Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 3, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Jer 20:7-9 / Ps 63 / Rom 12:1-2 / Mt 16:21-27
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
A nun was explaining the Stations of the Cross to her class. They got to the fourth station where Jesus, on the road to Calvary, meets His mother. The nun explained that even though they could not talk to each other, the mother and son spoke to each other just using their eyes. “What do you think they said to each other?” she asked the pupils. The class gave many answers. One said that Mary said, “This isn’t fair.” Another said that she said, “Why me?” Finally, a sick little girl raised her thin hand, got up, and said, “Sister, I know what the Blessed Mother told Jesus. She said to Him, ‘Keep on going, Jesus.’ Why would a mother encourage her only son on the way to crucifixion, to keep on going? Because she understood the Christian principle of no cross, no crown.”
The image of Jesus Christ crucified is so important for our liturgical life that the Church requires that the crucifix be on or close to the altar at every Mass. It should be the focal point of the Christian life. All three of today’s scripture readings, with their emphasis on suffering and sacrifice, help us regain a proper appreciation of the crucified Christ and of the place of the cross in our Christian lives.
Jesus Christ proves to us how much God loves us by suffering and dying on the cross, that we may have eternal life. The greatest expression of Christ’s love is the laying down of His life on the cross. The very center of His mission is His death and resurrection for the life of the world. We can recall that St. Paul declared, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world (Gal 6:14).”
Peter, James, and John have just left the sweet, reassuring, hallowed experience of the Transfiguration. How thrilling religion can be! How comforting for the heart. Just when the apostles are wallowing in pleasant religious feelings, Jesus grows stern and tells them about His forthcoming cross. Peter will have none of it and tells Jesus that this is for others, not Him and them. Jesus, without missing a beat, cuts Peter with quickness by saying, “Get behind Me, Satan!”
Peter needed divine intervention to know that Jesus was divine at Caesarea Philippi. Now he needs divine illumination again to understand that the nice feelings at Tabor are only bought with the dreadful feelings of Calvary. You can sense the fire in Jesus’ heart as He speaks in glowing terms about the cost of following Him. Of course, He knows where everything is heading: Jerusalem and Golgotha, the grave and beyond. His disciples are not as clear about the direction they are headed, but not for lack of hearing about it. Peter actually takes Jesus aside and tells Him that this talk of suffering and death is inappropriate. This should be the hour of victory, but Jesus insists on making the opportunity in front of them strangely grim.
Following Jesus is not a walk in the park. It will not lead to a comfortable position sitting on His right or His left, but rather a taste of the cup from which He is to drink. If we believe in Jesus and are willing to risk a love like His, then we have to be prepared for what the world does to truth-speakers like Him.
Perhaps, like Peter, we may be losing sight of our purpose in life. It is not to live totally for pleasure and avoid as many crosses as possible. Rather, it is to live it in such a way so as to merit the reward of eternal life. It is about living our few years in this life in a way that will reap for us the reward of eternal life in the next life. More concretely, it is about picking up our crosses daily and accepting them in the same spirit that Jesus accepted His own cross. The remarkable part is that once we begin living as Jesus taught us to live, everything will turn upside down. Suddenly, what seemed to be an enormous cross, will turn out to be, in the light of this world and the next world, an enormous blessing.
Suffering then, is not an end in itself. It is a pathway to glory. Jesus has taken on the full weight of human suffering and has transformed it, giving it life-giving value. This is why we willingly display the crucifix instead of rejecting it. While we try to alleviate suffering through legitimate means, at the same time we strive to see it from God’s perspective to find its deeper meaning. When we look at a crucifix, we are reminded that God does not see suffering as something to be avoided at all costs. He knows how to bring good out of suffering.
St. Paul knows that the idea of sacrifice, which is voluntary suffering, does not fit the world’s way of thinking. We are no longer to think as the world does or judge by the world’s standards. Rather, we are called to be transformed by the renewal of our minds so that we may discern what is the will of God: what is good, pleasing, and perfect.
To be able to do this, we need to fix our gaze on Jesus Christ or the crucified Christ. He is risen, but His cross and His passion are our strength. The way of perfection passes by way of the cross. Living by God’s will, no matter what form the cross may take in our lives, is what leads to our glory with Him.KEEP READING
Twenty first Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 27, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Is 22:19-23 / Ps 138 / Rom 11:33-36 / Mt 16:13-20
by Rev. Mr. Mark De La Hunt, Permanent Deacon
Thank you, Jesus, for calling Simon to be the Rock upon which the Church would be built! Jesus called him this before Simon had gained Christian courage or fortitude at Pentecost. He called him the Rock knowing that just moments later He would chastise him, saying, “Get behind me Satan.” He called him the Rock while knowing Simon would one day deny Him three times when He needed Simon the most.
Hang on to that thought a moment; we will come back to it in the second half of this homily. But now, let’s use a powerful prayer-centering technique from St. Ignatius of Loyola and place ourselves in the gospel scene. This is a time for you to use your imagination in a holy way that God intended. Once you have the image in your mind, go back to it whenever your mind wanders. It will help you stay centered. You can do this any time you pray with scripture.
Jesus and the twelve were in Caesarea Philippi, a mostly Gentile area with a temple to the ancient Greek god, Pan. There is a large spring there, which helps form the headwaters of the Jordan river. The spring makes the area lush with greenery. The area is mountainous with brown, grey, and orange-streaked rock all around.
Imagine Jesus and the twelve and you stopping underneath the shade of some trees and sitting on some of those rocks common to that area. There is a breeze cooling us off after our long walk from Galilee. Jesus sits on the largest of the rocks and begins to speak to us. Place yourself in this scene next to a disciple, except Peter. If your mind wanders, recall this scene and where you are sitting.
