Catechesis Notes for the Week—“Creation and redemption are equally impossible for man to accomplish, but not for God. ‘With God nothing will be impossible,’ not even the incarnation of His Son for the salvation of His fallen world. He is the actor, the Savior, and the Lord, who descends to our human flesh and joins Himself to our weaknesses, becoming like us in every way, except without sin, so that He might take our sin to Himself. When His Word sounds forth to announce His salvation, it can only be received and believed, for it carries with it all the saving benefits it proclaims. Mary received this Word, and the life of the world was conceived in her womb. Every Christian receives this Word too, through the call of the Gospel, and it brings to us the same Christ and the same salvation who was born of Mary. Therefore, our confession of faith is the same as Mary’s, “Let it be to me according to your word.” — Excerpted from Lutheran Catechesis, p. 90
Catechesis Notes for the Week—The Genealogy of Jesus--“The first thing to be noted in the lineage of Christ is the fact that the evangelist (Matthew 1:1-17) 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 to sinners. This, then, is the reason why He thrusts and sticks Himself into a family of sinners and is not ashamed of them, nay, lets them stand in the catalog of His ancestry and lets them be sung at that altar before all the world. Had Christ been a Pharisee, He would not have boasted very much of them; nay, they would have had an evil odor to Him, and He would have turned up His nose at them. But because He was holy, [sinners], too, had to be listed among His [ancestors].” –Martin Luther
Catechesis Notes for the Week—Joseph, the Guardian of Jesus, and Christian Vocation (Read Matthew 1:18-25)--Joseph, the Guardian of Jesus as he is often called, had a difficult vocation. He was called to be Mary’s husband and Jesus’ earthly father. This calling meant a life of suffering and self-denial. This is always what true faith calls us to: a life of sacrificial love in which we deny ourselves. This is the shape of our lives as Christians because our life is lived by faith in the God and Savior who lived in selfless love for us. The Child conceived in Mary’s womb was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary was not an adulteress. His name would be called “Jesus” because He is the Lord who would save His people from their sins by becoming one with them in their flesh and blood. All this was done to fulfill the Scriptures, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel.” This means that God is with us in the poverty and humiliation of our human condition in order to redeem us by the sacrifice of Himself. Joseph had no strength to fulfill his vocation within himself, but he was strengthened by the Holy Spirit through the promises of the Scriptures and the message of God’s selfless love for him and for all his people. This is our strength too in our vocation. The Gospel not only saves us from our sins, but it also strengthens and keeps us in the love of Christ in the earthly vocations to which our Lord has called us.
Catechesis Notes for the Week—Repentance Is at the Heart of Advent--“I’m tired of hearing talk about our sin!” This is often the response of those who hear the call to repentance. “Sin is a downer! Can’t we get on with something else?” Yes, we can go on. That’s what repentance is all about—going on, confessing sin, turning from it to Christ, finding our relief, comfort, and strength in His forgiveness. The message of repentance is not only the knowledge of our sin, it is also the proclamation that there is nothing that Jesus hasn’t done to save you from your sin and to give you new life and freedom now! The message of repentance always brings relief when it finds its rest in Christ, our righteousness.
Luther's Small Catechism
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