October 29th, 2023 – Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“If he cries out to me, I will hear him; for I am compassionate.”
Dear friends, In the readings for this Sunday, we hear perhaps one of the most revelatory texts about who God is and the kind of heart he has. God has a tender, soft spot in his heart for the poor, and if anyone ever wrongs them, “I will surely hear their cry,” says the Lord.
We are all poor, so in that way, we can all be sure that we are on God’s good side. However, did I know that I was poor? Do I acknowledge my poverty, that is, my utter dependence on God for everything? “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3.)
Now, in some instances some people are called to a place of authority or that of a “higher rank,” according to the labels that this passing world has created to structure groups of people and organizations. In such cases, one can only ask God for his heart and for the gift of Fear of the Lord to treat others with respect and reverence, as one would treat God’s favorites. For, as God says, “if you ever wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry.”
October 22nd, 2023 – Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“The joys and hopes, and the sorrows and anxieties of people today, especially of those who are poor and afflicted, are also the joys and hopes, sorrows and anxieties of the disciples of Christ, and there is nothing truly human which does not also affect them.
Their community is composed of people united in Christ who are directed by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the Father’s kingdom and who have received the message of salvation to be communicated to everyone. For this reason it feels itself closely linked to the human race and its history.”
(Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes)
The events of these past weeks are heart-breaking and powerfully drive home that if one of us is hurting, all of us are hurting. As horrific violence and terrorism unfold, we are shaken to the very depths of our being.
We need Christ and the Church more than ever, and as we pray for an increase in faith, hope and love, we commit ourselves to peace and justice. Remembering and praying for all who have lost their lives, and those who continue to suffer, we commend the world to the Holy Family.
May Jesus, Mary, and Joseph help us to discover the deeper unity of the human family! Evil, sin, and violence will never win. Only love will!
October 15th, 2023 – Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
An invitation to an event can garner a lot of different emotions. Sometimes, we are excited about the event, and the invitation brings us great joy. Other times, we do not want to attend the event and feel anxiety or fear. We sometimes even look for something else to do so we have an excuse not to go to something.
These invitations bring us to an important question:
“Why are we being invited?”
The Lord is constantly inviting us into a relationship because the Lord desires communion. Unfortunately, sometimes that scares us. The invitation makes us anxious or fearful that we are missing out on something.
Today, I am encouraging everyone to listen to the Lord’s invitation to draw close to him so that we can draw close to the Father through the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, we need to make amends for our failings to hear the invitation through confession.
The Family of Five parishes offers confession seven days a week. Please take advantage of the sacrament even if it has been years since you last went—a great and holy confession may be what we need to accept the invitation from the Lord gladly.
Have a great week!
See our bulletin cover for all our Confession times.
October 8th, 2023 – Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
How big do we ask for in prayer?
At Mass this Sunday, the opening prayer will read:
“Almighty ever-living God, who […] surpass […] the desires of those who entreat you, pour out your mercy upon us, to pardon what conscience dreads, and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.”
God has more to give us than we have to ask of him, and the measure of our faith is directly proportional to how big we ask in prayer.
I believe this is one of the effects of the virtue of hope on our hearts. Hope makes us dream big, knowing that God “surpass[es] the desires of those who entreat [him]!” Perhaps our conscience dreads not having asked big enough in the past and, today, I invite us all to ask God with the confidence of little children.
I remember when Christmas came when I was 7 or 8. I had asked Baby Jesus for a chalice that looked exactly like my pastor’s chalice. Baby Jesus is the one that brings the Christmas gifts to Colombian children and places them under our pillows on Christmas eve. That evening, after going to check under my pillow, I remember sobbing because Baby Jesus had brought me a smaller chalice made of metal that did not look like my pastor’s chalice.
It was then that I was told who Baby Jesus “was”, the reason why I had not gotten a chalice as big as my pastor’s own chalice was because my parents could have never afforded it!
Perhaps this weekend we can think of those petitions we gave up on and bring them before the Lord, again, with the confidence of little children. At Mass, then, I invite us to pray wholeheartedly to Almighty ever-living God, to give us what prayer has not dared to ask in the past.
Our God is a God who saves (Psalm 68:21) and he indeed surpasses “the merits and the desires of those who entreat [him]”.
October 1st, 2023 – Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
As we begin the month of October, set forth by our bishops as Respect Life Month, I plan to spend some time praying with Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker House and a fervent advocate for the poor and forgotten.
In her life, shown forth so powerfully in the book of her diaries fittingly called “The Duty of Delight,” she worked hard to make sure everyone was included and respected in the vast family of humanity. She truly embodied care for all, from the first moment of their existence to their last, even if at times it was a seemingly paltry, painful or ambiguous start or end.
Her life was rooted in love, especially the seemingly unfair and paradoxical love in last week’s and this week’s Gospel stories from St. Matthew in which the latecomer and the inconsistent are rewarded just as much as the diligent and faithful. The “logic” of unconditional love kind of gets on my nerves, especially since I always want to be consistent and expect others to be the same.
But God operates differently. As St. Augustine says, “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us, and he loves us completely and certainly, even if the evidence of our lives demands otherwise.” Dorothy Day loved to quote Fyodor Dostoevsky from The Brothers Karamazov, “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”
God’s unconditional love is indeed harsh and dreadful for calculating and measuring minds. To love others who don’t deserve it or earn it is Divine. For us humans, it sure is a tall and “inconsistent” and “unfair” order.
But for all called to the Kingdom, it is a non-negotiable!
Sincerely, with love,