February 27 – Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Peace of Christ. As was announced at the weekend Masses of Sunday, February 13, I regret to have to share the news that I will be finishing my time as Associate Pastor on May 1 of this year. It has been an incredible joy and privilege these last four years. The East Side truly has become a home for me, and it is a hard realization that I will now need to offer some goodbyes in the coming months.
After my assignment here ends, Archbishop Listecki has appointed me to serve as the Vice Rector and Director of Human Formation of St. Francis de Sales Seminary. I will also be receiving a part-time role in the Vocations Office (mostly during the summers). Though perhaps initially unexpected, I have a deep peace and joy that is from the Lord and I am excited to serve in this way. Because of my new duties in the Vocations Office, I will end my assignment in our parishes on May 1 – earlier than the usual June transfer time. Know that details regarding plans for another Associate Pastor are forthcoming, and any of my commitments after May 1 will be covered. I would humbly ask you to keep me in your prayers, along with our parishes, during this time of transition.
On Ash Wednesday of this week, we as a Church will begin our Lenten “retreat”. It is a retreating into the desert to be with Jesus more closely through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In that “solitude”, He reminds us that, no matter what change in life we might be experiencing, in that inner silence He is with us always. May this be a beautiful season of preparation, and know of my prayers!
Sincerely, with love,
February 20 – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
“May the God of peace arouse in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace.”
Our readings this Sunday are an antidote to the poison of violence that plagues our lives. The choice against violence in the first reading from the first Book of Samuel when Kind David does not take the path of killing, but respect; the powerful call to non-violence in the Gospel of Luke when Jesus encourages us to love even our enemies; the amazing reading from St. Paul exhorting us to a heavenly way of doing things—all point to the futility of violence to solve anything, and the absolute call for the believer to be a peace-maker.
My heart breaks at the violence that unfolds by the minute in our beautiful city and great country. The call to be a force for peace to face this rising tide means we start with ourselves, and work hard in our families, schools, neighborhoods to always hold our attitudes and actions to the high standard of love and respect, especially in the hardest of situations.
Pray, dear friends, for an end to violence. Commit yourself to peace, one step at a time.
Then heaven can unfold, not light years away, but here, now, as close as the beating of our loving hearts.
Sincerely, with love,
February 13 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Why did God make you?
God made me to know Him, to love Him,
and to serve Him in this world,
and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.
Those most seasoned members of our parish communities – and perhaps some of our young adults too – will recognize this question and its answer as one of the first teachings from the Baltimore Catechism.
The significance of this question’s placement in that Catechism, first published in 1885, arises not merely from the natural origins of the human person, but rather from our last and supernatural end, Heaven, eternal life with God, to which we are challenged to live for already today, to pray, to hope and to love.
By our Baptism, you and I have become a new creation, we have been raised “from all the squalor of the life of old … through water and the Holy Spirit” and into the life of God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; we have become members of Christ’s living and mystical body, the Church.
At Holy Mass this weekend, we hear from the beginning chapters of the Gospel according to Saint Luke and of what our Blessed Lord first teaches both the twelve and the great crowd assembled before Him
Even before Our Lord is transfigured before Peter, John and James; even before Our Lord teaches his disciples how to pray to the Father; even before the institution of the Eucharist on the night of His Last Supper, Our Lord begins at the end, and offers to us those familiar and stirring words of Beatitude.
“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.” (Luke 6:21).
Because our Lord begins at the end, which is not merely natural, but supernatural, He invites us to live today already out of and toward that same end, an end which isn’t dependent on the natural alone, but Heaven, eternal life with God, a promise that is ours, we who are God’s adopted daughters and sons.
See you at Mass!
February 6 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Once more in this Sunday’s Gospel reading we hear Jesus say: “Do Not Be Afraid.”
Fear is a crazy thing. Usually based on what we think is really happening and sure about what will happen, we act as if the worst will unfold. Sad to say, we are a “half-empty glass” sort of folk.
But being followers of Jesus, we are called to live in the present as if we know what is coming. And the truth is we do know—Jesus is in control and knows exactly what needs to happen to make things right. We are called to just say with the prophet Isaiah: “ Here I am.”
As a young associate (close to the age of both our beloved associates!), I had to chaperone a youth group visit to Great America. We were getting ready to leave and two of our youth were nowhere to be found. I finally saw them on the American Eagle rollercoaster. As I waited for them at the exit, they came forth. One proclaimed that the ride was the most frightening and worst possible experience, and the other said “yes, can we go again!”
So, dear friends, enjoy the ride on the rollercoaster. Whether we like it or not, we will continue to go on it. You are not alone. Jesus is with us, again and again! And so are we, who love Jesus and trust him. He always works thing out!
Sincerely, with love,
Fr. Tim, Your Pastor