Even though it is not a popular belief today or topic in some churches; let me be clear from the beginning- Satan does exist. In fact, one of the tactics of the Devil is to get others to believe he doesn’t exist. For if there is no Evil One, then neither must there be a Holy One. However, there is a devil. Scripture is clear on this point, and calls Satan- the ‘prince of darkness’, ‘the accuser’, the ‘father of lies’, a ‘liar and a thief’. Satan, and all his demons, have one objective- to steal away the life of God in humans and lead to the demise and damnation of every person’s soul. God is the author of life, and Satan does all he can to lead us away from that life- both joy and happiness on this earth as well as eternal life. And so, this battle for our soul is very real and serious, but we need not be overly fearful. Our God is the all-powerful faithful God, and our Church is a protective Church, and our faith, rooted in Scripture, including our Gospel today, instructs us about this battle that is raging for our souls. Let me unpack this Gospel, to enlighten us of its truths and meaning for our lives.READ MORE
In today’s Gospel, which is the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we hear Jesus went to Galilee, a fishing village right off of the Sea, and proclaim the Kingdom of God is at hand. And seemingly inexplicably, Jesus calls Simon and Andrew and then John and James, and all 4 of them immediately leave the fish they had caught and their boats, leave their father behind, and immediately and follow Jesus. Seems kind of sudden, don’t you think? Why would anyone, let alone 4 grown men who have a good family and successful jobs drop everything on the spot, and follow this strange man they had just met? Have you ever thought about why?READ MORE
The last verse in the Gospel of Matthew is the Great Commission of Jesus to his 12 apostles- “Go, and make disciples of every nation”. In this, Jesus gave the Church our marching orders, our mission. The very reason and purpose of the Church, and thus of every parish, is to make disciples. For this reason, a few years ago, if you were part of the parish at that time, I encouraged you all to read the book Forming Intentional Disciples. This book describes where the Church is at, why so many Catholics have fallen away, and describes the steps or thresholds of someone’s journey to discipleship. If you don’t have a copy, you can check out a copy in the parish library, or read the copy that is left in the Adoration chapel when you’re there. But before we can help make disciples, we have to first know who a disciple is and become one ourselves.READ MORE
We come to the final week of the Christmas season by celebrating the Epiphany. Epiphany means appearance or manifestation, and so we celebrate the 3 wise men or magi that followed the star to the Christ child.
Before we reflect on what this celebration means for us today, it is helpful to have an understanding of who the Magi were and what they were doing. The magi were the ones who were summoned by the king whenever he wanted advice or to learn about something. The Magi were literally wise men who were very learned in philosophy and astrology, among other subjects, and so able to read the signs in the stars. The magi, in general, were Gentiles, or people who did not believe in the one true God of Israel. However, even though these 3 magi were Gentiles, they still knew the prophecies of the Jewish believers.READ MORE
Welcome to one of the most important celebrations of our entire lives- we celebrate the Son of God, being born in our world and dwelling among us, I am so glad that you chose to come today! The other day I was listening to Catholic Radio- AM1310. One of the hosts, talking about Christmas said that Jesus comes in 3 ways- He comes in history, mystery, and in glory. Together, let us reflect on these 3 ways, what they are and how they are connected.READ MORE
Two weeks ago, I was on a personal retreat- where I learned more about the 3 stages or ways of the Spiritual life; which some of the Saints, like St. John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, and Francis de Sales, among others, describe to us. The first is the Purgative way, in which we are purged and purified of our sins, particularly our serious mortal sins. The second is the Illuminative way, in which God illumines and shines His light upon our hearts, minds, and wills in a deeper way and we are lifted, raised to higher level in our Spiritual life. And third stage, the Unitive way, is in which our entire hearts, souls, and spirits, and even our wills are one with God's, we are perfectly one and united with God. This Purgative, Illuminative, and Unitive way are the 3 stages that every person will have to go through in order to enter Heaven. We are all called to go through these on earth, but most people will finish up in Purgatory. For in Heaven, everyone is perfectly one with God.READ MORE
Today in our Gospel we encounter the strange figure of John the Baptist. Someone you and I would deem to be a little- Ok a lot- weird, after all he dressed in camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey. But there, in the desert wilderness, is this strange man standing on his soapbox calling people to repentance. You and I would probably pay no attention to him. And yet our Gospel says that “people of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to meet him”. It is natural, and in fact, important for us to ask why would John go and preach in the wilderness and baptize in the Jordan river- why not go to where the people lived? And secondly, why in the world would so many people go all the way into the desert just to hear a man preach repentance and be baptized by him in the Jordan river? To understand the answer to these questions, we need to better know who these people were.READ MORE
