Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sunday Sermon, February 16 -- Women Veiling and Other Liturgical Matters in 1 Corinthians (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

We continue our three part series on the First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, turning to the various liturgical matters discussed in the Epistle.

St Paul states that women must wear a veil or some sort of head covering when worshiping in Church, and this is primarily for modesty. However, St Paul has a theological meaning behind the practice - which is based on the diversity and complementary of man and woman. St Paul makes many other arguments, and we note also that the 2,000 year tradition of the Church likewise maintained the custom of women wearing a veil or hat at Mass.  However, let each woman do as she sees fit - whatever will be most helpful to her prayer is fine, since the Church no longer requires the veil. But, if any woman tells me that she is thinking of wearing a veil at Mass, I say, "By all means, do!"

From this Letter, we get something of a picture of liturgical worship in Corinth at the time - and it might look quite different from what we do today! There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that we now have a New Testament (which was not yet written then), and the Gospel has spread to the ends of the Earth! St Paul wrote this Epistle to be delivered by two bishops (Timothy and Titus), and interpreted in the the life of the community - not to be read alone and interpreted by individuals. This reminds us that we need to look to the Church to interpret difficult passages of Scripture.

Listen online [here]!


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