Monday, December 31, 2012



Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Heart of our family needs to be the Heart of of the Divine Child!

Sunday within the Octave of Christmas (Feast of the Holy FAmily) December 30th, 2012 Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy

Today we continue celebrating the Great Feast of Hope-Christmas. This Sunday falls within the Octave of Christmas, eight days of solemn and hopeful celebration of the Solemnity of Christmas-this is why the priest wears Gold vestments today. One day is not enough, so for eight days we solemnly celebrate that night when our Hope was born in the flesh, born as one of us, a man in order to be with us always—not just 2,000 years ago, but always; He is truly Emmanuel—God with us.

Last week I shared with you the Holy Father’s wonderful Christmas message; it was truly a message filled with hope for our troubled times. His Holiness Benedict continue this message of hope with his Urbi et Orbi, to the City and to the World, address on Christmas day to a crowd in St. Peter’s Square. In this yearly address, Benedict expressed hope, which springs forth from the birth of Christ; and he called for peace in the regions of the world where there is great conflict.

Benedict said, "In Jesus, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, kindness and truth do indeed meet; justice and peace have kissed; truth has sprung out of the earth and justice has looked down from heaven."
"God has done everything; he has done the impossible: he was made flesh. His all-powerful love has accomplished something which surpasses all human understanding: the Infinite has become a child, has entered the human family."

The Holy Father continued: "This same God cannot enter my heart unless I open the door to him. Porta fidei! The door of faith! We could be frightened by this, our inverse omnipotence. This human ability to be closed to God can make us fearful. But see the reality which chases away this gloomy thought, the hope that conquers fear: truth has sprung up! God is born!"

Going on to cite the scriptures, Pope Benedict said: "'The earth has yielded its fruits' (Ps 67:7). Yes, there is a good earth, a healthy earth, an earth freed of all selfishness and all lack of openness. In this world there is a good soil which God has prepared, that he might come to dwell among us. A dwelling place for his presence in the world. This good earth exists, and today too, in 2012, from this earth truth has sprung up! Consequently, there is hope in the world, a hope in which we can trust, even at the most difficult times and in the most difficult situations. Truth has sprung up, bringing kindness, justice and peace."

The Holy Father then called for peace in countries torn by conflict, such as Syria, which "does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims… I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict."

As you can see, Our Holy Father is giving us all hope in these times of great immorality and so great unrest, violence and lack of peace. He wants to give hope to our families which are being so attacked in our times; and just like he is calling for peace in countries torn by conflict, he is also indirectly calling for peace within our families, so often torn by conflict, including our parish families.

Speaking of family, today in the ordinary form of the liturgy we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. The more we open our families to the Christ child truly present in the holy Eucharist the more our families are filled with hope and peace because the more they become by God’s grace and power, like the Holy Family of Nazareth. Joseph and Mary were graced with the presence of Hope incarnate. Their gaze was always focused on the Christ Child in their midst; the Sacred Heart of Christ was the Heart of their Holy Family. The Holy Family was a respite of great peace in a un-peaceful world. And it holiness sprung up as hope, justice and peace for the whole world.

WE too, our families are graced to have this same Hope incarnate, this same Hope become Man available to us, present to us through our Parish Family. We need to beg of God’s grace in order to imitate more and more Joseph and Mary and focus our gaze on the Christ Child. The Heart of our family needs to be the Sacred Heart of Jesus as well. Our families can then become as well places from which spring forth peace and justice and hope into our world.

Yes, the Divine Child of the Holy Family has come to give us all hope. And this hope ultimately points to the fact that we are called to share in the joy and peace of His own family. Not just the peace of the Holy family of Nazereth, but the peace of THE HOLY FAMILY, the Most blessed Trinity. As our first reading from Galatians points out: the Heir has become one of us, so that we who were children of this world might be heirs as well; so that we might become adopted children of Jesus’ own Heavenly Father and so members of God’s own Family thus living out already here on earth the hope of our baptism.

This is our hope. Because we are now adopted sons and daughters of the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His Son, God has now sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying out Abba Father. We are not just servants of the Father but because of Christmas we are sons and so heirs also of the treasures of heaven, the treasures of love, joy and peace through God. What have we to be afraid of? No matter what happens if we keep our gaze on Christ, through Him the Heavenly Father keeps His gaze on us. What else do we need? What else can we hope for or in?

This is the fruit of Adoration of the Holy Eucharist, of keeping our Gaze on the Christ Child in the Holy Eucharist. Our hearts, and if we adore the Holy Eucharist as families, the heart of our family becomes one with the heart of Christ and through the heart of Christ one with the Heart of the Father in the unity and love; joy and peace of the Holy Spirit.

Let us turn to the Holy Family of Nazareth this day to help us, to help our family become like theirs. Let us turn to St. Joseph and Our Lady to help us keep our gaze on the Christ Child, both as individuals but also as families and as a parish family. May we all share more and more in the love of the Holy Family and the peace of the Holy Family. And then especially in this the year of faith which intensifies the call for a new evangelization, may our families become then beacons of love and joy; peace and justice springing forth for the whole world!!!

Let us now as a family turn to the divine crèche to find a refuge beside the HOLY FAMILY, praying in silence and listening to the symphony of angels singing at this Holy Mass, “
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND AND PEACE ON EARTH TO MEN, (AND TO FAMILIES) ON WHOM GOD’S FAVOR REST, that is on those who adore the Son in the Holy Eucharist and keep their gaze on Him so they may follow Him as adopted sons and daughters and so carry out the Will of His Father and Who is now their Father and become one with Him. Amen.

Monday, December 24, 2012

May the Blessed Virgin help you and me make this offering of love this Christmas.

Christmas 2012

Tonight is the great celebration of the beginning of the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. We have been speaking about hope these last four weeks of Advent and now here we are at Christmas the great feast of hope. Tonight (today) we celebrate, liturgically, the birthday of our Hope, of Hope Himself—Jesus Christ the Christ Child-God become Man, become one of us in order to be intimately and personally with each one of us.

Again and again the beauty of this Gospel touches our hearts: a beauty that is the splendour of truth. Again and again it astonishes us that God makes himself a child so that we may love him, so that we may dare to love him, and as a child trustingly lets himself be taken into our arms. It is as if God were saying: I know that my glory frightens you, and that you are trying to assert yourself in the face of my grandeur. So now I am coming to you as a child, so that you can accept me and love me. (Pope Benedict Homily at Christmas Eve Mass).

In light of this great truth, this reality, even amidst the darkness of this world, there is so much to hope for, there is so much hope in our world. Jesus Christ was truly born 2,000 years ago; He is again truly reborn anew on our sacred altars at every Holy Mass. He is still truly God with us, as one of us, in our daily lives; and He is truly physically present in every tabernacle of the world where He continually waits for us to come and adore Him so He can fill us with His hope along with His peace and joy.
I find in my priestly life that Children are very open to the truths of our Beautiful Catholic Faith, many times more so than us adults. I find one of the truths to which they are most open is the truth that the Little Christ Child is still on earth truly and physically present in the Holy Eucharist. Because of their littleness and innocence children very quickly catch on to the idea that because of this truth of all truths, they quickly understand that we all must learn to kneel in faith before the Holy Eucharist in Adoration, with hearts full of Contrition, Thanksgiving and Petition.

