November 27, 2016 First Sunday of Advent

A Wednesday Angelus reflection by Pope Francis: “Today, the first Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year, that is, a new journey of the People of God with Jesus, our Shepherd, who guides us through history toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Thus, this day has a special appeal. Through it we experience a profound sense of the meaning of history. We rediscover the beauty of all being on a journey: the Church, with her vocation and mission, and the whole of humanity, nations, civilizations, cultures, all on a journey along the paths of time.

But where is this journey headed? Is there a common goal? And what is this goal? The Lord answers us through the prophet Isaiah and says: “At the end of days the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills.  All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: ‘Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths’” (Isaiah 2:2-3). This is what Isaiah says about where we are going. It is a universal pilgrimage toward a common goal, which in the Old Testament is Jerusalem, where the Lord’s temple stands, because from there, from Jerusalem, comes the revelation of the face of God and his law. Revelation found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and he himself is the “Lord’s temple,” the Word made flesh: he is both the leader and the goal of our pilgrimage, of the pilgrimage of the whole People of God; and in its light other peoples too can journey toward the Kingdom of justice, toward the Kingdom of peace. The prophet says further: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” (2:4). Let me repeat what the prophet says. Listen well: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” But when will this happen? What a beautiful day it will be when weapons are destroyed to be transformed into tools for work! What a beautiful day that will be! And this is possible! Let us bet on hope, on the hope of peace, and it will be possible!

This journey is never finished. Just as in the life of each one of us there is always a need to start again, to get back up, to rediscover the meaning of our existence, so for the great human family it is necessary always to redirect ourselves toward the common horizon that is the goal of our journey. It is the horizon of hope! This is the horizon of a good journey. The season of Advent that today we begin once again, restores the horizon of hope for us, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. It is a hope that does not disappoint simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful! He does not disappoint! Let us think about and fell this beauty.

The model of this spiritual attitude, of this way of being and of this journey of life, is the Virgin Mary. A simple village girl, who carries all the hope of God in her heart! In her womb the hope of God took flesh, became man, became history: Jesus Christ. Her Magnificat is the song of the People of God on its journey, and of all men and women who hope in God, in the power of his mercy. Let us be guided by her, who is a mother, a mamma, and knows how to guide us. Let us be guided by her during this time of waiting and active vigilance.”

 

November 20, 2016

Christ the King!!!!!

1 Samuel 8; “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, 7 and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. 9 Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

God went on to reveal to the nation of Israel, through the prophet Samuel the negative consequences of rejecting Him as their king in favor of the world.  He revealed that the earthly king would take everything from them for his use and for his wealth.  Even with the warning from God not to reject Him in favor of an earthly king, the people still cried out, “(v 19,20) we are determined to have a king over us, 20 so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 

As we celebrate the Solemnity of ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe’ we see the antithesis of the above story.  We see not a king that will take from the people, but the TRUE King that gives and gives all that He has and is, for our salvation, by mounting his ‘thrown’ with His ‘Crown, not of gold, but of thorns’ and spent his entire life for our salvation. 

The parallel with our present society and that of the Israelites is that we continue to reject God in favor of the world and the false promises of this world.  As a people, we reject the teaching of the church in favor of the social trends of the day.  We spend more time on social media, texting, snapchat, Instagram, more time watching YouTube videos, than we do in prayer or learning about God’s unconditional love for us.  Our ‘heroes’ are no longer the great saints, but movie stars, musicians, entertainers, most of whom promote a life-style completely contrary to the life called for by Christ.

 

We, as followers of Christ, need to reject the call of the world and join the myriads of angels that worshipped the new Born King, singing ““Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”  We need to join the people of Jerusalem in praising the King of Kings as he triumphantly rides into Jerusalem, not to take the earthly throne but to mount the Cross of our Salvation.  And we echo every day in our lives, the final words of Blessed Miguel Pro, the Mexican martyr that cried, out “Vivo Cristo Rey!”  Long live Christ the King.    

