Sunday, April 30, 2017

3rd Sunday of Easter Year - A 2017

And First Communion

Boys and Girls
The two friends and followers of Jesus who were walking on the road to Emmaus were walking the wrong way/

They were walking away from Jerusalem
They were walking away from the Upper room where their friends and apostles were hiding
They were sad and discouraged
They didn’t understand what had happened to Jesus

Jesus loved the two men on the road and he knew they were suffering and confused.
He loved them so very much that he looked for them.

And when he found them he walked with them and listened patiently to their worries and concern

As he explained things He gave them hope and understanding.
He calmed their fears.

And when it was time for Jesus to take another road he didn’t force himself on them he simply pretended that he was going to keep walking but they sensed there was something special about this stranger  they had met on the road and they begged him to stay with them.

Then at supper time. They passed the bread basket to Jesus, back then the bread didn’t come sliced like it does now but people simply took the loaf and tore off a piece.

When Jesus took the bread and tore a piece off for them.
They realized who the stranger was, they knew it was Jesus,
they realized how much he loved them they realized that all was not lost.

And then Jesus vanished we don’t really know where he went

Some say maybe he went to find another disciple in need.

Maybe he went to console another friend / follower who was sad discouraged and confused. We don’t know how many disciples Jesus helped that day.

The lesson that we have to take from this is very important for those who are receiving first communion today and very important for everyone in this Church.

When life gets difficult
When we are afraid or lonely or discouraged
When we’ve made big mistakes or done something bad
or hurt someone we love
Don’t walk the wrong way
Don’t walk away from your friends and family
Don’t walk away from the church.

No matter what has happened to you
No matter what you’ve done.

Jesus loves from the beginning of our existence
He loves us now, and he will always love us no matter what.
Nothing nothing nothing can keep him from loving us nothing.

Boys and girls No matter where life takes you, No matter what you’ve do
you will always find God in the breaking of the bread.

We have a new name for the breaking of the bread we call it Mass.

You will always find God in the Church even if you walk away for a while he will be present in your life

He will try and find ways into your heart
and here in the church and every church he will be waiting for you.

So When you’re sad,, when you’re lonely,
when you’re confused,
when you disappointed

Come to Church / Come to Mass and encourage others to do the same

I promise if you need him you will always find him here.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

2nd Sunday of Easter Year A - 2017

If there are any parents who have teenagers out there

Or if your child is going to attempt to teach your grandchild how to drive
I have three words of advice for you… “Don’t do it.”

My Dad taught me to drive and it was a sources of constant stress for both of us.

One day he walked into the school office where he was Principal and yelled at the top of his lungs that kid is going to kill me.

Those driving lessons were a stream of don’t do that, look out over there, don’t forget to check the mirror, there’s a stop sign coming up, as I thought to myself yeah it’s three blocks ahead.

Those lessons were difficult for sure. But when the day came and I was going to take the car on my own out for the first time he simply walked over to me at supper put the keys on the table and said “I trust you”

Those were the last words he said before I ventured forth they were the most important and they meant the world to me.

Today’s Gospel relates some of Jesus’ last words to the Apostles before they ventured out to proclaim the Gospel on their own.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room where they were hiding he didn’t list or lecture them about their failing,

He didn’t lament  that they had abandoned him he simply said to them.

“As the Father Sent me so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you hold bound are held bound.” He could have said anything.

He could have given them a long list of instructions but he didn’t.
That moment in the upper room was just too important for that

Rather he commissioned the Apostles and those who would follow them to forgive sins, not simply announce God’s forgiveness but to actually to forgive sins.

Those simple words seem to frame up Jesus’ entire mission on earth and the entire mission of the Church to this day.

Jesus came to forgive, He came to reconcile and go give peace and by doing so and by dying on the cross he open the door of salvation for each of us.  

Yes, he healed some people along the way, and worked some miracles, but that was not his primary purpose.

In reality he simply came to proclaim the truth, show us the way home, and forgive us when we fall short.

Now there are couple of things we need to remember.

We do not decide what is right and wrong l what is good or what is bad.
The moral value of an action is not determined by how we feel about a given action.

