The Catholic radio station, Relevant Radio 1310AM, used to have a program called, Cradle vs Convert. That is, people who were born into Catholic families versus those who experienced a profound conversion into the faith. The Gospel reading today is a good illustration of these two groups of people in the Church. The parable also represents people who experience a sudden growth in their spiritual lives. Like the first son in this Gospel, there are many people who say Yes to God at their Baptism and grow up in the faith, but later abandon their relationship with God or do not take their faith seriously. The second son represents people who do not believe in God early on, but later experience a conversion of the heart and become faithful followers of Christ.READ MORE
The parable of the landowner and laborers in the Gospel today speaks loudly to us with the current unprecedented, high-rate of unemployment as a result of the pandemic. Not having a job or the ability to provide for family needs is one of the most challenging situations in which we can find ourselves. The scripture readings today are centered on the generosity of God and the depth of his love and mercy for us that is beyond our human comprehension. The landowner in the Gospel story represents God. He was not only generous enough to hire people to work in his vineyard, but he personally went out in search of workers and offered them job opportunities. This illustrates how God, in his generosity, sent his son to search for us and gave his life for us. Jesus invites us to serve God in his vineyard, the Church. It is not by our personal effort or merit that we belong to the Church. Everyone of us was invited by Jesus Christ into the vineyard at different times and in different ways.READ MORE
Congratulations to all of you on our performance in the Offertory Matching Opportunity! I am so excited to inform you that we exceeded our matching goal of $29,700 by 152%. The total new offertory increase donation is $45,231. This means that $29,700 of this amount will be matched, dollar for dollar, making a total of $74,931 increased donation to our parish within the months of July and August. The new increase in Offertory ($45,231) within July and August represents an average monthly increase of $23,000 in offertory and we expect this trend to continue. This is all from 172 of our parish families (84 new online givers and 88 increased givers) that participated in the matching appeal. The matching gift check from the donor will be mailed to us in the month of October. I understand that a few families participated right before the deadline on August 31st. I will give you more updates next week to include those new gifts.READ MORE
The Scripture Readings this weekend invite us to examine our prophetic roles as individuals and as a community; specifically, our responsibility in reconciliation and fraternal correction within our families and in the community. In the First and Second Readings, we are told the responsibility of correcting a member who strays away from the faith is not a choice, but an obligation placed on us by God. This is countercultural to our generation, o[ en characterized by the attitude of, “Who am I to judge?” The overall goal as explained in the Readings, is that we are not called to judge a member who strayed from God or condemn them, but rather help them heal and restore their relationship as a member of the Body of Christ.READ MORE
In our Gospel reading today, Jesus invites us to reflect on how we handle the challenge of pain and suffering in our lives. We are told that when Jesus informed his disciples of his impending passion and death, they were worried and afraid. Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him for looking forward to his passion. Peter was thinking in a worldly way when he saw suffering and crucifixion as something to be avoided at all costs.
Our Christian life is like two sides of a coin: the cross and the crown. Jesus reminds us today that we are not his true followers if we try to embrace only one side, the glorious side, and reject the other, the suffering side. “If any want to become my followers, he must deny himself, take up the cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)READ MORE
The Gospel reading this weekend focuses on the theme of “identity.” In particular, the identity of Jesus and the identity of the Church. Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am, and who do you say that I am?” In applying this question to our lives, we need to ask ourselves, what have I learned from others about God, and what is my personal conviction about the identity of God and my relationship with him? This is very crucial because it is one thing to know about God, it is another thing to have a personal relationship with God. Every Christian is called to be an evangelist, to preach the Good News of the Gospel to others. The challenge is, we cannot preach effectively to others about God if we do not have a personal encounter with the Risen Lord. The disciples and early Christians did not have a complete Bible or organized theological doctrines like we do today. They evangelized by simply sharing stories of their personal experiences and encounters with Jesus Christ, and brought others closer to God by committing their whole life to him. This is what we are also invited to do today, to share with others our personal experiences and encounters with God.READ MORE
