Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Sermon -- Christmas and the Love of the Poor

We have considered, in past years, the circumstances in which our Lord was born and what these teach us about the Christmas mystery. He was born in Bethlehem (meaning "House of Bread") and laid in a manger (a feeding trough), teaching us that he is the Living Bread in the Eucharist. He was born at midnight on December 25th to teach us that he is Light for the world. He was born of Mary under St Joseph to teach us that we must be children of Mary and Joseph if we are to be true Christians.

Jesus chose to be born poor. This is both an expression of love for the poor and a rejection of the rich who are satisfied in their riches. Jesus shows us the power of his divinity by being born with no human power. He teaches us that we too must love the poor. He inflames our love by become so lowly in order to gain our hearts.


Daily Sermons, December 19-24 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons, December 19-24.
Early morning Masses for the conclusion of Advent.


Sunday Sermon, December 18 -- Our Lady's Virginity and Devotion to St Joseph

4th Sunday of Advent: St Joseph's "doubt", Biblical Defense of Mary's Virginity, Devotion to St Joseph.

1) Why we ought not to think that St Joseph expected Mary of sin.
2) A careful examination of what the Bible says about Mary's virginity: Words like "before" and "until" in reference to Joseph and Mary "coming together" and "knowing one another" as man and wife.
3) Devotion to St Joseph as a patron of our spiritual life.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Daily Sermons, December 13-17 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sermons from daily Masses, December 13-17.
Lucy, Ember days, Christmas Novena, O Antiphons.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sunday Sermon, December 11 - St John the Baptist did not doubt (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Although many today will say that St John the Baptist was doubting whether Jesus is the Messiah when he sent his disciples to ask, "Are you the one?", however the unanimous teaching of the Fathers of the Church, the saints, and the Catholic theologians is that St John was in no way doubting but was leading his disciples to Jesus.

Holy Day Sermon, December 8 -- The Immaculate Conception (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

A comparison of the mystery of Advent with the Immaculate Conception.

The prayers of the Church during Advent were received in advance to grant the gift of the Messiah at the first Christmas, the prayers of Jesus from the Cross were received in advance to grant the Immaculate Conception to his Mother.

Daily Sermons, December 6-10

Sermons from daily Masses.
St Nicholas and St Juan Diego.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sunday Sermon, Dec 4 - St Andrew, Disciple of St John the Baptist and Advent Saint (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The whole Church hears the cry of St John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord. St Andrew (together with St John the Evangelist) was the great disciple of St John the Baptist. Andrew is an example to us of responding to the preaching of St John to welcome the Messiah into our hearts.

Andrew was the first disciple called by the Lord in his public ministry, and he is known as the Apostle of the Cross. St Andrew reminds us that Jesus was born so that he might die upon the Cross -- this love inspires us to do penance during this season so as to be ready to welcome Jesus anew at Christmas.


Sunday Sermon, Nov 27 -- Advent Penance to Prepare for Christmas (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Advent is a season of penance in which we look to the coming of Christ in his first advent and his final advent -- in his incarnation born of Mary,  and at the end of time in the second coming and day of judgement.

Let Advent be Advent! Don't celebrate Christmas during Advent, but allow this to be a season of preparation. Then, fully celebrate Christmas when it is Christmas.

We do penance during Advent -- Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving.

Daily Sermons, Nov 22-30 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from daily Masses, November 22-30.
St Cecilia, Advent, St Andrew


Friday, November 25, 2016

Sunday Sermon, November 20 -- Three Responses to Mercy: The ruler, the wicked thief, and the good thief (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, November 20 -- Solemnity of Christ the King.

The conclusion to the Year of Mercy is today. Christ is the King of Mercy, and we see three responses to mercy: The ruler, the wicked thief and the good thief.

The ruler doesn't think he needs mercy. He rejects Jesus' teaching, and especially hates the Gospel for not being popular with the worldly. He symbolizes those today who don't think they have any sins, who don't go to confession, who think that the Church needs to "get with the times".

The wicked thief desires mercy, but sees mercy as a license for sin. He wants mercy as a way of escaping punishment, but not as a remedy for sin. He symbolized those today who say that mercy means giving communion to the divorced and remarried, and who don't want any consequence for sin.

The good thief accepts punishment as just, but hopes for something more. He desires mercy not as a way of avoiding justice, but as doing what justice alone could never do. Justice punishes sin, but mercy totally annihilates sin by bringing about true conversion. He symbolizes the one who experiences the grace of repentance and confesses his sin and truly strives to follow the Gospel.

The good thief reminds us that it is never too late to become a saint.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Daily Sermons, November 15-19 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sermons from daily Masses, November 15-19.
St Albert, St Gertrude, St Elizabeth, Sts Peter and Paul.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday Sermon, November 13 -- The Destruction of Jerusalem and the Day of Judgment (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sunday Sermon, 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time.

In the year AD 66, St Simeon, the second bishop of Jerusalem, led the Christians out of the city of Jerusalem before the soon-to-be emperor Titus destroyed the city in 70 AD. Yet, God was merciful, for the Christians returned to perform works of charity after Titus left the city in ruins.

Jesus doesn't want us to be afraid of the day of Judgment. His second coming isn't a threat, it's a promise. If we are afraid of the Lord's return, either we need to recall his love or recognize that it is our lowliness and our misery call upon our mercy.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Daily Sermons, November 9-12 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily homilies, November 9 through 12.
Worship, St Leo, St Martin, Monothelitism.


Daily Sermons, October 25-28 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sermons from daily homilies, October 25 to 28.
Marriage, St Evaristus, St Frumentius, Sts Simon and Jude.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sunday Sermon, November 6th -- Why the Church is still against cremation (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sunday Sermon, November 6th -- What the Church really teaches about cremation, and why she still strongly discourages the practice and desires full body burial.


From the Code of Canon Law:

"The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed; nevertheless, the Church does not prohibit cremation unless it was chosen for reasons contrary to Christian doctrine." (Canon 1176.3)


From the official liturgical book of the Church, on cremation (Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix):

"The human body is inextricably associated with the human person … Although cremation is now permitted by the Church, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body. The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites … The Church's teaching in regard to the human body as well as the Church's preference for burial of the body should be a regular part of catechesis on all levels and pastors should make particular efforts to preserve this important teaching." (411, 413, 414) The document continues to speak of cremation as "extraordinary" and as to be chosen when it is "the only feasible choice". (415)



There are real circumstances in which cremation would be appropriate (examples: when the body will be buried in a place far distant from the place of death; times of war or plague; when there is not sufficient cemetery space for burial), but the Church does not desire that we would choose cremation as a first option, nor does she place cremation as a good choice. The Church does not want us to be cremated, whenever full body burial is a viable option.

