From Our Pastor's Desk
From Our Pastor's Desk
Sunday, June 26th, 2022 – Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle C Readings: 1 King 19: 16b, 19-21, Psalm 16 “You are my inheritance, O Lord. “, Galatians 5: 1, 13-18, Luke 9: 51-62
“Follow me” One of the great themes of the Gospel of Luke is the emphasis on following Jesus. According to him, following Jesus involves submission to Him and His teaching and being completely committed to Him as Lord. That is why in this Sunday readings especially in the gospel reading, Jesus makes some radical demands on His followers.
On his way to Jerusalem after the refusal of the Samaritans to receive him, he encounters two men who volunteered to be his followers and one whom Jesus himself calls to follow Him. In each of the three examples provided, we see potential Christ-followers blinded by fear, insecurity, and lack of understanding. We don’t know whether these men responded or not. But Luke doesn’t focus on their response because he wants us to apply Jesus’ words to our own hearts.
For some of us the answers of Jesus to those men may sound harsh and unkind. But we must know that following Jesus should be more important than anything else in our life or than every other comfort we have. Following Jesus must be more important than every other responsibility we have. The most important desire a Christian should have is to follow Jesus and nothing should supplant that. It is an important desire to see that your children succeed in their career or dreams, but if those accomplishments keep them away from hearing about Jesus in a local church then your priorities are wrong.
Therefore, this Sunday readings are inviting us to ask ourselves: Are we following Jesus totally or just casually ? Do we find time to serve Jesus or our church or our neighborhood? Do we think that the call of Christ at times is too demanding?
The church today is in desperate need of devout followers of Christ who take their faith seriously. Perhaps there are many who think that following Jesus is important, but not the most important thing in their life. We pray God to help us through his Holy Spirit to be true followers of Jesus in our different vocations: marriage, single life, religious, consecrated life o priesthood.
Today Jesus keeps telling us: Follow me. What will be our answer?
“…do it in memory of me…”
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as "Corpus Christi". It has its biblical background in the the Lord’s Supper which is remind the liberation of the people of God from slavery in Egypt when the angel of death passed over the houses of the Hebrews who had painted their doorposts with the blood of a lamb (cfr. Ex 12, 1-14).
All three Readings that we'll be hearing this Sunday are related to the Eucharistic theme. They speak about food, wine, fish and prayer of blessing before the meal. Especially in the second reading (1 Cor 11,23-26), we see Saint Paul describing the Eucharistic gesture per excellence which is performed by Jesus in his last hours with the disciples. This gesture also challenges us. Now Jesus becomes the lamb, offering himself in sacrifice in order to give us life. According to our human Nature, we cannot live without food. Jesus says the same about the Eucharistic in the gospel of St. John: “if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man, you will not have life in yourselves”. (John 6:53) The Lord who breaks no one, yet allows himself to be broken; The Lord who does not demand sacrifices, but sacrifices himself; The Lord who asks nothing but gives everything.
In celebrating the Corpus Christi, we are all called to imitate our Lord Jesus. He takes everyday bread and transforms them into food that will last. Today we are so grateful for this bread and wine that Jesus gives us. We too are called to share our bread to others. Receiving and Having Jesus in our heart means that we become the bread for others exactly as it happens in the Eucharist. For we cannot partake of that Bread if we do not give bread to the hungry. We cannot share that Bread unless we share the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in need.
Therefore this celebration of the most holy body and blood of Christ is inviting us and challenging us to become the body of Christ, the real presence for others in our family, in our parish,in our neighborhood and for all whom we encounter today. This why we are always reminded that our celebration of Eucharist doesn't end when we leave the church; it is just the beginning.
Happy feast to all of us.
