Sunday, February 16, 2020

Keep the Commandments

Major league baseball is on edge. It was reported to the league that the Houston Astros have been cheating.  They investigated and found it to be true. Now, there is a long history of teams stealing signs, but the rule is – you may not use electronics. Of course – many say – it does not apply to us, how do we get around it? The Astros thought they found a way – and they were caught. Three managers have lost their jobs and now the new manager, Dusty Baker, is pleading with the league to protect his team. He is afraid they will be targeted at games.
Why such anger – fair competition – follow rules – level playing field.
Imagine life without rules?  No traffic laws – I would be frightened to leave our property – might not get back.
We want freedom to drive where we want, but to be truly free to drive – we need to have rules.
God gives us commandments – not to take away freedom, but to give new freedom – and a sure path to holiness.  But Jesus saw – how can we get around them? Instead – he calls us to more – a deeper holiness:
1)   You have heard – thou shalt not kill – but do not grow angry. There is such a thing as righteous anger.  But what do we do with anger? – will it be helpful if all the pitchers throw at the heads of the Houston players? – will that solve it?  Do not let anger become hate – use it instead for good.
2)   You have heard – no adultery – but I tell you turn no one into an object for your own pleasure. Do not misuse anyone. They are sons and daughter of God, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s son.
3)   You have heard – Moses allowed divorce in some cases – but you must remember that marriage is sacred – that you have made a vow before God – do not take a false oath – either your word is true or it is not. Let everyone depend on the truth of your word – that you are dependable and honest – a person of integrity. This is the path of holiness – our marriages depend on this – our children depend on this.
How can one live up to this? Commandments are hard! But anything worth doing IS hard! It must be hard, if we are to become saints – but also remember the mercy of God.
How to do it?    Brother had dog – Yogi – my favorite dog – yellow lab.  Beautiful.
Yogi loved to eat – eat anything.    Tom taught him obedience.
Would put food in bowl and say NO
Yogi, of course, was dying to eat – but tried to obey. He never looked at the food.
Like – if he did, the temptation would be too much.
He always looked at Tom’s face    What a great lesson – keep our eyes on master’s face!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Funeral Mass - Anna Bello

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Anna Bello on Wednesday, February 5 at 10:00 am. Please pray for her and for her family.

Presentation of the Lord

40 Days after Christmas – in Europe, many families will take their Christmas tree down today. It is the ½ way point of winter – slowly but surely the light is returning.
Many is the secular world call this Groundhog Day – we call It the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord– the child Jesus is brought to the Temple to be dedicated to God.
Surely there will be many little Chief fans and 49er fans rooting for their teams today. And where did they get that? How did I become such a big Yankee fan? My dad. Yes, parents often have a huge effect on their children.
And so it is with religion – Jesus parents – Mary and Joseph - were fulfilling their duties as parents – they were passing on the rituals and teachings of their faith to their Son.
In the midst of all the sadness and all the tributes surrounding the death of Kobe Bryant – one of the top five scorers in NBA history – I have been moved by stories of his Catholic faith. I am often told by parents and children that we just don’t have time for Mass – I have baseball, soccer, basketball. Well, last Sunday, Kobe and Gianna had a basketball game. What did this parent do? – he brought his daughter to the 7am Mass – then they would go play ball. The parent decides what is most important. And it is not sports.
Now two people recognize who Jesus is – the elderly Simeon & Anna – their long life of prayer and faithfulness is rewarded. “Now Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace – my own eyes have seen your salvation.”
This gives us an opportunity to thank all our Simeons and Annas – our long faithful parents and grandparents who have been such a great part of this parish for many years. We are also grateful for those among us who are dedicated, are consecrated to the Lord, especially the Sisters of the Resurrection and the Oblates to the Blessed Trinity.
I go out many morning at 6am to open church, trying to get my eyes to open, and I look across the parking lot and I see that light  on in the convent chapel – the Sisters at prayer 6am – praying for the world and for us.  How blessed we are that they are here with us.
Today is also known as Candlemas Day – a day when candles are blessed. The candle is a wonderful symbol of Christ – it must give of itself to bring light – to bring light to the world. The Christophers say it is better to light one candle then to curse the darkness.
Tomorrow is the Anniversary of the Four Chaplains. On February 3, 1943 during World War II, the Dorchester was fatally struck by a torpedo. A priest, a rabbi and two protestant chaplains prayed with those who were still alive. They helped many board lifeboats. And, when the life jackets ran out, they gave away their own. Without life jackets, they had no chance of surviving. They were last seen with arms linked, at prayer, going down with the ship.   Amid great darkness – they brought light – and so can we!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Funeral Mass - Viola Fitzgerald

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Viola Fitzgerald on Saturday, February 8 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Funeral Mass - Maria Marquez

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Maria Marquez on Wednesday, January 29 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Sunday of the Word of God

Land of Zebulun – Land of Naphtali – the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light! What is Isaiah talking about? And why does Matthew quote him?
Centuries before Jesus a man named Jacob or Israel had 12 sons – they became the 12 tribes of Israel. When Moses led the tribes of Israel back from Egypt to the land of Canaan – each tribe was assigned a territory. Up in the north, around the Sea of Galilee lived the tribes of Zebulun & Naphtali.
The children of Israel often went through terrible times. First in the 9th century BC, the North was attacked – 10 tribes. Many were carried off into exile.   Then in 6th Century BC – South was attacked – last 2 tribes – and they were carried off into exile.
From that point on – Israel was occupied. But many would not give up hope – God would rescue them – dwell among them again.    Isaiah – where there is darkness, a light will shine.
Now comes Jesus to the land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali – light has come.   And what does he do?   Calls disciples to follow him. In time he would choose 12 apostles – why – the gathering of the 12 tribes of Israel – God has returned – do not give up hope.
All this comes to us from the Bible. Pope Francis has asked us to celebrate the Bible this weekend as a gift to all of us. 
How does one read the Bible?
1)     Like Matthew - Inspirational quotes   - The Lord is my Shepheard, nothing shall I want – even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil.
2)     Many read the stories – Noah, Moses, David, Mary & Joseph – yesterday story of Paul – Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me???
3)     A place to seek direction and guidance – especially the teachings of Jesus. Beatitudes – to love enemies, to care for the poor (when I was hungry you gave me food.
Let the Word of God be written upon our hearts. May we live out these words – become the Living Gospel.
Our Jewish brothers and sisters still suffer. Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz death camp – almost 1 million Jews died there. And, we see a rise of anti-Semitic attacks even in the NY metro area.  As Jesus was the light, so must WE bring light where there is darkness.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Funeral Mass - Josephine Bartilucci

We sadly announce the death of Josephine Bartilucci, the mother of our Parish Manager, Gary. The Funeral Mass will be on Tuesday, January 21 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Vito's Church, Mamaroneck. Please pray for her and for her family.