Daily Prayers and Reflections from Father Tom
Important information from Fr. Tom
“I have longed to celebrate this meal with you.” Those as you know, are Jesus’ words. But they’re also mine. And those of all of us here at Saints Philip and James. We miss you! We want to welcome you home!
I/we pray that soon, very soon you’ll feel safe joining us here as we celebrate and do in memory of Him, what is the heart of our Catholic faith....celebrate Eucharist.
I do understand the real health concerns all of us have at this time of pandemic. And I want to assure you, and reassure you that we at
Saints Philip and James from the very start have taken every safety and health concern to protect us all. Sunday reservations have added much additional work to our staff
(I thank them for taking this on) and I do know that not every parish does so.....we do it based on health recommendations that this is the best way to help with tracing, should God forbid contagion occur.
Our church has remained open since the very beginning of the pandemic offering a place for prayer and quiet time with the Lord who wants to be with each of us in these very difficult times. Beginning next week, I’d like to invite you to consider coming to Eucharistic adoration asking the Lord to help us as we hopefully resume somewhat of a more regular parish life .
What have we learned through the pandemic? We need each other, and we need God. Beginning next Monday, September, the parish will offer Eucharistic adoration every Monday from 1:30 PM To 7 PM. Let’s pray for each other and for our world!
After each of the daily Masses and Sunday Masses, and all the activities that take place within our church , the church is sanitized.
These have been very difficult days for all of us. Yet, thanks to your generosity, we have been able to continue our parish mission and respond to the mandate of Jesus that we care for one another. Parish social ministry has been able to respond to the needs of many. I thank you for making that possible.
Our church is safe, our school is safe, and our religious education team has put together a wonderful online educational opportunity for all of our young people. You’ll be hearing much more about all of this in the bulletin and on the parish website.
We will continue to live stream the daily 9:15 Mass and both the 8 and 10 o’clock Masses on Sunday.
I’m praying for you and ask that you pray for me and for our parish. I hope to see you soon! God bless you.
Father Thomas Haggerty
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DAILY PRAYERS - REFLECTIONS - AND WORDS
FROM FATHER TOM
Our Parish Office is open for your needs - Monday - Wednesday 9 am - 6 pm. Our office lobby is small - we request that you wear a mask and maintain proper distancing. Other than regular operating days above - please ring the doorbell for assistance.
Mass Intentions and Altar Memorials are available. You may request in person, via phone message, e-mail, or drop your request in the mail slot at the side of our office entrance door. You will receive a call back verifying dates and times requested. Mass Cards may be picked-up - or we can mail the card directly to the family. You may also leave a message to have a name added to our prayer list.
Our Food Pantry, under Parish Social Ministry, is operating. We are meeting the needs of those in our parish and community. You can find a list of pantry items needed in our bulletin as well as on our facebook page. If you know a family who is in need of support, please have them contact us and we will be happy to assist in any way we are able.
Regular Mass schedule has resumed ... It is required that you wear a face mask when entering our church and maintain acceptable personal distance at all times for the safety of all. Please refer to our bulletin for proper procedure to receive communion.
Our maintenance staff is on site daily to clean and sanitize our church.
We are livestreaming Mass daily at 9:15 weekdays .... at 8 am and 10 am weekends... click on the Facebook link on the opening page of our website.
If you are in need of a priest you may call the office and select the option for Emergency After Hours.
Our bulletin is going to print weekly. The publications can be found on our website. There is a limited paper copy in church.
Our parish runs on donations, contributions and offerings made through the generosity of our parishioners. If you are able to continue financial support, offerings may be mailed to 1 Carow Place. They may also be dropped into the mail slot at the side of the office entrance door. You may choose to sign-up with Faith Direct, there is a link on our opening webpage.
Parish Rectory Office - 631-584-5454
We are grateful for your generosity and support.
Click to join our Live-stream Mass and services or by following the facebook link on our website home page: sspj.org
Click here for the lLink to USCCB Mass readings- click on appropriate day. Act of Spiritual Communion prayer can be found on our opening page
Music for October 25, 2020
Gathering – O Bless the Lord # 560
Presentation – These Alone Are Enough # 395
Communion – Hail Mary: Gentle Woman # 695
Sending Forth – Take The Word of God# 381
Music for Confirmation 2020 _ October 24, 2020
Gathering – All Are Welcome # 414
Presentation – River of Glory # 641
Communion – One Bread, One Body # 338
Sending Forth - - This Day Was made by the Lord # 574
Permission to podcast/livestream the music in this service is obtained from OneLicense with the license # A-607678
**Recorded CD music is not included in this license.
**** UPDATE**** The reason for "reservations to attend Mass
~ We are STILL TAKING MASS RESERVATIONS ~
however, you no longer need to bring a copy of your reservation to Mass.
The reservation list is printed 4 pm Saturday evening.
The attendant at Mass will just be required to check off your name.
If you register after 4 pm on Saturday we ask you to please provide your name to the attendants outside of church.
We continue to work diligently to provide a safe environment for all to worship.
Our church continues to be sanitized between all services and Masses.
We continue to follow guidelines presented to us by CDC, WHO, Federal, State, and Local authorities
as well as recommendations from the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
We have been permitted to increase Mass attendance from 90 - 125 attendees.
While reservations allow us to monitor attendance it MORE IMPORTANTLY allows us TRACKING ABILITY
which is strongly recommended by the CDC, WHO, Department of Health, and all agencies.
As we have come to learn, tracking is important to control this virus.
We hope this eases your concerns and helps you understand the "reservation process" better.
Please contact the Parish office if you are having difficulty making a reservation and we will assist you.
You may call 631-584-5454 or email us at: email@example.com.
Reflection on the Painting
Whilst the main point of our Gospel passage is about the controversy between Jesus
and the synagogue leader, at its very core is the healing of a woman who was bent
over, showing His compassion for us. Looking at our painting today by Serbian
contemporary artist Milos Todorovic, what strikes us is how this woman must have
seen the world for the past 18 years. She ‘was bent double and quite unable to stand
upright’. She probably could only look at people glancing sideways, from the corner
of her eye. She could not see the world in any other way. Her illness or possession by
an evil spirit prevented her seeing the world in any other way. When Jesus healed her,
she could stand upright again and literally have a whole new perspective... on life.
Jesus' perspective on the Sabbath day was also unique. It would be very easy to paint
the synagogue leader in our passage as simply the ‘bad guy’. He probably wasn’t. He
probably had a lot of respect for God and his ministry. Even for the past 18 years he may have actually been the one who helped the woman in our story and gave her shelter. To tie in the healing of the woman with Jesus’ attitude towards the synagogue official simply demonstrates the essence of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus wants us to follow Him in everything and give our lives to Him, setting us free from what is holding us captive. The woman was held captive by the evil spirit, and the official was held captive by his judgement of people and hypocrisy. Anything that imprisons us has to be got rid of. For Jesus, compassion and love are paramount, trumping all other considerations...
Reflection on the Sculpture
Today’s reading goes to the very heart of all Scripture. Jesus tells us what our central
duty, responsibility, and even privilege in life is: ‘You must love the Lord your God
with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and
the first commandment.’ Jesus doesn’t mention the soul, the heart and mind as if they
were separate categories of love, it is one love. But by spelling out heart, mind and soul,
Jesus stresses that we are to love God with every part of our being. The depth of our
love for God should sit in each of these areas.
To love God with our heart means that our life revolves around Him. He is the center of
our daily life wheel. He is at the forefront of all that we think and do. To love God with
our soul means there is genuine emotion and passion towards God. This doesn’t mean
that our love for God is to be controlled by our feelings. But it is yet important to find
God in our emotional nature. And then to love God with our mind, does not just include
the intellectual life, but also a sense determination, active choice and using our free will
to seek God. Loving God with all our mind balances out our emotions and steers the
direction and path on which we walk, pursuing God.
Our sculpture by Polish artist Xawery Dunikowski was made in 1918. We can see a certain angst in this sculpture titled ‘The Soul Escaping the Body’. The body is putting its hands firmly down to try and keep the soul inside the body. The body is fighting for life… soon after this was sculpted in 1918, World War I was over…
Reflection on the Pencil Drawing
Our drawing by Australian artist Lloyd Rees shows a very mature, over 100-year-old
fig tree, maybe somewhat similar to the fig tree Jesus is talking about in today’s
reading. Drawn in 1934, it almost feels like we are looking at an old master painting.
In 2016 there was a retrospective of the artist in Sydney titled ‘Painting with Pencil’
which I think sums up Rees’ work very well. The infinite care over the smallest of
pencil lines (have a look at the houses in the background for example) shows the
artist’s skill and patience when making these drawings.
And it is to skill and patience that Jesus is calling us in today’s reading. With us as
with a fig tree, it takes a while to produce fruit, and we have to be skilled to nurture
the tree and patient to await its fruit. Jesus tells us that God is patient with us and
always ready to give us more time. God trusts in our capacity to bear fruit. Therefore
this parable of the fig tree is a great story of hope, where the Master Gardener will
do what He can to produce beautiful fruit from every fig tree… from you and me...
Refusing to live split lives
“Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Paul tells us to be humble, gentle, patient, and loving. At all times. Period. He doesn’t say: “Be gentle, patient, and loving with close friends and family, but once you go to work or shopping, forget all that stuff and do what you gotta do to survive, get ahead, or fit in.” Our culture has accustomed us to leading “split lives,” behaving one way in personal life and another way at work. That’s not Christian, plainly put. The root of the word “integrity” means “whole,” and Paul is challenging us to be people of integrity who lead whole rather than split lives, gentle and patient and loving even at work. That’s tough to do. But if I try, I may help change and redeem our broken, angry, dysfunctional workplaces and society.
Lord Jesus, you call us to live our lives as you did, showing love and compassion to all those we encounter, no matter their relationship to us or their status in society. Help us to follow your example in all that we do. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Reflection on the Marvel Comic
Today we celebrate Saint John Paul II. Born exactly 100 years ago, he is probably one of the
most compelling figures of the 20th century. Karol Wojtyla endured the loss of most of his
family when Poland was under Nazi rule and clandestinely studied for the priesthood. He
participated in the Second Vatican Council and, after he was elected pope, he became the
most widely-traveled pontiff ever. But did you know that John Paul II’s life story was the subject
of a Marvel comic book in 1982?
