Be Vulnerable - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-19-2020HomiliesBe Vulnerable - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” We can recall the history behind these scriptural words - the sacrificial lamb at Passover, the suffering servant in Isaiah, and the sacrifice that becomes the Eucharist as Christ’s body and blood.

Today, we need to have a deep understanding of who Jesus is - not just academically or theologically, but personally. The modern culture around the church has declined in numbers and fervor mostly because of the rise of an apathetic and unbelieving attitude towards the person of Jesus. This means we are lacking in our personal prayer or effort in seeking time directly with God. How can we bring ourselves to not just do the actions of faith but bring our authentic hearts to prayer?

Asking the tough questions, sharing anxieties and all emotions, being open to the reality of who He is. Every time we carry out any ritual in the church, we are invited to connect our deepest, most vulnerable selves to a truly real God. It might take a conscious act of Will in our part, but it is more than worthwhile to enter more intimately into the spirituality of the church and community. Every song is an invitation, every recitation of a prayer or response is the open hand of Jesus wanting to share His heart.

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

How To and Why Forgive - Baptism Of The Lord

01-12-2020Homilies

We hear about another manifestation of who Jesus is in today’s readings. We see Jesus being baptized with the entire Trinity being revealed in the voice of God and the appearance of the dove as the presence of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist explains this baptism as an act of repentance. And yet, even though Jesus does not need to repent, He still exemplifies for us the gift and sacrament of baptism; and as salvation history unfolds, He takes responsibility for all acts of repentance. This is a huge bit of truth. God did not enter into our story to just teach, to heal or to model morality. His existed for the sake of forgiveness and reconciliation with God our Father.

How can we ourselves be brought back to God in reconciliation? As baptized, transformed and adopted children of God, we can become like Jesus in his mission by forgiving and understanding one another. Everyone has or has been challenged to forgive someone in their life. It is not always easy to do. However when we do not forgive, it can be toxic and self-damaging. We must be aware that forgiveness is not about admission of wrongs, but letting go of the things we cannot control - and there’s great benefit and blessing in acknowledging a greater truth and love amidst great pain and hurt. There is real freedom in forgiving each other. Once we seek to know one another’s stories, and why there might be hurt or wounded actions, we can better pray for them as we seek to forgive them. Let us constantly look to Jesus to receive an understanding and merciful heart.

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

The Only Savior; Everyone's Savior - Epiphany 2020

01-05-2020Homilies

The messiah did not just come for the Jews, but for everyone. This is what we learn in the epiphany scriptures. Jesus is meant for everyone. The gifts of the magi hold symbolic allusions to the Idea of God is; Gold for a universal king, incense that rises to a divine person of God and myrrh for the humanity of God in Jesus.

The the clear teaching of the church is that there is both universality and singularity of Jesus in salvation history. It has been revealed that God saves people through Jesus Christ, yet the ones that do not have access to the knowledge of Christ are still entrusted to His saving actions by God. Our God is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful and therefore, can find a way to lead us to Himself.

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

God Is Calling Men To Be Leaders - Holy Family

12-28-2019Homilies

In the readings, we hear words like ‘obedience, honor, and subordination.’ One thing we can remember when we hear these terms, especially in the context of family and relationship with God, is that the desire to be obedient comes from a place of respect and love and awe for the other person. Even in the structure of the Holy Trinity, the three persons of God are completely equal, mutually respected and loved among the three. This Trinitarian relationship is meant to be made manifest in our marriages and in our families.

Though we may. often forget this love and respect in our everyday lives, it is so important to continually be reminded of the honor that we can hold for each other. It is so important that children are taught obedience for the sake of learning these concepts of love and respect and honor. Subordination is not a synonym for being controlled. Rather, it is rooted in trust and intimate relationships. A husband cherishes his wife, and therefore a wife can trust in the love and respect she can also return.

Christ gave everything for His Bride. It is vital that we honor God just as He has honored us by giving us life. One problem that can be addressed among families is the call for men to be leaders. In their work, in their many pursuits, but most notably in their families. We look at the Holy family and we see a leader even in St Joseph, the foster-father of God. Men can sometimes be in a position to potentially believe they are inferior, but the true reality is they are needed as leaders in faith and honor for God. Putting others before ourselves is the most loving thing we can do for one another. This sacrificial leadership is what Joseph did, what Christ did for His bride, and what all men are called to do as well.

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

The Divine Author - Christmas

12-25-2019Homilies

Let’s say you were the author of a story. The characters that you created are vast and intimately known by you, their creator. You decide to give your characters free will because that way, they get to choose themselves rather than be controlled. What are you to do as the author brings their attention to you? Would you enter into their story? Maybe you could enter into that story so that you could communicate directly and say, “ I love you, I have created you from the beginning and I have always been with you.”

It’s an analogy that we can reflect on as a way to potentially see God's perspective. To clarify, God did not create sin, nor evil, but as a consequence of free will allowed the possibility of evils suffering to be apart of our story. This does not mean we are abandoned. The very opposite is true - God takes responsibility for our own sins. The main point of God entering into Hos creation was for Our redemption. The power of evil is therefore gone.

Though we might not feel like evil and suffering has been defeated in our lives, yet the Lord shows us that suffering cannot go un-redeemed. No one can be abandoned. In the most vulnerable way, as a child, God brings back power to his creation. The power of redemption. He did not come as a king and conqueror but as a humble gift of self-offering. How can we not respond with awe and gratitude at this miracle of grace and fidelity?