In light of all the terrible current events we are facing in our world and our country this Christmas we truly want peace restored to our country and to our world. But Christmas reminds us that peace first begins in our own hearts and then in our families and from there it goes out into the world. The source of this Peace is the Christ Child in the Holy Eucharist present in all the tabernacles of the world and on every Altar where a validly ordained Catholic Priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. At the Holy Mass, which is Christ’s Mass, by Jesus own words said through the priest, “this is my Body…This is my Blood,” ordinary bread and wine are transformed by the miracle of Transubstantiation into the Christ Child Himself.

This Christ child beckons us to come and Adore Him in the Holy Eucharist in order that He can bless us with His Peace, for He is the Prince of Peace and He offers to each of us a peace that the world cannot give. In the Holy Eucharist Jesus, the Christ Child literally holds out, in his hand, His own Heart beating for love of each one of us. This is His gift to us. The only gift He wants from us is our loving heart in return.

The more we accept His loving heart in the Holy Eucharist through Faith, Hope and Love, the more we offer our heart in return, the more we will find peace in our heart and the more we will become peace makers in our families, parish families, communities and our world. This is what the Angel promise to the shepherds, not just peace to all men, but instead peace only to men of Good Will; that is, Men with whom God is well pleased. This is true peace, the peace of God, and it comes to those who are open to God’s love and who Love God in return, by following His Holy Will, and His commandments, especially His Commandment to Love one another as He has loved us.

The Heart of the Christ Child truly present in the Holy Eucharist is the Source of the Love we need in order to be enabled to love one another as God loves us; The Holy Eucharist is literally the God who IS LOVE and who becomes Man to give us the power of His Love! This Christmas, and at every Holy Mass, Jesus, the Christ Child offers us this Love, which is the gift of His whole heart and being, the gift of His entire Self.

We have prepared our gifts for others this Christmas, but have we prepared our gift to Jesus. He wants only one thing, and that is you—the gift of yourself wrapped in love and in the purity of a good Sacramental Confession. Love, true love that is, is really an exchange of persons, a gift of self to the other. Jesus offers you Himself this Christmas; I pray that the inn of your heart, that your lives be fully open to this gift by the offering of your heart in return. May the Blessed Virgin help you and me make this offering of love this Christmas.

My hope for all you and this parish family is that this Christmas would be a time in which we would all become as little children before the Christ Child newly born in the Manger and adore Him there as the True and Living God become true man. Let us make haste to love Him. "In our case, it is probably not very often that we make haste for the things of God. God does not feature among the things that require haste. The things of God can wait, we think and we say. And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing" (Pope Benedict, Christmas Eve Homily).

On behalf of Father William and the entire parish staff, I would like to wish all of you and your families, a very blessed and merry Christmas.God bless you all and again Merry Christmas to you and your families and all the families of St. Patrick’s parish!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our Lady, Mother of our Faith, Mother our Hope, Mother of Charity, cause of our joy

Fourth Sunday in Advent. December 23, 2012. Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy

Our theme for this Advent is again one of Hope. We have been speaking about hope these last three weeks of Advent and now here we are at the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. In just a few days we celebrate, liturgically, the birthday of our Hope, of Hope Himself—Jesus Christ the Christ Child-God become Man, become one of us in order to be intimately and personally with each one of us.

In light of this great truth, this reality, even amidst the darkness of this world, there is so much to hope for, there is so much hope in our world. Jesus Christ was truly born 2,000 years ago; He is again truly reborn anew on our sacred altars at every Holy Mass. He is still truly God with us, as one of us, in our daily lives; and He is truly physically present in every tabernacle of the world where He continually waits for us to come and adore Him so He can fill us with His hope along with His peace and joy.

We have so much to hope for. The theme of hope, although not explicitly mentioned, is found in our Holy Father’s message for this Christmas. In the message, his Holiness, Benedict mentions some of the great events of the past year, events which were signs of great hope in our world; such as His apostolic journeys to Mexico and Cuba which were received with so much enthusiasm and faith. In Mexico we saw people literally kneeling, young people literally kneeling along the pope’s route to receive the blessing of Peter’s Successor. And we saw the offering Holy Mass beside the statue of Christ the King against the backdrop of so many economic problems and violence in Mexico. In Cuba we saw great public liturgical celebrations in which the singing, the praying and the silence made tangibly present the One that the country’s authorities had tried for so long to exclude.

In His message the Holy Father went on to mention other great events of hope in the last year, not excluding the Synod on the New Evangelization which also served as a collective inauguration of the Year of Faith in which we commemorate the opening of the Second Vatican Council fifty years ago, seeking to understand it anew and appropriate it anew in the changing circumstances of today. The Second Vatican Councils is even more than ever a great hope and a great light for our current age grasping for both hope and light.

Our Holy Father continues to gives us hope, not only by pointing out the hopeful events of this year but also by coming out again and again with much needed teachings, especially moral teachings, which stand up against the modern lies and errors which are stripping the world of its hope. As one writer pointed out, “He (Benedict) clearly understands that truth on these moral issues must now be boldly preached without any regard for human respect or encountering ridicule or hatred. Benedict is imitating the true Christ and showing the rest of the world’s bishops that they are now obliged to do the same. Bravo for Benedict!”

WE see this boldness in the truth in His Christmas message when after some of the hopeful events we just mention, Benedict courageously and with a most politically incorrect stance goes on in His Christmas message to highlight one of the great threats against our Hope today, which is the modern errant philosophical theory which denies the God given gender of the Human person. This hideous theory has it roots in Marxism, and states as did Karl Marx, that gender does not come from nature and the Creator of nature—God, but it is only a societal or even a self impose construct. In other words this erroneous theory denies the distinction of gender and so denies the very nature of man as male and female created in the image and likeness of God-in this, it is demonic.
Once more this theory strips us of hope because it is an attack against the family; it seeks to redefine the family and so destroy family. And ultimately because it is an attack against the very nature of the human being as male or female created in the image and likeness of God, it is an attack against and a denial of God Himself.

The Holy Father says this gender theory is what is behind the homosexual revolution and the current all out attack on the family. He says, there is no denying the crisis that threatens,” the family “to its foundations – especially in the Western world,”

Crediting the Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, for the research, Pope Benedict XVI said “the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper” than was originally believed. “While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question.”

According to “the ‘gender’ philosophy,” explained the Pope, “sex is no longer a given element of nature that man has to accept and personally make sense of: now it is a merely a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society.”

The Holy Father adds: “The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.”
People now dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, a nature that serves as a defining element of the human being. People now deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.

According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply-how the devil hates that we were created as male and female. And so, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves whether we are male or female or even a combination of both. With this error, Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man now calls his nature into question. From now on, he is merely spirit and will.

The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation.
Pope Benedict XVI concluded, “When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker Himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of man’s being. The defense of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.”

Our Holy Father also says at one point in His Christmas message, “only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.

What a light we have been given in Pope Benedict. Some may think why is he using his Christmas message to speak of such things. Because these attacks on the nature of the human person are so serious to our world and to our civilization, the strip us of hope. Therefore, Benedict’s words are words of hope because they are words of truth and they point to the One that is the truth and who has come into our world as a true man, not as a genderless creature, but as a man, in order to be like us and to be one with us; Benedict points to the One who is our hope, Jesus Christ, He who is the longing of the heart of every man, woman and child whether they realize it or not.

