In last Sunday's Gospel, Jesus gave the beatitude in which he exalted the poor as those who will merit the rewards of heaven but denounced the rich for ignoring God in their lives. This is seemingly paradoxical; it is like turning the natural human expectations upside down. In the Gospel today, Jesus continues in the same line of discussion by calling his disciples, and all Christians, to a higher standard of love. He commands us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, to bless those who curse us, to turn the other cheek to those who strike us, to let people take what belongs to us, and to give without expecting any appreciation in return. To love one's enemy, and to do good to those who want to harm us, are very high standards Jesus sets for us. This is what makes Christianity distinct from any other religion in the world. However, Jesus did not only set the standards for us, but he lived them when he died for all of us sinners and prayed for those who killed him.READ MORE
Our liturgy today is centered on the theme of "Trust and Hope." In all three of our scripture readings today, we see a comparison between those who hope or trust themselves versus those who hope and trust in the Lord. While hope and trust do not mean the same thing, we know from life experience that it is nearly impossible to have one without the other; that is to hope without trusting someone or something or to trust without hope. It is also impossible for anyone to live without hope and trust in someone or God. The readings described those who hope and trust in God as wise, and those who trust in only themselves as foolish. In the first reading, Jeremiah used "curse", a very strong word for those who trust in human beings. In the Gospel, Jesus also used a strong word, "Woe", to those who think they can do well in life without God. In contrast, those who trust and hope in God are described as the "Blessed" who are wise enough to know that all they have comes from God their creator. Jesus is not just comparing the rich to the poor or those who trust in themselves versus those who trust and rely on God, but he is actually offering his disciples and all of us, the key to the source of true eternal happiness. Relying on God will always lead to eternal life and joy that lasts forever while relying on personal achievement without God leads to illusionary joy that does not last.READ MORE
Around this time each year, we are invited to participate in the Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) from the Diocese. During all Masses last weekend, we listened as Bishop Thomas Olmsted invited us to participate in the CDA. He explained how the appeal helps fund more than 70 charities and ministries that help the poor and needy around our Diocese. He showed us some very touching, real-life examples of how your donation to the CDA has helped transform the lives of thousands of people.
This weekend is the official Kickoff Weekend for the CDA all over the Diocese. I invite you to pray about how you will participate and support the CDA this year. The goal for our parish this year is $85,000. Personally, I find it very difficult to ask you for donations again, after all of your overwhelming support for our current capital campaign in addition to your weekly financial support. However, like Peter said to Jesus, "To whom shall we go." As we all know, the church always depends totally on the generous support of each one of us to survive and be able to serve those in need around us. Within the next few weeks, you will be receiving the CDA envelope from the Diocese, if you have not already received one. We will also have the CDA in-pew donation envelopes available to those who may be participating for the first time.READ MORE
Welcome to the month of February! We will be observing National Marriage Week from Feb 7 through Valentine's Day on Feb 14. This includes the World Day of Marriage which we will observe next Sunday, Feb 10. The celebration of National Marriage Week started in 2010. This is part of an international movement seeking to celebrate and strengthen marriage. The theme of the celebration this year will focus on "Marriage: Made for a Reason." The US Bishops' Conference (USCCB) has developed a number of resources including homilies, bulletin inserts, flyers and a virtual retreat to assist couples during the celebration.READ MORE
This week we observe Catholic Schools Week in all Dioceses in the United States. Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It is observed beginning the last Sunday in January and runs all week. The theme for 2019 is "Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed." There will be several events and activities throughout the week, both at the Diocese and also in our parish and school. The high point of the Diocesan event will be the celebration of Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral at 10 am on Wednesday, January 31. This will be followed by the Catholic Schools Rally at the State Capitol.READ MORE
It is wonderful to be back and celebrate Mass with you again. Thank you all for your prayers and support. My special thanks to those who visited me in the hospital, those who brought food to the house, those who sent prayer cards, those who prayed for my healing, and all those who assisted me in different ways. It was a very terrible illness and I have never been sick like that before. If there is one thing I learned from this illness, it is to trust in God and the Power of Prayer. I thank God for his mercy and kindness and for granting me the healing. Please continue to keep me in your prayers as I go through this period of recovery.READ MORE
The topic of infallibility in the Catholic Church is an ironic one: although intended to provide clarity, it is one of the most misunderstood topics within Catholicism. At least, humbly speaking, it was a big sticking point for me when I was a beginning Catholic. But once I understood it, I saw that it flows from a deep and beautiful faith in the active presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church.READ MORE
Today, we celebrate Epiphany Sunday. This special feast, celebrated on January 6, commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Baby Jesus. Some Eastern Rite Churches celebrate their Christmas on this day. Epiphany simply means the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the gentile world.
One common question that many people ask about the celebration of Epiphany is that: "If the Magi were called Wise Men because they followed the star to find the child Jesus, is it okay then to believe in `horoscope?" The answer is No! Horoscope is a form of idolatry - a sin against the First Commandment: "I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me." (Exodus) Horoscope readers need to ask themselves who is in charge of their lives, the stars or God? Believing that the stars control our lives contradicts our belief that God is in charge of our lives. The Church states clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that:READ MORE
Traditionally, we are within the octave of Christmas so I can still say "Merry Christmas" to you all. I thank all those who helped with the different preparations such as the Christmas decorations and other events in the past weeks. I was glad to have come back from my trip to Nigeria right on time to witness our SJB Children Christmas Program. What a wonderful and memorable night! I thank the children and the school community for the wonderful performance. On a personal note, Fr. Wilfred and myself would like to thank all those who send us Christmas cards, gifts, and good wishes. May God continue to bless you all.READ MORE
In the Catholic Church, Advent is a period of preparation, extending over four Sundays, before Christmas. The word Advent comes from the Latin advenio, "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ. This refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion; and finally, to His second coming at the end of time. Our preparations, therefore, should have all three comings in mind. We need to prepare our souls to receive Christ worthily.READ MORE
Welcome to the Season of Advent! This first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the newLiturgical Year “C.” I believe the season of Advent is the most beautiful and joyful me of theyear in nearly every part of the world. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus”meaning “coming or period of anticipation.” As we all know, Advent is a period of preparation forboth the birth of Jesus Christ and also for His second coming here on Earth. You probably noticeda few new things in the church today, namely the purple Altar cloth and vestments, the Adventwreath, and the Christmas decorations, all in anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day.READ MORE