Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 16, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Ex 17:8-13 / Ps 121 / 2 Tm 3:14-4:2 / Lk 18:1-8
by Rev. Mr. Barry Welch, Guest Homilist
Something that I learned this week I found pretty interesting: That is, from a really early age, some studies say that, as early as three years old, children exhibit an understanding and a sense of fairness, of justice. At the age of three! They’re barely able to walk and talk, and yet they understand fairness.
How many have heard this: “That’s not fair!” “He got more ice cream that I got!” [Invites those watching the livestream to post comments about what’s not fair.] It’s not fair that both Virginia Tech and UVA have horrible football teams at the same time. ONE should be good, right?
Here’s a secret also, because just a few years later, at the age of around eight, children begin to understand something that many of us, if not all of us, in this room already know all too well: Life’s not fair. At the age of eight, just five years after they figured out fairness and justice, they’re learning that life isn’t fair.
And when has life ever been fair? Throughout all of history, pride and power and politics, war, wealth, sickness, accidents, natural disasters, school, work, play, taxes, death. Life isn’t fair. It’s just not.
But we learn, we adapt. We deal with it, but sometimes this unfairness, this lack of justice just builds up and beats us down. It seeds discouragement; we lose heart. We become weary. It’s just not fair.
In this parable that we hear from Jesus, He talks about this judge. This is not a good guy. This judge is about as far away from fairness and goodness as you can get. We hear from Jesus that we’re supposed to love God with everything we’ve got and love our neighbor as ourself. And yet, this judge even repeats himself, “I do not fear God nor respect any human being.” He’s pretty much the opposite of good and just. He’s only out for himself. He’s corrupt. He couldn’t care less about justice. If someone of influence or means, or had a good bribe, or someone who’s a friend, or a friend of a friend, someone that could do him a favor, that’s where his decision is going to be swayed. That isn’t fair.
What about this widow that we hear about? Jesus chose this character of a widow very carefully and wisely, because a widow in that society was about the lowest status that you could possibly be. With the loss of her husband, she had zero status. In fact, all of the inheritance that was owned by her husband would have been claimed by his family. If there were children involved, they would have to go to court, and we just heard about the judge. In that society, life is completely and totally against a widow. In fact, she shouldn’t really even be speaking to a civil authority. She isn’t worthy enough in that society for that. Talk about unfair. That isn’t fair.
So what’s the point? This is an unusual situation with parables that Jesus gives, because Jesus tells us what the point of the parable is before He tells us the story of the parable. He told us that it is about the necessity to pray always, without becoming weary.
We can get confused about this parable. Jesus isn’t saying that if we nag God long enough, hard enough, often enough, we’ll eventually get Him to do exactly what we want Him to do. No way.
He’s contrasting God with this judge. He’s talking about how God is different. If an unrighteous and unjust judge with limited power would give in to persistent petitions, how much more so would a righteous judge and just judge with limitless power hear the cries of those who call to Him?
The point, Jesus is telling us, is to pray always and not get weary. But Jesus is also teaching us something that goes a little deeper. Typical Jesus. There’s something a little bit deeper: Life’s not fair, and it never will be until Jesus, the just judge, returns. Jesus, Son of the Creator, who came to be with us and one with us. He lived, suffered, died, and rose, and He ascended, justifying us for our salvation, even though we aren’t worthy of that. He cleared the path for us to live with Him in love eternally, and He promised He would come again in glory. He promised, and He will do it. That’s the point.
All of our prayer, like the widow, our relentless prayer and petitions, in spite of discouragement, in spite of weariness, in spite of setbacks and trials and burdens in our life, the prayer of the chosen ones is to bring us justice, to bring us to the world that is to come. To bring us to the kingdom that is to come, forever and ever. That’s the prayer that will come speedily and when we least expect it. That’s the prayer we long for. That’s the prayer we want to pray for incessantly. That’s the point.
That’s not to say that we don’t want to pray for a cure to cancer, or world peace, or to be appreciated and loved, or health for ourselves and for our family members and for our loved ones, strength and wisdom to our leaders, and a good parking spot at the mall. Of course, we want to pray for these things, and of course our loving God hears these prayers.
But the point of this story, this parable, is an eschatological one. That means it’s of the kingdom to come. It’s for life everlasting. It’s for a just God bringing about a just end and a just life everlasting, just as He promised. That’s the point.