Let us this advent renew our hope, let us in this year of faith commit ourselves more fully to read and study the writings and teachings of this great man, Pope Benedict the Sixteenth, a beacon of hope in our hopeless world. We too can then share his words with others, true words which point to the Christ Child, so they may have an intimate encounter with the Word made flesh and have hope by living in union with the True and Living God. With great expectation and hope, let us seek the Lord who is coming soon; unless we desire him we will never know the Lord, unless we expect him, we will never meet him, unless we seek him, we will never find him (Benedict Angelus Address, fourth Sunday of Advent 2012).

Our Lady, Mother of our Faith, Mother our Hope, Mother of Charity, cause of our joy;
Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genetrix;
nostras deprecations ne dispicias in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.
We fly to your patronage O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our petitions n our necessities,
But deliver us always from all dangers.
O Glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

...there is still hope...

John 1, 19-28 Gaudete Sunday, Third Sunday in Advent. December 16th, 2012 Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy

We continue this third weekend in Advent our theme of hope. It is after all Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is taken from our first reading, which is from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Gaudete in Domino semper, iterum dico gaudete…Rejoice in the Lord always again, I say, rejoice.

In light of the tragic events this week it seems very hard to rejoice this weekend. We are indeed a country in morning. We pray for the families of those who lost their little children in the Elementary shootings in Connecticut as well as for the families of the adults that were killed as well.

For many, their hope has been shaken by the unspeakable horrors of small children being massacred by a deranged individual. After all, it is children who give us hope in this world…they are the hope of the future and we just lost 20 precious little ones. But this advent we are reminded of another little child, a child who is our hope personified. He is Emmanuel God with us…God with us even in the darkest darkness of this world, even in the midst of unspeakable horror and unspeakable sorrow.

Yesterday, I got into a discussion with a very kind lady. We began to speak about the tragic events that unfolded in Connecticut. I said unabashedly, that the cause of this evil was not the lack of gun control; stricter gun laws will not help us even though we will hear this as never before in the coming weeks and months. In fact more gun control will only take away our rights as law abiding Americans to protect and defend ourselves and our families; especially father’s right to protect and defend his family from evil men or even from evil governments. I told this very nice lady that the source of this evil is from the lack of peace in this world coming from the grave injustice of abortion and other crimes against life such as artificial contraception and homosexual acts and so-call Homosexual marriage.

When a country allows the killing of millions upon millions of little children in the womb, it is only a step before the killing of children outside the womb begins to increase. We see this happening more and more from little children being kidnapped and sold into prostitution in other countries, to children being abducted, then molested and killed and their lifeless bodies dumped into the woods, such as just happened to two beautiful girls in Iowa. Evil begets more evil. If we kill little children in the womb and ripped them limb-by-limb out of their mother, what’s to stop other evil from being done to children outside of the womb?

In my conversation yesterday I also pointed out how many times I hear married couples say that they are afraid and so don’t even want to bring children into this world. They say the world is such in such a terrible state that they question whether it would even be right to bring children into such a dark time. But this is the very problem; the problem is, is that we don’t have enough children. We have aborted millions and prevent millions of others from even coming into existence through artificial contraception and overall un-openness to new human life, to new human persons. And we are as a country, accepting more and more homosexual acts and “marriage” which are nothing by life-less acts which in no way can bring new life, new children, new persons, new hope into the world.

Children again are our hope; we need more children a lot more children, not less. And we need holy marriages, which rear these children and teach them the truth about God so that they can love him and adore him in this life and be happy with Him forever in the next. Thank God we have 15 mothers pregnant right now here at the parish—15 new lights of hope about to come into our world. Praise God there is hope!!! Indecently, there is a even greater crisis right now than a crisis of vocations to the priesthood; it’s a crisis of holy marriages which beget children some of who later become our priests and religious and our holy husband and wives who produce more children to adore God with their lives.

In this advent time and during Christmas we hear over and over the words of the angels to the little shepherds out in the field…Peace on earth good will to men. However the problem is, is this is not what the angel said…no, he said instead, “Peace on earth to men of good will.” That is peace on earth only comes to men of good will who promote true justice. And true justice begins with accepting the truth especially the truth about the Human Person made in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by the precious blood of the Christ Child.

And so true Justice comes about by always accepting, defending and protecting the littlest and most venerable among us…and who is the most vulnerable if not little children in the womb who can’t escape from the butchers tools of unspeakable evil. Not a gun mind you, but a suction machine, chemicals, a force grip and a scalpel. Guns don’t kill people, any more than suction machines and scalpels kill people—only people kill people. If we want an end to the violence we are currently experiencing in our country and our world, if we want peace, then we must in justice defend life, born and unborn, young or old, sick or healthy, mentally or physically disabled or not disabled, embryonic or completely developed human persons. We must do everything we can to protect the life of all human persons from natural conception to natural death, or we will never have peace…never! We will only have more violence and more war…for

“Abortion is truly the greatest threat to world peace in our world today.” (Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta).

Recently our Holy Father in his Message for World Day of Peace said, “Peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote life in its fullness,” The pope noted that “serious harm to justice and peace” comes from denying the true principles of respect for life and promotion of the “natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

Pope Benedict XVI, boldly stressed that pro-lifers are the ‘true peacemakers’ and that those who would support abortion promote a “false peace.”
The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.

Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenseless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.

Along with principle of respect for life, the Holy Father spoke of the “need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.”

He noted that these principles are “not truths of faith,” but “inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity.” Efforts to promote them, he said, “are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.”
Other requirements for world peace mentioned by Pope Benedict include:

- “the dismantling of the dictatorship of relativism and of the supposition of a completely autonomous morality which precludes acknowledgement of the ineluctable natural moral law inscribed by God upon the conscience of every man and woman.”

-“for legal systems and the administration of justice to recognize the right to invoke the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and euthanasia.”

-“the right of individuals and communities to religious freedom.”
On the last point, the pope lamented the lack of religious freedom, even in Western nations.

“Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous, especially in relation to Christianity and those who simply wear identifying signs of their religion,” he stated.
He urged that “at this stage in history, it is becoming increasingly important to promote” religious freedom “not only from the negative point of view, as freedom from – for example, obligations or limitations involving the freedom to choose one’s religion

– but also from the positive point of view, in its various expressions, as freedom for

– for example, bearing witness to one’s religion, making its teachings known, engaging in activities in the educational, benevolent and charitable fields which permit the practice of religious precepts, and existing and acting as social bodies structured in accordance with the proper doctrinal principles and institutional ends of each.”

It is important here to note, that there is still hope for our nation, our society, our families and our world. I ended by discussion yesterday with the nice lady by telling her we can’t lose hope. But hope begins as always in the individual heart, our heart. For hope has a name and is with us now…It is Jesus Christ the Christ Child truly present with us daily both in Spirit and in the Flesh in the Holy Eucharist. This Advent reminds us that Christ has come, but he is coming again, not just at the end of the world but He is coming soon in His Holy Spirit to this world of injustice and sin; but He first wants to possess more fully our hearts.

