Weekly Clergy Devotions
Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2019
This is the most joyful time of the entire year, with the resurrection Jesus has changed everything, the whole world has changed. Now instead of death having a final say in our existence, God has freed us from the bonds of death and now welcomes us to follow Jesus the Christ in his glorious resurrection to a new life in eternity with Him in the Heavenly kingdom! Our eyes have now been open when before we were blind, now we can clearly see that which God has done for us in the suffering, death and resurrection of His only begotten Son. The work of Christ is the very gift that we needed for our salvation. Not only did Jesus die for our sins freeing us of those shackles that would bind us in death but He has opened the gates of Heaven and is welcoming us, His brothers and sisters in Christ under the Fatherhood of God the Father to share in His glory for all of eternity. He is risen indeed!
Deacon Bill Watzek
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2019
What Difference the Road Makes?
Dear brothers and sisters, what do you think? If two people want to get to the same destination, does it make a difference which road they take?
We need to keep this in mind as we reflect upon our readings today. For what are we trying to do in this Holy Week, 2019 and expect to accompany our Lord Jesus on the road? On Passion Sunday, we recall how accompanied by his friends and disciples, Jesus finally arrives in Jerusalem the Holy City. They come so that Jesus can take possession of the kingdom prepared for him since before the world began. They want to enter into glory. And we can say the same too for all the other characters in the Passion story that we heard just now, the people of Jerusalem, the chief priests and the scribes, Pilate and Herod, the soldiers and even the two thieves. In some say, everyone wants to reach the same destination as Jesus. Everyone wants to enter into glory. But not everyone is willing to take the same road. Indeed, there are some very striking differences between the roads the others take and the one that Jesus chooses.
Consider also the difference between Peter and Jesus. Notice Peter’s false self-confidence. Lord, I am prepared to go to prison and to die with you, he says. Peter is unaware of his own weakness. He fails to realize that true strength comes from God alone. By his words he shows that, not unlike the unrepentant thief, his is the road of arrogance. Contrast that with the humility of Christ, even though he himself is without sin, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus openly tells his heavenly Father about his own interior struggles. Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me… Humbly, Jesus prays for strength, and his prayer is heard. He receives the comfort and courage that he needs to face the terrors that are to come. We see the same humility, the same willingness to accept the truth, in the repentant thief. We have been condemned justly, he says. And he too receives what he asks for. Today you will be with me in paradise.
Our Lord continues to show us the way of service and humility and self-emptying. As individuals what road are we traveling, what difference are we making, this Holy Season?
Fr. Dominic Toan-Tran
Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2019
In the 2nd Reading at most weekend masses declares that, “I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” This can be a most-profound reminder for us to always keep our perspective. Perspective is important on peace as it allows us to see everything in its proper size.
An immediate benefit of perspective is that the “bad things” (big as they are) don’t seem bigger than they are. So often when the unpleasant things of life occur, they seem so much bigger, as if, “the world is coming to an end.” Never discounting the difficulties these moments cause, the pains of life are opportunities for faith, perseverance and trust that we can still live, and actually build-upon, the painful experiences towards joyful ones.
We can also keep the painful experiences of life in their proper perspective through the perspective of eternity. Our lives will be less than an atom compared to the eternal joy we are called to accept, the eternal joy which will never end. Just think, we can spend one-trillion-trillion (no typo) years in heaven and we will still have forever (this certainly gives me perspective!).
In the meantime, it is so important to keep our perspective though the blessings we have today (of the sacraments, each other, but most especially God, who has instructed us to address him as, “Father” and “Abba.” All of this can remind us that our perseverance in discipleship will be worth it!
In the waning weeks of Lent, we need to consider the perspective of oneself, as true humility is seeing oneself as you really are—no more, but no less.” And the more we can see ourselves as the beloved children of God—the more clearly we can see everything else!
Fr. Martin Dunne III
Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2019
The story of the Prodigal Son demonstrates the love that God has for his sons and daughters. No matter how much we have insulted, ignored, or separated ourselves from our Father, when we turn back to God we find him right there waiting for us, ready to embrace us in his love. God has the abundance of life and he is offering it to us at all times, all we have to do is accept it from Him, and accepting the graces that He freely gives us we must give them to others so that they abound all the more within ourselves. It sounds strange that to gain more of something we need to give it to others but this is the way that the Divine Life is. So let us all, during this Lenten season, turn back to God and allow Him to give us the greatest gift that we can receive, that Divine Life with all of the graces that it is filled with and then pass them along to those around us, letting them abound all the more within ourselves.
Deacon Bill Watzek
Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2019
What Must We Do to Listen and to Change?
Some of you may know the story that is told of a parishioner who put a big smile on the priest’s face when she said to him, after Mass one Sunday morning, Congratulations, Father! That was a wonderful homily! But Father’s smile quickly faded when he heard what she told him next: Everything that you said applies to someone whom I know!
Was Father’s homily really good? Did he truly deserve the compliment? The story doesn’t say. The point is that, good or bad, the words were wasted on the parishioner. For if everything Father said applied only to someone else, then nothing applied to her. So very likely, on that Sunday morning, she left the church in exactly the same state as when she arrived: unchanged and unrepentant. And this is precisely the kind of resistance to repentance that our readings are warning us today. They do this by inviting us to reflect upon a curious conversation between two mysterious plants: a burning bush and a barren tree. In the first reading, there is, of course, the obvious presence of a burning bush. But where is the barren tree? To answer this question, we need to recall what we know about Moses.
How does God effect this remarkable transformation in Moses? How does the keeper of sheep become a leader of Israel? How does the barren tree begin to bear God’s intended fruit? The process begins with an intense encounter an intimate conversation between the barren tree and the burning bush. And it is only because Moses recognizes the presence of God in the bush. It is only because he is willing to engage in this difficult dialogue, that he is finally transformed into the person he is called to be. This is what we find in our readings today: Conversation and transformation, obedience and repentance. These are the things that God is offering us, on this 3rd Sunday in Lent. This is the urgent call addressed to us. Not to just to anyone else but to us, to you and also to me.
Fr. Dominic Toan-Tran