Monday, May 6, 2019

Sunday Sermon, May 5th -- St Peter, Supreme Shepherd of the Church (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

A detailed line-by-line study of the Sunday Gospel taken from John 21, concluding with a reflection on the last days of St Peter's life.

We discuss the following phrases: The "disciples", the "sea of Tiberias", "Zebedee's sons", "I am going fishing", "that night they caught nothing", "already dawn", "children", "the disciple whom Jesus loved", "one hundred fifty-three large fish", "the net was not torn", "the third time", "Do you love me?", "you know everything", "feed my sheep", "signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God", "follow me".

After having escaped from imprisonment in Rome, St Peter received a vision of Jesus returning to City. "Lord, where are you going?" "I am going to Rome, to be crucified again." And St Peter follows the Lord, and does not deny him this time, but returns to suffer being crucified upside down.

Divine Mercy Sunday, April 28th -- Divine Mercy and the Traditional Liturgy (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

[Pre-sermon note on receiving the indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday as well as the promise our Lord makes to those who confess and receive communion on this day]

The popular devotions of the faithful are meant to flow from the Liturgy and return to the Liturgy. Personal devotion and personal prayer finds its source and summit in the celebration of the Eucharist in Holy Mass. We see that, in this respect, the devotions of Divine Mercy bring us to the very heart of the public worship of the Church in the Sacred Triduum and through Easter Week to the Sunday Octave.

In particular, the Divine Mercy devotions are rooted in the practices of the Traditional Latin Mass and in the ancient traditions of the Church which were are most striking on Good Friday (the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena) and the Octave Sunday (now, Divine Mercy Sunday).

Although the richest connections between the Liturgy and the Divine Mercy devotion were greatly obscured in the years following the Second Vatican Council - when the new Mass is celebrated in a traditional way, we can still see how the Divine Mercy devotions highlight was is most essential to this sacred season.

Easter Sunday Sermon, April 21st -- The Resurrection was Hidden from the World (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

No one saw our Lord rise from the dead. Although there are many "proofs" of the resurrection, and although our Lord appeared to his disciples many times after rising - the resurrection itself occurred in an hidden and mysterious way.

The very same physical body in which Jesus suffered, is truly raised to a new and glorious life. Many historical facts testify to the truth of the resurrection -- the empty tomb, the transformation brought about in the lives of the disciples, the burial cloths, and more.

However, the risen Jesus did not appear to all people, but only to those few disciples who had been chosen. This surprises us - wouldn't it have been better if Jesus had appeared in a clear way to all people? Why doesn't he go about preaching and teaching and working miracles before the crowds, as he had before his passion?

The Lord is teaching us that we must rely on spiritual means rather than look to worldly power or worldly success in spreading the Gospel.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Palm Sunday Sermon, April 14th -- On Perfect Contrition (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The story of the conversion of the Good Thief, St Dismas, inspires us to make acts of perfect contrition.  Contrition is a sorrow for sin -- an interior pain in response to the reality of sin, and a real detestation or hatred of sin.

Contrition is not primarily the emotion of sorrow, which can even be a hindrance to true spiritual growth. Rather, true contrition is expressed in the firm resolve to never sin again, and the willingness to make any sacrifice necessary so as to avoid sin.

Imperfect contrition, which is still very good and a gift from God, is to be sorry for sins so as to avoid the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. Perfect contrition, however, will be the greatest motivator -- it is to be sorry for sin because we realize how much God loves us, and also that we truly do desire to love Him in return.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sunday Sermon, April 7th -- The Stations of the Cross (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The history of the development of the Stations of the Cross from when Our Lady first led the Apostles through the streets of Jerusalem to our own day.

Thoughts on how to benefit from this devotion and the particular insights of St Alphonsus Liguori.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 31st -- The Mercy of Christ Supersedes the Justice of the Old Testament (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The traditional Old Testament reading associated with the Gospel Parable of the Prodigal Son is the story of Jacob and Esau. These are two tales of brothers, in which the younger is favored and the elder becomes angry. However, notice the difference of these two -- in the Old Testament, it Jacob who is just and Esau who sold his birth-rite; but in the New Testament, it is the prodigal son who is favored while the older brother seemed to be just.

Again, consider the traditional association of the Old Testament passage of Susanna with the Gospel story of the woman caught in adultery. Susanna was innocent and so was vindicated, but the woman of the Gospel was truly guilty and yet was spared.

The Law given through Moses indicated innocence and guilt, but the Grace and Truth which comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ goes further yet: Jesus makes the guilty to become truly innocent.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 24th -- In Defense of Moses and the Violence of the Old Testament (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Moses towers as the great figure of perfection and virtue in the Old Testament. Called from the Burning Bush to be the liberator and future lawgiver, Moses is likewise the great prophet and inspired writer of Sacred Scripture (of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Job).

However, how can we justify the violence that occurred under Moses' authority? Did God really kill the innocent children of the Egyptians? Did God really command Moses to exterminate whole peoples - not just the soldiers, but even the women and the children?

A few common answers cannot be correct: "The Bible isn't a history book" or "The Bible is determined by the culture of the day" or "Moses justified his people's violence by claiming that God had commanded it."

In this sermon, we explain that God's mercy is present even in these violent moments. The God of Moses is the same God who promised Abraham that he would not destroy the innocent along with the guilty, and the same God who tells the prophets that he desires the conversion of the sinner and not his death.

God is not to be accused of the evil, violence, and death which has entered the world because of sin.