In His Divine Mercy the Father as set a limit to how far evil can go. That limit is here; it is the final hour of God Mercy before the hour of His divine justice comes. It is not to late for us to become greater instruments of God Mercy so that the Holy Spirit through grace will purify our world. If we, not those out there, but we here present do not allow our Lord to come into our hearts more fully and completely then the Holy Spirit will purify the world by fire. By grace or by fire, either way, the purification of our world is coming and along with it the great era of peace that was promised by our Lady of Fatima, but it is up to us how it will come about.

The message of hope in this year of faith is that in faith, “we begin by speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells us in the Gospels and looking for him in those in need (Pope Benedict tweet) (and performing works of mercy toward them). “Our hope is based on the truth that, “we as believers are never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and His love is always faithful.” (Pope Benedict tweet) Daily, “we must offer everything we do to Lord, ask His help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that He is always with us.” (Pope Benedict tweet)

We can change our world into a world of peace and justice and love; it is not to late; there is still hope. Let us allow the little Christ Child to change the world by first changing us more and more into his own image and likeness; let us do this by consecrating ourselves to Jesus through our lady, giving Him everything through her, and offering Him daily, all our daily spiritual and material duties no matter how small and insignificant so that she can magnify them and make them an acceptable offering to our Lord. Let us in other words, offer Jesus ourselves and all that we are, have and do, all for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, all for the Immaculate heart of Mary, all in union with St. Joseph. Amen.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Today we continue in our Advent Hope. And we pray that our Lord would quickly come and save the nations, including our own. We ask our Heavenly Father this Advent to stir up our hearts that we would ourselves prepare the way for the Lord, first in our own hearts and then in our parish, our families, our community, our nation and our world.

Interestingly, I recently read a beautiful explanation of the meaning of the liturgical color of purple, which represents our Advent hope. Purple represents the setting of the evening Sun that so many times leads to a purple hue on the Horizon. This Purple of the beginning of the darkness of night, leads us to remember that after the night always comes the light and warmth of the morning Sun. And the light and warmth of the morn represent the light and the great fire of Christ’s love that can to
us after the darkness of the sin and suffering of this present world; after the cross
always comes the resurrection; after death, for those who love Christ in action, always comes a New and eternal life of oneness with the Triune God—faith in this truth and faith in the love that God has for us, this is our everlasting hope.

Because of this hope of Christ’s coming, we also realize that Christ can visit us in an ever deeper way in the here and now. If we prepare His way by confessing and repenting of our sin, that is of our failure to love Christ and neighbor, if we do this ever more sincerely and completely, Christ not only comes to us but fills us with His love, with His very self. And He transforms us and makes us like unto His own image and becomes one with us in love. He then empower us to love others with His own love, with his own heart alive in ours. Our Soul, our heart becomes as one with the God who is Love.
This action of Christ, in which He wants to come more fully to us and in us, and our openness to His deeper coming, is the source of our hope and the source of hope for the world.

But Advent also reminds that this hope of Christ, coming more fully into our lives and to the world through us, doesn’t happen in isolation. Just like we can’t have faith in isolation, we can’t hope in isolation. We hope and can hope only within a community, within a family of Believers. In other words the coming of Christ, as it happened at the first Christmas, as it will happen in the future, happens now, in the present, only within the Church community; or better yet, within the family which is the Church. And most especially it happens for us within the particular Church in our midst, which is St. Patrick’s Parish Family.

To love the Church, to ever more love this parish and every one of her members, this is the way to love Christ; this is how we prepare the way for Him. Loving the Church, defending her, and being loyal to her is loving, defending and being loyal to Christ and by doing so He comes to us, restores us to the abundant life, deepens our love and makes us one with Him; again this is our great hope and this is also the only hope for the salvation of the world. All of the saints prepared the way for Christ in this same way and this hope was fulfilled through their lives of faithfulness-the world’s hope rest on the saints. It is through them that Christ saves souls, saves the world. Our present world crisis is a crisis of saints. We need to become saints.

One such saint whose life gave hope and salvation to the world through his love and fidelity was St. Nicolaos of Myra (Myra by the way is in present day Turkey). This past week on Thursday, Decemeber 6th, as you know we celebrated the feast day of St. Nicholas. St Nicolas died on December 6, AD 343.

The fact of St. Nicholas, apart from present day commercialism of his memory and the memory of all the saints for that matter, the fact of Nicholas as with all the saints was that he truly a champion, a warrior for Christ. He was no push over, but like all saints he loved Christ and His Church; he was totally loyal to Christ by being totally loyal to Christ’s true Church. And, St. Nicholas fiercely, fiercely defended the Church and her teachings which are true and which point to He who is the Truth—Jesus the God incarnate who has come, is coming now by this Holy Mass, and who will come again fully revealed in glory at the end of the world again through the Holy Mass (don’t go looking for his coming anywhere else but at the Holy Mass for, “some will say He is here or there, don’t belive them.”

Back to our saint, early in the Fourth Century, there was a terrible heresy in the Church put forth by a very persuasive man named Arius. Arius contended that Christ was not fully divine, but a creature, created by the Father and then later raised by the Father to the level of divinity. This heresy was so pervasive that a great majority of members of the Church, including many, many of the bishops had fallen into this great evil, this great lie of the evil one. The Heresy can such a foothold in the Church that St. Augustine said that one morning the Church awakened to find that she was Arian; in other words, that most of her children had fallen into the vile error of Arius.

So, the First Council of Nicea was called in AD 325 to counter this great lie, and put the Arian heresy down once and for all for the sake of souls and of the world. It is interesting that Arius was actually present at the Council of Nicea and was called upon to explain his position and to recant his error on the inferiority of Christ and so accept the truth about the Person of Christ and Chirst’s Divine Personhood.

Also present at the Council was bishop, Nikolaos of Myra better known as St. Nicolas. Arius' nonsensical, destructive and insulting lying contentions about Our Lord became just too much for Bishop Nikolaos, who stood up and proceeded to haul off and whack Arius with a left jab directly to Arius' face, for Zeal for the Lords house consumed Nikolaos.

Everyone was alarmed by Bishop Nikolaos' action against Arius. In fact, so much so, that they failed to see it as an act of righteous indignation and immediately summarily chastised and stripped Bishop Nikolaos of his bishopric-they failed to see in Nikolaos’ actions, Christ cleansing of the Temple. Would we have more bishops and priest with such zeal, more men with such manly zeal. There is actually an ancient icon that shows bishop Nikolaos wacking Arius.

Back our story. In those days, the two things that designated a man a Christian bishop were a personal copy of the Gospels and a pallium, which is made of pure lamb’s stole signified His office as High priest and his great solicitude as Chief Shepherd for the flock; wear the pallium is to bear the sheep on one shoulders in imitation of the Master.

It’s very important to note here the fact that Bishop Nicolas had his own "personal copy of the Gospels." Of course it makes sense that a bishop would have a copy of the Gospels. But it’s important to remember that the printing press wasn't invented until the yar 1439. Before that, if you wanted a book, every word of it had to be written out BY HAND. And sense there was no modern paper it was written out on; it had to be written on vellum. And, every piece of vellum had to be harvested from an animal, every page had to be tediously and expensively hand made. So you see, for a man to have a personal copy of any written text was a HUGE, and frankly very, very EXPENSIVE, deal. So, poor Nikolaos was stripped of his very hard to come by copy of the Holy Gospel and stripped of his pallium; stripped of his dignity and office of bishop AND thrown into the equivalent of Ecclesiastical prison.

