Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Cross

I see Pope Francis has changed the Holy Thursday Liturgy a bit – includes now both men & women, young and old in the Washing of the Feet.  The Priest is challenged to imitate Christ in his service to ALL people.
A few years back, another little change was introduced on Good Friday. A Cross is carried into church and everyone has the opportunity to reverence it. But first, the priest must remove his shoes. Remove his shoes.
As Moses approaches the burning bush, he hears a voice: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is Holy Ground.   God who would save them from slavery in Egypt is revealed in a burning bush.  Now, God will save us from Sin and Death by the Mystery of the Cross. Holy Ground!
Years ago I was given a crucifix by my Pastor, Msgr. Paul Andrews passed away 25 years ago. It says: “Why should you want anything else? I never did!”  “This is where you learn everything!”

Kate Bowler wrote an article in the NY Times a few weeks ago about the “Prosperity Gospel.”  Great spokespeople include Joel Osteen & Oprah Winfrey.
God grants health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith
If you have positive thoughts, you will have positive circumstances
If you have negative thoughts, you will have negative circumstances
So prayer is a way to get God to say yes to you. Follow the rules and God will reward you.   “I am Blessed.”

For many years – Kate believed this. Then she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer? What happened?  She did not have enough faith?  She did not believe? Did not pray the right prayers?
Maybe my dad – who went to daily Mass – and was very sick at the end of his life – did not believe enough.  Or my sister who is fighting breast cancer, and never misses Mass, somehow deserves what she is going through?

Nonsense, of course -
Having faith does not mean that bad things will not happen. Our bodies are delicate. Life is fragile. Things do happen.  

As Kate explains it – a reminder that life is precious – a gift to be lived each moment!
I would say – it is the mystery of the cross. We all share in the cross. And where there is death, there can also be life!

You see - We are standing on Holy Ground – and by sharing in the Cross this Lent – by our sacrifices of Prayer, Fasting and Charity we can transform our lives and the lives of others  -    Why should you want anything else, I never did?  This is where you learn everything! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Funeral Mass - Jeanette K. Leva

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Jeanette Leva on Monday, February 22 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

President's Day

Monday, February 15 is President's Day - A National Holiday. Morning Mass will be at 8:00 a.m. All parish offices will be closed. The Adoration Chapel will be closed.

Ministry of Hospitality

I think most of us would agree that we want our parish Church to be a place of welcome. We want everyone to feel welcome here, our parishioners and our visitors, both young and old,  both healthy and physically and mentally challenged. How can we accomplish this?
During this past month, I have had good discussions with Pat Moore, our Head Usher and with our Parish Council. Last week, I had the Head Ushers of each of our Masses over to the Rectory for pizza and more discussion.
We have come up with a plan, but I need your help. We need more greeters for each door of the church to welcome people as they enter. We need ushers to assist people with seating. We need ushers who will direct our deacons to where our physically challenged parishioners are seated to bring them Communion. We need ushers and greeters to hand out bulletins after Mass.  This could be done on a regular basis, or an individual or family could sign up to help once a month.  For more information or to sign up to help, please see the Head Usher at your Mass or call the Rectory at 227-8380 or email . I thank all who are already serving as ushers and greeters (some who have served for many years), and I pray that more of our parishioners will join them in this important ministry.

In the future, we hope to expand this ministry to include Funerals, Weddings, First Communions and Confirmations. 


Many people watch the Super Bowl for the game. A good game!  But, just as many watch it for the ads. My favorite one this year was the Dorito’s ad. In the ad, an expectant mother, undergoing an ultrasound, is annoyed by her husband who is absentmindedly munching Doritos while their baby’s image is displayed on the screen. But as the father moves the chip, the baby in the mother moves with it; and when the mother throws the chip across the room, well, the baby decides this is the moment to be born.

As a side note – a group complained that the commercial dangerously “humanized” the fetus. Oh boy, come on. It’s a baby!

That ad – and all the others – have to do with temptation. Come on – buy this product. You need this. You want to be like every one else, right? You can’t live without it. You won’t be happy unless you own this, you wear this, you eat this.

Sounds like Jesus first temptation:
Command these stones to turn into bread. What’s wrong with bread, with food?  Temptation to make all these pleasures the basis of life.   Called consumers – we can be consumed by them.   Endless days in front of the TV. Hour upon hour on the internet and social media.   Why Jesus fasts and we are invited to fast during Lent.   Purpose is to know what is most important.  Set priorities straight!

Second temptation
I will give you all these kingdoms if you worship me. Again, power and glory are not bad things in themselves.  But what is very first commandment? worship God alone.   Use power and glory for the good.  So many of us have power:  at work, in school, in families.   How do we use our power?  For our glory or for the glory of God?  At Last Supper, Jesus knelt down and washed the feet of His disciples – power for service!    Corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Third temptation
Throw yourself down from the temple. His angels will guard and protect you. Taking advantage of God’s love.  Presumption.  I can sin and God will still love me.  Yes.    I can keep sinning and God will still forgive me.   Yes.  But try that in any relationship.  You will destroy it.   Our sins will destroy us.   

There are 2 lies that Satan wants us to believe:
Just once won’t hurt

Now that you have ruined your life, you are beyond God’s use, so you might as well enjoy sinning.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is on February 10. It is a Day of Fasting (only one full meal plus two smaller meals) and a Day of Abstinence from meat.

Blessed Ashes will be imposed during Masses at 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon

Blessed Ashes will be imposed during Services at 9:15 a.m., 3:30 pm, 4:45 pm and at 7:45 pm.

Please keep this day holy!


A man names Bob was promoted Vice President of his company. Really went to his head. For weeks he was telling everyone. Finally his wife said – hey, it’s no big deal. These days everyone is vice president of something. They even have a vice president of peas at ACME. So Bob calls ACME – Let me speak to the Vice President of Peas?  Reply – fresh or frozen.    A lesson in humility!

Today we meet three people in Bible who received lessons in humility.
Isaiah – great vision of God  - Woe is me, I am lost . . .
Paul – last of all he appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle.
Peter – Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man.
All three – humbled in the sight of the Lord.

Humility is an important virtue in the Bible.
The opposite of humility –is Pride - one of the 7 deadly sins.
Pride can lead to:
Vanity – depending on the approval of others. Most fragile form of pride.
Conceit – put down others to raise up self.  Always comparing
Arrogance – I am better than others

1) Humility is not low self esteem   - if you have a poor self image, think you are not as good as other people, cannot look others in the eye, will not stand up for your rights  - this is not humility
God wants us to have a healthy respect for self – as well as others.  We are sons and daughters of God!

2) Humility has to do with how we view ourselves in relationship to God.
Electricity comes to town  -  1st family wired house for lights -  invited friends  over.
Moment came – turned on the light – wow – oh no. Every cobweb, every crack showed up.    In light of God   -   wow.
Amazing thing = despite all the cracks and imperfections – we are loved by God!

3) So then - What return can I make to the Lord for all the Good he has done for me -
Isaiah – I heard God’s voice – Whom shall I sent, who shall go for us?   Here I am, send me!
Paul – By the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.
Peter – Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching people – and off he went!

Years ago my family was at Ortley Beach – told sisters I am going to take a walk  – looked back and there was my little nephew Kevin  – walking in my footprints – awesome responsibility -   I thought - my life would work best if I walked in the footsteps of God.    And that is humility!!!