What is right and what is wrong is determined by God and God’s law,
God knows what’s best for us.

We the Church don’t make the rules, they come from Divine revelation and the Teaching of Jesus Christ.

So the Church proclaims the truth, shows the way home, and is commissioned with giving us forgiveness when we fall short.

The first step in receiving forgiveness is to admit that we did something wrong,

Until we accept God’s dominion over our lives we can’t really be forgiven
until we come to understand the neither we nor our culture make the rules we really can’t be forgiven.

God longs for us to understand what is right and wrong, good and bad
He longs for us to follow his example of selfless love as we journey home
And He longs to forgive us when we fall short if we ask him.

This reconciliation this gift of forgiveness must not only be between God and us it must also be between all of God’s children.

We must forgive each other like God forgives us.
Holding onto the pain of past injuries will only causes us more pain and sadness.

We all  know that our human experience is often like  pendulum, it swings from extreme to extreme.
The Church has made lots of mistakes in this regard.

When I was a child everything was a sin.. And there were those who believed eating meat on Fridays was such a serious sin that it could deprive you of heaven for ever.

In the Sixties when everything was confused we went to the other extreme and nothing was a sin. the pendulum swung the other way There was no need to ask forgiveness because there was nothing that was really wrong.

We don’t need someone telling us that there is no sin
That God loves us and is so very willing to forgive us if we ask him.

For Jesus said receive the Holy Spirit whatever Sin your forgive is forgiven them.

Today is Mercy Sunday a day when the whole Church celebrated God’s loving Mercy and revealed to us by St. Faustina.

Thank you Lord for the road map home and thank you Lord for your mercy and forgiveness which all of us so desperately need. Amen


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

He is Risen
He is Truly Risen,

As you know tonight all over the world the Church gathers around the Easter fire and the baptismal font to celebrate our new Easter Faith.

Tonight when we leave this Church we will have 9 new Catholics from this parish alone. There will be thousands of new Catholics all over the world.

They and everyone one who comes to our Faith at the Easter Vigil desires to model their lives on life and teaching of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ

By the prompting of the Holy Spirit they have come to believe that becoming a Catholic in this life is the best possible way for them to follow Jesus home to heaven in the next life.  

The example of those who have asked to become Catholic should inspire us all to re-commit ourselves to faith for the good of our own souls,
the souls of those we love.

Tonight when we reaffirm our baptismal promises let us resolve to follow the example of our new Brothers and Sisters by walking in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus more closely as we journey through life.

In today’s Gospel.

Both the Angel and Jesus told the women “Be not Afraid”

The guards were filled with fear at the sight of the Angel the Gospel says became like dead men, in other words they fainted. (not very manly)

Mary and Martha did not faint because they knew Jesus and trusted him.

While these words “Be not Afraid” seem simple and reassuring they are by no means easy to follow.

We live with so much fear in our lives.
We worry about what we have, what others have
And we are often afraid we will not get our fair share.

We worry about how we look and how people perceive us.

Much of our fear is expressed in an angry, bitter, and self righteous tone.
It’s hard to look all the anger, bitterness in the world and not be afraid

Our Easter Faith calls us to follow the example of Jesus who looked at anger and hate in the eye, and rather than fight it, or respond in kind, surrendered himself to it and even loved it.

The only way to overcome fear is to love the one who makes you afraid.

The second challenge that the risen Lord gave the women at the tomb was to go and tell the brothers.

Those simple words reveal to us that we should never keep the reason for our Easter hope to ourselves.     It has to be shared.
A faith which is not lived and shared, is a faith which has no power to save. It is like land which cannot bear fruit it is sterile and lifeless.

In today’s Gospel Jesus called the very men who abandoned him “my brothers”

I assure you the men who were hiding in the upper room certainly did not feel like brothers to Jesus.  
They were probably filled with guilt and remorse because they had abandoned him and ran away in fear.

Jesus chose those words carefully because with them he sought to reach out and heal their relationship.

By calling the Apostles Brothers
He let them know that they were forgiven,
he let them know that they he still loved them.  