October 30, 2016

On October 13, 1917 in Fatima Portugal was the “miracle of the sun” as promised by our Blessed Mother to the three children of Fatima, in their request for her to provide a miracle so that people would believe them.  During the “dancing of the sun” Mary told the three children that she wanted a church built under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.  At each of the six heavenly visits at Fatima, Our Blessed Mother told the children to pray the rosary every day.  This request of heaven was not simply for the children but for all of us to “pray the rosary everyday.”  For some or maybe even for most, praying the rosary can be difficult.  The following is a quote from the APOSTOLIC LETTER ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE by St. Pope John Paul II. 

The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains, at the dawn of this third millennium, a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness. It blends easily into the spiritual journey of the Christian life, which, after two thousand years, has lost none of the freshness of its beginnings and feels drawn by the Spirit of God to “set out into the deep” (duc in altum!) in order once more to proclaim, and even cry out, before the world that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, “the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “the goal of human history and the point on which the desires of history and civilization turn”.

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium.  It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer. 

 

 

 

August 7, 2016

Preparing for 100th Anniversary of Fatima

On Sunday May 13, 1917 Our Blessed Mother appeared to three little shepherds in Fatima, Portugal.  Mary asked the three children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta to come back to that exact spot on the 13th of each month until October.  At the request of Lucia, Mary promised that at the October visit she would provide a miracle, ‘so that all will believe.’  At the end of the October visit, the sun ‘danced in the sky like a catherine-wheel.’

  Our Lady of Fatima asked at each heavenly visit of 1917 that the children pray the rosary for peace in the world and an end to the war (WWI).  She also revealed to the children ‘three secrets’ that dealt with the conversion of sinners.  In July of 1917 Our Blessed Mother showed the children a vision of hell, and asked for the following prayer to be said at the end of each decade of the rosary.  “O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.”  This is the prayer that many of us know, the originally prayer was slightly different, but the same in substance.  Our Blessed mother said, ““You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace…”  The consecration of Russia was the second secret, while the vision of Hell was the first secret.  The third secret described an apocalyptic vision of the bloody 20th and beginning of the 21st century.  There is a vision of the Holy Father being killed (John Paul II). 

But beyond the three secrets of Fatima and the miracle of the sun is the continuing call of the gospels for repentance, prayer, sacrifice, reparation and conversion.  The conversion of the three children of Fatima led them to heroic works of sacrifice and reparation for the conversion of sinners.  Francisco was always seen praying the rosary, Jacinta would take on great works of sacrifice, ‘for the conversion of sinners, so that no one will go to hell’, and Lucia suffered greatly at the hands of the townsfolk because they thought she was lying, all for the conversion of sinners. 

As we prepare for the 100th anniversary of Fatima we are still called to ‘heroic acts’ of reparation, sacrifice and prayer for the conversion of sinners.  The call of Fatima may even be more important today, was Christians face an ever-growing world of relativism and agnosticism.  Many are living their lives without God and the world has grown hostile toward the Christ, his Word and His church. 

Please join us during the week of Monday August 8th through Thursday August 11th for our Fatima parish Mission.  Details can be found on the flyer on the back of the bulletin.  Invite your family and friends and the stranger on the street.  Let’s fill the church to capacity for the greater Glory of God the Father, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit and for the honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!   

May 22, 2016

The Holy Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is encapsulated in Matthew 28:19, where Jesus instructs the apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

The parallelism of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is not unique to Matthew’s Gospel, but appears elsewhere in the New Testament (e.g., 2 Cor. 13:14, Heb. 9:14), as well as in the writings of the earliest Christians, who clearly understood them in the sense that we do today—that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three divine persons who are one divine being (God).

The Didache

"After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. . . . If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Didache 7:1 [A.D. 70]).

Tertullian

"We do indeed believe that there is only one God, but we believe that under this dispensation, or, as we say, oikonomia, there is also a Son of this one only God, his Word, who proceeded from him and through whom all things were made and without whom nothing was made. . . . We believe he was sent down by the Father, in accord with his own promise, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father and the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. . . . This rule of faith has been present since the beginning of the gospel, before even the earlier heretics" (Against Praxeas 2 [A.D. 216]).

"And at the same time the mystery of the oikonomia is safeguarded, for the unity is distributed in a Trinity. Placed in order, the three are the Father, Son, and Spirit. They are three, however, not in condition, but in degree; not in being, but in form; not in power, but in kind; of one being, however, and one condition and one power, because he is one God of whom degrees and forms and kinds are taken into account in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (ibid.).

