Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday Sermon, December 31 -- Mary's Virginity after Birth and Forever (Sermons on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, Part 3 of 3 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

After giving birth to Jesus, Mary remains a virgin forever.  The "brothers and sisters" of Jesus are really his cousins, born to Cleophas and another Mary. Other passages which speak of "before" and "until" Mary and Joseph came together as husband and wife do not truly indicate that their marriage was a normal marriage, but actually teach us that the marriage was virginal.

Christmas Sermon, 2017 -- Mary's Virginity During Birth (Sermons on Mary's Perpetual Virginity, Part 2 of 3 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The Birth of Jesus was miraculous, as light passing through glass. Mary's body suffered no pain, rupture, or violence - she endured no labor as she gave birth to Jesus in a most pure and wonderful way.

Sunday Sermon, December 24 -- The Virginity of Mary Before Birth (Sermons on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, Part 1 of 3 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"How can this be, since I do not know man?" This question of our Lady proves that she was truly a virgin before the conception of Christ - namely, she had made a vow of virginity, giving not only her soul, but even her body entirely to God.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sunday Sermon, December 17 -- Ember Days, The Changing of the Seasons (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Ember Days are of apostolic origin, having been part of the life of the Roman Catholic Church from the time of the Apostles down to the early 1960s. Every Roman Catholic, for nearly 2,000 years, would have been familiar with the Ember Days devotions.  However, in just the past 50 years, we have almost completely lost the very notion of "Ember Days" - indeed, scarcely anyone even knows what "Ember Days" are. Nevertheless, the official Vatican documents since the Second Vatican Council instruct the local bishops the ensure that the Ember Days are marked by the faithful by appropriate acts of devotion.

In this sermon, we consider the meaning of the Ember Days and some ideas on devotions and penances fitting for the Ember Days.

The Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of:
1) The 3rd Week of Advent (Winter)
2) The 1st Week of Lent (Spring)
3) The week after Pentecost (Summer)
4) The third week of September (Fall)

Learn more about the Ember Days in general [here], and about the Advent Ember Days [here]!

Sunday Sermon, December 10th -- Our Lady of Guadalupe in Historical Context (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The history of the apparitions of our Lady to St Juan Diego in 1531: December 9th, twice on December 10th, December 12th, and also to Juan Bernadino.

This historical context of the apparitions: The Mexican peoples (Aztecs and others) had a society which was based upon human sacrifice. One in five of their own children were offered in sacrifice to the gods, many of their own people were sacrificed each year, and also many wars were waged simply to gain prisoners for human sacrifice.

When St Juan Diego was 13 years old (1487), there was a four day period in which some 84,000 human beings were sacrificed to the gods. "The gods of the pagans are demons."

What a wondrous miracle! St Juan Diego's life witnessed Mexico move from society of mass human sacrifice to a people almost entirely converted to the Christian Faith!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Sunday Sermon, December 3 -- Daily Mass, More than the Bare Minimum (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

If we only do the very bare minimum of what is required to be a Catholic, we shouldn't be surprised if we don't find ourselves making progress in the spiritual life. If all we do is the very least required to keep ourselves out of hell, then no wonder that we do not become great saints.

A few examples of the bare minimum:
1) Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation
2) Confession once a year
3) Abstaining from meat on every Friday of the year  (or doing another penance on Fridays outside of Lent)

Here are a few ideas of how to do more for Advent, so as to make real progress in holiness:
1) Assist at daily Mass at least once or twice a week
2) Go to confession at least once a month
3) Abstain from meat (or some other penance) on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, at least during Advent

November 29, Adult Ed Course on the Angels, Session 7: The Angels in the Lives of the Saints (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Final session of our course on the angels: The Angels in the Lives of the Saints

Course objectives:
1) To understand the theology of how angels can work in material space and time.
2) To consider in general how the angels have acted in the life of the Church throughout history.
3) To consider specific cases of angelic intervention, especially the exceptional stories.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sunday Sermon, November 26 -- On Heaven (Sunday Sermons on the Last Things, 5 of 5 -- Fr Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

On the joy of the blessed in heaven, and the peace that comes from the permanent and everlasting union with God.  The saints in heaven cannot sin, and are perfectly free. We will know our relatives and friends in heaven, and also will enjoy our glorified bodies after the resurrection on the last day.

November 23 - Adult Ed Course on the Angels, Session 6: The Wicked Angels and Exorcisms (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

On the Angels, Session 6 -- On the wicked angels and exorcisms.

Course Objectives
1) Consider demonic activity in general, and in comparison to the work of the good angels.
2) Understand the difference between ordinary and extraordinary demonic activity.
3) Recognize the Rite of Exorcism as a sacramental.

Sunday Sermon, November 19 -- Purgatory, In Scripture and Tradition (Sermons on the Last Things, 4 of 5 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The dogma of Purgatory (a place of purgation after death for those found worthy of heaven, but not yet perfectly ready for heaven) is still taught by the Church and must be believed in order to be saved.

We consider the biblical and traditional foundations of this dogma, as well as the reasonableness of purgatory in relation to God's mercy and his justice.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sunday Sermon, November 12 -- The Real Possibility of Hell (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish - Sermons on the Last Things, part 3 of 5)

In the final three weeks of the Liturgical Year, we consider: Hell, Purgatory, Heaven.

Hell is revealed in Sacred Scripture, and is a regular part of the preaching of Jesus Christ. No one tells us more about hell in Scripture, than our Lord. And Jesus indicates that hell is a real possibility - that perhaps most go to hell (through the wide gate) and only a very few are saved (through the narrow gate).

We consider the four sins which St Alphonsus indicates as the main ways that people go to hell after death: Hatred of our neighbor, blasphemy against God, theft, and impurity.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 2 -- Adult Formation Series on the Angels, Session 5: The Guardian Angels

Adult Faith Formation Series on the Angels: Session 5, The Guardian Angels

The following question and answer study of the guardian angels is based on the Summa Theologica I, qq.50-64 (angels in themselves) and qq. 106-114 (angels in relation to creatures). ST I, q.113, is particularly enlightening, since it is a question devoted wholly to the guardianship of angels over human beings.

November 2, All Souls Day

How not to become a poor forgotten soul in purgatory.

Holy Day Sermon, November 1 -- All Saints Day

Our Friendship with the saints, and why it is so sad that Fr Martin Luther revolted against the family of the saints.

Sunday Sermon, October 29 -- Death and the Particular Judgment (Sermons on the Last Things, Part 2 of 5)

On Death and the Particular Judgment.

The particular judgment occurs at the very moment of death. There is no time for a second chance or another choice. There will be no opportunity to explain ourselves, but we will listen and God will pronounce judgement. This judgement will be eternal.

And yet, we need not be afraid! The saints looked forward to their day of death, and the Church considers the day we die to be more truly the day of our birth - a birth into true life in heaven!