The comic traces John Paul II’s life from his childhood in Poland all the way up to the
assassination attempt on his life. What persuaded the Marvel executives to give the go-ahead
to a comic book about the then newly-elected pope? Gene Pelc, whose wife was Japanese, was
a Marvel representative who had moved to Japan in the 1970s in order to report back to Marvel
on how the they could adapt its products for a Japanese audience. Pelc was mainly tasked with
licensing Spider-Man to play on Japanese television. When John Paul II visited Japan in 1981, he
gave his permission to Pelc and Marvel to publish a comic, as long as a priest friend of the pope
could help steer the project. Over 1 million copies were sold. Seeing the success of this Marvel
publication, in 1984 another comic was published about Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Reflection on the Painting
In our Gospel reading of today we hear Jesus calling us again to be vigilant.
The tale of the two stewards is shared with us: there is the prudent, faithful
steward and the unjust, unwise steward. Prudence is the capacity to be able
to see within a particular situation what is required and then decide to put it
into action. Jesus praises the prudent and faithful steward and even tells us
that the master of the household will wait on that wise steward. The master
becomes the servant of those who exercise prudence and faithfulness.
We are all stewards. We each have to serve and use wisely the talents and gifts we have received. We don't own those gifts: they were given to us, lent to us. Only in union with Christ will these gifts flourish. When we have been given great gifts, a great deal will be demanded of us. So today’s reading is a call to individual responsibility. If we know what
has been given to us and what is expected of us, but we fall short, then we will be held to greater account, especially if our actions are unjust.
In our 16th-century German painting we see the unfaithful servant being taken away from his master, who is flanked by his dog (a symbol of faithfulness). In the background we see the faithful steward with his master. If we think of ourselves as stewards of the gifts (health, family, job, creativity, …) that God has given and realize that we will have to return all of those gifts to the One from whom they came, then we can share in the joy He wants for us…
Reflection on the Painting
‘See that you are dressed for action’ says Jesus in today’s reading. He wants
us to be alert and ready for action at all times. Yes, He mentions these words
in the context of His second coming, but He also prompts us that being alert
in more general terms is part of our faith.
When our governments tell us during these Covid times ‘Stay Home’, it is a
simple, clear message which tells the citizens exactly what to do. The
governments act almost like a parent and we just have to do what we are told
and hope that all will be well. But when Jesus calls us to ‘Stay Alert’, it is quite
different. It shifts the responsibility on to us.
We are called to take responsibility for our own well-being and for our own souls.
We have to be alert to where we can be of service; alert to needs of others; alert to when we can speak about the things of God… simply to be alert to where God is already active around us.
I saw this painting six years ago in London when it came up for auction, and the reading today reminded me of this image. It depicts a Napoleonic soldier, not alert, sleepy and not aware of what is going on around him. To be fair on him, he probably had a long day’s work and was simply having a rest… But as soldiers of Christ, Jesus tells us that we can’t be sleepy in our spiritual lives… we have to be ‘dressed for action’… every day…
St. Isaac Jogues: A Saint for Those Who Have Been Knocked Down by Life
In 1636, Jogues arrived as a missionary in what is today Canada. He experienced starvation, illness, and torture. He was forced to watch the killing of Christian converts. He spent thirteen months as a slave before escaping to France.
He could have remained there as a living hero. Instead, he went back as a missionary.
Before returning, the Jesuits requested a dispensation from the pope. According to Church law, a priest needs “canonical digits” to celebrate Mass, and several of his fingers had been cut, chewed, or burnt off.
The pope granted the request, saying, “It would be shameful that a martyr of Christ not be allowed to drink the Blood of Christ.”
Isaac Jogues was able to face unimaginable difficulty and martyrdom because he allowed Christ to fill him.
Even when our challenges seem minor in comparison, we can do the same.
So, St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Reflection on the Painting
The Pharisees set a very clever trap for Jesus in today’s reading, by asking
Him ‘Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ If Jesus advised Jews
to pay the tax, they would condemn Him for recognizing the pagan Roman
authorities occupying their land. On the other hand, if Jesus told the
Pharisees not to pay the tax, then they could have told the Romans that
Jesus was spreading civil disobedience and have Him arrested. It was a
no-win situation, but Jesus outsmarted them all. He simply asked one of the
Pharisees to produce a denarius, which would be the very coins they used to
pay the tax with. Possessing that Roman coin was in itself an admission that
they were compromised as loyal Jews… they had fallen into their own trap!
Jesus simply states ‘give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar’… In our painting today
we see Caesar in full action as an emperor ruling territories. It depicts the surrender of the Gallic chieftain after the Battle of Alesia (52 BC). The Gauls are shown with long hair and moustaches. The Romans are looking on, full of confidence, arrogance and pride: they won the war. Just as Gaul became part of the Roman Empire, so were the Jewish territories, which were important to Rome, mainly because they lay between Syria and Egypt, two of Rome’s most valuable possessions.
Reflection on the Painting
In our Gospel reading today there is a very powerful promise that the Holy Spirit will
teach us what we should say in moments when we bear witness to God. As a seminarian
reading this, I find it an especially beautiful promise. I think that one of the worries many
of us here in seminary have is about what we will say, preach, or tell a congregation in the
future when we stand in front of them. What should we say at a particular time? So the
reading today resonates strongly with us and is asking us to trust fully in the Holy Spirit on
our journey ahead. As seminarians we are aware that there will be times that we will have
to speak gentle words in certain circumstances and then other times words that a highly
secularised world may not want to hear, but needs to hear. We pray that the Holy Spirit
may guide and inspire us in those moments.
Jesus is asking in our reading that at such times we offer a good testimony for Him in a clear, bold and enthusiastic way. His promise that the Holy Spirit will not desert us when we may feel persecuted is of great comfort. Like the creatures in our painting who each have their own megaphones, own voices, own trumpets, we also individually have our own voices to give witness to Christ…
As Psalm 98 says: ‘with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn -- shout for joy before the Lord, the King’.
The Spirit’s gifts
“Sealed with the promise of the Spirit,” Paul says. I heard a lot about
God the Father, Jesus, and Mary during my young Catholic life. The
Holy Spirit? Not much. Uncaged around Confirmation time, the Spirit was
then tucked back in a “spiritual cage.” That’s a pity. As I age, I realize how
desperately our society and Church now need the Spirit’s gifts. We’re like
those disciples locked in the upper room after Jesus’s ascension. We may
be unsure what to do as we face our fears and confusion about the future, for
example, or about our Church’s waning appeal to young people, or the viability of struggling parishes. We need the same courage, inspiration, imagination, and prudence that the Spirit brought those disciples. Let’s all pray: Come Holy Spirit!
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. And kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth.
Reflection on the Photograph
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). She was born
in 1515. To place this in a bit of a historical context, we have to remember that
Christopher Columbus had opened up the Western Hemisphere to European
colonisation only some 20 years before; and two years after her birth, Luther
started the Protestant reformation; she died almost 20 years after the closing
of the Council of Trent. In the midst of these seismic cultural changes Saint Teresa
In a man’s world around her, she was very much her own woman, entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet very practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with the world around her; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer; a pious woman, yet outgoing and courageous. Her writings, especially the Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle, have helped generations of believers. In 1970, the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church.
One of the main things she taught her fellow sisters was to think and pray on their own, and to concentrate, in order to hear the Lord, on what she called the ‘Interior Castle’. She shared with them that the soul is like a diamond in the shape of a castle containing seven mansions, which reflect the journey of faith, through seven stages, ending with union with God… I am sharing with you a simple photograph of her cell... no art, no paintings, no objects...
Saint Teresa pray for us.
Reflection on the Oscar Statuette
The Oscar statuette is probably one of the most recognised sculptures in the world.
Shortly after the formation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in
1927, there was discussion of how best to honour the outstanding moviemaking
achievements. The idea of a small trophy that could be handed to the winners was
born. MGM art director Cedric Gibbons designed a statuette of a knight standing on
a reel of film and gripping a crusader’s sword. The Academy then commissioned Los Angeles sculptor George Stanley to
convert the design into a three-dimensional sculpture, and so the world-renowned statuette came into being. Since then, over 3000 have been presented. The film reel on which the figure is standing features five frames that signify the five original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. It is a statuette conceived to honour the peers in the film industry.
It is a natural desire to be honoured by our peers. Whether we are academics, or teachers, or doctors, or nurses, lawyers or whatever field we may be working in, nothing feels as rewarding as when our own peers tell us that we have done a good job and applaud us for it. ‘Beware!’ Jesus says in today’s reading. He reminds us in stark words that our lives should be lived in such a way as to honour God and honour others... not to seek honour from one’s peers as the Pharisees did.
In The Company of Prayer
Lord, I rely on your light.
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from
within." -- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, American psychiatrist
Reflection on the Illuminated Manuscript Page
Our illuminated manuscript page, depicting Jonah being devoured by the whale,
is taken from the Bible of St John XXII. He was the second and longest-reigning
pope in Avignon (1316-1336). He is the pope who canonised Saint Thomas Aquinas.
We see Jonah depicted in a prayerful pose being swallowed by the whale, in front a
medieval city, probably representing Nineveh.
During the 14th century, we see many such illuminated manuscripts being produced.
The production of lavishly illustrated copies of the Bible did not end with the advent
of printing. These illuminated manuscripts are beautiful, as they symbolise so vividly
the textual literacy, spiritual devotion and rise of the material culture during the
Middle Ages. These manuscripts using natural materials, such as gold leaf, silverpoint,
vellum, and bright, mineral-derived paints, required a high degree of craftsmanship.
As the materials used were fragile and war-torn medieval Europe destroyed a lot of copies, only few good examples have survived.
Jonah prayed inside the whale for help, repented, and praised God… for three days. Jesus in our Gospel reading today mentions Jonah, to foreshadow His own death and Resurrection. Jonah emerging from the fish after three days is a parallel for Jesus emerging from the tomb after three days... Jesus compares himself to Jonah, another sign, calling for our conversion.
