Filled With the Fire of the Holy Spirit

Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 1, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Today, November 1st, we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints.  This is a holy day of obligation, but because the feast falls on a Sunday this year, we kill two birds with one stone!

I've noticed, and many of you have jokingly remarked to me, that in my homilies on a particular saint's feast day I'll say, "such and such is one of my favorite saints" or "she's definitely in my top 5."  And my "top 5" is like 500. 

Read more...

Love

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 25, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Picture the most serious love you have.  I'm not thinking about love for the Bears or for White Castle (ok, maybe that's just me), but love for your spouse or for your child or for your parents or siblings.  Do we love God that way?  We have to.  Jesus says so.  We are commanded to love.

But how can love be a commandment?  You can't be forced to love.  No one forced you to love your husband or wife, and if they did, it probably wouldn't have been love. 

The way we can be commanded to love is by the part of love that involves the will.  For love is not simply a feeling.  It is an act of the will.  You cannot force feelings.  You can, however, force or command your will.

Read more...

Give to God What Belongs to God

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 18, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

This is a fitting Gospel for the election season.  Politics...yikes! I'll do my best to keep it spiritual.  As I've said before, I personally subscribe to the position of St. Edmund Campion, the English priest who was martyred by Queen Elizabeth in the 16th Century.  "I never had mind," he said, "and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts."

Read more...

Moderation is Key in Life

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 11, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Moderation is key in life.  Often the path to holiness is simply finding the mean between extremes.  It is okay to have sweets, but one piece of candy, and not ten.  Okay, maybe two pieces of candy.  The Old Testament acknowledges the permission of delicacies when Isaiah prophesies, "On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines" (Isaiah 25:6).  This isn't permitting getting drunk or stuffed on those rich wines/foods, like that hillside for the overserved at Oktoberfest in Munich, but just recognizing that it is okay for God to delight us.

Read more...

Increasing Our Faith

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 4, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

A pretty grim parable, no?  Yes, but there is hope, especially if we look at the parable with a Trinitarian lens. 

We might think the King is reckless, careless, and imprudent in sending his son to the rebellious vineyard, especially after all of the previous messengers have been killed.  And we might also think the King is distancing himself from the situation, as if he's saying, "Go, figure it out, Son, while I just hang back at the palace."  But the Son is an ambassador—an extension of the King.  When the Son is rejected and killed, it is the Father ultimately who is rejected and killed.

Read more...

Spiritually Whining

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 27, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

"That's not fair!" How many times have we heard that from a toddler? Or from a NFL player complaining about a flag (or no flag)?  Or maybe a spouse saying "that's not fair!" to his/her partner?  Or a priest saying that to his bishop?  Or an associate pastor or seminarian saying that to his pastor (never here, of course, at Saint Juliana!)?

Or us saying that to God?

We might not know we're complaining internally to God.  We can usually tell by our "spiritual mood."  Are you more prone to distraction in prayer? Do you find yourself brooding in prayer or anxious in prayer? Is there a glaring division between your prayer life and moral life? That is, you seem to be praying okay or experiencing peace at Mass, but then as soon as you see your family or walk out to the parking lot you're angry?

Read more...