Weekly Clergy Devotions
Posted: Sunday, May 21, 2017
Are You Available and Willing to Speak the Mystery of God?
My dear brothers and sisters, in about two weeks, we will be celebrating Pentecost. Today already, our readings are beginning to prepare us for that feast by speaking to us of the Holy Spirit, inviting us to consider why we need the Spirit and what the Spirit does for us.
We begin with the gospel. Here as part of his farewell speech at the Last Supper, Jesus reassures his disciples by speaking about the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows that he will soon be taken away from them and will no longer be present to them in the same way as he is now. Indeed, Jesus tells them, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you.” Jesus will somehow make himself present to them again but in a different way.
We get a better sense of what this process involves by paying attention to the word that Jesus keeps repeating in today’s gospel. Actually, it’s a very small word; Jesus uses the word IN. As Jesus says, the world cannot accept the Spirit because it neither sees nor knows him, but you know him, because he is with you, and he is IN you. On that day you will understand that I am IN my Father, you are IN me and I IN you.
Isn’t this an indication of what the Spirit does for us? The Spirit helps us to internalize the presence of Jesus. So that even though we may not see or touch the Lord the way like the first disciples did. We can still sense his presence by the power of the Spirit working within us through a process of internalization.
Notice again, how, as in the gospel, we find here the repeated use of the preposition IN. Reverence the Lord Jesus Christ IN your heart by living a good life IN Christ. Clearly, St. John tells us that the Christian community he is addressing is living an internalized faith. A faith that comes from within and rooted in an intimate personal relationship with Christ. Indeed, this internalized faith can and needs to be manifested externally. It can and needs to be expressed both in words and in deeds.
So brothers and sisters, this is what an internalized faith looks like. This is what the Spirit does for us. It enables us not only living quietly in Christ like ways, but also being able and willing to explain to others the reason why we live the way we do. We need to be always available, be willing and able to speak about the mystery that we continue to celebrate in this most Holy Season of Easter, the Joyful message of the Dying and Rising of Christ. Who continues to be present to us at all times and in all circumstances? Are you available and willing to speak the mystery of God?
– Father Dominic Toan-Tran
Posted: Sunday, May 14, 2017
People who had been prepared to be baptized at the Easter Vigil are filled with enthusiasm and happiness on the day they received this sacrament. First of all, because they become Christians. Secondly, because they are united to the Body of Christ. Third, because they receive a call from the Lord to be servants and witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s through baptism that Christ calls us to be His own and to spread His Gospel.
As we hear from the second reading, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 PT 2: 4-9).
Where could there be a best place to start “a call to serve” as disciples? In today’s life, our home, perhaps, could be one of the first places to nurture a Christian’s calling. The mother usually plays a very important role in preparing and leading her daughter and son to go to Church and be part of the community. In addition, a mother with the assistance of a father shapes the faith of their children in preparing them through faith formation prior to being baptized, receiving First Holy Communion, Confirmation and so on. Leading someone to Christian faith to be Christ’s disciples is our job. Among many, our mother is number one who plays that important duty.
As we celebrate the feast of all our Mothers, the one who nurtures our faith and leads us to see Christ daily, we do not have enough to pay them back for all they have done for us. However, today is the day to say thank you to our mothers, to support and to pray for them. Thank you Lord for giving us a mother. In addition to having a mother, never forget our Mother par excellence, “The Blessed Virgin Mary: Mother of all mothers” who never stops leading us to Christ. As the Lord chooses you to be His disciple, may He bless you, your mother and all the mothers. May the Blessed Virgin Mary continue to protect you all and lead you to see the face of Christ in your daily lives. Wishing all our mothers, a Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day.
As God’s chosen brothers and sisters, we thank you all for being baptized Christians and for becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ.
