Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Good points… good points from the sermon you heard for your Sunday obligation Mass…. Let us know what they are!

Today, 8th Sunday after Pentecost, I spoke of the Lord’s parable of the wicked steward in Luke as an admonishment to give alms.  Everything we (the wicked steward) have is from God (the rich man, the master).  We must give an account as what we have done with all we have been given.  Our Lord did not praise the fraud and theft of the wicked steward, who cut what people owed to his master in order to curry favor.  The Lord pointed out that, if the children of the world act with cleverness and decisions and plans in worldly matters, how much more should the children of the light work to attain heaven with plans and decision and cleverness: prudence?  His admonishment to “make friends of mammon of iniquity” isn’t an order to get to know rich people who got their wealth through who knows what.  We are to make material goods, our friends, in the sense of making them work for our salvation.  The Psalm says that the good things flow from the God’s hands to all creatures.  But our hands are God’s hands here on earth.  In Matthew 25, another chapter wherein a rich man calls stewards to account for what they did with wealth he entrusted to them, the Lord describes what happens to people who did or did not help Him, encountered in the person of the poor and needy.  Those on the right, happiness.  Those on the left, torment prepared for devils.  We must make use of material things as if we are stewards and also for the good of others, not just for ourselves.

Also, almsgiving is personal.  Almsgiving is not about governmental programs, or a welfare state, or statist big government’s redistribution of wealth.  States don’t souls, we do.  We are the ones who must also mind the poor, and by doing so, we treasure up treasure in heaven.  Jesus didn’t say that when the State takes your money and redistributes it, you shall be rewarded.  States don’t perform works which merit the reward of heaven.  You do. Make good use of material goods in such a way that you are preparing an aeterna tabernacula, an everlasting dwelling.  We are saved by the good will of God, his loving, merciful graces. He makes our hands strong to perform works of mercy, so that they are, at the same, both ours and His.

The Secret today underscores the Gospel:

Suscipe, quaesumus, Domine, munera, quae tibi de tua largitate deferimus: ut haec sacrosancta mysteria, gratiae tuae operante virtute, et praesentis vitae nos conversatione sanctificent, et ad gaudia sempiterna perducant.

Accept, we beseech You, O Lord, the gifts which, from Your bounty, we bring to You: that, as the power of Your grace is working, these most sacred mysteries may both sanctify us during the course of this present life of conversion, and guide us through to joys everlasting.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. iPadre says:

    Quick summary: We see the five essentials of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in today’s Gospel. Through the ages, the Mass grew through an organic development to strengthen our belief in the Sacrifice & Real Presence and to foster a spirit of reverence & awe. A mystery of God’s love.

  2. acardnal says:

    “Also, almsgiving is personal. Almsgiving is not about governmental programs, or a welfare state, or statist big government’s redistribution of wealth. States don’t souls, we do. We are the ones who must also mind the poor, and by doing so, we treasure up treasure in heaven. Jesus didn’t say that when the State takes your money and redistributes it, you shall be rewarded. States don’t perform works which merit the reward of heaven. You do. Make good use of material goods in such a way that you are preparing an aeterna tabernacula, an everlasting dwelling. We are saved by the good will of God, his loving, merciful graces. He makes our hands strong to perform works of mercy, so that they are, at the same, both ours and His.”

    Well said, Father Z. When I heard you speak those words at this morning’s Mass, I made a mental note to remember them. I am pleased you put them on “paper” here on this blog. Now, if I can only convince my siblings that paying taxes is not a personal act of charity that will save your soul!

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    The sermon (by a visiting priest) on the feeding of the 5000 consisted of a strange joke that elicited some very weak chuckles, then the priest said “now let us all think about when was the last time we did something to help someone in need.” And he went and sat down.

    Then at the end of Mass we had the BEST seminarian appeal. Really, wow. Maybe the best part was the seminarian didn’t want our money. He mostly wanted our prayers, and to sacrifice himself for us and do our purgatory for us so we can go straight to heaven. He just wants us to be holy. We are supposed to take the envelope home and pray over it and what kind of sacrifice we can make. Then we made Pope Paul VI cry because there was a considerable round of applause.

  4. jfk03 says:

    In our Byzantine Catholic parish, it is the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, also pre feast of the Transfiguration. The Epistle is 1 Cor. 1:10-18. Father’s sermon focused on this reading.

