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.

Listen online [here]!


An Outline of the Letter of St Paul to the Romans
From Father Ryan Erlenbush (based on the commentary of St Thomas Aquinas)

St Paul’s Letter to the Romans discusses the grace of Christ considered in itself
Part I (Chapters 1-11): The Doctrine of the Grace of Christ
Part II (Chapters 12-16): The Moral Life of Grace in Christ

Part I is divided into three parts:
A.     (Chapters 1-4): The necessity of grace.  St Paul teaches us that all men are conceived in sin and need the grace of Christ in order to be saved. We are not saved by the works of the Law of Moser, nor by the wisdom of the world, but only by the Christian Religion which Christ established.
B.     (Chapters 5-8): The effects of grace, that grace is sufficient for salvation. St Paul discusses what grace does for the soul. Specifically, the Apostle teaches that, by the grace of Christ, we are freed from sin, from death, and from the ordinances of the Law of Moses.
C.     (Chapters 9-11): The origins of grace. Here, St Paul explains that from the Jews has come the adoption, the glory of the covenant, the giving of the Law, the service of God, the promises, and even the Christ. The Apostle discusses the relation of the Jews and the Gentiles in the Church.

Part II is divided into two parts:
A.     (Chapter 12-15): The living in grace, morality. St Paul explains how the Christian should cooperate with grace so as to become perfect in Christ, and how those advanced in perfection should relate to those who are not so advanced. 15:14-33, St Paul addresses issues specific to the Roman Christians.
B.     (Chapter 16): Conclusion of the Letter.


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