Holy Week

03-27-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Welcome to the Holy Week, which begins this weekend with the celebration of Palm Sunday. This week is the peak of the Churches’ Liturgical Calendar and the most important week for us Catholics. I am glad the Pandemic is declining consistently, making it possible for us to celebrate Holy Week and Easter this year. However, you will notice that there will be a few exceptions to the Easter Liturgies this year. First of all, I thank those who have already received their vaccines. We encourage everyone to observe our parish safety protocols during the Easter Liturgies this year, especially to wear a facemask, maintain physical distance and use hand sanitizers, even if you have already received your two shots of the vaccine.

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Dying to Bear Fruit

03-20-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Today is the last weekend before Palm Sunday which begins Holy Week. Most of the Gospel readings during this time highlight the events that lead to the passion and death of Jesus on Good Friday. It is not obvious in the Gospel today to see the literal connection between why the Greek visitors in Jerusalem were seeking to meet with Jesus and why Jesus responded using the analogy of death and rising. Scripture scholars suggest that it appears a rumor was going around Jerusalem that Jesus would be arrested during the Passover week. This explains why the Greeks were seeking to alert Jesus and probably invite him to flee with them to their country for safety. The response that Jesus gives is a clue that their request has something to do with his impending death and thus his resolve to stay and face it. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.... And what should I say -- ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour” (John 12:23, 27).

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Let My Tongue be Silenced, if I Ever Forget You

03-13-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Today is Laetare Sunday. One question many people ask this weekend is, “Why are we rejoicing during the season of Lent?” We rejoice because we are now midway through our Lenten journey... At this point, we have been purified by our Lenten disciplines and we now look forward with hope to the joy of Easter.

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Distractions from Within

03-06-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

In today’s first reading, we hear that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments; then in the Gospel we hear how the people violated the Commandments causing Jesus to become angry and drive them out of the Temple area. So, which of the Commandments did the people violate? Jesus explained clearly that the summary of the Ten Commandment is “Love,” that is, love of God and love of neighbor (Matt 22:37-39). We know the first three Commandments are about our relationship with God (love of God) and the other seven are about love of neighbor. Obviously, the people selling and buying in the Temple area violated the first three Commandments.

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Parallel Mountains

02-27-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

On this Second Sunday of Lent, the Church invites us to reflect upon two beautiful events regarding top of the mountain experiences: The sacrifice by Abraham in the first reading, and the transfiguration of Jesus in the Gospel. Scripture scholars assert that the relationship between Abraham and Isaac foreshadows the relationship between God the Father and Jesus. Like Abraham, God was prepared to let go of what was most precious to him, his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. Similarly, scripture scholars tell us that there are some similarities between Isaac and Jesus Christ.

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The 40 Days of Lent

02-20-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

The Gospel today tells us that Jesus went into the desert right after his baptism to fast and pray for 40 days and nights, and there he was tempted by the devil. What is the significance of Jesus spending 40 days and nights of prayer and fasting in the desert?

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God Never Tires of Healing

02-13-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

“Go and show yourself to the priest.” We heard this twice in the Scripture readings today. This is a reminder about the critical role of priests in healing ministry.

The story in the first reading presents leprosy as both a physical and spiritual contagious illness. Thus, God commanded that only a priest can declare someone ill to be quarantined or well enough to reintegrate back into the community. While leprosy in itself does not render someone spiritually impure, it does make it impossible for a leper to participate in the Temple worship. For this reason, the priest’s duty to ensure the sanctity and safety of Temple worship thus extends to the whole community.

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Charity & Development Appeal

02-06-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

It is the time of year again when we are all called to participate in the annual Charity and Development Appeal (CDA). This weekend is designated as Announcement Weekend in all the parishes in our Diocese. I thank all of our parishioners who participated in the appeal last year. Despite the pandemic, we went beyond our goal of $85,000 by up to 117%. A total of 213 families in our parish participated in CDA last year with a total gift of $99,625. I also thank those who have already participated in the appeal this year. Our parish goal remains the same this year at $ 85,000.

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Celibacy

01-30-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

In our second reading today, St. Paul touches on celibacy, one of the core practices in the Catholic Church, that has often been a subject of discussion among Catholics and non-Catholics alike especially in the wake of recent sex scandals involving priests. It is important to understand the historical root of celibacy and why the Church considers it a virtue for Priests and Religious in the Latin Rite.

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Jonah

01-23-2021Weekly Reflection

The story of Jonah in our first reading today is one of the most popular stories in the Bible, especially among children. The first time God called Jonah, he was afraid to follow God’s command to go and preach to the people of Nineveh. As a result, he was punished when a fish swallowed him up for three days. As we hear in the first reading, when God called Jonah a second time, he obeyed and went to Nineveh. Similarly, in the Gospel, Jesus called the disciples and they immediately followed Him, leaving everything behind.

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January is Pro-Life Month

01-16-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

The month of January is generally known as the Pro-Life month, especially among Christians in the United States. Special prayers are offered throughout this month for the protection of human life from conception until natural death. This week, you’re invited to join thousands of Catholics nationwide in prayer for the respect of human life during a special Novena called 9 Days for Life (9daysforlife.com) from January 21-29.

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End of Christmas Season

01-09-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

The Christmas Season ends today with this celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. We can now put away all Christmas decorations. We will begin the 1st week in Ordinary Time, Year “B” tomorrow, January 11th. Ordinary Time lasts from this week until Ash Wednesday on February 17th. I thank everyone for their participation in the Christmastide this year. My special thanks to the Art and Environment ministers and the Liturgy Ministry leaders for their effective planning for the Christmas and New Year Liturgies. I also thank those who sent donations for the poinsettias and other gifts to the parish and staff during this time.

The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist marks the beginning of His ministry; it was a major turning point in Jesus’s life, especially since we know very little of his life between the ages of 12 and 30. As we heard in the Gospel today, right after his Baptism, the heavens were opened and the Spirit of the Lord descended upon him in the form of a dove. The voice of the Father was heard, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” God’s voice is heard at the baptism of each one of us reminding us that we are his beloved sons and daughters.

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Epiphany

01-03-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, meaning the revelation of God to the gentiles. Epiphany, commonly known as the story of the “Wise Men,” is one of the most popular stories in the Bible. We are told that the three wise men, also known as the “Magi’’ or “Three Kings of Orient,” traveled a long distance from the Eastern part of the world to Jerusalem, following the guidance of a star in search of the newborn King, Jesus. One question many people ask is, “Why do we call them wise men if they were pagans?” They are generally considered wise men because they were able to search for Jesus using common sense and natural science; they embarked on a journey in search of God as pagans but when they found the Baby Jesus, they worshipped him and then returned as missionaries and believers in God.

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