Banquet of heaven
This parable must seem scary to all of us who know in faith that we are invited to the "wedding banquet" of heaven but are often too busy with worldly pursuits to give heaven much thought, instead going our "own way." For us, this Covid-19 virus has an opportunity to, in some ways, be a great grace, calling us back to the one thing necessary in all of our pursuits. We must keep our calling to heaven before us in all we say and do, and pile up good works of compassion and caring for others, the wedding garment that the parable goes on to speak about.
As St. Ignatius puts it, we are meant to "find God in all things."
Lord, I pray that I may see the grace in this pandemic. When it ends, may I not return to business as usual, but rather may I have grown more eager to adorn my life with good works, in preparation for the eternal banquet of heaven.
—Fr. Jack Zupez, SJ, is a member of the Jesuits Central and Southern Province. He lives at Jesuit Hall in St. Louis and has served in full-time prison ministry.
October is a month traditionally dedicated to the rosary. I remember praying early morning rosaries in October at my elementary school named, fittingly enough, Holy Rosary. Like most Catholic kids, I grew up with the rosary as a normal part of my life: it was just there all the time. Once, in a fit of childish angst, probably around the age of 10, I shook a rosary
Reflection on the Painting
In our Gospel reading today we read about Jesus casting out demons. Whilst the
reading is clearly pointing towards actual demons inside some of the possessed people,
we also need to apply the reading to our own lives. Demons stand for anything that
can posses us in a violent, unhealthy way, thereby taking us further away from God.
Maybe our demons would be the obsessions that make for greed, envy, pride…. We are
invited to name our demons in our prayers and ask God for help to
Our large (180 × 250 cm.) painting by Swiss-English artist Henry Fuseli shows a
reclining lady literally being oppressed by a demon, whilst another demon watches on,
ready to also have a go at her. Painted in 1781, this work was executed at the height of
the Enlightenment. The painting was first displayed at the annual Royal Academy exhibition in London, where it shocked and frightened exhibition visitors. It was indeed a very avant-garde painting for its time. It is quite theatrical in style. The red drapery falling off the edge of the bed even suggests a river of blood as it might be symbolically enacted on stage in a play or an opera. The light source coming in from the right is also what would be happening on a stage. The woman, clothed in a thin white gown, stretches across a bed with her arms, neck, and head hanging off the end of the mattress. The painting depicts the drama of being oppressed by one’s demons.
As Hans Urs von Balthasar described so beautifully, Jesus invites us to live our lives as part of the Theo-drama… and move away from our own ego-drama…
Reflection on the Painting
Our reading today talks about persistence. Jesus says ‘persistence will be enough’.
I think all of us in our spiritual lives have struggled at times with the problem of
unanswered prayers. It can sometimes discourage us and even push some to quit
praying altogether. It can then even be painful when we hear stories of how God
answered the prayers of others, but for us it just doesn’t seem to work… or at least
we think that it doesn’t seem to work. Jesus is saying in today’s reading: persist! If
we keep asking, seeking, discerning, and knocking, we will receive plenty, but it
might not be what we ask for, or in the timeframe we ask for: God has his own plan
for us, and what prayer will do is align our will to His Will.
The painting by Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, is probably one of his best known paintings. The watches look like melting cheese, or as Dali put it: ‘The camembert of time. Here time must lose all meaning’. When we pray we often think
too much in terms of time and what we want right here, right now. God’s time is eternal and therefore we are called to be patient, but yet persistent.
The orange clock at the bottom left of the painting is covered in ants, symbol of decay. Another insect that is present in the painting is a fly, which sits on the watch that is next to the orange watch. The fly even appears to be casting a small human shadow as the sun hits it.
As Dali’s watches depict, time is fluid, especially in light of God, who is beyond space and time…
Richard Rohr - Taking a Step Towards Simplicity
As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that greater peace is in your hearts. . . . For we have been called to heal wounds, to bind up the broken, and to call home any who have lost their way. —Francis of Assisi
How to pray with the senses - to read more click above
Have you ever thought about how rushed you are through life? This rush can easily prevent us from realizing the wonders that exist in our day. Have you forgotten that you can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste? Have you stopped to give a hug, to look ahead for another person, to listen without rushing, or to pay attention to textures, flavors, and smells? If we took time to admire and marvel at the world we would live more in love with the God of Life, source of all that is good, beautiful, and loving.
Today I ask that you become aware of your gaze. How do you look around you? How do you use your eyes? At the beginning of your day, be grateful for the ability to see, that images enter through your eyes and that you can recognize them. Take some time to stop and ponder what is appearing before your eyes, those objects that usually do not attract your attention.
Reflection on the Painting
Our painting today is by prolific Neo-Impressionist painter, Maximilien Luce.
The softness of the pointillist style reflects the tenderness of our Good Samaritan
parable. The whole idea behind pointillism is that when you place two distinct
colours next to each other, the colours will optically blend into a different colour.
It was a revolutionary painting technique pioneered by Georges Seurat
and Paul Signac in Paris in the mid-1880s. They believed that ultimately the
viewer’s eye would blend the various colours, rather than mixing colours
conventionally on a painter’s palette. Look at the sea, for example, in our painting
composed of yellows and greens, to create the illusion of a blue sea.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most popular parables, if not
the parable that speaks the most to us. Its message is simple: a call to Christ-like
love and compassion. Whilst we can have many angles to this parable, what struck
me today is that the Samaritan isn’t named. He is just known as ‘the Good Samaritan’.
That is probably when in the eyes of God we do the best worthwhile work…
when no-one sees us doing the charitable works… just quietly working away in the background. There
are many people who quietly work away for God without anyone noticing. Recently in my parish
placement over the summer, I can think of many such people who do so much for the parish, unnoticed
and discreetly working away with deep generosity of heart. They are our modern-day good Samaritans...
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation
From the Center for Action and Contemplation
A Message for Our Times
Reflection on the Digitally Generated Artwork
We know that Jesus had given explicit powers to His twelve Apostles, enabling them to cast out
demons. But in today’s reading we see how even the seventy-two disciples were given powers.
They came back from their mission, and their informal feedback to Jesus is: “Wow, even demons
submit to us in your name!” They rejoiced not in the fact that they themselves might have been
regarded with admiration by the people they helped; but they rejoiced, as they saw God's powers
working through them. Their faith became very real and tangible during their mission. God’s will
was being done before the very eyes of these disciples. Also Jesus himself rejoiced at seeing God’s
will being done through the 72 disciples. We read that He was 'filled with joy by the Holy Spirit'.
When the seventy-two came back, Jesus saw in their successful mission evidence of the defeat of Satan.
The digitally generated image of Satan falling out of heaven, illustrated here, is one that speaks to
young people. Usually these types of graphics are part of video games, and thus digitally generated
images carry immediately a sense of familiarity with young people and therefore some credibility.
These digitally generated images are a new medium that as a church we should embrace, as this new illustrative medium communicates a language that a whole new generation of youngsters connect with. Our illustration is a strong image showing how Satan fell because of pride: he desired to be God, not to be a servant of God… unlike the seventy-two disciples who wanted to serve...
Today is the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels.
In conclusion, as we reflect on today’s readings, I invite you to turn with me to today’s responsorial
psalm which offers a moving image of God knitting us together in our mother’s womb. Let’s imagine,
as God knit each of us together, our guardian angel was also there to guard and love us from the onset
of our creation. While we journey through the pandemic and on this very special Memorial of the
Holy Guardian Angels, our faith tradition reminds us that we are never alone.
Reflection on the Digital Artwork
Jesus is still sending out men and women today, every day. In our reading today Jesus didn’t just
send out the twelve apostles; no, he sent out seventy-two disciples, showing how each of His
followers has a mission and a responsibility to spread the good news. The beauty in Luke’s reading
today is how realistically he portrays what discipleship is. Life as a disciple can be a bit of a
rollercoaster. Only when we know and realise that following Jesus will be a rollercoaster with
windy roads, twists and turns, can we properly carve out space for God in our everyday journeys.
If we know from the start that the journey ahead won’t be easy, it makes it easier for us to find God
in the midst of the great balancing act we know that life and faith are. That is why Jesus is painting
the picture in today’s reading, saying how hard discipleship might be. A big reality check before
being sent on mission.
I am sharing with you a digital artwork by Marvin Blaine, of a roller coaster, representing the ups and downs of life and of our spiritual lives. The mission we are sent out on can be a bumpy ride, but one that is filled with joy and excitement, as long as we try to stay on track…
Reflection on the Watercolour on Paper
As Jesus walked his way through Israel, a whole company of people followed Him, not only the
twelve Apostles. From time to time various people would come to Jesus asking if they could
follow Him. Jesus' reply seems harsh at first: ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have
nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’. He is telling us that following him
means putting up with the hardships and self-denial that come on His path. We can't say:
When my husband gets better, then I will follow you; or when my son graduates, then I will
follow Jesus. Following Jesus is about the here and now. Today is the day.
The watercolour on paper we are looking at today by William Hunt of a bird’s nest is technically
one of the best watercolours there is. The brilliant, naturalistic colour and illusionistic precision
resulted largely from Hunt’s innovative technical virtuosity, in particular his exploration of
layering different paints, gums, gouaches all on top of each other, scraping away areas and
then adding new layers. It earned the artist the nickname of ‘Bird’s Nest’ Hunt.
A bird in a nest may be secure, but that is not why God gave it wings…
Reflection on the Painting
Today we celebrate the feast of three archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
The word ‘archangel’ means ‘high-ranking angel’—the same way that ‘archbishop’
means a high-ranking bishop for example. Saint Michael (on the left of our painting),
won the battle over Satan when Satan confronted God. His name means ‘Who is like God?’.
The implicit answer is that of course nobody is like God, as He is the greatest there is.
Raphael (in the middle) cured Tobit, the father of Tobias (whose hand he is holding) of his
blindness and helped his family in their sufferings and misfortunes. Raphael’s name means
‘God heals’, and we see him holding in his other hand a jar of the medicinal fish gall to cure
old Tobit of his blindness. Tobias himself is holding a fish that he had caught during the journey
which would help to rid his future wife of demons. Gabriel (on the right, holding a white lily)
announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of Jesus. His name means ‘God is my warrior'.
