From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Sunday, April 30th, 2023 – Fourth Sunday - Cycle A Readings: Acts 2:14a, 36-41, Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want ”, 1 Peter 2:20b-25, John 10:1-10
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, last week the bishop and the priests in the diocese went on a retreat. It was a fruitful time to renew ourselves in the Lord. We prayed for you and I wish to thank you for your prayers. Bishop Wack extends his warm greetings to you and his sincere gratitude to each one of you for your faith, love and support to the diocese. May the good Lord bless you. Amen.
The Good Shepherd is one of the oldest and most popular images of Christ. Every year on this Fourth Sunday of Easter we hear a section from chapter ten of the gospel of John that deals with the Good Shepherd. The part of chapter ten read this Sunday does not mention the Good Shepherd. Jesus describes himself as "the gate of the fold" of sheep. In the part we will read next year he will call himself "the Good Shepherd." However, "the door of the sheepfold" has a role as helpful as that of the shepherd. The shepherd has to watch over the fold to protect the lives of the sheep. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads, guides and protects his sheep. The Good shepherd’s sacrifice gave life to his sheep and brought them back to the fold. Today, we meditate on the Good Shepherd’s merciful tenderness, so that we recognize the rights he acquired over each one of us by his death. It is a good opportunity to consider in our prayer our love for the Good Shepherds.
My dear brothers and sisters, this Sunday is also Word Day of Prayer for Vocations. The purpose of World Day of Prayer for Vocations is to publicly fulfill the Lord's instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). Priests and Religious or consecrated men and women are called to follow Christ and collaborate with him in guiding the flock of God. Let us spend time each day praying for our priests and religion. Please pray that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord's call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes. In praying for vocations, let us pray for our own vocations: married life or single life. This day offers us an opopportunity to ask oneself how in whatever capacity or vocation we found ourselves, we have been a good shepherd in the image of Christ. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, answer our prayers.
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD
Sunday, April 9th , 2023 – The Resurrection of the Lord - Easter Day - Cycle A Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43, Psalm 118 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.”, Colossians 3:1-4, John 20:1-9
Jesus is Risen! Yes, he is truly risen! On Friday, we gathered in the church to celebrate the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. He died on the cross. He died with a question and with a scream “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” After they buried Jesus in the tomb, they rolled a stone to seal the entrance and then guards were put there. The gospel tells us that on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early in the morning and found it empty. She was still sad about what had happened, she was wondering who was going to roll the stone for her. Then she got there and the stone was rolled away.
My dear brothers and sisters, today, Alleluia is our song. Because the question of Jesus on the cross “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”; is answered by the empty tomb. It is God’s answer to his Son’s suffering and death. The empty tomb is God’s stamp of approval on all that Jesus said and did: his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, his treatment of the poor, sinners and outcasts, his acts of compassion, healing, liberation, his understanding of forgiveness, his preaching, his intuitions, and his parables, they became validated, vindicated!
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and your believing is useless too”. And in Romans 10:9, “if you admit with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. So we have a reason to be happy.
We congratulate our five parishioners who received the sacraments of initiation in the Easter vigil Mass. A big thank you to the Catechists who journeyed with them. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to each one of you for journeying with us during the Lenten season and sharing in the resurrection of our Lord. Thank you for your continuous support to the St Eugene Catholic Mission and Students Center. May the resurrection of Christ permeate every part of your life. May you and all your dear ones share in the joy of the risen Lord.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD.
Sunday, April 2th , 2023 – Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion - Cycle A Readings: Matthew 21:1 -11, Isaias 50:4 -7, Psalm 22 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? ”, Philippians 2:6 -11, Matthew 26:14 - 27:66
My dear brothers and sisters, the first part of the celebration of this Sunday marks the triumphant procession of the crowds with Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. This event is what gave the name “Palm Sunday” to this Sunday but we know that as soon as we process into the church we also begin the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The narrative of the triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem begins with Jesus sending his disciples to the neighbor village to go and bring a tethered colt which does not belong to him. It was enough for the disciples to say to whoever asked to know what they were doing that “the Master needs it” and the deed was done. Jesus, who did not have any property, relied on his Father to provide him all he needed. The Father did so using other people who came to the aid of Jesus. His great trust in the Father is what made him confident in having the colt he needed for his triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem. We need to have great faith in God so that we can also experience his providence.
Another symbolic sign in the narrative is Jesus riding on a donkey or simply a young animal. Whereas many people would like to see an imagery of a warrior in the action of Jesus, it may seem more correct to think of the picture of a shepherd since that is the imagery that Jesus himself presents throughout his public ministry. He enters the city not as a warrior who has been triumphant over his enemies but as a shepherd who leads his flock of humanity to take procession of the city which is theirs by right. Thus each time we enter the church in procession, we know that Jesus our shepherd is before us and leads us to the house of God where we are called to dwell forever. Let us therefore learn to make God's house our dwelling place so that we may benefit from the graces that his triumphant entry showers on us.
The reading of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ sets the tone for the events we will be commemorating throughout this Holy Week, especially during the Easter Triduum. This Holy week, the most important events in the history of the world will transpire: namely the passion, death and resurrection of his majesty, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and the King. Let us actively journey with our Lord, let us unite our story with his and open our heart for the graces of this week. May the Lord bless us in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Paschal Chester, SVD