Our scripture readings during the Liturgy this weekend are very timely. They all address inclusivity and exclusivity, and specifically the issue of discrimination against foreigners. The first reading from the prophet Isaiah talks about how foreigners who believe in God are to be received. The reading ends with this final message, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” In the second reading, St. Paul addresses the problem of the division between the Jews and Gentiles, and in the Gospel we hear how Jesus granted the prayers of a foreign woman who refused to give up in spite of rejection.READ MORE
Several images are used in the first reading and Gospel today to describe how God can appear to people in need in unexpected ways under the least expected circumstances. God is always present, even in places we may not think to experience him. It takes faith and persistent prayers to discover his divine, hidden, presence. In our first reading, when God appeared to Prophet Elijah, he did not reveal himself out of thunder, lighting, fire or earthquake as expected. Rather, God appeared in a gentle breeze. Through all of the chaotic signs, Elijah remained patient and faithful, waiting for the Lord. His patience and persistent prayer pays off . After the fire, there was a tiny whispering sound and the Lord passed by.READ MORE
The Gospel reading this weekend invites us to reflect on the reality of hunger in the world, especially with the current impact of the pandemic. Recent studies have shown that more than enough food is produced to feed the global population, yet more than 690 million people, that is one in nine, go to bed on an empty stomach every night, and an estimated 821.6 million people are considered undernourished or starving globally. WHO and UNICEF reported in 2019 that an estimated 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water and over half of the global population, or 4.2 billion people, lack safely managed sanitation services. Recent statistics indicate that after steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise globally. This is compounded even more by the current impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.READ MORE
Imagine! If you were to have a vision, and God or an angel appeared to you and asked you to make a request for just one thing in life. What would you ask for? Would you ask for health, protection, wealth and prosperity? In our first reading today, Solomon was given such a rare opportunity to ask God for one thing in life. As a young king, Solomon had many legitimate needs. He needed wealth, military might, fame, security, prosperity, long life and happiness. But when God asked him to ask for one thing, he asked for wisdom from God to make right decisions in life. He knew that with God’s wisdom comes every other good thing he needed and desired.READ MORE
There have been predictions in recent times that many Christians will lose their faith by the end of this unprecedented pandemic. Studies have shown that most people who lose their faith during the time of crisis do so because they cannot imagine how a good God will allow bad things to happen to good people. At times like this we may ask, if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why doesn’t he intervene in the situation in the world today? Why doesn’t he remove bad people or prevent them from harming good people? Why can’t he prevent evil from the world?
In response to such questions in the Gospel today, Jesus used the parable of the wheat and weeds to explain that God is very patient and loving to both the good and bad people. He gives everyone enough opportunity to repent before the end of time. If we pay very good attention to the parable, and especially in the context of the other two parables that Jesus gives in the Gospel today, we will realize that the wheat and weeds actually reside side by side within each of us. Although we are created in the image and likeness of God, our free will causes us to be imperfect. The question we need to ask ourselves then is, “Am I perfect?” If the answer is no, then the next question is, “Should God destroy me because I am imperfect?”READ MORE
I thank the families who have responded to my invitation to participate in the Offertory Gift Matching opportunity. Over 50 families from our parish have participated as of this week! Thank you again for your generous support to our parish, especially at this very challenging time. I invite those who have not yet participated to please try and do so within this week. If you are hearing this for the first time, I am glad to inform you that a generous Catholic family from outside our parish has come forward and offered to help St. Benedict through this financial challenge.
This family is offering to match, dollar-for-dollar, every new weekly/monthly gift OR increased weekly/ monthly online gift to our parish offertory – up to $29,700. That’s a generous gift that will really help our parish. Will you help us take advantage of this generous offer? Here’s instructions on how you can help – it’ll only take a couple minutes, and you would be doing your parish a huge favor.READ MORE
I wish you all a Happy Feast Day as we celebrate the feast of our patron saint, Benedict, on Saturday, July 11 this week. Given the current crisis from the viral pandemic, we would like to observe the feast of St Benedict this year as a Parish Day of Prayer. We will begin the day with Mass at 9 am, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and ending with Benediction at 12 noon. The Mass and Benediction will be live-streamed on our parish YouTube channel. I encourage those who are not able to attend the event in person to join us online and also to recite a Rosary or off er other prayers. In addition to your personal prayer intentions, we ask everyone to include the following as our community intentions:
1. For healing of the sick, especially those affected by the Coronavirus and for an end to the pandemic.READ MORE