October 26 -- Adult Ed Session on the Angels: The Archangels

Session 4 of our Adult Ed Series on the Angels: The Archangels

Course Objectives
            1. Recognize the place of the archangels among the angelic choirs
            2. Become familiar with the scriptural passages related to the archangels
            3. Grow in a devotion for the feasts of the archangels

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday Sermon, October 22: The Immensity of the Soul, and Heaven (Sermons on the Last Things, Part 1 of 5 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

In the last month of the Liturgical Year (which concludes at the end of November), the Church has us read this year from St Paul's first Letter to the Thessalonians. This Letter teaches about the Last Things and the end of both our individual lives in death and of all history in the Second Coming.

We take the opportunity to preach five sermons on the Last Things: Heaven and Hell, Death and Judgement. First, we will consider the immensity of the soul and the vocation to Heaven, then death and the personal judgement, hell, purgatory, and heaven.

The human soul is a spiritual universe which is far more vast and beautiful than the natural universe in which we live. The human soul finds happiness only in the infinite goodness of God.

October 19 Adult Ed Course on the Angels, Session 3: The Angels in the Old and New Testaments (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Session 3 of our course on the angels: Angels in the Old and New Testaments

Course Objectives:
1) Review what follows from the fact that angels are immaterial, pure spiritual beings
2) Overview of the basic biblical approach to angels
3) Consideration of various biblical names given to the spirits

4) Brief study of several passages in which angels appear in the Old and New Testaments

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday Sermons, October 15 - The Miracle of the Sun, part 2 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The apocalyptic aspects of the miracle of the sun (13 October 1917) point to the apocalyptic message of Fatima.

An eyewitness to the miracle, "Everyone within an area of 32 miles thought it was the end of the world."

Sr Lucia, in 1945, "The Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for three reasons. First, the devil is in the mood for engaging in the final battle. Second, because She said that the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary are the last two remedies [given to the world] which signifies that there will be no others. Third, because God offers His Most Holy Mother as the last means of salvation. If we despise and repulse this last means, we will not have any more forgiveness from Heaven."

Our Lady of Akita (13 October 1973), "The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their fellow priests. Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises. The devil will tempt many priests and consecrated religious to leave the service of the Lord."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 13, Fatima Procession Talk (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

A brief overview of the history of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

October 12 -- Adult Ed Course on the Angels, Session 2: Angels at their creation and fall

Session 2 of our adult ed series on the angels

Objectives for Session 2: Angels at their creation and fall
1) Review what follows from the fact that angels are immaterial, pure spiritual beings
2) Consider the ways in which an angel, though perfect in himself, could possibly fall

3) Consider the wonderful obedience of the good angels

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sunday Sermon, October 8 -- The Miracle of the Sun, Part 1 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

As we near the 100th Anniversary of the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal, we consider the miracle first as an historical event (this week) and then as an apocalyptic sign (next week).

What is a miracle? How do we determine if a miracle has occurred? Why should we learn about this miracle? What really happened on 13 October 1917?

The Miracle of the Sun is a unique event in human history: Predicted three months in advance as to the precise date, time, and place, this miracle was witnessed by over 70,000 people from as far as 30 miles away.

Those present on 13 October 1917 "included believers and non-believers, pious old ladies and scoffing young men. Hundreds, from these mixed categories, have given formal testimony. Reports do vary; impressions are in minor details confused, but non to our knowledge has directly denied the visible prodigy of the sun."   "The witnesses of the event were indeed innumerable, their testimonies agree and we are flooded with the documents they have left us."

Thursday, October 5, 2017

October 5 - Adult Ed Course on the Angels, Session 1: Who are the Angels (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Session 1 of our adult ed series on the angels.


1) To understand that angels are each their own species, and therefore have great diversity.
2) To recognize that angels know some but not all things, and not the hidden thoughts of men or the future.
3) To understand something of the way that angels are “within time” – aeviternity and discrete time

4) To appreciate the multitude of the angelic host

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sunday Sermon, October 1 -- On Promises and Vows, and the Vow of Widowhood (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

When we hear of the two sons, one who made a vow and didn't fulfill it and the other who made no vow but nevertheless did what was good, we might ask whether it is beneficial to make a vow or promise to the Lord.

We ought not to make a vow or a promise to God carelessly, lest we commit a greater sin by not fulfilling our vow. However, we also recognize that many acts of devotion do not involve a strict vow but rather are a commitment to striving to improve.

It is good to make vows or promises to the Lord for at least three reasons: 1) That which we vow is now offered as an act of religion.  2) We give God not only the present good work, but also the future works which are vowed.  3) Our resolve is strengthened to persevere in the good work even when it is difficult.

Finally, we discuss the Vow of Widowhood as presented by St Francis de Sales.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sunday Sermon, September 24 -- The Workers Hired Last Are Made First (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

All of Scripture has two senses: The literal sense and the spiritual sense. The literal sense is the "historical sense" which is conveyed by the words themselves. The spiritual sense is the "mystical sense" which is conveyed by the realities of salvation history which point to other realities.

Example: The literal sense of the story of the Exodus is the historical event by which Moses and the Israelites went forth from the land of Egypt. A spiritual sense of the Exodus is that Jesus is the Passover Lamb and the passage through the Red Sea is Christian baptism.

The literal sense of the parable is that the covenant which was first offered to the Jews (hired early in the day) is now offered to the Gentiles (hired at the end of the day). It also indicates that those who have been faithful all life long (hired early in the day) and those who convert later in life (hired at the end of the day) will receive the same essential joy of heaven (the daily wage).

A spiritual sense of the parable is that we all have strengths (those hired early in the day) and weaknesses (those hired late in the day), and God wants to use both for his glory.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Sermon, September 17 -- The Catholic Approach to St Paul (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish - Sermons on Romans, Part 9)

We come to the conclusion of the Church's reading of the Letter of St Paul to the Romans which has continued for the past three months from the last Sunday of June to the second to the last Sunday of September. St Paul directs our focus entirely to Jesus Christ.

Looking back over the Letter, we revisit the question of faith and works, of grace and free will. Martin Luther's fundamental philosophical error of thinking that an action cannot be both fully of God and fully of man -- but, in truth, God is fully the primary cause of our good works and we are fully the secondary cause of our good works. When we cooperate with God's grace, we merit our salvation.

The protestant doctrine of "grace alone" leads quickly to the idea of "double predestination."  If a man is saved without any reference to his good works, but simply by God's choice; another is damned without any reference to his sins, but simply by God's choice. This is precisely what John Calvin taught, and this is where protestant theology ultimately leads.  However, as Catholics, we believe that human choice really makes a difference -- and we are saved by our good works, or damned by our sins.