But…When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 2, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4 / Ps 95 / 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14 / Lk 17:5-10
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
An elderly woman lived in one half of a duplex apartment. She was extremely poor but was a good woman. She prayed a great deal. In the other half of the duplex lived the owner. He was a man of no faith, no prayer, no religion. He often made fun of the old lady’s trust in God. One day, this woman was praying quite loudly, telling the Lord that she had no food in the house. The godless one heard her and decided that he would play a trick on the old lady. He took a loaf of bread, laid it at her front door, rang the bell, and hurried back to his apartment to hear through the wall her cry of delight: Thank you Lord. I just knew that You wouldn’t fail me! With a devilish grin, the man came back to her front door and told her, “You silly old woman! You think God answered your prayers? I’m the one who brought that loaf of bread.” Without any dismay, the old woman exclaimed, “Praise the Lord! He always helps me in my needs, even if He has to use the devil to answer my prayers.”
The readings this Sunday teach us lessons about faith and trust in God. In the first reading, the prophet Habukkuk complains to God: How long, O Lord? I cry for help but You do not listen. The prophet is asking whether or not God cares for His people. There is war and violence, misery and death all around their place. The powerful Babylonians are about to demolish the people of Israel. How can God allow things like this to happen?
Habukkuk is trying to question the loving presence of God, perhaps like many of us when we are confronted with so many problems and so much pain. Remarkably, God appears not to be displeased with Habukkuk, since He answers him with gentle and reassuring words. It sounds as if He’s telling the prophet, “Be patient. I have a plan. I will intervene when it is time. What I ask of you now is faith and if you have it, you will live.”
What kind of faith does God ask of Habukkuk? The prophet believes in God’s existence. In fact, he is already imploring for divine intervention. Yet God wants Habukkuk to develop a kind of faith that is trustful and steadfast in the face of trials and difficulties. God would like Habukkuk to keep believing that God will not abandon His people, and that He will save them in His own time.
In today’s gospel, the Apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. The Apostles themselves realize their need for a more solid kind of believing in order to persevere in following the Lord. Real faith is necessary, considering the fact that it is not easy to understand the radical teachings of Jesus, like leaving homes and families, daily carrying the cross, forgiving one another, and loving one’s enemies. It is even more difficult to follow the Lord’s way of life, like living simply, serving the poor, teaching the ignorant, exorcising demons, touching lepers, and challenging authorities.
The Lord says in reply, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Jesus compares faith with a tiny mustard seed whose power does not depend on its size, but on its great potential hidden within itself. Faith, even when it’s little, has the capacity to do unbelievable things in the life of individuals and communities.
The use of the image of the mustard seed also suggests that the quality of faith is more important than its quantity. We might think that the more we know theology, the more prayers we recite, the more religious organizations we join, the stronger our faith becomes. Such is not necessarily true. In the Gospel of John, the Lord says, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you, I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in Me is doing His works. Believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Or else believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will do the works that I do.” (John 14:10-12)
Somehow these words can help us understand the kind of faith that we need to develop in our lives. Faith is our unqualified acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of humankind. Our faith is genuine if we believe in the person of Jesus, His salvific words and actions, and if we trust in His absolute power over darkness and sin. The believer would manifest this faith meaningfully by participating in the saving works of Jesus.
There is a story of a small boy, a passenger on a luxury ship. The ship was nearly sinking because of a very strong typhoon. Everyone was in panic, grabbing lifeboats and life jackets from each other. This little boy was sitting in a chair as if nothing was happening. One adult passenger approached him and asked, “Boy, it seems that you don’t mind what is happening. Don’t you know that in a few minutes, we are going to sink?” The boy answered, “Excuse me, sir, the captain of the ship is my father. Because he is my father, I trust him. Why would I be afraid?” The captain of our lives is none other than God Himself.
Saint Paul writes from prison to encourage Timothy to keep the faith. His words to Timothy remind us that we have all received a special gift from God, a gift which is more than enough to enable us to remain strong in faith. That is the Holy Spirit: the spirit of power, the spirit of love and self-control.
So today, let us ask God to increase our faith. As we try to face with courage our own problems in life, let us not forget that our difficulties can never equal the sacrifice of Jesus which He offered for our sake. When we pray to the Lord, “Lord, increase our faith,” we are opening ourselves to be moved more and more by the power of His spirit. With the help of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, we can stir into flame the gift of faith. We become capable of guarding this rich trust and of witnessing to our faith before others.KEEP READING
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 14, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Jer 38:4-6, 8-10 / Ps 40 / Heb 12:1-4 / Lk 12:49-53
by Rev. Mr. Barry Welch, Guest Homilist
Jesus makes a very striking statement to His disciples in today’s gospel: “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather, division.” Why would Jesus say this? Isn’t He all about peace? We hear so often: Peace be with you. One of His titles is Prince of Peace. Peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. From the Beatitudes, we remember, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” And yet, He is bringing up division. Why is it that He says this? I think there are two primary reasons.
