Monday, May 13, 2019

Some nuggets with our Scriptures in Acts 11 and John 10: Monday, May 13th, 2019

Listen to the homily here.

First Communion!: 4th Sunday in the Easter Season

Listen to the homily here.

Lamb (as a student advised me to preach about it!) and St. John of the Cross: "...little things do indeed become great...: 4th Sunday in Easter Season

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

4thSunday in Easter Season
I asked our students different ways that I could give a homily
·      Answers: Jesus, the cross, a lamb and doves
o   What?  Where did you get that idea?
o   The banner!
·      Well, thank you as I will use that idea today for my homily!
John 10
·      My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand
.”
·      How do you hear our Shepherds voice?
o   Bible
o   Confession—forgiveness
o   Eucharist
Also, St. John of the Cross
·      "For little things do indeed become great; and from a small beginning there comes in the end a great matter, even as a spark suffices to set a mountain on fire and burn up the whole world" (St. John of the Cross).
·      St. John of the Cross’ essential was for two levels
o   Small sins that can grow into vices
§  Cut it off!
§  Get to confession to stay in our Shepherds hand
o   And, a small beginning with Jesus Christ will become great

Listen to God’s Word and when you do, you can enhance what to keep in virtue, and cut out what is vices in your life

Parish Bulletin Article: "Victims of Sexual Abuse": 5-12-19

As I was on vacation in Hawaii, I fell in love with both St. Damian and St. Marianne Cope who served on the islands of Hawaii.  Quickly, know that St. Damian is "the patron saint of people suffering from leprosy," and St. Marianne Cope, "provide[d] health care on the Hawaiian Islands, especially to those with leprosy."
While my parents and I stayed on the island Maui, and we saw a stunning view seeing the ocean and two islands, one to the left (about ten o'clock vision), Lana'i, and the right side (two o'clock image) Moloka'i which had a mountain/volcano which is extinct.  Now, I must also mention that I have told other people the wrong name of Moloka'i, like Mordicai, (a character in the book of Esther in the Bible) as well as Malachi, (a prophet in the Bible as well).  My bad. 
While I have just ordered a book about St. Damian, another for St. Marianne Cope and another for an intense book called "The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai," about the lepers who were exiled and quarantined in from 1866 to 1969, and there are actually six lepers still living in his colony.  While it makes sense to me, for such quarantine is what we do to this day (for instance, the Ebola virus which "The quarantine period for Ebola virus. WHO and CDC recommend that individuals who are potentially infected with Ebola virus should be quarantined for 21 days" from http://www.virology.ws/2014/10/16/the-quarantine-period-for-ebola-virus/). 
As I do not know all the details—yet—but I do know that this colony began to protect other people from this leprosy as they did not have as we do today.  And, this disease is known today as "Hansen's Disease—which is still most commonly known as leprosy—was extremely stigmatized around the world for centuries."
The saddest part was these brothers and sisters were not listened to, were not fed, were not giving housing, etc.
Last weekend I preached about Moloka'i, as I spoke about the disturbing history with sexual abuse in our Catholic Church.  I said that those who were abused by a Catholic priest, bishop or cardinal were, like the lepers, not listened to, not in the presence of (not all, not many, but a few) leaders of our Church or not protected.
Please know that we must be like St. Damian (who contracted this disease as he served the people in the lepers' colony on Moloka'i), St. Marianne Cope and Jesus Christ himself: "On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.  And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.'  When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests."  And as they went they were cleansed" (Luke 17:11-14).
As the scandal of sexual abuse has come to the front line—praise God!—around the world, we Catholics must continue to pray for these victims.  We must offer our presence (when needed), love, compassion, and LISTENING to support our family.  As Bishop Paul mentioned to us that: "…because we are all of the Body of Christ: 'If one part suffers, all the parts suffer it' (1 Corinthians 12:26)'".
We also must pray for these perpetrators, as Jesus taught us to pray for all sinners, even though this is indeed challenging when we experience anger, confusion, and disgusting acts.
Let us walk together with and towards our King, especially with every person who have experienced traumatic situations, especially today the victims of clergy sexual abuse.
God Bless.


Students help me with future homilies, and Baptism: Thursday, May 9th, 2019 (School Mass)

Listen to the homily here.

Jesus calls people beyond who we may choose: May 8th, 2019

Listen to the homily here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

St. Stephen's education in salvation and his prayer for those who stoned him, as well as God's calling to Saul: Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Listen to the homily here.

John 6: free physical bread or simply following Jesus Himself?: Monday, May 6th, 2019

Listen to the homily here.

The Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse and our Response to Support these Survivors: 3rd Sunday in Easter Season

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

3rdSunday in Easter Season: Victims
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”
·      The Lord hears the cry of the victims and the survivors of sexual abuse from a priest or bishop
o   While sadly this occurs with many other adults who abuse children or adolescents, our priests and bishops do have a higher responsibility
o   And we must continue to support with our time, talent and treasure, praying that they may continue to grow with Jesus Christ our Victor King
While I was on vacation, I would like to add my spiritual prayer that reminded me of our brothers and sisters who have been quieted, shushed or not listened to from some of our leaders, our pastors, our bishops
·      On the island of Maui, we were blessed to see true beauty, which many call it paradise or heaven itself
·      I agree and was grateful to have some time off, relax, as well as be crazy
·      I took a bike one afternoon and I was thinking about that Island, a few miles away that we could see clearly: Mordecai
o   Mordecai, the island in which has the lepers’ colony that began in 1865 as the king quarantined as the disease spread to try to control it for everyone else
§  They were there over a century, and six people still live in that colony of the lepers, a horrifying history in our chapter
o   While or medicine world have figured out what disease it really was, as with new technology today, they did support them with humanitarian gifts
o   The saddest part is these people were left to a settlement and quarantined with no help, no food, no lodges
·      I am guessing that this is similar to the victims of sexual abuse that has been brushed under the rug, not listening, not supporting, not serving
·      That is our job as Catholics and Christians, to find out Jesus’ lost sheep and I am guessing that Jesus would go to Mordecai for the last six victims of that disease
Let’s next look to another powerful passage: 2 Maccabees 12
·      On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers.  Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen.  So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.  He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering.”
That’s where we come in
·      As we continue to grow with our time, talent and treasure, this is a time for the victims. Like the Maccabees, they offered that collection from them, even though it was not them, but their brothers, for that collection, as well as the sinners of their brothers
o   Meaning, we should also pray for our perpetrators, which I personally know is not easy
Finally, this process should be concluded in 4-6 months
·      All of our pastors agreed to support, with each parish, to support the victims
·      Now, this marathon is still not concluded, but the finish line is in focus, though I do not want to put out a number as we simply cannot until the judge for the court of bankruptcy agrees.
·      I may say this, though: our settlement gift, without the exact number, is about half of what our UCA is (3.5 x our UCA goal).  I will also be writing a $1,000 check to support the victims, as well as we pastors agreed with each other to do the same 
I’m ready for this process to be done.  I’m guessing you want it done.  Most of our country wants this done with frustration, anger and seeking for justice, and millions of Catholics want this in the light of Jesus Christ to find the victims for HIS love, like the Malakai lepers

God Bless you all, and as I am so proud of each of you, we must support these victims like “The LORD hears the cry of the poor.”


Mother Mary of the Rosary, pray for us.


Parish Bulletin Article: "Mother's Day, First Communion, and Fishing Opener"


What a beautiful weekend, though who knows what the weather may be.  I’ll be honest, there better be any snow!  Three thoughts with some scriptures with what we will be doing.
First, happy Mother’s Day!  Know of my gratitude for you Mothers who have been open to life, and also know of my prayers for those women and couples who are trying to have a child.  Let’s all bring up some prayers as I know several married couples who want life as well.
And what a formidable passage in Proverbs 31 for all of our Moms:
·      Portions of this poem/song in this passage: “A good wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life…Her lamp does not go out at night…She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet…Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Second, congratulations to our first communicants!  I am proud of you (NAMES), your parents (NAMES) and what an honor for us to witness your first reception of Jesus Body and Blood.  And please remember that this is your first communion, and I hope that our family sees you for your second communion, your third, your 500th and beyond!
·      Matthew 19:14: “Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”
·      Luke 24:29d-31: “So he went in to stay with [two disciples].  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight.”
Third, happy fishing opener!  I invite you to know how cool it can be, not only to fish, but to spend time with your friends and loved ones, and also offer your opportunity in fishing to soak in God’s creation in nature.  Offer a prayer of gratitude for Him and always remember his idea for fishing:
·      John 21:3-6: “Simon Peter said to [Jesus’ disciples], ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.  Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any fish?’  They answered him, ‘No.’  He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.”
Finally, we continue to enjoy Easter season until Pentecost…keep rolling!
God Bless you for this superb weekend!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Victory as Jesus carried our thorns for Salvation!: Easter (Sunday, April 21st, 2019)

