Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints which allows us to experience the joy of being part of the great family of God’s friends. The liturgy again presents the expression full of surprise of the Apostle John: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).
Yes, to be saints means to realize fully what we already are insofar as raised in Christ Jesus to the dignity of adopted sons and daughters of God. He who believes in Christ, the Son of God, is reborn. This mystery is enacted in the sacrament of baptism, through which Mother Church gives birth to “saints.”READ MORE
With less than two weeks to the General Election, the scripture readings this weekend are very timely. The readings capture the essence of Catholic Social Teaching: to respect human dignity, to care for the poor and vulnerable, and to maintain social justice for all. In the Gospel, Jesus talks about three levels of love we have for God and one another. In the first reading, God gives us a practical example of how we can demonstrate these levels of love for our neighbors by loving and showing compassion for the poor, the immigrant, and all vulnerable people in society. The reading identifies the most vulnerable people in the Old Testament as the immigrants, the poor and the widows. In our own time, the most vulnerables in our society are the infants in the womb, the elderly, the homeless, the poor and the immigrants.READ MORE
A number of our parishioners contacted me during the week seeking clarifications on Pope Francis’s comment regarding gay marriage. I guess most of us are aware of the news storm that came out on Wednesday, alleging that Pope Francis has endorsed the marriage. I was initially surprised like many others to hear such news suddenly. However, after reading the news and listening to explanations from different sources, I realized that it appeared his comment was not exactly as the news media portrayed it.READ MORE
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). This Bible quotation from our Gospel reading today is a popular one among politicians. This is because many people consider it as the origin of the idea of separation of Church and State. Surprisingly, many people use this term of separation of Church and State loosely when, in fact, they are actually referring to separation of religion and State. There is a big difference between the two. Many people confuse this to mean that religious leaders have no right to condemn unjust civil laws and practices, or the right to request the government to address injustice in the society. Many people who argue on this do not even bother to check and see what the Constitution of the United States actually says. Here is the actual quote from the Constitution:READ MORE
I am glad to inform you that, after a careful evaluation of the downward trend in the spread of the Coronavirus in recent time, and following the requirements of the Arizona Health Department, Bishop Olmsted has now granted us permission to extend our Mass attendance from 25% to 35% sitting capacity of our Church. This will begin this weekend. This is a significant progress and one more step in the right direction as we gradually move toward the complete restoration of parish life.READ MORE
There has been so much talk about the uniqueness and importance of the Presidential Election this year. What caught my attention is the projection about the impact of religious affiliation in the outcome of the election. The Catholic Church in particular has received more attention than any other religious group in recent times. Religious identity has always been the bedrock and a key factor that determines the core values and direction of any society and culture. Thus, a society either leans toward religious and moral values or is secularized and embraces moral relativism. Looking around the world, we see how the dynamic of religion versus secularism is playing out in different societies.
A recent study conducted by Gallup shows that the percentage of Americans who reported belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque or any religion is at an all-time low. The study further indicated that church attendance has dropped more among Catholics than among Protestants. It is no longer news that the largest “denomination” in the United States today are the “NONE,” that is, those who do not affiliate with any religious denomination at all.READ MORE
It’s great to be back at the parish. For the past 12 days, I attended the International Catholic Stewardship Council Annual Conference (ICSC). I consider myself blessed to be selected by the Diocese to be among the few priests who were invited to attend the conference. The overall focus of the conference this year were the themes of Discipleship, Evangelization, Stewardship and Mission. The goal was for the participants to listen to different professionals and share resources available to develop new strategies to adapt and minister effectively in the current situation we find ourselves. It was good for me to hear from so many presenters from around the country, and to know that we, in our parish community, are not alone in dealing with the stress arising from the current political tension, economic stress and the Pandemic. Over the next few weeks I will be meeting with our parish staff and others to discuss some of the new ideas I have learned from the conference in order to discern the best pastoral strategies that will meet the needs of our parish.READ MORE
The parable of tenants in the Gospel today tells us of God’s patience and justice. It also invites us to reflect on our responsibility to accomplish the mission God entrusted to us in life and the consequences of failing to do God’s WILL. We are told the landowner was patient with the tenants and forgave them several times. However, rather than appreciating this virtue, the tenants took advantage of the owner’s patience. In the end, his judgment and justice prevailed on the tenants.
This passage reminds us that we must all face the consequences of our choices in life at the end time. This parable raises a number of questions for us. We ask ourselves, “How patient am I with other people and even with myself? Do I take God’s mercy and love for granted? Do I ignore or underrate God?” We learn from this story that God gives everyone enough time to accomplish our mission in life. His patience with us is boundless and God is always ready to give us another chance to repent and amend our lives. We must all render an account to God on how well we lived our life and face the consequence of all our actions in life at the end of time. Let us strive to seek the will of God, trusting in his love and mercy, and unlike the tenants, be mindful of his generous blessings.READ MORE
Welcome to the beautiful month of October. The month of October is quite unique for several reasons. Living here in Arizona, the month of October has become one of my most favorite months of the year, mostly because of the beautiful weather that is neither too hot or too cold. In the Catholic Church, the month of October is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Month of the Rosary, commonly known as “October Devotion.” The Church encourages every Catholic to make an effort to pray the Rosary every day throughout the month of October. There is a very rich history behind the October Devotion. This can be traced back to the origin of the Rosary in 1206. At that time, the Church was in crisis as the result of the influence of Albigensian heresy. It was then that the Blessed Mother introduced the Rosary to St. Dominic in a vision as a powerful weapon to defeat the heresy that plagued the Church.READ MORE