The first is the practical advice He is giving to His followers. Many of His followers were thinking that they were with the Messiah now. He was expected to usher in a whole new era of God’s Kingdom. All the tribes would come back together; there would be peace in the land; the Holy City would be returned. Serenity, tranquility, harmony. Everyone getting along, etc.
Jesus lets them know that this is not the way it is going to be. He says that some will love Him, some will follow Him, some will join Him, but others will not. Not only will some not love Him, they will also despise those who do. According to Jesus, that is not His will, but it is the will of those who do not believe, their own free will. So He is letting His followers know that there will be division, and it will put strain on relationships.
I’ve said in homilies before that the moment you make a big step, a big commitment, a vow toward Jesus Christ, you will be challenged. Obstacles will present themselves, fear being one of them. Satan himself, or the lies that he has planted in the world, will be against you, even in your own household and among those you hold most dear. Jesus is clarifying that for us in this gospel.
Secondly, as is often the case, Jesus also has a deeper meaning when He is saying something, especially if He is saying something that may be a little confusing to us. His meaning may not be as readily understandable to us today as it would have been to His original listeners. Jesus is revealing something about Himself as He quotes from the prophet Micah.
Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah, whom Jesus also often quotes. The general idea with Micah is that he is making a movement in his prophesies and proclamations from judgment, trial, testing, into confidence in God’s salvation. In chapter 7 of the Book of Micah, the chapter quoted by Jesus in today’s gospel, he starts with this theme of trials and testing. Here are some excerpts:
“The faithful have disappeared from the land, and there is no one who is upright.…Their hands are skilled to do evil….The official and the judge ask for a bribe….The powerful dictate what they desire and therefore pervert justice….Put no trust in a friend. Have no confidence in a loved one…. Guard the doors of your mouth.”
Here is the part that Jesus quotes: “For the son treats the father with contempt. The daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and your enemies are members of your own household.”
Whenever Jesus or any of the teachers of His time are quoting ancient scriptures, there is a whole theme and message that they are referring to, not just the individual quote. Up to this point Micah has delivered a theme of trials and tribulations signified by even division within families.
But then, Micah continues: “But as for me, I will look to the Lord. I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, show us marvelous things. (The Exodus, pointing to the new Exodus.) You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and unswerving loyalty to Abraham, as you have sworn to our ancestors from the days of old.”
In no uncertain terms, Jesus, in the message He quotes from Micah, is proclaiming to His listeners, His disciples then, and His followers today, that He is the fulfillment of that prophecy. He is the one to achieve the new Exodus to the heavenly kingdom. He is the one to free us from slavery to sin. He is the one to answer the oath sworn to our ancestors. He is the one to bring about the hope for salvation.
He is also saying, in this quote from Micah, that before salvation, there will be difficult times. Before salvation, we will experience that time of trial and tribulation. The upside-down world despises Him. Why wouldn’t it despise us as well?
In the gospel today, Jesus reveals that He is ready to purify the world through fire and the Holy Spirit, as predicted by John the Baptist. The most wonderful part about all of this is that Jesus takes on all of those trials, all of our debts, all of our sins, upon Himself in the baptism of His passion and death, which He said He must endure before the resurrection. He restores what is broken and beaten. He reconciles us to the Father. He recreates us new and brings about salvation.
Before that, however, as we heard in the letter to the Hebrews today, “Let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.”KEEP READING
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 19, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Gn 14:18-20 / Ps 110 / 1 Cor 11:23-26 / Lk 9:11b-17
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
I read this story told by Archbishop Fulton Sheen: that, during China’s 1911 republican revolution, in response to the earlier Boxer Rebellion, anti-Catholic militants seized a Catholic parish. They confined the parish priest to house arrest, so from his rectory window, he witnessed the desecration of the church. He knew that there had been thirty-two consecrated Hosts in the tabernacle.
An eleven-year-old girl was praying at the back of the church, and the guards either did not see her or else paid no attention to her. She returned to the church that night and made a holy hour and then consumed one of the sacred Hosts, bending down to receive Jesus on her tongue.
