The Invitation

October 15, 2023 |by N W | 0 Comments | Commitment, Eternal Life, Father Nixon, Grace, Heaven, Joy, Repentance, Uncategorized, Wedding

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 15, 2023 — Year A
Readings: Is 25:6-10a / Ps 23 / Phil 4:12-14, 19-20 / Mt 22:1-14
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor

The world is full of opportunities knocking on our doors, just waiting for us to open them.  It is full of opportunities for us to live life to the fullest.  However, they are not always present.  We must seize the opportunity while we still have the time and the opportunity, or else we will end up blaming ourselves, not others.

An invitation is an example of an opportunity knocking on our door, waiting to be opened.  But rather than getting up to open the door, we sometimes whine about the noise.

There was a story of a young man who went away to other places in search of fortune.  A few years later, he returned to his home with trucks loaded with riches. “Now I’m going to play a trick on my relatives and friends,” he said to himself.  He donned some ragged clothes and went to see his cousin Mike first.  “I’m your long lost cousin,” he said.  “I’m back home after several years in other places.  Just look at me, how miserable I am.  May I stay with you for a while?” he said.  Mike said, “I’m sorry, but there’s no room here for you.”

The man visited some more of his relatives and friends, but he was not accepted by any of them.  So he decided to return to where he had left his riches, dressed himself in luxurious clothes, rode through this place with a large entourage of servants, purchased all the businesses about to close down, and began to build a majestic mansion.  After only a few days, the news of his riches had spread all over the place.

“Who could have imagined it?” asked one of the relatives and friends who had rejected him.  “If we had only known, we would have acted differently.  But it is too late now; we’ve missed the riches.”

The readings today show us what joy there is in accepting God’s invitation and what sorrow there is in refusing.  The word of God challenges us to examine our own response to His call.  God extends to us the greatest invitation we will ever receive:  Come to the feast.  Come to the banquet of eternal life.  Sooner or later, each of us has to give Him an answer.  Our RSVP can either be “Yes, I’m coming,” or “No, I will not come.”  The choice is ours and it has eternal consequences.

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells a parable directed to the chief priest and the elders.  A king arranges a wedding banquet for his son, and sends out his servants to call the guests.  Strangely, the invited guests flatly refuse to come.  When the king tries again, those being invited treat the servants shamefully, even violently.

When we first read this, it may sound absurd.  People simply don’t act that way when they are invited to a royal feast.  Why would anyone respond so negatively when being invited to something so wonderful?  But the parable is not about an earthly wedding feast.  It is about the Kingdom of God.  Jesus is exposing the disgraceful ways in which we respond to Him.  Like the invited guests, sometimes we simply refuse for no logical reason.  We do not want to be bothered.  When we hear God’s call, His words, His commandments, His prompting in the heart, we reject it, without even considering it.  Other times, we consider other things more important right now:  our farm or business, or any number of high priority matters.  God’s will is simply not that important to us.

Then there are times when we have an outrageous reaction to God’s invitation.  We do not literally kill the messenger, but the word of truth can make us hostile and defensive.  When we are called to repentance, we get angry.  We act as if we have been imposed upon, or insulted, or threatened.  Interiorly, we fight, complain, ridicule, resist.  What at first seems to be a rather absurd reaction by some strange people in a parable becomes, upon closer inspection, a disconcerting reflection of our own hearts.

God truly is like a king who wants to fill His banquet hall with guests.  The blessings He has in mind for us are symbolized by the glorious feast so beautifully described in the first reading.  The prophet Isaiah foretells a feast of rich foods and choice wines, which the Lord of Hosts will provide for all peoples.

There is more to this feast than good food.  This is a prophecy of eternal life.  God promises that He will destroy death forever.  The veil of mourning that enshrouds all peoples and nations, the tears that are shed by every generation, the wave of death that ensnares every person will be destroyed.

