Your Sunday Sermon notes

Was there a good point in the Sunday sermon you heard?

Share it with us.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. James Joseph says:

    I forget.

    Thinking….. thinking…. St. Anthony!

    Something about the Son always praying to the Father. Job was in there somewhere.

    It’s really hard to remember this homilies because as soon as I get home I begin listening to more homilies and watching talks about Catholic stuff. And, particularly today I took the chance to have an interesting conversation with Dr. Richard Sherlock about the complex-good.

  2. EspanaCatolica says:

    Most definitely. At St. Rita’s Parish in Alexandria, Virginia — a fine parish by all accounts — Rev. Daniel N. Gee (the Pastor) had this to say, after reading the joint statement of the Bishop of Arlington and the Bishop of Richmond on the topic of the HHS contraception mandate:

    “Think of the tragedy it would be if every Catholic school and hospital (and other institutions) had to close overnight because of our commitment to our moral conscience. If every bishop gets sent to prison, so be it. If every priest gets sent to prison, so be it. We cannot and will not abide by this mandate.”

    Kudos to Fr. Gee!

  3. discerningguy says:

    No, it was lame and weak. It was about doctors, yes, doctors. On top of my pastor saying every human ailment is medically explainable, he also strongly implied that demons don’t exist–even though the Gospel was crystal clear–and that everyone goes to heaven automatically no matter what, secondarily thus refuting the necessity and meaning of confession.

    Especially as a young person (I am 18), I am not looking for watered-down baby goo homilies. I am looking for a meatier product that will challenge my plastic mind and form it for the better. I converted to Catholicism expecting one thing but have been, so far, disappointed in how Catholic-lite everything is. I am always fantastically embarrassed inside every time I see a depiction of Catholicism in movies or TV; Hollywood captures 500000% more Catholic identity in one minute of programming than the average parish does in fifty masses, I’ve found, barring of course those radiant, glittering little FSSP/ICRSS jewels you find every once in a great while. SHAME on us. That’s despicable. I don’t know why priests think the laity is either: 1. too stoopidd, or 2. insanely complacent with non-existent catechesis. Yes, things might be difficult at first to get going, especially with older Catholics (sorry, but I’ve noticed that it’s mainly cradle Catholics over 50 who are the ones who go into a fit of vibrating ecstasy whenever “Vatican II” is mentioned, not even knowing why), but I’m confident that, given the effort, we can turn things around.

    Young adults (18-35): are we bored at mass? Most certainly, in most cases. Now, why is that? Because certain clerics and choir/liturgy directors fascinated with a horrible interpretation of a certain Most Holy Ecumenical Council think that they make mass “relevant to today’s youth” by talking to us in homilies as invalids who can’t understand basic theological concepts and by singing crappy hymns reminiscent of their far-gone childhoods.

    We no stoopid. We no want baby homily. We no want “Bossa Nova Gloria” with 6 refrains. I guess that’s news to some… I’m sorry for the rant, but I had to get it out! Now, I am nowhere near leaving my convert faith. That would be cowardly. Rather, I seek to help re-reform as best I can given my (hopefully) long life ahead of me. :)

  4. APX says:

    Self-complacency is dangerous. Just because we are baptized and profess to follow Christ we should not take for granted our eternal salvation. That just because we come to the Latin Mass doesn’t mean we have it made. Some people go to the Latin Mass, fall and never get up again.

    And no Sunday sermon is complete at my parish without the reminder that we know not the day nor the hour of when we’re going to die. We could live a short life or a long life, we don’t know. Some could be called suddenly with no time to prepare while some could have time to prepare, thus we must be on guard and diligent to avoid the snares of sin.