Now here is where this story becomes even more interesting.
While Nikolaos was in what was more or less prison, he received a heavenly visit from both Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus lovingly spoke to Nikolaos and asked, "Nicholaos, why are you here?" And Nikolaos replied, "Because I love You, my Lord and my God." At this answer, Jesus then presented Nikolaos with his copy of the Gospels, and Our Lady herself lovingly put his pallium back on him, thus restoring his rank as a bishop.

When Nikolaos was discovered sitting calmly in his cell, still under guard, with his Gospel and his pallium, which the other bishops had locked away themselves far from Niklaos' prison cell, recognizing the significance of the event, Nikolaos was released, welcomed back by his brother bishops, and thus rejoined the Council.
The heresy of Arianism was then struck down once and for all, and the Nicene Creed (which we still recite at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today) was authored.

By the way The anti-Arian part our Creed is:
". . . Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum,
(And [I believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ)
Filium Dei Unigenitum,
(the only begotten Son of God)
Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.
(And born of the Father, before all ages.)
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
(God of God: Light of Light:)
Deum verum de Deo vero,
(true God of true God)
Genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri
(Begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father)
Per quem omnia facta sunt."
(by Whom all things were made.)

This story is revenant today for us, because it speaks directly to our question of love and defense of Truth and defense and loyalty of those we love—Arius was attacking Christ and Christ’s Holy Church with his heresy just as viciously as if he had been leading an army; he was thus disloyal to Christ and did not love Christ. - But Nikolaos stepped into the breach to defend his Beloved; yes, even in this case PHYSICALLY. The reason Nikolaos stepped in was because Arius was attacking CHRIST, and His Bride, the Church, which is made up of Niklaos' fellow believers - whose immortal souls were being put at risk by Arius. We are in no way taught by Christ to stand by and watch as our loved ones are attacked. The miracle in Nikolaos' cell is proof of this. Nikolaos did the right thing by standing up to Arius and dropping him on his heretical keister before God and everyone.

The Question of Christ to St Nicholas can be directed to us today. Why are you here? Why are you in this parish, this particular Church of Christ in our midst. Why are you here?
"Because I love You, my Lord and my God." And I will show this love for you by loving, defend and being loyal to Your Holy Church, which is your mystical body, by loving your Holy Church universal under her Chief Shepherd the Pope, your holy Church local under her Chief Shepherd Bishop Malloy and your particular Church the parish of St. Patrick’s and her shepherd the pastor and his associate.

In the extraordinary form of the liturgy it is interesting that for the Holy Mass offered on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the priest doesn’t wear white as he does on the day of the feast; on the vigil the priest actually wears purple. Purple as we have said signifies hope and the Blessed Virgin Mary is our hope. She is the one who will held us prepare the way for the Lord in our personal lives, in our parish family, our families and our world. She will, if we are loyal to her and love, she will obtain for us the grace to be loyal to, to defend and even to die for love of the Holy Church and our parish family and so show our loyality our love for Christ even to the point of shedding our blood for Him.

Faith reveals to us the Immaculate Conception is a pledge of and so the hope of salvation for every human creature. Faith reminds us that by virtue of the unique privilege of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she is our steadfast support in our arduous struggle against sin and its consequences; In her Immaculate Conception she is the source of our hope and cause of our joy, she is the mediatrix for the grace we need to love Christ and His Holy Church more fully and completely; in her and through her, Christ hastens to come to us and through her, we who were not born immaculate, can be purified, made immaculate, as we hasten to meet Him.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our Lady of the New Advent Ora pro nobis!

Our Lady of the New Advent Ora pro nobis!

Today’s Gospel gives us a certain sense of audio deja vu (that is a strange sense of having heard this Gospel before, even though it is being read for the first time this week in the Liturgical year). Today’s Gospel is, in fact, an echo of the Gospel from the Feast of Christ the King which, if your remember, gave us the prophecy of Jesus’ coming to the world as Lord and King at the end of time. But today’s Gospel is a bit more detailed. (Today’s evangelist, Luke, was an artist at heart, hence, he liked detail.)

Like the Gospel on the feast of Christ the King, this prophecy is directly related first of all to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Legion in 70AD. This is its literal historical meaning. But because all Scripture has multiple senses, a literal sense and three spiritual senses, this Gospel also spiritually pertains to the future; and in this case, to the future end of the world, when the Son of Man is sure to come in judgment. In light of this future coming, the end of the world and the destruction of this present world, today’s prophetical utterance from the Scripture also invites us to think not only about the future, but about my personal spiritual future, and so such thoughts as my own death and my own judgment.

As I said there are multiple sense of Scripture—we always start with the first which is the literal historical meaning; in this case the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. The Second is one of three spiritual meaning of Scripture and this is the future sense or anagogical sense-pointing to how a particular passage refers to a future unfolding past the literally historical meaning; as we have said, in the case of today’s Gospel the historical destruction of the temple also pointing to the future end of time. But how a scripture passage refers to the soul and to me personally, that is another spiritual sense to Scripture, a spiritual meaning known as the moral sense.

And so there is a third way of approaching today’s end time prophecy. In our readings we, in light of the end of times, that is in light of the second coming of Jesus at the end the world or at the end of our life, which ever comes first, we are given infallible norms for living in the divine favor against the day when—in Jesus’ words—the appointed time for judgment in God’s presence, which will most certainly come, not only for the world but for us personally. In light of this truth, this reality, we must be vigilant at all times “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life . . . “Be vigilant at all times and pray.”

And so, in a sense, we are being told today, not only to remain vigilant, but we are given some helps for maintaining vigilance, especially in the context of the darkness that so frequently surrounds us in this present life and age; especially our present age—a age of darkness emerging from so many things: financial troubles, illnesses (so many sick), family difficulties, depressions and anxieties of all kinds, physical disabilities, loneliness, rejection or abandonment by friends, bereavements—all those things that contribute to this world which is so disordered by sin and are which are themselves ultimately caused by sin, our own or others.

And so what do we learn in light of all of this, in light of today’s Scripture and its apocalyptic prophecy, how are we to act in the darkness in our world and in our life; what are we to do in light of the signs of the times as we talked about last week? What we are today is told to us in the collect of today’s liturgy, “We are to resolve to run forth to meet God’s Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, we may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom!”

We run forward to Christ by righteous deeds, first of all, by never falling into the error of thinking that the world around us is only darkness and sin and so we must hideout from the world. No, we are in the world to stand up in Christ, with Christ and for Christ in the midst of the present trial. Jesus tells us clearly we are to do so because “our ransom, our redemption is already near at hand.”—

Already even in this sinful and ever darkening present age Jesus has saved us, is saving us and will, if we cooperate, save us. As Jeremiah the great prophet in the days of great darkness and distress, reminded the disconsolate Israelites in the midst of tragedy that God will surely come with out fail to save them; so too, we are reminded that even in the midst of the blackest night there is always light. And it is a light meant for us—for you and for me—it is the light that entered into the world and the darkness did not and continues not to overcome It—It is the light of our redemption, the Light of Christ Himself—this is the true Light of Christmas Hope.