Jesus asks, “Who do people think I am?” We have all heard different things. Then He asks, “But who do you say that I am?” Before any of us can think it through, Simon says, “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.” Jesus tells him that neither his intellect nor that of others came up with that answer, “[B]ut it was revealed to you by my heavenly Father.” And then Jesus stuns us who know Simon’s weaknesses, saying, “I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”
You lean over to the disciple you sat next to and ask, “Why did Jesus call Simon by the name Peter?” He replies, “When God changes a person’s name it is because He is giving them a new mission and a new authority. God did this with Abraham and Sarah who became the father and mother of the nations.” You suddenly realize God did this with Peter who becomes the first Pope. Pope is Latin for papa or father; Peter is to be the Father of the Church to which all nations belong (Cavins Session 15).
You ask the disciple, “What does it mean that Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven and that what he binds and loosens will be done in heaven too?” The disciple lightheartedly ribs you, saying, “You should have paid more attention to the first reading from Isaiah 22,” and he winks at you. He goes on, “Jesus was using the same language used by Isaiah. In Isaiah, a royal steward, Shebna, is removed from power and the keys were given to Eliakim. Stewards were the most powerful person in Israel under the king (Mitch_Sri 209).”
You tell him, “I learned in Adult Faith Formation that the power to rule in the king’s absence is denoted by keys that represent the office, not the person, and therefore this power or office can be handed down to successors (Cavins). There are some in my time who say that Peter had primacy among the twelve, but that it ended when he was martyred. They are wrong. The bible and historical records prove them so.”
The disciple asks you, “In your time, do you know what authority Jesus gave Peter?” You Google Catechism 553 and read to him while he looks curiously over your shoulder at the cell phone. “The keys are a symbol of his power to open the gates of heaven to men; ‘to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church.’” Not to be outdone by a machine, the disciple one ups Google and adds, “Jesus was using an ancient Jewish idiom or figure of speech of binding and loosing whereby rabbis exercised teaching and juridical authority (Mitch_Sri 211).
You tell him, “I heard in Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Catechism in a Year podcast that the authority of the pope and the college of bishops that we call the magisterium is vitally important to our faith. First, because authority must exist if we are to learn to be obedient like our Master, the one sitting on that tall rock over there, of Whom it was said, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him (Heb 5:8-10).” The disciple animatedly adds, “That is why we must teach our children to be obedient. We cannot be their buddy all the time. If they do not learn to obey their earthly mother and father, how will they learn to obey their heavenly Father through the Church?”
You emphatically agree, mentioning that, “Obedience to the Church is important to ensure the teaching of Jesus is not distorted by a constantly changing worldly culture or our own passions or brokenness. For example, there are Christians who now believe baptism is not necessary for salvation despite Peter’s writing later that, “[B]aptism now saves you (1 Pt 3:21).” End of the scene. Now let’s shift from the theology of today’s gospel to its spiritual meaning for our lives.
Recall that at the beginning of the homily I thanked Jesus for selecting Simon as head of the Church. Here is why. Prior to his being confirmed in the Spirit at Pentecost, he would sink in the water for he had little faith. He would tempt Jesus to avoid His Passion, prompting Jesus to say those words I mentioned earlier, “Get behind me Satan.” In the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter would fall asleep multiple times while Jesus prayed alone in agony. While Jesus was on trial, Peter denied his friendship with Him three times. Despite knowing all this would take place, Jesus called him “the rock” before Pentecost.
So here is the question we all must answer, “Where is Jesus calling you to be a rock, but you resist His call because you feel unworthy, inadequate, ignorant, weak, too busy, too old, or too young?”
We know our past and our weakness almost as well as Jesus does, but we do not know as well as He does our strength, and especially not how strong we will be in the future by His grace. When He calls you to be a rock for a friend, for your spouse, for your children, for your students or patients or customers, for the poor, or for this wonderful parish, you can trust He knows you better than you know yourself.
What about when you fail after He calls you to be a rock for someone or something? Again, Peter shows us the way. In his fear and confusion after Jesus’ arrest, he continued to follow Jesus as best he could, albeit at a distance. By doing so, when Peter hit “rock bottom” (pun intended), denying Jesus three times, he was still near enough to Jesus to receive His saving grace, His divine glance. Across the high priest’s courtyard, Peter saw how Jesus looked at him and the healing and conversion of heart began with Peter’s holy sorrow falling as tears.
When you feel the frustration and hopelessness of your repeated failures to do God’s will or the confusion from being deep in darkness and despair from the natural evil of serious illness or the death of a loved one, or addiction, or the uncertainty of a new season in life like retirement, keep following Jesus. We do that by following Him in prayer, adoration, Confession, and Holy Communion. In those moments, even if we are not feeling strong in faith, we are close enough to see how He looks at us.
His glance, His gaze starts the healing and strengthening that enables us to fully receive the grace of our Pentecost, Confirmation. And this awakening to the power of the Holy Spirit within us transforms us from being unstable in doubt to being a rock in faith. But we still must move and act.
Here is my personal testimony to this truth, and this is for the glory of God. When I was six years old, Jesus called me a rock, if you will, in the happy moment of my first Holy Communion when I was asked to read one of the readings. It meant a lot to me at that time in my life. But then life happened. My dad lost his way, which led to my losing my way. I didn’t go to Mass or pray or think about God during my teenage years. Yes, Jesus brought me back to the Church through marriage, but I still was filled with self-doubt, worsened by sin and the baggage from those years, without an awareness of Him.
Fast forward to 2016, before I began the process of becoming a deacon, Jesus asked me to be a rock for my brother, Kevin, who was dying of cancer in home hospice and who was estranged from the Church. I had no medical training and no hospice experience. I tended to lose control of my emotions when those around me were experiencing strong emotions. Furthermore, I was the baby of my family, the youngest of five.
