This Sunday May 31, 2020 Pentecost Sunday.
Our Readings: Acts 2:1 - 11; Psalm 104; 1 Cor. 12:3b – 7, 12-13; John 20: 19 – 23
One Saturday night a minister was busy writing his sermon for Sunday. His little daughter saw him busily writing and asked him what he was doing. He said he was writing his sermon. She asked, “Daddy, how do you know what to write?” He answered, “God tells me what to write.” Then she asked, “Why do you keep erasing?”
Sometimes it is very clear and sometimes it is challenging to know what God is saying to us. When all is said and done, we are dealing with the great mystery of who the Holy Spirit is and the mysterious workings in us and in the Church. It is a great mystery because God is too awesome and far too great for us to understand in our human form.
We recognize when God’s Spirit came upon the Apostles and all the disciples, Church was born. God’s Spirit got things moving like a strong wind, or a fire that could not be stopped, and the Apostles began to preach, starting at Jerusalem and carrying the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth. This last statement, about the birth of the Church under the direction of the Spirit, describes the basic theme of the Acts of the Apostles.
The Spirit continues to try to keep the Church united and faithful to its mission. This is one of the things Jesus especially prayed for at the Last Supper – that we all will be one. It is the point St. Paul made in his letter to the Corinthians (“In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…”)
I don’t know much, but 3 things I do know; there is a God. His word is true. Stay close to Him. He will see you through. Amen
May 24, 2020
Today’s Gospel is such a beautiful passage, it is Jesus’ prayer after the Last Supper. Please take some time to read and meditate on this prayer.
Jesus summed up the Commandments as “To love God with your whole heart and soul and mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. It is not just these words, but Jesus lived His life with love.
We might ask, why does Jesus need to pray, he was already close to the Father? Our question is “why do we need to spend time with those who are important to us, with whom we love?”
Let’s look at Jesus’ prayer. He first prays for himself, then his apostles and finally for those who would come to believe in Him. This last part is so important, because our Lord is praying for us. Notice how many times the word Glory is used. The glory is that He might be the source of life for those who believe in Him.
Talking about prayer. I know we are used to praying the Our Father, Hail Mary and many other prayers, but I would like to suggest prayer as a way of life. Prayer needs three components; an event (in our life or in the world), there needs to be an emotion (anger, joy) and we need to include God. So it would go like this;
Lord with this virus, I feel so helpless and worried,
please bless our healthcare workers, the nurses, doctors and care givers.
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is to thank God for your blessings, give Him your worries through prayer and He will give you rest. Amen
Homily for May 17, 2020 -
This Sunday, May 17, 2020 Sixth Sunday of Easter.
Our Readings: Acts 8:5 – 8,14-17; Psalm 66; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14: 15-21
From the Pastor’s Desk
Some of you may have heard this funny story: it is a letter an old lady wrote to her friend. She said she found a bumper sticker that said: “Honk if you love Jesus.” Being very religious she put it on her car. On the way home she stopped at a red light and was lost in thought of how good God is. She did not know the light had changed, but she was grateful the person behind her loved Jesus, because if he had not honked, she would not have noticed the light changed. As a matter of fact, she discovered a lot of people loved Jesus. Her spirits soared being surrounded by such loving people and so she leaned out the window and waved and smiled at all of them. She even honked her horn to be able to share in all that love. She saw a man waving back with only one finger stuck up in the air. She asked her teen-aged grandson in the back seat of the car what that meant. He said it was a Hawaiian good luck sign, well she just gave him a good luck sign back. She saw her grandson was laughing so hard, and she knew he must have just been filled with the joy of the Spirit. A couple of people got out of their cars and were walking toward her. They probably wanted to pray with her, but just at that moment she noticed the light had turned green, so she waved to all of them and drove on. She was the only car to get through the intersection, because the light turned red again and she was sad to have to leave all those loving people – but she gave them one last wave with the Hawaiian good luck sign and drove on.
Jesus tells us today, “if you love me you will keep my commandments.” He says it again at the end of this short passage “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” Anyone can put a sticker on their car. Keeping the commandments is far more challenging. Why is it so important to Jesus? It is because when we do not keep his commandments, we negate his work, we make his life and death meaningless. The reward for following his commandments, the reward to letting him be truly Lord in our lives is that he will come to us. He will not leave us orphans; he will come to us and live in us. The more we love him, the more we desire to do what he wants of us.