  5. Clinton R. says:

    I agree with discerningguy. I’ve been a Catholic for 3 years now and many Catholics I’ve encountered (and yes, they do tend to be over the age of 50) seem to be of the belief that the Church was in the darks ages before Vatican II and we should all be thankful for “the throwing open of the windows that brought in fresh air to the Church.” Yes, my friend, much work and prayer needs to be done to restore Catholic tradition. Thankfully we have Father Zuhlsdorf’s blog to guide us in the right direction. Let us continue to pray for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. She promised her Immaculate Heart will triumph.

  6. jbpolhamus says:

    No, lameness and weakness prevailed here, too. Father chose to emphasize the need to go find private places of retreat prayer, rather than jesus’ venturing to the villages to teach and cast out demons publicly. What is the agenda here? I wonder. He has not said one word about the ongoing assault on our religious liberty and the first amendment. Subversion is in the air. 2 weeks ago when I was not there, he reverted to the old mass translation 1970, saying cavalierly, ” the liturgical police arent here.” I’m flattered, and he hasn’t been brave enough to try it in my presence. I wish this could have been good news, but I think it’s worth reporting.

  7. Ben Trovato says:

    Our priest did not preach yesterday, as he was saying an extra EF Mass on top of his parish schedule (he looks after 2 churches), and was exhausted.

    But the EF Mass, as always, is a sermon in itself: not least yesterday’s wonderful Tract: Out of the depths I have cried to thee O Lord…, and then the Ave Regina Caelorum at the end.

  8. MikeM says:

    I was pleasantly surprised by the homily I heard today. I wasn’t feeling well today so I didn’t make it out of bed to Mass at my home parish. I wound up at a parish that had a later Mass. (Like, I’d imagine, a large share of the readers here) I’m a nerd who loves long academic homilies that quote the great theologians and all that… but the parish I went to was is in a “disadvantaged” neighborhood where a large share of the parishioners are non-native English speakers, so I didn’t really expect to get much of that. The Priest’s homily wound up being really exemplary, though.

    He particularly drew on the Old Testament reading and on Peter’s quote from the Gospel that “Everyone is looking for you.” It was about how we are all called to seek Christ, and how He’s the source of true fulfillment. There was some paraphrasing of St. Augustine’s Confessions in there, and of a couple other major Catholic works. What made it so good, though, was that it was simultaneously related to the readings, relevant to basically everyone’s spiritual life, intelligent, and yet intelligible even to the children in attendance.

    I’ve had similar complaints to those of discerningguy (above in the first comment) at times before, and people have rebutted that not everyone has had the luxury of the theological education that people were good enough to provide for me. They have a point, but the homily I heard today was a perfect demonstration that a homily need not be excessively heady to be intelligent and meaningful.

    I’m planning on writing the Priest a friendly note thanking him for putting in the time to write a homily as relevant and authentically Catholic as that one.

  9. MikeM says:

    Oh, I should add that the Mass was followed by the Archbishop’s letter about the HHS mandate, and that the priest provided a few brief words emphasizing the importance of the issue.

  10. kradcliffe says:

    He talked about how a lot of women react to the story of the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law, which is generally along the lines of “the first thing she’s expected to do is get up and wait on the men?!” He said, “The point of this is that, once we are touched and healed by God, we then have to serve others.”

    I liked that.

  11. piscotikus says:

    We were told a story about a parisioner who hasn’t been able to come to mass for over a year due to chronic illness, and how we who do go every week take that fact for granted. Father also included our Bishop’s letter in regard to the HHS situation in the bulletin, but did give a fair share of pulpit time to the topic.

  12. benedetta says:

    A letter from our Bishop was read and it expressed opposition to the HHS move and exhorted the faithful to contact leadership to exercise our rights.

  13. Paul says:

    Well, let’s see. It was boy scout day, so the sermon was about the good things the boy scouts did then religious medals were given to the scouts and pictures taken. The medals were religious medals though that’s good news, isn’t it? Upon leaving the church we were treated to the girl scouts selling cookies at the door. Sigh…

    I was tempted to stop and ask “why are you selling girl scout cookies at church don’t you know they give money to Planned Parenthood?” but since this mass was a memorial for my father and my elderly mother wasn’t holding up to well I let it go.

