Divine Mercy Sunday

On this second weekend of Easter  we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. All of our readings this weekend have this theme about trusting in the mercy and goodness of Jesus. 

Our reading from Acts of the Apostle s reflects on how the early Christian community shared things in common as a means of demonstrating a trust in the mercy of Jesus who through his disciples would take care of the needs of their growing community.The Psalm  response reminds us that the love of God is “everlasting”.The reading from 1 John reminds us that that the Spirit testifies to the “truth” born from the water and blood which is a reference to that which flowed from the side of Jesus during the crucifixion.Lastly we  have these acts of mercy by Jesus by giving his disciples the power to forgive sins as well as encouraging Thomas to overcome his disbelief by probing his wounds 

I thought this weekend might also be a good time to reflect on Saint Faustina. “Saint Faustina was a young, uneducated nun in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland during the 1930s.  She came from a poor family that struggled during the years of World War I.  She had only three years of simple education, so hers were the humblest tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or garden.  However, she received extraordinary revelations — or messages — from our Lord Jesus.  

Though the Divine Mercy message is not new to the teachings of the Church, Sr. Faustina’s Diary sparked a great movement, and a strong and significant focus on the mercy of Christ.  Saint John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina in 2000 making her the “first saint of the new millennium.”  Speaking of Sr. Faustina and the importance of the message contained in her Diary, the Pope called her “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.”

Today, we continue to rely of St. Faustina as a constant reminder of the message to trust in Jesus’ endless mercy, and to live life mercifully toward others.  We also turn to her in prayer and request her intercession to our merciful Savior on our behalf. There is a National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us – all of us. And, He wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy

This message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina who in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread. 

The message and devotional practices proposed in the Diary of Saint Faustina are completely in accordance with the teachings of Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Savior. Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ. 

Personally I am deeply moved by St Faustina’s prayer for the Healing of the family tree which we will pray this Sunday from 2:30 to 3:30 pm here at St Rose as part of our Divine Mercy Holy Hour. I hope you will consider joining Father Mark and myself. 

Jesus I trust in you.

Source information St Faustina from https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message

Readings for Sunday, April 11, 2021

Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil

It has been been a long and strange year. Last year as we celebrated the vigil for the sake of safety there was only a few of us in this space at Saint Rose. Tom and Doreen were here recording. There were only 2 to 3 music ministry and enough readers to proclaim the Word of God were also present. Although we are still not back to where we want to be, we are getting much closer than we have been. For the most part we have been able to celebrate the Triduum as a family in faith.

Along those lines… can you imagine how you are going to feel when the headlines, TV news, and updates from the states announce: Covid-19 no longer a threat, all restrictions lifted across the globe. How will you feel at that moment… relieved, happy, excited, joyful? Personally, I am going to do the snoopy dance… maybe even in public. Who are the first people you want to see… children, grandchildren, parents, friends? And when you see them, how will you greet them… hug, dance, cry, laugh? What will you do first… travel, go on a shopping spree without a mask, go to a concert or a sporting event, take a trip with a long plane ride? Me, I want to invite all my family, friends, and fellow musicians to a huge picnic and jam session lasting way into the night, and the next day, go play out in the woods. Have you captured the feeling of that and subsequent moments? I want you to make note how you feel as the burden of this experience is lifted from you, those you love, and our world. This, my brothers and sisters, is akin to the Easter joy we celebrate this weekend! The gift of having a burden… the burden… lifted that we could not lift by ourselves.

Tonight our readings recall not only the kind of world God longed to provide for us, but the lengths that God went, and continues to go, to bring us back to his protection and love. Tonight our readings recall the people, places, and things that he used to lift the weight of sin and division from our backs. In all that time, whether we accepted or rejected God, He never gave up on us or stopped fighting for us — even to the point of sending his son, our brother Jesus to “lift from us the prison bars of death”. That death, being more than the end of lives on earth, but a separation from the God who loves us and who is the source of life — not just for a day or two, but for eternity. This is a true reason for celebration and joy. It is like having the joy that you feel about having the virus lifted from you by multiplying it by the number of breaths you will take in a lifetime. That does not mean that the road ahead of us will always be easy or joy filled because we still live in a broken world. What it does mean is knowing how this story ends that we can experience the joy and peace of his presence here as well as in the world to come. Through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, no matter where we go or what we do, there is no escape from love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Jesus has risen! Happy Easter!

