Monday, December 28, 2020

Sunday Sermon, December 27th - Feast of the Holy Family - St Joseph and the Mystery of the Incarnation (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

 On the feast of the Holy Family and in this Year Of St Joseph, we consider the place of St Joseph in the mystery of the Incarnation. St Joseph is part of the hypostatic order - which means that we really cannot understand who Jesus is without consideration of the role of St Joseph.

We meditate on St Joseph's role in various moments in the infancy narratives, and consider why we should have strong devotion to this great patron!

Christmas Sermon, December 25th -- God in the Cave (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Of all the many details of our Lord's birth, one which is often overlooked is the fact that he was born in a cave.  Even more, we rarely reflect upon the reality that being born in a cave means that the Lord Jesus was born not only on the earth, but under the earth.

Being born in the cave shows his great humility, and embracing of poverty. Also, being born underground shows us that his Church begins as an underground Church (even as the early Christians began persecuted in the Catacombs, our Lord began his life under persecution from King Herod).  Although we are in a time in which the Church may well have to go "underground" again, we have faith that the light of God's glory shown in that cave under the hills.

Monday, December 21, 2020

High School Youth Group, December 21st -- The Catholic Response to Atheism, Session 8 -- Evolution

 We discuss the Catholic teaching related to creation and the theory of evolution. While evolution would in no way undermine the Catholic faith or the belief in the existence of God, there are certain scientific and philosophical reasons to question the theory.

Sunday Sermon, December 20th -- The Annunciation and Dating Christ's Birth (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

 St Luke's account of the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary contains numerous mysteries:

1) "Hail, full of grace" indicates that our Lady was conceived without original sin.

2) "How can this be, since I do not know man?" indicates that our Lady had made a vow of virginity.

3) "It is now the sixth month for her who was called barren" allows us to date the birth of our Lord to late December - Jesus really was born on December 25th.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

High School Youth Group, December 13th -- The Catholic Response to Atheism, Session 7 -- The Catholic Understanding of the Creation Accounts (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

While the most straight forward interpretation of Genesis 1 is that there were six twenty four hour days in which God created the heavens and the earth, St Augustine (through careful study of both Genesis 1 and 2) believed that we do not need to think that the world was literally created in six days. St Thomas Aquinas follows St Augustine in this theory - which, reflected against modern scientific investigation, would allow for an initial creation of matter with the gradual development of galaxies and planets, and even the gradual emergence of life and plant/animal species through billions of years.

There is nothing in Genesis or in the Catholic Understanding of Creation which is contradicted by modern scientific theories.

Sunday Sermon, December 13th - St Lucy, Advent Patron (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

St Lucy Lucy, a Virgin of Syracuse, illustrious by birth and by the Christian faith, which she had professed from her infancy, went to Catania, with her mother Eutychia, who was suffering from a flux of blood, there to venerate the body of the blessed Agatha. Having prayed fervently at the tomb, she obtained her mother’s cure by the intercession of Agatha. Lucy then asked her mother that she would permit her to bestow upon the poor of Christ the fortune which she intended to leave her. No sooner, therefore, had she returned to Syracuse, than she sold all that was given to her, and distributed the money amongst the poor. When he to whom her parents had, against her will, promised her in marriage, came to know what Lucy had done, he went before the Governor, Paschasius, and accused her of being a Christian. Paschasius entreated and threatened, but could not induce her to worship the idols; nay, the more he strove to shake her faith, the more inflamed were the praises which she uttered in professing its excellence. Whereupon Paschasius being exceeding angry, ordered Lucy to be dragged to a place where her treasure might be violated; but, by the power of God, so firmly was she fixed to the place where she stood, that it was impossible to move her. Wherefore the Prefect ordered her to be covered over with pitch, resin, and boiling oil, and a fire to be kindled round her. But seeing that the flame was not permitted to hurt her, they tormented her in many cruel ways, and at length ran a sword through her neck. Thus wounded, Lucy foretold the peace of the Church, which would come after the deaths of Dioclesian and Maximian, and then died. It was the Ides of December (Dec. 13). Her body was buried at Syracuse, but was translated thence first to Constantinople, and afterwards to Venice.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Holy Day Sermon, December 8th - Blessed Pius IX and the Immaculate Conception (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

 Explanation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception - that Mary was redeemed from the first moment by being preserved from original sin in her Immaculate Conception. Mary was saved by Christ and in no way is equal to God. But simply because of his great goodness and generosity, God gave us Mary as Immaculate Virgin Mother.

Since childhood, Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti suffered from epileptic seizures which prevented him from serving in the military and nearly kept him from the priesthood. However, he promised Mary that he would do all he could to promote her Immaculate Conception, if only she would help him become a priest.

Giovanni was ordained, and eventually became Pope Pius IX - and then defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Sunday Sermon, December 6th -- St Nicholas, Advent Patron (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

 The history of St Nicholas, bishop of Myra - certainly one of the most universally beloved saints.

From his infancy, St Nicholas practiced penance by fasting on Wednesday and Friday. He also had made a trip to the holy land as a young man. As a bishop, St Nicholas suffered for the faith in the persecution of Diocletian before Christianity was legalized by Constantine. Most importantly, St Nicholas defended the true faith in the council of Nicaea.  We also consider various miracles, including the continuous miraculous manna or oil which seeps from St Nicholas' bones even today.

High School Youth Group, December 6th -- The Catholic Response to Atheism, Session 6 -- Did the Universe have a Beginning? The Big Bang Theory (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

This week, we discuss why the proofs for God's existence do not require the universe to have had a beginning and also that the Big Bang Theory (or any other scientific theory about the origin of the universe) would not undermine St Thomas' proofs for God's existence.

We also point out some serious scientific problems with the Big Bang Theory.