Today we celebrate what is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, as our Gospel reveals the nice and comforting truth that we have a Good Shepherd who will take care of us who entrust ourselves to his care. We need to live this as though we believe this, so in order to appreciate this truth more fully, let us look first at our 1st and 2nd readings.READ MORE
I am excited to preach at all the Masses to share a very important opportunity for you. But before I share what it is, let me relate it to our Gospel today.
This story in our Gospel is the 3rd encounter that the disciples have with the Resurrected Jesus. After fearfully locking themselves in the upper room, they decided they needed to do something, so they went back to what they knew, their previous job and lifestyle. Simon Peter and the other disciples went fishing. Remember it was at the Sea of Galilee where Jesus first encountered Simon and the sons of Zebedee, and after calling them to follow him, it is there that he prophesied that they would become fishers of men. It is telling, therefore, that this encounter of the Lord, out on the sea, is the same place of their first encounter with Jesus.READ MORE
There is so much we are celebrating today. We celebrate not only the 2nd Sunday of Easter and the fact that Christ is risen from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins, but also we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. Do you know the story? In the 1930’s, Jesus appeared to a humble nun, St. Maria Faustina in Poland. Jesus called her to be the secretary and apostle of His mercy, and instructed her to keep a diary and record His Words of Mercy for the whole world, of which I will quote a little from. It is Jesus himself who asked that this day be the Feast of Mercy, and so Pope John Paul II announced, the Sunday after Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday. In April 2000 John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina. Pope John Paul II committed his Papacy to spreading the message of Sr. Faustina and God’s unfathomable mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation Christ gave to His Church. John Paul II himself went to confession every week and spent 1 to 2 hours in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every single day. After he was shot in 1981, the Saint asked that Sr. Faustina’s diary be re-read to him in its entirety. And God honored His servant by calling him home in the beginning hours on the vigil of the Feast of Divine Mercy on April 2nd, 2005.READ MORE
Happy Easter everyone! We come now to the end of the 3 holiest days of our year- on Holy Thursday our Savior gave us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist through His ministerial priesthood and on Good Friday Jesus died upon the Cross for the forgiveness of sins. Today Christ is risen from the dead. As we journeyed toward Easter, each of us are called to experience the joy and glory that our Lord has for us; but like our readings today teach us, faith is a journey and it takes time for the understanding and joy to sink in. In order to grow in faith and fully appreciate the fact of Jesus’ Resurrection, we must place ourselves with the disciples so we can feel what they felt and experience what they experienced. Join me as we reflect on their journey.READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, our readings this week reveal who God is, as well as how we should approach Him. Let us open our hearts to learn from our readings to know and appreciate who God is in a deeper way.
In our 1st reading, as Moses was tending the sheep of his father-in-law, God reveals himself to him through a burning bush. Moses sees a bush on fire, but notices it is not being consumed. Understandably curious, Moses approaches the bush for a closer look. As he approaches, he hears the voice of God calling him by name. So first, we learn that God knows Moses by name, he has intimate knowledge of who Moses is. Then God tells him to come no nearer but to take off his shoes for He is on holy ground. This gives us some insight to how we should approach God. The burning bush is extra-ordinary, no one, including Moses, has ever seen a bush on fire but not being consumed. And so it should be approached differently, more special, than we approach anything else. God is extraordinary, and so we should not approach God with a casual attitude. We should approach God in reverence for who He is, but to do so we must come to know who God is for ourselves.READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, in our 1st reading, God enters into a Covenant with Abram. A covenant is a sacred oath saying that God will be faithful to Abram and Abram will be faithful and let God be God in his life. However, we know that God’s people didn’t uphold their vow to the Lord, but God had mercy and entered into other covenants over the centuries with Moses and David. Jesus Christ has entered into a final and ever-lasting covenant with us, and this and every Mass, indeed every Sacrament, is a renewal of God’s and our vows of faithfulness to each other. Although we so often don’t keep our vows to the Lord, God is merciful and invites us to repentance and renew this covenant once again. Mindful of this covenant renewed in this Mass, let us see how this covenant is played out in our lives.READ MORE
We have entered into the great season of Lent. We can call it a desert time--a time to grow in simplicity and purification and to focus on building a deeper relationship with our Lord. St Luke in our Gospel tells us that before Jesus begins his public ministry, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, if you are familiar with the bible you will notice that before the important figures of salvation history can begin their work, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jeremiah, David, and so on, there is a period of testing or trying. Much like after the schooling, medical students, for example, will go through an internship, a period of testing, before they can begin their work. And this time is important; it has a very significant purpose. Just as Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, so we too are led by the Holy Spirit into our desert during this season of Lent. May we see Lent as an important time for us.READ MORE
Even though we are still in Ordinary time, at least until Wednesday, still we are called to conversion. Each of our readings today speak to us about a transformation that God desires for each of us, for our own good. Let me start with our Gospel and as I describe the scene, I invite you to picture yourself as Simon.
Our Gospel from Luke comes shortly after Jesus began his public ministry in which he preached in the Synagogues around Galilee and was praised by all. He even went to his hometown of Nazareth and proclaimed that He was the Messiah, the fulfillment of all the prophets. And although those in Nazareth threw him out, many people throughout Galilee were seeking Jesus and bringing to him all who were sick, or possessed with a Demon, and Luke says that He healed them all.READ MORE
Our Gospel today finishes the story from last week. You might remember in last week’s Gospel Jesus went all around the region of Galilee and preached in the Synagogues. He was praised by everyone everywhere he went. Then the Gospel last week said that Jesus went to his own hometown of Nazareth, where he grew up as a child. At the time of Jesus, Nazareth was a small town, somewhere around 250 people or so, so obviously it was a town where, everyone knew everyone. Upon entering the town, it was the Sabbath, so Jesus went to the Synagogue. A lot of people had gathered to hear Jesus preach. I think it is important to think what the purpose and mind frame might have been for people coming to the Synagogue.READ MORE
Our Gospel today begins with the opening verses of Luke’s Gospel, then jumps 3 chapters in which Luke describes how Jesus came about through the Virgin Mary, and with John the Baptist who was sent to prepare the people for Christ’s arrival. Then our Gospel picks up again in Chapter 4 of Luke into the beginning of Jesus public ministry. I am going to start my reflections highlighting our first reading from the Book of Nehemiah and Luke’s opening verses.READ MORE