Fundamentally, Martin Luther and the protestants approach Scripture in a way very different from how all Christians have always read the Bible. Luther starts with St Paul, and then forces all of the rest of the Bible to "fit" into his interpretation of Romans. However, Christians have always given priority to the Gospels, and then the rest of the Bible (including St Paul) is interpreted in light of Jesus' preaching and ministry.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Truth and Tolerance: Catholicism in an age of relativism (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Talk to the Seniors of GFCCHS)

This is a talk given to the seniors at Great Falls Central Catholic High School, during their senior retreat this year (15 September 2017). It's a very casual setting and a very casual talk.

What is truth?
We can see truth either after the analogy of a river or a tree. The river: All the streams start in different places, but flow to the river which itself flows to the ocean. All belief systems and claims ultimately lead to the same truth.

The tree: The trunk starts as one, but the branches go off in every direction and end up in very different places. Man begins with the same search for truth, but the different belief systems and claims ultimately lead to very different places and do not converge into a single truth.

Christianity proposes that only the teachings of Jesus lead ultimately to the truth. Only through Christ is there salvation. Different religions and different beliefs really do lead to different places -- Christianity leads to heaven, every other belief system ultimately leads only to hell. However, non-Christians can be saved, not through their gods or their own merits but through the grace of Christ and the Catholic Church.

What is tolerance?
This claim seems arrogant to modern man -- even more, it seems intolerant to claim that Christ is right and everyone else is wrong. But what is tolerance?

Tolerance can only exist when we have different beliefs in contact (and conflict) with one another. If we all believe the same thing, that isn't tolerance it's agreement. If all beliefs ultimately lead to the same truth, there isn't room for true tolerance - because really we are all in agreement. Likewise, if we don't allow for real discussion and debate, we don't have tolerance we only have separation.

Christianity believes in true tolerance: Allowing different ideas and beliefs to be discussed and debated. And Christianity affirms that the truth is itself compelling to the human mind. We do not use power or external force to compel a man to accept the truth - we use discussion and debate, to allow the splendor of truth to shine forth.

The dictatorship of relativism
Joseph Ratzinger, just prior to be elected Pope Benedict XVI, stated that there is a growing "dictatorship of relativism" in which any claim to possessing absolute truth is cast aside or even persecuted. The relativistic age in which we live has no room for real discussion or debate, but rather forces all to accept the doctrine that truth is relative -- what is true for me, is only true for me and not for everyone else.

But we believe that there is absolute truth, and that this truth will appeal to all people, if only we present it in love. That's our job: To spread the truth, and trust that God will make the seed of truth grow.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday Sermon, September 3 -- Christian Morality in Romans (Sermons on Romans, Part 8 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Chrsti Parish)

This Sunday, we begin reading from the second part of St Paul's Letter to the Romans which focuses on Christian Morality, living the life of grace.

This portion of the Letter is often quoted by Protestants in contradiction to Catholic practice. St Paul states that Christians need not keep specific days as holy or as days of penance, nor need we abstain from meat.  "For one believeth that he may eat all things." (Romans 14:2) or again "For one judgeth between day and day: and another judgeth every day." (Romans 14:5)

In fact, St Paul is speaking of the Jewish holy days and the Mosaic dietary laws -- Christians no longer must keep the ritual days of the Mosaic Law, neither do we follow the Old Testament rules about clean and unclean foods. St Paul is certainly not forbidding the Christian holy days or Christian fasting - he himself kept days holy and others as days of fasting, in honor of the Christian mysteries (Sunday for the Resurrection, Friday for the Passion).

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Sermon, August 27 -- What we do and don't believe about the Pope (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

In his own life on earth, Jesus himself established the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church, with the Pope as Supreme Shepherd and Head of the Church on earth. The Pope is the visible source and sign of unity in the Church.

What do we really believe about the Pope and Papal Infallibility? We don't believe that Pope will teach clearly, or even teach everything that he should teach; we don't believe that he won't make a mess of things -- what we do believe, is that when he invokes his supreme authority and teaches infallibly, he will not state what is false (he may not speak the truth clearly, but he won't actually teach what is false).

We also don't believe that the Pope is chosen by the Holy Spirit, or that he is "the best man for the job". But, whoever the Cardinals choose, even if he isn't the best man for the job, even if he is very weak or sinful -- the Holy Spirit will preserve him from leading the Church into error. 

This is the gift of the Papacy: The gates of hell will never prevail even against the bad Popes. And that proves that God is the one who truly guides the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

13 October 1917: An Apocalyptic Miracle, An Apocalyptic Message (Laurel, MT - Fatima Conference; Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Talk from Fatima Conference in Laurel, MT - August 9, 2017

This week we have heard the account of the history of the apparitions of our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal. From 13 May to 13 October 1917, our Lady appeared six times to the children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. 13 October was the occasion of the great Miracle of the Sun, which I propose is a miracle of absolute unprecedented proportion. A truly UNIQUE event in all of human history.

This great miracle, which confirmed the previous apparitions as well as the message which Mary had given, this miracle was promised by our Lady during the July apparition. Recall that the numbers of the crowd who had been coming to witness the apparitions had been steadily growing. However, with the children promising a miracle from our Lady in October (predicting this three full months in advance), the crowd ballooned to somewhere between 70 and 100,000 people.

This is what is so unique about 13 October 1917 – a great miracle, with tens of thousands of witnesses, which was predicted three months in advance as to the precise day, time and place.

I. Background: What is a miracle? How do we verify if a miracle has occurred? Why should we learn about miracles?

II. The History of the Miracle of the Sun: Eye witness testimonies.

III. Answering objections to the Miracle of the Sun: Not hysteria, not power of suggestion, not a natural phenomenon.

IV. Proposing an "explanation" for the Miracle: Similar to the Star of Bethlehem, or the Pillar of Fire.

V. The apocalyptic overtones of the Miracle: The Flood and the destruction of Sodom.

VI. Fatima: A message for the Last Times.

Sunday Sermon, August 20 -- The Conversion of the Jews (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish - Sermons on Romans, Part 7)

St Paul tells us that, even as the Jews as a whole rejected Jesus opening the way for the Gospel to be preached to the Gentiles, so also the Jews as a whole will ultimately receive the Gospel prior to the end of the world and the day of Judgment. Although nobody is saved simply for being Jewish, the Jews do remain the "chosen people" of God, and they have a crucial role to play in salvation history.

This dynamic of proclamation from Jews to Gentiles and finally back to the Jews is symbolized in the ritual of the traditional Roman Liturgy, as interpreted in the beautiful liturgical commentary of St. Albert the Great, the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Mass begins with the Missal on the "Epistle side" of the altar. The singing of the Epistle by the subdeacon, facing the altar, "towards the east," facing Jerusalem to the east of Rome, symbolizes the preaching of the prophets, and especially St. John the Baptist, who proclaimed Christ to the Jews.

