Monday, September 12, 2016

Mercy

The painting is called “The Last Supper” by Leonardo DaVinci. It is said that while Leonardo was painting it, he was in the middle of a nasty feud with a fellow painter. To take revenge, he decided to use the face of his enemy for Judas. As he continued to work on the painting, he seemed to have no problem with the faces of the Apostles. But he could get nowhere with the face of Jesus.  Why?
Today we read from the Chapter 15 of Luke – the Chapter of Mercy. We have become so used to the stories, we forget how unusual they are.
-          Search of a lost coin. This coin is worth about 5 cents. When I was little, we were happy to pick up a penny – gum ball machine. Not any more. No one cares. Turn your house upside down for a coin? No way!!
-          Search of a lost sheep. Has 100. He has lost one. Not bad at all. USA 1.5% stolen. This is only 1% loss. Write it off. You are going to risk losing more if you go off to search.
-          Lost son.  Really, would you bother after he has told you to drop dead. But since you are not yet dead, give me my share of the inheritance now!    Yet, this crazy father is waiting, looking watching – robe, ring, shoes.
Pope Francis keeps teaching us – this is the mercy of God – and our worth to him.
So now – in turn – forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us! As we have received mercy – we are to show mercy.
Mercy First to God. Yes God.  Some of us hold God accountable for everything, every bad thing, every sickness. Yet God loved us so much He gave us the gift of free will, which includes enormous risks. Some choose a dark path, and it affects all of us.  Can we forgive God for loving us in this way, and trust in that love?
Forgive others. I did not dare speak of mercy after Sept 11. It was too raw. And it still hurts. And it will always hurt. What should our response be – more hate, more anger, more bitterness? Do we want to become like them? Mercy.
Forgive self. I read in the paper today about a man, Aaron McClamb who loved firefighters. And, when Ladder 115 left Brooklyn to go to the World Trade, he took pictures. His famous picture is of Ladder 115 on the Brooklyn Bridge. It symbolized all who gave their lives. No one on that truck returned. For 10 years after he suffered survivor’s guilt.  
There are lots of thing we wish we said, would have done or should have done. Learn to let go! You see, today is the day, today is the gift.  Today is the opportunity to make a difference. Will we?

What did DaVinci have to do? In time, he began to understand what was wrong. In order to paint the face of Jesus, he had to change the face of Judas. He had to show mercy. He had to become like Jesus. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Anna O'Connor

Our prayers are with Anna O'Connor as she leaves our parish to discern if she has a call to Religious Life as a Sister of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. We promise her our love and prayers and, if it be God's Will, she may become a Sister!

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was made a saint this morning. It had no effect on her. It was done for us – that we might learn from her holiness.
When I was growing up, if you asked the question – who is the holiest person on the planet – we would all have said Mother Teresa.
Born in what is now Albania, she began to consider religious life at age 12. At 18 she joined the Sisters of Loretto, studied in Dublin, Ireland and went to Calcutta, India to serve as a teacher and as a principal.
At one point, she made a promise to Jesus – to do whatever he asked. Well, September 10, 1947, she experienced her “call within the call” while traveling to a retreat.  Would she give up everything to serve the poor?
She began in Calcutta with an open air school and a home for the dying. By her death, almost 5,000 sisters were serving as Missionaries of Charity in over 100 countries, including NYC.
I met her once, a junior in college. She was tiny as could be. As she spoke at our college graduation, you could hear a pin drop. She did not speak long, but we listened to every single word.
Her secret – as she met the poor = every single one of them was Jesus in disguise. This had a huge impact on me – especially when I was working with the poor, homeless and the sick – look beyond to see Jesus.
Many of her sayings still have a great impact:
-          Let us meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
-          Spread love wherever you go. Let no one come to you without leaving happier.
-          Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do . . . but how much love we put into that action.
-          If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each another.
-          It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.
-          What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.
-          We ourselves feel that we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
-          In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
-          If you cannot feed 100 people, then feed just one.
-          One, by one, by one, by one . . .
-          I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.
-          When we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask: how many good things you have done in your life? Rather: how much love did you put into what you did?
-          Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come yet. We have only today. Let us begin.

-          SVDP        ST. TERESA PRAY FOR US!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Narrow Gate

I’m grateful for a recent homily by Bishop Robert Barron who gave some great insights about this Gospel.
I’m sure this is a difficult time for many. My brother has brought his oldest daughter to college. Tomorrow he bids farewell, leaves her behind and drives 10 hours home.  Wow.
Many worries – how will she do?  Will she make good decisions?   Easy to go off on wrong path!
Jesus is asked – how many be saved?
For my parent’s generation, this was an important question. You want to get to heaven and avoid hell. When I was young, I was on the confession line most Saturdays. I was taught to avoid mortal sin.  I was taught with love, with a little dose of fear.
Things began to shift when I got to Catholic high school. We were taught that God is love.  And because God is all merciful, many began to assume that almost everyone gets to heaven.   The problem is – some now have the belief that it does not matter what you do – it makes no difference if you go to Mass or not.  Many became indifferent to spiritual things.
Jesus is asked – how many will be saved? 
Unlike the Jehovah Witnesses who talk about 144,000, Jesus does not offer a number, but: _  Strive to enter through the narrow gate!
This is not an easy path!
Did Michael Phelps swim coach tell him – just take a few laps.    Or how about Simon Biles -  just jump around a bit, you will get the hang of it?
No, they each had a goal and were taught how to achieve that goal – DISCIPLINE!   A narrow gate!
How many will win Gold Medal?  Don’t worry about it -  you get to work. Do what you are supposed to – become the person you were meant to be.
Our Gold Medal is to get to heaven – to share in the very life of God – let God’s grace invade every part of our lives  -  not an easy path.
We know our disciplines – prayer, Mass, Sacraments, the Bible, acts of charity, acts of mercy, live a moral life.
So, how will my niece do in college? In many ways (not all), it is up to her – study, discipline, keeping good friends, taking care of herself.   The narrow gate.

And how about us?    Stay on that path of faith, of goodness, of holiness, of love, of mercy – the narrow gate that leads to Eternal Life!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wedding - Anthony Buono and Kayleigh Marchetti

The Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony will be exchanged by Anthony Buono and Kayleigh Marchetti on Saturday, August 20 at 1:00 p.m. Please pray for this couple about to be married.

Funeral Mass - Diane Ring

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Diane Ring on Saturday, August 20 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Funeral Mass - Genaro Colabatistto

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Genaro Colabatistto on Wednesday, August 17 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.