Through unmerited grace, I found the courage to fly to New Orleans to care for Kevin. As it turned out, his condition was direr than the doctors thought. The six weeks of life they thought he would have were only to be one. Throughout that week, in a somewhat surreal way, I was pondering the inner strength and joy I was experiencing. And I was quietly amazed that everyone turned to me, the normally overly emotional baby of the family, for strength and hope when they were overcome by fear and sadness.
A day or two after Kevin died, as we were in the midst of funeral planning, I received a text from my brother-in-law. He is a thinker, a cardiologist, so his opinions are something you pay attention to. I’ll never forget his few short words, which, looking back on it, were surely those of Christ. “Mark, you are the rock of your family.”
So again, I encourage you to rethink whatever person or cause or need for which Jesus has asked you to be a rock. And in a few minutes, before you come forward for Holy Communion, look for that divine glance as Father elevates Jesus before us and pray with a renewed faith, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” And maybe add in the quiet of your heart, “I will be a rock for whomever and whatever as you wish Lord.” St. Peter, once weak, but now the rock, pray for us. Amen.
The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition. Ascension Publishing 2018.
Curtis Mitch & Edward Sri. Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, The Gospel of Matthew. Baker Academic 2010.
Jeff Cavins & Sarah Christmyer. Matthew – The King and His Kingdom. Ascension Press 2011.
Fr. Mike Schmitz. Catechism in a Year. Podcast on Hallow App 2023.KEEP READING
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 13, 2023 — Year A
Readings: 1 Kgs 19:9a, 11-13a / Ps 85 / Rom 9:1-5 / Mt 14:22-33
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Visitors to the Holy Land like to take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, the sea that Jesus walked. A certain tourist wanted such a ride, and the boatman told him that the fare was $150.
“One hundred fifty dollars!” exclaimed the tourist. “That’s why Jesus just walked.”
If we go deeper into the gospel passage for today, this story of Jesus’ walking on the sea teaches us a lot about who Jesus is, about the Church and her journey through the world, and about the life of faith of individual believers.
First is the lesson about Jesus. The miracle of Jesus’ walking on the sea shows that Jesus is Lord and has authority over all forces, natural and supernatural. The Jews believed that the sea is the domain of supernatural demonic forces. A rough and stormy sea is regarded as the work of these hostile spirits. By walking on the raging waves and calming the storm, Jesus is showing Himself to be One who has power and control over these hostile spiritual powers.
There are Christians who have surrendered their lives to the Lord but still live in constant fear of evil spirits, sorcery, witchcraft, potions, and curses. There are many of us who go to fortune tellers and ask them, “What is ahead of us?” Many of us, too, read horoscopes to know what will happen to us during the day. Today’s gospel readings bring us the good news that these powers of darkness stand no chance at all when Jesus is present and active in our lives and affairs.
The second lesson is about the Church. The boat on the sea is one of the earliest Christian symbols for the Church in her journey through the world. Just as the boat is tossed about by the waves, so is the Church pounded from all sides by worldly and spiritual forces hostile to the kingdom of God. In the midst of crisis, Jesus comes to strengthen the faith of the Church. He assures us that no matter how strong the storm of life is at the moment, He is always to remain with His Church, and He keeps His promise always.
Some of our priests and bishops in the past have felt the persecution of the Roman emperors, the threat of the Anti-Christ, and heresies. The sexual conduct of some priests has cracked the Church. But the Church still exists and will continue to exist in the future, because Christ is with His Church.
The third lesson is about the individual believer. The first rule I learned regarding driving a motor vehicle is: Keep your eyes on the road always. And not on the steering wheel, not on the clutch or the accelerator, because if we do that we will certainly crash. The sight of Jesus walking on the sea, especially the involvement of Peter in the story, is a lesson for us who are tempted to take our eyes off of Jesus and to take more notice of the threatening circumstances around us.
Peter had said to Jesus, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (Mt 14:28). Jesus gives him the command, “Come” (Mt 14:29). But when Peter noticed the strong wind, he became frightened and began to sink (Mt 14:30).
The strong wind in our lives could be sickness, death, poverty, family problems, inability to correct unjust conditions, difficulty in finding decent work, apathy, impatience, the urge to give up in despair, and many more. Why did Peter sink? When Peter kept his eyes fixed on Jesus, he walked upon water well enough. But when he took notice of the danger he was in and focused on the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. So, today’s gospel reading holds the spiritual message for each one of us to focus our eyes on God at all times, and to fulfill His will.
Keeping our eyes focused on Jesus could be difficult. The gospels suggest three ways to us on how to do it. First, let us recognize that we cannot save ourselves. Like Peter, we have to face the fact that he could not save himself as he was slowly sinking. Some of us may have trouble admitting that we can’t make it through life on our own, but we can’t. We really can’t. It is not weakness to admit that we need God. It is foolish to think we don’t.
Second, reach out to Jesus. After we admit that we cannot save ourselves, reach out to Jesus like Peter did, and cry out to the Lord when we slip, “Save me!” But how?
One way could be by going to Confession. Reach out to Jesus in the Eucharist, and then reach out by seeking the help of Christian friends who will support us in our efforts to keep our eyes on Him. In other words, the three C’s of reaching out to Jesus are Confession, Communion, and Community.
Third, keep your grip on Jesus strong, like Peter did. He held onto Jesus for dear life. That is why he eventually made it back to the boat safely. How do we keep our grip on Jesus strong? That is through prayer, studying our faith in His words, and by making the daily effort to put our faith into practice. If we take prayer seriously, and not just make a few formal prayers to satisfy our consciences, if we study our faith diligently, and if we make the effort to live it out there in the world, then our grip on the Lord will not loosen.
If we lose our grip and fall into serious sin and suffering, then let us go back to Step One and start all over again. As long as we make Christ our vision, our point of arrival, and the center of our lives, we can survive. We believe that when big storms come our way, God is always there to help, and rescue us. We have to trust Him.