Many chose cremation so as to cut funeral costs - there are many ways to avoid an expensive funeral. The law does not require embalming (in most cases) and we can certainly opt for a pine box rather than an expensive casket. Don't let the funeral home or societal pressures force you to chose something that the Church has always forbidden and still strongly discourages. Educate yourself about options available for the preparation of the body for burial (a simple google search will reveal a great many options).


Sunday Sermon, October 30th -- The Rosary with St Joseph, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, Part 5 of 5 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sunday Sermon, October 30th -- The conclusion of sermons on the Rosary with St Joseph, the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries.

St Joseph witnessed the sorrowful mysteries from limbo, and felt deep compassion and sorrow as in a father's heart.

At the Resurrection of Jesus, St Joseph also rose. When the Lord ascended, St Joseph was assumed. The Patron of the Universal Church witnessed the remaining mysteries from heavenly glory.



Monday, November 7, 2016

Daily Sermons, November 2 - 5 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Daily Sermons, November 2-5.
Requiem Masses and the Souls in Purgatory.

Holy Day Sermon, November 1st -- All Saints' Day -- Indulgences Explained (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

In the Catholic Church, we are united to the saints in heaven and the souls in purgatory as one great family in Christ. This is the essential truth that is proposed in the doctrine of indulgences - that the merits of the stronger members of our Catholic family (the saints) benefit the weaker members (us). Furthermore, we can assist the holy souls in purgatory by offering indulgences for them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sunday Sermon, October 23 -- The Rosary with St Joseph, the Finding in the Temple, part 4 of 5 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday, October 23 -- The Finding in the Temple.

The slaughtering of the Innocents occurred about 15 months after Jesus was born, and the Holy Family returns to the Holy Land at about his 7th year.
The loss and finding of the Child occurs when Jesus is 12 years old. In this mystery, we must recognize that Jesus did nothing wrong, neither did Mary or Joseph do anything wrong -- rather, the three days he was lost we a prophetic teaching in preparation for his death and resurrection.

Finally, we recognize that Jesus was perfectly obedient to St Joseph for the first 30 years of his life on earth. If we are true Christians (Christ-like), we will be totally consecrated to St Joseph. A Christian is one who is known to be the "child of St Joseph".

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Daily Sermons, October 18-22 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi)

Sermons from daily Masses, October 18 to 22.
St Luke the Evangelist, St Peter of Alcantara, St Paul of the Cross, St Ursula, St John Paul II.

Sunday Sermon, October 16 -- The Rosary with St Joseph, the Nativity and Presentation, Part 3 of 5 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, October 16.

October is the month of the Rosary, this month we will preach a series of sermons on the mysteries of the Rosary through the unique perspective of St Joseph. We will rely most especially on the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians, as well as the mystical revelations given to certain visionaries (notably, St Bridget of Sweden, Bl Anne Catherine Emmerich, and Ven Mary of Agreda).

The miraculous birth of Jesus in which Mary suffered no pain nor was her virginal integrity wounded in any way. Like light through glass, Jesus came into the world.
At the command of the angel, after the presentation in the Temple, St Joseph took his family into Egypt, and many in that land were freed from demonic possession - Joy came to the land of darkness.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Sermon, October 9th -- The Rosary with St Joseph, the Visitation. Part 2 of 5 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, October 9th -- The Rosary with St Joseph, The Visitation (Part 2 of 5)

October is the month of the Rosary, this month we will preach a series of sermons on the mysteries of the Rosary through the unique perspective of St Joseph. We will rely most especially on the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians, as well as the mystical revelations given to certain visionaries (notably, St Bridget of Sweden, Bl Anne Catherine Emmerich, and Ven Mary of Agreda).

The Visitation: St Joseph did not hear Elizabeth's words and remains ignorant of the mystery entrusted to his care. At about the 5th month, he sees that Mary is with child, and he knows that the Child is not his. He would never accuse our Lady of sin, but he knows not what to think.  Unable to go on, he makes up his mind to divorce her quietly - which is to say, St Joseph decides to retire into the desert and abandon all human society. At the angel's message, he realizes the truth of the Incarnation and rejoices! 

Joseph takes his wife, Mary, to Bethlehem to be enrolled in the census, and he is amazed to discover that she is rejected by men. However, our Lady comforts her husband saying that he is her shelter and her protection.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Daily Sermons, October 4 through 8 (Corpus Christi Parish, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Homilies from daily Masses of October 4 through 8.
St Francis, Bl Bartolo Longo, St Bruno, Lepanto, St Bridget.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sunday Sermon, October 2nd -- The Rosary with St Joseph, the Annunciation (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, October 2nd -- The Rosary with St Joseph, The Annunciation (Part 1 of 5)

October is the month of the Rosary, this month we will preach a series of sermons on the mysteries of the Rosary through the unique perspective of St Joseph. We will rely most especially on the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the great theologians, as well as the mystical revelations given to certain visionaries (notably, St Bridget of Sweden, Bl Anne Catherine Emmerich, and Ven Mary of Agreda).

The Annunciation: Mary was already the wife of Joseph, and was most probably living at his house though only betrothed (since betrothal was already a permanent commitment in the Jewish rites). Mary and Joseph had made a vow of virginity within their marriage. Joseph was not previously married and was probably only in his early thirties at the time of the betrothal (our Lady was about 14 or 15 years old). Joseph is part of the "hypostatic order," meaning that we can't understand the Incarnation without St Joseph (even as we cannot think of the Incarnation without Mary).


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Daily Sermons, September 27 to October 1 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from daily Masses, September 27 through October 1.

St Vincent de Paul, St Wenceslas, St Michael and the Archangels, St Jerome, the Family Rosary.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunday Sermon, September 26 - Hell is real, almsgiving is necessary

Sunday, September 26 -- Jesus teaches very clearly that hell is real, and most people go there. We cannot think that everyone goes to heaven, the "rich man" of today's Gospel is certainly in hell as we speak. This passage (the rich man and poor Lazarus) is no parable, it is literal history -- here, we have a real man damned to hell and a real saint praying for us in heaven.

In order to be saved, we must be generous with our wealth. We give to the Church and to the poor because we need to give, if we are to be saved.

Sunday Sermon, September 18 -- The Life and Gospel of St Matthew

Sunday, September 18 -- St Matthew was a good and faithful steward who sacrificed all that the world has to offer in order to follow Christ. He wrote the first Gospel, most modern biblical "scholars" are confused on this point.