She continued to return every night, making a nightly holy hour and consuming one sacred Host. On the last night, the thirty-second night, unfortunately a guard was awakened. After she consumed the sacred Host, he chased her, grabbed her, and beat her to death with his rifle.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen became aware of her martyrdom while he was a seminarian. He was so inspired by her sacrifice that he promised to pray a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament each day for the rest of his life.
Brothers and sisters, the eleven-year-old girl could have had no idea how she would influence a future bishop, who would in turn influence millions of people and promote Eucharistic adoration. We also have no idea how our witness and sacrifices influence other people.
Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This feast reminds us that Jesus gives His very own body and blood, so that we might live in our faith and alive in our deeds. If we do not live in our faith and alive in our deeds, this is because the Body and Blood of Jesus are not part of our food. So let us not deprive ourselves of this most important ingredient of our earthly life.
When Catholic converts are asked to talk about the reason why they converted to the Catholic faith, for most of them, one of the main reasons is their discovery of the truth about the Holy Eucharist. When they learn that the Eucharist is not merely a symbol, but Jesus Christ Himself, given to us in the form of bread and wine, they begin to experience a deep spiritual hunger and longing for it. Our Catholic faith taught us that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ Himself.
Through the Eucharist, Christ becomes physically present in the church, keeping His promise that He would always be with us, until the end of the world. And, because the Eucharist is preserved in the tabernacle, we can be with Him any time we want, just like the eleven-year-old little girl in the story that I heard.
Whatever our spiritual condition may be, today’s feast of the Holy Eucharist is the greatest banquet of all. The greatest sacrifice of all. The very source and summit of our whole Christian life. This is the feast of us all, because Jesus is present in the Eucharist, and He is the Eucharist Himself, awaiting us all.
He is here for the child who receives his or her First Holy Communion, for Catholic converts, and for the lifelong believers like us Catholics. He is here for those who cannot receive him sacramentally: the little children, for the non-Catholics who are mysteriously drawn to the Eucharistic banquet. Some people or friends we know who are in the catechumenate program show love for the Eucharist and continue to attend Mass every week, even if they cannot receive Holy Communion, and they continue to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
He is here for the sick people who cannot join us in this Eucharistic celebration because of their situation. That is why the Church reserves consecrated Hosts in the tabernacle, so that the Eucharist can be brought to the sick and the faithful who can worship the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass.
So now the question is: How can be apply this belief of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist into our lives? There are so many suggested ways how, like Eucharistic devotion and participation in the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as our thanksgiving, reparation, adoration, and petition to Christ, present with us in the Blessed Sacrament. We can also spend a few minutes after receiving the Eucharist in silent thanksgiving. We can visit our Lord preserved in the tabernacle. There, we can silently speak with Him about anything we please.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church sums up Eucharistic devotion in the words of Saint John Paul II: “Jesus awaits us in the sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet Him in adoration, in contemplation, full of faith and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.”
So Brothers and Sisters, in a few moments, when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, let us try to remember our faith, not only in the Real Presence in the Host, but also Jesus’ real presence in us. That is why we are here, and that is why Jesus nourishes us, so that we can also nourish others.
At the end, let us remember this: If we celebrate the Eucharist with faith, we shall be transformed into what we eat. We shall become Christlike and be true to our name, “Christians.”
May Jesus Christ be praised.KEEP READING
Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 22, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29 / Ps 67 / Rev 21:10-14, 22-23 / Jn 14:23-29
by Rev. Mr. Mark De La Hunt, Permanent Deacon
I’ll always remember when my wife and I learned the Church’s teachings on birth control. We were newly married and living in Austin, Texas, while I attended the university there. We were a sharing couple on Engaged Encounter weekends and needed to learn about Natural Family Planning, so that we could answer couples’ questions on the retreat weekends. But as we were driving home down I-35 in our Chevy Luv pickup, with no AC and no radio, after the Natural Family Planning class, we were somewhat in a state of shock at what we had learned. We drove in silence for a time, and then I looked over at Catherine, and said, “We are going to do this, aren’t we?” She said, “Yes.” And I remember a feeling of excitement and rightness.
And when we conceived a child a few months later, we were a little frustrated. But the Church proved wiser than us. That child is our oldest son. He has given us much joy over the years. Some angst too, to be sure. But when I needed help at the drop of a hat, when my brother died in New Orleans a few years ago, he dropped everything and flew there to help. And he has helped us on our property, when my health gets me behind. And he and his wife have blessed us with five grandchildren. None of those blessings would have come to us if we had not taken a leap of faith and submitted to the authority of the Church, trusting that the Holy Spirit guides her to all truth (Jn 16:13).
