Sunday, November 27, 2016

The week that was

Well the parish bouncing started again as I went back to my other parish. More because the Sunday Missal was there and available for purchase and for what ever reasons I like to have my own Sunday Missal for mass.
 There are things I really do like here at this parish and the homilies are always wonderful. The way mass is done does leave a bit to be desired but one can live with it.
 I am fortunate and last few years have spent a few weeks in Hungary and have been able to attend mass at 2 different churches and like here there was a large difference between the two churches and how mass is presented.
 Certainly the one amazing fact though no matter how mass is done is some of the old churches and cathedrals there are and I have taken time not just to go in and gawk but to also pray and thank God that I could come in and share this time with him in a place as beautiful as these places are. This past summer I was in a 1000 year old abbey and was able to pray where St. John Paul the Great prayed and it was beyond words what I felt to have this privilege I was truly humbled to be there.
 Advent is upon as now as we await the birth of our saviour. Really interesting resources out there and certainly worth looking around and reading through them. These days anything we can do and get for spiritual strength and formation we have to to be able to take it in. The internet has tons of articles retreats to help us so take advantage of them to make your advent not just the weeks leading to Christmas but a time to reflect and get stronger spiritually and prepare for the coming of our lord.
 Take care and have a blessed week!

Homily for Today

"You also must be ready!" [Mt. 24:44] Ready for what? For the coming of the Lord Jesus. Today, we are celebrating the First Sunday of Advent. Did you know that the word "Advent" means "coming?" Because the First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a time of prayer and fasting in preparation for the coming of the Lord, it is placed as the first Sunday of the Liturgical Calendar. Today marks the First Sunday of cycle A of the Liturgical Year.

What "coming" are we preparing ourselves for during the Advent Season? We are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord Jesus in three ways:

(1) First of all, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord as the Judge, either at death or at the end of this world, whichever may come first.

(2) Secondly, we are preparing ourselves to receive the physical presence of our Redeemer through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

(3) Thirdly, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of Christmas, the birthday anniversary of the Lord's coming into this world as God incarnate.

Today's First Reading from the Book of Isaiah [Is. 2:1-5] was a prophecy of the incarnation of the Lord God through Jesus Christ. Isaiah 2:2 states, "In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it."

The Jerome Biblical Commentary (page 268, 9.2) tells us that "the idea of the mountain of God as the goal of all nations is a very ancient one. The precise reference is to the northern part of the eastern hill of Jerusalem. This location was developed extensively during the reign of Solomon."

Isaiah 2:3 continues, "Many peoples shall come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

The mountain of God as a place of worship is mentioned in the Gospel of John where the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, "Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." [Jn. 4:20] Why Jerusalem? Because it is the city that Jesus triumphantly entered to be crowned as King. [Mt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:28-30; Jn. 12:12-19] It is where Jesus, the Word of God, [Jn. 1:15] spent His last days before He was crucified. It is where Jesus, until the day when He was taken up to Heaven, gave instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he Had chosen. [Acts 1:2] It is the city that Jesus ordered the apostles not to leave, but wait there for the promise of the Father. [Acts 1:4]

Jerusalem, the root of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, became the center of "instruction" for all the nations.

The reading from the Book of Isaiah continued, "He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." [Is. 1:4]

Through Jerusalem, salvation came to the world. Through Jerusalem came the meaning of true love. Through Jerusalem came the fulfillment of everlasting justice and peace of the Kingdom of God. Consequently, we can now truly say, "let us walk in the light of the Lord!" [Is. 2:5]

Today's Second Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans [Rom. 13:11-4] reminds us that salvation is nearer to us now. No matter how we look at it, each day is a day closer to the day when we will come face to face with the Lord Jesus. This encounter may involve the return of Christ to judge the world and to gather His elect for their final reward. Or it may involve the day when our souls will suddenly be called to depart from this world. As recent world events have shown us, be it New York, Washington or through anthrax, we never know when the Lord God will call us.

