Sunday, August 12, 2018

19th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year - B 2018

Elijah was exhausted, he was fed up, and depressed.
He just didn’t want to run anymore.

He was being pursued in the desert by Queen Jezebel's army who wanted to kill him.

His only crime was being faithful to Israel’s covenant with God and encouraging others to do so.

Just when he was about to give up hope God sent him an angel with heavenly food, food which nourished his body but even more nourished his spirit.

And with that food from Heaven he was able to flee across the desert to safety.

God was not finished with him yet he still had work to do.

We have been reading Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John for three weeks now and we will continue to meditate on it for the next two weeks. It is an extreemly important passage for Catholics and I hope that all of you will take some time to study it. Dust off your bible or call one of your Baptists’ friends and borrow theirs.  I am going to put some links to good commentaries on my blog

In the first week… Jesus fed 5000 from 2 fish and a few barley loaves and everyone ate their fill.

In the second week we read how the people were confused and thought they could depend on Jesus for an unending source of earthly food, kind of like a perpetually free stop and shop.

Jesus begged them not to seek earthly food but rather to seek food that feeds their soul, food that lasts for ever…

The food that Jesus had in mind was the Eucharist, Holy Communion, Jesus Himself.

This week the people in Caparnum are so familiar with Jesus that they just couldn’t believe that Jesus was anyone special or that the food he offered them was really bread from heaven.

The first lesson we should take from the Gospel is simply this .
Yes sometimes God even uses people we know, people familiar to us to challenge us or inspire us. Maybe even your husband, your wife or your child. It is important not to put people in a box your were that way and your will always be that way.,

And so in today’s readings
Elijah received food from heaven
Jesus offers us Bread from Heaven or the Eucharist

The Eucharist is indeed incredible food.
Food which can and will change our lives if we let it.

The Church teaches then that when receive the bread of life or when we receive Jesus Himself.present in the Eucharist four things happen:

  1. Every time we receive Holy Communion
All of our venial sins are forgiven.
That’s an incredible thing.
Every time we receive holy communion worthily we get a fresh start. Not many people know that but it’s what we believe.

  1. Every time we receive Holy communion we are strengthened for our mission and it is easier for us to do what is right and avoid what is evil.

  1. Every time we receive communion we are united with Jesus in a new a special way That’s what we mean when we say word Holy Communion.

  1. And finally every time we together and receive communion it unites us in an intimate way with each other and the Church.

You and I are closer to each other and closer to the church every time we come to church and receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

The other night I was sitting in that bench over there. The church was dark and quiet;
As I was praying I the thought popped into my mind...

What would the world be like if every person gifted with our Catholic faith  received holy communion with an open heart?

What would the world be like is we were able to really understand the power of the heavenly food we receive each week?

What would the world be like if we made every effort to receive our Lord Jesus worthily without any stain of sin.

The heavenly food sent by God to Elijah saved him from despair and the army trying to capture him.

I believe the loving power of the Jesus present in the Bread of Life could save each and everyone of us and make our world such a better place.

The Eucharist is indeed heavenly food.,

Every time the friar gather in prayer we say this little prayer in the presence of the Eucharist to remind us how special the Bread of life really is.

O Holy banquet in with Christ is receive, the memory of  His passion is recalled, our souls are filled with grace, and the promise of future life is given to us. Lord you have given us bread from Heaven Containing within it all delight. Amen

Thank you Lord for the gift of the Eucharist heavenly food indeed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B - 2018

Jesus was a very loving man.

You see whenever he encountered the sick, the poor, the powerless, the outcast, the hungry He was filled with compassion.

His heart always called him to heal, feed, console or offer support.

However as we see in the Gospel today often when he did this people got confused.

Case in point last week In last weeks’ Gospel Jesus fed the 5000 men or 5000 families who had followed Him to a remote place.

He fed them with only two fish and five loaves of bread offered to him by a little boy.

The whole crowd ate their fill and knew that something powerful had happened.

When they saw the miracle they knew that he had the power to feed them for the rest of their lives.

Many probably thought If we make this guy King maybe we wouldn’t have to labor in the fields or fish through the night.

Some probably wondered, who knows what other powers he might possess?

If he can multiply bread and fish...maybe he could also vanquish the Romans and make Israel the most powerful nation on the face of the earth.

That’s why they wanted to make Him their king.
They wanted an easier more comfortable life and they thought Jesus could give them one.

