Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easter is still rolling: Divine Mercy

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Happy Easter! 
·      We continue into the last two days in the Octave—eight days—of Easter
·      The students at school received “freebie” candy on Friday
·      Another cool conversation with a friend: they waited on Easter eggs for their kids—it is the same Easter!  And we have 50 days in the Easter season
This weekend is a deep time for Divine Mercy
·      Please read the bulletin article and check out the different ways to grow through Divine Mercy—table by the small chapel
Divine Mercy
·      God’s love, compassion, forgiveness
·      God is not away from us or doesn’t care about us
·      God sent his son to die for us and shows His rescue plan for all humanity
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were…Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”
"Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
"And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’"
·      These are some of the last words that Jesus spoke to his disciples and apostles
·      During his ministry, Jesus Christ over and over forgave sinners!
·      Now he breathed forgiveness to his apostles
·      This is why we have confession!
His mercy endures forever."
·      I was hard pressed and was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.”
Know that no matter your life, your history, your relationship with God, your place in our family…God is patient for wherever we are

·      And always waits for His Divine Mercy

Parish Bulletin Article: "Busy, Busy!": 4-23-17

            Happy Easter day #7 (Saturday) and day #8 (Sunday)!
            As our parishes are going through some fun events, I would like to share a few thoughts.
            First, this weekend is called Sunday of Divine Mercy.  Here is a quick quotation from EWTN: “This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000.  In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that ‘throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.’"
            Continue to grow with your relationship with Jesus Christ during the last octave (eight) days and seven more weeks during the Easter season.
            Second, we will be having a fun garage sale at 2000 Spruce Street next weekend.  Check it out on Friday and Saturday, as there will be a lot of stuff to be sold.  I mean, imagine the bits and pieces that can come out of the huge house that we are selling!
            Third, St. Thomas Aquinas School will be offering an entertaining event: “The 30th Annual Live and Silent Auction—Under the Sea”.  Please buy your tickets and enjoy the occasion to support our school.
            Finally, please continue to pray for our buy/sell process for our house. 
You may have read the article in our newspaper: “Board discusses relocation of center” with the opportunities for Northland Counseling Center to buy our building.  Currently, the “old house” may be transferred to them on May 5th.
On the other side, we now have a purchase agreement for a “new house”.  I will share more news in the future!
Please pray to God for His will to be done for the gifts He has given us.

            God Bless!

Parish Bulletin Article: "Welcome to the Family!": 4-16-17

            Happy Easter!  Jesus Christ is risen, alleluia!
            Recently, one of our parishioners said a powerful statement: “We haven’t seen these young families at Mass for many years.”
            I believe that both St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban are a family, and it is growing again.  This family is together through the youngest to the wisest and several generations that walk with Jesus Christ.
            During this Easter season, I would like to personally invite you to consider your relationship with Jesus Christ.  I have seen different dynamics to assist many new families.
            I have had several conversations with parents like this:
·      “Father, we haven’t been to church for some time, but we/I would like our/my child(ren) to be baptized”;
·      “I haven’t been confirmed, how would this happen?  Could I be confirmed?”;
·      “I didn’t know that you have scholarships for my children to go to this school.  I never even thought about that option.  How could we look into this?”;
·      “We are married, but we haven’t been blessed through the Church.  Can this occur?”;
No matter your age or your history, here are some quick answers: YES, YES, YES and YES!
Know that I will pray for you, no matter where your life is.  Know that you can begin a conversation with me, our employees, our volunteers, our brothers and sisters in our family and God Himself.
Jesus Christ died and rose again.  He has opened the gates to heaven and offers a friendship with each of us sinners.  He shows us love, mercy, compassion and peace.
Our parishes want to welcome you to come back to a larger family.  As we continue to strive to grow our family, know that as much as we want to seek Jesus Christ, our God is already seeking us.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
I hope that each of you have a wonderful Easter season and that you will take small steps to grow with our savior. 

Happy Easter and God bless!

The best story in all of history: Easter

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Today we listen to the best chapter of our story through humanity: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
·      The Exultant: “May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son, who, coming back from death’s domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever.”
·      Disciples began with terror, they were scared and cowardice after Jesus died
·      Then they went out to share the Good News
o   Many then gave their mission: to preach the Messiah: Jesus Christ
·      Many were killed, which only grew God’s family
·      Now we have 2 billion people!
How can you grow in the Good News of Jesus Christ?
·      “Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid!  I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.  He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead…”
·      Having a relationship with Jesus Christ
o   A disciple!
o   An evangelist!
o   Share the good news!
·      Each of you—baptized brothers and sisters
o   As priests, prophets and servers
·      We can not be lukewarm—there is a line in the sand—either with Jesus Christ, or against Jesus Christ
o   And we must have the courage to introduce Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life
(Sunday Mass)
·      Small steps
o   Do you want your child to be baptized?
o   Do you want to have your child receive his or her first communion?
o   Do you want to receive forgiveness, peace and mercy through your sins?
o   Do you want to be confirmed?
o   Do you want to be married in God’s house?
o   Do you want a loved one to receive the anointing of the sick?
This is one of the most important steps
·      Why?
·      We received each of these through God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit
·      We receive these gifts through the only person in history who defeated death itself
Jesus Christ showed a new path: resurrection
·      For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.”

·      Which gives us the best gift to us: resurrection at the end of our lives, to watch the gates of heaven

Why is it "Good" Friday?: Good Friday

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

We have more than 7 billion people on our planet
·      And by 2200, none of these will be alive
·      How many people in our history (50,000 years ago) have died
·      107 billion people!
·      94% of humans have died
The fact is, each of us will die
·      Whether natural causes, heart disease, cancer, accidents, strokes, etc. we will be gone here on earth
·      God has the ace in the hole…death
But let us think about one individual…one person out of 114 billion people, who did conquered death: Jesus Christ
·      And he didn’t do so wanting his own immortality
·      He did so to save us
And he didn’t do it in a peaceful death
·      He did so through crucifixion, one of the most brutal death
·      And he did for us
o   Isaiah: “Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.”
o   Hebrews: “In the days when Christ was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”
o   Luke 23:46: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
If the story through our Triduum, the Bible, our history, was closed with death, this story would be brutal
·      Praise God, we each have another chapter
·      John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
And thank you, Jesus Christ, our King, our friend, our brother, our shepherd:
·      You did defeat death
·      You did destroy evil
·      You did open the gates to heaven

·      And this is why we call this Good Friday

We know the story...but God always renews our spiritual life: Holy Thursday

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

The Last Supper
·      We are told to preach about the Eucharist and the Priesthood
·      John 13: “Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father.  He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.”
We saw the “type”—a foreshadow—for Jesus’ Body and Blood
·      Exodus 12: "This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight.  It is the Passover of the LORD.”
o   This is what we wear for Mass!
o   Yes, for the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist
o   But we are called to go out to share the Good News!
§  Those who are in flight!
§  Freedom through the light of faith vs. the darkness of sinfulness
·      For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”
·      This is love…Jesus’ Body and Blood
Priesthood
·      Jesus Christ was the sacrifice, altar and priest giving us his body and blood
·      And he passed this to each priest
·      Sacraments: baptism, confession, Eucharist, confirmation, anointing of the sick (we do not offer marriage or holy orders)
o   These are the essential jobs for a priest
§  In persona Christi: “In the person of Christ”
o   I baptize you…”
o   “This is my body…this is my blood…”
o   I absolve you from your sins…”
§  Or in the Apostolic pardon: “I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins…”
·      This is love!
And now we show another facet of love: serving our brothers and sisters…our neighbors

·      To wash their feet