Growth & Transitions

Dear Parishioners,

We're back in the thick of Ordinary Time and the start of summer, and we're back to hearing the parables in the Sunday Gospels. This 11th Sunday we have two parables dealing with the growth of the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 4:26-34).

The first parable indicates the Kingdom of God doesn't come suddenly and all at once. There is a process to it: “first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.” The Catholic Church didn't get to where it is today, over a billion members worldwide existing in structured dioceses and parishes, immediately after Pentecost. It took time. And there were setbacks and challenges along the way (there still are).

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Crazy is as crazy does.

Have you ever been called crazy? The kids in school call me crazy all the time. My family and friends do too. Usually this label is justified, for I act like a goof.

But I have been called crazy once or twice by a stranger or distant acquaintance. The individual is curious why I am a priest. How could I give up so much and devote my life to such a strange calling?

I'll admit, sometimes when I step back, I see it as crazy, being a priest and pastor, that is. I think, Man, God, how did you make all this happen?

But I don't have regrets, for I love being a priest. I love being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Following Christ and being a Catholic is, in many ways, counter-cultural. It raises eyebrows or prompts jokes. But it’s so fulfilling. Jesus was called crazy too. His family said, “He is out of his mind” (Mk 3:21).

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Lamb of God

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. During the exodus, which we hear about in the First Reading, Moses put lamb's blood on the doorposts of each Israelite. When the Angel of Death came at night to take each firstborn, it passed over each house with the sign of blood, hence the name Passover for the feast. The blood of the lamb saved people from death.

The flesh of the lambs slaughtered by Moses was then used as food, to give the people nourishment for their trek out of Egypt, across the desert, and through the Red Sea. The body of the lamb gave the people life.

We see the parallel. Jesus is the Lamb of God. His real blood, which is in the chalice that we receive at Mass, saves us from sin and death. His real body, which is the Eucharist, gives us life. Blessed be God forever!

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Who is your Divine Person?

Dear Parishioners,

One of my favorite hymns is "Praise the Holy Trinity." Here are the lyrics:

O God Almighty Father,
Creator of all things,
The Heavens stand in wonder,
While earth Thy glory sings.

Refrain: O most Holy Trinity,
Undivided Unity;
Holy God, Mighty God,
God Immortal, be adored.

O Jesus, Word Incarnate,
Redeemer most adored,
All Glory, praise and honor,
Be Thine, our Sov'reign Lord. R.

O God, the Holy Spirit,
Who lives within our souls,
Send forth Thy light and lead us
To our eternal goal. R.

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Pentecost

Dear Parishioners,

Saint John Chrysostom was an ancient Church Father who lived in Turkey and died in the year 407. He was famous for his preaching. The name Chrysostom means literally, ‘the golden mouth.’ The priest had this to say about Pentecost:

The Apostles did not come down from the mountain like Moses with stone tablets in their hands. They emerged from the Cenacle carrying the Holy Spirit in their hearts and offering everywhere treasures of wisdom and of grace as spiritual gifts flowing from a gushing spring. They went preaching to the whole world, they themselves being the living law, as if they were books animated by the grace of the Holy Spirit. (In Mt. Hom., 1, 1:PG 57-58, 15.)

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Are you ascending?

Dear Parishioners,

Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia! It's been forty days (well, more or less) since the Resurrection and this Sunday we celebrate Jesus' departure from this earth—the Ascension. “So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God” (Mk 16:19).

Notice there is a lot of direction on where the disciples are to go and what they are to do when our Lord ascends to the sky. Jesus tells them to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). He also instructs them to preach the Gospel and baptize (cf. Mk 16:15-16). The angel tells them to stop looking at the sky (cf. Acts 1:11). The disciples return to Jerusalem (cf. Lk 24:52).

What am I to do with my life? Where should I go? These are questions people, young adults in particular, ask themselves often. Graduation is around this time of year and I wonder if some college and even high school seniors are wondering about the direction of their lives.

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