Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Matthew 22 cast-out-of-the-wedding-feastWas there a good point made in the sermon you heard during your Mass for your Sunday obligation?

Let us know.

For my part – on this 19th Sunday after Pentecost -taking my cue from the Epistle and from the Lord’s parable about the king’s wedding banquet I spoke about the gift garment.  Paul tells us to put on the “new man”.  Our Lord describes how the king who gives the banquet has the man without the wedding garment bound hand and foot and then has him thrown outside to weep and grind his teeth in the darkness of night.

A bit of an over reaction on the king’s part, no?  Why the stern punishment?

As per ancient Eastern custom, kings clothed guests in beautiful gift garments as they entered in order to honor them and to make the occasion more beautiful and decorous.  The man without the garment had no excuse: he was given a garment and he refused to put on the king’s gift, thus insulting the king, the other guests, and the occasion itself.  That’s what we do when we sin and are “bad Catholics”, we dishonor God and other members of the Church.

We are in the banquet on the KING’s terms, not on our terms.  We are in the Church on the Church’s terms, not on our terms.

The Lord puts the new man on us in baptism and the other sacraments.  He gives us the garment.  We must keep it in good order.  But the garment is invisible and inward as well as visible and outward.  We have our baptismal character which is invisible, but outwardly our words and deeds reveal that we are clothed in the gift.   Our behavior can honor God and others.  Our behavior can harm others.  Our behavior can make it easier for others to sin or to be holy.  When we dishonor our gift garment in sin, we are bound and blind, frightened and angry in sin.  That state is only a prelude to the paralyzing terror and fury of the eternal outside which is Hell.  We can choose instead to keep the gift garment in good order and be filled with the light of the feast, in the company of the saints and angels, in the good pleasure of the King who wants to honor us and make us more like Him in splendor.

We can lose what has been given to us.  We can lose the banquet of heaven by neglect of our gift garment, which insults the Giver.  Remember: The king put the man out of the banquet and into Hell.  The Lord wants us inside but He won’t force us.  We are called, but we might not be chosen.  Many are not.

Concretely, I also told the altar boys about how the first line of the Epistle, about putting on the new man, is the prayer we say when we put on our surplice to serve at the altar.  We have to keep it in good order.  We have to be squared away at the altar, where we give honor to the King’s table in the sight of all the other guests.

Also, concretely, I underscored for the congregation Paul’s admonition not to let the sun set on anger, to make amends, not to provoke to anger, which is a foretaste of being bound in the outer darkness.

In any event, for those of who who serve Holy Mass or who train altar boys, it is fitting to be recollected when putting on vestments.  Use these prayers:

Washing hands:

Da, Domine, virtutem manibus meis ad abstergendam omnem maculam ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire.

Give virtue to my hands, O Lord, that being cleansed from all stain I might serve you with purity of mind and body.’

For the Cassock:

Dominus, pars haereditatis meae, et calicis mei:  tu es, qui restitues hereditatem meam mihi.

O Lord, the portion of my inheritance, and my chalice:  You are He who will restore my inheritance to me.

For the Surplice:

Indue me, Domine, novum hominem, qui secundum Deum creatus est in iustitia et sanctitate veritatis.  Amen.

Invest me, O Lord, as a new man, who was created by God in justice and the holiness of truth.  Amen.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Caritas in veritate says:

    Yes- Fr. at our Mass gave a Homily about not lying and speaking ill of one another and that we are all a very important part of the Body of Christ and where will our soul be at the precise moment of the 4 last things. After that we walked out to one group gossiping and then came upon another person glaring at me after our sons had a conflict over things having to do with one boy being very worldly and the other boy actively practicing detachment from such things. Knowing my own sinful nature- I could not help but recollect Father’s homily- and also the current state of civilization- lamenting the coordinated efforts of the evil one at present using certain movements to gather masses into his trap. How I wish that TLMers could find humility in a true coordinated effort to combat these evils. But unfortunately we still seem too fat and happy and power hungry (controlling tiny bunkers?!) and if we could but unite under the mantle of Our Lady- how much we could accomplish for the future generations. Veni, Creator!

  2. Charivari Rob says:

    Father started with the rich man & Lazarus, drew parallels to our own relationships where we might or might not get beyond our failures (using the example of his relationship with his brother in childhood and now). He then went on to tie missed opportunities to sins of omission.

  3. un-ionized says:

    Civ, I love your remarks about tiny bunkers, etc. The Evil One will always come after groups of people huddling complacently around the doughnut table. Jesus can easily send a bunker buster their way.