G.K. Chesterton wrote: ‘Art is born when the temporary touches the eternal’. I think today’s painting is a very good example of that. These three archangels were three special messengers who were sent to accomplish very specific tasks in very specific ways. We pray to them that they may help us achieve our own very specific task that we are each called to do.
Jesus turned the whole social ladder upside down: humble servants were to be the most honoured;
the poor were the ones most to be served; children were the ones most to be admired for their purity
of heart, etc. Jesus explains in our reading today that in the Kingdom of Heaven, the highest rank
goes to those who will serve the most.
Our reading starts with an argument between the disciples about which of them was the greatest.
A childish argument. Hence, Jesus zooms in on this childish behaviour and uses the example of a
child to make His point. He points to the dependence of the child as a model we should all live by.
Like a child is dependent on its parents, we should be dependent on on God. Remember our reading
today follows on from Jesus just having told the disciples that He was going to betrayed. And now
he sees his disciples fighting for power - a very strange argument to have just after the Lord told them
he was going to be betrayed. No wonder, Jesus makes the strong point that they are called to serve, not to dominate!
Our painting is by Belgian painter, Juliaan de Vriendt. It shows Jesus surrounded by children and getting their full attention. They are not fighting for power. They are simply happy and joyful in His presence. A gentle glow is emanating from Jesus, set in front of a fruiting vine tree. The top left shows a desert-like landscape, making the point that people travelled from far afield to find Jesus. They went through deserts and hardship to be in His presence… and be joyful.
The 16th century engraving we are looking at today is very small, just a bit larger
than a postage stamp. It is one of the rare illustrations in art of our parable today.
Strangely enough, this parable didn’t get depicted in art all that often over the centuries.
Maybe the reason is that it isn’t the easiest parable to grasp or even to lend itself to
Jesus addresses the parable directly to the Jewish leaders who refused to believe in Him.
One son says ‘Yes father!’ when instructed to go to work in the vineyard, but he does not
go. The other son says straightaway when asked "No! I don’t want to go" when his father
instructs him, but later he regrets disobeying his father and does eventually go to work.
Jesus then asks the question ‘Which of the two sons did what his father wanted of him?’, to which the answer is the one that went to work, no matter what either of them said. Jesus thus points the finger at the Jewish leaders. He compares them to the bad son, saying one thing, but doing another. Their shameless hypocrisy was condemned. The other son felt bad for having said no, repented and eventually did go to the vineyard.
So do we make it to the vineyard? Or do we say one thing and do another? We have all been probably more like the son who said yes and then did not go to work…
In our Gospel reading today we read how the disciples ‘did not understand
Jesus and were afraid to ask Him about what He had just said’. It is easy for us
to maybe think that the disciples were very slow in understanding Jesus. But of
course with the benefit of hindsight that would be an ungenerous comment to make
For all of us, looking back at our own experiences can sometimes lead to epiphany
moments, when suddenly we understand why something was said years ago, or why we had to go through certain trials. As adults, we remember formative experiences that made little sense at the time, but now with mature eyes and a better understanding of the world around us, those early experiences make sense and fit into the picture of who we have become.
Our reading today gives us this sense that we are all on our faith journeys and, whilst we don’t understand certain things now, we might do so later. The disciples, even though living so close to Christ, had exactly that experience too. Think of the Transfiguration for example, where Christ’s inner-circle, Peter, James, and John witnessed something astonishing and did not fully understand what they saw. It wasn’t until after the Resurrection that they understood the Transfiguration.
Life provides trials and experiences that momentarily puzzle us. We might well ask ourselves, as in our neon light artwork, 'What does this mean?' by Joseph Kosuth, one of the American pioneers of Conceptual art and installation art. But we must, as Peter, James, and John did, trust that God is always in charge and will reveal the truth to us in His own time.
Father Thomas Haggerty
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always,
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Father Thomas Haggerty
John Thompson transformed Georgetown‘s basketball team into a powerhouse Thompson always put his players first even before the game itself. He kept in his office a deflated basketball that symbolized his motto for student athletes: “don’t let 8 pounds of air be the sum total of your existence.”
St Teresa of Avila wisely said, “ let nothing bother you. God alone is eternal”
I think Coach Thompson’s advice to his players mirrors Teresa’s and the admonition of today’s first reading: not to be so concerned with fleeting things ....having to be right, always the winner; not to be so obsessed with obtaining the biggest, the newest, the brightest, the best; not to focus our days on fleeting fame.
The author of the first reading is a cynic “there’s nothing new under the sun”. According to Jesus, he’s wrong. All that matters now is that one lets God make us anew.
In the gospel Herod is curious to see Jesus. Curiosity is not a bad thing, as a matter fact it can be a gift of the Holy Spirit. But it’s meant to lead us to Someone. Herod only met Jesus when Pilot handed Jesus over to him. It would seem that his curiosity was only a function of his boredom.
He wasn’t interested in being created anew.
Let’s not let 8 pounds of air be the sum total of our existence. Let’s let the breath of the Spirit create us anew. Peace. Father Tom
Reflection on the Paintin
Today we celebrate one of the Church's most popular saints of recent times: Padre Pio. He was
canonised by Pope John Paul II in 2002. Padre Pio became one of the most charismatic holy men
in the modern history of the Catholic Church, widely hailed as a saint during his lifetime and
credited with many miracle cures. But probably the most famous signs of his sanctity were the
stigmata, the Christ-like wounds that he bore in the palms of his hands and his side. In many
churches in Rome and throughout the world we can still see popular devotions, shrines and
images of Padre Pio. In pre-Covid times, San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Pio lived and is now
buried, was drawing an astonishing 8 million visitors a year, which is slightly more than Lourdes
or Fatima, and is second only to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in terms of annual visitors.
In our Gospel reading today Luke places the 12 Apostles at the centre of the narrative. They are instituted as sharing in the Mission of Christ. Our reading makes it clear that they are not just disciples, but that actually they are given the task of doing what Jesus did: ‘having authority over all devils, to cure diseases, and to proclaim the kingdom of God’. No better example than our saint today, Padre Pio, who put this very reading into loving practice.
Father Thomas Haggerty
First Day of Autumn
God of Autumn, just as the trees shed their leaves, so we, too, experience moments of surrender. Like the trees that let go of their leaves, help us to let go of the past and begin anew. May this autumn bring relief, renewal and rejuvenation. Amen.
The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him
but were unable to join him because of the crowd.
He was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside
and they wish to see you.”
He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers
are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”
Father Thomas Haggerty
Reflection on the Sculpture
Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Matthew, apostle and evangelist. Before meeting Jesus, Matthew
was a tax collector. Tax collectors were notorious for being dishonest, greedy individuals, seen as working
for the Roman oppressors. Tax collectors would often exploit taxpayers by exacting more than was
required by the state and pocketing the difference for themselves. So their reputation was very negative
to say the least. And yet it is such a man that Jesus calls to be one of His disciples. Jesus can redeem anyone.
But Matthew had to give his response to Jesus’ calling. When Jesus first saw Matthew and said ‘Follow me’,
Matthew’s response was one of immediate obedience and enthusiasm. He directly abandoned his job and
became one of Jesus’ Apostles.
The sculpture we are looking at today is at St John Lateran in Rome and is magnificent in its high Baroque
style. Camillo Rusconi sculpted the four apostles, monumental in size, and completed the commission in 1718.
The colossal sculpture of Saint Matthew shows him holding his Gospel, whilst standing on a sack of coins,
referring to his previous life. Saint Matthew’s expression is one of concentration and sole focus on the book
he is holding.
On today’s feast day of Saint Matthew and in our Gospel reading, we know Jesus can call anyone to do anything: he called a tax collector to follow him and go on to write one of the Gospels. Matthew on hearing the call, just got up and followed Christ… a generous response… one without delay or hesitation…
Father Thomas Haggerty
Learning to see as God sees is no easy task! Giving others a break can be tough.
But we can pray for a more faith-filled vision and understanding. God is eager to meet us in prayer!
Open my eyes, Lord....Help me to see Your face
Open my eyes, Lord....Help me to see
Open my ears, Lord....Help me to hear Your voice
Open my ears, Lord....Help me to hear
Open my heart, Lord....Help me to love like You
Open my heart, Lord....Help me to love
—Lyrics to “Open My Eyes” by Jesse Manibusan, ©1988
Father Thomas Haggerty
Click here Sept. 19
During the past week we reflected at daily Mass on St Paul’s famous passage on love. He writes, “so faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
When the pressures of life seem unbearable, it’s natural to want to escape. The church has a rich history of religious who chose to leave worldly concerns and turn their attention to God. Their choice was not to escape but to change their focus. The same change can happen to us when we focus on the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Faith allows us to believe and give ourselves totally to God; hope gives us the assurance that God‘s way will be done; and love frees us to give ourselves completely to others. Faith, hope, and love are the gifts poured out on us by the Holy Spirit.
A Jesuit post this week raises the question, “how would my life be different if I live by faith, hope and charity?”
Do I ever let my timetable expectations cloud my ability to be hopeful? How can I encourage others to be aware of the work of the Holy Spirit that conveys each of these gifts?
Lord, you know the stresses and issues that cloud my mind and heart. Send your Holy Spirit that I may with greater clarity embrace and act upon the gifts of faith, hope and love. Amen.
Father Thomas Haggerty
Reflection on the Painting
In our Gospel reading today Luke names three Galilean women as followers of Jesus
alongside the twelve apostles: Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna. The first two
appear in the passion/resurrection narrative, as depicted in our painting. They symbolize
the thousands who have served Christ’s Church from the very beginning alongside the
apostles. The infant Church was a Church constantly on the move to spread the Good
News. It was made up of ordinary women and men, rich and poor, sick and healthy, who
all wanted their lives to be centered around the person of Jesus. They were a close-knit
community in which each of them shared whatever resources they had, whether it was
wealth, ability to cook, to sing, to fish, etc. Each brought their talents and centered them
Our painting depicts three woman (Mary the Mother of James, Mary Magdalene and Mary
of Cleophas), at the tomb of the resurrection. As a viewer we are meant to look up to the
painting, seeing the perspective in which the scene is drawn. The painting was to be
admired from a kneeling position looking upwards. We see bewilderment on the central
figure of Mary Magdalene, who is looking caringly straight into the tomb, with the angel’s
light shining upon her. We feel as if we have just stumbled on the event and are witnessing
live what is going on. This painting was first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1890, and was admired for its tour de force in terms of perspective and foreshortening, which can be clearly seen in the severe angle of the tomb entrance way.
