Weekly Clergy Devotions
Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2017
In today’s world, you and I have a big mission, that which is to be promoters of Christ’s Word, and to continue to speak of Him without hesitation wherever we are. Of course, you are one of Christ; therefore, your responsibility is to share with others the life of Christ and to keep speaking of Him until the end.
At some point, there are many who have been baptized in Christ Jesus with water and the Holy Spirit; they become part of Christ’s life; however, because of persecution and fear they cannot freely live and express their faith. That is very sad. In addition, there are many who are Catholics, but for some reason, or because of life difficulties, they abandon their faith; however, Jesus is calling you today to stand firm in your faith, and if you stand firm in your faith, you are of Christ and simply know that you belong to Christ.
The One who calls and continues to call us to love and fear not is Christ; violence and persecution may occur, our weapons must be Christ. With Christ, our fear should be substituted by love and harmony with others. Where there is the love of Jesus Christ, there is no fear; for Christ Himself, in His love, makes us strong. He wants us not to fear but to act in doing what is good in the eye of God.
Moreover, fear not when you are capable to proclaim Christ in any and all circumstances.
Jesus says fear not, not only to His disciples but to you today. As He is speaking to you right now, saying “Fear not.” Where do you experience fear in your life? Are you able to turn your fear into love and prayer? Are you able to say, Jesus take my fear away, make me whole again trusting in you?
Father Wesler Hilaire
Posted: Sunday, June 18 , 2017
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 2017
Christ waits for us. Christ waits for us as we work, as we play, and as we sleep. He is ever there, patient and at the ready. There is never a time in our lives that Christ is not present for us to turn to even in our darkest of times. The Lord is faithful, true to His promises, and persistent in His search for His prodigal people. We have but to turn to Him even in our sinfulness and He will be there for us.
The presence of Christ in our lives never takes a more meaningful form than that of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity that we receive in the Holy Eucharist. The Communion line offers us a wonderful analogy of how Christ abides with His people in our lives. The procession that we partake in on our way to receive the Eucharist should be a time of prayer, praise and worship. We reflect on the areas of our lives that need more Christ in them. We celebrate with our fellow worshipers the life giving food that we are about to receive, the food that gives us life eternal. We receive the Eucharist with a reverence and awe due to our Creator and King, and we do all of this together as that other body of Christ, His Church, His people. After the Mass is completed the words “go in peace” reach our ears, urging us to take Christ out into the world and for us to be Christ for all of those that we meet on our path.
This celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ is the celebration of our faith at its pinnacle, in what Vatican II called, “the source and summit” of our spiritual lives. May we be worthy of such a gift and may we be thankful to God for this treasure. Amen.
Deacon Bill Watzek
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017
Do You Believe in God Who Made all Things?
Today’s Feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Life is full of mysteries. Science has tried to understand and explain facts and reality but it cannot explain mysteries. The human body is a reality, but human life is a mystery. People are also a mystery. We cannot completely understand people around us, the people we are living with, or even ourselves. Yet, many people are thinking that they should understand God who is the Creator of all things. God is the Mystery of all mysteries. All His works are mysteries. The Church professes her faith in the mystery of the Trinitarian God. When we come to worship, or to begin to pray, we make the sign of the Cross in the name of the Trinity: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” to remind us about the identity of the God whom we believe in. God the Father is the Creator of the world. He created you and me. God the Son saves the world. He died for you, me and for everyone else. We are limited in time and space. We are not able to know the whole truth about God; therefore, God the Holy Spirit will have to guide us to the truth. That is why Jesus is saying, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you to all truth.” So my dear brothers and sisters, do you believe in God who made all things?
Father Dominic Toan-Tran
Posted: Sunday, June 4, 2017
Today, the Church celebrates the feast of Pentecost. On that day, the Apostles were in the Upper Room when the Lord came and shared the sign of peace with them. In addition, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” After the Apostles received the Holy Spirit, the Lord Himself chose and transformed them. Then they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues and are out of their comfort zone to carry out the Word and to spread the Good News to others. This is one spiritual aspect of the feast of Pentecost.
Another aspect of the feast of Pentecost is the birth of the Church. In receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles have the mission to not only go to preach, but also to edify, to build and to be witnesses of Christ’s Body, the Church; as Saint Paul said, “The Church is Christ’s body” (Ephesians 1:23).
When we gather to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, it is Christ Himself whom by the power of the Holy Spirit makes Himself present to His body, the Church. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ Himself opens our hearts and minds making us aware of His presence; He enlightens us with wisdom and understanding; He makes us partakers and sharers of His Body. Therefore, the Church is alive through Christ’s presence and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, the Church becomes our spiritual home where we gather as a family to worship the Lord.
Every Sunday, we gather in family to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. Through the Eucharist we listen to the Word of God, we say the Creed and share in the Most Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Today, we give thanks to the Lord for sending His Holy Spirit to the Apostles so that we may give testimony of His Word. We give thanks to the Lord for giving us a Church for worshiping and transforming our lives.
May Jesus, through today’s feast of Pentecost, continue to renew and inflame our hearts with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, “Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord.”
– Father Wesler Hilaire
Posted: Sunday, May 28, 2017
On the feast of The Ascension of the Lord we have the Gospel reading from Matthew that announces the Great Commissioning. Jesus tells His apostles to go out into the world and teach all nations about what they had been taught by Him and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This was the first account of that particular formula, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, ever being spoken and it is associated with baptism. The last commandment that Jesus gives prior to His ascending to the Father is this instruction to teach and to baptize in the Trinitarian form. In the beginning of this Gospel it states that the disciples worshiped Jesus but that they doubted. Jesus reassures them immediately by telling them that “All power in Heaven and on Earth” had been given to Him. That is one powerful statement and rest assured the disciples would not think that Jesus would lie to them, so this declaration was the best medicine that Jesus could provide to dissipate the disciples doubts.
The Church has been teaching and baptizing people ever since the above events took place and I am positive that there has been more than one person who has doubted during their faith journey throughout the history of the Church. God, however, does provide for us in our times of doubt with a plan that has been with the Church from the beginning. The first piece of Gods plan is the grace that we receive at Baptism as well as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that comes into us at Baptism. The second piece is that the promise of Christ to be with us always “until the end of the age,” has been kept and is exemplified by the very existence of Church itself and the work that it does. It is through the workings of His Church that Christ has remained with us by the guidance of the Holy Spirit working within the Church and the Body and Blood of Christ upon which we feed in the Eucharist. These along with the other Sacraments are the way that God remains with us and encourages us in the time of our doubts, and comforts us in the time of our need. Amen
Deacon Bill Watzek
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