Pastor's Corner

This page provides quick access to Fr, Michael's Pastor's Corner columns.

May 20, 2018 - Pentecost

THE GIVING OF THE SPIRIT to the new people of God crowns the mighty acts of the Father in salvation history. The Jewish feast of Pentecost called all devout Jews to Jerusalem to celebrate their birth as God's chosen people in the covenant Law given to Moses at Sinai.

In today's 1st reading, the mysteries prefigured in that feast are fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on Mary and the Apostles. The Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus, written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, as the prophets promised. In the beginning, the Spirit came as a "mighty wind" sweeping over the face of the earth. And in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as "a strong, driving wind" to renew the face of the earth.

As God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit, in today's Gospel we see the New Adam become a life-giving Spirit, breathing new life into the Apostles. Like a river of living water, for all ages He will pour out His Spirit on His body, the Church, as we hear in today’s 2nd reading.

We receive that Spirit in the sacraments, being made a "new creation" in Baptism. Drinking of the one Spirit in the Eucharist, we are the first fruits of a new humanity, fashioned from out of every nation under heaven, with no distinctions of wealth or language or race, a people born of the Spirit.

Fr. Michael

May 13, 2018 - Ascension of the Lord

Today we celebrate Christ's Ascension. Jesus is telling us today HOW IT WILL BE when He is no longer in the world. By His Ascension, the Lord has established His throne in heaven. His kingdom is His Church, which continues His mission on earth.

Jesus fashioned His kingdom as a new Jerusalem, and a new house of David. He entrusted this kingdom to His Twelve Apostles, who were to preside at the Eucharistic table and to rule with Him over the restored twelve tribes of Israel. The Twelve Apostles symbolize the twelve tribes and hence the fulfillment of God's plan for Israel. That's why it is crucial to replace Judas — so that the Church in its fullness receives the Spirit at Pentecost.

Peter's leadership of the Apostles is another key element of the Church as it is depicted today. Notice that Peter is unquestionably in control, interpreting the Scriptures, deciding a course of action, even defining the nature of the apostolic ministry. No one has ever seen God, yet, through the Church founded on His Apostles, the witnesses to the resurrection, the world will come to know and believe in God’s love, that He sent His Son to be our savior.

Through the Church, Jesus' pledge still comes to us, that if we love, God will remain with us in our trials and protects us from the evil one. Let his word of truth help us grow in holiness, the perfection of love.

Fr. Michael

May 6, 2018 - Sixth Sunday of Easter

GOD IS LOVE, and He has revealed that love in sending His only Son to be a sacrificial offering for our sins. The story of Abraham offering his son Isaac, is an act of obedience to God’s will. And therefore, God promised Abraham the children of Israel, a source of blessing for all nations.

This promise to Abraham finds its fulfilment when God pours out His Spirit upon the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, as they listen to the word of Peter's preaching in today's first reading. God blessed them with the same Spirit he poured on the devout Jews. In His love, God reveals that His salvation embraces the house of Israel and peoples of all nations. Not by circumcision or blood relation to Abraham, but by faith in the Word of Christ, sealed in the Sacrament of Baptism, people are to be made children of Abraham, heirs to God’s covenants of promise.

As Peter raises up Cornelius and his family to God, the Church continues to lift all people to Christ, the only one, whose name leads to salvation. In the Church, each of us has been begotten by the love of God. But the Scriptures today reveal that this divine gift brings with it a command and a sacred obligation. We are to love one another as we have been loved by God. Are we then, ready to lay down our lives in giving ourselves to others—that they too might find friendship with Christ, and new life through Him?

Fr. Michael

April 29, 2018 - Fifth Sunday of Easter

JESUS is the true vine that God intended Israel to be, THE SOURCE OF DIVINE LIFE AND WISDOM FOR THE NATIONS. Let us remind ourselves that in baptism, we were joined to Him by the Holy Spirit. As a branch grows from a tree, and draw nourishment from the vine, our souls are to draw life from Him, nourished by His word and the Eucharist.

In the first reading, St. Paul, once the chief persecutor of the Church, encounters initial resistance and suspicion. By his powerful witness to the Lord working in his life, he is bearing good fruits for the kingdom. We too are commanded today to bear good fruits as His disciples, so that our lives give glory to God.

Jesus has a word of caution to us in the Gospel. He says that if we're bearing fruit, we can expect that God will "prune" us, just like a gardener trims and cuts back a plant so that it will grow stronger and bear even more fruit. He is teaching us today how to look at our sufferings and trials with the eyes of faith. Truly speaking, our struggles in life are pruning, thus we are being disciplined and trained that we may grow in holiness and bear fruits of righteousness.

Let us always remain rooted in Christ Jesus. Let us keep His commandment of love, by ponder His words and always seek to do what pleases Him. Let us humbly remember that apart from Him we can do nothing.

Fr. Michael

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