From the Pastor – May 5, 2024

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35) One of the most interesting scenes in the Acts of the Apostles involves a vision of St. Peter where he saw Heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down containing all the earth’s four-legged animals, reptiles and birds of the sky. A voice told Peter to “slaughter and eat.” Since many of the animals were considered “ritually unclean” according to the Levitical law, Peter refused to eat, saying “I have never eaten anything profane and unclean.” The voice responded, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.” This vision happened three times. On one hand, this vision is the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 28, 2024

Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts before him in whatever our hearts condemn for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. (1 Jn 3:18-20) In the Gospel this weekend Jesus speaks of being the vine, our being the branches, and the Father being the vine grower. We are called to be attached to the vine and to bear much fruit. But the Church also gives us the second reading from the First Letter of St. John, which helps us to understand what “bearing fruit” entails. It’s in loving. And loving is something that is more properly done in “deed and truth” rather than in “word or speech.” This isn’t to say that telling people you love them is a bad thing, but love doesn’t … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – April 21, 2024

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” (Jn 10:14-15) This week is the Fourth Sunday in Easter, and it is traditionally known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” because of the Gospel reading today in which Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd. We’re all familiar with the images: Jesus standing, staff in hand, with the lamb across his shoulders. We have a beautiful stained-glass image of this in the stairway leading up to the choir loft. In fact, it’s the screensaver on my phone! Or perhaps we think of Jesus sitting under a tree – a little lamb on his lap. These are beautiful images, but they are incomplete. For thousands of years, the Jewish people have used the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 31, 2024

Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Col. 3:2-4 One year while I was living in Rome, my parents came to visit me during the last week of Lent. Since my Dad is a permanent deacon, he sat next to me on the altar when we celebrated Mass at the beautiful church of St. Alphonsus near St. Mary Major where the original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is enshrined. As it came time to read the Gospel, my Dad came and asked for a blessing, after which then he began to solemnly intone “Al-le-luia! Al-le-luia! Al-le-luia!” I quietly said: “Shhh! We don’t say that now. It’s Lent!” He quickly whispered that since we were celebrating a … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 24, 2024

At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.. (Lk. 23:44-46) “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion” begins Holy Week. If it has been a while since you have experienced all of the services of Holy Week, consider doing so this year. Commemorating the events of the Lord’s Suffering and Death help us to have a greater understanding of the importance of the … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 17, 2024

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jer. 31:34) What does Jeremiah mean that the law will be “written on our hearts”? We don’t have to go far to find out. In Paul’s Letter to the Romans he says: “For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 10, 2024

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (Jn. 3:16-17) Years ago I used to see signs in the endzone at football games saying “John 3:16.” That’s the quote above that makes up part of the Gospel reading this Sunday. It’s such a beautiful quote, and it is best read in context with the following verse, also above. It should remind us of our relationship with Jesus, in which He constantly desires to save us from this world of sin. And to that expression of love by God, I say “Rejoice!” And so we do, because this Sunday is “Laetare Sunday,” which name comes from the introductory … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – March 3, 2024

Jesus said: “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn. 2:16-19) Two weeks ago Jesus was out in the desert, hungry and thirsty. Last week, He was on top of a mountain, gloriously transfigured in dazzling white before Peter, James and John. This week, He’s in the Temple, purifying it. Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesus casting the money-changers out of the Temple, and most of us understand that the scene is more than about a beautiful stone building in Jerusalem. Ultimately, … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 25, 2024

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. (Mk. 9:2-3) Last week Jesus was out in the desert, hungry and thirsty.  And this week, He’s on top of a mountain, transfigured in dazzling white before Peter, James and John.  This transfiguration has traditionally been interpreted as a preliminary revelation of the glory of Jesus given to His closest collaborators so that they might be strengthened in advance of the scandal of the cross. And in this moment of mystical experience, they also hear a voice from heaven:  “Listen to Him.” During Lent, there is something comforting about the transfiguration for us, too.  It reminds … [Read more...]

From the Pastor – February 18, 2024

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  (Mk. 1-12) I always look forward to Lent.  And this year is no exception.  Now that Lent is here, I’m happy to create my own little desert of calm by the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  It’s the perfect remedy for the last two weeks of noise, feasting and excess. One of the good disciplines of Lent is “giving something up.”  When I was in seminary, I remember my rector publicly acknowledging that he gave up cigars during Lent.  And then one Friday in Lent, I walked by his room and smelled cigar smoke.  The next day I asked him about it, and he said that he decided to do something different that year because he felt like everyone knew he gave up cigars.  … [Read more...]