  14. says:

    I heard a wonderful sermon by a priest who assists at the EF and other masses in our parish. He teaches theology at a Catholic high school in the area. He spoke about the importance of Septuagesima and this season that prepares us for Lent. He told a story about a question he gets from his high school students…”Isn’t it good enough just to be good to get to heaven?” He likened it to planning for a trip to France. You can sit in your recliner and think about going to France, but you will never get there. To get to France you have to “do something”, make reservations, buy a ticket, get to the airport, etc. etc. It was a simple analogy but it worked for me. His point to us was about how important it was to prepare for Lent, in these next few weeks, and how important it was to use Lent to prepare for Easter. I am not doing him justice here, but the bottom line is that it was very inspirational and helpful to me.

  15. r.j.sciurus says:

    Our priest read the HHS letter from the Bishop and then preached an inspired sermon about history repeating itself. Like the Israelis who turned from God and put their trust in pagans and were destroyed and carried into exile by the Babylonians, we too are doing the same thing and today, our bishops are, like Jeremiah, lamenting from the ruins of the temple. And of course, we are called to take action and keep it from happening.

  16. JMGriffing says:

    While I am an Orthodox Christian, this sermon seemed timely for all of us. Our priest preached on the epistle reading for the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, which was yesterday. This particular sermon was on the characteristics of apostolic Christianity as laid about by St. Paul. Of course, one of the characteristics was that apostolic Christianity means suffering persecution…

  17. Cath says:

    Father spoke of our consciences and how the battle between God and satan still rages on. Started with Job and talked about other Old Testament figures who would not betray their faith. Then he spoke of the past century and how all these regimes (communism, facism, nazism) persecuted those of faith and how it is now raising its head in a new country, The United States of America. He read the letter from our Archbishop and basically said we needed to pray and fast and contact our representatives. Ended with either this will be stopped through the courts or a change of power or it may be the beginning of the demise of our country. Heavily attended by college students (during the Superbowl) who almost all make a thanksgiving after Mass. So glad my daughter goes there and one of my other daughters will go there next year.

  18. Cath says:

    Father spoke of our consciences and how the battle between God and satan still rages on. Started with Job and talked about other Old Testament figures who would not betray their faith. Then he spoke of the past century and how all these regimes (communism, facism, nazism) persecuted those of faith and how it is now raising its head in a new country, The United States of America. He read the letter from our Archbishop and basically said we needed to pray and fast and contact our representatives. Ended with either this will be stopped through the courts or a change of power or it may be the beginning of the demise of our country. Heavily attended by college students (during the Superbowl) who almost all make a thanksgiving after Mass. So glad my daughter goes there and one of my other daughters will go there next year.

  19. rob_p says:

    I heard a very eloquent appeal from the pulpit to contact our elected representatives and to pray about the HHS rule. “Imagine you live in a country where catholic schools, hospitals and charitable organizations are forced to purchase contraceptives and abortifacient drugs against their will…Well, no need to imagine it, you live in that country.” The other edifying part was I noticed that fmr. Congressman Bart Stupak was in the congregation and heard it too.

  20. PA mom says:

    Our priest, who has preached Life issues before, started on the mandate, why it is wrong and encouraging us to respond. He tied it into peter’s mother, as we all get into a foggy sleep like state about our faith, and then Jesus reaches out to us to wake us up, and spur us to action. It was very good, relevant, timely. and not lacking in some meat. And yes, he is on the younger side and usually preaches a lot less Oprah-like than our older, though wonderful, Monseignor.

  21. skull kid says:

    The good point was that we know more about medical conditions today than they did in Our Lord’s time. Sadly, back then, the people were ignorant, and they thought all these illnesses, for example epilepsy, were caused by demons. Our poor ignorant Lord, Who thought He was casting out demons, was really curing epilepsy and mental illnesses. Ignorant, superstitious God-man! Of course today, we know better. That was the main gist of the Sunday sermon. I almost stormed out of Mass.