Like Jesus we are called to forgive and be reconciled with those who hurt us not matter what they have done or how often they have done it.

Jesus didn’t wait for them to say I’m sorry, he took the first step and called them Brothers just the same.

Like Jesus forgave the disciple, and even the very people who condemned him to a horrible death.
We too are called to be messengers of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Remember what Jesus said from the cross while he was in agony. Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.

That’s the way God forgives and he calls us to do the same. If we hold on to past hurts we are not following in the footsteps of our Lord.

When the Angel arrived he rolled away the stone.
He did not do so to let Jesus out, Jesus was already gone.

He rolled away the stone so that the women could enter into the mystery of the tomb and believe.

All of us need to roll away the stones of doubt, fear, anger, bitterness, and selfishness of any kind

These stones keep us from being authentic followers of our Risen Lord.

May we conquer fear with love

May be we be reconciled
with both God and man

And may we always be willing  to share the reason for our hope without counting the cost.

He is Risen
He is Truly Risen Amen

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Palm Sunday 2017

Jesus encountered many people on his way to Calvary.

There was the crowd that welcomed Him into Jerusalem in triumph  
then screamed crucified him when he stood before Pilate.

There was the woman who begged for forgiveness and anointed Jesus with expensive oil.

There was the anonymous man who gave Jesus and his friends the upper room for their last Passover together.

There were his disciples, his dearest friends, who abandoned him filled with fear as soon as there was trouble.

There was Judas who was filled with a tragic mixture pride and self righteousness he died lonely and broken in despair.

There were the priests and the scribes and the pharisees who only thought about themselves and were worried about their power and prestige.

There was the woman at the fire, a gossip, who taunted Peter to deny Jesus.

There was Peter who overcome with fear denied his dearest friend and wept bitterly because of it.

There were the people who taunted him as he hung in agony on the cross.

There were the women and the youngest disciple who remained faithful to him to the end.

My dear friends
there is a little bit of each one of those people, in each and everyone of us

Sometimes we are eager to love and help others.
Sometimes we are filled with pride and anger.
Sometimes we care about the truth and sometimes the truth doesn't matter at all..

Sometimes we go with the crowd even when they are wrong simply because it’s easier.

Jesus knew each and every one of those people he encountered those last few days of his life
And yet he loved all of them. Remember what he said from the cross
Father Forgive them they don’t know what they are doing.

Jesus knows everyone of us,
and everything about us and he loves us too.
And if  you or me were the only one human being in need of salvation Jesus would have died any one of us just the same

Yes Jesus would have died for any one of us amazing

This week we have some unique opportunities to know more about Jesus and his love for us.

On Monday there are our Easter Confessions. I hope many of you chose to attend. Especially if it’s been a long time. I love giving someone absolution especially when they’ve been away from the sacrament a long time.Why not begin this Holy Week with a clean slate.

On Tuesday there is the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral my Dad always took our family to the Chrism Mass we never missed it. If you are retired or have the day off… Fastrac 101 goes right by the Cathedral so you can avoid the parking problems down there.

On Thursday at 7:00 we can meditate on Holy Eucharist and the saving power of humble service.

On Friday at 3:00 once again we can meditate on the cross and the power of suffering love over sin and death.

On Saturday we can keep vigil at the most sacred liturgy of the year the Easter Vigil. The Easter vigil is when we welcome new members into the church. And we will welcome several new Catholics young and old.

Make your Holy Week Holy by participating in these most special moments in life of the Church prayerfully and it will make a difference in your lives

May we walk together on these most holy of days.


Sunday, April 02, 2017

5th Sunday of Lent Year A - 2017

To understand the meaning of this gospel it is important to situate it a little in the life and ministry of Jesus.

When the parable begins Jesus is in the relative safety of the countryside about two walking days from Bethany.

Bethany is on the outskirts of Jerusalem it was the capital of Israel and the home to all of those who were opposed to Jesus and his mesage

Suddenly he receives a message that his dear Friend Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary is very sick.

His relationship is so strong that Martha didn’t even have to say please come.
Both Jesus and Lazarus’ family knew that he would.