May the Lord increase our little faith, so that through all the storms of life, we should have our eyes and our trust constantly fixed on Jesus and His power and not on ourselves and our weaknesses.
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 25, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Jer 20:10-13 / Ps 69 / Rom 5:12-15 / Mt 10:26-33
by Rev. Mr. Mark De La Hunt, Permanent Deacon
In case you missed it, on June 16 we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the day after that, the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This past Thursday we celebrated the Memorial of St. Thomas More, and just yesterday, the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist. I see in that sequence of celebrations the love of Jesus’ Sacred Heart burning in Mary’s, Thomas More’s, and John’s hearts, enabling their great victories. We receive His Sacred Heart at every Mass in the Eucharist! Keep this truth and these spiritual heroes in mind during this homily on trusting in God’s grace when the world persecutes us for witnessing to His truth and love.
The LA Dodgers major league baseball organization recently held a public event in their stadium to give a “Community Hero Award” to a group of men who dress as nuns and mock the Catholic Church, which is to say they mock Christ (CNA). Now pray today’s Psalm 69 again, “For your sake I bear insult…I have become an outcast to my brothers…the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.”
Washington Nationals pitcher and Catholic, Trevor Williams, responded to the Dodgers’ celebration of mockery by becoming the first major league player to denounce the Dodgers’ award ceremony for an organization the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called “blasphemous (CNA).” His Twitter comments denouncing this attack on the Catholic faith have been retweeted thousands of times. He has been criticized, yes, but Williams said he wanted to show his four children that if they are ever tested, it is ok to stand up for their faith. By the way, Trevor’s own faith took off after going to Adoration as a teenager.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Jeremiah is lamenting how those “who WERE [his] friends” denounce him, watching for “any misstep” so they can trap and “take vengeance on him (Jer 20:10).” However, Jeremiah doesn’t worry about being “canceled” for his faith in God. He defiantly writes, “But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. (Jer 20:11-13)!”
St. Thomas More can relate to Jeremiah’s lamenting about friends turning on him. More was King Henry VIII’s chancellor, and the King wanted More to sanction his illegitimate second marriage in addition to his self-proclaimed position of head of the Catholic Church in England. More refused to sanction either, and King Henry VIII began to cancel More’s job, his status, money, and reputation. But More’s faith did not break. The King was frustrated and finally ordered More’s beheading.
More’s last words exemplify Jesus’ exhortation in today’s gospel. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna (Mt 10:28).” Likewise, More said, “I die his majesty’s good servant, but God’s first.” This is called holy fear, which Bishop Barron describes as fearing “losing intimacy and friendship with God (Barron 72).”
St. Paul, in the second reading, wrote to the Roman Church, “But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.” Living the hope of these words in prison before his execution, Thomas More wrote, “His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience.” In doing so, More also echoed today’s Psalm “See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the Lord hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not (Ps 69:33).”
Like the baseball player Trevor Williams, More also wanted to teach his child through his actions. In his letter from prison to his daughter, Margaret he wrote, “Do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.”
What of the people who mock the Church and try to teach our children to do the same? Jeremiah called the mockers “evildoers” and spoke of God “putting them to shame.” These strong words can be difficult for us, because as Christ’s followers, we look at our persecutors like the first deacon, Stephen. As he was being stoned to death for sharing his faith, he said in imitation of Jesus on the Cross, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
When we read the Bible, it is important that we read it in light of the gospels which rightly order our thoughts. To better understand this difficult challenge, it is illuminating to look at Jeremiah’s words through the lens of today’s gospel reading. Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one…And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (Mt 10:28).” What is Jesus doing here? He is, in His perfect love, “casting out all fear (Jn 4:18)!!” What causes the cycle of accusations, mockery, and violence? Fear. However, if my heart is fed by and enfolded in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, then I fear no one, nowhere. Free from fear, I can respond with Christ’s love and break the chains of conflict and discord. I can even pray for God to forgive those men mocking our Lord, “to not hold their sin against them.”
Sound unreasonable or naive? Thomas More, like all the great saints, shows us the way. In his letter to Margaret, he did not mock Henry VIII, nor point out his sin of adultery. He, with an eye on eternity instead of the here and now, wrote this about Henry: “His Majesty has done me such great good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest.” Like the bold hymn, Faith of our Fathers, More was “chained in prison dark, but was still in heart and conscience free.”
Is there no justice or accountability, then, for those who persecute and mock us? Do we just let them walk all over us? A wise priest once told an angry man, “You cannot do worse to that person than God will.” Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father (Mt 10:33).” That is a polite way of saying not everyone goes to heaven. God commands us to forgive our enemies. Justice is His domain.
Do not be afraid to speak the truth. Remember that there is no love without it. It is a spiritual oxymoron to say I want someone to be happy while suppressing the truth when I am with them. Could speaking the truth cause me pain and suffering? Yes. No doubt some of you have experienced this in your own families and at work and school. So, I ask myself a question: Do I fear the Lord who can cast body and soul into Gehenna, as much as I fear acknowledging Him when it might cause me discomfort? We must keep an eternal perspective of our life. Psalm 85 says, “Salvation is near for those who fear Him.” But take heart! God does not abandon us when we testify to His truth, love, and good news. Remember Jeremiah’s words, “My persecutors will stumble; they will not triumph.”
We see this truth in the rest of the story of the heroes we just heard about. Trevor Williams says many players and stadium employees have secretly thanked him. And on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, Trevor Williams was given the honor of leading the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for tens of thousands on the Hallow app. As for the British Catholic Church, seemingly taken over by Henry VIII, it is now the leading religion in Thomas More’s beloved London. John the Baptist was beheaded, but Jesus called him the greatest born of woman, and the Church honors his birth two thousand years later with its highest-ranking feast, a Solemnity!
