What would be your first thought when you walk into the Church? Is it about ourselves or God? Do we compare ourselves with others? I often wonder what everybody thinks during the readings and homily at Mass. Do we reflect on our life or neighbors? Couple years ago, someone approached me after the Mass and said, “Father, while you were talking about “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” (2Timothy 4:7) I was thinking about two of my neighbors who had a good fight last night.
This weekends Gospel reading we see a parable of the tax-collector and the Pharisee. In Jesus' time, his Jewish audience would have expected the Pharisee to have been the "good guy" and the tax-collector to have been the "bad guy." But, Jesus flips this predisposition of his audience. Pride is found not in the tax-collector but in the Pharisee; and, conversely, humility is found in the tax-collector. If Jesus look at disposition our life what would he find: pride or humility?
This is the last weekend of Respect Life month, we are praying for victims of Domestic violence and human trafficking. The violence against another person is a failure to treat that person as someone worthy of love. The violence within the sacramental marriage, the abused spouse may question, "How do these violent acts relate to my promise to take my spouse for better or for worse?" An article from United State Bishop’s says, “We focus here on violence against women, since 85 percent of the victims of reported cases of non-lethal domestic violence are women. Women's greatest risk of violence comes from intimate partners—a current or former husband or boyfriend.” The human trafficking is new form of slavery. United Bishop’s Conference says, “Human trafficking violates the sanctity, dignity, and fundamental rights of the human person.” They state that, every nation is affected by this this disease—the United States is no exception.
We all are called to love God and love one another. It is essence of our discipleship. Month of October, we were reflecting and praying, especially through the devotion to the Rosary, on the dignity of the human life. This weekend reading talks about being humble in the presence of God. Our relationship with God is unique. Even though each one of us are different, in the eyes of God no one is fundamentally better or worse than another person. He created us to be ourselves, our best selves. That’s how He sees us.
All Saints Day and All Souls Day: In the month of November Church invites us to pray for our loved ones. We celebrate November 1st is all Saints day and November 2nd is all Souls day. Sometimes we think that the church means we who are on earth. Church has three realms: the church on earth is called militant church because we are in a battle between good and evil; the souls in purgatory are called suffering church because they are in state of purifying to fully experience God’s glory and the saints who have already entered in the heavenly glory are victorious or triumphant church.
All Saints day is a feast honoring all Christian saints – known and unknown. On All Souls day we remember all those who have gone before us. The souls in purgatory, they need our prayer to help their purification and to attain in heavenly glory. On November 2nd we celebrate a special Mass at St. Cecilia Cemetery at 11:00 am. We celebrate a Mass of remembrance on Sunday, November 10.
We ask saints to intercede for us. We pray for our loved one those who have gone before us. Every Mass there is place we pray for our loved ones. Please remember our loved one every Mass. Another way, Church invites us to offer Mass in their name. It costs only $ 10.00, but it take conscious thought and action to do it. Please join for All Saints Day and All Souls Day celebration.
I read a story of a phone call Father O’Malley received. Hello, is this Father O’Malley? Father O’Malley says, “Yes, It Is.” From the other side, “This is the IRS. Can you help us?” Father O’Malley, “Yes-I can” “Do you know a Ted Houlihan?” Father O’Malley, “Yes, I do” Is he a member of your congregation? Father O’Malley, “Yes, He is” Did he donate $10,000 to the church? Father O’Malley, “Yes, He will”
We are celebrating Extraordinary Mission Sunday. Some give to the missions by going. Some go by giving. Mission Sunday is the day to reach out beyond the needs of the local Parish and diocese to assist missionaries as they go and tell in the young churches. The theme for the Extraordinary Missionary Month is: “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.” Pope Francis in his recent Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: “Missionary action is the paradigm of every work of the Church.” (EG 15)
In 2017, Pope Francis wrote a letter to call the whole Church an Extraordinary Mission month on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of The Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud” by Pope Benedict XV. Pope Francis wrote in his letter, “The Apostolic Letter “Maximum Illud” called for transcending national boundaries and bearing witness, with prophetic spirit and evangelical boldness, to God’s saving will through the Church’s universal mission. May the approaching centenary of that Letter serve as an incentive…(to) be open to the joyful newness of the Gospel. In these, our troubled times, rent by the tragedies of war and menaced by the baneful tendency to accentuate differences and to incite conflict, may the Good News that in Jesus forgiveness triumphs over sin, life defeats death and love conquers fear, be proclaimed to the world with renewed fervor, and instill trust and hope in everyone.”
Our baptismal call is to be a missionary. Church is missionary. St. Therese of Lisieux, also called St. Teresa of the Child Jesus or the Little Flower, is the patron saint for the missionaries. She was a spiritual master of the contemplative life. St. Therese didn’t go out to mission journey, but in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, she reflects on the new freedom of a new joy she will enjoy in heaven. She writes, “There will be no longer any cloister and grilles and my soul will be able to fly with you into distant lands.” She didn’t go too far, but she prayed for missionaries.
This weekends First Reading from the Book of Exodus and the Gospel reading from Luke both speak about perseverance in prayer. In the battle against Amalek, the forces of Israel were winning as long as Moses held his hands up. The ancient way of praying, and the way many of us pray at times is to lift our hands up to the Lord. When Moses’ let his arms fall, Amalek succeeded. When Moses stopped praying, Amalek succeeded. He needed the help and support of Aaron and Hur to keep his arms up. He needed the support of others to persevere in prayer. Jesus tells a humorous story of an unjust judge and a persistent widow. Judge says, “While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.”
As we celebrate Mission Sunday, reading remind us that our missionary journey needs to start with prayer and perseverance in prayer. Let us pray for missionary, and share our resources. At the same time let us encourage each other to grow in our faith. Let us be a missionary!
