Monday, October 29, 2018

Sunday Sermon, October 28 -- Sts Simon and Jude (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The last Sunday of October has in recent Church History been seen as a preparation for the feast of All Saints. We emphasize the devotion which the whole Church has for the Apostles. Over the past years, we have been preaching on the Apostles - and today, in honor of their feast, we consider Sts Simon and  Jude.

St Simon "the Zealot" was not a member of the Zealot political party, but a man of great zeal for the Gospel. Simon "the Canaanite" was not pagan Canaanite from Canaan, but rather from Cana in Galilee. Indeed, he may have been the groom at the wedding feast when Jesus changed water into wine - leaving all things he followed Christ.  He suffered martyrdom by being sawed in half (lengthwise).

St Jude Thaddeus was a nephew of St Joseph and brother of St James the Less, and a cousin of Jesus. He is pictured holding an image of Jesus' face to indicate what our Lord promised him, "If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him." (John 14:23)  The name "Thaddeus" indicates the greatness of his heart, his compassion for all in need. Perhaps this is why he is the patron saint of hopeless causes.

Sunday Sermon, October 21 -- On Voting with a Catholic Conscience (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

It is the right and duty of the Church to speak to political concerns of the day. While it is true that the Johnson Amendment requires priests to be cautious regarding support for specific candidates, most people (including most clergy) believe that priests are far more restricted than is truly the case. Indeed, priests are permitted to speak very clearly about issues and there is no hiding that some politicians have come down solidly on one side of these issues. Separation of Church and State is meant to protect the Church from the influence of the State, not to silence the Church from speaking about public life.  In any case, it is contrary to natural law for the State to forbid priests from speaking about political life from the pulpit - in fact, clergy should be permitted to endorse or oppose particular candidates, even from the pulpit.

Regarding issues, we look to the key non-negotiable issues which are the foundation for public life, including: Right to Life, Defense of Marriage and Family, Care for the Dying, and Religious Liberty.  Looking at the platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties, we read: "We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed" (Republicans) and "We believe unequivocally that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care service, including safe and legal abortion ... We will continue to oppose--and seek to overturn--federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman's access to abortion." (Democrats); and again "We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life." (Republicans) and "We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, protecting a woman's right to safe and legal abortion." (Democrats); and again "We condemn the Supreme Court's ruling ... which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court's lawless ruling [in which] ... five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman." (Republicans) and "Democrats applaud [the] decision by the Supreme Court that recognized LGBT people--like every other American--have the right to marry the person they love. But there is still much work to be done." (Democrats)

Finally, when considering ballot initiatives, it is also good to consider who is behind the funding for the various initiatives. For example, in Montana this year, there is an initiative to expand Medicaid through taxation of tobacco products. This initiative is promoted and funded by Planned Parenthood, which might make some choose to vote no on I-185.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sunday Sermon, October 14 -- The Most Holy Rosary as a School of Prayer (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

By considering the love of God, we are inspired to set aside every worldly attachment and love God in return.

This is what makes the Rosary a "school of prayer" -- by praying the Rosary, we learn how to pray.  The Rosary focuses on the love that God has revealed in the essential mysteries of our Lord's life, and moves us to imitate the love of Jesus. The Rosary is nothing more than the Scriptures: Both in the prayers and in the meditations.

St Louis Marie de Montfort recommends that you pray all fifteen decades of the Rosary every day, and I also recommend this. Be grateful to God for whatever devotion you have for the Rosary, and for however many decades you already prayer regularly!  If we pray even one decade daily with much love, I am convinced that our Lady will lead us to praying all fifteen decades regularly.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sunday Sermon, October 7 -- Defending Marriage (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her." 
We have these very direct words from our Savior, which contrast so greatly with the secular approach to divorce and remarriage which we see in the world, among the Protestants, and sadly even among many Catholics.

First, we consider the "bill of divorce" permitted by Moses from the Old Testament, and how this was a safeguard of the indissolubility of marriage, seeking to limit divorce and to avoid other even greater evils (like wife-murder).

We further discuss the assault on marriage today with the redefinition of the nature of marriage, which can only be between a man and a woman. In an election year, it is especially important to remember which politicians and which party has destroyed the institution of marriage in our nation.

Sunday Sermon, September 30 -- St Michael and the Holy Angels (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Confronted with the present crisis, many bishops of the United States are encouraging a return to the practice of public recitation of the St Michael prayer with Holy Mass. In this sermon, we consider the nature of the angelic spirits, who they are in themselves and in relation to each other, and how they minister to us.

St Michael is the guardian angel of humanity, and an example of humility overcoming the pride of the ancient serpent.