St. Paul reminds us of that fact through his words. "You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." [Rom. 13:11-4]

Yesterday, we were one day further from our face to face encounter with the Lord God. Last year, we were one year further from our face to face encounter with the Lord God. When we were baptized, we were quite a distance away from our face to face encounter with God. But now, the days are running short. Not knowing when we will come face to face with God, can we afford to live in sin and lose our souls? Certainly not! It is better to put on the armour of light and to walk in Christlikeness so we may inherit the Kingdom of God that awaits those who persevere in their living faith until the end.

As we heard during today's Gospel Reading, [Mt. 24:37-44] "Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." [Mt. 24:42] In the midst of violence, suffering, injustice, persecution, indifference, Jesus, the messenger of peace, tells us to be vigilant.

The day on which the Son Man shall come, it shall be a day like in the days of Noah. [Mt. 24:37] The people will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the last minute. [Mt. 24:38] Nobody will know when the Lord shall return... for many it shall be too late. Acquaintances and families will be separated; some will be saved, others will be lost.

If all knew how close the day of the Lord is, surely, they would have all be living holy lives in fear of the punishment that awaits the unfaithful. But this is not the case. Look around! Can it be said that all are ready? Can it be said that all are in a state of grace? Can it be said that all have recently received the Sacrament of Confession? Can it be said that all obey the first precept of the Church and participate in the celebration of the Holy Mass on Sundays and holy days?

We do not know what will come first. Will it be Christmas Day to commemorate the coming of God through the incarnation of Jesus Christ? Will some of us die tonight in our sleep? Or will Jesus return tomorrow, that day being the last day of the world? Not knowing, "therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour." [Mt. 24:44]

First Sunday of Advent

Reading 1IS 2:1-5

This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz,
saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
In days to come,
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and impose terms on many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Responsorial PsalmPS 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
“We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your walls,
prosperity in your buildings.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my brothers and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Reading 2ROM 13:11-14

Brothers and sisters:
You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

AlleluiaCF. PS 85:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Show us Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left. 
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left. 
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Prayers for Today

Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart for you. Make me strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory and praise. Keep me ever watchful for the coming of your kingdom today and every day of my life.

 Lord, I know by faith that you are here and listening to me.  I count on your goodness and friendship to sustain me now throughout this meditation and this preparation time of Advent for your arrival at Christmas. I love you for coming among us as a man, to show us the way to heaven.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Another Liturgical Year Gone

Well time certainly does fly. Another liturgical year done. We celebrate Chrisast the King this weekend and the roll into Advent.
 Advent already wait that was just too fast. I wonder as on New Years Eve are we to make a resolution? Do not know but in reflection it has been an up and down year but a year where the Lord became a larger part of my life. Just slowly opening the door to the realization that he is there and does listen and guides you and walks with you through your days and all he needs is a thank you!
 So with that Thank You Our Heavenly Father. Thank You our Lord Jesus and Thank you our Holy Mother Mary. Please be with us always to help us through our days and to allow you to guide our lives on the road that is required to be one day worthy to be considered to enter our lord's kingdom. Forgive us of our sins and have mercy on our souls. Amen.

Christ the King Prayer

Blessed are they in whom Jesus will reign forever,
for they shall reign with him,
and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Oh, how glorious is that kingdom where kings are gathered together
to give united praise and honor to the King of kings and Lord of lords,
in the contemplation of whose splendor
the just shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Oh, that he may deign to come and save me
on the day when he delivers up his kingdom to his God and Father,
so that I may see the joy of his chosen ones
and rejoice in the gladness of his people.
Then I, too, shall be able to praise him
together with his inheritance.
And now, Lord Jesus,
come and remove the stumbling blocks
within the kingdom, which is my soul,
so that you who ought to may reign in it.
Jesus is my Lord.
I keep myself for him since I acknowledge his rights over me.
To me he is God, to me he is the Lord,
and I declare: I will have no king but the Lord Jesus!
Come then, Lord, reign in me,
for you are my king and my God.

Homily for Today's Mass

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, marks the closing of Year C of the Liturgical Calendar. This special Feast reminds us that over and above being the universal King, Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church. His Divine reign stretches out from the alpha of time to the omega. There is no other true King, for God is One.

Today's First Reading from the Second Book of Samuel [2 Sam. 5:1-3] spoke of the elders anointing David as the king of Israel. This was the second time that David had been anointed as king. In 2 Samuel, verse 2:4, we read that David was anointed as king over the house of Judah.

