From the Pastor – October 27, 2019

“God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” (Lk 18:11)I recently heard a quote to the effect that “there are only two types of people in the world:  saints who think they are sinners and sinners who think they are saints.”  That pretty much sums up the two characters in today’s Gospel.  The Pharisee has justified his life, and the Publican has condemned his own.  In truth, each of these men was a sinner in some way.  As the Evangelist John said:  If we say that we have not sinned, then we make God a liar, and His word has no place in our hearts (1 Jn 1:10).  So what separates the two men?  Simply one fact.  One acknowledged the reality of his life and the reality of his sin, and one didn’t.  And having recognized … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 20, 2019

“But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8)Only eight years ago, in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia, a Catholic priest and more than a dozen Filipinos were arrested and charged with proselytizing.  An easy Internet search can help you find the story.  What were they doing?  Were they engaged in a Eucharistic Procession?  Were they handing out Bibles on street corners?  Were they running an illegal radio program trying to convince Muslims to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior?  No.  None of the above.  They were attending Mass in a small Riyadh rest house. Filipinos comprise the vast majority of the more than one million foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.  And they are almost exclusively Catholic.  There is no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia; the practice of … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 13, 2019

“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Lk 17:17-19)This Gospel this weekend concerns gratitude. The story is simple. Jesus cures ten lepers, and only one returns to thank Him. The word gratitude is interesting. It’s usually defined as “a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.” And we might experience gratitude for many things. If we’re late for work, we might feel gratitude that we make it through all of the stoplights. We might wake up and see a beautiful sunny day, and feel gratitude. We might experience gratitude for any of the amazing little things that happen to us during the day – a rainbow, a sunset, a butterfly floating through … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 6, 2019

The Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (Lk 17:5)By the time the Apostles have gotten to the 17th Chapter of Luke’s Gospel, they’ve seen Jesus do a lot of things.  They’ve seen a miraculous catch of fish.  They’ve seen Jesus expel demons.  They’ve seen Him heal a mother-in-law, a leper, a paralytic, a man with a withered hand, a servant, a woman with a hemorrhage, a crippled woman and a man with dropsy.  They’ve seen Jesus calm a storm, feed 5000 people and raise two children from the dead.  At this point, they realize that Jesus has some pretty serious authority.  And out of all the things they can ask for, they ask him for one thing: “increase our faith.”What is it about “faith” that is so important to the Apostles?  There are two ways that we understand faith in the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 29, 2019

He said, “Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.” But Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets.  Let them listen to them.” He said, “Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” Then Abraham said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” (Lk 16:27-31)What is faith?  How do we get it, and where does it come from?  St. Thomas classically defined faith as: “the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God.”But sometimes things are made easier by looking at … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 22, 2019

“No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” (Lk 16:13)There’s an old expression, “no man on his deathbed ever wished he had spent more time at the office.”  It’s a way of reinforcing the advice that Jesus gives us today.  The question boils down to this:  what is the most important thing in our lives?Most of us wouldn’t have a hard time saying that two things in our lives are incredibly important:  our families and our friends.  These are the people that we can count on.  And to them we devote a lot of time.And when it comes to money?  Well, that’s one of those necessary evils of life.  We need it to survive, but I don’t think any of us would consider it our … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 15, 2019

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Lk 15:2b)Jesus was often criticized during His earthly ministry.  He was criticized for breaking Mosaic law (curing on the Sabbath).  He was criticized for fraternizing with a woman (the woman at the well). He was criticized for being a glutton and a drunkard (contra John the Baptist).  And He was criticized for blasphemy (for forgiving sins).  But one of the most frequent criticisms of Jesus was that He ate and drank with sinners.  Sometimes, we can use that criticism to justify our own conduct.  So what’s the big deal if I hang out with sinners?  Jesus did the same thing!There is a different reality:  God came to save His people from their sins.  The name “Jesus” means “God saves.”  God sent us His Son to save us from the darkness … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 8, 2019

“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”  (Lk 14:26-27).What does it mean to be a Christian?  The word was first used by St. Luke in Acts 11:26, where he recounts that: “it was at Antioch that the disciples [of Jesus] were called ‘Christians’ for the first time.”  So being a Christian means being a disciple (from the Greek word for “pupil”) of Christ.If you read the Scriptural quote above, then Jesus has some pretty high standards for those who would choose to be His disciple.  A disciple must “hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and even his own life” and he must … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 1, 2019

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.   (Lk 14:11).What is humility?  The word origin comes from the Latin word “humus,” which means “dirt.”  It can have negative connotations as being “lowly” or “abased,” but Catholics tend to see humility as a virtue.  And the reason for that?  It’s because Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the epitome, the essence of humility.  He came from the highest station possible:  He is the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, the Word made Flesh, the Alpha and the Omega.  And from the highest station, He chose the lowliest station on Earth.  He was born in a stable.  He grew up in one of the smallest backwaters of the Middle East.  He became an “itinerant” preacher and had nowhere to lay his head.  He … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 25, 2019

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”   (Lk 13:23-24).What does it mean to be “saved”?  We use the word all of the time.  We might save money by buying something on sale.  We might save electricity by turning down the thermostat.  We might save for a vacation or save our breath when in an argument against someone stubborn.  We might want to save the whales, save the rain forest, save the lake or save the cemeteries, to quote some international or local causes.So what does that “someone” in the verse above mean when he asks Jesus whether “only a few will be saved.”  The Greek word being used is from the root “Swttr” or “Soter,” … [Read more...]