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Easter Vigil and Sunday EasterAfter Holy Thursday—the last supper and the washing of the feet, after Good Friday, the death of our savior, we come to the Easter Vigil—praise God, and Happy Easter!
·     After another year, ups and downs, praise God and Happy Easter!
Have you had ever experienced victory in your life?  Sports, music, academics, hunting, fishing or beyond? 
·     Well tonight we are entering into a spiritual taste of the victory of Jesus Christ, his victory for eternity! 
Within our movie world, I would like to share a victory within the movie "Remember the Titans" at their last game, halftime and behind the score, Coach Boone said:
o  “It's all right. We're in a fight.  You boys are doing all that you can do. Anybody can see that. Win or lose... We gonna walk out of this stadium tonight with our heads held high. Do your best. That's all anybody can ask for.
o   Then, one of his leaders on the team, Big Ju, said: 
§  “No, it ain't Coach. With all due respect, uh, you demanded more of us. You demanded perfection. Now, I ain't saying that I'm perfect, 'cause I'm not. And I ain't gonna never be. None of us are. But we have won every single game we have played till now. So this team is perfect. We stepped out on that field that way tonight. And, uh, if it's all the same to you, Coach Boone, that's how we want to leave it."
That connection is a great image for us tonight because we are in a war—a spiritual battle between Satan, evil and God who sent His perfect Son to get in the game, that Jesus who won on earth
·     And we, like Big Ju, we are certainly not perfect, or sinless, yet we are still on a perfect team: the mystical body of Jesus Christ
We must consider to remember how we are not the saviors!
·     2 Corinthians 10:7-10.
o  And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The paradox of Easter is that Jesus Christ did destroy all thorns forever and “the power of Christ may rest upon [YOU]”!
So,what do you believe about yourself?  
·     Are you your own team, your own winner, your own family with “no need of a physician” in your soul? 
o  If so, why are you really at Easter?  Simply for bunnies, eggs, Peeps, your family or checking a box off for your time at Church? 
·     Or,do you believethat we are sinful, we are sick, and we do need a savior, a physician for our souls who said: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sinand living for God in Christ Jesus.”

May we praise God for the best gift, the best family and the best team: 
God’s kingdom for all eternity which has already destroyed evil and opened the gates for victory

Happy Easter and know that you are always welcome in God’s house at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban parishes!


Parish Bulletin Article: "A Thorn in our Body, Mind and Soul": 4-21-19

“A Thorn in our Body, Mind and Soul”

In one of my favorite verses in the Bible is in St. Paul’s writing to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 10:7-10. What he shared to this small community almost two millennials before can continue to speak to us today in our own lives. Here is what he wrote:
And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
St. Paul had shared a challenge in his life, which we do not know what had happened (e.g., a physical malady?, mental illness?, spiritual problems?) to himself but he repeatedly asked God to take that pain away from himself. However, every one of us has some sort of a thorn in our body, our mind our soul which we cannot “fix it” by ourselves. And, how can we ask God with these types of suffering?
Well let’s take these same words from St. Paul in our prayer, and praise God as He spoke back to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Also, can you, too, like Paul, realize that your suffering, thorns, and pain make us powerful (“I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities”)? Call that a gut check in our lives!
While we concluded our Triduum—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and now continue to celebrate Easter itself, we must remember that we are sinful, and we are sick, just like Jesus taught us. Listen again in Mark 2:17: “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
The paradox of Easter is that Jesus Christ did destroy all thorns forever and “the power of Christ may rest upon [YOU]”!
At the same time, what do you believe about yourself? Are you “well…[with] no need of a physician”?  If so, why are you really at Easter?  Simply for bunnies, eggs, and Peeps, your family or checking a box off for your time at Church? 
If so, I will challenge, invite and witness that we Christians do believethat we are sinful, we are sick, and we do need a savior, a physician for our souls who said: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
May we praise God for the best gift for all eternity, that He sent His son who carried all thorns, both physically and spiritually during his passion and death, and then beat the game of evil and sin to receive victory with his RESURRECTION! He leaves with us that when we are weak, we may be strong on earth with our faith for him, and continue to walk together in our journey towards heaven.
Happy Easter and know that you are always welcome in God’s house at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban parishes!

Why is it Good Friday? Humor in Jesus' mind?: Good Friday (April 19th, 2019)

Listen to the homily here.

Notes:

Good Friday

For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors
…”

(Jesus): I AM: When he said to them, "I AM," they turned away and fell to the ground.  "I have spoken publicly to the world…”
(Pontus Pilate) “What is truth?” 
(Soldiers): Crown of thorns, purple vestment… “Hail, King of the Jews!”
(Pontus Pilate): “Behold, the man!...Behold your king!”
(Chief Priests): “We have no king but Caesar!”
(Pontus Pilate): “"Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews."

Isaiah: (fourth servant’s song): 
·      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.But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins;upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,by his stripes we were healed.”
·      We had all gone astray like sheep…”
o   Why do we do that today?
·      “…he surrendered himself to death

Hebrews:
·      For we do not have a high priestwho is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way,yet without sin.So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”