CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK—A Brother of Real Sinners—“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). “The first thing to be noted in the lineage of Christ is the fact that the evangelist lists in it four women who are very notorious in Scripture: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. But nothing is said about the women of good repute: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel. Now [some early church writers] have been concerned about the reason why this was done. I hold that the first group was mentioned because these women were sinners and that Christ also wanted to be born into that large family in which prostitutes and fornicators are found in order to indicate what a love He bore [for] sinners. For the holier real holiness is, the closer it draws near to sinners.” – Martin Luther
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK -- The Fruit of Repentance --The fruit of repentance is sometimes called “the fruit of the Spirit.” Paul identifies the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). Such fruit is produced by the Spirit of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is received and believed. Such fruit is manifest in concrete ways in the vocations to which we are called. When we experience the absence of such fruit in our lives, this becomes the occasion to humbly confess our sin and receive our Lord’s absolution. We always need the absolution. There is never a time in which we won’t need the absolution, because the absolution is the word of forgiveness by which the Holy Spirit works in our lives. The strength to confess, the strength to live, the repentant life, and the fruits of the Spirit are all produced in us by the ministry of Christ’s forgiveness. “Faith …is a divine work in us that changes us and makes us to be born anew of God … It kills the old Adam and makes us altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers; it brings with it the Holy Spirit. O, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done them, and is constantly doing them” (Martin Luther). Faith produces such powerful gifts in us by the Spirit and absolution of Christ.
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK -- “Rejoice in the Lord Always” -- The Color Pink -- The liturgical color for advent is blue. This color is associated with expectation and preparation. During Advent we hear the call to repentance and reflect upon our need to prepare for the coming Savior. We cry out to God for mercy and pray for the strength to live in hope for His Second Coming. He will set us free from our sin, once and for all. He will free us from the corruption of this present age and bring forth the eternal kingdom of His salvation. Some churches use the color purple for Advent. Purple is also the color of royalty. During Advent, we, as penitent sinners, cry “Hosanna to the Son of David! Save us now Lord! You are our King and Deliverer. Rescue us from the threatening perils of our sin and save us by Your mighty deliverance!” The Lord hears and answers our prayers. He teaches us to carry the cross of affliction and to live in the blessed hope of His coming. On the third Sunday in Advent, the penitential color of purple or blue is softened to a pink. The theme is rejoicing, taken from the fourth chapter of Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” The Lord is near. He is at hand to hear our every prayer. He answers our prayers according to His Word so that we might live confidently and joyfully, even as we struggle against the weaknesses of the flesh in a fallen world. It is because of the promise of God’s grace and mercy to us in Christ that we have every reason to “rejoice in the Lord always.” Casting every care upon Him with faith in the Savior to hear, answer, uphold, and strengthen us, we live confidently and are guarded and kept in the true faith by our faithful Lord who comes to us, even now, in His precious Gospel and life-giving sacraments. When you see “pink” think rejoicing and the faithful promise of the Lord to grant us the help and deliverance that He promises “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus unto life-everlasting.”
CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE ADDRESS AND FIRST PETITION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER -- Advent, The Beginning of the Church Year -- Advent is a season of repentance and hope. It is a time of self-reflection that is similar to Lent. As we struggle through the difficulties of life and the weaknesses of our own fallen nature we are reminded of our need for the coming of Christ. Advent is the season of “comings” as is the meaning of the word itself. He came in the incarnation and was born of the Virgin Mary to be our Savior. He will come again in glory to release us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven. But He also comes to us now, right where we live with all of our struggles and hardships, through the preached Word and Sacrament. It is this Word that is the power of God for our salvation and for the living of our lives in a fallen world.
Luther's Small Catechism
Click the button below to download a copy of the Enchiridion of Luther's Small Catechism: