Pastor's Corner

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

March 18, 2018 - Fifth Sunday of Lent

JESUS CHRIST IS THE NEW COVENANT. In the Old Testament, covenant commitments were typically sealed in blood and with sacrifice. In today's 1st reading, Prophet Jeremiah prophesies a new covenant that the Lord will make with his people - the power of which can make the whole world into the New Israel. That covenant came in the person of Jesus.

The central saving act of Jesus Christ was his shedding of blood as a sacrifice for us - dying on the cross in order that we might share in God's life. Through the blood of that covenant all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, can share in God's divine life. In the fullness of Jesus Christ - body and blood, soul and divinity - present in the Eucharist, God shares his life with us, and offers us the opportunity to respond. And so we do. We receive the body of Christ from the table of the Lord, and receive the blood of Christ from the chalice of our salvation given to us in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

In the Old Testament, the call for union with God was found in the voices of the prophets and in obedience to and observance of God's laws. But that union was somewhat distant. Now it is restored in the blood of Christ who, in the words of our 2nd reading, was made perfect, and became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

God is love, and love always seeks union. In Jesus Christ that union is perfected, impossible to be broken even by death itself. In fact, it is through the sacrificial death of Christ that we find the ultimate union God seeks with us. Such is the profound reality of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who continues to pursue union with us in the blood of his cross, drawing everyone to himself.

Fr. Michael

March 11, 2018 - Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Sunday readings in Lent have been showing us the HIGH POINTS of salvation history. Therefore, for the last three Sundays, we reflected on God’s covenant with creation in the time of Noah; His promises to Abraham; the law He gave to Israel at Sinai.

In today's 1st reading, we hear of the destruction of the kingdom established by God's final Old Testament covenant - the covenant with David. His chosen people abandoned the law He gave them. For their sins, the temple was destroyed, and they were exiled in Babylon. There was sorrow and lamentation all around.

But we also hear how God, in His mercy, gathered them back, even anointing a pagan king to shepherd them and rebuild the temple. God is rich in mercy, He promised that David's kingdom would last forever, and that David's son would be His Son and rule all nations. It is in Jesus, God keeps that promise and the promise was fulfilled.

Moses lifted up the serpent as a sign of salvation. Now Jesus is lifted up on the Cross to draw all people to himself. Those who refuse to believe in this sign of the Father's love condemn themselves, as did the Israelites in their infidelity.

But God did not leave Israel in exile, and He does not want to leave any of us dead in our transgressions. We are God's handiwork, saved to live as His people in the light of His truth. Midway through this season of repentance, let us again behold the Pierced One and rededicate ourselves to living the "good works" that God has prepared us for. s

Fr. Michael

March 4, 2018 - Third Sunday of Lent

CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE IS ONE OF THE FEW INCIDENTS described in a similar way in all four gospels. It is full of resonance from the Old Testament. "See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple" (Malachi 3:1) and, the passage quoted by Jesus on the occasion, "Zeal for your house has consumed me" (Psalm 69:9).

Jesus' act of cleansing the Temple signaled the new age, the time of the Messiah, when God would be worshipped "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23), because God is spirit. The stone Temple would now be obsolete, and in fact it was destroyed in 70 AD. But the new temple, too, would be destroyed: he himself would soon be put to death. Soon there would be no temple of any kind. Worship of the Father would not be localized anywhere on earth.

But he had said, "Destroy this temple (my body) and in three days I will raise it up." The Risen Christ is henceforth the only Temple. Christians have no holy city, no temple but the Risen Christ. We are members of Christ's body. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

This temple - our body, our soul, our being - is in constant need of cleansing, as Jesus cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Lord said: 'Let us make humankind in our image and likeness' (Genesis 1:26)... So nothing else in heaven or on earth, resembles God so much as the human soul. Everything unworthy of God has to be cast out. This is for all times, but it has a special resonance in the season of Lent.

Fr. Michael

December 24, 2017 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

"GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND PEACE TO MEN OF GOODWILL" - the words of the Angels to the shepherds in Bethlehem is a powerful reminder to all of us that the celebration of Christmas is the announcement of peace for all. The baby in the manger is truly the Prince of Peace. He is here to fill our hearts with lasting peace and love. I take this opportunity to wish all the parishioners, "A Blessed Christmas and a prosperous New year 2018". Wishing you and your families the specials of this great time of grace, namely, Hope, Joy, Peace and Love!

The creator of this vast and wondrous universe entered our history on this night and became human for us. What this means, of course, is that God does not intend to destroy us but to redeem and restore us to be the people he created us to be. This Christmas story tells us that there is a way out of our sinfulness and hopelessness, because God is with us. We are not alone. There is a mighty God with in us to strengthen us in our weaknesses and temptations.

As Emmanuel, Jesus lives in the sacraments, especially in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in the praying community and in each believer, with the Holy Spirit who is transforming us daily into the "Temples of the Holy Spirit." Hence, each Christmas reminds us that we are bearers of God with the missionary duty of conveying Jesus to others around us by loving others as Jesus did, through sacrificial, humble and committed service. Sharing with others JESUS, the Emmanuel living with us, is the best Christmas gift we can give to, or receive from, others.

I pray that we may put on the attitude of gratitude for all the blessings of God. I pray that we may not be happy with the feelings of Christmas but live what we truly celebrate. Let us keep CHRIST in Christmas that the blessings of this season of Grace will remain with us now and always!

Fr. Michael

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