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

God Is Always With Us - 4th Sunday of Advent 1.0

12-22-2019Homilies

Abraham and Sara wait and are blessed with the fulfilled plan of allowing them to conceive. Even we’ll pass their old age, they desire to conceive and are finally graced with a child. There are many similar storylines in the Bible that share this theme. Conception as a gift from God.

Its almost as if God was preparing humanity for the big one. The immaculate conception and the very salvation that would miraculously enter into the world. Emmanuel, God with us. We see in this narration a God who takes responsibility for our sin, who desires to be with us in our suffering as the only way to restore us. It is not only a story that is a mystery to our scientific minds, but to our psyche - that Christ desires to be actually apart of human history by becoming human Himself. He desires to be close, to be with us even in our unfaithfulness. We can look at our lives; times when we have been prosperous and times of victory, but also times of great need for help and healing. This God wants to meet us and for us to trust Him to bring us to a greater fidelity. Let us acknowledge this reality as a way to be consoled in our suffering and our human needs. We have the grace of the gift of this conception narrative and can be grateful for a God who will never abandon us but rather, truly be with us in everything.

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

Just Say "Yes" - 4th Sunday of Advent 2.0

12-22-2019Homilies

God does amazing things through the people who say “yes.” Abraham being the one who makes a covenant with God initiates this pattern in scriptures. When finally the angel Gabriel asks of Mary to bear the son of God, she said yes to Gods plan even without knowing the full story. Joseph also was asked to accept a difficult truth and to say yes to the idea of raising a foster child. Without knowing the entirety of the situation, these figures in the Bible represent an abiding trust in simply saying yes. And this trust might be interpreted as recognizing that this might be Gods initiative, that it could be a beautiful gift in the making. Which is what it truly was for all of humanity.

We can never predict what our life will be. We simply cannot know what will take place through all of our moments of saying yes. While it’s easy to look at other people’s lives and think our lives should be the same, the comparison is not a factor with a God who creates us all so uniquely and with different purposes. Perhaps if we feel stuck or lost, we could accept that we might need hardship and suffering to be used for our ultimate yes to God. It’s in those difficult moments that God can turn our lives toward Him and restore our own relationship with Him.

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

Bring Your Sacrifice To The Altar - 3rd Sunday of Advent

12-15-2019Homilies

Rejoicing. On this caudate Sunday, we hear all about all the blossoming of good things God will do, specifically in the “desert.” The location of the desert is significant because, during the time of John the Baptist and earlier prophets, the desert was seen as a place of barrenness, where the vast dryness of nature resides. Isaiah focuses on the messiah coming to these places of death, vast infertility, blindness, deafness, etc. We hear that He will renew the earth, renew and restore all people and unite us in the redemptive good news. The metaphors of the desert are not just relatable to our own places of emptiness, but a larger symbol for Gods coming into the world and blessing us with abundance, with promises of unending love and beauty. We are not called to live in anticipation of future glory, but to see that He is already renewing all of mankind by virtue of His Grace. Let us live and bask in these graces as often and courageously as we can. 

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000. He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000. After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

Can We Be People Of Encouragement? - 2nd Sunday of Advent

12-08-2019Homilies

Confrontations and discouraging instances are no surprise for Jesus. He faced many such encounters. In the time of the gospels, the Pharisees would revel in the chance to point out the ways that others were wrong, unworthy, or not ‘measuring up.’ But notice that Jesus never joins in with that approach, rather He dismisses the Pharisees for it and instead, loves the ones who have been beaten down by life. Rather than condemn and criticize, how can we encourage and build one another up? We should recognize when we might have “Pharisee” moments when our approach might be harsh or without understanding. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” (A quote from Fr. John’s mentor). These unseen battles are very real, whether they are battles of guilt, shame, neglect, abandonment, fear or woundedness. We share in some of these battles whether or not we are aware. And so coming to mass, the welcome and receiving of one another in love can bring about the encouragement and affirmation that we all need in the unity of Christ’s love for us. During this advent, let us focus on kindness in all of the ways it can bless our lives.

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000.He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000.After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana inRome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.

Preparing The Way - 1st Sunday of Advent

12-01-2019Homilies

It’s Christmas time! Let the shopping and holiday events begin. As Catholics, this time of year is especially important as a time for preparation on a spiritual level, but we can only do this preparation by actually allowing ourselves to slow down, hearing Gods call to peace. St Paul asks us to not settle for the worldly expectations that constantly surround us, to not be complacent but to be always awaiting the coming of Christ. 

Can we take the time to place ourselves in the face of Jesus? What words come to mind? What would it be like? Are we living like He really exists or is he an idea? Let us not forget how quickly this life goes and how this type of season that we are in now can bring our focus elsewhere. There are many opportunities to let God back in.  Through confession, honest prayer, and quality time with God, we can remove the “cobwebs” within our own spirituality. Let us live with an urgency that calls us back to our Lord. 

Rev. John Ehrich, STL, was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix in 2000.He earned his M.A. from St. Meinrad Seminary in 1998 and his MDiv in 2000.After five years of parish ministry, he studied at the Accademia Alfonsiana inRome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (Moral Theology) in2007. Fr. Ehrich currently serves at St. Thomas More in Glendale.