Then the Missal is moved to the "Gospel side" of the altar and the deacon sings the Gospel facing the side wall of the church, "towards the north," facing the pagan Gentiles to the north of Rome. This action symbolizes the proclamation of the Gospel by the Church to the Gentiles. The Missal stays on the "Gentile side" for almost the whole Mass, but at the end it returns to the side of the Jews, to symbolize what St. Paul prophesies in our second reading: their final acceptance of Christ at the end of the world!

Sunday Sermon, August 6 -- The Transfiguration: Who was St James the Greater

A sermon in honor of St James the Greater. Why he was chosen to be a witness to the Transfiguration, and why Jesus called him a "Son of Thunder". The history of the life of the great apostle, and his marvelous intercessory power for the Church after his death.

St James was the first of the apostles to be martyred, but before AD 44 he had already preached in Spain - he is the great missionary apostle! The Spanish people claim him as a special patron, as well as Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Pillar (she appeared to St James in AD 40, when she was still alive).

St James is a patron of Spain but also of the New World, which was discovered by Columbus on the feast of our Lady of the Pillar, October 12, 1492.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Introduction to Sacred Music - Chant 101 course (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

On Sacred Music:

1. We don't create the Liturgy, we receive it -- this is why we use antiphons rather than hymns.
2. We don't sing at Mass, we sing THE Mass -- this is why we prefer gregorian chant as well.
3. The human voice is God's instrument by which he desires to be praised -- this is why we favor the organ and flute over other instruments.
4. Notes on the Liturgy of the Word.

Below are a number of reference quotations.

Holy Day Sermon, August 15 -- The Assumption of Mary (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

The Dogma of the Assumption: That Mary, at the end of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory. It is the common teaching of the Church that Mary died, was raised, and then was assumed.

This feast reminds us all of our call to heaven -- God wants us all to be saved. This is our vocation!

Sunday Sermon, August 13 -- Salvation and the Jews (Sermons on Romans, Part 6 - Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish

"They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen."

We discuss the division of the Letter of St Paul to the Romans.
I. The Doctrine of Grace
   A. The Necessity of Grace (Chapters 1-4)
   B. The Effects of Grace (Chapters 5-8)
   C. The Origins of Grace (Chapters 9-11)
II. The Life of Grace (Chapters 12-16

The consideration of the relation of the Jews and the Gentiles in the one Church of Christ. None are save by being Jewish, but only through the grace of Christ. Like all people, the Jews do not inherit salvation, but must be evangelized and receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Modern Judaism is not the same religion as ancient Judaism, because the holy men and women of the Old Testament believed in the Messiah who was to come, but modern Judaism explicitly rejects this Messiah who has come, Jesus Christ. We Catholics are of the same religion as Abraham and Moses, of David and of St Joseph.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 30 -- Predestination and Calvin's Heresy (Sermons on Romans, Part 5 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"For those he foreknew he also predestined. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified."  (Romans 8:29-30)

The Catholic Doctrine of predestination teaches that those who are to be saved are foreknown by God who gives them grace to do good works in the present and rewards them with glory in heaven. God's foreknowledge is a cause of all things, but, although certain, does not impose necessity upon all things. God knows all that we will do, and he knows he will do it freely. God's grace does not destroy free will.

The protestant heresy (especially as by Luther and Calvin) maintains that man is saved without works but only by God's grace. However, if man is saved without any consideration of his works and without his free cooperation, so too will man be damned without any consideration of his sins and without his freedom. Thus Calvin will affirm that God creates some men for hell, and not because of their sins but because of God's sovereign choice. God predestines some men for hell, even as others are predestined to heaven - and all without any choice or merits on the part of man.  This is what the "reformation" revolution was really all about, to give us a God who is a devil. This is why Calvin and Luther had to be condemned.

As we move forward, recall that the prime example of predestination is Jesus Christ in his humanity. Predestined from eternity, Christ was still entirely free and his choices made a real difference in the world.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 23 -- Speaking in Tongues and the Prayer of the Spirit (Sermons on Romans, Part 4 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings."

St Paul is not referring to "speaking in tongues" (that miracle in the early Church whereby the Apostles and others would suddenly know new languages and speak the native tongue of their listeners fluently).

Rather, the Apostle teaches us that the Holy Spirit moves the soul through the Gifts (especially the Gift of Counsel) to pray for those things which are truly according to God's will.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 16 -- Man is justified by works, not by faith alone (Sermons on Romans, Part 3 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Quotes from Scripture related to Faith:

Romans 3:27-28, "Where is then thy boasting? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the Law."

Romans 11:5-6, "There is a remnant saved according to the election of grace. And if by grace, it is not by works: otherwise grace is no more grace."

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. Not of works, that no man may glory."

Quotes from Scripture related to works:

Matthew 16:27, "For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his works."

1 Corinthians 13:2, "And if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing."

Philippians 2:12, "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling."

James 2:24, "A person is justified by works and not by faith alone."


It is amazing that Luther and Calvin (and the Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Fundamentalist Protestants today who follow them) could claim that man is saved through FAITH ALONE. This phrase "faith alone" is only used one time in the Bible, specifically to reject the very heresy that the Protestants promote -- "A person is justified by works and NOT by FAITH ALONE." (James 2:24).

How could the Protestant heresy have gotten it so wrong? There are two main errors which led Luther into his heresy 500 years ago. 1) A Scriptural error: Luther read all of the Bible in light of St Paul and especially placed Romans as the most important book of Scripture; but the true approach to Scripture places the Gospels first and reads St Paul in light of Christ presented in the Gospels.

2) A philosophical error: Luther thought that if I do 50% of the work of salvation, then that would mean that God could only do 50%, or if God does 100% then I must do 0%. However, the work of salvation is fully divine and fully human (even as Jesus is fully God and fully man) -- salvation is both 100% the work of God and 100% my work.

We affirm: Of course man can merit salvation! After all, Jesus was a man, and he merited salvation for the whole world. In Christ, we too merit our own salvation, as we cooperate with the grace of the Lord.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16 - The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Informational Bulletin, Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The History of the Brown Scapular
of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

On 16 July 1251, St Simon Stock, who was then the superior of the Order of the Carmelites, received an apparition from Our Lady. She handed him a brown scapular saying, “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I obtained for thee for they children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.”

However, the history of the brown scapular begins long before the 13th century, originating with the mantle of the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament! To bring the people back from their worship of the false god Baal the prophet Elijah prayed for a drought, which lasted for three and a half years. After this, Elijah climbed Mt. Carmel to petition for the rain to return. A cloud in the shape of a foot came and provided much-needed rain. (See 1 Kings 18:41-46)

Pious tradition holds the cloud represented Our Lady’s heel crushing the devil, as prophesied in Genesis. We also recognize Mary as the Mediatrix of graces, for out of a single cloud flowed an immense quantity of rain, or grace, which quenched the parched desert.