In a way, king David was an image of things to come. At the same time, we must keep in mind that there was two distinct differences. Both Jesus and king David were anointed as kings. [2 Sam. 2:4, 5:3; Mt. 21:1-11; Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:28-40; Jn. 12:12-9] Both Jesus and king David ruled over a twofold kingdom. King David ruled over Judah and Israel. Christ the King rules over a twofold kingdom, His Kingdom in Heaven to which belongs all the saints who have departed from this world and the Kingdom on earth to which belongs all those who have been baptized.

Both king David and the Lord Jesus were shepherds. The Almighty Father who chose David to shepherd His people Israel [2 Sam. 5:2] is the same God who chose Christ the King as the Shepherd Who gave His life for the sheep. [Jn. 10:11]

The first distinct difference between the kingdoms of David versus the Kingdoms of Christ the King are:

(1) While David ruled over a twofold kingdom, they remained as distinct entities.

(2) Christ the King rules over a twofold Kingdom that is called the Mystical Body of Christ. In this age, the two Kingdoms of Christ are growing together to form One Body. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, the believer is admitted into the Kingdom of Christ on earth as a first step towards admission into the eternal Kingdom of God in Heaven.

The second distinct difference between the kingdoms of David versus the Kingdoms of Christ the King are:

(1) Both kingdoms of kingdom David were physical in nature.

(2) Both Kingdoms of Christ are spiritual in nature. Regarding the Heavenly Kingdom, Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not from this world. If My Kingdom were from this world, My followers would be fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My Kingdom is not from here." [Jn. 18:36] Regarding the earthly spiritual Kingdom, Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the Kingdom of God is among (within) you." [Lk. 17:20-1] The Kingdom of God is within us because it is spiritual in nature.

While keeping in mind that the Kingdoms of Christ are spiritual in nature, it can be argued that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, being part of the Mystical Body of Christ, is physical in nature. Although this cannot be denied, it must be remembered that the visible Church is a reflection of the invisible Body of Christ. "It is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual." [1 Cor. 15:46]

To be born again of the spiritual nature in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, one must first be born of the physical nature. "No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." [Jn. 3:5] What is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is spirit." [Jn. 3:6] Once born of the Spirit, the believer can "worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." [Jn. 4:23-4] It is no wonder that The Letter to the Hebrews states, "We had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live?" [Heb. 12:9]

Finally, from the First Reading, we notice that in the Old Testament, there is a situation where the government of the two states, Judah and Israel, are joined together in the person of David. In the New Testament, we find a situation where the earthly and heavenly spiritual Kingdoms are united in the Person of Christ the King.

The Second Reading from The Letter of Paul to the Colossians [Col. 1:12-20] began by telling us to "Give thanks to the Father, who has enabled (us) to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light." [Col. 1:12] As Christians who are united in the Body of Christ the King, we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that we may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. [1 Pet. 2:9]

The Heavenly Father rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His beloved Son Jesus Christ. [Col. 1:13] When speaking of the Kingdom of God, or the Church, we come to the realization that the initiative is always with God the Father. Our deliverance from the captivity of sin was manifested by the grace of the Heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit through the person of Jesus Christ. While the Kingdom of God and the Church rightfully belongs to the Father, they have been entrusted to Jesus until comes the end, when Christ the King hands over the Kingdom of God to the Father, after He has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. [1 Cor. 15:24-6]

Our redemption, our forgiveness of sins, comes through the Lord Jesus Christ. Our forgiveness of sins comes through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession. Our redemption comes through the aforementioned in addition of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion. For we need the Holy Spirit to sanctify us while we continually feed on the Bread of Life.

Colossians 1:15 tells us that "Christ is the image of the invisible God." [Heb. 1:3; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Cor. 11:7] This is a very powerful verse because they echo the words of Jesus. When Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied" [Jn. 14:8] Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father?'" [Jn. 14:9]

Regarding the indwelling of the Father within Jesus, the Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D, in the Third letter of Cyril to Nestorius, stated,
"But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt as in an ordinary man born of the holy virgin, in order that Christ may not be thought of as a God-bearing man. For even though "the Word dwelt among us", and it is also said that in Christ dwelt "all the fullness of the godhead bodily", we understand that, having become flesh, the manner of his indwelling is not defined in the same way as he is said to dwell among the saints, he was united by nature and not turned into flesh and he made his indwelling in such a way as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body."