And what about our awesome mother, Mary? She stayed at her son’s side, throughout His persecution and Crucifixion, despite extraordinary personal pain, her Immaculate Heart enfolded in His Sacred Heart. For her fidelity was she abandoned by God to poverty and loneliness with no husband and no son? No. Jesus, with one of His last seven utterances on the Cross, gave her a new son who went on to write of her victorious coronation as Queen of Heaven (Rev 12:1).
Let’s close with God’s word, which gives us hope and helps us to be bold in the Spirit despite our failings, inadequacies, and fears. The next time you need to proclaim His truth “from the housetops,” remember these words exchanged between Jesus and St. Paul. Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul responded, “Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:9-10).” Amen.
Bishop Robert Barron. The Word on Fire Bible-The Gospels. Word on Fire Ministries 2020.
Filip Mazurczak. Is a re-Catholicization of Britain underway? The Catholic World Report, July 14, 2020.
Peter Pinedo. Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams speaks out on Dodgers controversy. Catholic News Agency (CNA), June 14, 2023.KEEP READING
Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 7, 2023 – Year A
Readings: Acts 6:1-7 / Ps 33 / 1 Pt 2:4-9 / Jn 14:1-12
by Rev. Dan Kelly, Guest Celebrant
“Amen, amen, I say to you.” Why do we hear this repetitiveness? It’s kind of Jewish prose, if you will. A way of speaking, a way of writing even.
As a youngster, attending Holy Mass when it was celebrated in Latin. Maybe I was only in fourth grade or so. I was captivated by some of the repetitions that I would hear. When the priest would read the gospel, it would be read in Latin, and then it would be read in English. And the priest would say, “Amen, amen, dico vobis.” So when I came home from Mass, I would say to Dad, “Amen, amen, dico vobis.” It was such a familiar thing to me, I actually knew what I was saying, because he gave it to us in English too. But that sort of rhythm was something that captivated me. It was also part of the Hebrew heritage of the repetitiveness, for calling attention: “Amen, amen I say to you.”
The other thing I want to call your attention to is the fact that we have in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles the naming and the calling of the first deacons. They chose seven men filled with the Holy Spirit. The first deacons: Stephen, filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Timon, Parmenas, Nicanor, Nicholas of Antioch, a convert. They presented these men to the apostles.
We’re anticipating, coming in just a few weeks, the Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. And I’m wondering when’s the first time that I ever thought seriously about the Holy Spirit. It was when I was to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. You’re going to receive the Holy Spirit when the bishop comes in. He’ll be wearing that tall hat called a mitre, and he will walk down the aisle and then he will face you. You will come forward, and he will anoint you and put hands on your head and confirm you in the Faith. And you will be Soldiers of Christ. It meant you had the courage and the strength to defend your faith in Jesus Christ.
Now what about those men selected to be deacons? What is this role of deacon about? They don’t collect any salary. What they do is serve in their parishes. There you have a little summary of the diaconate, much of which you may have already known.
I’m going to turn now to the gospel. It’s the Last Supper, and the apostle John is remembering all this. Jesus is talking to the apostles, if you remember. They ask Him, “Where are You going?” And He has to explain. Jesus knows that He’s about to die. He also knows that He will be spending the night in agony in the garden. So He’s trying to explain to His apostles at the Last Supper how they must have strength and must have courage.
Soon we will have the feast of Pentecost in which the Holy Spirit comes down upon the apostles. Not only the apostles, but others too, including the Blessed Virgin Mary. But He knows that they need to have strength. He will be arrested. And the next day He will be on trial. They’re going to see some terrible things happening to their leader, and they’ll remember His healings, His raising of the dead, Lazarus and others, and His driving the devil out and of those who were possessed by the devil.
On that night, He also gives His commandment to love one another. As Jesus washed the feet of His apostles what did Peter say? Oh, you’re not going to wash my feet. And Jesus answered, Peter, if you don’t let me wash your feet how can you enter into the Kingdom with me then? What else did Peter say? Wash my head. Wash me all over, if that’s what it takes.
So why did Jesus wash the apostles’ feet? Because the washing of feet was done in a household by the lowest slave. And Jesus Himself takes that role of a lowest servant in a household and puts on an apron and washes the feet of His disciples. By doing so, He reminds them that that’s what they need to be doing.
The path to death does not end with death. And that is what we can recall too. Whenever illness, great illness affects us or loved ones in this life we have this great confidence and hope in life eternal. God bless us all in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.KEEP READING
Second Sunday of Lent
March 5, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Gn 12:1-4a / Ps 33 / 2 Tm 1:8b-10 / Mt 17:1-9
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Our gospel today talks about the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor, or Mount Hebron. Since the fifth century, every August 6 is the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the Second Sunday of Lent each year is also called Transfiguration Sunday.
Because the gospel talks about this great event in the life of Jesus Christ, and His three disciples, Peter, James, and John, were witnesses to it, we can say the main purpose of Christ’s Transfiguration was to prepare the apostles for the events of Holy Week, when Jesus Christ sacrificed, died, and was nailed on the cross because of His great love for each one of us. In other words, He prepared them for His upcoming suffering.
On the mountain, Peter, James and John saw that there was more to Jesus than met the eye. During the Transfiguration, they get a glimpse of the future glory of Jesus’ resurrection.
And like them, we, too, get glimpses of the presence of God in our lives. We get glimpses of God in the love we receive from other people. We get glimpses of God when badly needed help suddenly comes to us from out of nowhere. We get glimpses of God when we look back over our lives, and what we couldn’t understand in the past makes sense now. We see glimpses of God in the beauty of a fine day, a nice beach, a beautiful sunrise or sunset. We see glimpses of God when a passage from the Bible or a homily strikes a chord in our hearts. We get a glimpse of God when we spend time in prayer and experience the loving presence of God in our lives. We get more than just a glimpse of God when we receive the body of Jesus in Holy Communion. The Transfiguration, coming early in Lent, encourages us to continue our Lenten penances, because it reminds us of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead.