Following the event, Elijah formed a community of hermits on Mt. Carmel. These Jewish “carmelites” awaited the return of Elijah to announce the coming of the Messiah. After Pentecost, it is believed that these hermits were converted to Christianity. It was out of this community the Carmelite Order was born in the late 11th century.

Sunday Sermon, July 9 -- Sin, the Flesh, Death, the Law and Salvation in Christ (Sermons on Romans, Part 2; Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Romans 8:1-13, from which our second reading is taken in today's Mass, put forward four major themes which are essential to St Paul's understanding of the human condition prior to redemption in Christ.

Before man receives the grace of Christ, he is under the law of sin, the law of the flesh, the law of death, and the Law of Moses. The law of sin: Man is conceived in sin, in a state of rebellion against God. The law of the flesh: The lower part of man's soul, his passions and emotions ("the flesh"), rebels against the higher part of man's soul, his reason and will. The law of death: Man is conceived destined for death, not just bodily death but also eternal death. The Law of Moses: Although the Law pointed out the way to do good, it did not give man the grace to actually follow the path to heaven.

But Christ liberates us from sin, the flesh, death, and the Law of Moses! Christ makes us free! This is the joy and good news of the Gospel! However, because our hope is in heaven and not in the vanities of earth, we live a life of penance and mortification - putting to death the deeds of the body. As G.K. Chesterton once said, "It is better to fast for joy, than feast for misery."

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sunday Sermon, July 2 -- Introduction to the Letter to the Romans (Sunday Sermons on Romans, Part 1 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

We read from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans from the 9th to the 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time this year (Year A). For an additional 8 Sundays or Holy Days, we read from Romans as well. Practically, we will be reading from Romans for three months straight - from the last Sunday of June to all but the last Sunday of September (with the exception of the Transfiguration on August 6).

Catholics are often intimidated by St Paul's Letter to the Romans, thus we will be preaching on Romans many of the weekends over the next three months. It is my hope that we will all feel familiar with Romans by the end of September.

A basic outline of the Letter can be found below. We also point out the historical context: This letter was written by St Paul in the year 58, the 6th and longest of 14 letters included in Scripture, the final letter written prior to his arrest. Rome, at the time, had about one million inhabitants, with 50,000 Jews and 13 synagogues. The Christian community in Rome was made up of a good number of Jewish converts, but certainly there were even more gentile converts to the faith. St Peter was the bishop of Rome at the time.

St Paul is writing about the grace of Christ, and shows that neither the Law of Moses nor the wisdom of the pagan philosophers will bring salvation. Thus, all (Jew and gentile) are united as one by the grace of Christ and by the Catholic religion.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sunday Sermon, June 25 -- The Dogma of Original Sin (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned."  (Romans 5:12)

Original sin can be understood as the sin of Adam originally committed in the garden, or as the privation of grace which is inherited by all men. As the sin in the garden, it was specifically Adam's sin (not Eve's) that caused the Fall of the human race - since all men (including Eve) come from Adam. As the privation of grace, original sin is transmitted to all by generation not merely imitation.

Adam spoke for us all when he sinned and, although each of us did not personally choose to sin, original sin is considered "voluntary" insofar as is the effect of the voluntary choice of Adam. However, even as in Adam all sinned, so also in Christ we have been victorious over sin and death! Just as Adam spoke for all when he disobeyed, Christ Jesus has spoken for all who are baptized into him and in Christ we have been obedient!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pentecost Sermon, June 4 -- There is No Salvation outside the Catholic Church, Because the Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church

The Holy Spirit is the true soul of the Catholic Church. Even as the soul gives life to the human body and makes it to be one body made up of many parts, so also Holy Spirit vivifies and unites the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Holy Catholic Church.

Even as it would be greatly disordered for the human soul to work outside of the body or be separated from the body, so also the Holy Spirit chooses to work in the world inside the Mystical Body and only in union with the Church.  This is called "co-extensivity" -- where the Church, there the Holy Spirit; where the Spirit, there the Catholic Church.

St Joan of Arc said it well: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they are just one thing: and we shouldn't complicate the matter." Whoever receives the Pope and the Bishops as messengers of Christ, receives Jesus. Whoever rejects the Pope and the Bishops, that is, whoever rejects the Catholic Church, rejects Jesus and not only Jesus but also the Heavenly Father.

However, this does not mean that only Catholics are saved - but that if any non-Catholic is saved, they are saved by virtue of the presence of the Catholic Church in the world.

More than anything, this should inspire us to be missionaries! To preach the Gospel and to preach the message of salvation given through the Church and her sacraments! We have a duty to bring all people into full communion with the Catholic Church, so that they might be happy in this life and find salvation in life everlasting.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sunday Sermon, May 28 -- The Miracle of the Sun and the Message of Fatima

We conclude our three part series on the message of Our Lady Queen of the Rosary of Fatima.

Appearing first on 13 May 1917, our Lady promised she would return each month until 13 October. on 13 July, Our Lady promised a great miracle in October which would confirm the truth of the apparitions and of the message.

13 October 1917, in the presence of over 70,000 people, some of whom were more than 20 miles away, the sun "danced" in the sky and then crashed toward the earth in a manner that made all believe the world was about to end. The children of Fatima continued to pray, and the sun returned to his place in the heavens.

During this great miracle, the children saw St Joseph, holding the Child Jesus, bless the world three times for peace (together with the Child). They also saw our Lady and our Lord appearing in various manners.

This miracle is to convince us of the message. What is the message of Fatima?
The first message is the children: Lucia, Jacinta, Francisco -- which is to say, a life of prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners and for peace in the world.
Then also, the daily Rosary, the scapular, the First Saturday devotion. And also, devotion to St Joseph.

We say with St Francisco -- Mary, we will give you all the Rosaries you want! Just give us salvation and peace!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sunday Sermon, May 21 -- The Three Secrets of Fatima (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

When our Lady for the third time appeared to the three children of Fatima, 13 July 1917, she gave them three secrets, which also contain the essential message of Fatima.

The first was the vision of hell, the second the horrors of World War II, and the third was a mysterious apocalyptic image which detailed persecutions of the Pope.

The third secret was at least partially fulfilled in the assassination attempt on Pope St John Paul II, which occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 13 May 1981. Our Lady miraculously saved the Pope on that day.

Below, find the text of the three secrets.

Sunday Sermon, May 14 -- The Children of Fatima (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

13 May 2017 was the 100th Anniversary of our Lady's first apparition to the three children of Fatima in Portugal. Appearing from May to October, generally on the 13th of the month, our Lady asked that the Rosary be prayed daily and that people be devoted to her Immaculate Heart.

Pope Francis canonized two of the three children on 13 May 2017 -- Sts Francisco and Jacinta Marto! Lucia (the eldest of the three) did not die until 2005, and thus her canonization process is far behind her two cousins who died in 1918 and 1919.