Jesus was an itinerant preacher who was dependent on all His followers for food, shelter, company… Our reading gives beautiful witness of how the three women were a vital part of Jesus’ ministry. Anyone who chooses to follow Jesus is a disciple and very day we also can be the women and men who have chosen to follow Jesus…
Her many sins have been forgiven, or she would not have shown such great love
Gospel of 17th Sep 2020 Luke 7:36-50
Reflection on the Alabaster Ointment Jar
The alabaster jar I am sharing with you today is possibly similar to the jar used by Mary in our
Gospel reading of today. It is roughly the size of a small perfume bottle. Alabaster jars
(such as the one illustrated here) were used from Egyptian times onwards, all throughout the
Greek and Roman empires, as containers for ointment, perfume, and other cosmetic products.
Alabaster is a soft and slightly porous stone, making it easy to cut and carve. Another
advantage is its translucency, so in order to check how much oil remained in the jar, one would
simply hold it against the sunlight to see how much there is left.
Every meal that Jesus shared, reveals something more to us as a Christian community.
Of course we think first and foremost of the Last Supper, but also all the other Gospel passages where we are told about Jesus sharing a meal, reveal something important. In our reading today, we hear that the woman who was approaching Jesus, was weeping. Her tears were the external signs of her real self and what was stirring her heart. Her extravagant actions were simply a great display of humility. Jesus goes to great trouble to explain to Simon the deeper meaning of her actions. Just as the woman offered Jesus the tiny touches of love shown in water, tears and oils from the alabaster jar, so does Jesus notice our small gestures too…
Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine,
and you said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
Lord, I pray for peace among Your people. We can be so quick to judge others for superficial reasons, never taking the time to get to know them. We turn to aggression and violence before trying to simply communicate peacefully. Our hearts are often filled with anger and bitterness rather than love and forgiveness. Give us strength, Lord. Help us to look past age, skin color, education and wealth. Help us open our hearts to others. Amen.
Reflection on the Painting
Alongside Jan Van Eyck, Rogier Van der Weyden dominated Flemish painting during
the first half of the 15th century. We see an idealised Jerusalem depicted in the
background. Christ has just spoken the words to John ‘This is your mother’ and we see
John tenderly attending to Mary who is embracing the cross of Her Son. The two
people on the right are the donors who commissioned the painting. The crack in the
ground separates them from the main crucifixion scene. They are depicted in deep
prayer and very devout. They don’t share the strong emotions visible in Mary, John,
the angels and Christ. Christ’s loincloth seems to be blowing in the breeze, and follows
the angels’ robes.
As I mentioned, Mary is embracing the cross. She, as Mother of the Church, is the direct
link between the crucifix which she is holding and John who is coming to help. Therefore
the figure of Saint John supporting the Virgin is also significant in that it delivers the
message to us as a viewer, that it is our task to support and love the Church. We can
reach Christ only through the support and love of the Church.
Today’s Gospel reading is beautiful, as it focuses entirely on the gift that Jesus gave from the Cross: He gave His mother to John and He gave John to His mother. Even in His hour of death and immense suffering, Jesus looked down to Mary and John and saw their suffering. Even at that moment, Jesus’ heart was open to those who suffer… and gave them to each other…
Click here Sept. 14
Reflection on the Fresco Painting
Today we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: the cross as the actual
instrument of our salvation. This instrument of torture, designed to degrade
the worst of criminals in Roman times, became the life-giving tree and
symbol for our faith!
Today also recalls the historical event of Saint Helena (mother of
Emperor Constantine), finding the True Cross. According to tradition, first
mentioned by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in 348, Saint Helena, nearing the
end of her life, decided under divine inspiration to travel to Jerusalem in 326 to excavate the Holy Sepulchre and attempt to locate the True Cross. She found three crosses on the spot. According to one tradition, the inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) remained attached to the True Cross. Another tradition (which is illustrated in our fresco painting of today) says that the True Cross was identified when a dead youth who was being carried past on a stretcher was brought to life again after the three crosses, one after the other, were laid over him. The third cross, the true cross, was the one which raised him from the dead.
In celebration of the discovery of the Holy Cross, Constantine ordered the construction of two churches at the site of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary. Those churches were dedicated on September 13 and 14, anno 335, and shortly thereafter the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross began to be celebrated on the latter date. The feast slowly spread from Jerusalem to other churches, until, by the year 720, the celebration was universal.
The entrance antiphon for today’s feast day which the priest will read out in today’s Mass: "We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and our resurrection: through him we are saved and made free.”
Click here - Sept 12
Click here A prayer for September 11th
O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many
different faiths and traditions,who gather today at this site, the scene
of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who
died here—the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all
the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply
because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of
their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the
pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the
same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all.
Paul uses a beautiful line in his letter this morning. He says this, “love builds up.” What a powerful
statement! In the letter he’s talking about knowledge suggesting that you and I know many, many
things. Knowledge is a good thing obviously and when we use it to build up others we contribute to
building up the kingdom of God. Paul notes however that knowledge can also inflate with pride.
Isn’t it true that we can use knowledge as a weapon and divide rather than build up? He says that
“we can have all the knowledge of men and even of angels but if you have not love you are a gong
booming or a cymbal clashing.” Let’s pray with Paul for the wisdom to put love (God is love) rather
than our need to show off the right answer In situations so that God in fact then through us can build
up the common good. Stay dry! Father Tom
Click here to read more Sept 9
The Holy Spirit’s might and power are manifested in the striking decisions and bold actions of Peter Claver. A decision to leave one’s homeland never to return reveals a gigantic act of will difficult for us to imagine. Peter’s determination to serve forever the most abused, rejected, and lowly of all people is stunningly heroic. When we measure our lives against such a man’s, we become aware of our own barely used potential and of our need to open ourselves more to the jolting power of Jesus’ Spirit.
Click here to read more Sept 8
Happy birthday, Blessed Mother! We love you dearly!
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed
is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and
at the hour of our death. Amen.
Precious Jesus, through the heart of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, our Mother, we trust in You!
Click here to read more Sept 7 From Catholic Online
For Christians, Labor Day invites us to examine how we view our own labor in the light of what the Scriptures and the teaching Church proclaims about the dignity of all human work
On this Labor Day weekend most of us take a break from what we refer to as our "jobs" in order to rest and re-create. We are invited to honor human work and all human workers. It is a unique secular holiday with profound Christian potential. Many will gather for late summer cookouts and celebrations. We may sleep in a bit later than usual and relax from what is so often a frenzied pace in our contemporary pattern of life. For many parents, Labor Day weekend marks a transition from the hectic pace of the summer to the new hectic pace of the school year. For students and teachers, it is also a portal into the new school year when we begin the work of education, a word whose Latin root means to "draw out" of the student what is good. Through authentically Christian education we are all invited to be drawn out into a fuller way of life. For Christians, Labor Day invites us to examine how we view our own labor in the light of what the Scriptures and the teaching Church proclaims about the dignity of all human work, no matter what kind, precisely because it is done by human persons who are created in the Image and Likeness of God.
Click here to read more On Sept 6
When has someone told you a hard truth about yourself?
How long did it take to transform you?
LET US PRAY… Gracious God, the work of human hands is a small thing in the depths of your Creation. Still we ask your blessing on our labors, in the home and at school, in the workplace and in the parish. May our every action be aligned with your will, for happiness is only possible when our hearts are attentive to yours. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Children: Share this short video lesson about helping others.
Click here to read more On Sept 5
Pope Francis on Mother Teresa
"Give us, Lord, your grace, in you we place our hope!" Like the Psalmist, how many times,
in moments of interior desolation, Mother Teresa also repeated to her Lord: "In you, in you
I hope, my God!"
Let us praise this little woman enamored of God, humble messenger of the Gospel and
tireless benefactor of humanity. We honor in her one of the most outstanding personalities
of our time. Let us accept her message and follow her example.
Click here to read more On Sept 4
Reflect, today, upon whether or not you are truly a new creation in Christ. Have you turned from your former way and shed the shackles that bound you? Have you embraced the new full Gospel and do you daily allow God to pour forth the Holy Spirit in your life?
Lord, please do make me a new creation. Transform me and renew me completely. May my new life in You be one that continually receives the full outpouring of Your grace and mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.
Click here to read more On Sept 3
Reflect, today, upon your willingness to act upon the voice of the Savior. Are you willing to say “Yes” to Him in all things? Are you willing to radically follow the direction He gives? If so, you also will be amazed at what He does in your life.
Lord, I desire to put out into the deep water and to radically evangelize in the way to which You call me. Help me to say “Yes” to you in all things. Jesus, I trust in You.
Click here to read more On Sept 2
Reflection on the Painting
In our Gospel reading today we read about how Jesus is healing people. Healing was
essential to Jesus’ ministry. The healing power flowed from within Him to cure the
crippled, blind, deaf, leprous, even raising people from the dead. But Jesus knew that
the healings He performed during His lifetime, would go beyond His time spent here
on earth and would serve also as a physical symbol of forgiveness. Just as He healed
the sick in His time, He continues to heal our souls in the spirit of forgiveness. The
physical healings in the Gospels symbolize something more crucial, more essential,
more lasting, more breathtaking, more momentous than just temporary relief from
Click here to read more On Sept 1
Reflect, today, upon the reality of evil and the reality of demonic temptations in our world. We’ve all experienced them. They are nothing to be overly frightened about. And they should not be seen in an overly dramatic light. Demons are powerful, but the power of God easily triumphs if we let Him take control. So as you reflect upon the reality of evil and demonic temptations, reflect also on God’s desire to enter in and render them powerless. Allow God to take command and trust that God will conquer.
Lord, when I am tempted and confused, please come to me. Help me to discern the evil one and his lies. May I turn to You the All-Powerful One in all things, and may I rely upon the powerful intercession of the holy angels You have entrusted to me. Jesus, I trust in You
On August 31
It’s hard enough for ordinary, simple people to open their hearts to a
God who often reveals himself in unexpected, disconcerting ways.