  22. Bryan Boyle says:

    Bishop Bootkowski of Metuchen finally checked in with a letter to be read at ALL Masses that basically called out the current administration with a forceful denunciation of the HHS diktat and a call to action (writing our congresscritters (which, in NJ, considering it’s the bluest of the blue states…) is probably an exercise in futility and will get you on some homeland security list or the other for daring to speak against the regime), and a reminder that when you step into the voting booth, your actions have consequences, so choose wisely, since you’re Catholics for eternity, and citizens for only your time on this earth.

    Hindsight is 20/20…betcha they’re corporately thinking that the 08 ‘Faithful Citizenship’ document which gave them cover in supporting the outcome may have been a bad idea?

    Still can’t help thinking that our hierarchy is reaping the fruits of their focus on so-called ‘justice and peace’ issues over the past 40 years or so to the exclusion of teaching and sanctifying in the Faith…

  23. John Nolan says:

    Oratorian sermon (well-prepared and lasting ten minutes, making the point and leaving food for thought). They believe in the old adage “strike oil and then stop boring”.

  24. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Attended OF Mass. Our priest referred back to the reading from Job and mentioned, in general terms, that some time ago he had found himself in a situation he felt to be hopeless, but a friend had given him encouragement. We shouldn’t become too discouraged and we are responsible to encourage our families and friends.

    That first lesson had been read by a high-voiced young lady, which seemed oddly incongruous in juxtaposition to the somber tone of that text.

  25. ByzCath08 says:

    Today was the Sunday of the Prodigal Son in the Byzantine Church. Our priest developed his homily around the recent HHS mandate and how society needs a prodigal son conversion back to God.

    Homily – Sunday of Prodigal Son – 2/5/12

  26. inara says:

    Our pastor knocked one out of the park! He began with the story of St. Clare repelling the Saracens with the Eucharist, then said we are also currently under attack & must turn to fasting, prayer & the Eucharist to fight this battle, which segued into the HHS mandate & then into a detailed exposition of what the Church teaches regarding human sexuality & life issues…and he didn’t just mention abortion, embryonic stem cell research & euthansia, as most priests do, he included contraception, sterilization & IVF!! (and not just once, several times…he actually used the word “evil”!) I was nearly brought to tears of gratitude for his boldness & clarity, as were many others apparently, because the church erupted in applause after his homily (& our parish is not generally happy-clappy).

  27. nykash says:

    A good one this week at an EF mass – the priest started out talking about the difference between God’s justice and man’s justice. Man would seek equity from one’s work… this quickly moved into how perverse man’s sense of justice can become if not grounded in the eternal. A brief talk about Nazi Germany (not a surprise, considering the direction the world is taking) lead into three great points concerning justice:

    1. Ir must apply to all. Different standards applied to individual groups immediately invalidates the system of justice.
    2. It must be grounded in Truth.
    3. It must never result in an innocent man being put to death; immediately applied this point to abortion.

    As one who is starting to get into the writings of Dietrich von Hildebrand, the homily resonated quite well. It also highlighted the fact that there is no justice to be found in society… a somber thought for Septuagesima Sunday.

  28. ColumbusJohn says:

    Large suburban parish. We had a transitional deacon from the South whom I have heard before. This time, he preached about the necessity of prayer, and how most Catholics and Christians don’t pray as much as they need to. He made three points: 1) Pray when rising, 2) Master the little things (here he spoke of posture, dress, and attitude while attending Mass and reverence while receiving the Eucharist – strong preference for on the tongue, which one of the associate pastors has also made a point about), and 3) Reclaim Sunday as the Lord’s day.

    As he was the first time I heard him, he was very foreful in his delivery including many exhortations to parents to raise their children according to these principles.