We discuss the history of the apparitions (beginning with the vision of the Angel of Peace) and the lives of our new saints, Francisco and Jacinta.

NOTE: This is the first of three sermons on the apparitions of our Lady, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima.

Sunday Sermon, May 7 --- Discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Sunday Sermon)

In the new Mass, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is also Good Shepherd Sunday. The Church throughout the world also celebrates this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

We consider how to discern a call to the priesthood or religious life -- not only for those young people who are still in the time and age of discernment, but also for parents, relatives and friends who may be able to assist in discernment of a vocation.

The keys to discernment are a life of prayer and a pure motive to love God in and above all things. Essentially, once our motives are purified, God will reveal our vocation to us through giving us joy at the thought of living that vocation. And the priesthood and religious life are the happiest vocations on earth.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 30 -- On receiving communion well, and not distributing the Chalice (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The apparition on the road to Emmaus teaches us about the Holy Eucharist -- the bread which our Lord "took, blessed, broke, and gave" is none other than his gift of self in Holy Communion.

We take an opportunity to consider receiving communion well, with greater love and devotion. It is also good to note that Jesus only distributes communion under the one species of the Host -- whereas, on Holy Thursday, he gave communion under both kinds (the Host and the Chalice) as he was distributing to his apostles whom he had just ordained as priests; here, when distributing communion to the lay faithful (Cleopas and the other), our Lord only gives communion under the species of his Body. The whole Jesus is present in the Host and in the Chalice: Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and the fullness of grace is received under Host alone. Indeed, the Church teaches that there is nothing "less" in receiving only the Host, nor is there any "more grace" in receiving the Chalice.

Although not all of the following norms are specified in the sermon, it is good to make note of certain guidelines under which the Chalice is permitted to be distributed. First and foremost, we recognize that the general norms of the Church do not permit the distribution of the Chalice except in the most unusual circumstances (e.g. when people make First Communion, Religious Profession, to the couple who gets married). In the United States, wider permission was given (by a special indult from the Vatican and only with the dispensation of the local bishop and the wise discernment of the pastor) for communion to be distributed under both kinds -- but the following norms must be observed.

From "Redemptionis Sacramentum", Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship from 2004 (paragraphs 100-107):

"[Distribution of the Chalice] is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned."

"The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist and there is a danger that more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remain to be consumed at the end of the celebration."

"[The Chalice is not to be distributed] where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated."

"In accordance with what is laid down by the canons, 'one who throws away the consecrated species or takes them away or keeps them for a sacrilegious purpose, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished by another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state'. To be regarded as pertaining to this case is any action that is voluntarily and gravely disrespectful of the sacred species. Anyone, therefore, who acts contrary to these norms, for example casting the sacred species into the sacrarium or in an unworthy place or on the ground, incurs the penalties laid down."

Additionally, the USCCB states that where there would regularly be more lay people serving as extraordinary ministers of holy communion than three are priests and deacons serving as ordinary ministers, it may be fitting to not distribute the Chalice so as to avoid the appearance that it is ordinary or normal for lay minsters to distribute communion.  (cf. Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Communion under Both Kinds)

What does this mean? That if there is any danger that the Chalice might be spilt, communion should be given only under the Host. If there is a large number of people at the Mass so that it is difficult to estimate very exactly how much wine to use, communion should be given only under the Host. If say 20% of the people don't want to receive from the Chalice, communion should be given only under the Host. If there are not a number of priests and deacons so that they would generally outnumber the lay extraordinary ministers, communion should probably be given only under the Host.

Finally, the care of the Precious Blood is such a serious matter, that those who have poured the remaining Blood down the drain or into the ground are subject to an excommunication which even the Bishop cannot lift -- and this abuse is something which many of us know from experience to have been shockingly common in certain places and times over the past 50 years.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 23 -- Divine Mercy Sunday, the Indulgence and the Promise

There are two things to be aware of: 1) The Church offers a plenary indulgence on this day. 2) Jesus promised special graces on this day. The indulgence and the promise are similar, but not identical.
1) The plenary indulgence: This requires confession (up to 20 days before or after), communion (a couple days before or after), prayers for the Pope (Our Father, Hail Mary), no attachment to any sin, and the specific "work" is the mercy devotions. The devotions are those held in common in the church, or before the tabernacle to pray an Our Father and the Creed and "Jesus, I trust in you". Those who are unable to travel to church can say the Our Father, Creed, and invocation of mercy even at home before an image of the Divine Mercy (but they still must confess and receive communion).
2) The promise of Jesus: That any who confess (up to two weeks before) and receive communion on Divine Mercy Sunday itself (Our Lord does not say that the Saturday evening Mass counts) trusting in his mercy, will have not only their sins but even all the punishment of purgatory will be completely washed away. This is the perfect renewal of the graces of baptism -- and it does not require complete detachment from all sin, but only that we trust in his mercy!

A comparison between Jesus' appearance to Thomas the Apostle and his gift of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easter Sunday Sermon, April 16 -- The Paschal Candle and Easter Meditation (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The meaning of the Paschal Candle: The candle represents Jesus, first in his passion (the Cross is marked on the candle), and in his burial (the five grains of incense recall the perfumed oil used to anoint his five wounds). The unlit candle represents Christ Crucified, who by his death is Lord of all time (hence the numbers of the year, and the "alpha" and "omega"). When the candle is lit, this represents Jesus' resurrection! His light illumines our hearts by the ministry of his priests, and we all then give light to the whole world.

Easter is longer than Lent, and is a season of many graces! We can be open to these by practicing daily mental prayer, meditation on the mysteries of salvation -- hopefully, for at least 10 minutes a day.

Holy Thursday and Good Friday Sermons (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Jesus' presence and consoling Jesus on the Cross.

Palm Sunday Sermon, April 9 -- The Act of Contrition (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Making a perfect act of contrition, in consideration of the love of Jesus for me made manifest on the Cross.

Daily Sermons, April 4-22 (Corpus Christi Parish, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Sermons from daily Masses for the final weeks of Lent and Easter week.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 2 -- The Raising of Lazarus and Confession (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

[pre-sermon note on why we veil the cross and other images during the final two weeks of Lent (passiontide)]

Lent is a time of preparation for the renewal of our baptism at Easter. We renew our baptism by confession, especially in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday. Consider this week's Gospel in relation to the sacrament of Confession.

"Master, the one whom you love is ill." When we prepare for confession, we recognize that Jesus loves us so much! and that we truly are ill and in need of healing.

"And Jesus wept." When we confess we must be truly sorry for our sins.

"Show me where you laid him." We then confess our serious sins according to name and number, and our venial sins we confess as is most helpful to us.

"Untie the burial bands." Even after being forgiven, the stench of sin is around us. However, penance helps to free us from the bonds of sin!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Daily Sermons, March 30 - April 1 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons.