Daily Sermons, September 21-24 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from daily Masses, September 21-24.
St Matthew, St Padre Pio, Our Lady of Mercy.

Daily Sermons, September 13-17 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from daily Mass, September 13-17.
St John Chrysostom, Traditional Mass and the Cross, Mary's Sorrow, Sts Cornelius and Cyprian, St Francis' Stigmata.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Sunday Sermon, September 11 -- How to forgive those whom we hate (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, September 11 -- 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The parable of the prodigal son, especially in the Year of Mercy, reminds us of the importance of confession. We have had a good Year of Mercy in direct proportion to how much more we have learned to love confession.

The sin of the older son points us to the necessity of forgiveness. We simply must forgive, if we are to be saved. How do we forgive those who have profoundly hurt us or someone we loved? This meditation is a means of beginning to learn to forgive.

Daily Sermons, September 6-10 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons, September 6-10.

Baptism, St Joseph, Our Lady.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Sermon, September 4 -- Slavery: A comparison of Christianity and Islam (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, September 4.

The second reading from the Letter of St Paul to Philemon discusses the relation of slavery to the Christian religion. A simple historical fact: Wherever Christianity has spread, slavery has been eradicated - because slavery is incompatible with the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Where Islam has spread, slavery has increased. Mohammedans had taken some 1.25 million European Christians into slavery from the mid-1500's to the mid-1700's. An additional 2.5 million eastern Europeans were sold into Islamic slavery by the Tartars.
To give perspective: From the mid-1600's to the mid-1800's, about 300,000 Africans were taken as slaves for the United States -- an horrific event, but much less in terms of the sheer numbers than Christians enslaved by the Muslim world.
Additionally, studies show that perhaps over 100 million Africans were taken into slavery by the Mohammedans over a period of about 8 centuries.
Can anyone really believe that the Crusades were unjustified?

The inspiring story of St Raymond Nonnatus, who gave himself over to enslavement to "purchase" the freedom of a number of Christian slaves in Algiers.

Daily Sermons, August 23 - September 3 (Corpus Christi Parish, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Daily Sermons for August 23-24, September 2-3.
St Rose of Lima, St Bartholomew, Friday Penance, St Pius X.


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sunday Sermon, August 21 -- External Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary - How to speak about the Assumption with Protestants

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary -- How to speak about the dogma with Protestants

The meaning of the dogma, and a biblical argument based on Matthew 27:52-53.

The Bible makes clear that many of the Old Testament saints have been raised from the dead with glorified bodies -- no longer subject to death, they were assumed into heaven when our Lord ascended. If "all generations will call [Mary] blessed", then surely she must have received this grace which was given to so many others!

Sunday Sermon, August 28 -- Sacred Music, Singing AT Mass vs Singing THE Mass

Sunday Sermon, August 28 -- On music in the Liturgy.

From Musicam Sacram, the only Vatican document on sacred music since Vatican II: The parts of the Mass are divided into three categories related to singing. If anything of the second or third category is sung, then all of the first must be sung -- and it is more proper to sing the portions of the first and the second than to sing parts of the third.

The first category includes: The opening prayer, the prayer over the gifts, the prayer after communion, the preface and the Our Father (and others).
The second: The Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, the Creed, etc.
The third: The antiphons/hymns at opening, offertory, and communion, the readings, etc.

What this means is that, according to the law of the Church and the logic of the Mass, it is more fitting to sing the Creed than to sing an opening hymn; or again, if the "Holy, Holy, Holy" is sung, the preface must be sung.

The practice of singing hymns as the main musical theme at Mass is an example of singing AT Mass rather than singing THE Mass -- and it is an abuse that should be eliminated as soon as possible.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Daily Sermons, August 16-20

Sermons from daily Masses, August 16-20.
St Hyacinth, St Helen, St John Eudes, St Bernard.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sunday Sermon, August 14 -- Division in families, Devotion to St Philomena

Sunday Sermon, August 14.

Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation. (Luke 12:51)

The peace of Christ comes from an interior joy that none can take away even in the midst of exterior trials and persecutions. Jesus came not to make us feel good, but to make us to be good. This can even mean division from family and friends.

St Philomena is a great patroness for those suffering division in their families. She is one of the great patronesses of the Church and a favorite saint of many of the great saints of modern times (St John Vianney, St Peter Chanel, St Damien of Molokai, St Anthony Marie Claret, and many others).

Contrary to what some say, Vatican II never did away with devotion to St Philomena (and she never was on the general liturgical calendar, but that didn't stop St John Vianney and all the others from promoting her devotion). Indeed, the shrine of her relics remains active with the approval of the local bishop and of the Vatican. Her feast (kept only by the devotion of the faithful) is August 11, she died August 10.

Marian Conference, August 7-12 -- Mother of Mercy

Talks given at the Marian Conference at Corpus Christi, August 7-12, 2016.

Sunday Sermon, August 7 -- Do we treat Jesus like a thief?

Sunday Sermon, August 7

Jesus compares himself to coming as a thief to despoil a rich man of his possessions. Do we treat him like a thief, unwelcome and unwanted when he comes to us asking for our time, our energy, our love in our family and workplace and in the poor? If we see others (and especially the poor) as a burden now, Christ will rob us of all that we have when we meet him in the judgment and he will give us a place among the unbelievers.

Daily Sermons during Vacation Bible School, August 1-6

Daily Sermons given during the week of children's vacation Bible camp with the Nashville Dominican Sisters.

Sunday Sermon, July 31 -- Wealth and the Christian Life

Sunday Sermon, July 31 -- Wealth and the Christian Life


Leo XIII (encyclical letter Rerum Novarum, 1891): Every person has by nature the right to possess property as his or her own […] But if the question be asked: How must one’s possessions be used?, the Church replies without hesitation in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas: ‘One should not consider one’s material possessions as one’s own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when other are in need.’ […] True, no one is commanded to distribute to others that which is required for one’s own needs and those of one’s household; nor even to give away what is reasonably required to keep up becomingly one’s condition in life. […] But when what necessity demands has been supplied and one’s standing fairly provided for, it becomes a duty to give to the needy out of what remains over.

John Paul II (encyclical letter Centesimus Annus, 1991): “It will be necessary above all to abandon a mentality in which the poor – as individuals and as people – are considered a burden, as irksome intruders trying to consume what others have produced.”