"Keep always in mind the rule of faith which I profess and by which I bear witness that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and then you will understand what is meant by it. Observe now that I say the Father is other [distinct], the Son is other, and the Spirit is other. This statement is wrongly understood by every uneducated or perversely disposed individual, as if it meant diversity and implied by that diversity a separation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (ibid., 9).

"Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent persons, who are yet distinct one from another. These three are, one essence, not one person, as it is said, ‘I and my Father are one’ [John 10:30], in respect of unity of being not singularity of number" (ibid., 25).

 

 

May 15, 2016

The following four quotes are from homilies by St. Pope John Paul II on the Solemnity of Pentecost. 

“The Church of Christ is always, so to speak, in a situation of Pentecost: she is always gathered in the Upper Room in prayer, and at the same time, driven by the powerful wind of the Spirit, she is always on the streets preaching” (June 8, 2003).

“Mary Most Holy, since Pentecost you have kept watch with the Church as she prays for the Holy Spirit: remain with us at the centre of our extraordinary Upper Room. To you, whom we venerate as Our Lady of Divine Love, we entrust the fruits of the City Mission, so that through your intercession the Diocese of Rome may offer the world a convinced witness to Christ our Saviour” (May 22, 1999).

“How can we not give thanks to God for the wonders the Spirit has never ceased to accomplish in these two millenniums of Christian life? Indeed, the event of grace at Pentecost has continued to bear its marvellous fruits, everywhere instilling apostolic zeal, a desire for contemplation, the commitment to live and serve God and our brothers and sisters with complete dedication” (May 31, 1998).

“In the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke describes the extraordinary manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as a communication of the very vitality of God who gives himself to men. This divine gift is also light and power: light, to proclaim the Gospel, the Truth revealed by God; power, to infuse the courage of witnessing to the faith, which the Apostles begin at that very moment” (May 18, 1997).

 

May 1, 2016

The following is a prayer that many priests say before each Mass.  “O Priest of God, say this Mass as though it were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.”  The prayer is meant to remind us of the importance of each Mass, by drawing upon the emotions of the first Mass, and the thought of our last Mass.  Today ten young people from our parish will be receiving the Eucharist for the first time.  The challenge issued by this prayer is that each of us, always celebrate what we are receiving, the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  It is not a symbol of His body, but IS His Very Body given for us, to strengthen us and unite us more fully with the Holy Trinity.  So whether it is our first Holy Communion, as it is for our ten young people today, or it is your one thousandth time, we need to celebrate and receive the Eucharist with such wonder and awe-that we could be loved so much that God gives us not only His love, but His Incarnate self. 

Congratulations to our young people and their families on this special day.  

April 24, 2016

Our parish will be cooperating in an effort with Catholic Social Services of Miami Valley to assist refuge families.  The CSSMV is asking local parishes to help collect much needed items to help free up resources allowing refugee families to pay for other vital necessities such as rent, transportation, utilities, etc.  Our parish will be collecting items from two categories, cleaning and hygiene.  On the weekends of May7/8 and May 14/15 we are asking you to drop off the items in the back of church from the following:

Cleaning                                            Hygiene                                            

Toilet brush                                       comb/brush                                      

Toilet paper                                       shampoo

Dish soap                                          conditioner

Laundry soap                                    soap/body wash

Cleaners                                            hand soap

Sponges                                            lotion

Paper towels                                     tissues

Broom                                                toothpaste

Mop                                                    toothbrushes

Bucket                                                feminine products

Dustpan                                            razors

                                                            Deodorant

 

Thank you so much for your generosity.  In this Jubilee year Pope Francis has called us to a greater participation in the Corporal Works of Mercy.   