Scripture, Stations, Passiontide.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Sermon, March 26 -- St Joseph and Joseph the Patriarch (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

We consider the many ways in which Joseph the Patriarch of the Old Testament foreshadows St Joseph of the New Testament.

They share the same name, and have fathers of the same name. St Joseph is also loved by God and given many graces, especially being forgiven original sin while in the womb and preserved from every actual sin (this is foreshadowed in the cloak given Joseph in the Old Testament). The Patriarch was pure in his relations with Potiphar's wife, and St Joseph was most pure in maintaining perpetual virginity. The Patriarch was made "master of [Pharaoh's] household, and ruler of all his possessions," even as St Joseph was head of the Holy Family. The Patriarch provided grain for the world, St Joseph stored up the true Bread of Life.

Finally, the Patriarch was at first not recognized by his brothers in their need, so also it is only in these last days that the Church has come to call upon St Joseph and recognize him in her public devotions as the Universal Patron!

Listen online [here]!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Daily Sermons, March 22-25 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from Daily Masses, March 21-25.
Human Customs, Lent, Love, Annunciation.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sunday Sermon, March 19 -- Why We Don't Follow the Old Law, and Seder Meals (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Christians no longer observe the ceremonial precepts of the Old Law -- we are permitted to eat all types of food, we do not observe ritual purity or washings, we don't even keep Saturday as our Holy Day. While the moral precepts (e.g. "honor thy father and thy mother", "thou shalt not kill", etc) remain, the ceremonies and all the external forms of Old Testament worship pass away.

Outward worship expresses interior faith. Abraham and Moses believed, "the Messiah WILL come", but we believe, "the Messiah HAS come". Thus, the rituals of the Old Law point to the Messiah who had not yet come, but the ceremonies of the New Law point to Jesus who has come and who will come again. Because the Messiah is come, it was necessary that the ceremonies of the Old pass away as they are fulfilled by the New.

Thus, it would be a form of false worship for a Catholic to participate in the ceremonies of the Old Law -- because this would imply that the Messiah has not yet come, and that Jesus is not the Messiah.

From this, it clearly follows that the Catholic cannot participate in the Jewish Seder meal at Passover time. Further, it is also inappropriate for Catholics to perform a "Christian version" of the Seder meal (the US Bishops explicitly forbade this in "God's Mercy Endures Forever" in 1988). 

It is also good to realize that the Last Supper was not a Seder meal, as the Seder didn't even exist at the time of Jesus. What was the Last Supper then? It was the Mass!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Daily Sermons, March 14-18 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Homilies from daily Masses, March 14 to 18.
The Law, Zebedee's Sons, The Rich Man, St Patrick, Total Consecration.

Tuesday, March 14 -- Jesus helps us fulfill the Law
Listen online [here]!

Wednesday, March 15 -- The Family of Zebedee's Sons
Listen online [here]!

Thursday, March 16 -- Lazarus and the Rich Man
Listen online [here]!

Friday, March 17 -- St Patrick, Exorcist
Listen online [here]!

Saturday, March 18 -- Jaboc, Esau, and the Total Consecration
Listen online [here]!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sunday Sermon, March 12 -- The Christian must suffer to come to Easter glory (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Christ was transfigured before Peter, James, and John to strengthen them with the hope of the Resurrection so that they would not despair at the Passion. The Transfiguration is a lesson to teach the Apostles that "the Christ must suffer and so enter into his glory."

Likewise, the Church gives us this Gospel on the Second Sunday of Lent to strengthen us with the hope of Easter so that we might persevere in accomplishing our Lenten discipline. We also learn that each Christian must suffer (through voluntary penance) in order to enter into the glory of the Risen Lord.

Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus - It is striking to note that these are the only other two men in Sacred Scripture who fasted for forty days. If we want to have a joy-filled and holy Easter, it is necessary that we enter into these forty days of penance and fasting with the Lord.

Daily Sermons, March 8 to 11 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons from March 8 to 11.
Moses and Elijah, St Frances of Rome, the 40 martyrs, Total Consecration.

Sunday Sermon, March 5 -- The Three Ages of the Interior Life and Mortification (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

[pre-sermon note on almsgiving during Lent: Remember that the poor live a much harder Lent than we do, and they live it all year long. Our Lent should provide some savings which is given to the poor. When you are really craving whatever you sacrificed this Lent, consider making a small donation for alms as a way of connecting fasting and almsgiving]

There are three ages of the spiritual life: The beginners, the proficients, and the perfect; or the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the unitive way.

The beginners are attached to sin and to the world, and though they have truly begun to follow God and do desire to be holy, they still have a worldly outlook and worldly goals.
The proficients have broken their attachment to the world and strive to avoid sin. Their focus is on God and his glory, and they seek heaven; but they approach the spiritual life from an human perspective and with human judgments (looking for human success in the spiritual life). They have entered into the life of infused contemplation in prayer.
The perfect have broken all attachment to the world and to sin. They live in constant union with God and have a totally supernatural world-view. These are the great saints. They still commit some venial sins, but they are very humble and follow God unreservedly.

One of the main reasons why people remain as beginners their whole life is a failure to practice bodily mortification. It is true that interior penance is more important than physical or bodily mortification (like fasting), but if we can't practice external penance we will never be able to practice interior penance. If I can't give up meat, I'll never be able to give up pride!

Lenten penance and bodily mortification (especially fasting and abstinence) is a great means of attaining spiritual growth!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Funeral Homily for Father Raymond Nyquist (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sermon from the Funeral Mass for Father Raymond Nyquist.

Father Nyquist had three loves: The Eucharist, the poor, and the family.

Sunday Sermon, February 26 -- Judging Actions, Avoiding Scandal (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

[pre-sermon note on fasting and abstinence during Lent. The Church only requires that those from 18 to 60 years old fast (one regular meal and two small snacks) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and those from 14 years and older abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays of Lent, and every Friday throughout the year (excepting Solemnities). The US Bishops received permission so that another penance can substitute for abstaining from meat on Fridays outside of Lent. Father Ryan recommends that we do more than this, considering possibly abstaining from meat on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and even abstaining from eggs and dairy in addition if that is possible.]

"Therefore, do not make any judgments before the appointed time, until the Lord comes." (1 Cor 4:5)

Many today say, "Who am I to judge?", but what St Paul is really saying is that we should respond to people caring only how Jesus will judge us and not worrying about whether people will love us or hate us. In this very Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul excommunicates a man for public adultery! And the Church follows this by refusing to admit to Holy Communion all those who publicly and obstinately persist in manifest grave sin (example, pro-abort politicians or those Catholics married outside the Church).

But the Church isn't judging a person when we don't give communion to those living in public grave sin. The Church is only judging the objective situation, and protecting us all from being scandalized. For this same reason, we should not attend invalid marriages, for example.

