Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sunday Sermon, June 8 -- Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

We begin with a consideration of the "brothers and sisters" of  Jesus who are mentioned in this Sunday's Gospel. The word "brother" can mean "cousin" and is often used this way in both the Old and New Testaments. Furthermore, we know that names of some of these "brothers" (James, Joses, Jude, Simon), and we also know their parents' names -- Cleophas (or Alphaeus) and Mary (not the Blessed Virgin, but another woman named Mary who was a close friend of the Virgin Mary). Thus, it is clear, that these are not children of Mary the Mother of God, nor even children of St Joseph by some previous marriage.

We consider the sin of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" as the unforgivable sin.  The Fathers of the Church debated a great deal about what this sin was, and St Augustine considers that it is the sin of despair leading to final impenitence, death in the state of mortal sin. This is certainly part of the answer.

St Thomas Aquinas goes further and specifies that "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is when sin is committed out of malice, or hatred of God, rather than out of weakness or ignorance. Such sins are particularly damaging to the spiritual life as being contrary to love.

Finally, we propose that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the Heart of Love) is a primary means whereby we might avoid falling into blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Listen online [here]!


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