And so, if we happen to live in a time of tension, or violence, or earthquake or turmoil, as we all certainly do in these the darkest of all days the world has ever seen, the most peace-less days the world has ever seen for nations or even for the Church) we nevertheless, have it on God’s own word that we, not our grandparents or any other of our ancestors, were purposely chosen by God Himself—for this our present age. God trusted us to be alive now. He trusted us and trusts us not to fail him or His Mystical Body—the Holy Church and Her members. The second-century Christians in the presence of great darkness and persecution used to say: “For the sake of us Christians, this era exists.” We have a mission, therefore, to help witness to light in the midst of darkness, of the solution—God’s pledge—in the midst of apparent chaos.

And so we have a mission to be light for others in our community and world—as always this begins right here in our parish family and in our families—In light of this mission, we have a duty, a duty of love, to be faithful to our parish family and to her families and to all her members. We have been chosen to be in this parish at this particular difficult time of darkness; God Himself has first chosen us to be here, it is not us who first chose to be here. And so Fidelity! Fidelity to the mission of St. Patrick’s is fidelity to our mission from God; this is fidelity to Christ!!!

In light God choosing us to be alive in this dark but also exciting times (it’s a great time to be alive because it’s a great time to be a saint), a second norm for vigilance evident in today’s liturgy is that of prayer, not just any prayer but intense and constant prayers. “Pray constantly” to remain secure in the Faith regardless of the pressure: so Jesus reminds us Christ will strengthen our hearts; yes: St. Paul reaffirms this; but he assumes that we follow the Lord’s instructions, among which is the need to pray that we not be put to the test, that is that we will remain faithful to Him and to His Church and to His Parish of St. Patrick’s no matter what trials and persecutions we may face.

Again, our stance must be optimistic. We must learn to see some glimmer of light even in the darkness situation. We can do this in faith and only in faith; that is with a true, active and living faith-by not just believing, by not just being orthodox, but by living fully the truth of the Gospel in fidelity to the Church--universal, local (diocesan) and particular (St. Patrick’s parish). The community of believers (including this community of believers), is a sign of the love of God, of His justice that is already present in history, but not yet fully realized, and that therefore should always be awaited, invoked, and sought after with patience and courage.” (Pope Benedict Angelus Address, first Sunday of Advent 2012.)

In the light of faith, in this “Year of Faith,” as Christians we can be sure that total darkness is never upon us; there is always some light. But we must scurry quickly to the light while there is still time. So again we must pray.
In the ultimate analysis, prayer is what matters most; sincere prayer-such as praying the rosary sincerely and from the heart, but most especially sincere prayer with faith before Jesus truly present in the most Blessed Sacrament—seeking the Lord while he may be found—in other words, prayer and adoration now before Jesus in the Eucharist strengthens us not lose heart in the darkness when it seems Jesus can’t be found or in times of great persecution when we may not even have access to the Blessed Sacrament.

In order not to lose heart we must more and more fully and completely actively give our hearts to Jesus in the only Eucharist after we first open our hearts to the Love and Mercy of His Sacred Heart; and we must do so now today, not tomorrow-but now!; for now is the appropriate time. Prayer is heart speaking to Heart. We must pray before the Holy Eucharist, which is the Heart of Christ, now that we may not be fail when our faith is put to the test as it most surely will in the days to come—if not that the time shorten even the elect would fall-let us not trust our selves and proudly trust our past faithfulness but in true humility let us place our trust only in the Lord and in His merits and works, not our own.

Advent, then, is a time to focus our minds and hearts, on optimism and on prayer in His Presence. In practice, the latter comes before the former. (Advent actually means to with haste come into His Presence!) Prayer in His Presence serves optimism, adorers of our God in the Eucharist become more and more optimistic even as our world becomes more pessimistic…the more we pray before the Holy Eucharist the more we become optimistic people of hope in the midst of our seemingly hopeless world. In fact, Jesus offers us His own Heart in the Holy Eucharist to be our hope…seek hope only in the Heart of Christ where It may be found.

The world’s greatest optimists were the saints because the saints were the greatest adorers. All the saints prayed, especially the most efficacious prayer, which is prayer before the Crucified but now Risen Jesus truly bodily personally present in the Holy Eucharist. Pessimism and prayer just don’t go together; Pessimism is burned away before the intense heat of love streaming from the pierced and opened Heart of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

In the end, what the world really needs is saints; it needs us to become saints. Our present darkness and seemingly hopeless present crisis of this age is really a crisis of saints. And so the essence of our mission is really to become saints—to become reflection of Christ and His light to the world. And we have been given the tools to do so; the grace and gift of prayer, the Sacraments, especially Confession and the Most Blessed of all Sacraments the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist; and we have been given the tool, better yet, the gift of this parish and its members and families, for we need this parish, not another, but this parish family in order to become saints and so become hope and light for our present age.

What a great time to be alive; let us be optimistic, let us be loyal to our parish family, let us be saints, and let us most of all be the adorers in Spirit and in Truth that our Heavenly Father seeks so that we may with great haste, meet His Christ with righteous deeds (deeds done with, in and for Christ, when He comes for us, so that, gathered at his right hand, we may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom. Amen.

Our Lady of the New Advent

Prayer to Our Lady of the New Advent
O Lady and Mother
of the One who was and is and is to come,
dawn of the New Jerusalem,
we earnestly beseech you,
bring us by your intercession
so to live in love
that the Church, the Body of Christ,
may stand in this world's dark
as fiery icon of the New Jerusalem.
We ask you to obtain for us this mercy
through Jesus Christ, your Son and Lord,
who lives and reigns
with the Father in the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First things first!

Last Sunday after Pentecost. November 25th, 2012

With Advent coming up quickly, I have begun to think about how I could make this Advent a good one; in other words, to make it truly a time of diligent preparation for the coming of the Christ Child Liturgically at Christmas, in order that He could come more fully spiritually into the Inn of my heart. As our readings begin to take on more of an apocalyptic theme we discover that more we are prepared for His coming Liturgically at Christmas and at every Mass, and so the more we allow Him spiritually into our hearts and become united to Him.

This union with Christ allows us to endure all of the difficulties of this present age; it strengthens us to remain faithful to Christ in the assaults against our faith, hope and love. United to Jesus in love we can resist the world, the flesh and the devil along with all his minions, be they of flesh or of spirit. We discover that Christ thinks thoughts of peace and not of affliction for those who call upon Him; and he will free them from their captivity, captivity to sin.

Union with Christ also prepares us for His final coming at the end of the world or at the end of our lives which ever comes first, and to do so with The more fully we are united to Christ and to His Church the more fear of the things and end of this present age subsides and even more so the more fear of facing our end subsides and is transformed into great joy and even longing expectation.

If there is one thing that can be said about our present age, is that so many live as if they will never die. They have cast off the things of God and so have cast off any concern for their ultimate end; for their death that will place them before Jesus Christ the King of Kings who will judge them according to how they lived their lives in their body. They will then receive their just reward, life forever in the bliss of eternal intimacy with the Holy Trinity or an eternity of separation for the same Holy Trinity, the God who is Love.

In this year of Faith, we are called to make this advent the best one of our lives. Part of this is of course growing in our faith through intense prayer, faithful reception of the sacraments and studing and learning our Catholic Faith, and in particular in this year of faith returning to the documents of Vatican II. But making this advent our best one yet it is also a call, better yet, an invitation to partake ever more intensely in the imperative of the New Evangelization which is an imperative of the Year of Faith.

