Your Sunday Sermon Notes

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

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  1. Lisa Graas says:

    Our priest, Fr. Brian Johnson, pointed out that the Gospel reading shows us that God is about “completeness.” The shepherd goes after the lost sheep because he desires that the flock be complete. Ten is a unit, so when the woman loses one coin of ten, she is upset because her unit (set) of coins is incomplete. She rejoices when she finds the coin that makes her set complete. In the story of the Prodigal Son, the father desires that both sons be at the table with him because without both sons the family is not complete.

    I had never heard this explained this way before. God is about fullness, completeness, wholeness, and these readings show His desire that it is not okay for anyone to be lost. We should all desire that everyone be saved and rejoice in the return of every Prodigal Son who comes back to the fold in repentance.

  2. iPadre says:

    Sin and redemption. The Father is waiting for our return. Go to Confession!

  3. Bosco says:

    In our parish here in Ireland the pastor gave a wonderful sermon on The Prodigal Son, remarking that we must remember that there are in fact three persons mentioned in that Gospel account, i.e. the prodigal son, the father, and the older brother who resented the magnanimity and all-forgiving love of his father towards “this (prodigal) son of yours”.
    Father analysed the differing perspectives and reactions of all three and ended with the admonition to all parishioners that we must be reconciled to God and to our fellow men.
    “Go to confession.”, is how he ended the sermon.
    This Gospel always causes me to reflect that when the son left to live a life of wantonness, and ultimately destitution, the father must have known (even at a distance) of his son’s descent into degradation
    The older brother certainly was aware. (“But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home…Luke 15:30).
    Yet the father did not set out to those foreign lands to drag or cajole his son back.
    Rather the father waited and watched, straining his eyes scanning the horizon so that “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son.” (Luke 15:20)
    God waits for us with love and compassion. Let us not keep Him waiting.

  4. lana says:

    Father today had an interesting angle on the Prodigal Son.  It was about how each of the sons did not understand what it meant to be a -son-.

    The younger one comes back, and in his repentance, said ‘treat me as if I were one of your hired servants’.    ‘As if that would ever work.’. The Father shows him his sonship is restored completely.

    The older son says, ‘all my life I have worked for you’.  All along he has been seeing himself as a servant, and not realizing that he is a -son-.  His Father has to remind him:  ‘You are always with me. Everything I have is yours.’  The older son needs to understand better what he has had all along.

    My personal reflection on this is that we need to better understand and be thankful for baptism.

  5. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Our pastor was taken ill, so we had a quickly-arranged substitute: a older man who happens to be a newly-ordained Theatine priest. He preached at length about confession and mentioned both (1) indulgences in general, (2) the apostolic pardon and (3) the plenary indulgence for receiving the blessing of a newly-ordained priest.

  6. Gregorius says:

    “Nothing we do pleases God more than our conversion.” That being said, we need to to have a true spirit spirit of conversion to advance in the spiritual life- not conversion as a sense of ‘when I’m holy I’ll be fine’ or conversion due to self-interested notions. Rather, we must for our entire lives put our trust in God and be ever open to His spirit.

  7. Priam1184 says:

    We had a priest from Tanzania doing a mission appeal. After he gave the outlines of the parable of the prodigal son he chanted a beautiful hymn of Thanksgiving in his native tongue (a language of which I am 99.9% of the people in the parish, myself included, did not understand one syllable) that lasted about two minutes and got an immediate and incredibly positive reaction from those seated in the pews. Amazing how, when something possesses true beauty, people will gravitate toward it even if they do not understand the dictionary meanings of all, or even any of the words…

  8. yatzer says:

    Both sons showed their lack of love for their father, because both were looking out for what they could get from their father. One in his behavior told the father that his father was worth more to him dead than alive. The other stayed with the father as some stay with the Church more because of what they believe they can get out of it materially than because of love. We need to have a real relationship with God because we love him and our brothers and sisters around us.

  9. lmgilbert says:

    This may be a bit off topic since it refers to a sermon earlier in the week.