What God is inviting us to is a victory celebration: a feast of everlasting rejoicing, a life without tears, or mourning, or death; everything we mean by the word Heaven.

In our Lord’s time, wedding invitations went out well in advance, and were accepted definitively.  The final call just before the event occurred was a mere formality.  It would be an unspeakable insult to decline when the final call arrived.  They had already accepted and had made their firm commitment.  And so the master in the parable sends out messengers to the highways and byways, that is, to everyone, respectable or not.  All are invited.  From now on the invitation is being made, not to a select and exclusive minority of privileged people, but to the wider public forum, to all people.  All who respond are welcome.  There is no special preference anymore.  Sinners, outcasts, gentiles—and you—are all invited.

Those accepting the invitation are not any better than those who declined.  It’s just that the poor and the outcasts, not having any other options and seeing what a rare gift this was, accepted and attended.  Again, it reminds us not to be complacent or superior, as all of us are truly blessed to be invited.

This parable reminds us that this invitation is for all of us.  But the invitation can be refused.  The kingdom is open to all, but guaranteed to none.  We don’t earn the kingdom, but we sadly can decline it, which would be madness.

One final thought:  The waifs and strays enter the banquet, but then one gets kicked out for not wearing a wedding garment.  It seems unfair at first glance.  Consider, however, that although the invitation is for all, acceptance means a change of standards and values.  These are symbolized by being clothed in the garment that resembles and represents the baptismal garment of goodness and Christ-like living.  We must wear this robe with devotion and humility, keeping the Gospel values of Christ in our hearts, very central and very safe.


The Matter of Sacraments

March 19, 2023 |by N W | 0 Comments | Baptism, Father Nixon, Healing, Reconciliation, Sacraments, Wedding

Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 19, 2023 — Year A
Readings: 1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a / Ps 23 / Eph 5:8-14 / Jn 9:1-41
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor

Our gospel today is about a man who was born blind.  What a privilege for the blind man to have met Jesus and be healed by Him!  What a privilege for him to have Jesus touch his eyes and bring him sight!  Yet who would think that a paste of clay put on one’s eyes and then washing in the Pool of Siloam would restore the blind man’s sight?  But Jesus worked through clay and water.  Jesus used ordinary elements around us in nature to convey his healing power.  Jesus gave the gift of sight by using matter.  The blind man could feel the paste of clay on his eyes; he could feel Jesus touching his eyes; he could hear Jesus.  He could feel the water washing off the clay.  He could not see Jesus, but Jesus came to him through touch and hearing.

In the first reading God works in a similar way.  Samuel, under instructions from God, anointed David with oil, and when he did so, the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.  In the first reading and gospel, God’s power and healing were conveyed through elements of nature applied to the body and were conveyed through matter.

So, when Jesus comes to us, how does He come?  Every time we receive the sacraments, Jesus comes to us, and there is a visible sign of Jesus coming to us invisibly through His sacrament.  Just as the Holy Spirit came mightily upon David when he was anointed with oil by Samuel, and just as Jesus used matter of clay and water for the healing of the blind man, Jesus comes to us in each sacrament with matter used together with prayer, and we call the prayer “the form.”  So the matter and form of every sacrament is the visible sign of Jesus coming to us invisibly, but powerfully, in the sacrament.

In the Sacrament of Baptism, the matter is water, which is poured over the head to baptize and symbolizes washing.  And the form is that the priest will say the name of the person or the baby, and then continue by saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” which is prayed at the same time as the water is poured.

In the Sacrament of Confirmation, the matter is the bishop using his thumb to anoint the forehead with Oil of Chrism.  And the form is that he says the name of the person and says, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the matter is bread made from wheat and wine fermented from grapes.  The form is the words of the Consecration at Mass over the bread and wine.  “Take this, all of you, and eat it.  This is my body which will be given up for you.  Take this, all of you, and drink from it.  This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.”

