Posts tagged “Irenaeus

The flesh and blood of the incarnated Jesus

Posted on May 30th, 2017

Here are some excerpts from the first two centuries of the Christian Church on the bodily presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper: Ignatius [AD 30-107] If Jesus Christ shall graciously permit me through your prayers, and if it be His will, I shall, in a second little work which I will write to you, make further manifest to you [the nature of] the dispensation of which I have begun [to treat], with respect to the new man, Jesus Christ, in His faith and in His love, in His suffering and in His resurrection. Especially [will I do this] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ,…

Decomposing bodies, living bread

Posted on September 10th, 2014

A gem from St. Irenaeus: A cutting from the vine planted in the ground bears fruit in its season, or a kernel of wheat falling into the earth and becoming decomposed rises and is multiplied by the Spirit of God, who contains all things. And then, through the wisdom of God, it serves for our use when, after receiving the Word of God, it becomes the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ. In the same way our bodies, being nourished by it, and deposited in the earth and suffering decomposition there, shall rise at their appointed time. The Word of God grants them resurrection to the glory of God, even the Father who freely gives to this mortal immortality, and to…

Sermon before the March for Life

Posted on January 22nd, 2014

Divine Service before the March for Life January 22, 2014 Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Virginia (LCMS) Rev. 12:1-17 Click here for audio of the sermon Alongside beer cans and rotting meat, taking their place in mounds of rubbish, 55 million corpses of babies have been discarded. Many are trashed in bio-hazard bags, as a dangerous thing we must put far from us. Sometimes body parts are sold for experiments and testing. Except for those recovered by noble people digging through garbage heaps, none are given a proper burial.  They’ve been dismembered, suctioned, poisoned, flushed down toilets; some of them, born alive, have been beheaded by a physician who laughs. Looking into America’s abortion culture is looking evil in the face, and it appears evil…

Sermo Dei: Trinity 12 (Isaiah 29)

Posted on August 20th, 2013

“God makes, man is made.” God makes the baby born and today baptized. God made him not when he was born, but when he was conceived. Man participates in God’s work of creation through the instrumentality of parents. God creates out of love, and God loves His creation. When your sins accuse you, or all the troubles of this world burden you, remember that God made you and all creatures and that, as the Collect for Ash Wednesday says, He hates nothing He has made. However, it certainly seems at times that He hates us, or is at least indifferent. For what God made has come to ruin. The baby born dies. Perhaps, and we pray, after a long and pious life, fathering and…

Irenaeus on the Incarnation, sin and death

Posted on March 16th, 2011

I am rereading On the Apostolic Preaching, this time very slowly (I read it in haste back, I think, in 1999). The first time I read it I was disappointed by its simplicity. I see now how much I missed; the work is brilliant in packing so much into so few words. I now give this work my highest recommendation. Here’s a great bit on the incarnation, original sin, the passion, and the overcoming of death: So He united man with God and wrought a communion of God and man, we being unable to have any participation in incorruptibility if it were not for His coming to us, for incorruptibility, whilst being invisible, benefitted us nothing: so He became visible, that we might, in…

The power of the Name

Posted on March 15th, 2011

Irenaeus interprets the renaming of Hoshea son of Nun to Joshua (Greek “Iesous,” i.e., Jesus) in Num. 13:16 as a revelation of the power of the name of Jesus: And when [the Israelites] were near to the land, which God had promised to Abraham and his seed, Moses, choosing one from each tribe, sent them to spy out that land and the cities in it and the inhabitants of the cities. Then God revealed to him the Name which alone is able to save those who believe in it; and Moses, renaming Osee, the son of Nave, one of the envoys, called him Jesus; and thus sent him with the power of the Name, believing that he would receive them back safe because of…

The Pasch: source of liberation

Posted on March 14th, 2011

And because [the children of Jacob] were greatly afflicted and oppressed in a cruel slavery, and they groaned and cried to God, the God of the patriarchs, of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, He led them out of Egypt by the hand of Moses and Aaron, striking the Egyptians with ten plagues, sending, in the last plague, a slaughtering angel, slaying their first-born, from man even unto beast. He saved the sons of Israel from this, revealing in a mystery the Passion of Christ, by the slaughtering of a spotless lamb and by its blood given to be smeared on the houses of the Hebrews as a guard of invulnerability: the name of this mystery is the Pasch, source of liberation. –Irenaeus, On…

The first law was given to keep man from self-conceited arrogance

Posted on January 20th, 2011

I’m rereading once again Irenaeus’ On the Apostolic Preaching, a wonderful gem. This passage particularly struck me, where Irenaeus indicates that God forbade man from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in order to keep man mindful that he had a LORD: But, in order that the man should not entertain thoughts of grandeur nor be exalted, as if he had no Lord, and because of the authority given to him and the boldness towards God his Creator, sin, passing beyond his own measure, and adopt an attitude of self-conceited arrogance against God, a law was given to him from God, that he might know that he had as lord the Lord of all. And He placed certain limits…

Happy Irenaeus Day!

Posted on June 28th, 2010

Today is the commemoration of St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, martyred c. 202. I was privileged to take a course while in seminary taught by Dr. William Weinrich on Irenaeus, as part of his wonderful “Fathers and Heretics” series. Other than Luther (and, it ought to go without saying, the Holy Scriptures), Irenaeus has certainly had more impact on my theological understanding than anyone. Dr. Weinrich made Against Heresies (full original title: A Refutation and Subversion of Knowledge falsely so called) come to life. There are two touchstones from that most important work that I keep coming back to in my preaching and teaching: Deus facit, homo fit (God makes, man is made). I didn’t understand when Dr. Weinrich kept emphasizing that just how…

Sanctity of Human Life/Epiphany II sermon

Posted on January 17th, 2010

I was asked to write the sermon for the LCMS Life Ministry’s resource for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, coinciding this year with Epiphany II. The following is that sermon, slightly modified for use in my own parish. “In the beginning, God created” (Gen. 1). That’s who God is. The One who creates. Outside of Himself. The fact that He creates outside of Himself reveals that great attribute of His, Love. “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8) and God makes man that He may have someone to love. That work of God continues today. As we say in the Catechism, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures.” The fact that He has made me means that already, and apart from anything…