    When Pope Francis had the prayer vigil for peace last week , appealing to the Queen of Peace, and then two days later the Russians proposed a solution to the Syrian chemical weapons situation that dissolved the tension that could well have led to WWIII, I thought surely many Catholics in the blogsphere would be taking victory laps on behalf of Our Lady and the Pope. But no.

    However, in a sermon earlier this week Fr John Kerns of Our Lady of the Lake parish in Lake Oswego, Oregon made the connection, pointing out how it was “interesting” that the the prayer vigil and our prayer and fasting were followed almost immediately by a proposal that all were taking seriously, that for the moment at least the tension was dissolved, and the bombing of Syria averted.

    Although the Pope is not in favor of it, i t seems like we Catholics could justifiably have indulged in a bit of triumphalism over this. And why did we not? Perhaps it is because of the scientism which is the air we breathe. We could have – O horror!-been accused of the post hoc propter hoc logical fallacy.

    Once in speaking to a friend who has a doctorate in biochemistry I mentioned having received an answer to prayer. But then, suddenly aware of the intellectual rigor of my scientist friend, I went on to qualify this by ascribing it to possible coincidence, etc., etc. Impatient with my attempting to apply the scientific method to this answer from Heaven, he stopped me cold and said, “Look, if you prayed for something and it happened, it happened because of your prayer.”

    In short, the Church secured a tremendous victory for world peace in her prayer and fasting last week. We should not be shy about saying that while the Russian proposal may have been an instrumental cause, ultimately the dissolving of this crisis is a gift from Heaven.

    This is important not only for the purpose of evangelization, but for the sake of our own morale. Not only did we make a difference, but it was a tremendous difference. The implicit message to ourselves is that we should do more of the same, much more. We could turn the world around. Prayers for “world peace” are great, but pin-pointing a given hot spot and praying it into submission to the Prince of Peace is something else altogether. We did that.

  10. Bryan Baldwin says:

    Theology is not faith.

  11. benedetta says:

    There is an aspect of appropriate self-love to the Gospel reading stating the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself”. This appropriate self-love is not to be confused with modern day self indulgence. This includes incorporating daily practices into one’s life as a Catholic in order to encourage progress in the spiritual life, recognizing that assisting at Holy Mass on Sunday is just a start or the barest minimum. Worthwhile practices include daily spiritual reading, making frequent use of the sacrament of confession, and devotional prayers. Additionally, resolving to trust in God when confronted with life’s slights and trials.

  12. zag4christ says:

    Fr. Richard Semple, here at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, spoke to how today’s readings and the Gospel all reveal the Mercy that God wants to give us. He blended in the unvarnished fact that we all are sinners, priests included, and that a goodly part of the Mercy that God wants to give is found in the graces associated with the all the sacraments, but he specifically spoke about confession. He then explained the difference between mortal and venial sin, and reassured us that mortal sins need to be reconciled by the sacrament of confession. He described specifically how to confess mortal sin in kind and number, and he requested that the penitent please leave out the salacious details, especially in reference to commandments 6 and 9. He reiterated that confession is sealed, and that priests have trained themselves to leave in the confessional what is heard there, from the standpoint of how they view and interact with the penitent outside the confessional.
    He spoke with kindness, some humor, and earnest persistence. Catechesis !
    Peace and God bless.

  13. ladytatslace says:

    Our Priest is in Chicago at the Seminary finishing some additional studies in Latin and Theology so we had a sub today. A Priest who lives at the Carmelite Monastery down the road. He told us there are 2 kinds of lost sinners, those like the sheep who know they are lost, but can’t find their way and those like the coin who have no idea they are lost. The lost sheep will eventually respond to God’s call when they recognize it, those who are lost coins will only be found when God collects them as they didn’t realize they were lost in the first place. Which are we?

  14. Today was the Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross in the Byzantine Calendar, and Father expanded upon “take up your cross and follow me” …he said that our crosses would not be removed, but with cooperating with His grace that we’ll be able to get through it. Very good sermon.