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the matter is not something that we can see as in the other Sacraments, or something that touches our senses.  Instead, it is our sorrow and repentance and the penance we perform after receiving the absolution.  The form is the words of absolution prayed over us by the priest, which conclude, “And I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father (the priest makes the sign of the cross), and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the matter is the anointing with the Oil of the Sick on the forehead and on the palms of the hands.  The form is a prayer prayed by the priest at the same time, when he says, “Through this Holy Anointing, may the Lord, in His love and mercy, help you through the grace of the Holy Spirit.”  Then he anoints the forehead, and he continues by saying, “May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”  Then he anoints the palms.

In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, in which deacons, priests, and bishops are ordained, the matter is the laying on of hands by the bishop on the head of the man being ordained.  The form, the prayer of consecration immediately following the laying on of hands, differs on whether it is a deacon, priest, or bishop who is being ordained.

In the Sacrament of Matrimony, the matter and form of the Sacrament is the mutual self-giving and self-acceptance by the couple as they hold each other’s right hand.

When David was chosen by God as King, the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him when he was anointed by Samuel with oil.  When the blind man was healed by Jesus, the healing of Jesus came to him through being anointed with a paste of clay and washed in the Pool of Siloam.  He could feel the paste of clay on his eyes, he could feel Jesus touching his eyes, he could hear Jesus, he could feel the water washing off the clay.  He could not see Jesus, but Jesus came to him through touch and hearing.

Every time we receive the sacraments, Jesus comes to us by touching our senses, and there is a visible sign of Jesus coming to us invisibly in these sacraments.  Who would think that anointing with oil would be the signal for the spirit of the Lord to fall mightily on David?  Who would think that anointing with a paste of clay and washing would restore sight?

But God uses ordinary elements of nature to convey His power and healing to us in the sacraments, and in every sacrament, Jesus comes to us invisibly, but powerfully.  So, as you receive the sacraments, you hear Jesus and Jesus touches you.  Jesus touched the blind man and Jesus touches you when you receive the sacraments.


What God Has Joined Together

October 3, 2021 |by N W | 0 Comments | Commitment, Family, Father Nixon, Forgiveness, Healing, Prayer, Sacraments, Wedding

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 3, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Gn 2:18-24 / Ps 128 / Heb 2:9-11 / Mk 10:2-16
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor

Someone once said that, when a person gets into deep trouble, he or she is surrounded by close friends and family.  And he continued by saying, “If you don’t believe this, just take a look at your wedding pictures.”

Brothers and sisters, from time to time, we tell jokes about married couples, but that is not at all to belittle the sanctity and permanence of marriage.  In today’s gospel, Jesus is very clear and emphatic: “Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”  Marriage is forever and for always. (more…)


Living in the Kingdom

October 11, 2020 |by N W | Comments Off on Living in the Kingdom | Deacon Eddie, Family, Grace, Heaven, Love, Mission, Saints, Strength, Wedding

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 11, 2020 – Year A
Readings: Is 25:6-10A / Ps 23 / Phil 4:12-14, 19-20 / Mt 22:1-14
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

Today’s gospel comes from the twenty-second chapter of Matthew. Just a little bit earlier, in chapter twenty-one, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and promptly cleanses the temple. What follows is a series of confrontations with the Jewish leaders. Today, in a parable, Jesus likened the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding banquet. (more…)


Marriage and the Church

October 7, 2018 |by N W | Comments Off on Marriage and the Church | Deacon Eddie, Family, Grace, Love, Mission, Sacraments, Vocations, Wedding

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 7, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Gn 2:18-24 / Ps 128 / Heb 2:9-11 / Mk 10:2-16
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

Today’s talk will be less a homily and more a catechetical teaching. I will be pulling most of the information from “The Catechism of the Catholic Church.” If you don’t have one of these, you need to get one. This is a brilliant piece of work. Any question you have about the Faith is covered in this book. It’s very well written and easy to understand.