The indwelling of the Father within the Son was in such a way as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body. As it is impossible for anyone to show his soul to a person who ask, "Show me your soul?" it was impossible for Jesus to show the Father to His disciples. The physical body is a reflection, the true image, of the spiritual form of the person. When you look in a mirror, you see your reflection. When you look at the physical body of a person, you see the reflection of the spiritual body.

Verse 15 continues by saying that Christ is the firstborn of all creation. When it is stated that Christ is the firstborn of all creation, the word "creation" is not a reference to the animals, the trees, etc... It is a reference to Christ as the new Adam, the head of a new creation. Adam was created in the image of God [Gen. 1:27] and commissioned to rule over all the earth. [Gen. 1:28] Through disobedience, he failed his mission. Christ the King, as the new Adam, the new head of humanity, fulfilled this mission.

Christ is the firstborn within a "large family." [Rom. 8:29] When it is said that He is the firstborn, it is implied that many others will follow. And if many other will follow, because Christ the King is the firstborn, as the firstborn, He holds the position of supremacy, authority and power over all creation. "For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers all things have been created through him and for him." [Col. 1:16]

Through Jesus, the created universe obtains its unity and harmony. All things, visible or invisible, angelic or human beings, were created to come under the final authority of Christ the King. "Christ is before all things, and in him all things hold together." [Col. 1:17] He was in the beginning with God. [Jn. 1:2] Before Abraham was, He was. [Jn. 8:58]

"Christ (the King) is the Head of the Body, the Church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything." [Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-3] Christ is the King of the new creation. [Gal. 6:15; 2 Cor. 5:17]

"In Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily. [Col. 1:19, 2:9] In Christ dwelled the fullness of God, the Father, [Jn. 14:9] the Son, and the Holy Spirit. [Lk. 23:46]

"Through Christ, God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in Heaven, by making peace through the Blood of His Cross." [Col. 1:20] Through Christ, mankind has found peace with God the Father. Through Christ, the power was taken away from the evil angelic powers that battled in Heaven and accused the believers. [Rev. 12:7-10]

Having explained how Christ the King is the incarnation of God, the Head of the Body, the Church, and the firstborn of a new creation, we come to today's Gospel Reading [Lk. 23:35-45] when the sinner crucified beside Jesus said, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." [Lk. 23:42] In other words, Jesus, remember me when You come to the fulness of Your glory for I want to be with You.

To the thief, Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." [Lk. 23:43] Jesus did not tell the thief that he would be "before" Him as a servant. He said, you will be "with" Me. In other words, the presence of the thief alongside Jesus would not be one of a slave or servant but of one who would be sharing in His royalty. The thief was called to be one of the many who would follow the Firstborn, Christ the King.

In life, we have a choice. We could be like the soldiers who mocked Jesus. [Lk. 23:36] We could be like the criminal on the cross who kept deriding Jesus. [Lk. 23:39] Or we could be like the repentant thief who said, "We indeed have been condemned justly for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." [Lk. 23:41] The choice is ours!

Above the head of Jesus was inscribed, "This is the King of the Jews." [Lk. 23:38] Because the Jewish nation rejected their King, Christ the King, through the love and mercy of God, the door was opened to the gentiles, our forefathers. For that we are grateful to the Jewish people. For had they accepted Christ the King as their Saviour, salvation may not have come to us. But, in His infinite Wisdom, the heavenly Father permitted that the heart of His people be hardened so He may expand His adoption of children to include each and everyone of us, our families, our relatives, our descendants.

As we continue with the celebration of today's Holy Mass, let us be thankful to Christ the King for having called up to partake in His eternal Kingdom. Let us always remain loyal to Christ who is the Head of the Body, the Church.

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Reading 12 SM 5:1-3

In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh. 
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back. 
And the LORD said to you,
‘You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.’” 
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.