  4. SundaySilence says:

    One of our deacons preached the homily today, on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. His main point was built around the final verse “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the grave.” Spoiler alert: The deacon then explained that Jesus rose from the grave. (I wish I had checked who was on for this Sunday)

  5. un-ionized says:

    SundaySilence, Your deacon sounds like he knows there will be people at Mass who don’t know or believe, who are there for other reasons. Several Dominicans that I know of preach in that way too.

  6. jst5000 says:

    In the EF, Father (FSSP) took the wedding banquest parable and launched into a strong defense of the inviolability of church teaching on marriage being between man & woman as well as the not allowing communion for the civilly divorced & remarried. He said that this is the teaching of Christ and cannot be changed by ANYONE; priest, bishop, not even the pope. His comments were very straightforward and pointed. He referred to a bishop who said otherwise as a “heretic.”
    He also reiterated that the Church will never be defeated, even in these times which are the most troubling in church history.

  7. Nan says:

    The rich man and Lazarus, our obligation to help others. The Statement that poverty is complicated and doesn’t mean people are lazy, they may live away from jobs, lack bs fare and the ability to pay for a car.

    Despite the billions spent on welfare and related programs he claims the remedy is to vote for those who will increase spending! I had not heretofore understood that the Marist Fathers are crazy, which is what I took from his homily. Had he merely told us to help one another and perhaps touted any social justice programs they run or suggested volunteering at Dorothy Day or with the Little Sisters of the Poor or Missionaries of Charity, that would be one thing but I didn’t think priests were supposed to advocate for increased federal taxes and exponential national debt!

    Thus endeth my rant.

  8. SundaySilence says:

    un-ionized: I wish that was the case. There is a certain amount of preparation needed to involve a congregation and grow their faith. I am not expecting each Sunday’s homily to rival the Office of Readings. But, I’ve heard this deacon before. We have others who really challenge us – they are the ones who take time, effort, and thought into preparing what they will say.

    Years ago when I was first in training to teach Religious Ed, I had asked how to approach a classroom where there was a wide discrepancy between those kids who really wanted to learn and those who were just there because their parents wanted them to make their First (and likely last) Holy Communion. In other words, should I try to make up for the lack of instruction at home. The feedback I got was to concentrate on those whose families obviously lived their faith and hope/pray the others would grasp what we were trying to impart. Otherwise we risk losing them all – the ones who weren’t coming back would still not come back, but instructing at too low a level would result in us losing those who really wanted to be challenged, learn and grow in their faith.

  9. un-ionized says:

    I know of a friar whose preaching is so elementary that people who do know get bored. Not everyone shares the philosophy that you were told to follow. And this elementary friar is now working for the diocese. Go figure. I was told by other friars that this is fine, that everyone needs to be preached to at every level, no one should be omitted.

  10. SundaySilence says:

    Fair enough.

  11. torch621 says:

    EF Mass. Father focused on the Gospel reading about the parable of the wedding feast, using an anecdote from the Church Fathers about the “wedding garment” being faith without charity, and launched into an excellent homily about the importance of charity; namely, that faith without it is nothing and the soul which does not have charity lacks all other virtues.

  12. Fr. W says:

    Perhaps it is precisely when we are offended by simplicity in preaching that we need it the most.

  13. Fuerza says:

    During the OF Mass that I attended today the priest tied the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to sins of indifference, and related the story to the poverty he witnessed while doing mission work in India. He also spoke briefly, though effectively, about the torments of Hell, something which I haven’t heard in a while. From looking around it seemed to get everyone else’s attention as well.

  14. frjim4321 says:

    It was more of a teaching on the Offertory Procession and the joining of our sacrifices with the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Amos 6 and Luke 16 can be taken as “afflictions to the comfortable,” but the evidence is that many people are already sacrificing considerable. What do we do with the sacrifices we make and are we conscious of them as being part of what we bring to the Eucharistic Celebration?

  15. RobS says:

    Fr. Jim, that sounds like a great topic.

    I think this is one of those sets of readings that allows for a lot of great angles for a homilist to emphasize. For my part, I heard a homily on outreach to Africa, and how our sacrifice in the US, even if small, can make life so much better for so many Lazaruses overseas. I’d like to think our parish was generous in the second collection after that!

  16. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Pray for Faith lest you end up like Lazarus the dives and his siblings. As always, a fine sermon by Father Y——-.

