Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The antiphon before the Gospel: January 2nd, 2018

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord,'

as Isaiah the prophet said." 
·      Make straight—ups and downs

"I baptize with water;
but there is one among you whom you do not recognize,
the one who is coming after me,
whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." 
·      People do not recognize Jesus…yet!



Last day in the Octave of Christmas: January 1st, 2018 with Mother of God

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Merry Christmas

“When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law, 
to ransom those under the law, 
so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
·      God knew His rescue plan

Octave
·      “When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.”


Our holy families, Jesus, Mary and Joseph's Holy Family and God's Family: Holy Family

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

During this season, I enjoy seeing the pictures via cards and letters
·      First because I do not use facebook
·      Second, it is powerful to see my family and friends offering fruits to the world with their children!
John-Paul
·      Mass kit…every time he sees me
·      Mom and Dad are teaching about Jesus Christ, Mass, prayers, etc.
Holy Family
·      Mary, Joseph and Jesus
o   Christmas: Christ Mass
o   Joseph protecting them
o   Then the joyful mysteries: presentation and finding
·      When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”
·      A concrete taste between humanity and divinity
o   Jesus is like a bridge between the Holy Family on earth, and the Holy Family—the Trinity in heaven
How is your family doing?
·      How can it be “holy”
o   Which means “set apart”
o   Are you “set apart” from our society?
·      Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, 
if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”


Parish Bulletin Article: "Our #1 Mission": 12-31-17

            What an excellent time these last couple of weeks!  We have had a speaker, Eucharistic Adoration, reconciliation, praise and worship, the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas.  Now we will worship at Mass for The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph on Saturday and Sunday, during the last days of 2017. 

2018 will begin with the last day of Christmas with the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  Please make it.

As 2018 begins, I would like to support a goal for all of our parishioners: pray, promote, encourage and focus on St. Thomas Aquinas School. 

I believe that our #1 mission in our parishes is our school.  I also think that when our school grows, our churches will grow and vis-à-vis. 

Why?  Well, the fact is that students at St. Thomas Aquinas will be present for over 1,000 hours each year and they will learn beyond academics.  They will learn about, and with, Jesus Christ (the best teacher), sacraments, sins and forgiveness, Catholic Social Justice, service, Mass, God’s Word and different ways to support our community and other Christian brothers and sisters. 

And it is growing.

When I arrived in International Falls on July 16th, 2014, we had 19 students registered.  Now we have 44 students Preschool-4th grade.  We have also grown with employees, volunteers, our school advisory, marketing and Facebook.

Each year we have had small steps towards Jesus Christ as he said, “Let the children come to me.”  Has it been perfect?  Nope.  While we have growing pains along the road, it is still getting better and better.

2018 will show new opportunities, as the 2017-2018 academic year will go to 2018-2019.  At this point we are discerning, conversing and praying for further small steps for the future.

In our family, we must continue to consider our own stewardship with time, talent and treasure.  This image must remain within our school, our parishes, our diocese and God’s kingdom around the world.

As your pastor, I think that focusing our school will not detriment the fantastic gifts that our family has and does each day.  In fact, when we dive into this mission—our #1 mission—will only support, encourage, engage and help our parishes, our community, our diocese and our journey towards Jesus Christ.


God Bless!

A curious Mass after Christmas: The Holy Innocents: Thursday, December 28th, 2017

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Holy Innocents Martyrs 
·      When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.”
Sad recognition
And what about “the culture of death?”
·      Abortion
·      Contraception
·      Divorce
·      Down Syndrome “purifying”
·      Euthanasia
In some ways, we should pray for “pro-life”

·      “A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;

Rachel weeping for her children,

and she would not be consoled,

since they were no more.”

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas and a cool genealogy: Christmas

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Merry, merry Christmas!
Welcome to you, your loved ones, neighbors, visitors and relatives
We come today to be in God’s house as we again celebrate His Son: Jesus Christ
We come today for Christmas
·      Let’s remember what Christmas is:
o   Christ: Jesus Christ
o   Mass: Jesus Christ
Today we heard a long reading and an important reading
·      Genealogies
o   I asked my Dad about our longest list and to do so the end is my nephew John Paul
o   Our ancestors that we know begin in John (great grandpa) (Germany, Poland, 14 years to Chicago then Holdingford, MN) to Richard (grandpa) to John (my Dad) to Mychal (my brother) to John-Paul (my nephew)
o   How long of your ancestors list?
·      Our Catholics and Christians began from our ancestors—Judaism
o   God called the Israelites to be His chosen people
·      Matthew (a Jew) wrote about 42 generations that ended with Jesus Christ
·      Many of your families: great-great-grandparents or beyond
The God of this people Israel chose our ancestors…”
·      Jesus “family tree”
·      "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.  For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus…
What is beautiful this season is that most of us are with our family members
·      Remember your loved ones who are beyond our earth
·      Did you know that we are still present today?
·      In your mind, your heart
·      Even people that are hundreds of years that you might not even know
Most of you that are at Mass at this point, probably got that from these ancestors…and eventually you probably don’t even know their names
·      In your family tree…your family list…brought you to life, and here
·      Now, we may have some people that randomly made it to Mass
·      But most of you probably made a decision to be here
·      And the best time to be with your loved ones—Mass
Finally, I mentioned in my bulletin article some interesting stats
·      If you made it to this Christmas, you used only 0.01% of your life in 2017
·      If you made it to each weekend Mass, as well as obligatory Masses, you used 0.66% for this whole year
·      What time will you use this year to be with your family, our family and God’s family?
·      Your ancestors not only invited you, but created you
Merry Christmas!


Different points to the Temple: 4th Sunday in Advent Season

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Close to the finish line for Advent!
Let’s jump deeply into some of these thoughts from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans
·      In a special way, I would like to focus on the Temple in the Old Testament
·      the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages…”
o   Temple
o   David “Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God dwells in a tent!"
§  God said that he will not build this temple, but his son would: Solomon
§  God promised           David: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”
o   “…I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm.  I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.”
§  On the first level, it looked like Solomon was the new king who built the Temple was built for God’s presence
·      Ark: 10 Commandments, manna and a staff
§  While this seems like many centuries, it was destroyed
§  It looked like the answer, but it was deeper what God was preparing us
§  He sent His son, for a new King, a new kingdom and finding new nations for Him
§  Solomon built the Temple which was the center of life, community, worship, politically and morality under God’s laws
·      “…now manifested through the prophetic writings
o   Prophets for centuries were calling God’s people to follow His law, His mission, His relationship and justice for the poor
o   They got off of their track
o   Eventually the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and their lives were tragic
And where did the Temple go?
·      Today it has a west wall as one small section from the Temple
·      But now the Temple was not a building, but a person: Mary
o   "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
·      She received God’s Son in her womb
o   And in her was Jesus Christ: the new law, the new bread and the new priesthood
All of this is powerful pieces in God’s puzzle for us
·      And as we conclude Advent, we know that God has reestablished His kingdom on earth
·      This kingdom is forever