Friday, November 25, 2016

Sunday Sermon, November 20 -- Three Responses to Mercy: The ruler, the wicked thief, and the good thief (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, November 20 -- Solemnity of Christ the King.

The conclusion to the Year of Mercy is today. Christ is the King of Mercy, and we see three responses to mercy: The ruler, the wicked thief and the good thief.

The ruler doesn't think he needs mercy. He rejects Jesus' teaching, and especially hates the Gospel for not being popular with the worldly. He symbolizes those today who don't think they have any sins, who don't go to confession, who think that the Church needs to "get with the times".

The wicked thief desires mercy, but sees mercy as a license for sin. He wants mercy as a way of escaping punishment, but not as a remedy for sin. He symbolized those today who say that mercy means giving communion to the divorced and remarried, and who don't want any consequence for sin.

The good thief accepts punishment as just, but hopes for something more. He desires mercy not as a way of avoiding justice, but as doing what justice alone could never do. Justice punishes sin, but mercy totally annihilates sin by bringing about true conversion. He symbolizes the one who experiences the grace of repentance and confesses his sin and truly strives to follow the Gospel.

The good thief reminds us that it is never too late to become a saint.

Listen online [here]!


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