10 Nov

May We Do God's Will

As D-Day was occurring Franklin Roosevelt addressed the nation.  It was not a speech he gave, but rather a prayer.  "And so, in this poignant hour,” he said, “I ask you to join with me in prayer." FDR asked God to give the American soldiers strength and perseverance.  He prayed that the Father would "embrace and receive" those who would be killed in action.  He lifted up their family members and everyone else at home. 

10 Nov

Gospel November 10, 2019

Synopsis, Nov 10, 2019

In the First Reading from the Second Book of Maccabees, we hear only part of the story about the heroism of a family of seven brothers who died at the hands of a Greek king who tried to force all Jews into accepting the Greek culture of Hellenism. These brothers would rather die than betray the God of Israel. Their faith gave them reassurance that fidelity to God's laws would be rewarded with salvation and resurrection which was a fairly recent concept for the Jews of that time; and only some of the Jews accepted it.

10 Nov

St Augustine

This is a reflection from the mind of St. Augustine, who takes us through a meditation of how the good things of the earth and human life point us to God, who is the source of all that is good. St. Augustine lived from 354-430 A.D.; I enjoy the fact that having lived 1,600 years ago, Augustine lists things which even in our modern day, we would agree that these things make life good.

03 Nov

Confronted By Jericho

Congratulations SJS athletics on good fall seasons

Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 3, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

We have been reading for several weeks now the "travel narrative"—Jesus' journey towards Jerusalem after the conclusion of his Galilean ministry.  This week we read about his stop in Jericho, a town about twenty miles outside Jerusalem. 

Herod the Great had built up Jericho and Herod's son, Archelaus, erected a massive palace and was currently living in it.  Jericho was, therefore, somewhat of an abject city.  Proof of this is that the chief tax collector of the entire region, Zacchaeus, made his residence there.  Zacchaeus was fairly immoral.  Tax collectors were generally dishonest, and Zacchaeus even more so.  Ironically, the name Zacchaeus meant "pure."  I'm sure tax payers and even fellow tax collectors scoffed whenever they saw the short man and heard his name.

03 Nov

May God Speak Good Things About You

I hate to be morbid, but I see a profound message in this anecdote.  I heard recently that a man in his thirties committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.  Afterward, his psychiatrist went with the medical examiner to the dead man's apartment where they found his diary.  The last entry, written just hours before his death, read: "I'm going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump."

03 Nov

Gospel November 3, 2019

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom is a beautiful reflection on how our divine Creator is intimately involved with every aspect of his creation: “Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.” The Creator loves all that he has created and is rich in mercy to all who have sinned. God’s whole desire is not to condemn the sinner but to gradually draw him/her to repentance. God’s mercy extends to all.

03 Nov

What Makes the Sun a Beacon for the Whole World?

How would you describe an experience you had? Often, we reach for descriptions of other things more familiar to us to describe something new and beyond precise articulation. Take for example my first experience of driving. It was like I was on this steady roller coaster. There was a feeling of not being in control and then remembering the brake pedal. The car seemed to float like a boat. I was driving a 2000 Ford Taurus. I'm sure the commercials for a Ford Taurus never compared it to a roller coaster or a boat, but that was the only way I could describe the new sensation.

27 Oct

Cor Ad Cor Loquitur

Fr. James with a toddler in a Baby Priest Halloween costume
 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 27, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

John Henry Newman was canonized a saint two weekends ago by Pope Francis.  Newman was an English priest from the 19th Century.  Originally an Anglican, he converted to Catholicism and was later in life made a Cardinal in the Church.  He was (and still is) an intellectual giant, writing very influential texts such as Essay on the Grammar of Assent and his spiritual autobiography called Apologia Pro Vita Sua.  For a few years he was rector of the Catholic University of Ireland, which led him to write The Idea of a University.  Catholic student centers at various universities around the country are called "Newman Centers" because of this.  I'll be forever grateful to the Newman Center of my alma mater, which helped my faith and ultimately led me to the priesthood.

27 Oct

Our Goal of Perfection

A decade or so after his death a perception arose that George Washington was a perfect man: that he did not lie or sin. Throughout the 19th Century it was taught in public schools and held in the public square that the first president was infallible.   Even Abraham Lincoln defended the belief, saying about Washington: "It makes human nature better to believe that one human being [Washington] was perfect, that human perfection is possible."