Your Sunday Sermon Notes

Was there a good point in the sermon you heard for your Mass of Sunday obligation?

What was it?

For my part…

… I said Mass at the chapel at NS Guantanamo Bay.    I spoke to the congregation about the airplane that went into the river at Jacksonville and about blessings.   I took a little time to explain the different kind of blessings that priests confer, namely constitutive (including consecrations) and invocative.   Furthermore, I said that we should ask God to send down his blessings.  When we ask, we receive.  With great things we must ask, such as for miracles.

I stressed the need to GO TO CONFESSION!  We don’t know when it is our time.  It’s always someone else, until its you.

Then I spoke a bit about the long Gospel reading from John… this was Novus Ordo… the first Novus Ordo I’ve said in a loooong time, as it turns out.    I described the arc of Peter’s life from the first miraculous to the second, the two charcoal fires, one at the Sanhedrin and one at the shore, the two sets of three denials.   But also the fact that the Lord used a strong verb, poimaino, during his three-fold undoing of Peter’s denials, and even asked if Peter loved him more than the other apostles standing there.  Remember that Christ had said that there was one Shepherd and one flock and that the Good Shepherd (which in the NO they hear next week) gives up his life for them.  Then Christ predicts Peter’s death.  The Shepherd will give His Body and Blood for his sheep, his very life.  So, too, must Peter now do.   He must give up his life.  Remember that after the first miraculous catch of fish, when Peter first met Jesus, Jesus told him to leave off fishing for fish and that he now would fish for men.   However, in John 21 Peters says, “I’m going fishing.”   He’s not fishing for men, but for fish.   Here is a kind of tabula rasa.    But, more importantly, the Lord in this moment underscores that PETER is now to the one shepherd of the one flock.  And, in so doing, and using the shepherding imagery, underscores an important element for Christian leaders.   Leadership involves self-sacrifice, placing oneself in danger, seeking always the best of the other.   That’s the work of the shepherd.


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  1. Ms. M-S says:

    Even Peter had to be reminded (Quo vadis?) to get back to the flock.

  2. Mike_in_Kenner says:

    At our TLM with the gospel about the Good Shepherd the priest emphasized Christ’s intention that “there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” The priest preached that current secular notions about “diversity,” including notions about diversity of Christian denominations or diversity of religions are not what Christ wants. He stressed the unique quality of the Catholic Church as the true path to salvation. He said that statements denying the unique status of the Catholic Church and the importance of the unity of the Church arise from lies from the devil. (I, of course, did not jump up and cheer for this sermon since that would be improper in church, but I did have the distinct impression that the congregation sang the Credo with a bit more vigor than usual. I think many people were encouraged by the clarity of today’s sermon.)

  3. Bthompson says:

    OF: I riffed on the (cliche, but my parish needed to hear it) contrast between Jesus’ asking for perfect love, and Peter’s offer of mere love in response, and the Lord’s prophecy that Peter would be one day called beyond the impulsive and passionate (bright) love of dedication to the intense (hot) love that could lead him to be a martyr. And, the latter sort of love is a choice, more than an emotional reaction.

  4. William says:

    Anglican Use parish: Peter was in the world, naked, had to put on his garment to swim to the Lord (opposite of what one would normally do) – a symbol of cleansing through baptism and putting on an unsoiled garment.

    153 = 50 (perfection, pentecost) x 3 + 3 (Trinity) shows that the 153 is symbolic of “God’s catch” – the souls for which the church, the barque of Peter, is sent on a mission to catch.

  5. andia says:

    First Communion Mass N.O. Father spoke about the importance of weeklt Mass and Communion, monthly confession and staying close to the Lord.

  6. JamesA says:

    I was fortunate enough to attend the EF 12:30 Mass at St. John Cantius in Chicago. Absolutely stunning church and beautiful liturgy and music. It lived up to my high expectations. I thought of you often, Father.
    Offering God our very best in worship and sacrifice.
    What would the Church and world be like if every parish was like that ?!

  7. LeeGilbert says:

    We had a detailed sermon on heresy, especially on the difference between formal and material heresy. Now, if someone is a heretic, we don’t know whether he is a formal or material heretic, since we do not know his mind. It is no secret that a charge of heresy has been launched against the pope, but IF he has fallen into heresy, since we do not know his mind, we do not know whether this is formal or material heresy, but since he is the pope we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

  8. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Father, Id be interested to know why you said an NO Mass in a parish which uses both forms. Would something terrible have happened if you had said the TLM?

    [Why do you think I said the Novus Ordo?]

  9. Last Sunday meant First Communions for our parish, at the last Mass. I decided my homily for that Mass would be my homily (with some modification) for all Masses. I pointed out that the Gospels include lots of times Jesus is eating with people, and times he is feeding people. Why so much emphasis on such a mundane thing? Because inviting someone to eat with you, and accepting that invitation, are powerful signs of welcome and friendship. To prepare a meal for someone is an act of love. Jesus wants to be with us! He loves us. So he wants to feed us — with his Body and Blood, of course.

    I acknowledged the significant difference between our Catholic belief about Holy Communion and what many other Christians believe — namely, that Holy Communion is merely a sign, and not the reality, of Christ’s presence. And I talked about how some Catholics erroneously believe this, or fail to appreciate why this is so important. Frankly, many people don’t really think they need to be saved; they are doing fine on their own. In that case, sacraments aren’t very important. But if you know you need to be saved, then whether Jesus gives us a cracker, or he gives us his own Body and Blood, is all the difference in the world!

    I also talked about the necessity of repetition in these matters, just as parents know they must repeat guidance to their children about hand-washing and saying “please” and “thank you.” Over and over and over. The Eucharist is the same. I talked about how sad it is when someone is so excited about his or her first communion, but isn’t brought back to Mass regularly, and that joy and faith grows cold. And I pointed out that as significant as the first communion is, the most important one is our last communion. Because we never know when that will be, we keep coming to communion, all the way to heaven. I said a few other things too.

  10. HvonBlumenthal says:

    I don’t know Father why you said the NO. That why I asked. I don’t know what pressure priests who favour the EF cone under. Is it customary in that parish at that time? Fear of upsetting someone? Special request?

    [Have you, in the last few days, seen that I am presently taking the duties of a US Navy Chaplain at a naval base while he is on leave?]

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If a priest is substituting for another priest, and the other priest has authority over that place, it would be rude and disruptive to change the Mass schedule and the way things are done. And if the usual priest is already celebrating both forms according to some pastoral strategy, it would be very wrong to go against the strategy and confuse the parishioners.

  12. Paul of St Paul says:

    Fr Martin Fox that sounds like an inspiring sermon.
    All parishes need them, so thankyou.
    In my school+parish only five school families out of two hundred are members of the parish.
    We need more sermons like yours.

  13. SanSan says:

    Wonderful Fr. Martin Fox…..very inspiring. Praying that all new communicants received that special message.

    Wonderful informative post Father Z. Slim pickins at that Chapel. That one picture with the (electrical box??) over the altar is sad, not to mention the broken crucifix. Surly we can upgrade for the faithful there?

  14. SanSan says:

    oops, not the altar…….

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