Jesus spent the last evening with his apostles at the Last Supper and he poured out his heart to them, trying to remind them of the most important things he tries to teach them before he would be physically gone from them. Even then he would be with them in spirit, and through his Holy Spirit, would continue leading them to himself and to the father.
May I never forget that on my best days I still need God
just as desperately as I did on my worst days.
From the Pastor’s Desk
This Sunday May 10, 2020 Fifth Sunday of Easter.
Our Readings: Acts 6:1 - 7; Psalm 33; 1 Peter 2:4 - 9; John 14: 1 - 12
A priest was going to preach at a retreat in a city in Florida. He decided to send a postcard to his mother back home. Walking out of his hotel, he saw a young boy on his bike and asked where the post office was. When the boy gave him directions, the priest thanked him and invited the boy to church that evening. He told the boy, “if you come to church this evening, I’ll tell you the way to get to heaven.” “I don’t think I’ll be there,” the boy answered. “You don’t even know your way to the post office.”
Today is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all our Mothers and God Mothers!
The way to Heaven is not a street we can walk or drive down. Google cannot print a map or tell us how to get there. The Way to Heaven is a Person – Jesus!
One of my favorite Gospels for a funeral is today’s Gospel according to John. I like to say “We are gathering today to celebrate life and death. The life we celebrate is not the day of this person’s birth, rather today we celebrate the life of this person from when they were Baptized.” When Jesus said, “I am the Way”, He was inviting us, through the Sacrament of Baptism, to share His divine life. In Baptism we promise to follow the Commandments, worship the one true God who promises to deliver us from sin and eternal death. Every time we follow the Commandments, we are being transformed into Gods eternal life. So that at a funeral, it is not a body we have, but our opportunity to share in God’s eternal life, which knows no end. Jesus is Heaven, let us strive to live in Jesus every day.
These are the times that we need to remember that….
God is in control! He will carry us through, and we will survive!
This Sunday April 26, 2020 Third Sunday of Easter.
Our Readings: Acts 2:14,22-33; Psalm 16; 1St Letter of St. Peter 1:17-21; John 24: 13-35
From the Pastor’s Desk
I want to begin by referring to last weeks’ gospel: “ On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, Peace be with you.”
I’m thinking about the times, as a young boy when there were hurricanes, major snow storms or tornadoes. We lost power or maybe had no heat for at least two weeks. I had very little worry then, after all my parents made sure I was fed, my laundry was clean and I was safe. But the question is, how about my parents? Where did they find their security? Where do we find our security today while secured in our homes? The disciples were in fear of the Jews, those Jews that did not follow Jesus. Yes, they were afraid their neighbors might turn them in, they certainly did not want to be persecuted. What enabled these frightened disciples to boldly go out in the square and proclaim that Jesus is risen from the dead? We read in today’s gospel, “They recognized Him in the breaking of the bread and the scriptures”. My dear parishioners, although we are not able to gather together right now, the Mass on television is our worship of the Lord. While we are secured in our homes, our Lord does enter and offers us “Peace be with you”.
As adults it is so important to be humble enough to worship the Lord, the Rock of our Salvation. Let us boldly proclaim this Good News to the world. When we do gather together again, in our regular places of worship, hopefully we as adults will recognize that our strength and confidence lies in the worship of the Lord in the Eucharist.
Just a little update: I am listening to Franze Shubert. Awesome music!
This Sunday April 19, 2020 Second Sunday of Easter.
Our Readings: Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1St Letter of St. Peter; John 20: 19-31
From the Pastor’s Desk:
Our gospel today touches on a number of themes with faith being one of them. Jesus offered his Disciples his own special peace and commissioned them to continue his work. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”, and one of the works they would continue to do is to forgive sins. To aide them in this ministry, they were given the Holy Spirit. This passage gave rise to the designation of this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday. However, God’s mercy is not limited to any one Sunday. God is ready to forgive us every time we approach him with true sorrow for our sins.
Then we have the memorable story of Thomas who missed Jesus’ first appearance and refused to believe in the resurrection until he had concrete proof. Jesus, in his mercy, gave ‘doubting Thomas’ the proof the following week. We don’t know if Thomas actually touched our Lord, but we hear how Thomas’ vision of Jesus took him beyond what the eyes could see to a greater level of faith when he declares: “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus has proclaimed all of us blessed, who have not experienced what Thomas and the other Disciples experienced. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Near the end of John’s gospel, he tells us, that through this faith we have life in his name, a life that will lead us to someday see God face to face in eternal glory. It is blessed to believe even though we have not seen.
