From the Pastor – December 30, 2018

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Col. 3:16 )The Feast of the Holy Family falls on this Sunday, and I think that this season is a good time to reflect upon our family lives, and to examine whether we’re being good family members.  When we contemplate the Holy Family, we note the fact that when Jesus became man – when the Word became flesh – He became flesh as a little child within a family. That was a divine choice; because Jesus could have chosen any way he wanted to manifest Himself.  He could have arrived on earth as a 33 year old adult or an 80 year old man.But Jesus was conceived and began his existence in Mary’s womb, and was born … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – December 23, 2018

Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:  the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel. (Is. 7:14)Behold [Mary], you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1:31-32a)In William Shakespeare’s play, “Romeo and Juliet,” the two lovers have a dialogue about their own names.  It begins with Romeo hearing Juliet call his name:  “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”  Later in the dialogue, Romeo responds:  “It is my soul that calls upon my name:  How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night, Like softest music to attending ears!”This quote has been paraphrased to something like:  “there’s nothing so sweet as the sound of one’s own name.”  And … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – December 16, 2018

“Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again:  rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.” (Phil. 4:4-5 )This third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday” from the Latin St. Paul uses when he tells us to “rejoice in the Lord always”: gaudete in Domino semper!  The spirit of the Liturgy in Advent is one of expectation and preparation for Christmas and the Second Coming of Christ, but our penitential attitude is suspended on Gaudete Sunday so that we might focus on the joy of our Redemption, which should never be far from our hearts.To highlight the importance of Gaudete Sunday, the priest wears rose vestments and lights a rose candle on the Advent wreath. Why do we mark this day by focusing particularly on joy?  It’s because the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – December 2, 2018

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Lk 21:36)This Sunday we begin the Holy Season of Advent, a time when we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Christ in the manger at Christmas while looking with expectation toward His second coming in glory. It’s a time when we’re called to be “vigilant,” meaning to “keep watch” for danger. And what is that “danger”? In the Gospel today, Jesus mentions “there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.” In one sense, this is really our experience in the present world that has so much access to information technology. We hear about nations in … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 18, 2018

“Brothers and sisters: Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God.” (Heb. 10:11-12)Every Sunday, something important happens in our parish.  The event is centered on the “Paschal Mystery.”What is the Paschal Mystery?  Simply put, the Paschal Mystery is the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  When the Jews were slaves in Egypt, God told them to slaughter a lamb in the evening twilight and to place its blood on the two posts and the lintels of their houses.  Seeing the blood, the Lord would “pass over” their homes in striking down the first-born of the Egyptians, and they would be released … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 11, 2018

“Brothers and sisters: Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God.” (Heb. 10:11-12)Every Sunday, something important happens in our parish.  The event is centered on the “Paschal Mystery.”What is the Paschal Mystery?  Simply put, the Paschal Mystery is the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  When the Jews were slaves in Egypt, God told them to slaughter a lamb in the evening twilight and to place its blood on the two posts and the lintels of their houses.  Seeing the blood, the Lord would “pass over” their homes in striking down the first-born of the Egyptians, and they would be released … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 4, 2018

The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher, you are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than He.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mk 12:32-34)This weekend’s Gospel contains a beautiful conversation between a scribe and Jesus about the most important things of our faith: love of God and love of neighbor.  The scribe listens to Jesus and agrees that love of God and neighbor “is worth more than any burnt offering or sacrifice.”  And Jesus tells the scribe:  … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 14, 2018

“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  (Mk 10:25-26)Before I entered seminary, I heard a homily preached on this Gospel passage.  The priest explained that one of the gates to enter Jerusalem that was called the “eye of the needle.” Camels could only go through the “eye of the needle” if they were crawling on their knees and stripped of baggage. The implication was that we only get to Heaven “on our knees” and free of attachment to possessions. At the time, it seemed like a good explanation. But when I was in seminary studying Sacred Scripture, I learned there was no such gate. His cute story was a complete fabrication!However, there are explanations … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – October 7, 2018

“But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”  (Mk 10:6-9)“Marriage is the intimate, exclusive, indissoluble communion of life and love entered by man and woman at the design of the Creator for the purpose of their own good and the procreation and education of children; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a Sacrament.”  Gaudium et Spes, 48Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of the “wedding feast … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 30, 2018

“At that time, John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.  For whoever is not against us is for us.”  (Mk 9:38-40)Most of us here at Good Shepherd Parish call ourselves Catholics.  But what does it mean to be “Catholic”?  You might hear different definitions these days.  When I was working in the Vatican, someone who “wasn’t Catholic” was someone who didn’t follow the Holy See in matters of doctrine.  On the other hand, there exists a group called “Catholics for Choice” that purports to be “Catholic” while attacking the moral teachings of the Church and promoting … [Read more...]