Responsorial Psalm PS 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5

R. (cf. 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Reading 2COL 1:12-20

Brothers and sisters:
Let us give thanks to the Father,
who has made you fit to share
in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. 
He delivered us from the power of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

AlleluiaMK 11:9, 10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
“He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” 
Even the soldiers jeered at him. 
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
“If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” 
Above him there was an inscription that read,
“This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Christ?
Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”

PrayersTo Start The Day

Lord Jesus Christ, you are my King and there is no other. Be the Lord and Master of my heart, mind, body, and soul. May I always seek to do your will and to serve your kingdom above all else.

 Lord, thank you for this moment in which I can be alone with you. I believe that you are truth itself, that you are the foundation of all moral judgments. I trust that you really care for me and give me the light to see the needs of others. I love you, Lord, and show it now with my desire to pray.

Jesus, I don’t want to be just part of the crowd who remained silent. Give me the strength to stand up for you and to defend you. Help me never to deny you in my life. Help me to be faithful to your teachings and your will.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Why is Mass so different between Parishes?

 I don't get it. I have for years been going to two different parishes on top of the Hungarian Parish I attend occasionally. But between the two parishes the difference and even the reverence of mass is totally different.
 The one parish which is all english not only the mass but the behavior of the parishioners is different. Many do not acknowledge the lord and kneel before entering their pews. People in flip flops, texting during mass, other forms of inappropriate dress, screaming kids and the one that really gets to me the applause at the end of mass?
 I mean I really like the Parish Priest there as he delivers good homilies and has more modern take on the readings and associates them historically and with current events and occasion sense of humor mixed in. Mass though is unbelievable, general absolving of the sins as we rarely if ever say the prayer for forgiveness at the start of mass (Penitential Right). Even the hymns are belted through speed wise as to lets get the heck out of here. The ultimate kicker is I always go about 45 minutes to an hour before mass to pray a rosary, light a candle and in general to be with god in quiet. This parish is louder than a major sporting event. As the numbers increase you get to the point that you can't think as everyone is talking loud to each other or on their phones.
 The other parish I attend is not like that. It is quiet it is peaceful and the people are more respectful of where they are and more aware. We have a proper beautiful mass week in and week out. No cell phones, no flip flops cut offs, no applause at the end of mass.
 So what is my problem? Hard to understand the priests as it is a Polish/English church and sometimes the priest are hard to understand as their accents are heavy but I try to endure. I do admit I am going here more and more because of the beauty and reverence held here in the mass.
 But why is this it seems you from parish to parish and mass is always different. I thought a few years ago the Vatican changed things for mass to be a bit more stringent and uniform and seemed for a year it was going down that road and now it worse than before.
 I love going to mass for me it is my escape during the week I feel so content during mass and in the solitude I have with the lord when I pray and when I pray my rosary. I am almost shaking in my boots so to speak for mass every week.
 My feeling is the church has to get back to having mass said uniformly from parish to parish and have the priest enforce the mass and respect required at mass because right now in some parishes it is a joke and catholic mass is non existent.
 My rant. God Bless!

