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.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 17th -- St Patrick, Apostle of the Irish (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Like Moses and Elijah, St Patrick preached in a time of incredible darkness. Like Moses and Elijah, St Patrick fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. And, like Moses and Elijah, St Patrick leads us through Lent to the glory of Easter.

Born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in 387, after being taken as a slave to Ireland and safely returning home, St Patrick returned to the green isle to preach the Gospel among the Gaels. By the time of his death, St Patrick had converted nearly the whole island and ordained over 430 bishops.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 10th -- On Temptation, and How to Profit from It (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Our Lord was tempted in the desert, and all the saints endured temptation - and yet, we so often are surprised to find ourselves weak enough to suffer temptation.  However, God permits temptation to help us grow in holiness, especially through gaining the virtue of humility.

There are three stages of sin: Temptation to sin, delectation (delight) in the thought of sin, and consent to commit sin. There are two extremes which we must avoid: Either thinking that temptation is already sin, or thinking that taking delight in thoughts about sin is no sin at all.

How do we resist temptation? By making strong acts of faith, resolving to follow God's commands and trusting that his grace will sustain us. By praying when tempted, and praying before temptation that we will have the grace to pray during temptation. And, by practicing penance.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 3rd -- On Devotion to St Joseph (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

[Pre-sermon note about Lent (12 minutes). Obligation of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and of abstinence on all Fridays of Lent, and of either abstinence or some other penance on all Fridays of the year.  Father Ryan's recommendations for prayer (daily Mass, Stations of the Cross), fasting (giving up meat, as well as eggs and diary), and almsgiving (various opportunities through the parish)]

March is the month of St Joseph, and we look to him as the universal patron of the Church. He was chosen as the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. Our devotion to St Joseph is founded in the marriage between Joseph and Mary.

St Joseph is so intimately tied to the mystery of the incarnation, we cannot truly or authentically come to Jesus without being devoted to St Joseph.