In the ancient world, lepers were not included in the community. They were supposed to keep distance from others. The communities were afraid of them. Today we read this story and may say, it is so sad. Are we different from them? Flu season what do we do. We are afraid of those who are sick or self-conscious of our health. Jesus’ story, there were ten lepers. In this story there are two points for reflection: inclusion and gratitude.
What is inclusion? Some of them must have been limping with deformed legs, most likely relying on crutches. Some had lost fingers and even parts of their face. Many had horrible sores all over their bodies. They were hideous.
All of them had bells. All were required to call out continually, “Unclean, unclean.” The healthy would do everything possible to avoid them. That is why at the beginning of the Gospel the lepers stood off at a distance and called to Jesus to heal them. They were not supposed to come closer. Jesus told them “Go show yourselves to the priests.” It is because there was a ritual to be welcomed back to the community. Jesus healed them, not just leprosy, but brought them back to community.
Respect life month invites us to meditate on dignity of life. Fr. Dennis Mullen at the cluster mission reminded us that our culture tells us that we have to be young and wealthy. So we are tempted to move towards that goal. The Bible teaches that life is a gift of God and hence we have to respect it from womb to tomb. This weekend we celebrate Inclusion Awareness Day as a part of respect life month. Respect life month we celebrate life with our ability and disAbilities, our strength and weakness. We are one family. Because we like to see ourselves young, healthy and wealthy, sometime we forget to appreciate the rest of the community. Inclusion awareness Sunday is opportunity to reflect how we include everyone in the community by looking at our abilities, rather than looking at disAbilities. How we appreciate the gift of each and every one. In other words, how we celebrate our differences. This weekends reading invites us to “do something beautiful for God” by reaching out to others.
Father Henri Nouwen, the founder of the Pathways Awareness remarked that "I was always studying about God and teaching about God to all these bright students. I wanted to be smarter than others. I wanted to show them that I could be "with it". And I suddenly realized that it is not in strength and power that God was coming to me, but in weakness."
God’s love includes everyone. He opened his arms and heart on the cross to embrace everyone. So Jesus invites us to open our hearts, minds and doors for everyone. But in reality, sometimes many people with disAbilities are unintentionally excluded. Inclusion Awareness Sunday invites us to reflect that what I can do to include everyone.
Second point is gratitude. On the way to the temple priest, all of them received healing, but only the Samaritan came back to Jesus to express his gratitude. He was outcast twice, he is outcast because he was a Samaritan and then because of leprosy.
We try to teach our children to say please and thank you. When we reach our adulthood, do we still keep the positive attitude or do we become a more negative person. Do we count our blessing? Do we still keep that attitude of gratitude? It is most beautiful prayer. Eucharist is a beautiful prayer of gratitude.
Let us pray, Lord, may we never fail to recognize your love and mercy. Fill our heart with gratitude and thanksgiving. Lord, give us strength to bring others closer to you. Amen
First of all let us wish our St. Francis parishioners, a happy and joyful Feast of St. Francis. Feast of St. Francis of Assis was on October 4th, but we celebrate on Sunday October 6th. St. Francis of Assis loved the whole universe. The custom of blessing of animal originated from St. Francis’s love all creatures. Animals used to come and listen to St. Francis preach. How beautiful is to begin month of October reflecting St. Francis’ love for all God’s creation.
I assume most of you got a chance to watch the movie, "Unplanned." After the movie, I said, what a powerful message. Why is it powerful, because it involves real life. Life matters.
The month of October is month of respect life and month of the rosary. This year, the theme for the respect life is "Christ is Our Hope in Every Season of Life." Every moment of our life from womb to tomb is a gift from God and He is our Hope. Every season of our life encounters challenges- moments of being vulnerable, but those vulnerabilities give us the opportunity to grow closer to Christ who is our Hope. As I mentioned above, October is month of Rosary, a devotion to our Mother Mary, which very well connects with respect life month. When we meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary, we walk through life Jesus: from very moment of his conception in the womb of Mary, through his passion death and resurrection to his ascension and coming of the Holy Spirit. He restored the dignity of our life. Through his salvific action, we received the dignity of life.
In this month of October, let us pray for life: life from the womb to tomb. Let us become voice of the voiceless: unborn, vulnerable and elderly. The first week we pray in special way pray for unborn babies, mothers and babies aborted and healing of their parents. The second week we will be praying for people with different abilities (disabilities). We call it Inclusion awareness Sunday. If you know someone is not received Sacrament in appropriate age, please call Kathy Rominske, Sandy Kennedy, we can prepare them for Sacraments. If you know someone who would like to read, serve or bringing the gift this Sunday please call parish office. We will train and prepare them for the ministry.
The third Sunday, we celebrate World Mission Sunday. Pope Francis wrote in his 2017 message, “Carrying out our mission, let us draw inspiration from Mary, Mother of Evangelization. Moved by the Spirit, she welcomed the Word of life in the depths of her humble faith.” Fourth Sunday, we meditate and pray for the domestic violence and human trafficking. Again, an opportunity to reflect on dignity of life in our day to day life.
October 18th we will be celebrating a healing Mass. It is the feast of St. Luke, who was physician and patron saint of the medical profession. During the healing Mass we pray for all those who are sick, opportunity to receive the Sacrament of the Sick, and offer a special prayer for the caregivers and healthcare professional.
Respect Life month invites us to reflect on the dignity of the lives and evaluate, how we respect one another’s lives. Let us take a special attention to pray Rosary this month and pray for peace, human life and the family.
“The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.” -Saint Padre Pio