Ready or not, we enter into the new liturgical year with the season of Advent, in which we await and prepare for the coming of our Savior. The word Advent- means ‘coming’. So, in this season we not only remember Jesus’s first coming, but also, as we heard in the Gospel, we are called to keep watch for when our Messiah will come back, a second and final time, at an unknown day or hour. Perhaps it is helpful to share with you what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about what we are celebrating in this season. Paragraph 524 says, "When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation of the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming". Therefore, by remembering and entering into the preparation for the first coming, we are renewing and increasing our desire and preparation for the second coming of our Lord.READ MORE
Today we come to the end of the year, the liturgical year, that is. The last couple of weeks our readings have been talking about the end times, and the second advent- the second and final coming- of Jesus Christ. And so, appropriately on this last Sunday of Ordinary Time, we celebrate Jesus Christ our Lord and King. This is such an important feast, but one that is hardly understood or lived out today in our culture. Our readings today are so inspiring, so let us begin our reflection of them so that we can come to know, appreciate, and love God anew through them.READ MORE
We are drawing this liturgical season to the end before we start anew with Advent in 3 weeks. And so, our readings are apocalyptic, they are about the end times. They are about the final coming of the Lord Jesus, and the consummation of all things. And so, we are asked to reflect on these dark, but still illuminating matters.
Our 2nd reading is from the first letter St. Paul to the Thessalonians. It is the earliest letters of New Testament, written about the year 50, about 20 years before the first Gospel. Paul is writing about the one event which changed his life. Paul encountered the Risen Jesus and the realization of that truth of Jesus Christ changed his life. It revolutionized his thinking, his acting, his very being.READ MORE
Jesus in our Gospel today gives us what should be the foundation of our lives- what our entire lives should be consumed about.
Trying to trip Jesus up, a scholar of the law asked which commandment of all the laws of Moses is the greatest? When you and I think of the commandments we probably think of the 10- right. At least I hope we think of the commandments. But for the Jews, in the Torah- which are the first 5 books of the Bible, Moses gave 613 laws. The Jewish people had 613 laws and restrictions that they were to live by in order to be good Jews. Things like not eating unclean animals, refraining from any kind of work on the sabbath, etc. The 10 commandments we know of from Exodus 20 are just 10 of the 613. So, this scholar is asking, which of all 613 is the greatest?READ MORE
Think for a moment about a wedding- perhaps you think of your own wedding, or the last wedding you went to. What do you think about? Is it the genuine love and excitement of the couple- the bride in her beautiful white dress and the groom in a nice tuxedo. Perhaps you think about the vows in which the man and woman promise to love and honor each other, through good times and bad, for the rest of their lives. Through which the couple are forever united to each other, where they vow to give themselves- body and soul- out of love to each other. The 2 become 1- what an amazing thing that happens at weddings.
In our Gospel, Jesus gives a parable in which a king plans a wedding for his son, and all the invitations were sent out. Can you imagine receiving an invitation to the wedding of the king’s own son- what a royal and grand event it would be. The best invitation, from the highest person imaginable, to the greatest event. Wouldn’t you be so honored that you were invited that you’d RSVP ‘yes’ right away? Wouldn’t you drop anything else you had planned that day, and no matter what happened you would go to this amazing event?READ MORE
Our God is a God of love. The all-powerful, all-knowing, Creator of the world; the Creator of you and I. Our loving God has revealed Himself to us as our Father, and we are His beloved children. Our God has made each one of us with such intentional purpose and love, and has a great plan for each and every one of our lives. God has revealed his ways to us, in the Scriptures, through the Church, and in our own prayer, God has revealed how he wants us to live, He has revealed his will for us. So, God has revealed his ways to us and has sent His Son to become human and redeem us from the waywardness of our sin. My brothers and sister, our God, of unfathomable love, has done and continues to do everything He can to welcome us into right relationship with Him. He says to us in our 1st reading: “You say, ’The Lord’s way is not fair’”. Keeping in mind who the Lord is, the all-knowing and all-loving Creator and Father; isn’t it right and true for Him to say to us, “Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?”READ MORE