Often, it’s even harder for the learned who are esteemed as teachers
of their people
On August 30
Reflect, today, upon any way that you find yourself resisting the call to sacrificial love. Love is not always easy and often times may demand great sacrifice and courage on your part. Are you ready and willing to embrace the crosses of love in your life? Furthermore, are you willing to walk with others, encouraging them along the way, when they, too, are called to embrace the crosses of life? Seek strength and wisdom this day and strive to live by the divine perspective in all things, especially suffering.
Lord, I love You and pray that I may always love You in a sacrificial way. May I never fear the crosses I have been given and may I never dissuade others from following in Your steps of selfless sacrifice. Jesus, I trust in You.
On August 29
Reflect, today, upon your own life. At times we carry some heavy cross and beg our Lord to take it from us. Instead, God tells us that His grace is sufficient and that He wishes to use our sufferings as a testimony of our fidelity. So, the Father’s response to Jesus, His response to John and His response to us is a call to enter into the mystery of our sufferings in this life with faith, hope, confidence and fidelity. Never let the hardships of life deter you from your fidelity toward the will of God.
Lord, may I have the strength of Your Son and the strength of St. John the Baptist as I carry my own crosses in life. May I remain strong in faith and filled with hope as I hear You calling me to embrace my cross. Jesus, I trust in You.
On August 28
On reading Cicero's Hortensius, Augustine’s whole way of seeing the world
experienced a change. Happiness, Cicero taught him, consists of things that
do not perish: wisdom, truth, virtue. Augustine decided to dedicate his whole
life to their pursuit.
What a child taught St. Augustine at the seashore
On August 27
Today, with Google searches, online shopping, text messages, tweets, and
instant credit, we have little patience for things that take time. Likewise, we
want instant answers to our prayers. Monica is a model of patience. Her long
years of prayer, coupled with a strong, well-disciplined character, finally led
to the conversion of her hot-tempered husband, her cantankerous
mother-in-law and her brilliant but wayward son, Augustine.
On August 26
Vatican Museum: Beauty that unites! 27
Beauty creates communion. It unites onlookers from a distance, uniting past, present and future. Pope Francis has recalled this on a number of occasions. The Church has always translated the universality of the Good News into the language of art. From this premise, this dramatic moment in history characterized by uncertainty and isolation, gives rise to this initiative which is a partnership between the Vatican Museum and Vatican News: Masterpieces from the Vatican Collection accompanied by comments from the words of the Popes.
Fra Angelico, detail of St Mark the Evangelist from the ceiling of the Niccoline Chapel, Vatican Palace © Musei Vaticani
On August 25
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26
Though these very direct words of Jesus may have the appearance of being harsh, they are truly words of mercy. They are words of mercy because Jesus is going to great lengths to help the Pharisees understand that they need to repent and cleanse their hearts.
On August 24
Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith, by which the blessed
Apostle Bartholomew clung wholeheartedly to your Son,
and grant that through the help of his prayers your Church
may become for all the nations the sacrament of salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
On August 23
Reflect, today, upon the depth of your faith and knowledge of the Messiah. Do you believe in Him with all your might? Have you allowed Jesus to reveal His divine presence to you? Seek to discover the “secret” of His true identity by listening to the Father speak to you in your heart. It is only there that you will come to have faith in the Son of God.
Lord, I do believe that You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God! Help my lack of faith so that I may come to believe in You and love You with my whole being. Invite me, dear Lord, into the secret depths of Your heart, and allow me to rest there in faith with You. Jesus, I trust in You.
On August 22
we must see her role as glorious and essential in the eternal
plan of salvation. Devotion to her is a way of simply acknowledging
what is true. It’s not just some honor we bestow upon her by
thanking her for cooperating with God’s plan. Rather, it’s an
acknowledgment of her continual role of mediation of grace in
our world and in our lives. From Heaven, God does not take this
from her. Rather, she is made our Mother and our Queen.
And a worthy Mother and Queen she is!
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears!
Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this,
our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
On August 20 -
Reflect, today, upon both your faith in all that God has spoken, and the charity that this hopefully produces in your life. Being a Christian means you let your faith sink from your head down to your heart and will.
Lord, may I have deep faith in You and in all that You have spoken. May that faith sink into my heart producing love of You and others. Jesus, I trust in You.
On August 21-
Reflect, today, upon your total love of God. Are you all in? Are you completely
committed to serving our Lord and His holy will? Don’t hesitate. It’s worth it!
Lord, help me to love You with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Help me
to love You with my whole being. In that love, I pray You transform me into Your
instrument of grace. Jesus, I trust in You!
On August 19 -
Reflect, today, upon whether you see any traces of envy within your heart. Can you sincerely rejoice and be filled with much gratitude at the success of others? Can you sincerely be grateful to God when others are blessed with the unexpected and unwarranted generosity of others? If this is a struggle, then at least thank God that you are made aware of this. Envy is a sin, and it’s a sin that leaves us dissatisfied and sad. You should be grateful you see it because that is the first step in overcoming it.
On August 18 -
Jesus uses the image of the camel not being able to pass through the
eye of a needle to illustrate the point that it is impossible for any of us
to earn eternal life just by our own power. Jesus was using a hyperbole,
a figure of speech that maximizes emphasis; our artist on the other hand
is using his art minimizing sculpture to the smallest possible size.
On August 17 -
Reflection on the Stained Glass Window
In our Gospel reading of today, we read how the young man boasted to
Jesus that he was keeping all of the commandments and laws. But was he
really? As is typical with us all, we like to think we are doing well before
God when in reality we aren’t… Jesus knew that and challenged the man.
Jesus could see that the worldly possessions the man had were too much of a
distraction to his faith. We can possess them… but they can also possess us!
All Jesus is asking us for, is to live in Him and He in us, and not to try and
be distracted with what the world is throwing at us.
On August 16 -
Reflect, today, upon those moments in life when you feel as though
God is silent. Know that those moments are actually moments of
invitation to trust on a new and deeper level. Make an act of trust
and allow your faith to become more fully purified so that God can do
great things in you and through you!
Click here to read more
On August 15 -
Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary
Since Mary is closely associated with all the mysteries of Jesus’ life,
it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit has led the Church to believe
in Mary’s share in his glorification. So close was she to Jesus on earth,
she must be with him body and soul in heaven.
Click here to read more
On August 14 - Father Kolbe’s death was not a sudden, last-minute act of heroism. His whole life had been a preparation. His holiness was a limitless, passionate desire to convert the whole world to God. And his beloved Immaculata was his inspiration.
On August 12 -
On August 13 -
On August 10 - St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr
When Jesus lifts Peter from the water, Peter is not yet saved. He’s only rescued. In fact,
when he gets back into the boat and starts to feel safe, Peter is just beginning to learn
what salvation, and discipleship, are all about. Often that’s where we are as well. Just at
the beginning stage. “It is I,” says Jesus, always wanting to help us grow more deeply in
faith. (Homily, Fr. Frank DeSiano, CSP)
St. Paul tells us that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” We see the world around us.
And we can learn to understand it according to conventional categories—political,
cultural, economic, etc. Christians don’t turn from the world that reason delivers.
But our primary orientation is not given by reason; it’s given by faith. This has
nothing to do with irrationality or credulity. It has to do with an appreciation of God
and the movement of God—in and through all of the conventional events perceived in the conventional manner.
What is God doing? Sometimes it is exceedingly hard to see. But we trust. It might happen slowly and in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence, but God is always acting. From the smallest beginnings can come the accomplishment of God’s purpose.
God is working, though we can’t see it with our eyes. That’s why Jesus says, “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
On August 8th, the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Dominic
Gradually starting his ministry, Dominic founded a group of faithful who were tasked to join him in praying and preaching the word of the Lord. Soon enough, he was able to formally establish the Order of Preachers—now known as the Dominican Order—which was approved on December 22, 1216, by Pope Honorius III.
On August 7th, Take up your cross and follow me
On August 6th, the Church celebrates the
Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. This feast commemorates the
clearest and most explicit revelation by God of the divinity of Jesus
prior to His crucifixion and Resurrection
August 5, 2020 - Our Lady of the Snows
Improbable as it is for snow to fall during August, history tells of a snowfall that seemed more impossible,
namely in Rome, Italy. August 5, 352, snow fell during the night in Rome.
August 4, 2020 - Feast of Saint John Vianney (le Curé d'Ars)
St. John Vianney was a man of deep prayer. In a reflection from the office of readings for his memorial, the evangelist John states that prayer is like incense that pleases God. Prayer has a way of swelling the heart. True happiness, he believes, is found in prayer and love. When we pray, our sorrows are diminished. Why would anyone not pray?
August 3, 2020 - The Story of the Dedication of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels
In this chapel, Francis of Assisi began to understand more about the truth of his life, his service of God and how both of those connect with service to other people. Truth and forgiveness provide the only lasting foundations for genuine peace.
August 2, 2020 -
Saint Alphonsus Liguori- Saint of the Day for August 1
August 1, 2020 - Take a Moment to Breathe
It is the first of August - summer is passing way too quickly. Relish all the joy August has to offer!
The Jesuit Post - Awareness drives Ignatian Spirituality. Breathing is the fire that maintains the engagement of awareness in action. One needs God’s grace to learn how to breathe. Today I would like to invite you to meet the best part of yourself through your breathing. Let us learn to breathe together for the greater glory of God!
Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Saint of the Day for July 31
July 31, 2020 -
Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, Ad majorem Dei gloriam—“for the greater glory of God.”
July 30, 2020 -
Today we celebrate the feast day of Blessed Solanus Casey. A quote from St. Francis of Assisi - "We are called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart and to bring home those who have lost their way", Fr. Solanus Casey is a wonderful example of that.....
July 29, 2020 -
Today as we celebrate the feast is St Martha we are reminded that like her, we hold a special place in Jesus’ heart. Blessings. Father Tom
July 27, 2020 -
Please post. What is the parable of your life.
Peace, Father Tom
July 28, 2020 -
A sign seen outside a church....Love the All. Leave the rest to Me.
