God of Life

06-27-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

“God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living.” This is the introductory sentence in our first reading today. What a powerful message. This clearly highlights the ongoing debate about Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice that has divided the country at different levels today. This is also timely as this issue dominated the discussion at the General Assembly of the U.S. Bishops Conference last week. The Church has consistently affirmed that we should always respect and protect every human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Our God is God of life, not death. He created us to be imperishable and gain eternal life with Him. When we choose God, we choose eternal life; but when people turn away from God, they turn towards death and eternal damnation.

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Power Over the Storm

06-20-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

The Scripture readings this weekend emphasize the manifestation of God’s power over storms. If you are familiar with the book of Job, you will recall that, prior to the fi rst reading today from chapter 38, Job’s life of suff ering and pain caused him to question God; Job asked why he, an innocent and holy man, was experiencing so much misfortune and how he could find strength to keep trusting in God in the midst of so much loss and adversity. In the fi rst reading, we heard God respond to Job’s questions out of the storm. God asks Job a series of questions reminding him of the magnitude of His power over nature and all creatures and assures Job that He is in full control of the situation in his life. We find a similar situation in the Gospel when the Apostles cried out to Jesus in the midst of a storm and Jesus responded by calming both their fear and the storm. The Responsorial Psalm also describes the helplessness of people caught up in the midst of storms on the sea and how they were saved by calling upon the Lord.

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The Seed of Faith

06-12-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Scientists have identified seven basic characteristics of living things: movement, respiration, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion and nutrition. Of the seven, the process of growth is uniquely different in that it takes place gradually and continuously throughout the life span of the organism. While growth can be observed and measured over time, the actual process of growth at the cellular level is not generally visible to the human eye. In the Gospel today, Jesus uses the parables of the mystery of growth to illustrate the nature of the Kingdom of God. Just as the farmer cannot understand or explain the process of growth that takes place between the time of sowing the seed and the time of harvesting, so also it is difficult for us to fully understand the nature of the Kingdom of God and how it grows throughout our lives and among us.

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Corpus Christi

06-05-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

This weekend, we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi; a Latin term, meaning “Body of Christ.” This solemnity is celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday to commemorate the institution of the Holy Eucharist. People often ask “Why do we need a special day for this celebration when every Mass is a celebration of the Eucharist?” A brief historical background may help clarify this. In the 13th century, St. Juliana of Liege in Belgium, an Augustinian nun, saw a vision in which she was instructed to tell the Church to institute a feast in honor of the Eucharist. She revealed the information to her bishop, Robert de Thorete, and later to Pope Urban IV. In 1246, the Pope called for a synod in which the feast was approved to be celebrated in the Latin Church as a solemnity. The great theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, composed some Eucharistic adoration hymns for the celebration such as “Tantum Ergo,” “Pange Lingua,” and the “O Salutaris Hostia.” We still sing these Eucharistic hymns today during Benediction and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

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The Most Holy Trinity

05-29-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is difficult for many people to understand or accept because it is a mystery that is beyond full human comprehension. The Holy Trinity is three distinct persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit with one nature in one God. Not three Gods but one God manifesting himself in three distinct persons. The inner relationship of the Trinity is such that each person is fully co-equal and co-eternal, but one in essence and nature. Several analogies can be used to describe the mystery of the Trinity. For instance, “time” can be manifested as past, present and future. Each of them is time, but manifested in three distinct ways. Another analogy is the mystery of the human person made up of body, soul and spirit. The three parts are quite distinct, but coexist as a single human being.

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Pentecost

05-22-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Today we celebrate Pentecost, which comes from a Greek word meaning fiftieth. Both Jews and Christians have a feast called “Pentecost.” Within the Jewish tradition, Pentecost celebrates the day God gave Moses the Law on Mt. Sinai. It is celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. For the Church, Pentecost recalls the fiftieth day after Jesus rose from the tomb. On Pentecost day, Jesus fulfilled his promise by sending the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles while they were at prayer in the Temple. The Acts of the Apostles describes Pentecost with dramatic words, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fi re, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began READ MORE

Tasked to Spread the Good News

05-15-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

The pain of separation from our loved ones is one of the most excruciating experiences we can have in life. It is not always easy to say “goodbye” to our loved ones when they travel or at their fi nal moment. Most people have the opportunity to say goodbye or give last instructions before they part from their loved ones. Naturally, the last instruction from a dying person is never taken lightly. This was the case of the Apostles as we hear in the fi rst reading and Gospel today. Their hearts were troubled to see Jesus depart from them. Jesus prepared His apostles well in anticipation of the challenges that were ahead of them. Jesus’ ascension was both an end and a beginning for his disciples. While it was the end of Jesus’ physical presence with them, it also marked the beginning of Jesus’ presence with them in a new way. Jesus promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would lead, guide, and remain with them until the end of time.

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Choice and Love

05-08-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Our scripture readings this weekend are centered on the theme of “choice and love.” We heard this clearly in the Gospel when Jesus said: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”

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I Am the Vine, You Are the Branches

05-01-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

The first and ultimate desire of every human soul is a desire for belonging to God. As we grow and mature through the different stages of our lives, the desire is manifested through our awareness of dependency on other people and groups for survival and support such as our parents, families, school, teammates, church, societies, human race, etc. However, none of the human support systems can satisfy the ultimate desire until we have a sense of belonging to God. The desire is intrinsic in us in the realization that we are only a ‘piece of the whole.’ This is a metaphysical certainty that a “piece cannot be greater than the whole.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it this way:

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Good Shepherd Sunday

04-25-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

In the Catholic tradition, this Fourth Sunday after Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday and is dedicated as a Special Day of Prayer for Vocations to the priesthood and the Religious Life. In the Gospel, Jesus used two key images - shepherd and voice - to explain his invitation to discipleship.

In the Jewish culture, shepherding was more a way of life and relationship rather than a job. The life of the shepherd in biblical times was one of personal self-giving and sacrifice. His work was that of tender care and closeness to the flock. Knowing this, it makes sense why Jesus chose to identify himself as the Good Shepherd to explain the depth of God’s love and care for us. He loves us so much that he laid down his life for us.

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We are Witnesses of the Risen Lord

04-18-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

We live at a time when we are constantly under some form of surveillance cameras from cell phones, in vehicles, in buildings, on the road, from satellites, etc. In a way, surveillance cameras help keep us safe and make work easier for law enforcement. Many people today have made millions of dollars just by capturing video coverage of important incidents, then selling them to the media. In a way, video cameras are better eyewitnesses than the human eye as videos cannot lie.

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Divine Mercy Sunday

04-11-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

The second Sunday of Easter is dedicated as Divine Mercy Sunday. Often, people wonder why Pope John Paul II chose this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday. We can find a clue in the Gospel reading today when we hear that Jesus breathed on the Apostles and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:22-23). In doing this, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as the Sacrament of Divine Mercy through which God forgives us our sins and reconciles us to himself.

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Happy Easter!

04-04-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

The Lord is Risen, Hallelujah! Easter Sunday, commonly known as the Lord’s Day, is the greatest day in the history of the Church and of the world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the day of the Resurrection is the beginning of a new creation. “Jesus rose from the dead ‘on the first day of the week’ (Jn 20:1). Because it is the ‘first day,’ the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the ‘eighth day’ following the Sabbath (Mk 16:1), it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians, it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day” (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) (CCC 2174). This explains why we observe Sunday as our “Sabbath day of rest” instead of Saturday.

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