Daily Sermons, July 26-30

Sermons from daily Masses, July 26-30.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A look at the USCCB response to Cardinal Sarah on ad orientem

“[Ad orientem worship] is permitted by current liturgical legislation. It is perfectly legitimate in the modern rite. […] And so, dear Fathers, I humbly and fraternally ask you to implement this practice wherever possible.”  (Cardinal Sarah - July 5, 2016)

There has been no little confusion caused by responses of various representatives of the Church to the London talk of Cardinal Sarah in which he encourages all priests to implement ad orientem worship as soon as possible, at least by this Advent. We will take a moment to consider two of the responses, one from Fr. Lombardi (Vatican press office) and another from the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy.

Many bishops of the Church are causing great harm and furthering misunderstandings by very uneducated reactions to Cardinal Sarah.

Sunday Sermon, July 24 -- Mental Prayer and the prayer of petition (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

St Alphonsus teaches that the prayer of petition is simply and absolutely necessary for salvation for those who have the use of reason -- if we want to go to heaven, we must ask; and if we don't ask, we certainly will not be saved.
This follows from our Lord's words: Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

But, in order that we may persevere in asking, it is also necessary that we daily engage in mental prayer or meditation in which we spend time considering the love of God that has been made manifest in Christ.

This is one of the keys to prayer, and especially to dealing with the struggle of distractions: We don't begin our prayer with all our petitions or all our cares, but rather we begin by meditating upon the mysteries of our faith (for example, the mysteries of the Rosary or the stations of the Cross) and upon the love God has shown us in these mysteries. Then we have the courage to ask God for every good gift, and our own love grows and inspires us to truly seek heaven above all things.


Daily Sermons, July 19-23 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons, week of July 19-23.

Ad Orientem, St Jerome Emiliani, St Lawrence of Brindisi, St Mary Magdalene, and the Readings.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Call for the Silent Canon: Praying the Eucharistic Prayer in a quiet voice

While the recent trumpet sound from Cardinal Sarah has inspired many priests to move towards ad orientem worship, perhaps now would also be a fitting time to discuss another of the liturgical points which had been made so well by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – namely, the silent Canon in which the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer in a quiet voice which is not heard by the people.

"In 1978, to the annoyance of many liturgists, I said that in no sense does the whole Canon always have to be said out loud. [...] The Eucharistic Prayer, the high point of the Mass, is in crisis. Since the reform of the liturgy, an attempt has been made to meet the crisis by incessantly inventing new Eucharistic Prayers, and in the process we have sunk farther and farther into banality. Multiplying words is no help – that is all too evident. [...] silence, too, silence especially, might constitute communion before God."  (Spirit of the Liturgy, part 4, chapter 2)


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Sermon, July 17 -- St Mary Magdalene's Life of Penance in Southern France (Corpus Christi Parish, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Sunday Sermon, July 17 -- 16th Week of Ordinary Time
"She has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her."

The relics of St Ann were miraculously discovered in Southern France in the late 700s, but how did they get there? St Mary Magdalene, with Sts Martha and Lazarus (and a number of other early Christians) were sent to their death upon an oar-less, sail-less, rudder-less boat, but were miraculously brought safely to Marseilles.

St Mary Magdalene's preaching converted the pagans of the region, then she spent her remain 30 years in a life of penance up in the mountains. She is the witness to Divine Mercy: Receiving mercy, we share mercy; true mercy leads to a life of penance; and divine mercy makes us recognize the value of receiving communion worthily and well.


Daily Sermons, July 12-16 (Corpus Christi Parish, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Daily Sermons from Corpus Christi Parish, July 12-16.
Sts Louis and Zelie, St Henry, St Kateri, St Bonaventure, the Brown Scapular.



Friday, July 15, 2016

St. Mary Magdalene is the sister of Sts. Martha and Lazarus

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

A certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary.  (Luke 10:38-39)

Although doubted by most modern biblical “scholars” and somewhat obscured by the Novus Ordo Liturgy, there is no reason to doubt that St. Mary Magdalene is St. Mary of Bethany, the sister of Sts. Martha and Lazarus. Furthermore, she is the penitent woman described in Luke 7 who wept at the Lord’s feet and drying then with her hair anointed them with the rich perfume.

The key to recognizing the identity of St. Mary Magdalene as St. Mary of Bethany is to see that the Magdalene is the penitent woman. Knowing her to be the repentant sinner who anointed the Lord, we quickly recognize her as the sister of Sts. Martha and Lazarus.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to celebrate Mass "ad orientem"

Following Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sarah has repeatedly called for a return to ad orientem worship - in which the priest and the people face together in the same direction toward the front of the church for those parts of the Mass which are addressed directly to God. Most recently, the Prefect for the Congregation for the Divine Liturgy has asked priests to implement ad orientem worship as soon as possible, hopefully at least by the First Sunday of Advent - for this is an act of true renewal and “is something good for the Church and the people of God.”

Many priests will be asking, how exactly does ad orientem work? When would I turn to face the people and when would I face forward “with the people” towards God?

We will give the basic indications, drawn from the GIRM (which is the official book telling the priest how to celebrate Mass) and from the comments of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as well as those of Cardinal Sarah. I will also add certain practical points learned since I transitioned my own parish to ad orientem two years ago.


Daily Sermons, July 5-9 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons at Corpus Christi, July 5 - 9.

St Elizabeth of Portugal, St Maria Goretti, Communion under Both Kinds, Precious Blood, and Liturgy of the Word.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Christ is the Good Samaritan, The mystical interpretation of Sunday's Gospel

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Luke 10:25-37

A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.

The moral of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (which is true history insofar as it relates events common to that time and place) is readily apparent to all – we are not meant to search out reasons why we shouldn’t help someone in need, but rather we out to look for every excuse to reach out and give succor to the desperate.

The Fathers of the Church, together with the great Catholic theologians, go further and read this passage in the mystical sense – recognizing the fall of man, his redemption in Christ, the establishment of the Church, and the prediction of the Second Coming. We rely especially on the Catena Aurea of St Thomas Aquinas and the Great Commentary of Fr. Cornelius a Lapide.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Subtle Heresy Common to the Distribution of the Precious Blood

We’ve all seen it happen at many a Novus Ordo Parish – After the lay person designated to assist with the distribution of Holy Communion as a so-called “minister of the cup” has finish his “job”, he then takes his purificator and stuffs it totally inside the chalice thereby soaking the puirficator with the Precious Blood that had remained along the sides and base of the cup of the chalice. Many conservative Catholics will be horrified at this, since it is objectively disrespectful to treat the Holy Eucharist in such a manner. However, is soaking a purificator in the Blood of our Savior really so different from wiping the rim of the chalice after a communicant as consumed a sip of the Precious Blood? There is a subtle heresy at work in all of this.