  15. coeyannie says:

    We had a solemn high Mass (TLM) at our new FSSP parish in Minneapolis. The priest said we see everything the apostles saw, except we see it with the eyes of Faith. Father Goodwin was the celebrant and also gave the sermon. I don’t like to paraphrase because I have a tendency to get things messed up. The whole event was impressive, to say the least. Come visit sometime Father Z. You could say a TLM Mass.

    God Bless.

  16. acardnal says:

    EF missa cantata. Beautifully sung and celebrated by a priest from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest. His homily was very instructive and based on today’s feast of Mary’s Seven Sorrows.

  17. aurora says:

    (coeyannie already noted above ) Fr. Calvin Goodwin was at Catholic Church of All Saints FSSP parish in Minneapolis this weekend. He spoke at a conference Friday night and Saturday morning and then hit it out of the park at the close of his sermon this morning, saying that we cannot get to God through error. And asked us to obtain graces for our priests, pray for priests. What a great weekend! Come visit.

  18. marthawrites says:

    Our pastor told us that the sheep was lost because it followed its instinct to look for food; the coin was lost as an accident happening to a thing, but the son was lost due to his own free choice to take his inheritance and leave his family. Father said that when we choose to leave our spouse, distance ourselves from our family, or leave the church we have to acknowledge our responsibility–that is sin–and to seek forgiveness. He urged us to forgive anyone whose actions may have separated them from our families or our church, but to put the blame where it lies.

  19. MikeToo says:

    Father did not want to preach directly on the prodigal son. Sometimes when you discuss something too closely, it looses its impact.

    The protagonist for all three parables is God. He earnestly desires our reconciliation.

    The confessional door is like the door to the wardrobe that takes you to Narnia but its to God’s realm that you go. Like the first book, the world is frozen when you first enter but thawed to a new springtime when you leave.

    When going to confession you must remember to confess all the sins you remember, of course, but God knows them already. When preparing your list, spend at least as much time sincerely preparing your heart.

  20. JacobWall says:

    I’m visiting Mexico. The priest offered a sermon on real-life examples in which people can be lost as in the 3 parables, including living in unconfessed sin, non-sacramental life, leaving the church for one of the many sects (a notable problem in this city, although this priest’s large parish is packed full for 5 Sunday masses!) and parents who dedicate their time to what would otherwise be good things at the neglect of their family. He challenged us not only to avoid these in our own lives but to be active in bringing other Christians back home.

  21. JonPatrick says:

    At the TLM Father preached on the Epistle for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost. One analogy in particular that he made struck me as being an example of what is wrong with the world today. Imagine that you have 100 pianos and you are trying to tune them by comparing one piano to another, you will never get anywhere because you don’t know which ones are in tune or out of tune and have no standard to compare to. Instead you need a standard such as tuning fork. God is our tuning fork that gives us that standard to measure ourselves to.

    In thinking about this analogy, it occurred to me that sometimes we can sense when something is out of tune in our lives or our society, like we sense when a musical instrument is out of tune, but don’t know exactly what is wrong, and the experts around us are assuring us everything is fine and that dissonance is good. Like the time many years ago, before I knew better, I attended a gay “wedding” and said to myself “something doesn’t seem right” but couldn’t put my finger on it. Now the “tuning fork” has helped me figure out what was “out of tune”.

  22. future_sister says:

    Got the chance to go to the EF second week in a row now, which means the homily was fantastic. I unfortunately can’t remember the whole thing, but here’s the bit I posted on facebook for my friends.
    “We believe God is here, present now in the tabernacle. If we really believed that we would be on our knees every Sunday in this church worshiping Him. Everything about the Mass is directed towards God! The priest faces God, faces East! You face God. Everyone in the sanctuary, their moves are disciplined to honor God. We buy the best and nicest vestments that we can! All for God! …
    The greatest commandment: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength then love your neighbor as yourself. How do we love our neighbor, well, what do we want for ourselves? We want God, God permeates our very being, He is what holds us in existence. So to love our neighbor as ourselves we must want God, want Heaven, for our neighbor, that includes our worst enemy. …
    He asked then why does David call him Lord if he is David’s son? We know, if it were David’s son, the son would be the one calling his father lord. The answer why, the only answer is because He must be God. They started to realize this in that moment and that is why they stopped questioning Him. …
    They questioned Jesus about the law, they wanted to trip Him up so they could try Him. They were looking for what they thought unanswerable questions like lawyers do to get around to take anything he said as a violation. I know this well as the son of a lawyer and the grandson of a lawyer.”

