Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point made in the sermon you heard for your Mass of Sunday Obligation for this 1st Sunday of Lent? Let us know!

For my part… well… here it is.   Since I am in LENTCAzT mode, I include some chant of the Tract for Mass – Extraordinary Form – to which I refer in the sermon.   The Tract is long, because it is most of Psalm 90/91, a harrowing but hope-filled song of war for the penitent warrior.

I was, by the way, working on the wire without a net. This morning, I was carrying some heavy things to my car and… well… on my way to church my priestly neighbor, heading out for Mass himself, texted me:


So, I dug my heels into the floor boards and started.

Now… to prepare a clerical supper!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Bthompson says:

    I dissected the tactics of the serpent as he tempted Eve and the mistakes Eve made in engaging him as well as Adam’s failure in not intervening. Then I talked about how we can use this knowledge to diffuse the temptation in our own lives by calling out the lies the enemy tells us.

  2. For Lent, I provided a book to all our parishioners called The Seven Secrets of Confession, and we are going through the book with a series of homilies. Today the focus was on the first “secret,” which is that sin doesn’t change God (but we think it does); sin changes us. Sin turns our gaze from the Father (e.g., Adam and Eve), but in confession, we meet his gaze of love again. Jesus, by contrast, never took his gaze off the Father, which explains so much. He will help us keep our gaze on the Father, especially through the sacrament of reconciliation.

  3. PhilipNeri says:

    We have forty days and forty nights to confront head on the One Sin that all sins call “Father”—the single sin of believing that we are our own gods. Every sin we assent to, every sin we give flesh and blood to gives life to the serpent’s temptation: disobey God so that you might know what it is to be God.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  4. Prayerful says:

    The Archdiocesan TLM chaplaincy is running a series of sermons on the Ten Commandments. Now on the forth commandment. It was given by the oldest of their priests, Fr Nevin, who celebrated his golden jubilee as a priest last year. One notable point is that while everyone has or had parents, they usually have people in authority over them, to whom they owe respect. Now, that has an element of guesswork as there was a little man nearby (one pew behind) on a little monologue while other younger sibling were wailing. Hopefully he can get a hear another sermon like that when he reaches the age of reason.

  5. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    It is a common misconception that Jesus beat His temptation solely through virtue of His divine nature. If this were true, then His temptation would be empty, a mere formality. Rather, as True Man, Jesus was truly tempted in the same manner as us.

  6. My parish begins its Lenten retreat this evening. The visiting priest spoke at Mass this morning and mentioned that his favorite song is ‘My Way’. You know, “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention”. I won’t be going his way this week, which appears to be ‘The Joel Osteen Way’.

    I rewrote ‘My Way’ long ago:
    God bless

  7. JMGcork says:

    Father highlighted that we should take Satan seriously and strive to overcome temptation. He recommended the St Michael prayer as a powerful tool in overcoming temptation.

  8. zag4christ says:

    Fr. focused his homily on “avoiding the near occasion of sin”. He began by describing how Eve failed to do it, and obviously Adam was right there with her. He gave practical examples of current common sins and ways to avoid placing ourselves near to those soul crushing occasions. He also recited the Act of Contrition directly out of the Baltimore Catechism, which is the same as taught to me by the fine Sisters of Charity about 55 years ago. It was wonderful to hear it from the newly reactivated raised ambo!

    Peace and God bless,

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks Fr. Z, great sermon. Psalm 90 is a favorite for many reasons. Just two: Psalm 90:7 is sung by the elderly man in the Seder scene in The Ten Commandments. Perhaps “demonio meridiano” in 90:6 could also be “Acedia.”

  10. JonPatrick says:

    The Devil is subtle. He obviously knows Jesus is the Son of God. When he says “If you are the Son of God…” he is trying to tempt Jesus into using his powers to satisfy his own needs rather than using it for others. He is subtle to us too. He might say “Don’t fast that is so old fashioned so medieval, after all food is good, it was created by God, why not just pray more or do something nice for someone.” But Lent is about prayer, fasting and alms giving, so if we leave out one item and substitute more of something else it is incomplete, like a 3 legged stool missing one leg.

    The Devil never gives up, even when Jesus is on the cross, he says (through other people) the same thing – “If you are the Son of God, prove it and come down off of the cross”.

  11. Del Sydebothom says:

    @Bthompson That sounds like the homily I heard here. It makes one wonder how many people are thinking parallel thoughts at any given moment.

