Pastor's Corner

This page provides quick access to Fr, Michael's Pastor's Corner columns.

July 15, 2018 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In commissioning the Apostles in today's Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, A PREVIEW OF HIS CHURCH'S MISSION after the Resurrection. His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the Twelve Tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff. Like the Israelites, the Apostles and we the Christians are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

Like Prophet Amos in today's 1st reading, the Apostles are not "professionals," who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters. Amos experiences rejection, and Jesus warns the Apostles of rejection as well. The Church is called not necessarily to be successful, but only to be faithful to God's command.

With authority and power given by Jesus, the Church proclaims God's peace and salvation to those who believe in Him. The word of truth, the Gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as St. Paul proclaims. In the mystery of God's will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church's mission - to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.

Fr. Michael

July 8, 2018 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As believers, OUR STRENGTH LIES IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST and not in our abilities or talents. Like Ezekiel from our first reading, St. Paul realizes that no matter what response he receives, he must be bold and courageous in his witness. He must accept, as Jesus pointed out in the Gospel, that a prophet is not always accepted in his native place and that while many will accept the message, many more will reject it.

To be a disciple of Christ, we, too, need to be courageous and faithful in all things, even if it runs contrary to the ways of the world or what is now socially acceptable. This is the first step in true Christian living.

Like the prophets, we are sent into the world and that, like the Apostles, we will be challenged to explain and defend our faith before others. We cannot be believers who sit on the fence or disciples who are lukewarm or half-hearted in our commitment. Trying to reconcile the ways of this world with those of the Gospel will inevitably cause us to have to choose between the two.

Instead, we need to be believers who know of our need for God, and believers who are always growing in our faith and prayer life. It is only when our courage, perseverance and fidelity are united with Christ and his mission that, like Paul and Ezekiel, we can humbly accept our own weaknesses and our need of God's grace and strength. Only then can we stand up more firmly grounded in our faith and in our relationship with Christ.

Fr. Michael

July 1, 2018 - 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. He is the life giver. The whole of creation reminds us of the life that God continues to sustain. God loves us and the world that he created and saw to be good. Because of a human choice made long ago, our world is broken, less-than-perfect, a place where sadness, sickness and death occur all too frequently.

This balance between joy and sorrow, between sickness and health, between life and death, is something we all know. We never stop praying for situations in our world that desperately need God's help and our own; there are prayers for those who are sick and for their caregivers; there are prayers for our beloved dead, known and unknown. What happens with those prayers as we offer them each time we gather for Eucharist? How do we offer them to God? How does God reaffirm himself as the God of life, not death?

We offer our gifts of bread and wine, simple things, made of wheat that has been ground down and grapes that have been crushed - bread that sustains and wine that can be a drink of great joy. So, it is with our prayers, as we offer them and unite them with the gifts of bread and wine that are placed upon our altar. We place it all on the altar and we ask God to make it holy - to hallow our gifts of bread and wine and the gifts of our lives into the body of Christ.

As the image and likeness of God, let us pray for blessings. The blessing that Jesus gives to Jairus and the woman suffering of hemorrhage is the proof of God's unconditional love and care. Let us trust in the holy presence of Christ; may he touch our lives as we offer the bread and wine!

Fr. Michael

June 24, 2018 - The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Prophets in the Old Testament such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and others were called by God to proclaim his teachings and his will for us to guide and direct us. Most of them were rejected, and sometimes put to death by the powerful and elite.

Today, the Church celebrates the solemnity of John the Baptist's birth. Jesus told his Twelve Apostles: Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist. What made John the Baptist the greatest of all the prophets? Was it his personality? No. Was it the ascetical life that he lived? No. What made him the greatest of all the prophets was the role that he played in the great drama of our salvation. He was the one who would point to Jesus as the Lamb of God. His role was to point out the tremendous reality of God's Word made flesh and dwelling among us. No other prophet had that privilege. No other prophet could point to God's living presence among us.

See, the Old Testament meets the New Testament, and all that God has given us in the Old Testament is being crowned by all that he will give us in the New. Isaiah prophesied that Israel would be brought back to God, and the survivors restored, so that the Lord's salvation might reach to the ends of the earth. Now this child, called John by his father, is born to Elizabeth and Zechariah to prepare the way for the Lord.

Each one of us shares in John's prophetic calling, through our baptism. By our lives, by our words, by our deeds, we, too, are called by God to manifest his presence in our lives. We are called to point out to others that Jesus Christ is alive and well, risen from the dead and present to those around us.

Fr. Michael

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