Pope Francis: the Church's mercy is for everyone




.- Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims about how the mercy of God is for everyone, and how through the Church, we are all called to embrace and include everyone in the Body of Christ.
“The Gospel calls us to recognize in the history of humanity the design of a great work of inclusion, which fully respects the freedom of every person, every community, every people,” the Pope said Nov. 12.
And “calls everyone to form a family of brothers and sisters, in justice, solidarity and peace, and to be part of the Church, which is the body of Christ.”
Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square for the final special general audience for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The extra audiences have been held once a month in addition to the Pope’s weekly audience for the duration of the Jubilee, which officially ends Nov. 20.
At the audience, the Pope’s catechesis centered on the “universal invitation” found in the words of Jesus in St. Matthew’s Gospel: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
“No one is excluded from this call,” he said, “because the mission of Jesus is to reveal to everyone the Father’s love.” It is “up to us to open our hearts, trust in Jesus and accept this message of love, which makes us enter into the mystery of salvation.”
Reflecting on the Body of Christ as it is depicted on the crucifix, the Pope noted how Christ’s arms are “outstretched on the cross” showing that “no one is excluded from his love and his mercy.”
“How true are the words of Jesus who invites those who are tired and weary to come to Him to find rest!” he said.
How many weary and oppressed people we meet every day, in our neighborhood, at our school, at the doctor’s office, Francis continued. It is through our eyes that the gaze of Jesus “rests on each one of those faces.”
Pointing to the colonnades which surround St. Peter’s Square, The Pope explained how even the square was a visible representation of what the Church should be, an expression of Christ’s “embrace.”
Just as God includes and welcomes us through his forgiveness, we “all need to meet brothers and sisters to help us to go to Jesus, to open ourselves to the gift he has given us on the cross.”
“We do not exclude anyone!” he emphasized. “For God, in his plan of love, he does not want to exclude anyone, but wants to include everyone.”
It is through our Baptism that God makes us all his children in Christ and members of his body the Church, the Pope noted, “and we Christians are encouraged to use the same criteria.”
“Mercy is the way you act,” he said, it is the way in which we incorporate our lives with the lives of others, avoiding closing in on ourselves and our own “selfish securities.”
This aspect of mercy is manifested in the open arms of the Church, “open wide to welcome,” not exclude, he continued. The Church does not classify others “according to social status, language, race, culture, religion.”
“In front of us there is only one person to love as God loves.”
Let us all participate in this inclusion, being witnesses of the same mercy with which God “has accepted and welcomed all of us,” he said.
“In fact, with humility and simplicity let’s be instruments of inclusive mercy of the Father.” Just as our Holy Mother Church “prolongs in the world the great embrace of Christ dead and risen.”

Homily

A mother says to her ten years old son, "If you study hard all year and you get passing grades, next Summer, I will buy you a new bicycle." In order words, if her son does not study hard all year and he does not get passing grades, he will not receive a new bicycle next Summer.

A man goes to a store and tells the manager, "If you can get me the carpet that I want, I will buy it from you." In other words, if the store manager cannot get the carpet, the man will not buy it from him.

Have you noticed that by reversing what is being said, we often get a better understanding of what was said? For example, Jesus said, "By your endurance you will gain your souls." [Lk. 21:19] If we reverse these words, we get, "If you do not endure, you will lose your souls." Notice how reversing the sentence highlights two important things: first, the need to endure; secondly, the salvation of the soul. The first is absolutely necessary in order to obtain the second.

Why is it absolutely necessary to endure in order to be saved? Today's readings answer that question by teaching us the importance of endurance. During the First Reading, we heard of the necessity to endure in righteousness. In the Second Reading, we heard of the necessity to endure in our imitation of the saints. And in the Gospel Reading, we heard of the necessity to endure in our living faith. To summarize all of this, we must persevere in our living faith through righteousness and the imitation of the saints.

During the First Reading from the Book of Malachi, [Mal. 4:1-2] we heard the Lord say, "'See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up,' says the Lord of hosts, 'so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.'" [Mal. 4:1]

In other words, the evildoers will be wiped off the face of the earth. When they die, there will be no tombstone to mark their graves. Over time, their existence will fade away from the memories of the passing generations until such a time when no one will remember that they ever existed.

But those who revere the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Lord shall raise them, sanctify them and carry them to a safe place where no harm shall ever come to them. This refuge is Heaven, the safe place where the Lord rules forever as the Shepherd.

During the Second Reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, [2 Thess. 3:7-12] we heard St. Paul's harsh words for those who fall short of imitating the saints, their brothers and sisters in Christ. Admonishing the disorderly, St. Paul told them that if they were unwilling to work, they should not eat. [2 Thess. 3:10]

Why were some unwilling to work? Like nowadays, some of the faithful believed that Jesus was about to return at any time to establish His Kingdom. As such, why work? It is much easier to just wait for Jesus to arrive and then all the problems of the world will be fixed! Right? Wrong! According to St. Paul, living in idleness, they were bored with themselves and they had become busybodies. They occupied their time with small talk, rumours, hearsay, slander, all of these things leading to disharmony and division. Because of their disorderly lives that disturbed others, they neglected fruitful work for the glory of the Lord.

To such persons, St. Paul commands and exhorts in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. [2 Thess. 3:12] Every Christian, when he is able to do so, he must support himself and not live off the income or wealth of the others.