Just a little update: I am listening to all the music of Simon & Garfunkle. It’s the best music for this quarantine.
Homily for Easter Sunday:
From the Pastor’s Desk
St. Matthew, in his gospel, tells us that a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret follower of Jesus, asked for his body when Jesus died. He buried Jesus in his own new tomb. Some clever person added this comment to Matthew’s account: one of Joseph’s friends asked him why he would give up his new tomb to this penniless preacher, who was just executed as a criminal. Joseph’s answer was “not to worry”. It’s just for the weekend.”
St. John’s gospel is about the empty tomb, so I’d like to have us focus on the empty tomb. That tomb is still empty. Joseph was never buried in it nor was anyone else. The early followers of Jesus continued to have immense reverence for Jesus’ tomb. And the early Christians, almost three hundred years later, remembered where Jesus had been buried.
What is impressive is 100 years after Jesus died, the Roman emperor Hadrian filled in the entire area and built a pagan temple, with a special shrine to Venus over the spot. It was almost 200 years after that when Constantine tore down the temple, excavated the area and found the tomb just where the
Christians told him it would be. Today the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is built over the tomb of Jesus.
Another proof of the resurrection are all the appearances of Jesus to his disciples and friends. St. Paul gives us a whole list of people who saw and spoke with Jesus. Paul doesn’t mention any of the women Jesus appeared to because women did not have the legal standing of being able to be a
witness. However, Jesus did not hesitate to make some of his women followers witness to his resurrection when he appeared to them to tell the apostles that he had risen. Mary Magdalene especially is frequently referred to as the apostle to the apostles. It wasn’t just the witness of those who saw Jesus that convinces me that Jesus had really risen. It was that these witnesses were willing to die for what they said they had experienced. That’s the important thing for me; no one is going to die for something they know is not true.
One more thing gives me confidence about the resurrection. It is an event Luke describes in the Acts of the Apostles. When the Jewish leaders were trying to keep the Apostles from preaching about Jesus, they were arguing about what might be an effective way to stop them. A Pharisee named Gamaliel proposed this argument; he said lots of other people have claimed to be the Messiah, but when they died, their followers dispersed. So, if this Jesus is a fake, this whole movement will fall apart. However, if this Jesus is for real, we’ll never stop people from following him or preaching about him for we would be fighting against God himself. All we need to do is look around the world today and see all the people who believe in Jesus to know that Gamaliel was right and Jesus is for real.
Happy Easter to all our parishioners, Fr. Chacko and I miss all of you.
Our Lord and Savior is Risen and we will see each of you soon. As the sun rises each day,
be assured we will be together again!!!!
This Friday April 10th Good Friday
Our readings: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14- 16 ; 5:7-9 Gospel John 18: 1 -19:42
One of the most radical and difficult things Jesus asks of his followers is to love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Anyone can love the person who loves them. The perfection of love lies in the love of one’s enemies. Jesus not only told us to do this but he gave us an example. We read in Luke’s gospel how Jesus
prayed for those who were putting him to death: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” (Lk.23, 34) Think of this, people spat on him, blindfolded him, scourged him, crowned him with thorns, mocked and made fun of him and in the end nailed him to the cross and while remaining gentle and full of peace he prayed “Father, forgive them.” Is any gentleness, any love lacking in this prayer? Yet it was not enough for him to pray for them, he wanted also to make excuses for them: “for they know not what they do.” They are great sinners, yes but they do not see what they are doing; therefore “Father forgive them.” They are nailing me to the cross, but they do not know whom they are persecuting and killing: “if they had known they would never have crucified the Lord of glory;” (1Cor. 2,8)
therefore, “Father forgive them.” They think it is a lawbreaker, an imposter claiming to be God, a seducer of the people. I have hidden my face from them, and they do not recognize my glory; therefore, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” How can we love with a heart like Jesus? We must keep the eyes of our inner self always fixed on the serene patience and love of our divine Lord and Savior. In God’s plan this was the time for Jesus to give in, the time to lay down his life so that he could take it up again (Jn. 10,17) And in taking it up again, he would draw all people to himself (Jn.12,32) and make us sharers in his victory and in his new life. That hope of overcoming the power of death and sharing in Christ’s glory is one of the reasons why we celebrate Easter and why we call today GOOD Friday. Amen
From the Pastor’s Desk
This Thursday April 9, 2020 Holy Thursday.
