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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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).READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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?READ MORE
“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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE