Saturday, March 21, 2020

Sunday Sermon, March 22 -- Rejoicing in the Lord in this Time of Trial (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi -- Sermons during Pandemic)

[note, on this Sunday, public Masses are prohibited in the USA. Thus, this homily is recorded privately, and perhaps does not contain the same spirit as true liturgical preaching]

"Rejoice, o Jerusalem; and gather round, all you who love her; rejoice in gladness, after having been in sorrow; exult and be replenished with the consolation flowing from her motherly bosom. I rejoiced when it was said unto me: Let us go to the house of the Lord."

Do not these words from the Introit antiphon cause us some pain as, perhaps for the first time in our Nation's history, all public Masses have been banned throughout the USA this Sunday. For many, this will be the first Sunday in which they will not "go to the house of the Lord" to worship God in Holy Mass.

Yet, we are commended to rejoice in the Lord this day!  Recall also the words of Nehemiah 8:9-10, "Today is holy to the Lord your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep; for today is holy to the Lord. Do not be saddened this day, for the joy of the Lord must be your strength!"

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit - and is understood in relation to two others, love and peace.  According to St Thomas, the fruit of love is the act of loving God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves. This act of love brings us into union with the God who is love. But this union with our Beloved God causes joy - since joy is overflowing when lover and beloved are united.  Finally, this joy establishes peace, for nothing can take this joy from us - excepting if we abandon it through voluntary sin.

Even the coronavirus pandemic, and the restriction of public Masses and devotions, cannot take away our joy.  So long as we do not sin, we still possess God, and we still must rejoice in him!

"The disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.'"
We recognize that coronavirus is an affliction permitted by God to call humanity to conversion. Indeed, perhaps this pandemic is given as a punishment for the nearly international abandonment of Natural Law - whether the widespread legalization of abortion and gay marriage, or the abuse of the poor. It is particularly striking that this virus has come from China, the great Communist Nation - as the errors of Communism spread throughout the world, so also this pandemic.

But God will bring good even out of this great evil!  What a great good he must have in store for us, if he should allow such a great evil!

Listen online [here]!


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