Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Papist Preaches Christ-Crucified

While looking for some resources on the Triduum the other day, I came across a sermon by a Roman Catholic priest named John Corapi for Holy Thursday. This sermon was unusual for several reasons. The typical Protestant sermon is 30 to 45 minutes long. The typical Roman Catholic sermon is 7-10 minutes long. Lutheran sermons tend to be between 10-20 minutes (although I have heard some excellent ones that were only about 5 minutes long). John Corapi's sermon is almost an hour long. John Corapi also knows his catechism well--he knows Roman Catholic doctrine inside and out. Typically, Roman Catholic sermons tend to be moralistic with Jesus set up as are moral example. But Corapi's had quite a bit of doctrine. Most importantly, the first half of the sermon is focused on Christ-crucified. It literally nearly drove me to tears and had some of the best preaching of the cross that I've ever heard. On occasion there would be mention of some unbiblical concepts such as purgatory but it was really quite good. He spoke of how true wisdom can only be found in the cross and how pilgrimages are nice but to find Christ all you need to do is come to the Eucharist. He also spoke of our true identity being in Christ and of receiving our identity in baptism. After the first half it sort of went down-hill, Corapi spent most of it teaching about the Roman Catholic understanding of the priesthood. But overall, the sermon was far better than most non-Lutheran sermons I've heard and even better than some Lutheran sermons I've heard among the non-liturgical crowd.

I also listened to his sermon for Good Friday. It was strangely not as focused on Christ-crucified as his Holy Thursday sermon was. It had more to do with suffering and living the crucified life but it did have some helpful parts. It was a welcome departure from Protestant sermons which seem uncomfortable with the cross and are always telling us to live the resurrected life.

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