April 17, 2016

FATHER, FORGIVE THEM”

 

 No words can compare with these three: “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). They contain all God’s power and holiness; they are indomitable words that no crime or offense can overcome, for they were uttered just when evil was most powerful and at its peak, which it can never reach again. “Death is swallowed up in victory.” / “O death, where is thy victory? / O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). These words, “Father, forgive them,” are like sacramental words. They express the meaning and purpose of the passion—which is the reconciliation of the world with God—and in their expression, they cause it. This reconciliation began immediately at the cross with those who crucified Christ. I am convinced that these men were saved and that we shall meet them in heaven. They will bear witness for eternity to the extent of the Lord’s goodness. Jesus prayed for them with all his power, “Father, forgive them!” and the Father who had always heard his Son’s prayer in life (cf. John 11:42) cannot but have heard this prayer of his Son at the moment of death. After the ones who crucified Jesus were forgiven, reconciliation was also extended to the good thief, then the centurion at the foot of the cross, and then the crowd that converted on the day of Pentecost. This procession has gone on swelling and swelling and embraces us who celebrate Christ’s death in our own day. In the Book of Isaiah, God says of the suffering servant that he will “make many to be accounted righteous; / . . . because he poured out his soul to death, / and was numbered with the transgressors; / yet he bore the sin of many, / and made intercession for the transgressors” (53:11, 12). Because he took their faults upon himself, saying, “Father, forgive them,” he made many to be accounted righteous (Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa).”

 

 

 

 

April 3, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!!!!  He is Risen, He is Alive!!!

“The astonishing event of the resurrection of Jesus is essentially an event of love: the Father’s love in handing over his Son for the salvation of the world; the Son’s love in abandoning himself to the Father’s will for us all; the Spirit’s love in raising Jesus from the dead in his transfigured body. And there is more: the Father’s love which “newly embraces” the Son, enfolding him in glory; the Son’s love returning to the Father in the power of the Spirit, robed in our transfigured humanity. From today’s solemnity, in which we relive the absolute, once-and-for-all experience of Jesus’s resurrection, we receive an appeal to be converted to Love; we receive an invitation to live by rejecting hatred and selfishness, and to follow with docility in the footsteps of the Lamb that was slain for our salvation, to imitate the Redeemer who is “gentle and lowly in heart”, who is “rest for our souls” (cf. Mt 11:29).
Dear Christian brothers and sisters in every part of the world, dear men and women whose spirit is sincerely open to the truth, let no heart be closed to the omnipotence of this redeeming love! Jesus Christ died and rose for all; he is our hope – true hope for every human being. Today, just as he did with his disciples in Galilee before returning to the Father, the risen Jesus now sends us everywhere as witnesses of his hope, and he reassures us: I am with you always, all days, until the end of the world (cf. Mt 28:20). Fixing the gaze of our spirit on the glorious wounds of his transfigured body, we can understand the meaning and value of suffering, we can tend the many wounds that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day. In his glorious wounds we recognize the indestructible signs of the infinite mercy of the God of whom the prophet says: it is he who heals the wounds of broken hearts, who defends the weak and proclaims the freedom of slaves, who consoles all the afflicted and bestows upon them the oil of gladness instead of a mourning robe, a song of praise instead of a sorrowful heart (cf. Is 61:1,2,3). If with humble trust we draw near to him, we encounter in his gaze the response to the deepest longings of our heart: to know God and to establish with him a living relationship in an authentic communion of love, which can fill our lives, our interpersonal and social relations with that same love. For this reason, humanity needs Christ: in him, our hope, “we have been saved” (cf. Rom 8:24 (POPE BENEDICT XVI- EASTER 2008).”

March 27, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday

On Feb 22, 1931, Sister Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, received the first of many revelations pertaining to her mission in life:  that is to be the secretary, apostle and messenger of The Divine Mercy to all mankind.  She described this revelation as: “in the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clad in a white garment.  One hand raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast.  From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, and the other pale.  In silence I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord, my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy…Jesus said to me, paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I Trust in You (Gesu, Ufam Tobie).  I desire that this Image be venerated, first in your chapel, and throughout the world.  I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish.  I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death.  I myself will defend it as My own glory….I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy.  I want this image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.”  Jesus goes on to state to Sr. Faustina, “I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners.  Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me.  The flames of Mercy are burning Me-clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.”(47-52 diary) 