As I was trying to think how to condense the Sacrament of Marriage down into the length of a homily, I decided to narrow it down to three different points. These are the three things that you need to understand in order to understand the Church’s teaching on marriage. This is not exhaustive; this is just the tip of the iceberg. (more…)


It Is Wise To Eat

August 19, 2018 |by N W | Comments Off on It Is Wise To Eat | Eucharist, Father Salvador, Love, Strength, Wedding | ,

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 19, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Prv 9:1-6 / Ps 34 / Eph 5:15-20 / Jn 6:51-58
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

Yesterday, fifteen couples renewed their marriage vows at the five o’clock Mass in our sister parish, Resurrection, and one couple was Bud and Alice Siess, who are celebrating their sixty-eighth wedding anniversary this year. Six eight. About half of the couples who stood in front of the altar, renewing their pledge to love and to hold until death, have been married for more than sixty years.

Before yesterday’s Mass, I googled the question, “How to live happily ever after.” And I discovered that there is actually an article with that title. It is supposed to be the result of a scientific study on what works and what doesn’t in marriage. (more…)


Powerful Words

June 3, 2018 |by N W | Comments Off on Powerful Words | Baptism, Blessings, Deacon Eddie, Eucharist, Self-Reflection, Vocations, Wedding |

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 3, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Ex 24:3-8 / Ps 116 / Heb 9:11-15 / Mk 14:12-16, 22-26
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

You’ve heard Father and me talk about the Exodus 90 program that a group of us in our parish did. It’s a ninety-day program, and during that time you’re supposed to refrain from any kind of social media. You’re not supposed to use the Internet except for work or school.

Over that period I stopped using Facebook (except to keep tabs on the parish’s Facebook page) and YouTube. I would typically browse the Internet during lunch at work, so the first day, I thought, Okay, what do I do? And so I started reading. It was very spiritually beneficial and a great change. (more…)


God’s Way

February 14, 2016 |by N W | Comments Off on God’s Way | Commitment, Faith, Family, Father Salvador, Lent, Love, St. Luke, Wedding

First Sunday of Lent
February 14, 2016 – Year C
Readings: Dt 26:4-10 / Ps 91 / Rom 10:8-13 / Lk 4:1-13
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

During the season of Lent we remind ourselves that our prayers are most effective when they are accompanied by sacrifice.  At fourteen degrees outside, it’s surely a sacrifice to be here this morning.  If somebody tells you that he or she is tempted to walk to church this morning instead of driving, you will find difficulty in believing it.  But if you say that you are tempted to sleep in instead of coming to Mass, everybody will easily believe you.

This is what temptation is all about: taking life the easy way. (more…)


To Whom Shall We Go?

August 23, 2015 |by HNMWebmaster | Comments Off on To Whom Shall We Go? | Commitment, Family, Father Salvador, Grace, Homilies, Love, Ordinary Time, Self-Reflection, Service, St. John, Vocations, Wedding

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 23, 2015 – Year B
Readings:  Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b / Psalm 34 / Eph 5:2a, 25-32 / Jn 6:60-69
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

Yesterday, the Holy Name of Mary Men’s Breakfast Group had a very enlightening spiritual discussion on the sacrament of marriage. They based their reflections on today’s second reading, which is taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, part of which says, “Husbands should love their wives, as their own bodies.” This biblical passage implies that wives should also love their husbands in the same way, even as Christ loves His Church. (more…)


A Call to Loving Service

September 13, 2014 |by HNMWebmaster | Comments Off on A Call to Loving Service | Commitment, Deacon Eddie, Homilies, Love, Service, Wedding

Wedding of Eric Kidwell and Meagan Chapman
September 13, 2014

Readings: Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Psalm 128Romans 12: 1-2, 9-13; Matthew 5:13-16
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon

I love the readings that you have selected for your wedding. They are beautiful scripture passages that truly speak about the meaning of marriage. You don’t hear these as often as some others because when we think about marriage, we tend to be drawn to readings that talk about love. (more…)

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