    St. Paul urged the Corinthians that there be “no dissension among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” Dissensions (schismata) were a big problem in the early Church as they are today. Some were infected with the sin of pride.

    We know little about Apollos other than that he was a forceful, charismatic personality. But he did not end up in the synaxarion, We have no record of the reason for this. Likewise, the Apostles appointed seven holy deacons (Acts 6:5), the most notable of which was the protomartyr, Stephen. All but one of the deacons were remembered by the church as saints. The exception was Nicolaus, who strayed into gnosticism.

    The point of the sermon is that we, as Christians of today, must avoid dissension and schism at all costs. We must be loving toward our brethren in Christ. and avoid needless controversies.

  5. ckdexterhaven says:

    Our Deacon warned us not to doubt the miracle that Jesus performed. He emphasized that this was not ‘The Miracle of Sharing.’ Jesus really did perform a miraculous deed. He tied it into Jesus on the cross, and the soldiers taking his clothes, but not the seamless garment. The Deacon said if we doubt any part of the Gospels, (by minimizing the miracle into a social justice anecdote)we will unravel all of the garment (Bible).

  6. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Excellent exposition of the Gospel today!

    The investment strategy of the steward and the master aren’t the point of this Gospel. Christ isn’t countenancing embezzlement. Rather, he’s teaching us that if we have not merely natural reason, but supernatural faith, we should invest with/in those who have our best interests. He went on to explain that the material “goods” which God gives us are not evil, as some suggest.

  7. DetJohn says:

    I don’t know what Father said. Today he only spoke in Arabic. He usually repeats his sermon in English.

  8. Reconverted Idiot says:

    Our sermon was given over entirely to recounting the history of Christianity in the Middle East regions today known as Iraq and Syria, and the various persecutions at the hands of Islam from the C7 onwards, culminating in the current ISIS situation. 3 things we can do to help were highlighted: financial giving, prayer/fasting, and contacting our members of parliament. The second collection was taken for the Christians in Iraq, the proceeds to be remitted to the Iraq Bishops through an agency set up for the purposes of providing the needed aid in the Kurdish and other regions (I forget the name of the agency right now).

    I was so pleased to hear this sermon. Father gave a wonderfully detailed and accurate outline of the history.

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    OF (feeding of the 5000) – Jesus didn’t produce food from nothing at this event. He asked His disciples to give what they had to Him, blessed it, and returned it to them. He didn’t give the food to the people. His disciples did. This type of thing can and should happen in our lives every day where we give what we have to the Lord and, then, to those in corporal or spiritual need.

  10. John of Chicago says:

    The pastor raised a question at one point in his sermon regarding whether Jesus’ primary concern is with the hungry etc. or with those who would care for the hungry–or, I suppose, both. In other words, after all the gifts from the generous and the charitable are distributed to those in need, what is to become of those yet still “hungry”?
    Must the hungry wait and hope for a change of heart and future charitable acts by an even greater number of the more fortunate of the community (so as not to rob the hard-of-heart of their opportunity to be saved or does the principle of subsidiarity require the intervention of the state to take up the care of those at risk of their lives, security, welfare and future? Do the real and immediate needs of the hungry take precedence over the potentially virtuous deeds of the currently indifferent?

  11. Doug R says:

    I wish I’d heard some of these points. The retired pastor who said Mass for us this weekend reduced it to the story of “Stone Soup” (literally – he told that tale for his homily, then wound it up by saying that the moral is that “…we are enriched by sharing.”

    Not inaccurate, as far as it goes, but I’m not sure it really gets to the heard of it.

  12. Bthompson says:

    I preached on the need to move from being the passive recipients of God’s generosity, like the crowd, to being cooperators in the mission of Christ, like the disciples.

  13. My homily began with the question posed by Saint Paul in the second reading: what can separate us from the love of Christ? And of all the things Paul mentioned, the one he omitted was…you (or me): we can separate ourselves — that’s our one vulnerability.

    So I went from there to the Eucharist and the Mass as the anchor that holds us to Christ. I talked a good deal about the miracle and what it meant, above all, for the apostles, how it prepared them for offering Mass, and what tasks we might undertake if we want to be better anchored in the Eucharist: pray for greater devotion; frequent confession; appreciate the gift of many Masses hereabouts (in contrast to many places); bring others in prayer to our own communion.