Jesus understood all of this  that’s why he fled into the desert
He did not come to put Pigly Wiggly, Win Dixie or Publix of business.
He did not come become the king of the earth
He came to save our souls
He came to pay our debt
He came to teach us how to love.
He came to show us the way to heaven.

The crowd had watched the disciples get into the boats
and leave but they did not see Jesus so they followed his disciples to Capernaum in the hope of finding Jesus again and seeing what else he could do for them.

When they found Him, he knew what they were thinking and he said

“You are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life”

Those important words are meant not only for the crowd that day in Capernaum they are also meant for us.

They should cause us all to stop and ask ourselves if we are working for things that perish or things that last forever.

  • There are some Christians who believe that if they follow Christ he will bless them with riches and well being. The television is filled with people who preach just that. If you give more more will be given to you. It’s called the gospel of prosperity and I can’t tell you what I really think about them because we are in Church.
  • There are those who expect Jesus to solve every problem they encounter or challenge they face. For some of us even every prayer begins with,  I need this or I really want that or If you give me this I’ll believe in you.
Many seem inclined to bargin with God in prayer.
  • Some people even pray that God will punish those who hurt us and help us get even.

How often do our prayers simply offer God praise and thanks.
How often do we pray “ Lord I know you love me and I surrender my will to you”
Lord I trust that you will take care of me and those I love.

Today’s Gospel challenges us to ask ourselves.
Why do we follow Jesus Christ ?
Why do we come to Church?
Why do we pray and what we do we hope for when we pray?

Brothers and sisters it’s so easy to fall into the trap of the crowd in the Gospel

It’s so easy to worry about and live for things that perish and that mean next to nothing.

Our heart, our goals, and our efforts should be focused on working for heaven and bringing as many people as we can home with us to God.

Let’s not fall into the error of the crowd who viewed Jesus like some kind of giant bread machine who would satisfy their every need and calm every worry.

May our prayer always be.
Lord help us  understand what’s important in life.
Help us understand, desire, and work for things that last,
things that matter,
And help me teach my children to do the same

May we, live and work for things that do not fade away, fall apart, rust or satisfy us only for a moment.

Let’s work rather for things that make us holy and pleasing in God’s sight

Please Lord help us all  know the difference.


A “Few” Words to our Beautiful St. Anne Pacelli Teachers

A “Few” Words to our Beautiful
St. Anne Pacelli Teachers

I’ve wanted to meet you since the first time I set eyes on this campus incognito a couple months ago and walked around the outside of our beautiful school.

There is a document called Ex corde ecclesiae - Since Mr. Stahl is not here to help us with the Latin, it translates From the heart of the Church.

Ex corde speaks about the Catholic nature of Catholic Colleges and Universities, but it really speaks about the essential characteristics of Catholic Education.

Never forget that You speak from the heart of the Church, the very heart of the Church.

You speak from the heart of the Church to God’s little one’s and not so little ones as they begin their journey of life. You give them a road map home.

I know there are incredible award winning schools very close to our school and I know they are free.

Right from the very beginning I have to state that we will never be able to give you all the bells and whistles that those schools funded by public monies can.

We have a beautiful building with lots of technology and a 1 to 1 chromebook initiative to boot.

But we will never have the fancy buildings and the level of staffing that publicly funded schools enjoy. Nor will we be able to offer commensurate salaries to the dedicated people who work here.

And I’m sure that is not surprising to you.
You knew what you were getting into when you signed on.

Trust me I know that Catholic Education rests on your shoulders and the sacrifices you are willing to make for God’s young people.

However,  we are incredibly rich in ways that public schools can never be:

  • We can speak of Jesus Christ

  • We can teach about the dignity of every human being from conception to natural death

  • We can integrate our faith into every academic discipline
and this is really important in High School

There is no Catholic Math, but our faith allows us to appreciate the beauty and order of God’s creation which is part and parcel of God’s beautiful plan.

Yes, Math can bring a person to faith.

You can speak of the importance of living a moral life without compromise or fear and you can teach how our faith can be lived out day to day.

You can say this is right and this is wrong and we don’t have to be politically correct about it and we don’t have to make room for all the crazy ideas that keep popping up in our culture.

Yes, we have to have an excellent academic program and our school does.

Yes, we have to have lots of extra or co-curricular activities for our young people, and I’m amazed at all the things our school offers.

But the most precious gift we can share is our Lord Jesus.
He is the way.
He  is the truth.
He is the model for each of our lives.

