with it the law.

Listen attentively to the preaching of Paul, that “there does not exist among [us] Jew or Greek,” that it is faith in the Lord that saves us all.  It is the same lesson Jesus teaches in our gospel today.  For “the womb that bore you” refers to Israel; it is the breasts of the Chosen that have given Him suck, that have nourished Him well – it is of them He comes.  But not for this is the people blest; we cannot boast of our heritage.  Rather, we shall be judged worthy of blessing only by how well we “hear the word of God and keep it,” as our Blessed Mother has done in preeminent fashion.  She, as Paul, does not boast in her Jewish upbringing.  She knows that it is not even for her great work of bearing the Son of God that she found favor with Him.  Rather, all favor, the highest favor and grace, comes to her for the love she bears Him and the service she performs eternally in His Name… for her absolute faith.

We must “seek to serve Him constantly” as does our Blessed Mother, as does our Mother, the Church, in faith.  Then truly we shall be “descendants of Abraham, His servants, sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!”  And we shall rejoice to see His Day.

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O LORD, may we hear your Word and keep it in faith,

like Abraham, like Mary,

that we might inherit eternal life in Jesus your Son.

YHWH, because of our faith in your Son, we become as your children, indeed, as He is before you.  You bless all who come to you through Jesus, all who do your will.  And what should we do but rejoice for such grace, for this wonder you perform in our midst.

It is Israel that bore your Son; at Mary’s breast He did suck.  But it is not for this the nation is blessed, nor she who carried Him in her womb.  It is your people’s obedience you seek, and so any may become as your Chosen by listening to your Word and keeping it in their hearts.  As Mary let us be, LORD, giving you our lives.

All of faith are descendants of Abraham.  All are blessed who are baptized in Christ.  He it is who justifies us in your sight, LORD, and makes us sons of the Most High.  Glory to you for the grace upon our souls in Jesus’ Name.

Direct download: BC-101312-Sa_27_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gal.3:7-14;   Ps.111:1-6;   Lk.11:15-26)

 

“All who believe are blessed along with Abraham,

the man of faith.”

 

But those who do not believe cannot be called “sons of Abraham,” in whom “all nations shall be blessed,” for they have not the faith of the father of many nations.  For those who do not proclaim the Lord’s “renown for His wondrous deeds,” but rather say of His “gracious and merciful” acts: “It is by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that He casts out devils,” there is only a curse.  They curse themselves and scatter their own salvation to the winds by the evil thoughts of their hearts.  “The reign of God is upon” them, and they say it has come from hell.  Have such as these faith?  Have they even eyes in their head?  Then how shall they be saved?  How shall they be called Abraham’s children?  Rather, the devils will return to them “to find [their] house swept and tidied,” prepared by the emptiness of their hypocrisy for these to take up eternal residence there.

“He has given food to those who fear Him…  He has made known to His people the power of His works.”  All those of faith see that this is the Messiah and “give thanks to the Lord with all [their] heart in the company and assembly of the just.”  All these are blessed.  They live in a house guarded by “a strong man fully armed,” and their “possessions go undisturbed.”  For the devil cannot break into the house of God, and he has no key to enter; but the Lord breaks down the doors of the evil one and all his weapons are removed from his hands.  And so we are free…  We are free because the Lord has redeemed us, and in His house we are protected from sin.

Brothers and sisters, the Savior has been “hanged on a tree… that through Christ Jesus the blessing bestowed on Abraham might descend on the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, thereby making it possible for us to receive the promised Spirit through faith.”  This faith itself is redemptive.  In this faith is the blood of Christ.  It is this blood which fills our hearts and makes room there for the Holy Spirit to come in.  There no devils can enter, for our doorposts have been anointed by Him.  And so, what can such souls dwelling in this house of faith do but sing out with our psalmist, “Great are the works of the Lord, exquisite in all their delights”?  What can we do but declare His “majesty and glory” as we see that “His justice endures forever” and His justice is founded in love?  For by our faith He has made us whole; we who once grumbled against Him are now sons of Abraham.  He has taken all our sin away, and it shall not return again.

 

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O LORD, your power is only for good;

let your Spirit be with us this day through faith,

that we might be saved.

YHWH, if we have not faith, we have nothing but emptiness, and thus make a place for the devils to dwell.  But if we have faith in you, your Spirit fills us, and into your house we do come.  Make us temples of your Holy Spirit!

Your Son has died, O LORD, that we might have life, that we might be set free from the course sin has wrought upon our souls and enter into your kingdom as your blessed children.  Why should we not believe in your love for us?  Why do we doubt the salvation you provide through your Son?

Let us rather rejoice in your glory, LORD, in your goodness to us.  Let us sing your praise with all the strength of our souls, thanking you with all our hearts in the assembly of your holy ones, among your saints in Heaven.  To such glory you do call us, away from the darkness of this place…  Let us but have faith in you and we shall be as your sons.

Direct download: BC-101212-F_27_OT_II.mp3
Category:Daily BreadCasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

(Gal.3:1-5;   Lk.1:69-75;   Lk.11:5-13)

 

“I can’t get up to look after your needs.”

 

Does Jesus ever speak these words to us?  Does He ever deny our petitions, failing to bring them to His heavenly Father?  Do we ever find ourselves empty-handed when we come to Him “in the middle of the night”?  Does He ever tire of serving us, of saving us from our sins?  Then neither should we turn our back on our brother’s needs; neither should we fail to hear his cry and give him food.

Brothers and sisters, is it not “you before whose eyes Jesus Christ was displayed upon the cross?”  Have you not seen for yourselves the miracle in which we have found “salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all our foes”?  And so should you not “serve Him devoutly and through all [your] days be holy in His sight”?  If we do this, if we wake in the night to answer the needs of those who call, if we make ourselves available always as does the Lord, then even as we rise from rest Jesus will be with us – in this very action we will know His salvation present in our hearts.  For as we lay down our lives, as we die with Him in service of others, the light of His resurrection already becomes present to our eyes.

Though the burden is made light by the Lord, this way is not easy – but we should not tire of imitating Him.  Does Paul tire of teaching and preaching the faith, of correcting his wayward children who seem so foolishly to stray?  Just as the heavenly Father would never give His son “a snake if he asks for a fish, or hand him a scorpion if he asks for an egg,” so the Apostle, too, knows the needs of his flock and works constantly to feed them with the Word of God.  Though it weary him no end, yet he ever pours himself out as a libation for their sakes.  He is ready for heaven, ready to die and unite with God, yet he gets up in the night, yet he remains present to his children, to provide the food that is due them.  And we must be the same as this Apostle.

A great assurance the Lord gives us: “Whoever asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds; whoever knocks, is admitted.”  If we “have faith in what [we] heard,” we shall indeed find “that God lavishes the Spirit on [us] and works wonders in [our] midst.”  For He is faithful and forgets not His promise to us.  Yes, “He has raised a horn of saving strength for us in the house of David His servant,” and our Savior is ever present to answer all our needs.  But who shall carry out His Word?  Who shall know the cross of Christ and its redeeming grace in their own flesh?  Who shall serve Him and be thus as His children?  Those who rise to look after others’ needs, they shall be bone of His bone.

 

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