Readings for Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday marks the end of the Lenten season. I hope this Lent has been a very positive one for you that through your prayers, fasting, acts of reconciliation and helping the less fortunate, your faith has been enriched and that you are now more excited to serve our Lord.

On Holy Thursday we celebrate the many gifts and facets of our Catholic faith. By Catholic faith I mean the universal faith that calls all people to God himself. Our gathering this evening starts right off with recognizing these gifts as the Holy Oils are presented. The Holy Oils remind us of course of the sacraments those moments of personal encounter with God that transform, heal, and leads us more deeply into the mystery of God‘s love. The Holy Oils also represent how God through the gifts of the Holy Spirit uses all of our senses to help us to better understand and to experience the richness of His Being. This richness of sensory experience surrounds us in this beautiful worship space, is enhanced by the beautiful linens and vestments, by the candles, the fragrance of the flowers and incense, wine and bread that is transformed into the body and blood of Christ and the chambers of this hall filled with glorious and beautiful music. This celebration of our senses by God emphasizes the beauty of what it means to be a human being when we are United to him.

Holy Thursday is also the night when we celebrate the washing of the feet which is a symbol of service most often associated with Holy Orders and the living out of consecrated life. As a baptize people we are all called to be Priest,Prophet and King but some of us have the wonderful privilege to serve God and his community in some very intimate ways. Through our ordinations Father Mark and I share in this wonderful gift of consecrated service to the people of God.Ordination into the priesthood takes this ministry of service one step further by adding to  it the charism  of sacrifice. That a priest gives all that he has to the service of God. It is through the gift of priesthood that we have the Bishops, the Cardinals, the magisterium and the Pope whose mission is be stewards of the gifts of God and to make sure that we the people of God stay true to what God has instructed.

Linked with the priesthood we celebrate tonight our most treasured gift, the Institution of the Eucharist.Jesus told us that he would be with us even to the end of the age. The Eucharist is the mechanism by which Jesus remains present and fully alive in creation. Through this wonderful gift of the altar we not only have a chance to see with our eyes and touch with our hand the very flesh and blood of Jesus himself but he invites to consume him so that he may travel with us out into the world.Through this most sacred gift our own bodies become living vessels that carry Christ out into our communities and the world so that we get to share in his most holy ministry.

My brothers and sisters as we celebrate these gifts and move through the Triduum may our love for God be ever deepened, our desire to serve be renewed  and our hearts be filled with joy for the celebration of Easter that awaits us.

Readings for Thursday, April 1, 2021

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

A little joke written by George Goldtrap:

A small boy ran home and excitedly told his parents: “School will be dismissed for good ………. on Friday April 2nd!”

“I just don’t believe that”, his mother said.

“It’s true,” the boy said. “I just got this note from the teacher.”

The teacher’s note said: “School; will be dismissed at 11:00am for Good Friday, April 2nd.”

Do you remember what the Gospel Reading was on the 2nd Sunday of Lent this year? It was from the Gospel of Mark. It was the story of the Transfiguration. The end of the gospel reads:

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Just like in the joke, Peter, James, and John had to be asking themselves, did we hear him correctly? What does he mean about rising from the dead?!

We are Easter people; we know the story and how it ends. Can you imagine what they were going through? Even to the point of questioning everything — including Jesus’s mental well-being.

Let us together journey into another Holy Week, but this time — imagining that we were either Peter, James, or John — and simply being in awe for the very first time. Uncertainties, yes; great faith will definitely be needed. 

Readings for Sunday, March 28, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Lent

A little joke written by Paulo Cesar Menegusso:  

Driving back from a car-repair class, John said to his buddy, Joe, “I’m going to turn now. Could you stick your head out the window to see if the blinker’s working?”