And again in the fall of 1936 our Lord again appeared to Sr. Faustina explaining the full meaning and grace of venerating and celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday.  Jesus told her, “Tell the whole world about my inconceivable mercy.  I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners.  On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open.  I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My Mercy.  The soul (person) that will go to confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.  On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened.  Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be scarlet.  My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity….the Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness.  It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.” (699 Diary) 

It took a while but in 2000 Pope John Paul II and the Congregation of Divine Worship decreed that throughout the world the second Sunday of Easter will be recognized as Divine Mercy Sunday.  Next Sunday we will be celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, veneration of the Divine Mercy Image, confessions, rosary and the chaplet of Mercy from Noon to 3pm (or until all confessions are heard).  I invite you all to experience the fullness of God’s infinite mercy and join us in celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday.       

 

 

 

March 13, 2016

Next Sunday is Passion Sunday or more commonly known as Palm Sunday.  As we journey through the most sacred week in the Christian calendar, we as Christians are encouraged to go through various emotions. It’s a week filled with a range of feelings, as we move from the adulation of Palm Sunday to the desolation of Good Friday and onto the joy of Easter. 

“Palm Sunday is the great doorway leading into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way towards the culmination of his earthly existence.  He goes up to Jerusalem in order to fulfil the Scriptures and to be nailed to the wood of the Cross, the throne from which he will reign forever, drawing to himself humanity of every age and offering to all the gift of redemption (Pope Benedict 2012 Palm Sunday Homily).” 

“Dear brothers and sisters, this year too we have walked along the way of the cross, the Via Crucis, evoking again with faith the stages of the passion of Christ. Our eyes have turned to contemplate the sufferings and the anguish that our Redeemer had to bear in the hour of great sorrow, which entailed the highpoint of his earthly mission. Jesus dies on the cross and lies in the tomb. The day of Good Friday, so permeated by human sadness and religious silence, closes in the silence of meditation and prayer. In returning home, we too, like those who were present at the sacrifice of Jesus, beat our breasts, recalling what happened. Is it possible to remain indifferent before the death of the Lord, of the Son of God? For us, for our salvation he became man, so as to be able to suffer and die (Pope Benedict Good Friday Homily).”

I urge you this year to not let “Holy Week” be just another busy week in our busy lives, but to be the full celebration of our Salvation through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Our Divine Savior.   


February 21, 2016

The following commentary is excerpted from the Navarre Bible Commentary on the Transfiguration of Our Lord:

2-10. We contemplate in awe this manifestation of the glory of the Son of God to three of His disciples. Ever since the Incarnation, the divinity of our Lord has usually been hidden behind His humanity. But Christ wishes to show, to these favorite disciples, who will later be pillars of the Church, the splendor of His divine glory, in order to encourage them to follow the difficult way that lies ahead, fixing their gaze on the happy goal which is awaiting them at the end. This is why, as St. Thomas comments (cf. "Summa Theologia", III, q. 45, a. 1), it was appropriate for Him to give them an insight into His glory. The fact that the Transfiguration comes immediately after the first announcement of His passion, and His prophetic words about how His followers would also have to carry His cross, shows us that "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

What happened at the Transfiguration? To understand this miraculous event in Christ's life, we must remember that in order to redeem us by His passion and death our Lord freely renounced divine glory and became man, assuming flesh which was capable of suffering and which was not glorious, becoming like us in every way except sin (cf. Hebrew 4:15). In the Transfiguration, Jesus Christ willed that the glory which was His as God and which His soul had from the moment of the Incarnation, should miraculously become present in His body. "We should learn from Jesus' attitude in these trials. During His life on earth He did not even want the glory that belong to Him. Though He had the right to be treated as God, He took the form of a servant, a slave (cf. Philippians 2:6)" (St. J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 62). Bearing in mind WHO became man (the divinity of the person and the glory of His soul), it was appropriate for His body to be glorious; given the PURPOSE of His Incarnation, it was not appropriate, usually, for His glory to be evident. Christ shows His glory in the Transfiguration in order to move us to desire the divine glory which will be given us so that, having this hope, we too can understand "that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18).

February 7, 2016

This Wednesday begins the season of Lent and with it the season of fasting, penance and alms-giving.  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.  For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.  If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the "paschal fast" to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.  Those who are excused from fast or abstinence Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.