Father Wesler Hilaire
Posted: Sunday, May 7 , 2017
As we move through the middle of Easter we have the opportunity to continue to reflect upon The Resurrection. When we celebrate this season every year we are not merely celebrating an event that happened a long time in the past. We assuredly are celebrating something that began a long time ago with the resurrection of Christ, the event that changed everything. What we are celebrating is nothing less than the salvation of the world, a world that has been, is being, and always will be transformed by the incarnation of God who became man, who suffered, died and rose from the dead in order that we may have eternal life with Him in Heaven! The plan that was set forth by God from the beginning of time is accomplished, done, finished, completed and kaput in the saving work of Jesus Christ, that is, the part that God had to do. For our part, the only thing that God asks us to do is to believe and to behave as if we do indeed believe, and even in this part of the plan we are aided by God. God has given us His Church, that body of Christ on earth, the Church in which we are spiritually nourished. The Church in which we take an active participation in the worship of God our Father, Jesus our Brother and the Holy Spirit our Advocate and then go forth from that worship to keep the mission that has been entrusted to us, to bring the message of Christ to a world that is in such desperate need of the truth of Easter!
Deacon Bill Watzek
Posted: Sunday, April 30, 2017
ARE WE THERE YET?
Dear brothers and sisters, have you ever been on a long driving vacation with one or two little children in the car? After some time on the road, the little ones will probably start asking: “Are we there yet?”
Today we are about a third of the way through the great season of Easter. And we might ask ourselves this same question: “Are we there yet?” Have we begun to enter into the experience of Easter yet? Perhaps, you might ask: what experience? The same experience that we mentioned in our opening prayer at the Mass, when we declared to God our Father “in renewed youthfulness of spirit.”
Are we there yet? Do we find ourselves already experiencing the “youthfulness of spirit,” the joy of Easter? Or do we still find ourselves too tied up by the stress and strain of work and family, to even think about what Easter joy really means?
Of course, the fact that Easter is here doesn’t mean that all our troubles will vanish. But we might ask ourselves whether even in the midst of our daily struggles, there is a place, perhaps very deep within us, where we are able to find that quiet conviction that Jesus has indeed risen, that our life has meaning and is worth living; a place where we can find the strength to do like two disciples urging Jesus to stay with them.
So my dear brothers and sisters, joy comes with recognition. Let us allow the crucified and risen Jesus to help us recognize Him in our lives, even as we recognize Him in the community that gathers, in the priest who presides, in the Word that is proclaimed, and especially in the Bread that is Broken and the Wine that is poured out for each one of us. In the recognition, we begin to experience the same Easter joy that has been the birthright of all Christians down through the ages; the joy of the One who conquered death and set us free to be His witnesses in our daily lives.
On this third Sunday of Easter, the Risen Lord desires to help us reach our destination. Do we recognize Him? Are we there yet?
Father Dominic Toan-Tran
Posted: Sunday, April 23, 2017
The Sunday of Christ’s Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Sunday of Divine Mercy. Jesus, Following in today’s message, reveals God’s compassion and mercy to the Apostles and humanity. In addition, Jesus gives the Apostles the power to forgive sins. Through this, Jesus reveals the Father’s love and mercy to the Apostles; for instance, Jesus entrusts to the Apostles the mission to impart God’s divine love and compassion to whom they meet along their journey. Therefore, where there is doubt, weakness and incredulity; the divine mercy of God should prevail. Wherever hearts and minds are divided; through the divine love and compassion, there shall be communion in Christ Jesus. May we through the solemnity of Divine Mercy Sunday, continue to build communion among brothers and sisters; forgive one another; promote love and treat others with compassion, love and mercy.
Father Wesler Hilaire
Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2017
Easter is a wonderful season to ponder and pray about our relationship with our Lord and Savior. It is through the resurrection of Jesus that our own salvation and eternal life in heaven is even made possible. As Saint Paul states, concerning the resurrection, that if Jesus was not raised from the dead then his preaching was in vain and our faith is in vain. In fact if Jesus was not raised from the dead then for over two thousand years all Christians have been fools including you and I. Now of course Paul, having experienced the risen Christ knew very well that Jesus was raised from the dead and all of those Christians throughout the centuries believed in the resurrection as well. So if we believe in the resurrection of our Lord there is only one thing to do and that is to make our faith the pillar upon which the rest of our lives rest. Jesus must take precedence over every other thing in our lives not only as an example of how we should live our lives but also as a brother with whom we are the sons and daughters of God our Father.
If we make these connections with our belief in the resurrection we can truly rejoice now, for He is risen and has freed us from the power of death! All praise and glory be to God our Father, His Son our Lord and Savior through the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever. Amen!
Deacon Bill Watzek