“Sure,” Joe replied as he peeked outside. “It is, no it isn’t, yes it is, no it isn’t, yes it is…”

Have you ever been recommended a good movie, or a good book, or a nice restaurant, or a new vehicle? Sure, we have! But from whom we receive that recommendation matters to us. If it is from a complete stranger, versus a close friend, well that makes all the difference in the world! We trust our friends!  

One of the joys of my pastorship is seeing friendships form out of our parish experiences, whether by family gatherings within the Knights of Columbus organization, or from our many opportunities of Christian Formation from our Religious Education Program or our Adult Faith Sessions, and of course the many social functions that we usually celebrate during normal times without a pandemic. I witness people out to eat, or other social functions, or attending other church functions sitting together as friends. These friendships create the foundations of trust as we all mature within our faith and our lives.

Our readings of scripture this weekend force us to see how many times God takes the initiative to start up a “friendship” or a “relationship” with us. He does so by creating Covenants

We see how many times humanity fails the conditions of the covenants, and how many times God comes to our rescue.

The golden calf had to be destroyed, this lent, what is it in our lives that we need to let go of and what in us must die to self so that we can bring others to Jesus Christ?

We too must invite others to this relationship we have with Jesus. Our recommendations will be received with trust, simply because our lives have been molded and shaped by God’s mercy.

I know this was a short homily… it is my gift to you. 

Next week we celebrate Palm Sunday, which means the Mass will be a little longer than normal.

Readings for Sunday, March 21, 2021

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
    and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
    or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
    in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
    and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
    and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
    or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
    and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
    and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.

Isaiah 65:17-21

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Today’s reading from Isaiah reminds us that God wants us to experience the fullness of his love and life. God wants this not only when we have passed from this life to the next, but at this very moment that we live in now.

At times, we are prone to pushing the love of God away. Although this does not make a lot of sense, it seems to be one of the struggles that we face. Despite this struggle, I pray that we will not lose confidence in God to offer us the graces that will deliver us and help us to accept the love He so longs to lavish upon us.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, March 15, 2021

Fourth Sunday of Lent

When I was probably in first or second grade, my maternal grandfather would wear this really nice Bulova watch. I really admired that watch, and so my grandfather knowing that, made a deal with me. He said if you will learn to tell time, and then can demonstrate that to me that you can tell time well, I will give you this watch. It really gave me an incentive, and in about a year, my grandfather gave me his watch as part of a birthday gift. Looking back, I see how my grandfather, like so many of my other relatives, were proactive in teaching and sharing knowledge with me. My relatives didn’t necessarily wait until I was interested, they looked for opportunities to show me something new. And so it is with our God.

As I was researching for this homily, I came across some words from Bishop Baron that reminded me that, like my relatives, God is not passive. God does not wait for us to seek him; he has been and is seeking us. The “chosen people” we hear about in the Old Testament week after week, are a sign of God’s efforts to develop a relationship with the human race — an effort which continues to this day and includes us. The reading from the Book of Chronicles reminds us how God sent messengers through the prophets in an effort to call, teach, and to warn these chosen people. Not only did God call, but over time, He created a sacred place where they could encounter God personally. This temple was a place where they could be reminded about the wisdom God shared with them, the wonders that he had done for them, and a place where they could offer thanks for these repeated acts of love by God. Sadly, time and again, the chosen people became distracted, turned away and actively rejected what had been given to them. God gave them the freedom to choose, so he could not save them from the consequences of their choices. The temple was defiled and destroyed. The people were exiled to Babylon for seventy years, and once again, they were slaves. God, however, would not let this be the final word. God himself would rebuild this temple in such a way that it could never be destroyed or defiled again. It would be temple where all people would be gathered across place and time. It would be a temple where the Word and presence of God would dwell in perfect harmony.

