Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dominica X post Pentecosten: "Thank God I am not like other men"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 18:9-14
At that time: Jesus spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
Serm 36 of the Word of the Lord
The Pharisee might at least have said: "I am not as many men are." But what meaneth "other men"? All other men except himself. "I," said he, "am righteous; others are sinners." "I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers," and then he took occasion, from the neighborhood of the publican, to plume himself "or even," quoth he, "as this publican." "I am alone," he thought, "that publican" is one of the others. Mine own righteousness maketh the gulf between me and the wicked, such as he is.

Sunday 19A: "Why did you doubt?"


"Lord, save me!"

Peter, frightened by the wind and the waves, cries out desperately for help in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter fourteen, verses twenty-two to thirty-three. Christ had granted Peter the power to walk on the water, but giving in to his fear, the apostle had begun to sink. "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Peter found himself overwhelmed by the natural elements which threatened him as a storm. There is however something far worse: the threat of losing God forever.

There is a mystery here, that our faith is a gift from God for salvation, but at the same time, our faith is a cooperation with God; we freely choose to believe. And we can also choose to doubt and fall into fear as did Peter. The tempest which provoked his cry for help is a symbol of the life storms that threaten our perseverance in faith.

There is a grace by which we weather life's storms. Fortitude is the virtue of which Peter stood in need at his moment of temptation.

“Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. ‘The Lord is my strength and my song.’ ‘In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ “ (CCC 1808)

It is through grace by faith that we receive the gift of fortitude.  Peter confesses faith in Christ's divinity, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water". Moments later that faith gives way to fear, and Peter is threatened with destruction by the forces of nature. Do we need power to "walk on water" in order to be happy? What are the things that we fear, that drive the power of faith, and the power of God, out of our lives? Is sin among them? Do we disregard the corrosive power of falsehood, the destructive force of unchastity? What we cannot do without is a reverent spirit of worship, the power to confidently acclaim Jesus as Lord, and then to call upon Him for what we need to live as the praise of His glory.

Bearing witness to the Lord, confessing our Faith before others, enables us to practice and to grow in the virtue of fortitude.

“The faithful should bear witness to the Lord's name by confessing the faith without giving way to fear. Preaching and catechizing should be permeated with adoration and respect for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (CCC 2145)

When the disciples witnessed the power of Christ over the wind and waves, they fell down and worshipped Him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."  They acclaimed Him in faith and thus they saw with true vision through the supernatural power of God working in them.

"Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as 'Lord'. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing. At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, 'Lord' expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus. In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: 'My Lord and my God!' It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: 'It is the Lord!' " (CCC 448)

Let us ask for the virtue of fortitude in worship and witness that our faith may grow and others may come to the Lord as well.  Above all, it is Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist that calls for our adoration.  We can, for example, better witness before the world by our more attentive genuflection as we enter or depart a church or chapel where the Lord is present; by an interior spirit of adoration as we process forward during the Communion of the Mass; by pausing to make a profound bow before receiving our Eucharistic Lord in Communion; by carefully resting one hand upon the other to receive the Lord and then reverently placing the Host on our tongue.
Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, we adore thee!

-Fr. Cusick @MCITLFrAphorism
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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dominica VII post Pentecosten: "Beware of false prophets"

V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. May the Gospel's glorious word Cleansing to our souls afford. Amen. 

Reading 3
From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 7:15-21
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. And so on.

Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Comment. on Matth. ch. vi.
The Lord here warneth us that we must rate the worth of soft words and seeming meekness, by the fruits which they that manifest such things bring forth in their works, and that we should look, in order to see what a man is, not at his professions, but at his deeds. For there are many in whom sheep's clothing is but a mask to hide wolfish ravening. But "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Thus, the Lord teacheth us, is it with men also evil men bring not forth good fruits, and hereby are we to know them. Lip-service alone winneth not the kingdom of heaven, nor is every one that saith unto Christ: "Lord, Lord," an heir thereof.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sermon for Dominica V post Pentecosten: "unless your righteousness exceeds that of of the scribes and Pharisees"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 5:20-24
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. i. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, ch. 9.
Thou shalt not kill, is of the righteousness of the Pharisees; Thou shalt not be angry with thy brother without a cause, is of the righteousness of them which shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. The least therefore is: “Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall break this commandment, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” v. 19.But whosoever shall do it, and not kill, he is not therefore great, and meet for the kingdom of heaven; albeit, he hath risen a step; but he will have gotten farther, if he be not angry with his brother without a cause, which, if he do, he will be the farther off from manslaughter. Wherefore, He Which teacheth us that we are not to be angry without a cause, destroyeth not the law, Thou shalt not kill, but rather fulfilleth and increaseth it, making us not only to be free of the sin of outward killing, but also clean of anger within.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sermon for Dominica IV post Pentecosten


