Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Sunday Sermon, December 29th -- The Holy Innocents (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The history of the months and years after our Lord's Birth - especially related to the time of the appearance of the star, the slaughtering of the Holy Innocents and the flight into Egypt.

The star appeared to the Magi on the night our Lord was born, however, Herod only slaughtered the holy innocents two years later.  Further, the children killed were not all those under the age of two, but only the boys from about 20 months down to about 11 months of age, born in the region of Bethlehem -- this could have been as few as half a dozen, and not likely more than two dozen.

The Holy Innocents are not so much a parallel for children killed by abortion today, but rather an example for those who are baptized as infants -- although they do not yet have the use or reason and are not able to make an explicit act of faith, because they are conformed to Christ's death (either through martyrdom or through baptism), they are incorporated into Christ and find salvation through him!

Sunday Sermon, December 22nd -- When St Joseph Discovered Mary was with Child (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

When St Joseph discovered that Mary, his wife, was with child, he did not in any way suspect her of adultery or sin, but he recognized that there was a mystery present beyond his comprehension. However, this at first troubled him so that he thought he would lose Mary - but the vision of the angel calmed all his fears and filled him with so much joy.

We ought not to suppose (as some do, in a rather impious way) that St Joseph was angry with Mary or that he accused her of sin or that he wanted to hurt her in any way. None of this is present in Scripture!   What we see from the Bible is that St Joseph and Mary had made vows of virginity even before their marriage, and that they were both most committed to each other -- between Joseph and Mary there is nothing but love and fidelity!

Christmas Sermon, December 25th - Why Did God the Son Become Man? (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The details of the Christmas Story are filled with great significance -- Jesus is teaching us who he is, and who he wants to be for us.  He is born at night in the winter, the darkest and coldest time of the year, to teach us that he is the light of the world sent to rekindle charity in men's hearts. He is born in the City of David, Bethlehem (which means, House of Bread) to teach us that he is the true King who will nourish us with his own body in the Eucharist.

But why was it that the Second Person of the Trinity became man? Why God the Son, rather than the Father or the Holy Spirit?   Because by his incarnation, God the Son wants to make us sons and daughters of God. He who is divine wisdom, comes to heal the original sin (which was seeking wisdom through eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil). He who was born of the Father before all ages, was born in time of the Virgin Mary, and desires to be born in our souls through grace each day.

Sunday Sermon, December 15th -- St John the Baptist, Faithful in Times of Trial (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

When John the Baptist sent the two disciples to ask the Lord whether he is the Messiah, St John does not in any way doubt but rather is teaching all his disciples (and all of us) to look to the Lord Jesus in time of trial and to trust in God's plan to bring good out of evil.  St John the Baptist does not doubt at all that Jesus is the Messiah and true God.

We can mistakenly think that things will get easier for us if we are faithful to the Lord and practice our Faith. However, St John, and even more the Lord, teaches us that the Christian life is a life of suffering. Do not be scandalized when we suffer persecution or when it seems that things get more difficult when we practice our faith! The example of St John the Baptist and the example of Jesus show us that, even though there will be suffering, the Christian will triumph over all evil.

Don't let yourself be scandalized by bad things we see in the Church  (confusion from the Vatican or bad examples from bishops and priests), or by bad things we see in the world (war, violence, poverty, the attack on marriage and religion), or by bad things that happen in our own families -- rather, trust that God will work through all of this to bring us to holiness!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Sunday Sermon, December 8th -- St John the Baptist (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The Life of St John the Baptist inspires us as we move through Advent. Also, many points of his life shine light upon other Catholic beliefs.

Zechariah's doubt compares with Mary's assent to the Angel - showing that our Lady had made a vow of virginity.
Zechariah's ministry in the Temple indicates that John was conceived in mid-September and born in late June. Because John was six months older than Jesus, we know that our Lord really was born in late December.
John was freed from Original Sin while in the womb -- and this reflects upon the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the perfect sinlessness of Jesus.
John is an example of a life of penance.
Further, we consider the death of those wicked persons who opposed St John the Baptist -- Herod, Herodias, and Herodias' Daughter, as well as Julian the Apostate.

Sunday Sermon, December 1 -- The Prophet Isaiah (Father Ryan Erlenbush)

The book of the Prophet Isaiah is a primary text for meditation during the Advent Season. We discuss the life and ministry of Isaiah and give some notes about reading his book of prophecy.

November 26th, Adult Ed Series, City of God, Session 16 of 16, Review and Other Works of St Augustine (Father Ryan Erlenbush)

We conclude our several month long series on the City of God and discuss how knowledge of this great work will help us appreciate other writings of St Augustine.

Sunday Sermon, November 24th -- Why God Chose David over Saul (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Christ the King Sunday Sermon)

Saul had committed three great sins which brought about his ruin:
1) He offered sacrifice illicitly - for he was King but was not a priest.
2) He refused to utterly destroy the Amalekites, but kept some of the loot for himself and his men
3) He resorted to superstitious practices in asking the witch of Endor to conjure up Samuel

David, for his part, also committed grievous sins (for example, adultery and murder).

Why, then, was Saul rejected but David favored?  Because David, like the Good Thief, repented and found mercy and was incorporated into the Kingdom of Christ.

November 19th, Adult Ed Series, City of God, Session 15 of 16, The New Heavens and New Earth

As we come to the final weeks of this several month long series on the City of God by St Augustine, we discuss the final portion of the work -- Heaven and the reward of the Saints.

November 16th -- Pre-Advent Retreat Day -- The Interior Castle of St Teresa of Avila

We discuss "The Interior Castle" and spiritual theology of St Teresa of Avila, who is called the Doctor of Prayer.

November 12th, Adult Ed Series, City of God, Session 14 of 16, Hell

In this series, which has extended several months, we consider one of the greatest works of theology - St Augustine's City of God.  In this session, we review Book XXI - Hell and the Punishment of the Damned.