So why do we fast during Lent?  Not only Lent, but we are called to fast on all Friday’s of Lent.  Canon 1250, “All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.”  And Canon 1251, “Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”  On the Fridays outside of Lent the U.S. bishops conference obtained the permission of the Holy See for Catholics in the US to substitute a penitential, or even a charitable, practice of their own choosing. Since this was not stated as binding under pain of sin, not to do so on a single occasion would not in itself be sinful. However, since penance is a divine command, the general refusal to do penance is certainly gravely sinful. For most people the easiest way to consistently fulfill this command is the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year which are not liturgical solemnities. When solemnities, such as the Annunciation, Assumption, All Saints etc. fall on a Friday, we neither abstain or fast.  At its heart, the gospel message is one of self-denial and detachment from all things that are obstacles to our growth.  Jesus tells us that if we are to be his disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him (cf. Matthew 16:24). That is why Catholics practice fast and abstinence as a form of self-denial intended to lead us to perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

January 3, 2015

In Charles Dicken’s classic book, “A Christmas Carol,” Jacob Marley laments how he lived by stating: “At this time of the rolling year, I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!”  During this Holy Season of Christmas, when our hearts are filled with JOY and the Christmas spirit, may we model our lives on that of the Three Magi, who followed the invitation of God, to seek the new-born King of Kings.  Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote of those who found Jesus, the Three Magi and the Shepherds, “There were only two classes of men who heard the cry that night: Shepherds and Wise Men. Shepherds: those who know they know nothing. Wise Men: those who know they do not know everything.  From that day to this there have been only two classes of men who have found Christ. Only the simple and only the wise find Christ because both are humble.” 

    

 

 

December 20, 2015

“There was no room in the inn, but there was room in the stable. The inn is the gathering place of public opinion, the focal point of the world’s moods, the rendezvous of the worldly, the rallying place of the popular and the successful. But the stable is a place for the outcasts, the ignored, and the forgotten. The world might have expected the Son of God to be born—if He was to be born at all—in an inn. A stable would be the last place in the world where one would have looked for Him. Divinity is always where one least expects to find it (Life of Christ, By Fulton Sheen).”  My prayer for you all this Christmas season is that there will always be room in your heart for Christ.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! 

 

December 13, 2015

"Gaudete in Domino semper. Iterum dico: Gaudete! ... Dominus prope". "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.... The Lord is at hand" (Phil 4:4-5). It is from these words taken from St. Paul's letter to the Philippians, that this Sunday takes the liturgical name "Gaudete". Today the liturgy urges us to rejoice because the birth of the Lord is approaching: in fact it is only days away.

In his Letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle exhorts us thus: "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.... May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes 5:16-18; 23).

This is a typical Advent exhortation. Advent is the liturgical season that prepares us for the Lord's birth, but it is also the time of expectation for the definitive return of Christ for the last judgement, and St. Paul refers, in the first place, to this second coming. The very fact that the conclusion of the liturgical year coincides with the beginning of Advent suggests that "the beginning of the time of salvation is in some way linked to the "end of time". This exhortation typical of Advent always applies: "The Lord is at hand!". 

The Lord Jesus is at hand at every moment of our life. He is at hand if we consider him in the perspective of Christmas, but he is also at hand if we look at him on the banks of the Jordan when he officially receives his messianic mission from the Father; lastly, he is at hand in the perspective of his return at the end of time.

Christ is at hand! He comes by virtue of the Holy Spirit to announce the Good News; he comes to cure and to set free to proclaim a time of grace and salvation, in order to begin, already on the night of Bethlehem, the work of the world's redemption.

Let us therefore rejoice and exult! The Lord is at hand; he is coming to save us (Pope John Paul II).”

December 6, 2015

“Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him.”  These are the opening words “Misericordiae Vultus,” by Pope Francis in proclaiming the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy which begins on December 8th.  Through this joyful Jubilee, the Holy Father is challenging every Christian to be Merciful like the Father. 

The Jubilee year of Mercy is a call to go beyond just forgiving others, to reflect on and practice, both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  Pope Francis writes, “It is my burning desire that during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy.”

What are the spiritual and corporal works of Mercy?  Pope Francis continues, “Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.” 