  29. beccab77 says:

    St Mark’s Gospel is high Christology. We need to look a little deeper in his writings perhaps to see it. Great five words from this Sunday’s Gospel…”Everybody was looking for Him. ” and Bishop Wall concluded, Oh that we would find Him!

  30. jul says:

    We were blessed to hear a clear and loving sermon on the church’s teaching dealing with artificial birth control and natural family planning. Father invited anyone who had missed the reading of the Bishop’s letter last week to see the letter was included this week in the bulletin. Father apologized and said he had been to the sacrament of reconciliation for the sin of omission in not preaching on this topic before. God bless him! I thank God for bringing good out of the evil HHS mandate. If Catholics are not taught the truth how will they be willing to live it? My family made a point of thanking Father after Mass.

  31. Precentrix says:

    The Mass I attend is in Polish, which I don’t understand, so I have no idea what the homily was about. However, I was pleasantly surprised on Sunday morning to hear the sermon at the Anglican church where I play the organ (ahem… ) – the vicar spoke about the reality of the devil. Of course, he’s a few notches more evangelical than the congregation, so maybe I should’t have been surprised, but it was good to hear that coming from a member of the CofE.

  32. Justin_Kolodziej says:

    The part of the homily that I remember was that we must not let anything distract us from proclaiming the kingdom of God: work, family, friends, the Church (??). I assumed Father X, O.F.M. Conv., meant what is going on in the Church with various factions, etc.

    Then, Father referred to Pope Benedict, not as “Benedict XVI our Pope”, but as “Benedict the Bishop of Rome”, during the Eucharistic Prayer (II). Really? REALLY?

  33. Supertradmum says:

    Fantastic sermon at St. Michael’s near Kells about persecution and keeping the Faith and about, more specifically, keeping the Faith until our dying days. The priest based his sermon on the Gospel of the Laborers, stressing that if one works all day or comes in “at the ninth hour”, one is saved by Faith, repentance, and good works.

    Very good and compelling delivery as well.

  34. NoTambourines says:

    Our sermon was a segue into our annual “stewardship” appeal. Father said a little and then a lady from the parish came up and talked to us. That said, the suggestions for stewardship of time in prayer have actually done me a lot of good over the years — they got me to going to confession more often, and praying the Rosary.

    But, at long last, after communion, Father read a letter from our bishops. I know applause in Mass isn’t Kosher, but it was interesting to see the spontaneous (and thunderous) show of support in the pews. It was inspiring. I wanted to clap like Nancy Pelosi on 3 Red Bulls at a State of the Union Address!

    Discerningguy– Hang in there! At least, unlike a lot of your fellow parishioners, you know things can be better, and that the Church deserves better. Sometimes it feels like there’s this wall of fire back in the mid-1960s behind which nothing can be spoken of. It is almost a new dogma that Everything Is Better, Period.

  35. Justin_Kolodziej says:

    Correction: Father X, SA (Friars of the Atonement), not Father X, O.F.M. Conv.

    Oh, and it was Scout Sunday, which I was not aware was added to the liturgical calendar. So Father X gave a couple of scouts blessed medals, then the scouts gave Father X an award.

    Then it was also St. Blaise Sunday so throats were blessed by Father X and others.

  36. Jaybirdnbham says:

    The gospel for the Melkite-Greek Divine Liturgy Sunday was the Prodigal Son. Father pointed out the importance for all of us to “come to our senses” as the son finally did, and put our relationship with God at the top of our list of priorities. He also strongly urged going to Confession more often, and reminded us that Lent is almost here.

  37. Sue says:

    Father asked if we knew how much time we have left, can we give ourselves more time (no) and since God is the giver of time, how much time do we give back to Him? We are given 8,760 hours in a year’s time. Going to Mass once a week gives Him back 52 hours a year…with 8,708 hours left.

  38. disco says:

    Father preached about the season of septuagesima – how it recalls the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity.

