Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sunday Sermon, May 19 -- The New Heavens and the New Earth (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Sunday Sermon)

What does St John the Evangelist mean when, in the book of Revelation (aka Apocalypse) he speaks of the "former" heavens and "former" earth passing away, and the coming of the "new" heavens and "new" earth?

Following St Thomas Aquinas and the best of Catholic commentaries as well as the insights given from other passages of Scripture, we give the best explanation of the Sacred Page.

The "heavens" does not refer to heavenly glory enjoyed by the angels and saints, but to the stars and planets of the universe. Thus, "the heavens and the earth" means all that is in the physical universe.  The "new heavens and new earth" are not some entirely new creation made out of nothing, but rather the renewal of the "old" to make it "new" - hence, Jesus says, "Behold, I make all things new."

This renewal of the heavens and the earth is similar to what is brought about in the resurrection of the body, which is why we consider this mystery during the Easter season. As the corruptible body is raised glorious, so also this material world is transformed and made glorious on the last day.

Sunday Sermon, May 12 -- Hearing the Voice of the Shepherd, Confirmation and First Communion (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

"My sheep hear my voice."

If we desire to hear the subtle and gentle voice of the Good Shepherd speaking in our souls, we must listen to his clear and manifest voice speaking in the public revelation of Scripture and Tradition as well as through the official teaching authority of the Church.

We hear the voice of our Good Shepherd through reading Sacred Scripture together with a good traditional Catholic Bible commentary (like that of Fr George Leo Haydock), as well as the writings of the Fathers of the Church (especially found in the "Catena Aurea" or "Golden Chain" Gospel Commentary compiled by St Thomas Aquinas).  Likewise, we can follow our Good Shepherd by imitating the lives of the saints who have been the good sheep of our Good Shepherd.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Sunday Sermon, May 5th -- St Peter, Supreme Shepherd of the Church (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

A detailed line-by-line study of the Sunday Gospel taken from John 21, concluding with a reflection on the last days of St Peter's life.

We discuss the following phrases: The "disciples", the "sea of Tiberias", "Zebedee's sons", "I am going fishing", "that night they caught nothing", "already dawn", "children", "the disciple whom Jesus loved", "one hundred fifty-three large fish", "the net was not torn", "the third time", "Do you love me?", "you know everything", "feed my sheep", "signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God", "follow me".

After having escaped from imprisonment in Rome, St Peter received a vision of Jesus returning to City. "Lord, where are you going?" "I am going to Rome, to be crucified again." And St Peter follows the Lord, and does not deny him this time, but returns to suffer being crucified upside down.

Easter Sunday Sermon, April 21st -- The Resurrection was Hidden from the World (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

No one saw our Lord rise from the dead. Although there are many "proofs" of the resurrection, and although our Lord appeared to his disciples many times after rising - the resurrection itself occurred in an hidden and mysterious way.

The very same physical body in which Jesus suffered, is truly raised to a new and glorious life. Many historical facts testify to the truth of the resurrection -- the empty tomb, the transformation brought about in the lives of the disciples, the burial cloths, and more.

However, the risen Jesus did not appear to all people, but only to those few disciples who had been chosen. This surprises us - wouldn't it have been better if Jesus had appeared in a clear way to all people? Why doesn't he go about preaching and teaching and working miracles before the crowds, as he had before his passion?

The Lord is teaching us that we must rely on spiritual means rather than look to worldly power or worldly success in spreading the Gospel.