This page provides quick access to Fr, Michael's Pastor's Corner columns.
September 16, 2018 - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today's Gospel, WE REACH A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN OUR WALK WITH THE LORD. After weeks of listening to His
words and witnessing His deeds, along with the disciples we're asked to decide who Jesus truly is.
St. Peter answers for them, and for us, too, when he declares: "You are the Messiah." Jesus today reveals
himself as the Son of Man, evoking the royal figure Prophet Daniel saw in his heavenly visions. But Jesus'
kingship is not to be of this world. And the path to His throne, as He reveals, is by way of suffering and death.
Jesus identifies the Messiah with the suffering servant that Isaiah foretells in today's first reading.
The suffering servant gives Himself to be shamed and beaten, trusting that God will be His help. Jesus invites
us today, to believe that He is the Messiah who is willing to lose his life for us. As his chosen people,
our faith must be to hear him and live in works of love.
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus speaks to his disciples about His willingness to lay down His life for the sheep.
In a way, his questions to his disciples are addressed to us; are we then, willing to lay down our lives for
the people? Jesus calls us to take up our cross, and endure all our trials for His sake and the sake of the
Gospel. Let our lives be an offering of thanksgiving for the new life He offers us, until that day when we
reach our destination, and walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
September 9, 2018 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today's Gospel is found only in the Gospel of St. Mark. Note, what the crowd says about Jesus, "He has done
all things well." In the creation narrative, after creating, God saw all the things He had done and declared
St. Mark also deliberately evokes Prophet Isaiah's promise, which we hear in today's 1st reading that God
will make the deaf hear and the mute speak. The crowd recognizes that Jesus is doing what the prophet had
foretold. The evangelist wants us to see something far greater, that, to use the words from today's 1st
reading: "Here is your God."
Notice how personal and physical the drama is in the Gospel. Our focus is drawn to a hand, a finger, ears,
a tongue, spitting. In Jesus, Mark shows us, God has truly come in the flesh. What He has done is to make
all things new, a new creation. As Prophet Isaiah promised, He has made the living waters of Baptism flow
in the desert of the world. God has set captives free from their sins; he has come that rich and poor might
dine together in the Eucharistic feast, as St. James tells us in today’s 2nd reading.
He has done for each of us what He did for that deaf mute. He has opened our ears to hear the Word of God,
and loosed our tongues that we might sing praises to Him. Let us then, in the Eucharist, again give thanks
to our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. Let us say with Isaiah, here is our God, He comes to save us. Let us be
rich in faith, that we might inherit the kingdom promised to those who love Him.
September 2, 2018 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Christ is the LORD, not the Consultant
In the Gospel, we hear Jesus summing up his critique of the Pharisees by pointing out that they "disregard
God's commandment, but cling to human traditions." Throughout this whole exchange, Jesus uses that same
definitive tone - Jesus is not merely arguing with the Pharisees ... He is not acting like philosopher
or a mere professor ... Jesus is speaking with authority, opposing and correcting their distorted doctrines
and practices. And he does so with total confidence, even though the people he is confronting have the
power to condemn him to death.
This tone of authority and direct condemnation shows the seriousness of Christ's claims. He was the one
declaring "God's commandment", and anyone contradicting him was declaring nothing more than "human traditions".
As we heard in today's first reading, the commandments that were given to the people of Israel by Moses
were commandments of God; they had divine authority behind them.
There is no doubt that Jesus Christ invoked that same divine authority for his teaching, while at the same
time exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Such was Jesus then, and so He is now: The LORD, not the Consultant.
Fr. Peter Nhat Hoang
August 26, 2018 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
THE MOMENT OF DECISION
In today's Gospel, we see the culmination and the aftermath of Jesus' Bread of Life discourse. Jesus has
presented his teaching on the Eucharist, and the disciples are struggling with believing in it because
they don't understand it. It is the moment of decision. His teaching about the Eucharist presents a moment
of decision for all who follow him, because it requires faith and not just understanding.
If we try to start with reasons, as we’ve seen over the last few Sundays, some truths of God will remain
out of reach for us, and we'll fall back on the certainties we already know, as many of the disciples
did in this Gospel. We shouldn't be shy about asking Our Lord to help us in our unbelief. As Peter
describes it in his response to Our Lord, believing leads to a conviction.
We can live a life of faith without understanding it thoroughly and, somehow, it all fits together.
Let's examine our life today and see whether we've drifted from what Our Lord has taught, or whether
we've doubted that his teaching now continues through his Church.
Fr. Peter Nhat Hoang