From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 5:1-11
At that time: As the people pressed upon Jesus, to hear the word of God, He stood by the lake of Gennesareth. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Bk. iv. on Luke v.
When the Lord wrought so many works of healing, neither time nor place could restrain the people from seeking health. Evening came, and they still followed Him He went down to the lake, and they still pressed upon Him and therefore He entered into Peter's ship. This is that ship, which spiritually up to this very hour, according to the expression of Matthew, is buffeted by tempests, but still, according to Luke, is filled with fishes, this signifying, that, for a while, to labour is present to the Church, but, hereafter, it shall be to rejoice. The fishes are they which swim in the troublous waters of human life. In this ship also spiritually doth Christ, for His disciples, still sleep, and still command; for He sleepeth for the lukewarm, and watcheth for the perfect.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

THIRTEENTH Sunday
2 Kings 4, 8-11.14-16; Psalm 89; Romans 6, 3-4.8-11;
Matthew 10: 37-42

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Every vocation is discipleship. All men and women are called to “follow after” Christ the Lord. Married or single, ordained or lay, every human person finds ultimate fulfillment in answering Jesus’ call to “take up the cross” which brings life out of death and to “lose life” that it may be found in all its fullness.

Of all the vocations it is the ordained priesthood which is most closely configured to the Lord, making men “other Christs”. The grace of the priesthood by which men give the Lord’s Body and Blood to His people and forgive their sins in Confession make the priest particular and close co-workers with Him in God’s plan of salvation. Through the charism of celibacy priesthood is a “higher calling” because it most closely anticipates in this world the life of heaven where there is “no marrying nor giving in marriage”. What higher joy could there be for a Catholic husband and wife to support the call of a son of theirs to the priesthood? And yet, with all the Catholics that say they love the Mass and love the Eucharist, there yet remain few who see with clarity that their love for the Lord must also extend to practical support for priestly vocations, beginning in their own families and with their own children.

Our Holy Father Benedict recently said, in regard to the diminished numbers of priestly vocations today: “Today’s parents have other plans for their sons and daughters. The primary consideration, therefore, is: Are there any believers, and only after that - will they produce priests?” Pope John Paul II before him addressed the blessing of large families, and the fact that if a husband and wife have more than one child they are more likely to welcome a vocation to the priesthood or religious life if our Lord should so call one of their children. It is a wonderful thing to see one's family continue to the next generation, and one of the greatest joys of earthly life. The supernatural life, however, is what every child must have to reach the fullness of life forever in God, and the priesthood, and all religious vocations, exist to serve this need for all of mankind.

Spiritual fatherhood and motherhood, the vocation of priests, sisters and brothers, is not an optional part of Christ's plan, but a constitutive part of the Church. "For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel." (1 Cor. 4:15) St. Paul thus proudly asserts his ministerial priesthood of bringing the faithful to birth in Christ.

In the rampant practical materialism of our time, the priority of the spiritual is easily overlooked. Mothers and fathers who learn to love their children with the love of God will give the spiritual life of their children the emphasis it deserves. “Whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” To love Christ more than son or daughter is to love the will of Christ for one’s child more than one’s own plans for that child. "He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to naught for me discovers who he is."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2232, teaches: "Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: 'He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.'"

Parents who "bear their share of the hardship which the Gospel entails," and put their own desires and needs second to the will of God, such that they encourage their sons and daughters to be open to the higher calling of the priesthood and religious life, come first in the reign of God. What else is necessary or more wonderful?

-Fr. Cusick
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

"The Living Father sent Me": Celebrating Eucharist and Fathers' Day

"Honor thy Father”

God Himself commands the love and respect we show for our earthly fathers on Father’s Day. On this day we focus in a more intense way on the gratitude and reverence we owe to the men who, committed to marriage and family life, helped to give us life and to raise us. We are thankful in particular for the roles our fathers play in raising us in the Faith and teaching us love for our Heavenly Father by their own witness. May God always bless them as they so richly deserve.

Our celebration of Mass is the perfect way to mark Father’s Day: Jesus’ perfect prayer is offered to His Father and ours accomplished by perfect obedience, through His suffering and death, to the perfect will of the Father. We truly participate in His prayer through the grace of our baptism as we  pray the Mass.

"The Living Father sent Me"

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we receive the Son sent by the Father in Word and Sacrament. At Corpus Christi we focus more intensely on Christ's real and true presence in the Eucharist, unique among the sacraments and thus called "the Most Blessed Sacrament".

Praised be to God.