For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

Bishop Baron says that these familiar words from John 3:16 are the perfect summary of God’s active pursuit and the fullness of his plan — to not only have a relationship with all humankind, but to save it from eternal destruction. Jesus himself becomes this new temple — a place where God dwells, a place where we can actually see the wonders of God with our own eyes, and touch him with our own hands. We do it each week as we gather around this table and celebrate Eucharist. Through this tremendous example of love, not only do we experience redemption, but we are invited into the unfathomable love that exists between Jesus and His Father. A love so deep that Jesus intentionally pursued his own physical destruction so that we could have the fullness life, both now and in the world to come. A love, as Saint Paul says, in that letter to the Ephesians that is rich in mercy and graces poured out on us each and every day. Grace that is freely given without strings, purely out of love. Grace that allows us to give the gifts that we have been given to others for their betterment. My brothers and sisters these are not the acts of a God who is judgmental and angry, but one who truly feels our pain, understands our difficulties, and wants to help us. A God who wants us to experience the fullness of his love.

In these remaining weeks of Lent may we spend time contemplating this great mystery of the Cross. Like Father Mark, I invite you to participate in the Stations of the Cross and/or the Divine Mercy Hour. May these moments of active reflection remove our fears, fill us with hope, and help us to pursue God as actively as He is pursuing each of us.

Readings for Sunday, March 14, 2021

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Most gracious and loving heavenly Father,

Help us to have hearts like yours that are always filled with understanding and forgiveness.

Help us to impart this forgiveness to others and put on a heart of understanding.

Help us to recognize our brokenness, but to also recognize the divine spark that exists in all people.

Help us to trust in you and to recognize the hope that exist because of your love for us.

Through Christ our Lord.


Readings for Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Third Sunday of Lent

In the Book of Exodus, we hear of the 10 commandments. Being so close to St. Patrick’s Day, did you ever hear about the St. Murphy’s Commandment?  It goes like this: 

Anything a preacher says that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood!

Do you remember my homily I gave to you three years ago? It was one of my favorite homilies ever! I threw bags of cotton candy high into the air as a re-enactment of Jesus thrashing the Temple area.

If you look in your Bibles in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you will see this event happening near the end of Jesus’ ministry. However, in John’s Gospel, it takes place at the beginning of his ministry!

For John, this story is about Jesus challenging the very authority of the Temple with his own authority.

The ultimate question just has to be: why is Jesus ANGRY?

Is it because the merchants are selling sacrificial animals? No!

Was it because the merchants were turning secular money into Temple money? No! After all, this was the only way for the Jewish people to pay their Temple tax!

So why is Jesus so angry?

He is angry because the whole situation, the marketplace, the temple taxation, the purity of unblemished animals to be used for sacrifice, the attitude of the people, the place of gossip, and “The Place to Hang out” has lost its original purpose and meaning!

It was supposed to be the place where people who sought out the Presence of God, would find it!

Jesus declares that His Body, is now the new Temple!

The Body of Christ.

So, when I threw the cotton candy, it was meant for you to think about Jesus simply just losing it, for all of us to take special notice! Think about how we do a spring cleaning, whether in the garage or in our homes! Lent is a time for us to do the same thing with our spiritual lives! What needs to be cleaned out? What is getting in our way of recognizing the Presence of God within the Temple of the Holy Spirit — yes, ourselves!

What habits, feelings, emotions, sins, memories, etc., need to be cleaned out this Lent? Our first reading from Exodus is an awesome examination of conscience! Let us simply do that.

Whatever I say, will probably be misunderstood. The Holy Spirit will take over and speak to us directly, even if it feels foolish to us.

May we be fools for the sake of Jesus, and know the renewal and life that only such foolishness can bring.

Happy 3rd week of Lent!

Readings for Sunday, March 7, 2021

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,

The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted

Matthew 23:1-12

The peace of the Lord be with you.

It’s been said if you really want to have a glimpse into someone’s heart, observe how their words and actions match up or fail to do so. Jesus is essentially saying that to us today. He saying that the teachers of his time had great wisdom, but unfortunately they were distracted by titles, power, and their own agenda. Jesus is reminding us that we should make our words and actions match. As his followers, we are not called to use the power we are given for her own good, but for the good of others and to help lift burdens from other people. Through God‘s goodness we have another day to practice, and I pray that through his grace, each of us will make progress on our journey.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, March 2, 2021