Today’s message: be the wheat! Stay cool. Father Tom
July 26, 2020 -
Let's let God help us find the treasure within us! Stay cool. Father Tom
July 25, 2020 -
Today the church celebrates the feast of Saint James. In the Gospel of Matthew, James
and John‘s mother come to Jesus seeking high positions for her sons. Like political
supporters who strive for influence in the administration of someone in government, this
is a request for the two brothers to share in Jesus’ power when he governs from on high.
In contrast to that way of running the world, Jesus says that greatness is seen in serving,
not power, and giving life away, not in controlling lives of other people. James as we know,
did come to share in the self giving of Christ Jesus. He was martyred for his faith within a
decade or so of Jesus death and resurrection.
A tradition has James preaching in Spain after Pentecost. Since the middle ages, pilgrims have made their way on foot to the apostle‘s shrine in Santiago de Compostella. The way to Santiago has been sometimes considered as an example of the Church’s pilgrimage on its journey towards the heavenly city. It is a path of prayer and penance, of charity and solidarity, a stretch of the path of life where the faith becomes history among people. Enjoy the weekend. Father Tom
July 24, 2020 -
This very different painting begs the question, do we let the Word fully penetrate our hearts? May the Sower awaken a new desire in us to again sing, “I say yes my Lord!” Peace Father Tom
July 23, 2020 -
Dear Friends ,
Here are some words from Pope Francis.... peace. Father Tom
Words of the Holy Father
It's a question that I ask myself: how is the relationship between Jesus
who remains in me and I who remains in Him? It is a relationship of intimacy, a mystical
relationship, a relationship without words. "Ah Father, it's the mystics who do it!" No, it is for all of us, it's down with small thoughts: "Lord, I know that You are in me: give me the strength and I will do what You tell me". In that intimate dialogue, the Lord is present, the Lord is present in us, the Father is present in us, the Spirit is present in us; they remain in us. But I must remain in them...(Santa Marta, 13 May 2020)
July 22, 2020 -
Today is the feast of St Mary Magdalen...the Apostle to the Apostles.....here’s
a one minute homily about her. Enjoy the day. Father Tom
July 21, 2020 -
Check out the interesting interpretation of today’s gospel....and the mission
given to the Tsar and his family whose faces appear in the scene. Stay cool. Father Tom
July 20, 2020 -
I really like this picture and the reflection following. Makes me wonder am I willing to be swallowed up by God’s will and taken in God’s known but unknown direction....”to act justly, to walk humbly , to love tenderly”. Stay cool! Father Tom
Click here for -Reflection
July 19, 2020 -
Let us recognize that we are blessed to become the wheat...which becomes the Body of all Christ! Blessings. Father Tom
July 17, 2020 -
Reflecting on today’s gospel reading, Bishop Barron invites us to soak in God’s mercy.....does a rainy day help?
Peace. Father Tom
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus corrects the Pharisees with this theme of his ministry: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
Every saint had a past, and every sinner has a future. That is key to Catholic spirituality. In the lives of every one of these heroes of the faith, there is some conversion. And every sinner—every one of us—has a future. That is why we soak in the mercy of God.
There is a beautiful reference in the Psalms to oil running down upon your beard, upon the collar of your robe. The divine mercy is like that: poured out upon us, poured out without reservation—and not because it’s earned, because it can’t be earned.
God doesn’t love us because we’re worthy. We’re worthy because he loves us. We don’t deserve his mercy, but we soak it in and thereby are transformed
July 18, 2020 -
Here’s an artist’s interpretation of today’s gospel ....
see if you capture his interpretation before reading the text.
Boy, I wish I had taken art courses in school.
Have a great weekend! Father Tom
Click here for - Christian Art Reflection
July 16, 2020 -
Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Blessings. Father Tom
July 15, 2020 -
July 31 is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola. Here’s a link which includes a daily preparation anticipating the feast day. Today’s link describes how to find God in the ordinary. Peace. Father Tom
July 14, 2020 -
Dear Friends, Blessings. Father Tom
MEMORIAL OF KATERI TEKAKWITHA, VIRGIN
Indigenous help to heal the world
Kateri Tekakwitha—born Mohawk and Algonquin in 1656, canonized in 2012—
is a fitting intercessor for coronavirus, though she is actually patron saint of ecology.
Losing her family to the same smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind, Kateri knew firsthand the suffering wrought by disease. Perhaps her empathy helps account for so many miraculous healings attributed to her to this day. But Kateri’s love of the earth may also inspire our continued care of the environment, which has seen healing of its own during human quarantine. Kateri, pray for us on all fronts!
July 13, 2020 -
Here’s something for all of you who are grandparents. My sister Cathy an over the moon new grandma sends you her best! Blessings. Father Tom https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/god-in-my-grandchildren/
Click here for -
July 12, 2020 -
Enjoy Bishop Barron’s take on today’s gospel. Blessings. Father Tom
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the parable of the sower. "A sower went out to sow. Some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil . . . and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."
Imagine a crowd of farmers listening to this parable and shaking their heads at the farmer’s strange sowing. He would have been expelled from the seed sowers’ union for such irresponsible farming. Like the foolish sower, God’s love is so extravagant that it defies all of our expectations of what is reasonable.
The most important point of this parable is that we must imitate the foolish love of God. We must love not only those who love us, not only those who are like us and affirm us, but precisely those who are different and unresponsive. Our sun should shine on the good and bad alike.
Click here for -
July 11, 2020 -
Today is the feast of Saint Benedict, The founder of western monasticism. Benedict’s words, ”let all be received as Christ “ are over the front doors in our church.
Where earlier monastic experiments had stressed rigorous asceticism and self denial, Benedict’s rule was designed for ordinary human beings. The element of discipline was shifted from external to the interior, from the flash to the will. In place of an emphasis on fasting and mortification, Benedict substituted the discipline of humility, obedience and accommodation to community life. Rather than envision a collection of individuals competing in the quest for perfection, Benedict stressed the role of community as a school for holiness.
The first word in Benedict’s rule is “listen”.In learning to listen to his own heart, Benedict learned that in approaching life it’s clear that one size does not fit all. In “receiving one another as Christ” we have to acknowledge and reverence the individuality and real goodness in one another.
“As our lives and faith progress, the heart expands and with the sweetness of love we move down the paths of God’s commandments.”
Have a blessed weekend! Father Tom
Click here for -
July 10, 2020 -
Hosea is the prophet of God’s love. Yesterday’s reading was touching and tender.
He presented God as a Father who scoops his child, Israel, into his arms and presses
him against his cheek. Today, fully aware of Israel’s disobedience, Hosea cries out ,
“return oh Israel to the Lord, your God. “ His words can easily make us think of the parable in which Jesus shows the young, prodigal son returning to his father. That too is a touching and tender scene - an image of how completely God loves us despite our failures. God’s love goes on and on. And one special way it does so is through us. In these tough times, let’s pray to be channels of God’s tender touch. Peace. Father Tom
July 9, 2020 -
Here is a very clear message sent by Bishop Barren.
‘FRIENDS, CATHOLICS MUST STOP TEARING EACH OTHER APART ONLINE…’
Peace. Father Tom
July 8, 2020 -
Just how can we open ourselves to receive those fruits of the Spirit St Paul lists,
joy, peace, patience, kindness....the following article gives a clear answer..... Peace.
Click here for -
July 7, 2020 -
Here’s a little art for today....and a thought from St Paul...” overcome evil with good.”
I was stumped by today’s gospel....Jesus gives us authority to do what we see him do in
today’s gospel: expel demons. Here’s what stumped me....the mute man who was labeled
the demonic couldn’t say anything good....but neither could the religious people who
viewed Jesus gift to the labeled one who now spoke good news....that had that same
faculty of speech but the “religious ones” couldn’t say anything good! Remember the
movie Oh God? John Denver complains if you’re a good God, why don’t you do something
about evil, anger, violence, aggression....and George Burns replies....I did, I put you here.
Today’s demons of negativity, sarcasm, cynicism, anger, despair....we are the ones put/sent
into the field to overcome evil with good....not being mute but proclaiming good news!
Let’s spend today lifting hearts. Blessings. Father Tom
July 6, 2020 -
Up for a little art? Here is a pictorial meditation on today’s gospel.
Have a blessed day. Father Tom
July 5, 2020 -
Richard Rohr, OFM, has an interesting piece today....he’s readying us to say yes to Love. Peace. Father Tom
July 4, 2020 -
Dear friends, Happy Fourth of July!
Here’s one of the opening prayers for today’s mass.....let us pray
Father of all nations and ages, we recall the day when our country
Claimed its place among the family of nations; for what has been achieved we give you thanks, for the work that still remains we ask your help, And as you have called us from many people’s to be one nation, Grant that, under Your providence, our country may share Your blessings with all the peoples of the earth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
Happy Independence Day! God bless America. Father Tom
July 3, 2020 -
Today we remember Saint Thomas, doubting Thomas, as he’s come to be known.
But I wonder, could that perhaps be an unfair name tag? Thomas struggles to find
a reason to have faith, he wants a sense of hope that he can hold on to and in that,
he’s really no different than most of us.
The story of Saint Thomas challenges us to look around in our own lives with an open heart and to recognize the many signs of God’s love in our midst. We can find God in the love of family and friends, in the “nail marks” of suffering and brokenness, in the “peace” of forgiveness and mercy and, yes, we can all list so many other ways!
And so we ask, help us Lord to continue to seek you despite our doubts; show us your way of justice and peace when we are most pessimistic and skeptical. Like Thomas, may we realize your presence in our midst in every moment of compassion and act of selfless generosity we experience. Blessings Father Tom
Click here for -
July 2, 2020 -
Here is Bishop Barron’s take on today’s gospel. I like his statement that Jesus opens a new future for us.....and isn’t it true that we are blessed to do that for one another! Blessings. Father Tom
Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord heals a paralytic after first forgiving his sins. Jesus’ initial words to this paralyzed man are, “Your sins are forgiven.” Why does God forgive our sins? Because he wants us alive, he wants us moving, he wants us in action, realizing what we can be.