    Sorry, they are conjumbled points, but ooh the whole homily was amazing. And I must put that last weeks was on how you can trace the fall of our modern civilization to the Protestant revolution, that that was when people started really thinking they didn’t need God in their lives and were willing to let everyone know and work to take God out of everything.

    A question for Father or the other readers. Would it be a bad idea for me to get a small, pocket sized recorder and record the homilies at the EF I go to… I dislike electronics, especially in Mass, but I would love to perhaps record them for the priest so he could put them on the church website for everyone.

  23. Faith says:

    The priest gave a parallel parable, “The brother of the Prodigal Son.”

  24. Eliane says:

    Emphasizing that faith and morals are the twin pillars of the church, the priest celebrating Mass in the EF said the pope is undermining both of these pillars. In attendance was a good Catholic friend with her Protestant husband. The latter lauded the priest’s outspokenness and said members of his church have been very disturbed about the pope’s pronouncements. Specifically, the priest criticized the pope’s softness toward atheists who overtly reject God, and also the “Who am on to judge?” comment re: sexual immorality.

  25. TSmurf says:

    Our priest continued on from last weekend talking about Mary, which was rock solid and left us with a lot to think about.

    However, before getting back to Mary he talked about the use of Latin briefly because he is trying to teach us all the Ordinary parts of the Mass in Latin. In that he made a great comment in reference to people who do not like the use of Latin:

    “…people complain to me that they don’t like Latin at Mass because they don’t understand it, but I say that you don’t understand what you’re saying in English either…”

  26. frjim4321 says:

    Struggled this weekend a lot and not what I wanted to do at all. Once again Celebration was poor (I am quitting them, have many years filed, at least three each of A, B, C cycles). Ended up with a reflection on What Forgiveness is Not …

    What Forgiveness is Not:

    • forgetting
    • excusing
    • abdicating
    • weak
    • cowardly
    • resignation
    • clinging to grudges
    • allowing resentment to embitter us
    • allowing injuries to fester
    • allowing mistreatment to continue

    Not my typical approach, and a little too pop. psy. Usually stay much closer to the texts.

  27. Priam1184 says:

    @frjim4321 Don’t be too hard on yourself. The whole text is about forgiveness, and forgiveness is such a misunderstood subject in our day and age that what you said is very helpful I think.

  28. MikeM says:

    I guess there were 3 points that stood out to me:
    1) God actively comes to meet us. The father doesn’t wait at home for the Prodigal Son to knock… While, by all rights, the father could have waited for his son to come to the door, knock and beg, he ran out to meet him.
    2) The parables were meant to strike the audience as extreme… almost crazy, because God’s pursuit of each of us is that extreme.
    3) Go to confession. (He has a copy of Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son in the confessional, he brought it out for the homily, told everyone that he’d hoped they’d seen it in there before, and that even if they hadn’t, he hoped that everyone would see it again soon. And, he told everyone that he had prayer cards with a picture of the painting on the front and an act of contrition on the back at the back of the church for everyone to take on the way out.

  29. frjim4321 says:


    Thanks! I find preaching very enjoyable and rewarding but also a lot of hard work if done right. A classmate recently told me about and I have found it very good. I would suggest that any preacher at least take a look at it. I bumped into the author/pastor there at NAC and he is a great guy and his parish is outstanding. Traveled there for a wedding a couple years ago and he was very hospitable.

    Forgiveness is a hard topic for many people who I think might have a hard time understanding that God can forgive them because it is very hard for them to forgive themselves.

  30. coeyannie says:

    Father Goodwin also said when people tell him that they didn’t understand a word he said in Latin, he said “that’s OK, I wasn’t talking to you”. I thought that was a hilarious come back.

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