Weekly Clergy Devotions
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2019
6th Sunday Ordinary Time C
There is much contradiction in the way things are and what will be the results of in the Gospel reading from Luke. Those who lack now will be satisfied later and those who have now will later be lacking. Of course Jesus is talking about the Heavenly Kingdom as the time of reward and punishment. It is evident that Jesus was talking about the attitude of those who suffer, go hungry are poor, and those who are hated and excluded. These people are dependent on God for their needs in this world and await the Kingdom in humility and hope. In contrast those who are rich and happy and well fed and highly thought of go around in arrogance and greed thinking that God has richly blessed them on Earth and will continue to bless them in death, even though they were miserly with their wealth. We can see the consequences of both of these attitudes and learn from them, if one is rich, live in the poorness of spirit, if one is poor, live in the hope and dependence on God. Always pray, always await God coming into your life and be ready when He does.
Deacon Bill Watzek
Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2019
A Greater Blessing!
If you had a choice, which would you rather be Comfortable or uncomfortable? That’s a silly question right? Given a choice, of course, we’d rather be comfortable.
As much as we value comfort, we also appreciate the importance of occasional discomfort. This can be true in the spiritual life as well. In our readings today, we find people being made extremely uncomfortable but for a good purpose. The first reading tells us about the call of the prophet Isaiah. He sees a vision of God in the Temple and the experience causes him great discomfort. Not only are the foundations of the threshold of the Temple shaken by God’s presence but Isaiah also himself is shaken to his very core. What a wretched state I am, Isaiah exclaims. Yet this experience of discomfort is not a curse but a great blessing. God purifies Isaiah’s unclean lips, so that the prophet can respond generously and courageously to God’s call.
We find this same connection between discomfort and God’s call in the gospel. Simon and his fellow fishermen are washing their nets after an unsuccessful right of hard working. We can imagine how they must be feeling. Very likely, all they can to do is finish their work and go home to rest to enjoy some quiet and comfort. But it is precisely at this moment that Jesus chooses to step into Simon’s boat. First, the Lord asks Simon to put out a little from the shore but that is not enough. The Lord then urges him to put out into deep water and lower the nets for a catch. Jesus invites the failed fisherman to return to the very place, and to do the same work that has brought him so much disappointment and discomfort the night before.
Dear brothers and sisters, as much as we may desire comfort, discomfort is not always a bad thing. Indeed, in a certain sense, discomfort is at the very center of Christian life. At the core of our relationship with Christ, who often insists on upsetting our comfortable lives, in order to lead us to enjoy something more, a greater blessing, a higher calling and a fulfilling life.
Fr. Dominic Toan-Tran
Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2019
In the 1st Reading we are beautifully reminded of the reality of how deeply God loves us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” The reality of God’s love immediately and irrevocably bestows infinite value upon each of us from the moment of our conception. Even scientists acknowledge that conception creates a distinct being with their unique set of DNA.
Sadly, we recently marked 46 years of a most severe denial of this reality, Roe vs. Wade. We need to do everything possible, year round, to end this greatest of tragedies: by praying, by making various offerings of ourselves, and by conveying to all the truth of the dignity of each human life from conception until natural death. Just as important, however, is the necessity of patiently showing love and compassion towards all who have been affected by abortion in one way or another. This is how we help change the tide of the “culture of death” into the “culture of life,” as many of those affected, including Norma McCorvey (aka “Roe”) have since experienced conversion, reconciliation, and fullness of life through the gifts of our faith!
Perhaps the late Fr. Thomas Merton, uplifted by Pope Francis in 2015 as one of the greatest Americans ever, summarized the reality of all human life best: “At the center of our being is … a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God … the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written in us …. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely.”
Fr. Martin Dunne III
Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2019
The Priest, Ezera read the law to the people, which accused them before God because of their former disobedience. The people wept at the fact that they had been breaking the law of God for so long. Neheimiah pleads with the people that they should not be sad but rejoice because Today is “holy to the Lord” because the law has been read to the people and they have forgiveness through the message of the law. Each time the Gospel is proclaimed at Mass, at the end of the reading after the priest or deacon finishes with “The Gospel of the Lord” he says to himself “May the words of the Gospel wipe away our sins.” This acclimation demonstrates the healing power of the Word of God in our lives, so the next time you hear the Gospel proclaimed you can join the priest or deacon silently requesting that the power of the word of God wipe away our sins.
Deacon Bill Watzek
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019
Jesus Makes Ordinary Things Extraordinary!
Our readings on the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time help us negotiate this change of altitude. They help us to reflect more deeply on the significance of what we celebrated on the mountaintop of the Christmas Season and to connect it with the apparent ground zero experience of Ordinary Time.
Although the festive high may have worn off, the gospel story reminds us that not only is the one whom we welcomed at Christmas still very much with us, but that he is able to change the water of our ordinary everyday routine into wine. For is not Jesus’ miracle at Cana an expression of the same mystery that we celebrated at Christmas? By his coming to us as a human person, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, makes ordinary things extraordinary. But how does he do this, we might wonder? And what assurance do we have that he will continue to do this for us every day?
To answer these questions we need to see that the focus of today’s reading is not really the changing of water into wine. Marvelous as this miracle is, the gospel refers to it as the first of the signs given by Jesus. The wine, the high we may experience at Christmas or at any other time, is important not in and of itself. It points us to something far more significant. In the gospel, just as the wine is important only for the wedding, so too is the miracle itself important only because it signifies, it points out, who Jesus is and what he does for us.
Dear brothers and sisters just like Mary, we need to tell Jesus that we have run dry; we too have no more wine. And yet we have to listen to Mary as she tells us, “Do whatever He tells you.” Yes, we tell Jesus how great our problems are. With Jesus, there is no situation that is of no hope. Let us put our hope in Jesus, and He will turn the water of our lives into sweet rich wine.
Fr. Dominic Toan-Tran