Then something strange happens the passage reads.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus so when he heard that he was ill,  he remained for two days in the place where he was. “

Why would he wait two more days if he loved them.
Why didn’t  he rush to Lazarus’ side to heal him
Why didn’t he just say be healed we’ll see in a moment

Finally two days later he tells his disciples about Lazarus and that they are going to Bethany which is in Judea.

He does so with the full knowledge that going to Bethany will put his life in danger.  
The disciples warn him about the danger, danger to him and danger to them. The last time they were near Jersualem they tried to stone Jesus

Thomas who we often dismiss as the doubter shows the depth of his love and commitment to Jesus by saying. “Let us go and die with him.”

When Jesus arrives Lazarus is already dead 4 days, 4 days was the legal time it takes to declare a person dead. There is no chance that Lazarus is still alive or in a coma.

Jesus finds Martha and Mary distraught and and he is so touched by their sorrow that he weeps with them even when he knows that he will raise Lazarus from the dead.

His emotion shows the depth of his love and humanity

When Jesus reveals to Martha  that he is Messiah and the resurrection and the life
she proclaims her faith in him.

And when both Martha and Mary are at the tomb Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

One last thing about this powerful story.

News of this miracle spread far and wide and the scholars tell us that the miracle was probably the reason that Jesus received such a hero’s welcome when he arrived in Jerusalem.

It is also the reason that the Caiaphas and the religious leaders decided that Jesus would have to die on the cross.

By raising Lazarus to new from the dead Jesus accepted death he would have to suffer on the cross.

What does all of this have to do with us?
What lessons can we learn from this story?

The first and maybe the most important lesson is simple that sometimes God waits.
Sometimes when we pray or ask for something and it appears that we receive no answer.
Martha and Mary would have wanted and expected that Jesus drop everything and come but he didn’t

It seems sometimes God waits.
Just like Jesus waited two days when he heard that Lazarus was very sick.

Yes Jesus could have rushed to restore him to health
But by waiting until Lazarus was undisputably dead Jesus not only restored Lazarus to life, but he also open the hearts and minds of Martha, Mary and many others to faith.

We always have to remember that only God know the whole picture only God knows when his love will have the greatest effect.

When we pray and ask for something we have to trust that God will answer our prayer in the very best of moments in the best possible way.

Another point to ponder is this.
We often dismiss Thomas as the doubter because of his failure to believe that Jesus was really risen from the dead. That’s where the phrase Doubting Thomas comes from.

In this passage it was Thomas and only Thomas who was willing to pay the ultimate price of discipleship by accompanying Jesus to Jerusalem.  

So often we judge ourselves and others by our worst moments, we put ourselves and others into little boxes, for example Thomas the doubter.

Today’s Gospel proves that there was more much more to Thomas than his doubts.

When we judge others, when we judge ourselves we have to be sure to consider the whole person not just one moment, one failure one characteristic.

Just like there was more to Thomas than his doubts there is more to us and others then our faults and failures.

When it comes to a human heart God looks at the whole picture and so should we.
When Jesus arrived he did not just immediately raise Lazarus to the dead.

First he called Martha to new a deeper faith in him.
Just like Jesus called Martha and Mary to a deeper faith he calls each of us trust and faith in his love.

Finally we have to ask ourselves are we willing to pay the price of love
The end result of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was not only that Lazarus was restored to life but that Martha and Mary and so many others came to a deeper trust and faith in Jesus

Jesus was willing to pay the price of love.
He knew the consequences of his actions he knew this act of love would seal his fate but his love for Lazarus and his family was so strong that he was willing to accept the consequences.

Are we willing to love without counting the cost?
Are we willing to do good even when there will be a consequence for us or a price to pay
Throughout his life Jesus’ example calls us to sacrificial love pray God that we can willingly follow in his footsteps.

Remember sometime God waits.
In difficult moment’s God calls us to trust even when we don’t understand
We and everyone we know are more than our worst moments
Jesus was willing to pay the price or consequences of Love are we ?

These are the truths that I found in the Gospel this week.
Thank you Lord for your living Word