Recently this invitation, this call, was brought out so eloquently by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York in his Presidential Address given at the opening session of the USCCB Plenary in Baltimore. The Cardinal was addressing his brother bishops, but his words are just as appropriate for each one of us. His address to the bishops needs to be heard by each of us and taken to heart by each one of us present here. His message is of such vital importance, not only for our advent but also for the troubling times in which we live. It address deserves to be heard.

Cardinal Dolan began by admitting the fact that the bishops have "a lot on our plate" as they commences their annual meeting, urgent issues very worthy of our solicitude as pastors – He mentioned the suffering in vast areas caused by Hurricane Sandy, the imperative to the New Evangelization, the invitation offered by the Year of Faith, and our continued dialogue, engagement, and prophetic challenge to our culture over urgent issues such as the protection of human life, the defense of marriage, the promotion of human dignity in the lives of the poor, the immigrant, those in danger from war and persecution throughout the world, and our continued efforts to defend our first and most cherished freedom -- all issues the Cardinal said, calling for our renewed and enthusiastic commitment.

But then continuing, the Cardinal said, “I stand before you this morning to say simply: first things first! We gather as disciples of, as friends of, as believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, "the Way, the Truth and the Life," who exhorted us to "seek first the Kingdom of God." This is good advice for us as we look to begin advent in this year of faith and seek to bring about the new evangelization that we are all called to participate in.
“First things first” the Cardinal said; and then he said, “We cannot engage culture unless we let Him (Jesus) first engage us; we cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with Him; we cannot challenge unless we first let Him challenge us. The Venerable Servant of God, Fulton J. Sheen, once commented, "The first word of Jesus in the Gospel was 'come'; the last word of Jesus was 'go'."

Fifty years ago, on October 11, 1962, Blessed John XXIII courageously convened the Second Vatican Council "the greatest concern of which," he insisted, "is that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously." (Allocution on the occasion of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudet mater ecclesia).

We gather for our plenary assembly in our nation's premiere see, at the close of the XIII Ordinary General Synod of Bishops, still near the beginning of the Year of Faith. Both occasions have the same origin, the same goal expressed by Blessed John XXIII: the effective transmission of the faith for the transformation of the world.

A year ago we began our visits ad limina Petri et Pauli. I know you join me in expressing deep gratitude for the extraordinary affection, warmth and fraternal care with which our Holy Father welcomed us.

But Pope Benedict did not stop with his gracious hospitality. No. He also gave us plenty of fatherly advice -- for our ministry as pastors of the Church and our personal role in the New Evangelization.

Here's an especially striking example from his first ad limina address: "Evangelization," the Successor of St. Peter noted, ". . . appears not simply a task to be undertaken ad extra; we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization. As with all spiritual crises, whether of individuals or communities, we know that the ultimate answer can only be born of a searching, critical and ongoing self-assessment and conversion in the light of Christ's truth."

As we bishops at the just concluded Synod of Bishops confessed in our closing message:
"We, however, should never think that the new evangelization does not concern us as Bishops personally. In these days voices among the Bishops were raised to recall that the Church must first of all heed the Word before she can evangelize the world. The invitation to evangelize becomes a call to conversion."

"We Bishops firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Jesus Christ who alone can make all things new, above all our poor existence. With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weaknesses of Jesus' disciples, especially us, his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission. We are certainly aware – we bishops first of all – that we can never really be equal to the Lord's calling and mandate to proclaim His Gospel to the nations. We… do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins. We are, however, also convinced that the Lord's Spirit is capable of renewing His Church and rendering her garment resplendent if we let Him mold us." (Final Message of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God, October 28, 2012)

The New Evangelization reminds us that the very agents of evangelization – you and me -- will never achieve that abundant harvest Blessed John XXIII described unless we are willing and eager to first be evangelized ourselves. Only those themselves first evangelized can then evangelize. As St. Bernard put it so well, "If you want to be a channel, you must first be a reservoir."

I would suggest this morning that this reservoir of our lives and ministry, when it comes especially to the New Evangelization, must first be filled with the spirit of interior conversion born of our own renewal. That's the way we become channels of a truly effective transformation of the world, through our own witness of a penitential heart, and our own full embrace of the Sacrament of Penance.
"To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance," declared the council fathers in the very first of the documents to appear, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. (SC, n. 9)

To be sure, the sacraments of initiation - - Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist - - charge, challenge, and equip the agents of evangelization. Without those sacraments, we remain isolated, unredeemed, timid and unfed.

But, the Sacrament of Reconciliation evangelizes the evangelizers (what a great description of the fruit of Confession), and it does so as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to conversion of heart, and allows us to answer his invitation to repentance -- a repentance from within that can then transform the world without.

What an irony that despite the call of the Second Vatican Council for a renewal of the Sacrament of Penance, what we got instead was its near disappearance.

We became very good in the years following the Council in calling for the reform of structures, systems, institutions, and people other than ourselves. That, too, is important; it can transform our society and world. But did we fail along the way to realize that in no way can the New Evangelization be reduced to a program, a process, or a call to structural reform; that it is first and foremost a deeply personal conversion within? "The Kingdom of God is within," as Jesus taught.

The premier answer to the question "What's wrong with the world?" "what's wrong with the church?" is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming . . .none of these, as significant as they are. As Chesterton wrote, "The answer to the question 'What's wrong with the world?' is just two words: 'I am,'"

I am! Admitting that leads to conversion of heart and repentance, the marrow of the Gospel-invitation. I remember the insightful words of a holy priest well known to many of us from his long apostolate to priests and seminarians in Rome, Monsignor Charles Elmer, wondering aloud from time to time if, following the close of the Council, we had sadly become a Church that forgot how to kneel. If we want the New Evangelization to work, it starts on our knees.

Remember a few years back, when Cardinal Cahal Daly led us in our June retreat? Speaking somberly of the Church in his home country, he observed, "The Church in Ireland is in the dirt on her knees." Then he paused, and concluded, "Maybe that's where the Church is at her best."

We kneel in the Sacrament of Penance because we are profoundly sorry for our faults and our sins, serious obstacles to the New Evangelization. But then we stand forgiven, resolute to return to the work entrusted to us - as evangelizers of the Gospel of Mercy.

I recall a conversation about a year ago with one of our brother bishops, newly ordained, attending his first plenary assembly. I asked his impressions of the meeting. "Well organized, informative, enjoyable," he replied, but he went on to observe that it was one moment in particular that had the greatest impact on him. It was during our closing Holy Hour, as he entered the large room next to the chapel, to see dozens and dozens of bishops lined up to approach the Sacrament of Penance. This new Bishop told me that he felt that moment had more of an influence upon him than anything else at the meeting.

Who can forget the prophetic words of repentance from Blessed John Paul II, during the Great Jubilee, as he expressed contrition – publically and repeatedly - for the sins of the past? He mentioned the shame of the slave trade, the horrors of the holocaust, the death and destruction wrought by the crusades, the injustices of the conquest of the new world, and the violence of religious wars, to name only a few.

I remember during the celebration of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland last June, when Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Papal Legate, expressed this so forcefully as he spoke on behalf of the Holy Father at the penitential shrine of St. Patrick's Purgatory: "I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics. . . In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg."