Christ is whole and entire in each part of the Eucharistic Species

We know and believe that our Lord is present whole and entire in each of the Eucharistic species and in each part of each species. This is to say that the whole Jesus is fully and entirely present in the Host and the whole Jesus is fully and entirely present in the Chalice – furthermore, he is fully present in each piece of the Host after it is broken, and he is fully present in each drop of the Blood.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sunday Sermon, June 3 -- St Junipero Serra, Missionary Discipleship (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, June 3.

In the sending of the 72, we recognize that to be baptized is to be a missionary. Every disciple of Christ is a missionary, sent to the world to proclaim the good news of the Gospel!

We consider the life of St Junipero Serra, one of the most important founding fathers of our Nation (USA). Although he is almost completely ignored in school history books, St Junipero Serra is the Father of California and the founder of the American West!

Pope Francis opened the Year of Mercy in the United States with the canonization of St Junipero Serra. We learn three things from the saintly Franciscan missionary: Dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary, reliance on God's grace rather than human power, and boldness when defying corrupt secular authorities.

Daily Sermons, June 28 - July 2 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons, June 28 through July 2.
Sts Peter and Paul, Roman Martyrs, Precious Blood, Mary's will.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sunday Sermon, June 26 - The Government has no right to establish same-sex "marriage" (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, June 26.
This past week we celebrated the feasts of Sts John Fisher and Thomas Moore, as well as of St John the Baptist. These three were martyrs for marriage -- all being killed because they rejected divorce and remarriage as adultery. Sunday is also the feast of Sts John and Paul who were put to death under the Apostate Julian who used the power of law to persecute the Christian people.

Thus, as we are near the one year anniversary of the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in the USA, a sermon on why the Catholic Church teaches that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

1) Some who promote same-sex "marriage" claim that "the government has no right to tell me whom I can love." Even if this argument were correct (and it's not) this wouldn't prove that the government should legalize same-sex "marriage", but only that the government shouldn't recognize anything as marriage.

2) But there is a reason why the government should make laws which support the fidelity and permanence of the marriage of a man and woman. Marriage laws are established for the good and protection of the vulnerable and the innocent, namely of children. Since only the union of a man and a woman can produce a child, only this union of a man and a woman can rightly be the subject of the laws of the State. And the government as a duty to promote the union of a man and a woman as faithful (i.e. no adultery) and as permanent (i.e. no divorce, except in extreme cases).

3) That being said, the Catholic and the Christian must always show love and understanding as well as kindness to those who either promote same-sex "marriage" or even who are involved in such a "marriage". There is no room for disgust - we must never be repulsed by any persons, no matter how different their lifestyle is from our own. At the same time, we cannot promote an objectively sinful lifestyle -- therefore, we cannot attend these types of weddings, nor can we every allow such a "couple" to sleep in the same room in our home.



Listen online [here]!




Saturday, June 25, 2016

Daily Sermons, June 21 - 25 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from daily Masses, June 21 through 25.
St Aloysius, St Paulinus, the Priesthood, St John the Baptist, St William.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Sunday Sermon, June 19 -- The Sacred Heart of Jesus, An Open Wound With Love (Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Sunday Sermon, 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"They shall look on him whom they have pierced." Zechariah 12:10

Stanzas applied spiritually to Christ and the Soul, by St John of the Cross

A lone young shepherd lived in pain
withdrawn from pleasure and contentment,
his thoughts fixed on a shepherd-girl
his heart an open wound with love.

He weeps, but not from the wound of love,
there is no pain in such affliction,
even though the heart is pierced;
he weeps in knowing he’s been forgotten.

That one thought: his shining one
has forgotten him, is such great pain
that he bows to brutal handling in a foreign land,
his heart an open wound of love.

The shepherd says: I pity the one
who draws herself back from my love
and does not seek the joy of my presence,
though my heart is an open wound with love for her.

After a long time he climbed a tree,
and spread his shining arms,
and hung by them, and died,
his heart an open wound with love.



Listen online [here]!






Daily Sermons, June 13 - 18 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermons from daily Masses, June 13 through 18.
St Anthony of Padua, Mercy, Bl Germain, The Sacred Heart, St Ephrem the Deacon.


Sunday Sermon, June 12 -- St Mary Magdalene, Witness of Divine Mercy

Sermon for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: St Mary Magdalene, Witness of Divine Mercy

Pope Francis has recently elevated St Mary Magdalene's feast and set her forward as a "witness of divine mercy" (quoting St Gregory the Great). This connects St Mary Magdalene with the penitent woman of Luke 7, following the general tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.  We further show that Mary Magdalene is one and the same Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and of Lazarus.

St Mary Magdalene is a witness to us in this Year of Mercy that Jesus did not come to save the righteous, but sinners; and that he is powerful in our soul precisely when we allow him to heal the wounds of our sin.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Daily Mass Sermons, June 7 through 11 -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish

Sermons from daily Masses at Corpus Christi Parish, June 7 - 11.
St Norbert, Our Lady of Sunday, St Ephrem, St Margaret of Scotland, St Barnabas.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Adult Formation, June 9 -- Dante's Purgatorio, Cantos 17-26 (Part 4 of 5) -- Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi

Pope Francis has named the Divine Comedy as the official book and spiritual guide for the Year of Mercy. We discuss cantos 17-26 of the Purgatorio: sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust.

The recording cuts out near the end, we will review this portion in next week's session.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sunday Sermon, June 5 -- Three Kinds of Sin Overcome by Christ (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sunday Sermon, June 5 -- 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Three Resurrections, Three Kinds of Sin Overcome by Christ

The Gospel for this Sunday tells of the raising of the son of the widow of Nain. Jesus also raises two others as recorded in Scripture: Jairus' daughter and Lazarus.
The little girl of Capernaum symbolizes sin in the heart, the son of the widow of Nain is sin committed once or twice, Lazarus is habitual sin which imprisons the soul. All these are overcome by Christ.

(Based on a sermon from St Augustine: Homilies on John, 49)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Daily Sermons, May 31 - June 2 (Corpus Christi Parish, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Daily Sermons at Corpus Christi.
The Visitation, Sacred Heart, Sts Marcellinus and Peter.

Adult Formation on the Divine Comedy, June 2 -- Dante's Purgatory, Cantos 9-17 (part 3 of 5)

Dante's Divine Comedy has been named by Pope Francis as the official book and spiritual guide of the Year of Mercy. We discuss the Purgatorio, part 3 of 5.