  17. Nan says:

    @SundaySilence, speaking for the uncatechized, you don’t know what’s happening in anyone’s heart or where the lessons you teach will take these children. I’m a product of CCD through Second Grade and still turned out Catholic. it must be much easier with supportive parents.

  18. iamlucky13 says:

    Ordinary form, so the gospel was the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. We had a visiting priest I wasn’t too sure about initially (I’ve always felt a bit awkward around charismatic types), but he did not deliver the soft, feel-good homily I had mistakenly anticipated. A few of his points:

    – There is a hell, and we don’t want to follow the example of the rich man and end up there. Rejecting the existence of hell is heresy, no matter how nice it sounds to think we all ultimately end up in the same place.

    – Many Christians emphasize their personal relationship with Christ as savior, and dismiss the need for good works. They’ve let themselves become comfortable in a similar way to the rich man in the Gospel. If we truly know and love Christ and have a real relationship with him, we will transform ourselves to be like Him. If our relationship does not lead us to doing good works, we clearly don’t have as good of a relationship as we think we do.

    – When we perform acts of charity, they must be good for the the person we are helping. Giving $5 to a person begging at the street corner may feel good, but may further enable activities that led to them being where they are. A meager contribution every now and then to assuage our conscience does not meaningfully differentiate us from the rich man. Doing nothing is also not an option. There are numerous Catholic organizations we can consistently support that feed, shelter, and help rehabilitate the homeless, the addicted, etc. that we can support, such as St. Vincent DePaul’s and Catholic Community Services where they can receive the specific help they need.

  19. PhilipNeri says:

    What if the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man is a story about how you choose to love, that is, how you choose to manifest love in the world? By what means – tangible, palpable, really-real – what ways do I, do you leave evidence of God’s love behind? Giving a beggar on S. Carrollton a dollar or two may assuage my guilt, but have I loved? Organizing meetings on the causes of poverty, protesting corporate greed, and calling for the redistribution of society’s wealth, all of these might edge me closer to a feeling of “getting things done,” but am I doing any of these for love, for God’s love?

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  20. HealingRose says:

    Honestly, I missed the homily due to three misbehaving children (my children). However, I would like to respond about the comments referring to the simplicity of homilies. I have two points about what I believe makes a “good” homily.

    First, I think we need to wake people up at every level by simple and direct messages. I would love if the homily was summarized into one simple, bold sentence immediately followed by the pastor dropping the mic and sitting down for an exaggerated length of silence. I think the length of most attention spans fall short of the length of most homilies. Know your audience. Less is more. Even the Ten Commandments are broken down to only ten sentences. Give them something bite size to chew on for the rest of the day or week.

    Secondly, Mass and the homily is a time I need to quiet myself in order to open my senses to the worship of God and voice of the Spirit. I listen during the homily, but I will also often let my mind wander as I ponder certain phrases or ideas that are being said. No matter how simple the message, if I am not open to God’s Grace, then I will not be open to understanding what is being said either through a homily or Scripture. Blessed are those who do not understand, yet still believe. How many Saints were illiterate, uneducated, or did not speak Latin, yet found holiness through the simplicity of faithfulness. If I look for a homily or the Mass to be brought down to my level, then I am truly being selfish. I am there to be selfless, to focus on God through worship, and to understand what He would have me know. I have heard the same Gospel readings preached on for my entire life, but most have no meaning until I was able to learn how to listen to the Spirit speaking through. Words can be preached, but only the Spirit can give true meaning.

    If only we would spend less time listening to a winded homily and more time preparing for a good confession. Go to Confession!

    (If only Confession were offered before every Mass, we might view the homily differently.) [Insert a smile and a wink here.]

  21. JonPatrick says:

    OF Mass. It is not a crime to be rich, but we need to remember everything belongs to God and we are just stewards of what we have so we must use it wisely to help those around us. It is significant that Lazarus is named but the rich man is not which is symbolic of how he has cut himself off and does not even see Lazarus. We have to be prudent with our alms, the person begging may be using the money for substance abuse, but we have the alternative to give the money to a charity.

  22. St. Irenaeus says:

    We had a video. And will have another one next week.

  23. The title I gave my homily was, “Lazaruses all around us. Ignore them, and go to hell.” I cited the unborn child, women pressured and threatened into abortions, and immigrants as some Lazaruses. I explained that the bishops recognize the need to secure the border and obey the law, but have pointed out how some remedies to illegal immigration are harsh and offend human dignity: breaking up families, for example, and proposals to make any sort of assistance to illegal immigrants — including giving food and shelter — itself a crime.

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