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...]

From the Pastor – September 23, 2018

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” (Mk 9:35-37)What does it mean to be “the best”?  Our American society puts a premium on it. If it’s high school, the best student is the “valedictorian.”  If it’s high school sports, then the best team is the “state champion.” Pro football awards the “Lombardi Trophy” for winning the Super Bowl, and professional baseball gives the “Commissioner’s Trophy” for winning the World Series.  Locally, Gambit Magazine list an … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 9, 2018

They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” (Mk  7:37)Two weeks ago we finished reading the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel, called the “Bread of Life” discourse. It’s a break that we experience each year during the normal reading of Mark’s Gospel, and it’s meant to point directly to what Jesus gives us in the Holy Eucharist each time we participate in Holy Communion. Now we are back to reading the Gospel according to Mark.Out of all of the Gospels, Mark’s is the shortest, and is likely to have been the first written. However, it often tells the story of the ministry Jesus in more vivid detail than either Matthew or Luke. Mark stresses Jesus’ message about the kingdom of God breaking into human life as good … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – September 2, 2018

He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand.  Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” (Mk 7:15)If there’s one thing in the world we don’t like, it’s hypocrisy. I remember sitting next to a man on an airplane one time.  When he saw that I was a priest in clerics, he was initially very courteous. He said he was Catholic and spoke about being involved in the Church when he was younger. As our conversation continued, he began to spend a lot of time criticizing the Catholic Church, particularly it’s teachings on marriage and sexuality, a male priesthood, and the “hierarchy.”  After listening for a while, I asked him where he went to church at the moment. He responded: “Oh, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 26, 2018

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:66-69)This Sunday we complete our five week Eucharistic study of the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel.  Four weeks ago we heard about the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes – earthly food.  Three weeks ago we heard Jesus describe Himself as the “bread from Heaven,” calling to mind the manna sent from heaven to nourish the Israelites in their Exodus in the desert.  Two weeks ago Jesus starts facing detractors; but instead of backing down, He … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – August 19, 2018

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day." (Jn 6:53-54)As I mentioned over the last three weekends, the Gospel this Sunday is a continuation of the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel. Three weeks ago we heard about the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. Two weeks ago we heard Jesus raise the bar and describe Himself as the “bread from Heaven,” calling to mind the manna from heaven of the Exodus. Last Sunday Jesus starts facing detractors, people who rejected his audacious claims, and He “upped the ante” by describing Himself as the means by which we have access to the Father.  This week, things get even … [Read more...]