When Jesus and the disciples came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about the Transfiguration until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Of course, they didn’t know what He meant. Unknown to them was that the glory of Jesus’ Transfiguration was preparing them to accept the scandal of the cross. They would understand this only afterwards when looking back.
Brothers and Sisters, the good times take us through the bad times. So, when our cross is heavy, or we are tempted to despair about the meaning of life, let us look beyond the pain of the present moment and remember those times when we got glimpses of God, those times when God sent us His consolation. Let us look beyond the pain of life and see the presence of God in our world and the offer of life that God wants to make to each of us. Let us look beyond the illusion of happiness that this life offers to the real happiness that God offers us. Let us look beyond this world to eternal life with God.
In our first reading, we heard Abram being called by God to leave his present place and go to a new country. He was seventy-five when called to leave his old country but had to wait another twenty-five years for the promised son, Isaac, to be born, so that the promise of future descendants could be fulfilled. That was a long wait. It was a long time for him to be continually looking beyond the present to the promise of God. With faith, we can see what we cannot see with our eyes.
On the mountain, Peter, James and John looked beyond the appearance of Jesus and saw His future risen glory. Let us look beyond and see that God is really with us. God has not left us on our own. God is with us.
The Transfiguration of Jesus in our gospel was not just about Jesus. It was a vision of the glorious future to which we are all called. We encounter problems and negativities, and we get hurt going through life. Then we have the choice either to say negative things, or we can choose to remember who we really are: brothers and sisters of Jesus, sons and daughters of God since Baptism, and that the glory of the Transfigured Jesus awaits each of us.
We can choose to think in negative ways, or to remember the encouragement we receive in sacred scripture. In his first letter, John writes, “We are already children of God, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed. All we know is that, when it is revealed, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He really is. We shall be like Him.”
The glory of the Transfigured Jesus is awaiting each of us, thanks to our Baptism. So then for one who believes, there is no room for negative thinking. We will be tempted to think negatively because of the events that occur to us, but let us not forget our dignity, no matter what happens, and no matter what others think of us or say to us.
The second reading today also gives us an insight into what God has destined for us. It says, “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to His own design, and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began.…” God’s grace was granted to us before the beginning of time. Imagine: Since the beginning of time, God had you in His plan and had His grace planned for you. Since the beginning of time, God planned to transform us through His son, Jesus.
The disciples who experienced Jesus’ Transfiguration had to come down the mountain and return to normality, but they remembered the Transfiguration. Like them, we live in normality, but we believe, and know, that God has destined great things for us. We say the Transfiguration prepared the disciples for the scandal of the cross. Celebrating Jesus’ Transfiguration early in Lent reminds us of what comes after the cross, because it reminds us of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead. In our worst moments of pain, may we not think negatively, but remember the encouragement we receive in sacred scripture, and that God has destined the glory of the Transfiguration for each of us in the next life.KEEP READING
First Sunday of Lent
February 26, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Gn 2:7-9; 3:1-7 / Ps 51 / Rom 5:12-19 / Mt 4:1-11
by Rev. Mr. Mark De La Hunt, Permanent Deacon
Lent can present us with seemingly impossible odds of success. Be transformed in holiness in forty days despite being surrounded by temptation, working or going to school or both, raising kids, fighting chronic illness or pain, being distant from God or lukewarm in our faith, and struggling with any number of vices or addictions. One might say that entering into Lent is like setting sail on a perilous voyage.
For this metaphor, the story of the intrepid British explorer, Ernest Shackleton, comes to mind. His famous voyage to Antarctica took place from 1915 to 1916. He and his crew were faced with nearly impossible odds of survival. His ship, the Endurance, was made of wood. The ice trapped it and then broke and sank it, leaving the crew in lifeboats. No one else knew they were in trouble, for they had no radio nor phone back then.
Death could snatch their lives in any number of ways including freezing, starving, or drowning. They ended up making their way to a tiny island off Antarctica. Shackleton and five others left the crew there to go get help. They sailed by the stars over eight hundred miles in an open lifeboat, to try to get to a remote, South Georgia whaling island. If they missed it, they would run out of supplies and die, as would their crew back in Antarctica. Each day their routines kept them alive and brought a little hope, but as the days dragged on, doubt crept back. And not just of surviving, but of being heroes and transformed men. We will finish their story later, but for now let’s apply their plight to our 2023 Lent.
There was a recruiting poster for Shackleton’s voyage that read more like something to run from than to sign up for. “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.” Imagine if we had a recruiting poster for Lent. What would be on it?
It could read something like this, “Men and women wanted for a spiritual journey. No wages, facing your weaknesses, confessing your sins, long hours of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Returning unchanged…doubtful. Increased peace and holiness in event of success. Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Maybe it is not as ominous as the Shackleton poster, but it is not exactly a picnic either.
And yet, just as Shackleton’s poster filled his ship with crew members, so too does Jesus’ Lenten invitation seem to fill Catholic churches on Ash Wednesdays. God made us to desire and seek out challenges that will transform us into a better person, so off we set sail on our Lenten voyage with an ashen cross on our foreheads.
Mondays through Saturdays during a good Lent can be rough at times. Knowing that where we are is not the best place we can be, no matter how good we may think it is, we go about our daily Lenten routine religiously. We pray extra with the daily Lenten readings on the USCCB website and with our Catholic apps like Hallow, iBreviary, and Laudate. We fast daily by practicing the virtue of temperance…no snacking between meals, less phone time, less gaming, less TV, less coffee… And we increase our acts of love using the grace from God’s word and the extra prayer and by making good use of the time freed up by abstaining from or minimizing non-essential things.