Jesus comes to liberate us for deeper life, to open a new future to us. Sin is a refusal to live according to God’s purposes and desires. Our obsession with past sins paralyzes us. God is opposed to this obsession with the past, because it renders us unable to move.
I can brood over my past sins to such a degree that I become finally paralyzed, unable to move. “Your sins are forgiven” is another way of saying, “Don’t be paralyzed by sins that you undoubtedly worry about far more than God does.”
After saying your sins are forgiven, Jesus says,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
That’s the way it works: First comes the forgiveness
of sins, and that is a liberating power in us.
Now I can live for the future.
Click here for -
July 1, 2020 -
There’s a line in today’s first reading, ....” hate evil and love good” that reminded me of a sign I once saw in front of a church:
“ Love ‘em all, I’ll sort it out later.” Isn’t that a great reminder of how God asks us to act with one another? Our gospel call is to work to love everyone. To embrace everyone as a child of God, and to look at the world with the eyes of mercy, not judgment. Judgment will come from God.
How, then, do we respond to evil? How do we respond to racism, systemic injustice, war etc.? Jesus responded with love. Jesus loved everyone, whether they be rich or poor, man or woman, Gentile or Jew, your name it. I think that Jesus in today’s gospel calls us to “drown” in love those who seek to do harm
Let’s pray again today to love more like Jesus: judging less, caring more for the marginalized, and letting God’s love manifest itself to others through us. Peace. Father Tom
Click here for -
June 30, 2020 -
Today’s gospel with the disciples being tossed about in the storm raised this question
for me. Jesus met many of his disciples at the seashore....today he meets each of us at the
shore line of today....offers to get in the boat with us and take us into the depth of possibility
the day will offer to each of us. Jesus falls asleep on the journey and needs to be awakened....in
me, perhaps in you too. Again today, when awakened he asks us to look at our fears....the tossing
and turning occasioned by the inevitable storms of life and to share in divine possibilities with
him.....being the calm in the storm! Moving from the shoreline into the depths of new possibilities....
”Pescador de hombres” , smile at us and let us hear you call us by name! Peace. Father Tom
June 29, 2020 -
Attached is Pope Francis homily for today’s feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Peace. Father Tom
Click here for -
June 28, 2020 -
Here’s a meditation on today’s gospel by Amy Welborn Think big! Follow your dreams! Change the world! Make a difference! Set the world on fire!
It can be confusing, can’t it? On the one hand, so many voices that they are telling me to find self-fulfillment in doing big, huge things and In attention-getting ways. And as I listen to the Lord, I hear that too. I hear the call to go out to the whole world, to let my light shine. But then there’s this from Matthew today, which seems to be about something different: being small, being less, losing my life. Perhaps they’re not in conflict. Not always at least. But sometimes they might be, and so I check myself and make sure that as I look ahead, as I figure out how to use what God’s given me, I’ve got Jesus‘ words and example of humility at the core of all that I do.
Lord, may my small gestures speak clearly of your love.
Enjoy this beautiful day. God bless. Father Tom
Click here for -
June 27, 2020 -
Like the centurion in today’s gospel, we too no matter how good we are,
how obedient we are....we still are not worthy to have our Lord and Savior come to us.
We come with faith.
First, we need the faith to believe that we really receive Jesus, the total person, in Communion. Having accepted this, we realize that the Eucharist is pure gift. Even though we may have prepared ourselves the best we can for Communion, we still don’t deserve this gift. We can’t earn it. All we can do is humbly receive Christ and give thanks. After all, that is what Eucharist means: thanksgiving.” Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my source will be healed.” Peace. Father Tom
June 26, 2020 -
In today’s gospel, Jesus says to each of us what he says to the leper. If you’ve been made
“clean” by the hand of God, if you’ve been made whole by an experience of God‘s mercy, if
you’ve been “caught” in the net of God‘s compassion, never mind trying to find the words
to explain it. Let your life “show” God‘s presence: be the agent of mercy that you have
received: make a sign make a place for the “leper“ enabling them to be seen as clean and
whole: “catch” others in the same net that caught and saved you.
Be the “proof” that God is at work among us.
Peace and blessings. Father Tom
Click here for -
June 25, 2020 -
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us , “us everyone listens to these
words of mine and acts on
them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” The word
he asks us to build on is
This pandemic has left deep scars around the world . The words of today’s psalm are really true
“ may your compassion quickly come to us, we are both very low.” The church tells us that God‘s
compassion is always ready. Always at hand. Suffering can be excruciating, but God‘s presence is
always available. I love the words of the song “ Fly Like a Bird” which is based on psalm 139.
“ When I am down and afraid, when I am feeling afraid...you extend a gentle hand, and I know
you’ll understand...oh, God your presence is real.”
Let’s pledge ourselves to be a compassionate presence to someone who is hurting today.
Who knows, the heart we may heal might end up being our own.
Have a blessed day, and be a blessing! Father Tom
Click here for -
June 24, 2020 -
June 23, 2020 -
Commenting on today’s gospel,“ do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before swine, less they trample them on underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
She writes, pearls before swine is an extreme example, but we give ourselves away in smaller, less recognizable ways all the time . We can be hurt or angry that another person did not value our pearls, but this verse is directed at us: reminding us that we must first honor and value what is Holy about ourselves. We must be wise and discerning about how, when and with whom we share ourselves, whether our pearls are our words, our wisdom, our affection, our loyalty, our time, etc.
The finest, healthiest venues for giving are relationships that have a common understanding about what is sacred, a shared sense of reverence .
Peace. Father Tom
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June 22, 2020 -
It’s been wonderful welcoming you home to Mass and I thank you for your cooperation in following the directions given by our greeters. These directives come from the diocese and have been prepared in conjunction with health professionals. Some have mentioned that these directives are not being followed in other places. I can’t speak for anyone else...At SSPJ we are following what we have been asked to do to insure as best as possible the health and safety of us all. At this time I would greatly appreciate more volunteers to serve in the capacity of leading our bothers and sisters to their seats. Training will be provided and your assistance most appreciated. The reason we are seating people and directing the reception of Holy Communion is to prevent as best as possible any cross contamination
within the church. Thank you. Father Tom
June 21, 2020 -
Happy Father’s Day to all dads! The parish will be praying in thanksgiving for you at all
our weekend Masses. Here’s a Father’s Day blessing shared from Sacred Heart Academy.
Blessings. Father Tom
Loving God, through the gift of our fathers, you reveal your wisdom, love and care.
Continue to bless and guide these holy men you have given to us in our lives.
Support them in their call to lead holy lives of faithfulness, respect and integrity.
May their witness of faith and love shine from them and on their children and families
giving hope and encouragement to all.
Bless them for all the ways they lift their children to achieve their dreams.
Bless them for their sacrifice, their forgiveness and their guidance.
Bless grandfathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, teachers and coaches
who have shown us love and support.
For those fathers who have lost a child or spouse, give them your loving touch of healing
consoling them with your gentle care.
For those fathers who have gone before us, bring them to your eternal banquet of joy and peace;
bring them the fullness of union with you and communion with us as we remember their love for us. Amen.
(Adapted from Fr. John Thomas Lane, SSS)
Happy Father’s Day
June 20, 2020 -
Today is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary . It makes the point clear: to love with the
humility and the grace of Mary is to allow your heart to break (and more than once ) but love
also enables us to do amazing things for those we love. When we think we’ve done all we can for
someone, we find the resources within ourselves to reach out to them again and again; when
we’re exhausted and spent, we manage to be there for a loved one in need; when we can’t
imagine ourselves possessing the ability to contribute to particular causes or ministries, we
surprise ourselves once we get involved.
Mary, the” Immaculate Heart “invites us to step back for a moment, however briefly, to discern
the love of God in the midst of our lives as we cope with the challenges piercing our own hearts. Like Mary, may we come to know, within the depths of our own hearts, the peace and compassion of God, who, by his grace, enables us to transform our sufferings and brokenness into the means for re-creation and resurrection.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us. Enjoy this beautiful day. God bless! Father Tom
June 19, 2020 -
Commenting on his own book, Mercy: the Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, Cardinal William Kasper wrote “....start with the Latin term Misericordia, which means mercy. Misericordia means having a heart for the poor-poor in a large sense, not only material poverty, but also relational poverty, spiritual poverty, cultural poverty, and so on. This is not only heart, not only emotion, but also an active attitude -I have to change the situation of the other as much as I can. But mercy is also not opposed to justice. Justice is a minimum that we are obliged to do to the other to respect him or her as a human being - To give him or her what they must have. But mercy is the maximum - it goes beyond justice. Justice alone can be very cold. Mercy sees a concrete person. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the neighbor is the person the Samaritan met in the street. He’s not obliged to help. It’s not a question of justice. But he goes beyond. He was moved in his heart. He bent down in the dirt and helped this man. That’s mercy.”
“Moved in his heart “ that’s what it means to follow Jesus: to see beyond designations and labels and classes to embrace a daughter or son of God; to go beyond what is expected or required because we are moved in our hearts. Misericordia -mercy - to have the “heart“ of and for the poor. On this day in which we honor Jesus, the Sacred Heart, may the spirit of mercy and compassion that moved his heart move ours.
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place our trust in you.
Have a blessed day. Father Tom
June 18, 2020 -
In today’s gospel Jesus gives us the Lord’s Prayer. You might remember back to last year when the papers were a buzz with a proposed changed in the wording. Italian and French bishops embraced a change in the version said at Mass, from “lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation.” The change intends to clarify the fact that God doesn’t lead people toward evil. So, if you are tempted toward sin today, why not ask God to lead you elsewhere? Peace. Father Tom
June 17, 2020 -
I read the following earlier and it brought back a wonderful host of childhood memories....maybe you have similar ones.....or might want to consider the same for you own home....it could be a coming out of quarantine ongoing reminder of God’s love found in our homes....and what we are graced to bring to the world.
I am delighted to welcome you back to our parish home.
Thanks to our wonderful maintenance crew who have been able to sanitize the church between Masses, we are now able to resume Mass on Saturday at 5 and Sunday at 8,10 and 12.
Social distancing requirements at this time allow us to only permit 90 people at each of the Masses.
Please go to the website and make a reservation. If you have any difficulty doing so, please call the rectory.
Have a blessed day. Father Tom