Sunday Sermon, February 19 -- Loving those who attack the faith (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

[pre-homily note on attending daily Mass during Lent. Please note: I mistakenly said that only Lent has proper Masses for each of the weekdays, that is no longer the case as there are now proper Masses for the weekdays of Advent as well. Traditionally (prior to Vatican II), Lent was unique in this respect. Even still, the weekdays of Lent are of an higher rank than the Advent weekdays and "trump" most saints' feast days -- thus, the essential point remains the same, namely, that the daily Masses of Lent have a unique character and importance in the Liturgical Year.]

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

It is truly divine to be able to love our enemies -- Jesus proves his divinity by his love for his enemies.

To love means to sacrifice. If we love our enemies, then we will be sacrificing for them -- prayer and fasting.

Daily Sermons from February 21 to March 4 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Daily Sermons from February 21 to March 4.

These are a few weeks of daily Mass sermons all posted together.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Daily Sermons, Februry 14-17 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons, February 14-17.
St Valentine, Lent, the Flood, the Servites.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Daily Sermons, February 7 - 11 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from daily Masses, February 7 to 11.
Blessed Pius IX, St John of Matha, St Apollonia, St Scholastica, Lourdes.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sunday Sermon, February 5 -- Sermons on the Mass, part 2 of 2 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sunday Sermon, February 5 -- Sermons on the Mass, part 2 of 2.

The "Liturgy of the Eucharist" or "Mass of the Faithful".
Also, consideration of music at Mass and why the Church insists that the people should know the ordinary of the Mass in Latin (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Angus Dei, as well as the Creed).
Finally, on receiving Communion well, and recognizing Jesus as our true companion and intimate friend.

Daily Sermons, January 31 to February 4

Sermons from daily Masses, January 31 to February 4.
St John Bosco, St Ignatius, Presentation, St Blase, First Saturdays.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sunday Sermon, January 29 -- Sermons on the Mass, part 1 of 2; the Liturgy of the Word (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sermons on the Mass, Part 1 of 2: The Liturgy of the Word.

The excellence of the Mass -- the solution to all the world's problems and the need for reverence at Mass.

Music at Mass -- why an entrance hymn is the tyranny of a music leader over the congregation. Why the "introit" or "entrance chant" sung to gregorian tones is the first option and most preferable.

The entrance procession and "ad orientem" worship.
The Liturgy of the Word as worship -- the readings aren't Bible study.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Daily Sermons, January 24-28 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily sermons, January 24-28.
St Francis de Sales, St Paul, Sts Timothy and Titus, St Angela Merici, St Thomas Aquinas.

Sunday Sermon, January 22 -- Division in the Church and Our Response (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you." (1 Corinthians 1:10)

We live in a divided world, a divided nation, and a divided Church. Cardinal against cardinal, bishop against bishop, priest against priest, and the laity are terribly confused.
Two types of division: 1) When individuals are opposed or teaching opposing doctrines. 2) When an individual or a group is opposed to Jesus or teaching a doctrine contrary to the Gospel of Jesus.

We know, not just in theory but in reality even here in our own Diocese, that there is awful division. And, further, that even many priests have created a false unity by joining together to reject the teaching of the Church and of Jesus himself. Consider how many priests spoke in favor of contraception, or refused to speak against it; and many other issues.

But, we cannot say "My parish is the only CATHOLIC parish in the (city/diocese/world) or my priest is the only CATHOLIC priest in the (city/diocese/world)." It is true that many priests teach falsehood and gravely mislead people, but that doesn't mean they are not Catholic, although they may be terribly wrong.

What should we do? 1) Know your faith! Learn your Catechism!
And 2) Do penance! Prayer: Rosary, scapular, first Saturdays; fasting: abstaining on Fridays, other mortification; Almsgiving: caring for the homeless, visiting the sick.

2017 is a year of many graces -- the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Daily Sermons, December 27 to January 21

Sermons from daily Masses, December 27 to January 21. Throughout much of this time, Father Ryan was away from the parish (on retreat and on diocesan meetings).
St John, the Holy Innocents, the Holy Family, the Holy Name, Epiphany, St Sebastian, St Agnes.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sunday Sermon, January 9 -- This will be no ordinary year. 2017 and the end times (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Transferred feast of Epiphany, January 9.

The wise men saw the star and recognized the sign of the coming of the Lord, even though most men were unaware of the most significant moment in history. On Epiphany, the Church looks ahead to the coming year and proclaims the dates of all the movable feasts (Ash Wednesday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, etc).  We look forward to consider what God has in store for us this year - and we recognize that 2017 is no ordinary year.

1) 2017 is the 100th Anniversary of Fatima.
2) Before writing the St Michael Prayer exactly 33 years to the day (October 13, 1884) prior to the "miracle of the sun" in Fatima, Pope Leo XIII heard our Lord say that Satan would be given 100 years to persecute the Church and wreak havoc on the world. And the Vatican has said that the past 100 years of violence and persecution fulfill the suffering predicted at Fatima.
3) 2017 is the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Revolt - an horrific event which is being celebrated even by many Catholic bishops.
4) We have completed the Year of Mercy. Jesus revealed to St Faustina that, after the day of mercy would come the day of judgment.
5) There is unprecedented division in the Church. Priest against priest. Bishop against bishop. And cardinal against cardinal.
6) Unprecedented liturgical abuse. Would the saints even recognize the Mass as it is celebrated in most churches throughout the world today?
7) Sr Lucia (one of the Fatima Visionaries) wrote to then Monsignor (now Cardinal) Caffarra that the last great battle would be on issues related to marriage and the family. Cardinal Caffarra was a trusted adviser to St John Paul the Great, and to Pope Benedict XVI. But, under the current pontificate, Caffarra is persecuted and rejected -- and the Catholic approach to divorce and remarriage as well as a whole host of other issues related to marriage and the family is being thrown by the wayside for radical liberalism.

What do we do?
1) Practice regular confession
2) Pray the Rosary every day
3) Wear the brown scapular
4) Practice the First Saturday Devotions

2017 will be no ordinary year. This is a moment of grace, if only we would be open to receiving it.

New Year's Sermon -- Mary Mother of God -- Mary is the most divine creature in her virginal motherhood (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

January 1st - Mary Mother of God

God became man so that man might become like God. This is the mystery of Christmas, the mystery of grace. And in no creature after our Lord's sacred humanity do we see the divinity more clearly reflected than in the Virgin Mary.

Mary, as a virgin mother, is the most divine of all creatures. Her giving birth to Jesus without any pain or suffering or rupture or violence is a manifestation of the manner in which God the Father begot the Son from all eternity. Only two persons may be said to have begotten God -- The Father, and Mary.

Jesus is God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God; and on Christmas, he is God from Mary, truly proceeding from her as light through glass in a miraculous birth.