If you really go for it, if you really try to allow God to form you more into the person He created you to be, the person that will feel whole and at peace, then you will come to each Sunday needing healing and hope like Shackleton’s crew left behind on the island. Lenten Sundays are like repair and restocking islands along our Lenten voyage. Why? Because there is a good chance you will have a wounded ego, having stumbled in your Lenten promises. Good! Catholic author and scholar Mark Searle wrote, “Lenten penance may be more effective if we fail in our resolutions than if we succeed, for its purpose is not to confirm us in our virtue but to bring home to us our radical need for salvation (Ordo 68).”
In today’s gospel reading, we see Jesus, without using His divine power, overcome the same temptations with which Satan conquered Adam and Eve. Jesus uses God’s word and His faith in it. We can, too. The Church has set us up with the right scriptures. Read the daily readings daily. They prepare you to more fully receive the grace of the Sunday readings.
Here is what I am talking about. Next Sunday, the Second Sunday of Lent, possibly having stumbled, we will be encouraged by getting a sneak peek at the glory we are striving for in Lent, as we gaze upon Jesus’ glory in the Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John. On the third Sunday, when our water rations are running low, we stop at a water well and listen in on the conversation between the lonely Samaritan woman and Jesus. Her encounter with Him restores her relationships in town, heals her interior wounds, and gives her life new purpose. The fourth Sunday, when we are losing our way in the dark and rough seas, we witness Jesus open the eyes of the man “blind from birth (Jn 9:1).” By the fifth Sunday, we are really wearing down and think we cannot go on. We start to lose hope of changing until we behold Jesus calling Lazarus to come out of his tomb, from death to new life.
These stories are like when Shackleton, dying of thirst and cold on his eight-hundred-mile lifeboat voyage, saw kelp and sea birds and realized that, though he could not see it, land and help were not far away. The sixth Sunday we see palm branches and know our journey is nearing its end; it is Palm Sunday, and the Resurrection is only a week away.
The daily readings the first few weeks of Lent are meant to remind us that we are sinners that need a savior. Mark Searle points out that in the second half of Lent the readings shift from a focus on our weakness to the power of Christ to heal and to renew our lives.
What is your destination this Lent? What is the conversion Jesus is calling you to this year? What ominous, threatening invitation was on your recruiting poster on Ash Wednesday?
In today’s first reading, Eve looked at that forbidden fruit and saw that it was “pleasing to the eyes and desirable (Gn 3:6).” What forbidden fruit have you given in to? Maybe Jesus is calling you to research the Church’s teaching on a moral issue with which you disagree or have given up on such as divorce, fidelity in marriage, pornography, abortion, capital punishment, gay marriage, gender dysphoria, or schools teaching kids worldly morality? These are tough issues confronting all of us. Learn why the Church stands opposed to the world on these issues. She is our mother, and she has the wisdom of two thousand years of battling against sin under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
King David tried the forbidden fruit. Despite being his nation’s leader and above the law, when he committed the sins of adultery and murder, his life took a turn for the worse. David realized his sin because a friend pointed it out to him. His subsequent confession and recognition of God’s mercy is today’s Psalm 51.
A good daily Lenten routine would be to pray David’s words and make them your own, “My sin is before me always…Against you only have I sinned…A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.” Jesus answers that prayer through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, confession, and Holy Communion. In baptism and confirmation, He gave us a new heart and a steadfast spirit; His heart and His spirit. In confession and Holy Communion, He renews them within us.
What happened to Shackleton’s crew, left stranded on that tiny island off Antarctica? For their daily routine, to keep them from the despair of the seemingly impossible odds and to make sure they were ready when the time for rescue came, they broke camp every day and packed to be ready to board the rescue ship. However, days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. And 105 days later, when they were thinking the daily routine was a waste of time, their captain appeared on a rescue ship and called out, “Are you all well?” And the crew called back, “All safe, all well!” Not a single crew member died.
While struggling to survive and to avoid falling into despair, the crew was not aware of all their captain was going through to save them. They were not aware of what he would endure and overcome out of loyalty to them. He sailed across eight hundred miles of freezing ocean in an open boat. Climbed a frozen mountain despite suffering from frost bite, skin ravaged by constantly wet clothing, and a tongue swollen from a lack of fresh water. He climbed down a freezing waterfall and crawled across cracking ice on a frozen lake. And astoundingly, did not stop to rest when he found shelter, food, and water, but set sail the very next day to go get his crew. He had to make four attempts to get to them, turned back by ice and other obstacles three times. On the fourth try he returned and saved them.
You know where I am going with this. Shackleton was just a man and he saved his whole crew against seemingly impossible odds. Jesus is God, infinitely powerful. He is our captain. How much more so can He help us overcome our weaknesses this Lent?
Here is how you succeed. Imitate Shackleton’s crew. Keep your daily routine and when you fail, start it again the very next day. Have a crewmate or accountability partner and touch base daily. Use the daily readings and prayer to remind you what Jesus is doing while you struggle through Lent. He did not abandon us. He literally suffered, died, and went to hell and back for us. Our captain is with us every day as we pray, fast, and love. And when we fail even in sometimes shameful ways, He is shoulder to shoulder with us. He knows what temptation is like. He knows what feeling God-forsaken and lost is like.
He does not just show us the way to personal transformation. He IS the way. He IS our north star. The crucifix is our Lenten voyage compass, always pointing to heaven through our voluntary and involuntary suffering. Cajun priest, author, and spiritual director Fr. Mark Toups sums up Lent well and I am paraphrasing here. He wrote, “Remember that Lent is not about you. It is about Jesus. He is the one who wants this Lent to be transformational for you. Lent is not about what you are doing. It is about what God is doing with what you are doing for Lent. It is not so much about checking off a list of things you achieved during Lent, but about those things helping set you up for a life-changing, personal encounter with Jesus Christ like Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration, the Samaritan woman at the well, and Lazarus in his tomb (13).”