Purgatorio, cantos 9-17. A review of ante-purgatory and covering the purification of the soul of "bad love" - Pride, Envy, Wrath.

Sunday Sermon, May 29 -- Making Spiritual Communions (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Solemnity of Corpus Christi)

Sunday Sermon, May 29 -- Making Spiritual Communions

Sermon for the transferred Solemnity of Corpus Christi:

St Julian Falconieri received her final communion (viaticum) in a miraculous way through a spiritual communion. The key to continually living the virtuous life is to make many spiritual communions throughout the day.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Daily Sermons, May 24-28 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish, Great Falls, MT)

Sermons from daily Masses, May 24-28.
Our Lady Help of Christians, St Gregory VII, Corpus Christi, 40 Hours Devotions, Eucharistic Peace.

Adult Formation on the Divine Comedy: Purgatorio, Part 2 of 6 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish, Great Falls, MT)

Pope Francis has named the Divine Comedy as the "official book" and "spiritual guide" for the Year of Mercy.

We discuss the opening cantos of the Purgatorio -- "Ante-purgatory" where those who put off conversion must wait before beginning their spiritual ascent.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

There is no Obedience in the Trinity

This past Sunday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. We consider the incomprehensible Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity – three Persons in one God and one God in three Persons. Each wholly and entirely God, and yet not three Gods, but one God, one divine nature, one divine essence.

Reflecting upon the unity of the three divine Persons, we will quickly see that there is no obedience within the Trinity. The Son is not obedient to the Father, neither is the Holy Spirit obedient to the Father and the Son, but these three are bound in a perfect mutual enjoyment and love – “And the more love is one, the more it is love.” (St John of the Cross, Romances on “In the Beginning was the Word”)

St. Gregory of Nazianzus has proposed this dogma for our belief: “Above all guard for me this great deposit of faith for which I live and fight, which I want to take with me as a companion, and which makes me bear all evils and despise all pleasures: I mean the profession of faith in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I entrust it to you today. By it I am soon going to plunge you into water and raise you up from it. I give it to you as the companion and patron of your whole life. I give you but one divinity and power, existing one in three, and containing the three in a distinct way. Divinity without disparity of substance or nature, without superior degree that raises up or inferior degree that casts down. . . the infinite co-naturality of three infinites. Each person considered in himself is entirely God. . . the three considered together. . . I have not even begun to think of unity when the Trinity bathes me in its splendour. I have not even begun to think of the Trinity when unity grasps me. . .” (Oratio 40,41; CCC 256)


Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity and the "War-Song of Faith": The Athanasian Creed

"The Father is God, The Son is God, The Holy Spirit is God;
God is the Father, God is the Son, God is the Holy Spirit;
The Father is not the Son, The Son is not the Father,
The Father is not the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit is not the Father,
The Son is not the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit is not the Son
"
It is a psalm or hymn of praise, of confession, and of profound, self-prostrating homage, parallel to the canticles of the elect in the Apocalypse. It appeals to the imagination quite as much as to the intellect. It is the war-song of faith […] For myself, I have ever felt it as the most simple and sublime, the most devotional formulary to which Christianity has given birth.

So did Blessed John Henry Newman describe the Athanasian Creed which, in the Roman Church, holds a special place on Trinity Sunday. This Creed of St. Athanasius, once recited by the priests of the Latin Church on each Sunday (or, more recently, at least on Trinity Sunday), while being one of the most forceful, succinct and beautiful expressions of our faith in the Trinity and in the Incarnation, has sadly fallen from the consciousness of nearly all the lay faithful and even of the vast majority of the clergy in the years since Vatican II. In these post-Conciliar times, do we not need a “war-song of faith” to call the faithful to the standard of Christ?

In honor of the Most Holy Trinity, we reproduce the Athanasian Creed below, together with a simply commentary on the text.

O Most Holy Trinity! Undivided Unity! Holy God, Mighty God, God Immortal be adored!


Daily Sermons, May 16-21 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons, May 16-21.
Octave of Pentecost, The Divine Holy Spirit.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Thursday Adult Formation, May 19 -- The Divine Comedy: Introduction to the Purgatorio (part 1 of 5, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Part 1 of 5, Dante's Divine Comedy: The Purgatorio

Pope Francis has named the Divine Comedy as the official book of the Year of Mercy. We now begin the second part of the Comedy, the Purgatorio.

Handouts are below:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Gift of Tongues is not Inarticulate Mumbling

Pentecost Sunday - May 15, 2016

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. (Acts 2:4)

On the feast of Pentecost, a most wondrous miracle occurred whereby the Apostles were moved by the Holy Spirit to speak in languages previously unknown to them. This gift is called “Glossolalia” or “Speaking in tongues”, and contributed to the conversion of 3,000 in a single day.

“Speaking in tongues” or “the gift of tongues” is one of the most misunderstood charisms of the Spirit. In the modern day (sadly, even within the Catholic Church), the term has been hijacked by some to be used in a manner wholly unknown to the Apostles, the Scriptures, and the Church. A careful study of this gift in the Bible and in the Early Church reveals that the “gift of tongues” is not the mumbling common in Charismatic Prayer groups, but is rather the miracle whereby one speaks new human languages for the praise of God and the conversion of pagans.

Sunday Sermon, May 15 -- Pentecost: The Gift of Tongues Means Speaking New Languages (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Pentecost Sunday - The Gift of Tongues Means Speaking New Languages

The gift of tongues is the wondrous miracle whereby the Apostles spoke many new languages on the feast of Pentecost. This miracles was prevalent in the early Church, but has since mostly disappeared. We consider that this gift was given for the spread of the Gospel in the earliest days of the faith, but is no longer needed since there are men and women of every language who speak the praises of God.

"Prayer of the Spirit" means prayer that is filled with love. Love of God and love of neighbor.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sunday Sermon, May 5 -- The Dogma of the Ascension (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermon for the Solemnity of the Ascension (transferred from Thursday in Montana, USA) -- The Dogma of the Ascension of the Lord.

1. What the dogma of the Ascension entails: Jesus has not left his humanity, nor has he abandoned us; he has removed his visible, tangible presence (natural species) from us, even as he remains present in the Eucharist to the end of time.

2. What the Ascension means for us: Our Lord inspires our faith in what is not seen, lifts us our hope to the things of heaven, and makes our love to be truly spiritual and celestial.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ascension Thursday Sermon, May 5 -- The Ascension helps the spread of the Gospel (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Ascension Thursday -- The Ascension helps the spread of the Gospel.

