Pastor's Corner

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

November 18, 2018 - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

By his cross, Jesus has redeemed the world. As we draw near the end of the liturgical year, we notice that the readings at Mass seem to focus on events that will occur at the end of time.

In our first reading today, written at the time of the Babylonian Exile, more than five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Daniel speaks of salvation and damnation. In a time of war and enslavement, Daniel's vision spoke of the ultimate triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness - a feat we know to be accomplished in and by Jesus Christ, both on earth and in heaven.

Similarly, Jesus in Mark's Gospel refers to the end of time when the Son of Man comes in the clouds with great power and glory. However, with Jesus' image of the sprouting leaves on the fig tree, his very p resence in the world was a powerful sign that the Day of the Lord is always at hand, summoning us to live in right relationship with God and each other. Perhaps if we knew the day of our death or the moment of Christ's return, we might procrastinate and delay living the life of faith and throwing off the old ways of sin. Jesus has left us instead in a healthy state of suspense, where the anticipation of his return suggests that we should be living the corporal and spiritual works of mercy every day, so that we might be found prepared upon his return.

The Letter to the Hebrews captures these mysteries perfectly, reminding us how in the Mass, we see memorialized the one offering by which Christ has made perfect those who are being consecrated. As we prepare to celebrate the end of the liturgical year next Sunday, and the beginning of a new one with the coming Advent Season, let us be mindful that heaven and earth will pass away but the saving words of the Lord will endure forever.

Fr. Michael

November 11, 2018 - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

WE MUST LIVE BY THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH, a faith that shows itself in works of charity and self-giving. That's the lesson of the two widows in today's liturgy. The widow in the 1st reading isn't even a Jew, yet she trusts in the word of Elijah and the promise of his Lord. Facing sure starvation, she gives all that she has, her last bit of food - feeding the man of God before herself and her family.

The widow in the Gospel also gives all that she has, offering her last bit of money to support the work of God's priests in the Temple. In their self-sacrifice, these widows embody the love that Jesus last week revealed as the heart of the Law and the Gospel. They mirror the Father's love in giving His only Son, and Christ's love in sacrificing Himself on the Cross. Again in today's 2nd reading, we hear Christ described as a new high priest and the suffering servant foretold by Isaiah. On the Cross, He made sacrifice once and for all to take away our sin and bring us to salvation.

And again we are called to imitate His sacrifice of love in our own lives. We will be judged not by how much we give - for the scribes and the wealthy contribute far more than the widow. Rather, we will be judged by whether our gifts reflect our livelihood, our whole beings, all our heart and soul, mind and strength.

Are we giving all that we can to the Lord - not out of a sense of forced duty, but in a spirit of generosity and love? Do not be afraid, the man of God tells us today. As we sing in today's Psalm, the Lord will provide for us, as He sustains the widow. Today, let us follow the widows' example, doing what God asks, confident that our jars of flour will not grow empty, nor our jugs of oil run dry.

Fr. Michael

November 4, 2018 - 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

WE ARE COMMANDED FIRST TO LOVE GOD WITH ALL THAT WE ARE and then to love our neighbor as ourselves. In the first reading, Moses tells God's people to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. The second reading reminds us that Jesus gave himself as the perfect sacrifice for all of us, "The ultimate sign of love". And in the Gospel, Jesus adds a new commandment, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'.

God's love is unconditional. God does not expect us to be perfect in order to earn his love. He freely gives it in spite of our faults, our imperfections, weaknesses and sinfulness. But God commands that we do the same. He calls us to put him first in our lives, before our worldly goods, our ambitions and all that consumes our daily lives. We need also to spend a few minutes giving some extra attention to the other commandment - to love our neighbor as ourselves.

On the surface, this seems an easy message to understand and to practice in our daily lives, but deeper reflection challenges us to rethink this. Love your neighbor as yourself is not a suggestion; it is a command. To be true a follower of Christ requires that one live out this command. The challenge comes when we answer a theological question, "Who is our neighbor?"

Every human being is our neighbor, by virtue of being made in God’s image. We are invited to love the 'unlovable'. Love those who are hard to love, those who have hurt us and those we just don't like very much. It requires forgiveness, putting aside judgments, and reach beyond our own wants and needs to put others first. May the Lord who is present in the Eucharist give us the needed grace, guidance and blessings to love unconditionally!

Fr. Michael

October 28, 2018 - 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Gospel keeps before us, a blind man, Bartimaeus, who becomes the first besides the Apostles to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. And HIS HEALING IS THE LAST MIRACLE JESUS PERFORMS before entering the holy city of Jerusalem for His last week on earth.

The scene on the road to Jerusalem evokes the joyful procession prophesied by Prophet Jeremiah in today's 1st reading. God, through the Messiah, is delivering His people from exile, bringing them back from the ends of the earth, with the blind and lame in their midst. Jesus is the long-awaited Son promised to David. Upon His triumphal arrival in Jerusalem, all will see that the everlasting kingdom of David has come.

As we hear in today’s Epistle, the Son of David was expected to be a priest-king like Melchizedek, who offered bread and wine to God Most High at the dawn of salvation history. Bartimaeus is a symbol of his people, the captive Zion. His God has done great things for him. All his life has been sown in tears and weeping. Now, he reaps a new life.

Like Bartimaeus, Christ still calls to us through His Church. How often are we found to be listening instead to Christ, to His Church? Today Jesus asks us what He asked Bartimaeus: "What do you want me to do for you?" Let us rejoice for we have a God who is willing to touch our lives.

Fr. Michael

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