We should have the same feeling about submitting to the Church’s authority as we do to Jesus’, because He gave His moral and teaching authority to the Catholic Church. A great proof of this is the apostle Paul, who received a powerful, life-changing personal revelation from Jesus that no one received. Despite that supernatural moment in his life, he submitted himself to the Church’s authority when a dispute over matters of morals and faith arose (Acts 15:1).
To understand why St. Paul did this, it helps to read the readings in reverse order. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the apostles, “Whoever loves me will keep my word… and the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (Jn 14: 15, 26). He expands this teaching a little later, telling them that “I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (Jn 16: 12-13). The Church is led to and bound to the truth by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ words about the Holy Spirit are fulfilled by the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In the first reading, which comes from Acts, we heard that there was a heated debate about whether circumcision was required in order to be saved (Acts 15: 1). To resolve it they each read the scripture and prayed to the Holy Spirit and came to their own personal conclusions. Not! What the reading said was, “It was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders (same Greek word used for presbyters and bishops elsewhere in the Bible) about this question” (Acts 15:2). The apostles discussed the question and made a proposal, which Peter then announced. This was the first Church Council.
In the second reading, from Revelation, we hear of twelve courses of stone with the names of the twelve apostles on them (Rev 21:14). Here is the thing about foundation stones. They do not sit there passively. They transmit their power to the stone above them, and those stones to the stone above them and on and on. Thus, this analogy gives us a powerful image of Apostolic Succession.
According to Apostolic Succession, today’s bishops are the successors to the apostles, and the bishop of Rome is the successor to Peter who had primacy among them. The bishops in communion with each other and the Pope form the magisterium, which is the teaching arm of the Church. It was to this body that Jesus gave His authority and the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide them to all truth. Therefore, we should be obedient to that authority.
Obedience is not a popular topic. There is a lot of talk about freedom in our world, but lately, it is increasingly focused on personal beliefs and choices. However, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and the truth will set us free” (Jn 8:32; 14:6). Our personal opinions will not make us free when they conflict with the Church’s teaching. Through the Holy Spirit, the Church’s teaching is the same as Christ’s teaching. St. Joan of Arc said, “About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.”
To be truly free, we must obey Christ who speaks to us through His Church by the Holy Spirit. To speak and to do things contrary to Christ’s teaching is a sin, and sin always enslaves us. Sin is a cruel master that entices us with attractive packaging and then snares us. Sin always has strings or chains attached that latch on to us and pull us away from our brother, Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ. It dulls our intellect, mutes our creativity, corrupts our charity, and just plain makes us miserable.
What do I mean by “corrupt charity?” One of the best examples is the belief that killing someone is an act of mercy. One example of this is physician-assisted suicide. A Holy Name of Mary parishioner named Bill shared a story that highlights this corrupt charity and contrasts it with the Church’s divinely inspired wisdom.
His brother Joe was dying from COPD, so Bill traveled to see him in the hospital, which was in another state. He asked the nurse what the plan was. She described a process where they would give him morphine and slowly turn down his oxygen until he died. Bill said, “You are going to euthanize him!” The nurse shrugged her shoulders. Bill demanded an alternative plan. They came up with one, and it worked. As a result, they were able to stabilize Joe’s oxygen level so that he could be transported safely back to his home. This gave Joe his final wish to die in his home. God blessed Bill for taking a leap of faith and obeying the Church’s teaching by blessing him and his brother with six more weeks together, and Joe, God bless him, died in the peace and comfort of his own bed, next to his wife.
We can see from both the stories I’ve shared that the Catholic Church has wisdom, but does she claim too much authority? No. I think Peter Kreeft defends her authority well, writing, “Her teachings on matters of morals and faith are non-negotiable, not because she claims too much authority, but because she claims she has none…but Christ’s.” (Kreeft 309)
To help us understand the need to obey and the good that obedience brings, Jesus used the image of Himself as our Good Shepherd (Jn 10). The Good Shepherd calls his sheep by name, and they know Him and follow Him. And if the sheep get into trouble, He lays down His life for them to save them. The sheep obey their shepherd because they know Him. By praying, reading our Bible, and going to Mass we come to know Him. They obey Him because they trust Him to lead them to safe pastures where they will live life abundantly (Jn 10:10). We learn to trust Him by taking leaps of faith and experiencing the good it brings. He calls us by our name, not by a label like Satan does when he calls us by the name of our sin to shame us.