Father Louis Gbandi Nakpane,SVD
Sunday, June 5th, 2022 – Pentecost Sunday - Cycle C Readings: Acts 2:1-11, Psalm 104 “Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth”, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13, John 20:19-23
We congratulate our eleven parishioners who will be confirmed this Sunday by Bishop William Wack. Confirmation completes the sacraments of initiation. We are born anew by baptism, strengthened by confirmation, and receive the food of eternal life in the Eucharist. We pray that the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit multiplies his gifts upon them and makes them his worthy instruments of peace, joy, and renewed hope in the world. We are very grateful to all the Catechists for their love and dedication in sharing the faith to our young ones. May the almighty God richly bless you.
My dear brothers and sisters, we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. The birthday of the church, the day the Lord fufilled his promises that he will not leave us alone. The first reading and the gospel present the descent of the Holy Spirit differently. The stories of Luke and John complement each other and teach us that the Spirit is the new law, the power that enables humankind to do good. The Spirit is the source of unity (does away with barriers) and whatever it is, it destroys sin. The second reading shows us the consequences of the presence of the Spirit in a community.
After Pentecost the Church struggles to live the language of the Spirit. In the second reading we hear Paul reminding the divided community at Corinth that their diverse gifts are for the good of the community. It is the one dynamic Spirit which is the source of the community’s gifts. And the Spirit which fired the apostles and which enthused Paul is the same Spirit which fires and enthuses us. The Spirit does that in our own mundane attempts to work at forgiveness and love and understanding. That is the language of the Spirit. Forgiveness, love and understanding form a language which everyone understands and needs to hear. That is the language we are invited to speak and the promise is that when we speak it people will recognize it as their own language. They can truly say that we are speaking their language because it is the language which has no boundaries, and no special dictionaries are needed to understand it. It is the language of the Spirit. It is the language of love: the language that all people understand. As we celebrate this solemnity, may the Lord bless us, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen. Father Paschal Chester
Sunday, May 29th, 2022 – The Ascension of the Lord - Cycle C Readings: Acts 7:55-60, Psalm 97:1-2, 6-7, 9, “The Lord is king, the most high over all the earth.”, Revelations 22, John 17:20-26
We congratulate all the graduates from our parish and we recognize and pray for them on this Sunday. We thank the Lord for how far he has brought them and pray that he guides them as they begin a new phase in their lives. We also congratulate our five children who received their First Holy Communion last week Sunday. It is our prayer that the reception of the Holy Eucharist helps them to grow stronger in the faith, and love of God.
This year’s catechetical program was successful due to the grace of God and the collaboration of our Religious Education coordinators, Catechists and parents. We are very grateful for sharing your time and talents with us. God richly bless you.
This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. Parting messages have a great impact in the lives of people. Many students, newly married couples, seminarians, travelers vividly remember the final admonition and blessing of a heart- broken parent. Often time school leavers hold on for years to the parting wisdom of an inspirational teacher. An employer can frequently recall the parting outburst of the sacked employee. Final words have the power to make or to break, to challenge or to crush, to inspire or inhibit, to energize or deflate. We might recall the story of Elijah in 2kgs 2:8-15, when he was taken up by a chariot drawn by horses of fire as Elisha looked on.
From that time on his disciple Elisha received the spirit of his master and was empowered to continue his mission. Elisha began to do exactly as Elijah had done. The parting words of Christ, as he left his disciples on Ascension Day, are no exception. “‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”
Thus, does Luke describe for us the Ascension of the Lord in the Acts of the Apostles. Jesus’ life on earth finished not with his death on the Cross but with his Ascension into Heaven. The disciples who saw Jesus die amid insults, scoffing and mockery on the cross now see him exalted. The ascension strengthens and nourishes our hope of attaining heaven. It invites us to lift up our heart, as the preface of the Mass says, and seek the things that are above.
Our hope is firm because Christ himself has gone to prepare a place for us. Jesus departs, but he remains close to each of us. In a special way in the Holy Eucharist, which our eleven children received for the first time on this day.
As we celebrate this solemnity, Jesus wishes each of us to remain in his place, sanctifying the world from within, improving it and placing it at the feet of God. May the Lord bless us all. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen. Father Paschal Chester