Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 30 -- On receiving communion well, and not distributing the Chalice (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The apparition on the road to Emmaus teaches us about the Holy Eucharist -- the bread which our Lord "took, blessed, broke, and gave" is none other than his gift of self in Holy Communion.

We take an opportunity to consider receiving communion well, with greater love and devotion. It is also good to note that Jesus only distributes communion under the one species of the Host -- whereas, on Holy Thursday, he gave communion under both kinds (the Host and the Chalice) as he was distributing to his apostles whom he had just ordained as priests; here, when distributing communion to the lay faithful (Cleopas and the other), our Lord only gives communion under the species of his Body. The whole Jesus is present in the Host and in the Chalice: Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and the fullness of grace is received under Host alone. Indeed, the Church teaches that there is nothing "less" in receiving only the Host, nor is there any "more grace" in receiving the Chalice.

Although not all of the following norms are specified in the sermon, it is good to make note of certain guidelines under which the Chalice is permitted to be distributed. First and foremost, we recognize that the general norms of the Church do not permit the distribution of the Chalice except in the most unusual circumstances (e.g. when people make First Communion, Religious Profession, to the couple who gets married). In the United States, wider permission was given (by a special indult from the Vatican and only with the dispensation of the local bishop and the wise discernment of the pastor) for communion to be distributed under both kinds -- but the following norms must be observed.


From "Redemptionis Sacramentum", Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship from 2004 (paragraphs 100-107):

"[Distribution of the Chalice] is to be completely excluded where even a small danger exists of the sacred species being profaned."

"The chalice should not be ministered to lay members of Christ’s faithful where there is such a large number of communicants that it is difficult to gauge the amount of wine for the Eucharist and there is a danger that more than a reasonable quantity of the Blood of Christ remain to be consumed at the end of the celebration."

"[The Chalice is not to be distributed] where a notable part of the people continues to prefer not to approach the chalice for various reasons, so that the sign of unity would in some sense be negated."

"In accordance with what is laid down by the canons, 'one who throws away the consecrated species or takes them away or keeps them for a sacrilegious purpose, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished by another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state'. To be regarded as pertaining to this case is any action that is voluntarily and gravely disrespectful of the sacred species. Anyone, therefore, who acts contrary to these norms, for example casting the sacred species into the sacrarium or in an unworthy place or on the ground, incurs the penalties laid down."

Additionally, the USCCB states that where there would regularly be more lay people serving as extraordinary ministers of holy communion than three are priests and deacons serving as ordinary ministers, it may be fitting to not distribute the Chalice so as to avoid the appearance that it is ordinary or normal for lay minsters to distribute communion.  (cf. Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Communion under Both Kinds)


What does this mean? That if there is any danger that the Chalice might be spilt, communion should be given only under the Host. If there is a large number of people at the Mass so that it is difficult to estimate very exactly how much wine to use, communion should be given only under the Host. If say 20% of the people don't want to receive from the Chalice, communion should be given only under the Host. If there are not a number of priests and deacons so that they would generally outnumber the lay extraordinary ministers, communion should probably be given only under the Host.

Finally, the care of the Precious Blood is such a serious matter, that those who have poured the remaining Blood down the drain or into the ground are subject to an excommunication which even the Bishop cannot lift -- and this abuse is something which many of us know from experience to have been shockingly common in certain places and times over the past 50 years.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 23 -- Divine Mercy Sunday, the Indulgence and the Promise

There are two things to be aware of: 1) The Church offers a plenary indulgence on this day. 2) Jesus promised special graces on this day. The indulgence and the promise are similar, but not identical.
1) The plenary indulgence: This requires confession (up to 20 days before or after), communion (a couple days before or after), prayers for the Pope (Our Father, Hail Mary), no attachment to any sin, and the specific "work" is the mercy devotions. The devotions are those held in common in the church, or before the tabernacle to pray an Our Father and the Creed and "Jesus, I trust in you". Those who are unable to travel to church can say the Our Father, Creed, and invocation of mercy even at home before an image of the Divine Mercy (but they still must confess and receive communion).
2) The promise of Jesus: That any who confess (up to two weeks before) and receive communion on Divine Mercy Sunday itself (Our Lord does not say that the Saturday evening Mass counts) trusting in his mercy, will have not only their sins but even all the punishment of purgatory will be completely washed away. This is the perfect renewal of the graces of baptism -- and it does not require complete detachment from all sin, but only that we trust in his mercy!

A comparison between Jesus' appearance to Thomas the Apostle and his gift of Divine Mercy Sunday.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easter Sunday Sermon, April 16 -- The Paschal Candle and Easter Meditation (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

The meaning of the Paschal Candle: The candle represents Jesus, first in his passion (the Cross is marked on the candle), and in his burial (the five grains of incense recall the perfumed oil used to anoint his five wounds). The unlit candle represents Christ Crucified, who by his death is Lord of all time (hence the numbers of the year, and the "alpha" and "omega"). When the candle is lit, this represents Jesus' resurrection! His light illumines our hearts by the ministry of his priests, and we all then give light to the whole world.


Easter is longer than Lent, and is a season of many graces! We can be open to these by practicing daily mental prayer, meditation on the mysteries of salvation -- hopefully, for at least 10 minutes a day.



Holy Thursday and Good Friday Sermons (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Jesus' presence and consoling Jesus on the Cross.

Palm Sunday Sermon, April 9 -- The Act of Contrition (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Making a perfect act of contrition, in consideration of the love of Jesus for me made manifest on the Cross.


Daily Sermons, April 4-22 (Corpus Christi Parish, Father Ryan Erlenbush)

Sermons from daily Masses for the final weeks of Lent and Easter week.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Sermon, April 2 -- The Raising of Lazarus and Confession (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

[pre-sermon note on why we veil the cross and other images during the final two weeks of Lent (passiontide)]


Lent is a time of preparation for the renewal of our baptism at Easter. We renew our baptism by confession, especially in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday. Consider this week's Gospel in relation to the sacrament of Confession.

"Master, the one whom you love is ill." When we prepare for confession, we recognize that Jesus loves us so much! and that we truly are ill and in need of healing.

"And Jesus wept." When we confess we must be truly sorry for our sins.

"Show me where you laid him." We then confess our serious sins according to name and number, and our venial sins we confess as is most helpful to us.

"Untie the burial bands." Even after being forgiven, the stench of sin is around us. However, penance helps to free us from the bonds of sin!