From the Pastor – March 26, 2017

Jesus said,  “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.”(Jn. 9:39-41) The Gospel this Sunday is about the cure of the “man born blind.” Jesus did so by making clay out of dirt and saliva, by putting the clay on the man’s eyes, and then by instructing the man to wash in the Pool at Siloam. The closing words of this Sunday’s Gospel passage sum up the meaning of the cure of the man born blind. It’s not just a miracle cure of a physical illness.  It’s about opening the eyes of … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 12, 2017

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light. (Mt. 17:1-2 ) The Transfiguration of Jesus is one of the mysteries of the life of Christ. In fact, when the Holy Father, (soon to be Saint!) Blessed John Paul II decided to propose five new mysteries of the Rosary, he included the Transfiguration in his “Luminous Mysteries.” The other mysteries are the Baptism of Our Lord, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, and the Institution of the Eucharist. So what does the Transfiguration mean? It’s literally a “change in appearance” of Jesus. It’s described as a brightness emanating from Him. But what is the mystery behind … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 26, 2017

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. (Mt. 6:33-34) One of my favorite books is called the “Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. I’m sure many of us have read it. The book takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior “tempter” named Wormwood, giving advice on the best way to ensure that a British man, known only as “the Patient,” ends up in hell. In a great irony, God is called “the Enemy.” One of my favorite letters involves the idea of “living in the present.” I’m going to let C.S. Lewis speak for the pastor today: “The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 19, 2017

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt. 5:43-48) “Nobody’s perfect.”  It’s a common excuse when we make a mistake.  We might like the perfect date, or the perfect sunset, or the perfect evening, but we don’t like applying the word to ourselves because, well, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 12, 2017

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 5:19) Preferring quiet, I rarely listen to music around the rectory or in the car, but when I go to my family farm in Alabama, I listen to a lot of country music.  It started many years ago when it was the only thing I could pick up on the radio in my beat-up 1980 Suburban.  And now I listen to country because it seems to go well with riding around in the woods.  Although I generally enjoy the melodies of country songs, what I particularly like are the lyrics.  They’re easy to understand in country music, and they usually have some kind of good, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 5, 2017

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Mt. 5:13) I’ve told this story before, but I’m reminded of it whenever I hear this Gospel! When I was in second or third grade, some of my classmates started making fun of me – as children do – by calling me “salty Nalty.” They would repeat it over and over again: “Salty Nalty! Salty Nalty! Salty Nalty,” especially as they realized that it distressed me at that young age. One day I came home from school and told my Mother about it. And she told me: “You just tell them that you are the ‘salt of the earth.’” I'm not sure I'd ever heard that saying before but it sounded like it came from … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 22, 2017

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mt. 4:18-20) One afternoon while I was in seminary I was having lunch with a some classmates, and we were joined by another seminarian who was a member of a religious community. He was younger than my classmates, and pretty “gung ho” about being a seminarian. With eager eyes and enthusiasm, he turned to my classmate, Mike Woods, and asked “So when did you get your call??!!” Now, you’d have to know Mike, but suffice it to say that Mike was about 10 years older than the other seminarian. He’s from Pittsburgh, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 15, 2017

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” (Jn. 1:35-36) In the readings this weekend, we have some “naming” going on.   John calls Jesus the “Lamb of God” and the “Son of God.”  But what we’re dealing with has both theological and practical implications.  In the Bible - and in real life - names are important. In William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, the lovers have a dialogue about their own names.  It begins with Romeo hearing Juliet call his name:  “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”  The dialogue has been paraphrased to something like:  “there’s nothing so sweet as the sound of one’s own name.”  And even if we don’t read Shakespeare or understand poetry, we can relate to that.  We like hearing … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 1, 2017

“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 ) Although the Feast of the Holy Family fell last Friday, 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 25, 2016

The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.” (Lk 2:15-18) Christmas can carry with it a lot of nostalgia for many of us. The season brings back memories of past Christmases, and might be particularly difficult for those who’ve recently lost loved ones. We might remember the happy times that we had, and we might be filled with a little nostalgia. It’s interesting that the word “nostalgia” is formed by two Greek words, nóstos, meaning “homecoming” … [Read more...]