It is tempting to think that we would be better off if Jesus had remained upon the earth and not ascended to heaven -- he could solve all the disputes present in the Church and world today! However, the simply history proves that Jesus' ascension has been the greatest benefit to the growth of the Church and the spread of the Gospel.


Daily Sermons, May 3-7 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Homilies from daily Masses at Corpus Christi, Great Falls, MT -- May 3 through 7.
Sts Philip and James, Pentecost Novena, St John at the Latin Gate, Mary the Mother of the Church.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Does it really matter whether Jesus ascended on a Thursday?

May 5th, 2016 – Ascension Thursday

Although in many places throughout the United States and the world the Ascension is transferred from Thursday to Sunday, the Biblical evidence clearly indicates that our Lord did ascend to heaven on a Thursday, precisely forty days after his resurrection on Easter Sunday. The possibility of transferring Ascension Thursday to Sunday is yet another striking example of the “banality” of this “fabrication” which we call the Novus Ordo, to use the language of our dear “Father Benedict” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI).

“One of the weaknesses of the postconciliar liturgical reform can doubtless be traced to the armchair strategy of academics, drawing up things on paper which, in fact, would presuppose years of organic growth. The most blatant example of this is the reform of the Calendar: those responsible simply did not realize how much the various annual feasts had influenced Christian people's relation to time […] they ignored a fundamental law of religious life.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Feast of Faith, 81-82 (published by Ignatius Press).

“The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pgs. 103-104)

Why is it important to know that Jesus ascended into heaven on a Thursday? What is the significance of this fact?

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Church Can Allow Eating Strangled Animals, But She Can't Ever Allow "Pornea"

6th Sunday of Easter
Acts 15:1-2,22-29

That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication: from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. (Acts 15:29)

In the first reading this past Sunday, we heard a list of things forbidden to the Christian, among which are blood, the meat of strangled animals, and “pornea” (translated as “fornication”). Did the Church really forbid eating these things? If that law could change, could the laws against fornication change? Could the Church sanction public adultery (under the form of divorce and remarriage)?

Sunday Sermon, May 1 -- Mary, True Spouse of the Holy Spirit (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Sermon of Father Ryan Erlenbush, given at Corpus Christi Catholic Parish in Great Falls, MT.

The Bible shows Mary to be the spouse of the Holy Spirit, through whom he desires to come into the world and produce Jesus Christ. Acts of the Apostles shows a Christian Church which is gathered around Mary through whose intercession the Spirit descends in power.

There is much fruit to be gained from meditating upon the intimate union of the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Daily Sermons -- August 20, 26-30 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Daily Sermons, August 20 and 26-30.

St Agnes, St Cletus, St Peter Canisius, St Louis de Montfort, St Peter Martyr, St Catherine of Siena.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How St. Louis de Montfort Changed the Rosary


April 28th, Feast of St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Have you ever noticed that there is no separate bead for the Glory be prayer in the Rosary? Containing 59 beads, the Rosary string has specific beads only for the 53 Hail Marys and the six Our Fathers. Although certain methods of praying the Rosary will assign the Glory be or Fatima prayers to one bead or another, there is clearly no universally solidified practice – in many places the Glory be will be prayed on the “chain” between the final Hail Mary bead of one decade and the Our Father bead of the following decade.

The cause for this slight “confusion” (if we can call it that) as to in which place the Glory be is to be prayed is found in the fact that the Rosary did not originally include the Glory be (or, of course, the Fatima prayer). This little prayer was added by the great Apostle of the Rosary, St. Louis Marie de Montfort, showing the essentially Trinitarian character of his Marian devotion.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Who was St Mark? And Why is he pictured as a lion?

April 25th, Feast of St Mark the Evangelist

In the Roman Martyrology for April 25th, we find: “At Alexandria, the [heavenly] birthday of Blessed Mark the Evangelist, he, for the faith of Christ, being stretched and bound with cords, was dragged over the rocks, and grievously tormented. Afterwards, being shut up in prison, he was first comforted by an angelic vision, and at last by the appearance of the Lord Himself, by whom he was called to the heavenly kingdom in the eighth year of Nero.”

In honor of this great saint and evangelist, we do well to consider certain details of his person. Who was he? Is he John Mark? Was he a priest? Had he ever met Jesus? Why is he presented under the figure of a lion?


Who was Saint Mark?

While there are some who maintain that St Mark the Evangelist was among the 72 disciples and had for a time lapsed from the true faith only to be re-converted and reconciled through St Peter some time after Pentecost, it is better to assert that St Mark had never known Christ during his earthly life but was converted to the faith by St Peter some time in the first years after Pentecost. This is the most natural read of Sacred Scripture, when St Peter testifies that St Mark is his spiritual son (“Mark, my son”, 1 Peter 5:13).

Some maintain that the young man who followed our Lord after his arrest in the Garden but who was then seized by the soldiers and abandoned his garment to flee away naked into the night (cf. Mark 14:51) is St Mark the Evangelist, but nothing in the text indicates this. Indeed, while it is clear that this young man must not have been one of the Apostles (who had already fled), there is no indication that he is the Author of the Gospel either. Rather, it is more probably that he was either some other disciple of the Lord who had only just come upon the scene, or with less probability, he may have been John Mark (who is supposed to have been the man who owned the house in which the Last Supper took place).

Indeed, another common confusion is to identify St Mark the Evangelist with John Mark who was a disciple of St Paul and traveled with St Paul and Barnabas in their missionary journeys through Greece. John Mark is referred to by St Paul in his Letter to Philemon as well as in Colossians 4 and 2 Timothy 4. However, that John Mark is not the same as Mark the Evangelist is clear from this point: St Mark the Evangelist was the close disciple of St Peter and was with St Peter in Rome at the same time that John Mark was with St Paul in Greece. Indeed, the ancient tradition connects St Mark the Evangelist with the cities of Aquileia in Italy and Alexandria in Egypt – John Mark, on the other hand, is not known to have preached the Gospel in these places.

Thus, following Father Cornelius a Lapide, it is perhaps best to assert that St Mark the Evangelist was an Hebrew and likely a priest of the tribe of Levi (as St Bede the Venerable teaches). He was converted to Christianity and baptized by St Peter some time after Pentecost, and accompanies the Prince of the Apostles even to Rome. Later, he was sent by St Peter to preach the Gospel in Egypt and was Bishop of the Church in Alexandria. Here he gave witness to Christ through martyrdom.


Why is St Mark pictured as a lion?

And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox, on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four. (Ezekiel 1:10)

The Church interprets the four living creatures as symbolic of the four Evangelists. Borrowing from Ezekiel and from the Book of Revelation, we see St Matthew pictured as a man, St Mark as a lion, St Luke as an ox, and St John as an eagle. Why is St Mark represented by the figure of a lion?

The images of the four Evangelists are taken in large part from the manner in which they begin their Gospels. As St Matthew begins with the human geneology of Jesus, he is pictured as a man. St John soars to the heights of the eagle with In the beginning was the Word,  and St Luke calls to mind the sacrificial offering of the ox beginning with the sacrifice which Zachariah offered in the Temple. Thus also St Mark, who opens with the mighty roar of St John the Baptist’s call to repentance, is pictured under the powerful image of the lion.

An additional meaning which could be signified by the lion relates to a tradition which considers St Mark as the founder of monastic life and of the desert fathers. Since St Mark is the father of the Church of Alexandria and since this Church produced the great movement of consecrated religious life as hermit, anchorite, monk, or nun, St Mark is rightly considered by St Jerome and John Cassian to be the founder of monasteries and hermitages. Now, lions are often connected with the desert fathers and other ancient monks -- whether we think of St Paul the Hermit and St Anthony of Egypt (whose graves were dug by lions), or of St Jerome (pictured with the lion he cured), or even St Blase (who as a hermit was surrounded by lions and other wild beasts). Therefore, the image of the lion calls to mind St Mark's connection with Alexandria and his role as the spiritual father of religious life in the Church.  





Additional notes to support our thesis above:

St Jerome (Catalogue of Ecclesiatical Writers: “Mark was a disciple and interpreter of St Peter. At the request of the brethren at Rome, he wrote a short Gospel, based upon what he had heard St Peter relate. This, when Peter had heard, he approved of, and sanctioned its being read in the Church […] Mark took his Gospel, which he had compiled, and went to Egypt. He first preached Christ at Alexandria, and founded a Church there, which possessed such great purity of doctrine and life that it influenced all followers of Christ by its example.”

Again, St Jermone (Introduction to the Commentary on Matthew): “Mark, the interpreter of the Apostle Peter, who indeed had not himself seen the Lord, the Saviour, but had heard his master’s preaching, related according to the truth of the things which were done, rather than the order in which they were done.”

Clement of Alexandria (tom. 6, in Biblioth. Patr. in Edit. Parisiensi.): “Mark, the follower of Peter, when Peter was preaching the Gospel publicly at Rome, in the presence of certain knights of Caesar’s household, and was advancing many testimonies about Christ, being requested by them, wrote from the things which were spoken by Peter a Gospel, which is called that according to Mark.”




Sunday Sermon, April 24 - Eucharistic Love

Sermon Given at Corpus Christi Parish by Father Ryan Erlenbush. April 24, 5th Sunday of Easter.

"As I have loved you, so you should love one another."

The new commandment of love is given in the context of the Last Supper, indicating that this a Eucharistic Love. Holy Communion inspires within us a love of our fellow Catholic and christian, a love of the poor, and a love of all people.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sunday Sermon, April 17 -- Hearing the Voice of the Shepherd, and the Call to Celibacy

Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Easter - April 17, 2016 -- Given by Father Ryan Erlenbush at Corpus Christi Parish, Great Falls, Montana.

"My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me."

A note prior to the sermon discusses the recent Exhortation written by Pope Francis (what the Pope himself actually says is important to focus on, rather than what the media focuses on).

Sermon: Hearing the voice of Jesus in my heart requires hearing his voice in the magisterium of the Church, following his voice by living a moral life, and listening for his voice in daily prayer. We then consider the call to the priesthood and the religious life, specifically the vocation to celibacy which is the happiest life this side of heaven.

Daily Mass Homilies, April 4 - 16 (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Homilies from daily Masses at Corpus Christ in Great Falls, Montana. April 4 through April 16.
The Annunciation, St Vincent Ferrer, Ad Orientem, Catholic Schools, St Giuseppe Moscati, St Hermenegild, St Benezet, The Eucharist, Our Lady

Monday, April 18, 2016

Easter and Ad Orientem

Pope Francis celebrating Mass ad orientem
“Five times does the priest turn round towards the people, to denote that our Lord manifested Himself five times on the day of His Resurrection.” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, q.83, a.5, ad 6)

Commenting on the rites of the Mass, the Angelic Doctor provides a spiritual interpretation of the priest’s turning to face the people at certain moments of the Mass. In order to “turn to face the people” at certain moments, it is clear that the priest must not always be “facing the people” – that is, the spiritual commentary presupposes the practice of ad orientem worship (when the priest faces in the same direction of the people for certain portions of the Mass, most notably, the Eucharistic Prayer).

While any season of the Liturgical year is a fine time to re-introduce the practice of ad orientem, Easter Season is a particularly fitting time.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

“My sheep hear my voice and no one shall pluck them out of my hand” does not mean “Once saved, always saved”

4th Sunday of Easter
John 20:27-30

My sheep hear my voice. And I know them: and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting: and they shall not perish for ever. And no man shall pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:27-28 is a classic text used by Evangelical Protestants to promote the “once saved, always saved” heretical doctrine of grace. Their argument runs like this: “If you are Jesus’ sheep, then you will hear his voice and be saved and never fall away. Therefore, if you hear his voice and believe, you are his sheep and will certainly be saved – once you are saved, you will always be saved. However, if you fall away after apparently believing for some time, it is clear that you never really were one of the sheep in the first place.”

But Jesus didn’t say that “my sheep will never fall away,” he only said no one shall pluck them out of my hand – and this makes all the difference!


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Correcting a Common Misinterpretation of Last Sunday's Gospel: St. Peter DID NOT Sin When He Returned to Fishing

3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C
John 21:1-19

There were together: Simon Peter and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathanael, who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter saith to them: I go a fishing. They say to him: We also come with thee.

It is astonishing how popular an errant interpretation of a biblical passage can become. Said by some priest somewhere, it will be picked up by many more and soon becomes the standard interpretation of a given text. Such is the case with John 21:2-3, when St. Peter and the other Apostles return to the practice of fishing after our Lord’s Resurrection. Although many a Catholic heard last weekend that Peter and the others were “backsliding” by returning to fishing, the Catholic read of this Gospel has always maintained that the Apostles not only did not sin, but in fact are praiseworthy in their fishing trip.

Considering first the commentatorial tradition of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, we will then look to the Gospel text itself and see that St Peter and the other Apostles did nothing wrong when they went fishing perhaps two weeks after our Lord had risen from the dead.