The First Sunday of Advent

11-28-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Welcome to the new Liturgical year (cycle B) and also the beginning of the Advent season! The season of Advent is a four week period of preparation and hopeful anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The scripture readings within Advent generally focus on the Incarnation (Jesus coming as flesh for the world, fully God and fully human) and the second coming of Christ.

Our scripture readings today remind us to stay awake and alert. The parable Jesus gives in the Gospel forewarns us that his second coming will take many people by surprise. Our whole lifetime is given to us to prepare for a journey into eternity. If He comes and finds us ready and actively preparing through service to others and prayer, then we will join Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. However, if He comes and finds us spiritually asleep with the doors of our hearts firmly closed to Him, then we will face the consequence of rejecting Him, which is an eternal separation from God in hell.

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Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

11-21-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

This weekend, as we come to the end of the liturgical year, the Church invites us to reflect on the kingship of Jesus Christ. Pope Pius XI established the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 as a declaration of the Christian belief that the reign of Christ must be felt, not only in our private lives of Christians, but also in the public domain. The Feast originated as an objection against the rise of modern secularism right after the First World War (1914 -1919). At that time, there was a rise in the ideology of the power of humanity to rule itself. This led to a cultural superiority and leadership struggle among powerful world leaders with Hitler proposing himself as the dominator of the known world and other leaders striving for dominance over the whole world. The Church introduced the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe to send a message to the world leaders that no individual person can have control over the whole world except Jesus Christ who has ultimate power over the universe.

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New Liturgical Year!

11-20-2020NewsFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Welcome to the new Liturgical year (cycle B) and also the beginning of the Advent season! The season of Advent is a four week period of preparation and hopeful anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day. The Church urges us to take the beginning of the liturgical year as seriously as we take the new calendar year. Just as we do for the calendar year, we are encouraged to consider making new year resolutions at the beginning of Advent that help us stay awake to the coming of Christ. As a St. Benedict Catholic community, we are doing something new throughout the entire liturgical year by offering an additional day for Confessions every Friday between 5:00-6:00 pm. This is in addition to our usual Confessions between 3:30-4:30 pm on Saturdays.

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Reflection on the Readings

11-14-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Our Scripture readings this weekend focus on the theme of “Spiritual investment.” The First Reading from the Book of Proverbs speaks of a virtuous wife that bears fruit in all things. She is very creative, using every opportunity presented to her to make her family a happy home.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives us a parable to illustrate how we can invest our talents spiritually. In this parable, we see that the man who went on a journey represents Jesus, who ascended to heaven after his resurrection. The servants represent you and me. The money symbolizes our God-given talents. In his absence, Jesus expects us to use our talents to build up his kingdom. The emphasis in this story is on the man with the least amount of money, or talents. He made no effort to trade with his talent for fear of losing it. He probably thought that he had so little in comparison to the others that he could be excused.

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Looking Ahead to Advent and Christmas

11-13-2020NewsFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Update. It’s hard to believe that we are already at the threshold of the holiday season. During the week, I had several meetings with the Staff, Liturgy Committee and the Diocese to review plans for the holiday season. We reviewed concerns from some parishioners as to whether or not we will need to scale down our Mass attendance as a result of the increasing rate of new coronavirus cases. I would like to let you know that our parish, in conjunction with the Diocese, is cautiously optimistic that we may not need to scale down during Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are paying attention to the news, and the guidelines from the Arizona Health Department. In spite of the rising number of new cases, we have seen that parishes like ours that have followed the precautionary safety measures, especially wearing facemasks and physical distancing, are doing well so far.

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Reflection on the Readings

11-07-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi

Over the next three weeks, the readings will focus on “being prepared.” This is because we are approaching the end of the Liturgical Year A. The story of wedding preparation in the Gospel today may not make any sense to us in the Western Culture. However, the point of the story is not so much about the wedding ceremony itself but on the need to be prepared so the Lord will fi nd us ready when he comes.

Today’s second reading contains a reference to an event sometimes called “the rapture.” St. Paul explains that when the trumpet sounds, there will be two groups of Christians: “those who have fallen asleep” and “we who are alive.” St. Paul states that those who are living will have no advantage over those who have died. Jesus will raise the dead and then those who are le[ behind; that is, Christians still alive will be caught up in the air with them. We will meet Christ who will transform us along with those whose bodies now rest in the ground.

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Post-Election Stress

11-06-2020NewsFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

If you are feeling on edge right now with the post-election stress, please know that it is normal. Many others are feeling that way too. We are now overwhelmed with the accumulation of stressors from the global pandemic, increasing division and hostility leading to the election and post-election, the racial division within our cities, the unsteady economy and widespread wildfires. It is obvious that many people are experiencing having sleepless nights, especially as they anticipate the results of the election.

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Praying for the Dead

11-02-2020NewsFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Welcome to the month of November. In the Church tradition, the month of November is a period dedicated to prayers for the dead. On All Saints Day, November 1, we honor our holy heroes in the faith who have successfully made it to heaven by living a life devoted to God. On November 2nd, we celebrate the memorial of All Souls when we pray for all the dead who are undergoing the period of purification in purgatory before they can be admitted into heaven.

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