First of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your generous support to our parish, and early Catholic Service Appeal (CSA). Your generosity makes a difference. This weekend is the KICK-OFF of our annual CSA 2020-2021. The theme for this year's appeal is “Together in Mission...Alive with Hope!” It is also about the dedication and commitment of our life. Bishop James Powers says, “A community that is made up of priest, religious and laity, all of us working on that same mission to evangelize, to go forth to all nations to bring God’s Word of Love, Hope and Salvation to all... How important it is that all do whatever we can to make our mission possible.”
Sometimes we ask why do I need to give my money to the diocese. It could be used in my local church. It is a valuable thought. The reality is we are part of the universal church; we are part of the bigger mission. “Whether promoting vocations, educating our future priests, providing lay ministry formation, teaching, evangelizing, providing outreach to youth, young adults, and those in need, diocesan ministries reach beyond the ability of any single parish to support.” We benefit from the diocese in so many different ways. You should have received the CSA booklet in the mail. It will give you a picture of how our money is used and how many lives you touched. There are some wonderful testimonies, please take time to read it.
The goal for this year for our parishes are: St. Anthony $33,648; Immaculate Conception $10,599; and St. Francis $4,834.
Please participate and reach the goal this year. Our participation becomes successful by our own participation and by encouraging others to participate. Even nonparishioners will participate for the right cause. Let us respond to Bishop James Power’s invitation and make it a successful one. If everyone makes a commitment, we will reach this goal in two or three weekends. Let us do a miracle.
Do we carry the Cross with a grateful heart?
Does Jesus sound funny in the gospel today? We all love to have a joy-filled life, but Jesus says that anyone who wants to be his follower must take up his cross. ‘Really?’ you may ask, ‘why do we have to take up a cross to follow Jesus as he asked in the Gospel today?’ What the year 2020 tells us. I have heard people say, “I wish we didn’t have the year 2020.” Always suffering is a matter of study or discussion. It always leaves us with unanswered questions.
This weekend reading reminds us what it means our discipleship, and what it demands? Look at Peter and Jeremiah. This weekend reading we see Peter objected to Jesus’ prediction of his sufferings. We hear Jeremiah says, “You duped me, O LORD and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me…”
The Gospel passage for today can be divided into two. 1) Matthew 16:21-23 Peter’s refusal to accept Jesus’ predicted suffering and death. We saw in last weekend reading Peter proclaims the faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus gave him “keys of the kingdom” and the authority to teach, govern, and forgive sins. Today we see when Peter heard about suffering says “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Does it say something to us? Does Peter represent each one of us?
2) Matthew 16: 24-27 gives a definition of discipleship. If we want to be a disciple of Jesus, there are three things which one must be prepared to doing: he must deny himself, take up his cross follow Jesus. It gives us a scale to measure our life.
16:27 says, “For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.” The first coming of Christ was for the salvation of the world. In order to attain salvation, one has to believe in him. Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead (Rev. 22:12, 2 Tim 4:1). This will happen at an unexpected time (Matthew 24:36-51). So we have to be watchful, (Matthew 13:32-37). Rev 21:1-8 says, God will establish a new heaven and new earth where he will eternally dwell with all the redeemed. This will be the reward for discipleship.
A Sunday school teacher asked Charlie, “Do you remember your memory verse?” Then Charlie, “I sure do. I even remember the zip code…Matthew 16:16.”
What is in Matthew 16:16? Peter proclamation of faith, "You are the Christ, Son of the Living God." Todays' Gospel passage summarizes the Catholicism.
One of the social phenomena in the modern world is opinion polls. These are conducted everywhere, especially in the political and commercial spheres. One day Jesus also wanted to do an opinion poll, but for a different purpose. He was not looking for the approval ratings, but he was looking for a relationship rating. Jesus used every opportunity to teach his disciples and the common people. Jesus asked them, “Who do people say that the son of man is?” They answered: "Some say John the Baptist; for example, Matthew 14:2 Herod said to his servants "This man is John the Baptist" others Elijah; example-Malachi 3:23 "I will send Elijah, the prophet before the day of the Lord Comes." others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jews were waiting for the coming of Messiah, but when he came, they were confused and identified with someone else.
Jesus was preparing them to answer a bigger or personal question. So he immediately followed his first question with a second: “Who do you say that I am?" We see here, only Peter is answering this question. He said, "You are the Christ, Son of the Living God." We see at the baptism of Jesus, (Matthew 3:17) "A voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Also, we heard two weeks ago, when Jesus walked on the water and entered the boat, those who are on the boat did him homage, saying "Truly you are the Son of God." (Matthew 15:33) Peter, here again, proclaims the core of our faith.
Peter publicly proclaims that Jesus is the anointed one (Christ) of God who incarnated to save humanity. Jesus responds to that and says that it is a revelation from the Father. As I mentioned before at the baptism of Jesus, the voice of the Father revealed as the beloved son. Now through Peter, it is repeated and proclaimed publicly.
In the second part of today's Gospel, Jesus reveals his plan for the Church. Jesus gave Peter the key and authority and builds the Church on the rock 'petro' Peter.
Before we go further, let us look at the first reading from the book of Isaiah. The section of Isaiah is chapters 13 to 23, the oracle against the different pagan nations. The first reading for today is from chapter 22, Shebna, the master of the place, is going to be removed from his place because of his unfaithfulness, and the Lord is going to appoint Eliakim and give him the robe, sash, and key of Shebna. The Key is a symbol of authority.
The Lord said he will place the "key of the house of David" on Eliakims' shoulder. In the Gospel, Jesus, from the house of David, gives the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter. God gave the key to Eliakim, but the words of Isaiah are completed in the New Testament, when Jesus, the offspring of David gave the key to Peter. Jesus chose a leader for the Church. That key is handed over again and again and at present Pope Francis holds that office.
Thank you! I would like to express my gratitude towards everyone who participated in the raffle and all those who generously donated towards the roof fundraising. We made $ 5000.00 profit from the raffle and received $ 35,670.00 as donations. We are halfway through. If you have not yet made a donation, please prayerfully consider making a donation. Thank you!
God is walking around Heaven one day, and notices a number of people in the heavenly streets who shouldn't be there. He finds St. Peter at the gate and says to him, "Peter, you've been remiss in your duties. You're letting in the wrong sort of people."
"Don't blame me, Lord," replied Peter. "I turn them away just like you said to. Then they go around to the back door and your mother lets them in."
August 15th we celebrate Assumption of Mary: a journey that we’re all called to walk: from here to Heaven. We didn’t celebrate this year because it falls on Saturday. This solemn feast of Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950 but was celebrated in the Church from its earliest days as the Feast of the Dormition, or falling asleep of Mary. Mary received the grace to be body and soul in Heaven along with her son. Our Lord ascended into Heaven in glory; Our Blessed Mother was assumed into Heaven.
We know from the Bible, God created Adam and Eve in the image and likeness of God. Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.” God gave us second Adam and Eve: Jesus and Mary. If we look at the first book of the Bible, Genesis 3:15, we read, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” God chose Mary, second Eve, in a special way to bring Jesus, the second Adam, who brings our salvation.
This weekend all readings talk about God’s love for his people and through the Israelites extend to all nations. The first reading is the third section of Isaiah. This section witnesses to the struggles and hoped-for blessings of the postexilic community now back in the homeland of Israel. Today’s reading prophet gives instruction for those who wish to live according to God’s word and covenant. Isaiah declares in the reading, “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
In the Gospel, Jesus declares that salvation is extended for all nations through faith. In last Sunday's gospel reading, Peter's prayer was condensed into three words, "Lord, save me!" In today's reading the Canaanite woman's prayer is “Lord, help me.” Peter was the Lord's chief disciple, the Canaanite woman was a pagan; but their prayer was the same. Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” on the other hand Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, “O woman, great is your faith!” Both of them received his blessing.
In today's Gospel reading, however, he appeared rather reluctant to help the woman. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" meant "I was sent to help Jews, not Canaanites." To make it worse, he added "It is not fair to throw the children's food to dogs." The 'children' were the Jews, "the children of Israel." The 'dogs' were foreigners. It was a Jewish nickname for all foreigners at that time. In the end Jesus praises her faith and blesses her with healing for her daughter. Let us grow in our faith and bring us to Jesus for his blessing.
In one of his books, Mark Twain recalls a visit to the Holy Land and a stay in Capernaum. It was a moonlit night, so he decided to take his wife on a romantic boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Twain asked a man in a rowboat how much he would charge to take them out on the water. The man saw Twain's white suit, white shoes and white hat and supposed he was a rich Texan. So he said the cost would be twenty-five dollars. Twain walked away as he said, "Now I know why Jesus walked on water." This weekend’s reading Elijah encountering God in whispering sound and the apostles encountering Jesus while he was walking on the water. Unexpected ways and place God come to our life.
The story of Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb was a flight from danger. Ahaz was the king of Israel, but the real power was his wife Queen Jezebel, the promotor of pagan god Baal.Elijah challenged the all the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and which ended up Elijah’s victory and annihilated all of them. Queen Jezebel was angry and ready to take Elijah’s life. Elijah fled to Mount Horeb to save his life. Mount Horeb is an alternate name for Mount Sinai, where Lord appeared to Moses. Here Elijah acknowledges the presence of God by covering his face and coming out of the cave where he had been staying and received a commission. There is a Hebrew idiom, “to serve the Lord.” We read in the first reading God said to Elijah, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” In a way, God was asking him, why you are hiding here, I want you to go back and do the prophetic service.
We hear in the Gospel the continuation of the feeding of the Five Thousand. We see creative power and authority in the multiplication of loaves and fish. The Gospel illustrated this weekend, Jesus’ power over other elements of creation. In the Gospel, Jesus is walking on crashing waves of a terrible storm at Sea of Galilee. On the other hand the apostles, in the middle of the night a few miles away from the shore being tossed by the waves. They were fishermen; they go for fishing always in the middle of the night. They know quite well the Sea of Galilee, but still they are scared.
When we are scared or in pain, do we have a tendency to see ghost or evil instead of God? It is very hard to see good when we go through tough time, isn’t it? When the apostles were laboring against the turbulent sea, Jesus came to save them. They saw Jesus walking on the water, what did they think? “It is a ghost.”
Jesus told them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” It is I; here Jesus does a self-identification. We see in the book of Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM.” Then HE said to Moses to tell Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.” Jesus revealed his identity to the apostles.
St. John Paul II always, repeated the phrase from the Bible, “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” Jesus tells us today, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” He is with us always, be ready to encounter his unexpected place, time and situations.