Our Readings: Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 116; St. Paul to the Corinthians 11: 23-26 John 13: 1-15
Scientists tell us today there are certain foods that nourish us and certain foods that are of little value or that can even be harmful to us. The foods that truly nourish us do so, not because they look or taste wonderful, but because of certain invisible nutrients in the food. So when Jesus said, “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world,” if we believe him to be trustworthy, then we will trust that there is something in this food that will give us eternal life – we don’t know how. Paul tells us that tonight in the second reading which is the oldest written account of the Eucharist. As I said in the beginning, I could contemplate this for the rest of my life and still probably not understand. But as Jesus said: “you will understand later.”
The second main idea this evening’s liturgy focuses on love and service. The Church wants us to know that love and service is as important as the Eucharist, for without love ,as Paul said: I am nothing.” Lest we forget this act of love and service(the washing of the feet)he asked us to “do this in remembrance of me.” Notice in the reading from Paul Jesus says this twice because it’s so important – so important that we not forget. When we gather we are given, through the liturgy, a sense of our identity as God’s people, followers of Jesus Christ who gather here in faith to celebrate his memory, to receive him as our food and drink and to love one another.
From the Pastor’s Desk
This Sunday March 29, 2020 the Fifth Sunday of Lent.
Ezekiel 37:12 - 14; Psalm 130; St. Paul to the Romans 8:8 - 11; John 11:1- 45
The greatest hope we have we have is that life will never end.
Jesus said to Martha: “ I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” He did not just ask for Martha’s faith, “do you believe this/” but he did more , he showed he had power even over death itself. Who else has the power to make the tombs empty? The Lord asks us today as he asked Martha: “Do you believe this?” “Do you believe that everyone who lives and believes in me will never die?” What a comfort this is when we lose a loved one whom we know has lived and died in God’s grace.
But Jesus’ words are not limited to the experience of death. We all experience many losses in life, little deaths, things that we have to grieve for. It could be our heath, our job, our security or the loss of something that means a lot to us. Just look at where we are today, caught off from loved ones ,fear of the unknown and missing Holy Week and Easter
Celebrations. We have to trust somehow that even in these sufferings God can bring life out of death. This is what is meant by the Easter mystery, or Paschal mystery that we are preparing to celebrate. Boil an egg, color it, and crack it open, celebrate life. As St. Paul tells us: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.”
This is the hope that I live by and that gives new life to all of us. Amen
A little update: I visit my Mother every week ( she is 95, at home and in good shape) my job now is to disinfect the house and do the grocery shopping. Rev. MOM!
Homily from March 22, 2020:
This Sunday March 22, 2020 the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Our Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1b,6-7,10-13a; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
A pastor of a non-Catholic church had to be fitted for a set of dentures. The following Sunday he preached for only 5 minutes. The Sunday after that he preached about 7 minutes. The third Sunday he preached for one and a half hours. His parishioners asked him what was going on. He said for two weeks his teeth hurt him so much after seeing the dentist that he could talk only for a few minutes. But on the third Sunday he accidentally picked up his wife’s false teeth and could not stop talking. ( this doesn’t apply to any of the wonderful women I know). Today’s gospel is a rather a long one, so I will not go on and on.
The important lesson in today’s gospel is that suffering is part of being human and is not necessarily a punishment for sin. The point of the gospel is that Jesus is the light of the world. He gave sight to the blind in their minds and hearts, but more than that, he gives light to our minds and hearts – light that guides us through life to eternal life. If we do not follow his light, we will be like the Pharisees who could not see with their eyes but were blind. As the old saying goes “ there are none so blind as those that will not see”.
I want you to notice the gradual insight the blind man developed about Jesus. The first time he spoke of Jesus , he said “ the man called Jesus anointed my eyes.” Then when the Pharisees questioned him about Jesus, the man said, “he is a prophet.” He has to have come from God or he would not be able to do anything. Lastly, when Jesus asked if he believed in Jesus as the Son of Man, the man said, “ I do believe” and he worshipped him. The practical lesson here is that believing and worshipping go together. To many people today are willing to say “I believe” but seldom have time to worship. The day is filled with everything else but time for the Lord.
I know right now our churches are closed, but to worship the Lord, please take some time in the day to make a conscious effort to thank the Lord for his gift of Life. Please read the reading for Sunday. Pray and give Praise to the Lord.