  14. Sonshine135 says:

    At my weekly OF, Father had an excellent homily on understanding Jesus. Specifically, he focused on contrasting Jesus’ treatment of John the Baptist’s execution- where he barely lifts a finger to the treatment and compassion for the people he had in multiplying the fish and the loaves. Our Lord’s treatment of John may seem callus, but it is because we look at him through Earthly eyes. If we truly embrace the concept of heaven and afterlife, then John simply went to his reward in heaven. Father stated that we all too often look for our reward on Earth and we look at suffering as a punishment, shaking our fist at God, and wondering why our reward isn’t here. Why can’t we be rich? Yet, our riches are not in this world.

  15. Darren says:

    EF Mass in Jersey City, NJ yesterday…

    To the best I can recollect…

    Father spoke about how everyone is spending the summer in dark theaters watching movies that Hollywood calls the “superhero genre”. People are looking for super heros… heros with extraordinary powers, super human… …but the only REAL heros in our world are the heros of Grace…. the Saints of the Church. He went to talk about St. JohnVianney who, among all he did, did two especially great things:

    1. He raised money, asked – begged – for donations to repair and beautiful the church in Ars, to restore to its glory so it would be fitting for Our Lord, and a place of beauty to truly behold for those who came… to buy the best vestments he could for the celebration of Mass and the other sacraments… all while he could barely afford the very little food he ate and the tattered clothing he wore himself while not celebrating Mass.

    2. He heard confession EVERY DAY. In the beginning, nobody came… so he would spend his time alone in the confessional praying the rosary or some other prayer for the conversion of the people of Ars. After a couple of years, the line for confession was out the church onto the street and he heard confessions for 13 hours or more each day. Countless souls were converted.

    I believe he also attributed the following to St. John Vianney, but I am not 100% certain, I may be wrong about that, but regardless:

    “If a priest is a saint, his people will be holy
    If a priest is holy, his people will be good
    If a priest is just good, his people will be bad,
    and if a priest is bad, his people will be beasts”

    Again reiterating that the real heroes are the heroes of Grace

  16. ASD says:

    We heard a good sermon at EF Mass. The readings from Rom 8 & Luke 16 taken together reiterate The Lord’s Prayer.


    1. We’re all stewards of the talents, etc, given to us by God. And, like the steward in the story, we’re all “unjust” in the sense that we don’t live up to our responsibilities perfectly, we squander his possessions.
    2. Theological premise: When someone has wronged me, he has really sinned against God.
    3. But, consider how a steward made his living in 1st century Palestine: Like a banker today: He put someone else’s money to work & took a cut of profits for himself.
    4. So, when the steward in the story marks down bills, he’s forgiving the part of the debt that would have been his, leaving only the part owed to the master.
    5. Then, surprise! They will receive [me] into eternal dwellings. The debtors I forgive are as likely to be in heaven as I am!

    I think this is a very good example of the Top Fifty approach used in the old Missal. We get the local parish Catholics about 50 times a year; what do we want to teach them? For 8th Sunday after Pentecost: Abba, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

  17. mo7 says:

    Parable of the dishonest steward: Father used the commentary of Gaudentius of Brescia: Nothing in this world really belongs to us. We are called to use that which we have according to our station in life and to avoid extravagance.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Even though it is the TLM in the area, the priest always preaches on the NO Gospel, as he has four other Masses, bless him.

    One point stood out. The apostles brought the fish and loaves to Christ. We do not multiply out meager talents and gifts, God does. Nice reminder of Who is in charge.

  19. AgricolaDeHammo says:

    Father Z,
    The Latin Mass at Immaculate Conception in Tarrytown was excellent as always, but the homily in particular stayed with me. This parable had always been an odd one, but I finally heard it explained to my satisfaction!
    It’s not that the steward cut the Master out of what was owed to him, but that he removed his customary surcharge. So if he was charging folks $100, then $20 was going straight to his pocket, when he should have been only taking $80.
    The steward wasn’t praised for further cheating his master, but for correcting his wrongdoing, by merely asking what was owed in justice to the master – and of course those in debt didn’t know that so they thought the steward was doing them a favor.

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