  39. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Septuagesima’s Epistle, Paul, I Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:1-5, notes that all may run but one receives the prize. The Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16, echoes that with “Many are called but few are chosen.” That includes Catholics ( “called” or given the gift of Faith by Almighty God) in public office who continue to scandalize the Church, who are condemning themselves out of their own mouths. Many shepherds of the Church are in jeopardy by various actions or inactions, as well. A quote from St. Jerome about certain skulls covering the floor of Hell was quite telling. Our country deserves what is happening to it. Thank God the hierarchy is finally speaking out, but perhaps too late. Persecution of the Church in the U.S. is only beginning. Perhaps it is what we need. There was a lot more meat to this sermon, too much to include here. As a body, I think the congregation wanted to stand up and cheer. There was a lot of nodding going on. Much prayer, fasting and sacrifice are asked for during upcoming Lent. A large picture of the statue of Our Lady of Good Success will remain up this week to remind us of the prophesies she made over 400 years ago about our times.

  40. Some weekends, I find it hard to develop a homily, and when that happens I go with what I have. In my experience, many times the homily I think is terrible gets many positive responses, so who knows?

    This weekend, I talked about gratitude. I gave some exegesis on the Book of Job. As the book begins, Job approaches his religious duties as a kind of transaction; the tempter notices this; will Job remain faithful if the blessings that come in exchange disappear? Many of us will likewise see bad turns as a sign that we displeased God; whereas by the end of the book Job comes to realize God’s blessings are a gift, not an exchange. I talked about the gratitude shown in Paul’s situation–despite causes for complaint–and the gratitude of Peter’s mother-in-law. I talked about the temptation to sit in ones misery as Job did for awhile; and that reflecting on what one is grateful for, as well as turning ones gaze off oneself, are useful antidotes. I made the point that I seldom experience people who are both sour and grateful; they are usually one or the other.

    I made some other points along the way, but that’s what I recall.

    I didn’t address the President’s assault on our freedoms this week; I’d addressed it the past two weeks, and the other priests did so last week, when we read the bishop’s letter. I promised last week that it would be addressed again, but I chose not to this weekend.

  41. biberin says:

    We heard an amazing, no holds barred homily from our deacon, where he called contraception, sterilization, and abortion great moral evils. He talked about the letter from our bishop, but didn’t read the whole thing because it was printed in the bulletin. He did quote big chunks from a couple different bishops. The overall theme was our responsibility to go and preach the Gospel. The congregation was dead silent, and I know there are a number of people who will be furious. I wish I had had the nerve to stand up and applaud.

  42. Geoffrey says:

    One of the parish deacons gave the homily at the Vigil Mass. When speaking about the Gospel reading (St Mark 1, 29-39), he said how poor many English translations of the Bible were. Regarding the line: “He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up”, the deacon said that in the original Greek, the phrase “helped her up” is actually something like “He resurrected her”. The deacon’s homily made me want to be able to fluently read my copy of the Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine!

  43. digdigby says:

    Our homily was one of a series being preached on each of the Beatitudes leading up into Lent. The first, of course, was on Blessed are the Poor in Spirit. I am deaf so I didn’t hear it but judging from our Canon’s facial expressions and body language he seemed to be cool with it.

  44. pm125 says:

    Before the Processional, Father read the Bishop’s letter about the HHS mandate. He asked everyone to take a bulletin and use the insert of contact info for the three US congressional reps for our District to contact them about voting with our conscience. He also repeated the Bishop’s pleas for fasting and prayer. No sermon, Blessing of Throats after Mass.

  45. Nun2OCDS says:

    EF Form – Hiring of laborers: all paid the same regarless of how long they worked. We are all sent by God on a mission to work for the good of others selflessly. We are sent on a mission because of the Trinity. In the Trinity there is sharing. Those given much want to share with others. God sent His Son to help us participate in the Holy Trinity, to join the Trinity in the one mission. God has no hand, no feet . . but ours.

    We are blessed to have priests who can explain the Gospel well and teach us how we can live it. May God reward them.

Comments are closed.