Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Sunday Sermon, September 22nd -- On Riches, Marriage, and Children (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The parable of the dishonest steward in an example of praising the manner in which an action is accomplished while yet blaming the sinfulness of the action. The steward in this parable (according to the unanimous interpretation of the Church Fathers) is acting dishonestly and stealing from his master by writing the new lower bank notes for the debtors - but he acts prudently insofar as he is preparing for the future.

Many people today spend more time preparing for retirement, than for heaven. Our Lord instructs us to act prudently now, using our money, our energy, our time and talents to prepare not so much for worldly happiness, but for eternal rest in heaven.

We note also that between this Sunday's Gospel and next (the story of the rich man and poor Lazarus), St Luke places the words of our Lord, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."  We recognize that love of money has destroyed countless marriages. Additionally, love of money and an excessive anxiety about material comforts (whether money, travel, time, energy, or even physical health) has lead many Catholics to reject the gift of more children and instead commit mortal sin by practicing contraception.  But marriage and family life lived generously helps to free us from a love of money and opens us to God's grace!

Sunday Sermon, September 15th -- When We are Accused of Being Pharisees (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Perhaps the most important figure of the parable of the prodigal son is the elder brother who begrudges the father's mercy and so closes himself off from the joy of the household. The elder brother is the judgmental and cold-hearted pharisee.

Many worldly people accuse Catholics of being pharisees for holding to the truth. Even within the Church, it happens that more conservative Catholics are unjustly called pharisees for staying true to the traditional teachings of the Church -- Pope Francis regularly accuses anyone who asks for clarity in teaching of being a pharisee.  This is painful, especially to be misunderstood and perhaps even attacked by our Holy Father.

However, God permits these sufferings and trials as a means of purification. Perhaps there are some ways in which we who are more conservative are pharisaical - we consider ways to avoid being a pharisee, and to rejoice with the prodigal son in the Divine Mercy.


September 2019, Retreat Talks on the Three Ages of the Interior Life and the Apostles (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Talks given for a Secular Carmelite Retreat for lay people devoted to our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Carmelite spirituality, September 13 and 14.

Theme: The Three Ages of the Interior Life as modeled in the experience of the Apostles in following the Lord.  God leads our soul through three phases or "ages" of the spiritual life: The purgative ways of the beginners, the illuminative way of the proficients, and the unitive way of the perfect. We see that the Apostles were also lead through these stages to spiritual maturity as they grew closer with the Lord.

September 10th, Adult Ed Series on City of God, Session 7 of 16, Original Sin and Death (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

In this series, which will continue for about six months, we are discussing the City of God by St Augustine - one of the most influential books in human history, a book that formed Western Civilization.


In Session 7, we conclude our discussion of the creation and fall of the angels and more forward with the state of man before the Fall, the Fall itself and the reality of Sin, and the effects of the Fall.





Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sunday Sermon, September 8 -- The Letter of St Paul to Philemon (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

The Letter to Philemon is St Paul's shortest letter, with only 25 verses. It is also among the most personal writings in the Bible, with St Paul pleading for clemency toward Onesimus, the run-away slave who stole from his master and fled to Rome where he was converted and baptized by St Paul.

We consider how the Christian life means making real sacrifices and setting right things in our life -- Onesimus had to set things right with Philemon, even though it meant risking not only being made a slave again but even the possible punishment of death. Philemon had to set aside worldly possessions and forgive Onesimus even though that meant a significant financial loss.

There are some in the Church, even in the Vatican, who want to set aside this call to conversion, but this is the demand of Christ -- Those who are in invalid marriages must set things right (even if this means separating) in order to be authentic Christians, those who have defrauded people or who have business practices that are immoral must change and repay those of whom they have taken advantage, couples need to accept the plan of God for marriage and family rejecting contraception, etc.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

September 3rd, Adult Ed Series on the City of God, Session 6 of 16, The Fall, Sin and Death

In this series, which will continue for about six months, we are discussing the City of God by St Augustine - one of the most influential books in human history, a book that formed Western Civilization.

In Session 6, we conclude our discussion of the creation and fall of the angels and more forward with the state of man before the Fall, the Fall itself and the reality of Sin, and the effects of the Fall.


Sunday Sermon, September 1st -- The Letter of St Paul to the Hebrews (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

While all the letters of St Paul discuss the grace of Christ in the Church, the Letter to the Hebrews discusses grace in our Lord as the Head of the Church. Thus, this Letter is an extended theological reflection upon the Person of Jesus in his human nature.

Notice certain peculiarities about this Letter to the Hebrews:  While all the other Letters of St Paul are named either by the city in which the addressees live (eg. Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, etc) or by the individual who received the Letter (eg. Timothy, Titus, Philemon), this Letter is named after the race of the people to whom it was addressed, Hebrews.  In fact, this Letter was written to the Jewish converts to Christianity living in Jerusalem.

St Paul does not begin in his usual way, by setting forth his name and authority -- and the whole style of the Letter is very eloquent and much fancier than his other writings.  This is likely because the Letter was originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek by St Luke.

Overview of the Letter to the Hebrews:
Part I (Chapters 1-10), Grace in the Person of Jesus Christ who is greater than the angels, than Moses, and than Aaron and the Old Testament Priests.
Part II (Chapters 11-13), Faith by which we are united to the grace of Christ