In response to our Holy Father’s desire, I am asking that we all contemplate how we might more faithfully perform these works of Mercy in our daily lives. 

 

 

November 1, 2015

 

Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria strongly defended the Catholic faith against the proposal put forward by a German Cardinal at the Synod on the Family in Rome, who said last week that it is “unrealistic” for the divorced-and-remarried to refrain from sexual activity – what the Church following Christ calls “adultery.” 

However, Cardinal Arinze told LifeSiteNews in a video interview on Saturday, “The Ten Commandments are given to us by God. Have we any authority to say it is ‘unrealistic’ to expect people to keep any of the Ten Commandments, not only number six and number nine, also number five – abortion, killing of innocent people, number seven – stealing, whether small sums of money or big?”

“We cannot go on the reasoning that it is ‘unrealistic,’” added the cardinal, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  “You can say it is not easy. I accept that. Christ never promised us that it is easy to follow him. He said those who want to be his disciples must ‘take up their cross daily and follow me.’”

If we can tell the divorced and remarried that they no longer have to follow the commandment about not committing adultery, then why should we not tell other people that they no longer have to follow the remaining commandments, he said.

“You might as well tell the man who is walking in the office, and his secretary is a lady, that it is unreasonable to expect them to be chaste,” he said. “Likewise, it would be ‘unreasonable’ to expect people to be honest when they see a chance to take government money, or to take another person's property.”

“If you say, we cannot expect people to be chaste in that situation — to refrain from sexual relations — then you are challenging the fundamental teaching that sexual relations are correct only between husband and wife in a proper marriage, and that between any other two people, it is wrong, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. It is wrong because it is against the order established by God the Creator.”

 

October 25, 2015

Reflection on All Saints Day and All Souls Day

“Today we celebrate the solemnity of All Saints, which allows us to experience the joy of being part of the great family of God's friends, or as St. Paul writes, "to share in the inheritance of the saints in light" (Colossians 1:12). The liturgy again presents the expression full of surprise of the Apostle John: "See what love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God; and so we are" (1 John 3:1).

Yes, to be saints means to realize fully what we already are insofar as raised in Christ Jesus to the dignity of adopted sons of God (cf. Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:14-17). With the incarnation of the Son, his death and resurrection, God willed to reconcile with himself the whole of humanity and allow it to share in his own life. He who believes in Christ the Son of God is reborn "from above," is again as though begotten by the work of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 3:1-8). This mystery is acted in the sacrament of baptism, through which Mother Church gives birth to "saints."

The new life, received in baptism, is not subjected to corruption nor to the power of death. For one who lives in Christ, death is the passage of the earthly pilgrimage to the heavenly homeland, where the Father welcomes all his children, "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues," as we read today in the Book of Revelation (7:9).

For this reason, it is very significant and appropriate that, after the feast of All Saints, the liturgy makes us celebrate tomorrow the commemoration of all the deceased faithful. The "communion of saints," which we profess in the creed, is a reality that is constituted here, but which will be fully manifested when we see God "as he is" (1 John 3:2).

It is the reality of a family united by profound bonds of spiritual solidarity, which unites the faithful deceased with those on pilgrimage in the world. A mysterious bond, but real, nourished by prayer and participation in the sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Mystical Body of Christ, the souls of the faithful meet, surmounting the barrier of death, pray for one another, [and] realize in charity a profound exchange of gifts. With this dimension of faith is also understood the practice of offering prayers for the repose of the deceased, in a special way the Eucharistic sacrifice, memorial of the Pasch of Christ, who has opened to believers the entrance to eternal life.

Uniting myself spiritually with those who are going to cemeteries to pray for their dead, I will also recollect myself in prayer tomorrow afternoon in the Vatican Grottoes before the tombs of the Popes, which crown the sepulcher of the Apostle Peter, and I will remember in particular our beloved John Paul II.

Dear friends, may the traditional visit of these days to the tombs of our dead be an opportunity to think without fear about the mystery of death and cultivate that incessant vigilance that prepares us to face it with serenity. May we be helped by the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Saints, whom we now address with filial confidence.”  This reflection on All Saints and All Soul’s day is taken from a homily by Pope Benedict in 200