From the Pastor – November 24, 2019

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine, they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” (Lk 23:35-38) How many times have we gazed at a crucifix and seen that inscription: “I.N.R.I.”  We know it means something about Jesus being “King of the Jews,” even if we don’t remember that it comes from the first letters of the Latin inscription meaning “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews:  Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum.  The key is understanding what’s behind that inscription.  Is it just a “mocking” inscription provided by Pontius Pilate?  Was it … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 17, 2019

“They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.  It will lead to your giving testimony.” (Lk 21:12-13) What does it mean when Christ tells us that “they will persecute you”?  We can easily look at the history of the Church, and see persecution.  The first persecutions began in 1st century Rome, and were conducted by the Emperor Nero.  Those early persecutions led to the Great Persecution of the 3rd century by the Roman Empire, persecutions that didn’t end until Christianity was legalized in 313 A.D.  We can look at the persecutions of Christians by Moslem invasion in North Africa, which led to the Christians Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land.  Skipping ahead, we recall … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 10, 2019

“That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord,’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Lk 20:37-38) By tradition, the Church dedicates November to prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, those faithful Christians who have died and gone before us but who still must atone for their sins. The time they spend in Purgatory cleanses them so that they may enter Heaven free from the effects of the sin they might have committed in life. Church doctrine on purgatory is based on the Old Testament reading in 2 Maccabees 12:40-46, where prayers were offered for those who had died in battle.  Praying for the dead has been a constant practice of … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – November 3, 2019

“Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Lk 19:9-10) I love the story of Zacchaeus.  It reminds me of two things.  When I was little, it reminded me a little of Mardi Gras.  In the parable, it sounded like a parade was rolling by, and Zacchaeus wanted to see it.  But instead of Rex, it was the King of Kings!  As a young, small boy, I remember not being able to see Mardi Gras parades because of the crowd.  Often, I resolved myself to looking for spare doubloons on the ground. The second thing that the story reminds me of was a visit I made to Rome in 1994, before I entered seminary.  I was fortunate to be able to attend a Papal Audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall.  As the … [Read more...]

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...]