Pastor's Corner

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

July 30, 2017 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

MOST OF US LIVE WITH SOME FORM OF FINANCIAL DEBT THESE DAYS. May be a mortgage or a car payment, or a student loan. Imagine, then, going to your mailbox and getting a note telling you that all your debts have been paid in full. My guess is that our first reaction would be, "Wow!" And then, after a few moments, being the wise and worldly people that we are, we might wonder, "So, where’s the catch?"

Think about that in light of today's Gospel, in which the servant's huge, un-payable debt is kindly and fully forgiven by the king. While the servant seems to leave with a sense of relief, what he does not clearly understand is that there is a catch to all this. He, the servant, must forgive the debts of others, as he, the servant, has been forgiven by the gracious king. And that's the catch for all of us: realizing that in his great mercy, God has forgiven our sins, and thus we are called to be a people of forgiveness to others.

I know it can be uncomfortable to focus on our sinfulness. At the very beginning of the Mass, we acknowledge this reality as we ask for God's mercy and forgiveness in the Penitential Rite. We realize that Jesus' mercy is amazing, and in that realization, we come to know not only that we are forgiven, but that we must be generous in forgiving others.

In today's Gospel, we hear Jesus speak about the breadth of the forgiveness we are called to offer. We are called to forgive not just once and not just seven times. We are called to forgive seventy-seven times - we are called to forgive overwhelmingly, just as God forgives each of us. Jesus leads the way in this, forgiving the woman caught in adultery, forgiving St. Thomas in his doubting and forgiving St. Peter for denying him three times. Jesus forgives us. How different would our world be if we practiced this kind of forgiveness constantly? The Eucharist we celebrate today is God's forgiveness for us. Inspired by it, let us go out into the world and be generous in loving and forgiving others.

Fr. Michael

August 20, 2017 - 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel the Lord tests the faith of the Canaanite woman. In the process of being tested the woman calls Jesus as Lord and Son of David, the titles strictly attached to the savior of the world = the Messiah, the anointed one sent to the people of God. Testing her faith three times refusing to answer her cry. Then, He tells her His mission is only to Israelites. Finally, he uses "dog," a language used to disparage non-Israelites. Yet she persists, believing that He alone offers salvation.

What we see here is the fulfillment of Prophet Isaiah's prophecy that it is in the anointed one, God makes known His way and His salvation for all the nations. At the start of salvation history, God called Abraham. He chose his offspring, Israel, from all the nations on the face of the earth, to build His covenant kingdom. In God's plan, Abraham was to be the father of many nations; Israel was to be the firstborn of a worldwide family of God, made up of all who believe what the Canaanite woman professes - 'Jesus is Lord'.

In the words of St. Paul, Jesus came first to restore the kingdom to Israel. But His ultimate mission was to reconcile all the nations and make them also the part of the kingdom of God.

Let us remind ourselves that it is in the Mass all the nations gather to pay homage to God as one family! We come to the holy mountain of God, the heavenly Jerusalem - the Church to offer worthy sacrifice at His altar. Let us with the Canaanite woman, acknowledge that we are worthy of God's blessings as we acknowledge Him as the Lord, Son of David!

Fr. Michael

August 6, 2017 - Transfiguration of the Lord

In the Transfiguration event, the true identity of Jesus is fully revealed. Jesus standing between two prominent persons of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, while discussing His passion shows us the superiority and the prominence of the Son of God above all. Jesus is thus revealed as the true FULFILMENT OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.

As Moses did, Jesus climbs a mountain with three friends and reveals to these simple men God's glory in a cloud; and as Elijah did, Jesus hears God's voice on the mountain. Jesus is revealed today as that Messiah - the Anointed one of the Lord. By His death and resurrection, He will establish a new covenant with all creation.

The theophany - a majestic voice declares Jesus to be God's own beloved Son, in whom the Father is well pleased. The Father reveals His love for the Son, and invites us to share in that love, as His beloved sons and daughters. He is the King, the Lord of all the earth, and He truly is the Lord of our hearts and minds.

As we are awe struck knowing the glory of God revealed through the Transfiguration, let us not forget that we are commanded also to "LISTEN TO HIM". The word of the Lord is like a lamp shining in the darkness of our days. How well are we listening? Do we attend to His word each day? Let us today rededicate ourselves to listening with our ears, understanding with our minds, believing with our hearts and live it in our lives.

Fr. Michael

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