Weekly Clergy Devotions
Sunday, January 19, 2020
2nd Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A
How does one get to know someone else? Often it begins with an introduction. In our Gospel today John the Baptist is introducing Jesus to some of his own disciples. He introduces him not as one is usually introduced but in a very interesting way. He says “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” This is surely some introduction! The disciples must have been somewhat impressed and also somewhat confused about what this meant. We on the other hand know the rest of the story so we are not as confounded as the students of John must have been. The question now remains, now that we have been introduced to Jesus and pretty much know who he was and what he did for us, how are we responding to him? Is he a force in our lives and the way that we live or is he just an hour out of our week because we were taught to go to church on Sunday. At the beginning of this new liturgical year is a good time to come to know who Jesus is and allow him to have some affect in our lives. Listen to the Gospels throughout the year, study the Bible a bit and allow Christ to come into your heart. This is a great opportunity to get to know your savior.
Deacon Bill Watzek
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Our Baptism Is An Act of Submission!
Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to approach the baptism of Jesus from the perspective of submission. The idea that Jesus should be baptized is a rather awkward thought. The question will arise in our mind: If Jesus was without sin, if Jesus was the Redeemer rather than standing in need of redemption, why should he submit himself to the Baptist? As in the Gospel reading today, John the Baptist even protested saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” And also the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that at Jesus Baptism, “he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins” (CCC#536). Indeed, at Christmas, Jesus chose to dwell among us by becoming one of us, and today at his baptism, Jesus chose to take his stand beside us. He was baptized not because he needed to be baptized but rather by his submission he was bringing all of humanity to God. That is why Jesus says, “Allow it for now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill righteousness.”
So we must reflect on our own baptism as an act of submission. As baptized Christians and as disciples we must understand the power of sub-mission not so that we might be misused but rather, that our submission may unite us with Christ. Our baptism must be lived out in our submission to God in the same way Jesus did. Our submission to God must lead us to be empowered and affirmed in our identity as children of God, and in our mission as disciples. Every time we gather at the table of the Lord, we see the power of submission at every Eucharist. Jesus submits himself to us in the bread and wine. And we are invited to submit ourselves to the power of Christ.
Fr. Dominic Toan Tran
Sunday, January 5, 2020
The 2nd Reading contains a statement that is at once most challenging yet most hope-filled: that the revelation of God’s grace has been revealed to us—in this time as we continue to celebrate Christ’s birth and the salvation he offers in the heavenly banquet! We need constant reminders of this because outside of the church walls we’re bombarded with the line/lie that, “this life is it, so you might as well just live for yourself.” I hope you’ve realized by now (and if you haven’t I hope you don’t learn the hard way) that living for this world alone will sooner or later lead to big disappointment.
Instead Paul hoping we insure that our actions reflect our conviction of our destiny,and that our Lord and God who has already given us everything out of infinite love for us. Our actions best reflect this when they are striving to love others the same way as much as possible—by both giving, forgiving, and not giving-in to the pressures in the world when we’re feeling rejected, alone, mistreated, or unappreciated.
Yet Paul also reminds us that we are meant to be sustained in our perseverance by our hope in the promise contained in
revelation. We are only here for so long and then we have the invitation to forever be free of all pain and filled with a joy infinitely greater than we can ever imagine! If we can remember this “big-picture” we can remember our true citizenship…
so no one can ever convince us that we belong anywhere else!
Fr. Martin Dunne III
Sunday, December 29, 2019
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
As we see the attack on the family in society become more intense and persistent, the focus on the Holy Family should become an even stronger devotion in the lives of Catholic families. From the example of the “yes” of Mary to the strong guidance and protection of Joseph and the obedience of the child Jesus, the Holy Family provides us with the examples we should also emulate to become strong Catholic families. As we begin a new year let us focus on making our families stronger and better in the eyes of God and set an example to the world that we refuse to fall into the culture of death that our society is trying infect us with.
Deacon Bill Watzek
Sunday, December 22 , 2019
We are at the last Sunday of Advent, and the Gospel of St. Matthew tells us about Joseph that he was righteous man. Indeed, the best definition of righteousness is right relationship with God, with others and with our own selves. Joseph’s decision to divorce Mary quietly in order to spare her shame is a very telling decision. His righteousness before God prevented him from taking a pregnant woman as his wife. His decision to divorce Mary came from his regard for God’s Law. On the other hand, his decision to spare her the shame came from his own compassion. He did not have to do it this way, but he chose to spare her the shame. He acted out of compassion rather than his own hurt and anger.
So dear brothers and sisters, this is our righteousness that in our relationships with God and others as we act not from anger, envy, revenge but from our compassion, justice, and genuine love. When we act in righteousness God finds a home in our midst. May our relationships be a place where God feels welcomed because we act in righteousness this Christmas Season and throughout the New Year.
Fr. Dominic Toan Tran
Sunday, December 15 , 2019
The first reading’s prophesy of the dead desert springing into bloom is the perfect imagery for what we are preparing for this Advent season—for the restoration of all things in Christ, not just from his first coming as a baby in a manger on Christmas but his glorious 2nd Coming at the end of time! But we are not meant to wait until his 2nd Coming to take steps now to restore what we can—and this Advent Season is the perfect time of the year to concentrate our efforts!
The time is now for us to make extra efforts to free ourselves from the things that are unnecessarily creating deserts in our lives. The feeling of true freedom alone is enough motivation to rid ourselves of the things we know are not giving us the peace and joy God longs for us to enjoy throughout the year! There are many particular steps which can be taken (prayer, counseling, planning, accountability partners, new habits to replace the old). But the greatest first step we can take is availing ourselves of the sacrament of Reconciliation! In addition to our regular opportunities, we are having a communal penance service at St. Joan’s on Monday and at St. Jude’s on Tuesday. One of the greatest ways we can prepare for Christmas is experiencing that full reconciliation with God!
But connected with this is making sure we are doing all we can towards reconciliation with our neighbor! So many relationships have become dead deserts because of one hurt or another. But with God’s help even broken relationships can be restored to a level that never existed before! Sometimes that hardest step is not the apology but the very first step—a phone call, an email, a letter—but it can be the most important step in enjoying those relationships you once loved in time to celebrate Jesus’ arrival.
Fr. Martin Dunne III