From the Pastor – February 3, 2019

And all spoke highly of Jesus and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. (Lk 4:22 & Lk 4:28-30)What happened here? These are two different parts of the 4th chapter of Luke’s Gospel separated by only 5 verses. In the first section, the people are rapt by the beautiful words of Jesus, and in the second they are so angered as to want to kill Him. What provoked that? What caused their attitude to change? Actually, it was a strong statement of Jesus about what had happened with prophets that had come … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 27, 2019

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Lk. 4:16-19)Imagine being present in the synagogue when this dramatic scene took place.  All the eyes are on Jesus and He reads this dramatic reading from Isaiah 61, and then succinctly explains that the passage refers to Him.  There are three important Greek words in this passage to … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 20, 2019

“There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” (Jn. 2:1-5) The Gospel this Sunday is the very first Gospel that I preached about as a newly ordained deacon in October of 1998.  The Mass took place in a very small chapel called the Clementine Chapel, which is located under the main altar of the Basilica of St. Peter at the Vatican.  It’s the closest altar to the Tomb of St. Peter the Apostle.  I had decided that I wanted the Mass to be a Votive Mass for the Blessed … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 13, 2019

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (Lk 3:21-22)This weekend we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. For centuries, Christians have celebrated the season of Christmas as twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany.  The season ends with our celebration of the Lord's baptism.The public life of Jesus begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan.  John hesitates, but Jesus insists. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, "This is my beloved Son.”  Similarly to the visitation of the magi, this is an “epiphany” – a … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – January 6, 2019

“And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.  They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.  They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” (Mt. 2:9-11)Why were the “wise men” wise? Were they wise because they knew the movements of the stars in the sky?  Perhaps.  Were they wise because they understood the seasons of the year or the mysteries of nature?  Maybe.  Or were they wise because they knew how to navigate according to a star.  All of that might be true.  But the underlying truth is that they were wise because they were searching for God. Their desire for Him meant that they could detect his coming appearance on earth in the … [Read more...]

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...]