In his exhortation, St. Paul was not trying to be mean to his brothers and sisters in Christ. Rather, as a senior authority of the Church, He was simply re-establishing order in the Christian community where disorder had creeped in.

Reviewing today's Gospel Reading, [Luke 21:5-19] we heard Jesus' discourse on the fall of Jerusalem. While Jesus was speaking of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple which occurred in 70 A.D., those who were present were associating this event with the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Approaching the end of His ministry on earth, many of Jesus' followers recognized Him as the Messiah and they wanted to crown Him as their King. So when Jesus spoke of destruction or anything that could be associated with war, His followers assumed that the day was near when Jesus would rule over them. They were wrong because "the Kingdom of Jesus was not of this world." [Jn. 18:36]

The same false belief has been held throughout every generations, even to this day. Some people only read part of a Gospel Chapter and take the written Word of God out of context from the entire discourse of Jesus. What we find in Chapter 19 of the Gospel of Luke is a repetition of Chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew and Chapter 13 of the Gospel of Mark. In each of these Chapters, we read the words of Jesus that say, "Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place." [Lk. 21:32; Mt. 24:34; Mk. 13:30]

In other words, what Jesus was talking about around 30 A.D. were events that were to take place in the days of His generation. Forty years later, those who were still living around 70 A.D., they saw the completion of Jesus' prophecies that are found in today's Gospel Reading. So if anybody believes today that the events mentioned in Chapter 21 of the Gospel of Luke are about to happen, they are in error. They will wait in vain and nothing will come to pass.

As Saint Paul said in the previous Reading, we must not be idle, awaiting things that will not come to pass. We must move on with our lives, be fruitful in the work of the Holy Spirit, while awaiting the final return of Christ that will proceed Judgment Day and the resurrection of the bodies.

But while waiting for these great moments to come, we must adjust to a long period of waiting and persecution. We must persevere in our living faith by taking our crosses and carrying them as Jesus did so that we too may arrive to our eternal glory.

We must never forget that Jesus warned us when He said, "Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is near!' Do not go after them." [Lk. 21:8] Jesus said, "Do not go after them." In other words, "Do not believe them."

When Jesus said, "By your endurance you will gain your souls" [Lk. 21:19] He was referring to the suffering that the early Church Christian had to undergo following the crucifixion and death of Christ and His glorious Resurrection. He was warning His followers that some families would be divided because some would accept Christ as their Saviour while others would not. Consequently, those who believed in Jesus as their Saviour, they would endure the death of martyrs. Others, fearing death, they would betray family members, relatives, friends, etc... renounce their faith and disown Jesus as their Saviour.

While today's Gospel Reading was prophetic in nature and applied to the days of Jesus, if we set aside the prophecies, the remaining words of Jesus still apply to us today. We are still called to persevere in our living faith. This teaching of Jesus has never changed. It is echoed over and over throughout the New Testament. "To those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life." [Rom. 2:7, 5:3-5, 8:25, 14:4]

Some of us do not have very heavy crosses to bear. Our lives have been pretty good, filled with blessings from the Lord. But we have some brothers and sisters who do have very heavy crosses to bear. From day to day, they persist in their living faith in Christ, not knowing if, because they are Catholics, they will be shot tomorrow, (England) or if they will be slaughtered as lambs by Muslim extremists (Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, etc...). Indeed, the cross is very heavy for many to bear. And we must pray for them, so they will persevere until the end, that they not be counted among those who have renounced their faith and their salvation in Jesus Christ.

As we continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass, let us pray for one another, that we all endure until the end so we will gain our souls.

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1MAL 3:19-20A

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.

Responsorial PsalmPS 98:5-6, 7-8, 9

R. (cf. 9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth,
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Reading 22 THES 3:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
You know how one must imitate us. 
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone. 
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day
we worked, so as not to burden any of you. 
Not that we do not have the right. 
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us. 
In fact, when we were with you,
we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work,
neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a
disorderly way,
by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. 
Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly 
and to eat their own food.

AlleluiaLK 21:28

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 21:5-19

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them! 
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name. 
It will lead to your giving testimony. 
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. 
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death. 
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Homily for Today

Unto us it is given so we may blossom in Jesus! Good morning to everyone and welcome to our guests who have found their way to our humble...