“Sermons on the Liturgy” by Pius Parsch

Pius Parsch “Sermons on the Liturgy”

If you’re like me and spent a year or two cuddled up in your study with Fred Lindemann’s “The Sermon and the Propers” when you were a new preacher, you’ll be familiar with Pius Parsch—even if you don’t know it.  Lindemann’s book is great, but he lifted 90% of it (maybe more) primarily from two other authors, both of whom we’re now reprinting here at The Anglican Expositor.  Lindemann’s outlines on the Epistles and Gospels were lifted word-for-word from Melville Scott’s “Harmony of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels”, but most of his historical commentary on the propers and those wonderful tie-in’s with the Holy Communion that he includes from Advent to Whitsunday came from a Roman Catholic priest named Pius Parsch.

Parsch was an Austrian priest in the first half of the Twentieth Century, one of the leaders in the New Liturgical Movement, a prolific writer on all things liturgical, and a spectacular preacher with a gift for grace-filled application.  This book includes Parsch’s sermons on the Epistles and Gospels for the Sunday and major Feast Days of the year.  Not only is his exposition of the biblical passages exemplary, but the historical background he provides are often very helpful, and his application of the texts is stellar.  Week by week Parsch reminds us why the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper can never be celebrated properly without exposition of the Scriptures.  Every week he masterfully joins Word to Sacrament, leading us by the hand from the Gospel to the Table.  The book is worth the price alone for the sacramental applications that Parsch makes—an aspect of the sermon often ignored.

I should also note by way of warning, that Parsch’s sermons are based on the Epistles and Gospels found in the Pre-Vatican II Roman lectionary.  Between Christmas and Whitsunday they are virtually identical to those of the Prayer Book.  During Advent there are occasional variations and during Trinitytide the Roman Epistles are a week out of sync with the Anglican.  (This is why Lindemann’s sacramental tie-in’s disappear after Whitsunday.)

The hardcover edition with dustjacket is available for $23 and the paperback edition is available for $13.50.

Note: If you’re really interested in this book, order your copy now.  I’ve tried to research the copyright status and have come up with dead ends all round.  Reprinting the book might flush out a copyright holder who will ask us to pull the book.

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