When we, the sheep, disobey, we stray away from the Good Shepherd; this is sin. This is a dangerous time for us. Mind, body, and soul are in danger away from the shepherd. When one sheep strays, it can lead another into danger; sin is contagious. We see this in the world today. Isaiah described this dangerous situation like this, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Is 53:6). Interestingly, this dire warning is in the middle of Isaiah’s passage about the suffering servant, our Good Shepherd and Savior.
When “every one goes his own way,” individuals, communities, cities, states, and nations become unstable and unhappy. This state of affairs was captured beautifully in Psalm 42, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?” (Ps 42:5). Jeff Cavins points out that when a sheep is cast down, it means it has fallen over and cannot get up. Cast down sheep are unstable and unhappy, and if the shepherd does not right them, they will die. (Jeff Cavins; Hallow App)
I will close by addressing an issue that may be on your mind when speaking of being obedient to the Catholic Church. The Church consist of laity, consecrated religious, deacons, priests, and bishops, and all are sinners. Some have committed horrific, criminal acts. No human institution is free from sin. However, only the Church is One, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic. It is One through Christ, Holy through the Holy Spirit and catholic (meaning universal) through all of us in communion with all the believers around the world. Finally, it is Apostolic by Jesus’s decree to his disciples. “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Lk 10:16)” Lord Jesus, who were perfected through obedience, may we choose happiness and abundant life by following and obeying only you, our Good Shepherd, through our Mother Church, Amen.
Citation for Peter Kreeft: “Food for the Soul – Reflections on the Mass Readings for Cycle C.” Published by Word on Fire in 2021.KEEP READING
Second Sunday of Advent
December 5, 2021 — Year C
Readings: Bar 5:1-9 / Ps 126 / Phil 1:4-6, 8-11 / Lk 3:1-6
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
The season of Advent is a time for us to prepare our hearts for Christmas. In our gospel today, on this second Sunday of Advent, we hear John the Baptist preparing the people for the coming of Jesus, a voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his path straight.” (Lk 3:4). We hear these familiar words of John the Baptist calling all people to conversion.
Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians in our second reading today, reminds us of three wonderful things. First, Saint Paul reminds us of the joy of the Lord. (more…)KEEP READING
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 7, 2021 — Year B
Readings: 1 Kgs 17:10-16 / Ps 146 / Heb 9:24-28 / Mk 12:38-44
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Two widows are featured in this Sunday’s readings. The first one is from our first reading, when the prophet Elijah asked for water and bread from a widow that he saw picking up sticks. At that time there was a great famine in that area, and only one meal was left for the widow and her son. But even in that situation, the widow did not refuse to help the starving prophet. She believed the prophet’s word that God would provide for them during this time of famine, and yet, her jar did not run out of flour and her bottle did not run out of oil until the drought was over, as Elijah had said. So, the widow in our first reading experienced that God would never neglect a person who does good. (more…)KEEP READING
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 24, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Jer 31:7-9 / Ps 126 / Heb 5:1-6 / Mk 10:46-52
by Rev. Mr. Mark De La Hunt, Permanent Deacon
Jesus performed miracles two thousand years ago and is still doing so today. Today, may we leave this church with a renewed faith in Jesus’ power to heal us and to truly help us when we are in need, and to heal and help others through our prayer.
In today’s gospel, the setting is important. Jesus is walking from Jericho to Jerusalem. Said another way, Jesus is walking from the site of the opening of the Promised Land through Joshua’s obedience to God, to the site of the opening of the gates to our final Promised Land through Jesus’ obedience to His Father. (more…)KEEP READING
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 19, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Wis 2:12, 17-20 / Ps 54 / Jas 3:16-4:3 / Mk 9:30-37
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Who is above all of us? Who is the most powerful? Who is the most respected? In today’s gospel, this is what the apostles were arguing about. As Jesus spoke of His coming pain, the disciples insisted on exaggerating themselves.
Our gospel today reminds me of a beautiful story that moved me. It is about a wealthy man and his son, who loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They often would sit together at night and admire the great works of art. (more…)KEEP READING
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 5, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Is 35:4-7a / Ps 146 / Jas 2:1-5 / Mk 7:31-37
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Once there was a little old man. His eyes blinked, and his hands trembled. When he ate, he clattered the silverware distressingly; missed his mouth with the spoon as often as not; and dribbled a bit of his food on the tablecloth.
He lived with his married son, having nowhere else to live, and his son’s wife didn’t like the arrangement. “I can’t have this,” she said. “It interferes with my right to happiness.” (more…)KEEP READING