This coming Easter Vigil when our Captain calls out, “Are you all well?” May we all be able to respond, “We are safe and well, my Lord.” Amen.
Diocese of Richmond. Ordo – Order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and Celebration of the Eucharist 2023. Paulist Press 2022.
Peter Kreeft. Food for the Soul – Reflections on the Mass Readings for Cycle A. Word of Fire 2022.
Fr. Mark Toups. Lenten Companion, A Personal Encounter with the Power of the Gospel. Ascension Publishing 2023.KEEP READING
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 6, 2022 — Year C
Readings: Is 6:1-2a, 3-8 / Ps 138 / 1 Cor 15:1-11 / Lk 5:1-11
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
Our three readings today have a similar theme. They all tell us about individuals being called to serve God.
In the first reading, we hear that the Lord said to the prophet Isaiah (who lived some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ), “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah replied, “Here I am. Send me.” In the second reading, Saint Paul narrates that, after Jesus had appeared to many other people, He appeared to Paul himself. Finally, in the gospel, Peter, James, and John are convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, after their boats are overloaded, and their nets are splitting because of the number of fish they caught.
Each of these men was called in a dramatic way: Isaiah’s sin being purged by a burning ember on his lips; Paul being knocked from his horse; and Peter, James, and John having their boats almost sink under the weight of the fish they caught. You might say, if God called me by performing a similar miracle, I would probably accomplish great things, too.
The truth is, God has called each of us. Maybe we didn’t hear His voice, or experience some miraculous conversion, but let’s face it, neither have most other people. I don’t recall that either Mother Teresa or even Pope John Paul II ever revealed that they had a miraculous calling from God. We may not consider ourselves in that kind of calling, but everyone has a call from God, although sometimes we don’t remember or even recognize the call. When I was called to the priesthood, I didn’t experience any miraculous incident or something supernatural. I thought about the possibility of becoming a priest, I prayed over it, and then decided that this is what God wanted me to do.
To those of you who are married, you had a call from God. To the young people here, by the very fact that you were born, you have had a call from God. We might say, but my call was so ordinary, nothing like that of our readings. The most important fact, however, is not the call that counts, but how each person, such as Isaiah, Paul, Peter, James, and John, reacts to the individual calling received. Those men merely accepted God’s invitation, and if we do the same, then our lives can be fulfilling, as their lives were.
For example, how does a married person react positively to the call of God? Of course, by truly loving his or her spouse. There is probably no husband or wife here who would say that is always easy to do. It may be easy most of the time, but there are times when it is probably difficult. That is the key. God asked all of us to accept our calling and react in a manner that mirrors the reaction of His Son, Jesus Christ. Remember, when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He initially reacted exactly the way many of us react, when we find ourselves in situations that we find difficult or uncomfortable.
We might think we never experience Christ’s dilemma, but when husbands and wives don’t agree, or when children do not want to obey their parents, or when we are tempted to sin against the commandments, we, too, face a difficult decision. Jesus responded to the possibility of His being crucified by moaning, “Let this cup pass from me, Father.”
Are any of you in that same situation right now? My spouse and I had a fight. My parents don’t understand me. My boyfriend wants me to get more deeply involved than we should. How we react to those situations determines whether we are truly answering God’s call to us. Why do I have to make these difficult decisions? Why do I have to think of God or other people? Why not just do what I want to do? These are questions we frequently ask ourselves. Paul was called to evangelize the world. Peter was called to martyrdom. They reacted positively to their calling and that is what each of us must do. We are expected to accept the conditions of our ordinary calling.
For us, answering the call, may be the courage to kiss one’s spouse and apologize. It may be realizing God has given your parents the responsibility to expect reasonable obedience from you. It also may be that you have the responsibility to tell your boyfriend or your friends, No.
This is one of the dimensions in the Synod on Synodality headed by Pope Francis. The third dimension is what we call, the Mission. Mission, because we are all called or we are all sent to evangelize and to witness God’s love to the world. The question is, Is that an easy thing to do? Not always. Do not forget that in Gethsemane, Jesus was terrified. He did not want to face the upcoming nightmare or trial, just as we often do not want to face any adversity in life. However, we should give the same answer to our God as Jesus gave to His Father: “Father, not my will, but Yours, be done.”
The men mentioned in our readings today faced many difficulties. At times they were under intense pressure. We may not be as famous as they are, but we walk the same walk that they walked. The pressures and the difficulties that we have are real.
As we face any difficulty in answering our call to follow God’s will, we should follow Christ’s example in the garden. We should turn to His Father in prayer, and He will answer us. He will give us the strength and courage to react in the same manner as did the men in today’s readings. Isaiah said, “Here I am. Send me.” Paul said, “But by the grace of God, I am what I am and His grace to me has not been ineffective.” The reply of Peter, James, and John was eloquent. When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Him. We should, too.KEEP READING
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 31, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Dt 6:2-6 / Ps 18 / Heb 7:23-28 / Mk 12:28b-34
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor
There is a story told of a man who was liberated from a concentration camp in WWII. He was called “Wild Bill Cody.” They called him that because the man had an unpronounceable seven-syllable Polish name and a handlebar moustache like the ones on Old West heroes.
While the rest of the Jewish prisoners were emaciated and haggard, Wild Bill was in excellent condition. Because of his amazingly good health, the Americans assumed that he had been in prison a very short time. When his papers came through, however, they showed that Wild Bill had lived on a starvation diet and slept in airless, disease-ridden barracks for six years – just like the rest of the prisoners. But Wild Bill had done it without physical or mental deterioration. (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