Sunday, June 25, 2023

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Our readings today are a call to trust in God. Although our circumstances can be unsettling or frightening, God is always caring for us. Jeremiah, in our first reading, reaffirms his trust in God and acknowledges that God is with him, giving him strength and protecting him from his enemies.  He trusts in the Lord even though he is being plotted against.  Psalm 69 invites us to call upon the Lord in faith, seeking His loving response.  To endure insults and shame, trusting in His boundless kindness and mercy. The psalm expresses hope that God will hear our prayers in times of distress. The second reading reminds us that Jesus rescued us even though we are sinners.  Sin and death entered the world through one man, Adam, but through the one act of righteousness by Jesus Christ, grace and eternal life are made available to all who believe. Through Adam’s transgression, humanity was condemned, but through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection, God’s gift of forgiveness and justification abounds, offering reconciliation and abundant life to those who receive it.  And in the gospel, Jesus tells us “Fear no one” and that we are loved and cared for by God.  Jesus encourages His disciples to fearlessly proclaim His teachings, assuring them that whatever is hidden will be revealed and their actions will be brought to light. He emphasizes that they should not fear those who can harm the body, but rather fear God who holds ultimate authority over both body and soul and promises that those who acknowledge Him before others will be acknowledged by Him in return.

Fear is a very real human emotion and can be overwhelming at times.  As I prayed this morning two songs kept coming to mind, Be Not Afraid and Do Not Fear to Hope.  I found great comfort in each of these songs.  They reminded me to keep trusting and having the confidence that our loving God is with me all the time.  May we always find the strength and courage to allow our God to soothe our fears and embrace us with love and care.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Happy Father's Day


Did you ever think about how Father’s Day came to be?  While reading about Father's Day I discovered that it was founded by Sonora Smart Dodd, a woman from Spokane, Washington. Dodd was inspired to create the holiday after attending a Mother's Day church service in 1909. She was the daughter of a Civil War veteran named William Jackson Smart, who had raised her and her five siblings as a single father. Dodd felt that fathers deserved their own special day of recognition, so she began a campaign to make it happen.  Dodd's campaign was successful, and the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane on June 19, 1910. The holiday spread quickly throughout the United States, and it was officially recognized by the U.S. Congress in 1972.

The significance of Father's Day is to honor fathers and father figures for their love, support, and guidance. It is a day to celebrate the important role that fathers, and father figures play in our lives. Fathers play a vital role in the development of their children. They provide love, support, and guidance, and they help their children to grow into healthy and well-adjusted adults. Fathers also teach their children important values, such as hard work, responsibility, and respect. Additionally, Father's Day provides an opportunity for society to recognize and celebrate the diversity of father figures, including stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other individuals who play a fatherly role in shaping the lives of their children.

As we celebrate Father’s Day 2023 let us pray for all fathers and father figures. We pray:

We give our thanks, Creator God, for the fathers in our lives.

Fatherhood does not come with a manual, and reality teaches us that some fathers excel while others fail.

We ask for Your blessings for them all and forgiveness where it is needed.

This Father's Day we remember the many sacrifices fathers make for their children and families, and the ways--both big and small--they lift children to achieve dreams thought beyond reach.

So too, we remember all those who have helped fill the void when fathers pass early or are absent; grandfathers and uncles, brothers and cousins, teachers, pastors and coaches and the women of our families.

For those who are fathers, we ask for wisdom and humility in the face of the task of parenting. Give them the strength to do well by their children and by You.

In Your Holy name, O God, we pray.  Amen.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Solemnity of Corpus Christi


Nothing brings people together more than food.  Jesus often brought people together around the table and fed them.  He nourished them with his teachings.  Jesus left us himself, nurtured us with intimacy.  We need the real presence with Christ to sustain us in life.

Historically known by its Latin name, "Corpus Christi," this feast day highlights the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The word "Eucharist" means "thanksgiving." It comes from the Greek "eucharistein" and "eulogein," which "recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim — especially during a meal — God's works: creation, redemption and sanctification." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1328)

In addition to celebrating Mass, many parishes celebrate this feast with a tradition that goes all the way back to when it was instituted: the eucharistic procession. "Often splendid and regal, the practice was encouraged by the Council of Trent so as to reiterate the Church’s belief in the real presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The medieval eucharistic processions on Corpus Christi were grand and stately affairs, involving entire towns and cities." 

These days parishes have processions of the Eucharist in and around the church or through city streets. Today I went to a Mass with my family, and it was tender to see the first communicants actively participating in the procession.  The procession went around the exterior of the Church and paused on the four sides of the Church. It was a good experience to be able to participate in.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

St. Philip Neri 125th Anniversary Celebrtion


Last evening I had the pleasure of attending the 125th Anniversary of St. Philip Neri Parish in the Bronx, with two of our sisters.  Each of us has a special connection with the parish. The St. Philip Neri Parish has been a faithful community of many diverse cultures which continues to enrich this commuity.  The story of the building of this Church is one where Italian masons who were building the resevoir near by brought stones from the excavation to build the Church.  For the past 125 years this parish has welcomed all to its doors and has continued to grow.  

This Church has so many wonderful memories for me.  I received all my sacraments there and attended the parish elementary school where I first met the Ursulines.  In fact my siblings all graduated from St. Philip Neri School and my mother worked there too. Growing up in this parish and attending this school enabled me to make many lifelong friendships for which I am very grateful.  I am forever indebited to this parish for instilling my faith and educating me.