Sadly, the award winning school down the street cannot share and cannot speak of Jesus.

No matter how much those teachers love their students, and they do.
No matter how much they love the Lord, and many do,
I’m sure; they cannot explicitly inspire their students to faith.
As beautiful as those schools are, they are faith free zones for the few fortunate enough to get in..

Many years ago, decades actually… the friars took over a school in Fort Pierce Florida…
I was one of those privileged to go. There were three simple sentences carved into the marble next to the door.

I was touched when I saw them hanging  in one of your buildings yesterday because they continue to inspire me.

We all have to remember and we must never forget that

Jesus is the reason for this school.
He is the unknown, but ever present teacher in its classes.
He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration if its students.

Thank you for your dedication.
Thank you for your good example.
Thank you for your willingness to pour your life out on our children.
Your sacrifice is so very precious to me personally, as I am a product of Catholic High School.

Fr. Mark taught in a Catholic school for 36 years… he knows the adolescent mind and the lack there of… He knows the adolescent heart incredibly well.  He’s a believer in Catholic Education.

Fr. Manny’s dream before he decided to become a friar priest was to spend his life teaching.  He got his degree from Providence College and taught in a Catholic High School. Needless to say he loves kids.

I’ve taught in three Catholic High Schools.  Then I was a campus minister for 20 years at Western Connecticut State and The Catholic University of America in Washington.

May our Lord who does so much good through each of you every day, give you peace and joy as our young people walk back into your classrooms.

Ronnie and Jocelyn thank you so much for your incredible leadership I look forward to working with you.

As Ronnie always says, “It’s a great day to be a Viking!”  For sure. Amen.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

26th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year - A 2017

Today’s Gospel speaks about two sons.
Both of them are far from perfect.

The first  son seems like he is a train wreck waiting to happen.
He is disrespectful to his father and at first refuses to follow his request but eventually relents and does what he is asked.

The second son responds to his father respectfully and outwardly he seems like the good kid but in the end he goes back on his word and never does what his father asked of him

The son who eventually did what the father represents the tax collectors and prostitutes  and sinners of Jesus’ time.

Yes, at first they seemed like train wrecks but the love and acceptance they felt from Jesus turned them around and won them over.

Everyone thought they were lost causes but Jesus knew better and throughout the gospel he made a special effort to reach to sinners….  

When you read the gospels it becomes crystal clear that Jesus had a special place in his heart for the broken, for those who didn't fit in, or people who kept making mistakes.  Let's review

Luke 15:7

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Mark 2:17

And Jesus said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Luke 15:2

And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Luke 15:3-32

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

There are so many more passages which illustrate this same point.

The second son who didn’t do what the father asked represents the religious leaders of Jesus’ time.

They were people  who seemed to be living holy lives, but in reality are just giving God lip service.

The pharisees and scribes did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
They thought they were better than others.
They were not obedient to God’s call.
and They did not love, but they did put on a good show.

The parable teaches us three things:

The first is simply this we will not be judged by our intentions but rather by our actions.

In other words it’s not enough to simply say “yes” to God
For our yes to be real
For our yes to be salvific it must seen in the choices we make and the lives we

Giving God lip service will not save us, even if our intentions are good even if we meant well.
The second lesson is simply this,
just like you can’t tell a book from it’s cover we simply cannot know the state of a person’s soul.

Only God knows the human heart.

Therefore our love must be shared equally with everyone,
Those who appear good and those who do not,
Those we are comfortable with and those we are not comfortable with,
We are called to love those who share our ideas and even those who do not.

We all know too well that sometimes people seem to live perfect lives and then we find out just how much they need our prayers and God’s mercy.

Other times we are quick to dismiss those who like the first son who don’t present themselves well, or seem a disaster waiting to happen.

How many times do we look down on a person who just can’t seem to get their life together.

How many times have we refused to accept someone who made a mistake but wants to change.

The third and final lesson of the parable is this.

God is concerned about now, you might say he has a short memory
For God the past is the past.

If a person was a great sinner in the past but repents and turns their life around they will be welcomed home to God.

If a person was a great saint in the past but changed their ways and refused to hear God’s call they place their salvation in jeopardy.

If we’ve made mistakes in the past it’s time to move on. If we lived good holy lives now is not the time to rest on our laurals

Good intentions are not enough Only good actions Count
Only God understands the human heart
God is concerned about now the past is the past.

Lucky for us God has a special place for sinners in His heart.

Have a great day everyone.