  12. Imrahil says:

    May I insert in passing, reverend Father, that I really like your preaching style, and especially the digressions. But I digress.

    Our preacher (in this case, Novus Ordo) focused on the “Jesus was hungry” from the Gospel. “This was not, of course”, quoth the preacher, “ordinary hunger after a lengthy fast; after all that would be banal.” A Jewish reader of the Gospel of Matthew would* be very quick to think of, at the word “hunger”, on all the occasions when the people of Israel showed hunger during the desert wandering: what it actually is* the hunger that consists in putting God to the test whether he really is the strong companion-in-association (Bundesgenosse) we had thought to enter in contract into, as the people of Israel did in the desert, and as similarly, caused (indeed) by common hunger, the prophet Elijah suffered after one day of flight. And we all undergo* the temptation whenever we suffer some actual existential lack, be it of food, of acknowledgement, of solitude, of success or what not.

    He then went on about the first of the temptations, not so much the others. It was, quoth he, after all something rather self-suggesting idea to turn the stones into bread. For we also have* the ability to turn stones into bread (however, I add, of course in a figurative manner). Eve herself had* been an expert in this, when she stood in front of the Tree of Knowledge and, sharing the view of God Himself, “beheld that it was good” (as, according to the preacher, in the original Hebrew) but deviating from God’s plan by adding the words “for eating” and “for prudent-getting”. Hence it came* to the Fall, whereof St. Paul writes in the second lesson.

    So, we have* developed a whole lot of means to turn Stone into bread. We take* alcohol against sadness, eating against frustration, sex against lack-of-love, and so on. But God who is ready to give and give more abundantly will* not reduce Himself to being a stopgap. What we have* to do is suffer the gap, be ready for God to reward us, and not turn stones into bread, not even figuratively.

    [* “quoth he”. I find it emotionally difficult to write longer phrases of indirect speech in the indicative, as they tell me English grammar demands.]

  13. iPadre says:

    I had both OF and EF Masses and gave the same sermon.

    At Christmas, we hear the slogan “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Lent can have a similar one “Sin is the reason for the season.” If there were no sin, there would be no Lent and Our Lord would not have gone through His horrible passion and death. Started with our first parents and we suffer the consequences. The Gospel story prefigures His saving victory and our victory in Him to overcome our sins, faults and failures. Yet, He requires our cooperation. “co” “operari” which we can do through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

  14. Nan says:

    Scandinavian named father told us that love focuses on what’s best for the other and Adam and Eve we’re focused on themselves, which is the opposite of love.

    Although he referenced fruit, I told him of the Slovenian belief that the fruit was a tomato, called paradizhnik… Sorry for z instead of steklo but no idea how I’d get to that on tablet.

    [Tomato! That’s really interesting. However, tomato is something from the New World. I wonder when they came up with that.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  15. Imrahil says:

    I don’t know how they came up with it, but apparently tomatoes when they came up were called “paradise apples” for whatever reason and then “the paradise ones”. The Austrians keep doing so, and in Bavaria it is at least understood.

  16. frjim4321 says:

    I took Barclay’s tack, (which I rarely do); first, the accounts of the testing are autobiographical in the sense that we only know of them by self-report (from Jesus himself) and second, we are testing most through our gifts.

  17. frjim4321 says:


  18. acardnal says:

    frjim4321 wrote, “the accounts of the testing are autobiographical in the sense that we only know of them by self-report (from Jesus himself). . . “

    And by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of the Gospel writers, I would add.

  19. iamlucky13 says:

    Our vicar talked mostly about four stages of the temptation process:

    1.) Provocation – the first thoughts about a sin. We encounter provocation regularly, but it is something external, either suggested by the devil or by our surroundings and not inherently our fault (he did circle back later to bring up occasions of sin).

    2.) Coupling – Our response to provocation, where we consider the appeal of the choice. This is something we do, and so can be culpable for.

    3.) Assent – Accepting the sin as something we want. We’ve more or less decided we are going to commit the sin and may at this point only be waiting for an opportunity or rationalizing away our last restraints.

    4.) Commission – The act is done.

    He also talked about the options after committing a sin of being sorry for what we’ve done, seeking confession, and resolving to do better versus becoming discouraged and seeing ourselves as beholden to sin. Then he finished up by discussing how to resist temptation, naturally including prayer but also other positive distractions or disengagements (especially from occasions of sin) that others have found helpful, warning finally that our goal should be to resist the temptation at the provocation stage, because each further stage is harder and harder to resist – compare putting out a match versus a small fire versus a burning house.

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