Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 24th -- In Defense of Moses and the Violence of the Old Testament (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Moses towers as the great figure of perfection and virtue in the Old Testament. Called from the Burning Bush to be the liberator and future lawgiver, Moses is likewise the great prophet and inspired writer of Sacred Scripture (of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Job).

However, how can we justify the violence that occurred under Moses' authority? Did God really kill the innocent children of the Egyptians? Did God really command Moses to exterminate whole peoples - not just the soldiers, but even the women and the children?

A few common answers cannot be correct: "The Bible isn't a history book" or "The Bible is determined by the culture of the day" or "Moses justified his people's violence by claiming that God had commanded it."

In this sermon, we explain that God's mercy is present even in these violent moments. The God of Moses is the same God who promised Abraham that he would not destroy the innocent along with the guilty, and the same God who tells the prophets that he desires the conversion of the sinner and not his death.

God is not to be accused of the evil, violence, and death which has entered the world because of sin.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 17th -- St Patrick, Apostle of the Irish (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Like Moses and Elijah, St Patrick preached in a time of incredible darkness. Like Moses and Elijah, St Patrick fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. And, like Moses and Elijah, St Patrick leads us through Lent to the glory of Easter.

Born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in 387, after being taken as a slave to Ireland and safely returning home, St Patrick returned to the green isle to preach the Gospel among the Gaels. By the time of his death, St Patrick had converted nearly the whole island and ordained over 430 bishops.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 10th -- On Temptation, and How to Profit from It (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Our Lord was tempted in the desert, and all the saints endured temptation - and yet, we so often are surprised to find ourselves weak enough to suffer temptation.  However, God permits temptation to help us grow in holiness, especially through gaining the virtue of humility.

There are three stages of sin: Temptation to sin, delectation (delight) in the thought of sin, and consent to commit sin. There are two extremes which we must avoid: Either thinking that temptation is already sin, or thinking that taking delight in thoughts about sin is no sin at all.

How do we resist temptation? By making strong acts of faith, resolving to follow God's commands and trusting that his grace will sustain us. By praying when tempted, and praying before temptation that we will have the grace to pray during temptation. And, by practicing penance.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Sunday Sermon, March 3rd -- On Devotion to St Joseph (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

[Pre-sermon note about Lent (12 minutes). Obligation of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and of abstinence on all Fridays of Lent, and of either abstinence or some other penance on all Fridays of the year.  Father Ryan's recommendations for prayer (daily Mass, Stations of the Cross), fasting (giving up meat, as well as eggs and diary), and almsgiving (various opportunities through the parish)]

March is the month of St Joseph, and we look to him as the universal patron of the Church. He was chosen as the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. Our devotion to St Joseph is founded in the marriage between Joseph and Mary.

St Joseph is so intimately tied to the mystery of the incarnation, we cannot truly or authentically come to Jesus without being devoted to St Joseph.

Sunday Sermon, February 24th -- What Catholics Believe About the Pope (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

In honor of the Feast of the Chair of St Peter (Friday, February 22nd), we consider the authority of the Pope and his role in the life of the Church. Many are confused about what we truly believe about Papal infallibility and how the Pope is chosen.

Papal infallibility refers to how God preserves the Pope from error in very specific moments when he invokes his supreme teaching authority -- however, it does not mean that he will necessarily say things in the clearest way, or that he will say everything he should say, but only that what he does say will not be incorrect.  The Pope isn't able to teach anything new, but only to hand on the faith.

God doesn't choose the Pope, and the cardinals are not directly inspired by the Holy Spirit in whom they chose. Neither do we believe that the Pope is necessarily "the best man for the job" -  but only that, whoever is chosen as Pope and whatever politics may have been involved in his election, God will preserve his Church through the papal office.

God didn't give us the Pope to change things, but to keep things the same - namely, to preserve the Catholic faith unchanged and entire. Even if there were a Pope that caused lots of confusion, or who did not teach the faith clearly, or who was involved in corruption; we would remain obedient to him but without defending or promoting the confusion. In this regard, we would imitate David who opposed wicked Saul but remained perfectly respectful and obedient.