And so it turns to us, my brothers. How will we make the Year of Faith a time to renew the Sacrament of Penance, in our own loves and in the lives of our beloved people whom we serve? Once again, we will later this week approach the Sacrament of Penance.

And we'll have the opportunity during this meeting to approve a simple pastoral invitation to all our faithful to join us in renewing our appreciation for and use of the Sacrament. We will "Keep the Light On" during the upcoming Advent Season!

The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. Our pastoral plan offers numerous resources for catechesis on the Sacrament of Penance, and the manifold graces that come to us from the frequent use of confession. Next June we will gather in a special assembly as brother bishops to pray and reflect on the mission entrusted to us by the Church, including our witness to personal conversion in Jesus Christ, and so to the New Evangelization.

We work at giving our people good examples of humble, repentant pastors, aware of our own personal and corporate sins, constantly responding to the call of Jesus to interior conversion. Remember the Curé of Ars? When a concerned group of his worried supporters came to him with a stinging protest letter from a number of parishioners, demanding the bishop to remove John Vianney as their curé, claiming he was a sinner, ignorant, and awkward, St. John Vianney took the letter, read it carefully ... and signed the petition!

As I began my talk this morning, my brothers, so I would like to end it, with Blessed John XXIII.
It was the Sunday angelus of October 28, 1962.The message the Holy Father delivered on that bright Roman afternoon never even mentions the phrase New Evangelization. But it strikes right at the heart of the mission entrusted to each of us as shepherds.
"I feel something touching my spirit that leads to serenity," Good Pope John remarked. "The word of the Gospel is not silent. It resonates from one end of the world to the other, and finds the way of the heart. Dangers and sorrows, human prudence and wisdom, everything needs to dissolve into a song of love, into a renewed invitation, pleading all to desire and wish for the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ. A kingdom of truth and life; a kingdom of holiness and grace; a kingdom of justice, love and peace."

How could we not see it alive in those holy men and women of every time and place, the heroic evangelizers of our faith, including most recently St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Marianne Cope?

We have beheld it in the Church's unrelenting corporal and spiritual works of mercy, in the heroic witness of persecuted Christians, in the Church's defense of unborn human life, the care of our elders and the terminally ill, advocacy for the unemployed, those in poverty, our immigrant brothers and sisters, victims of terror and violence throughout our world, of all faiths and creeds, and in our defense of religious freedom, marriage and family.

And, I have suggested today, that as we "come and go" in response to the invitation of Jesus, we begin with the Sacrament of Penance. This is the sacrament of the New Evangelization, for as Pope Benedict reminds us, "We cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire to conversion." (Homily for the Opening of the XIII Ordinary General Synod of Bishops).

With this as my presidential address, I know I risk the criticism. I can hear it now: "With all the controversies and urgent matters for the Church, Dolan spoke of conversion of heart through the Sacrament of Penance. Can you believe it?"
To which I reply, "You better believe it!"

First things first! Let us this advent listen to Cardinal Dolan and with everything on our plate; with all the great concerns in our world, let us put first things first.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him in Whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? Romans 10: 13-15.

Heavenly Father,

Pour forth your Holy Ghost to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.

Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ so that I might truly believe in and truly live the Good News.

Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News to others.

Pour out Your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel in my everyday life through my words and actions.

In moments of hesitation, remind me:
If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?

God, Our Father, I pray that through the Holy Ghost I might hear the call for the New Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The importance of election and how believers should conduct themselves in the voting both.

Our late Pope, Blessed John Paul II released a letter for the whole world entitled, Christi Fidelis laiti-the Christian faithful. He said in this Encyclical letter (meaning a letter to encircle the globe for all men to hear) “Above the common outcry which is justly made on behalf of human rights; for example the right to health; to home, to work, to family, to culture is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other human rights, is not defended with maximum determination (my emphasis).”

John Paul went on to say that “human dignity is the most precious possession of a individual. The value of one person transcends the entire material world.”

This bears repeating!!! The value of one person transcends the entire material world!

The Church as never ceased to proclaim that all human rights are universal, indivisible, inter-dependent and interrelated.

In fact, the representatives of the Catholic Church to the United Nations have never fail to emphasis this fact of human dignity. The recognition of the gift in which we all share is the very basis for everything that we do whether spiritual economic or social. Without this recognition of the human dignity of every human being born or unborn there is no reason to speak of human rights or freedom.

And so it is very clear that the right to life is the first in our consideration of what is important in a given election.

The protection of human life is the fundamental realization and respect for human rights. Without this realization, this respect for human life, no other discussion for human rights can continue.

And so the Church will never yield in the face of all the violations that the right to life that every human being receives from individuals or from those in authority.

When the bishops of world came together in the 1960’s in what is know as the Second Vatican Council, they said and taught the great truth that all offenses against human life, including genocide, murder and abortion are poison for human society.

The relationship and inter connectedness between the recognition of human dignity, the right to life and the protection of other human rights and fundamental freedom are the fundamental action.

Too many people refuse to discuss the human dignity of every human person; refuse to recognize that gift that binds all human beings together-the gift of human dignity.

The right to life is the fundamental good to preserve in any election. There are those even within the Church who will try to distort and hide this fact which is commonsense. Without life, we don’t have anything.

Let us not let any candidate continue in any discussion of human rights, such as health care or social welfare, when such candidate refuses to recognize the human dignity and the right to life of every human person including the human person within the womb. And contrary to what some candidates of both political parties say, it is a scientific fact, not a matter of faith, that Human life begins at conception; and so, it is a scientific fact that it is a Human Person that is present at conception.

We would never vote for a candidate who doesn’t denounce terrorism but says, “I disagree with you on terrorism but I support health care reform.”

Any candidate who did not denounce terrorism would be unfit for public office. So too the candidate who does not denounce abortion, euthanasia, experimentation on life or other crimes against the human person; he or she is unfit for public office!

This is not just a matter of faith; it is a matter of human dignity and the protection of the life of every human person.

We are all bound together as human persons. Unless we protect one another and each human person we will all suffer the consequences. Our vote has eternal consequence for us and for other souls. As Catholics and believers, we cannot vote for a pro-death candidate without placing our soul in mortal peril! And I would add here, any person believer or not places their soul in mortal danger who votes for a candidate who denies the right to life of every human person. This so by reason of that truth which is written on every human heart. There are things that we all can not not know.

Solidarity binding us together as human beings. As the saying in the Jewish faith goes, “To save one life is to save the world!” Holy Mary Mother of God and mother of every human person, Pray for us. Amen.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Holy Mary, Queen of the Kingdom of Christ, Queen of our hearts, pray for us.

Solemnity of Christ the King. October 28th, 2012 Extraordinary Form

Today, in the Extraordinary from of the Liturgy we celebrate the great feast of Christ the King. Our Lord is King and ruler of heaven and earth; and today, in this solemn Liturgy, we acknowledge this fact with our whole heart, mind, soul, strength, with our bodies and with our voices as we with great effort struggle to enter into full, actual, conscious and fruitful participation in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which the King becomes present not only spiritual in our midst, but physically and sacramentally present.

Over the centuries devotion to Jesus has taken many forms. In the early centuries of the Church we see this devotion very much directed to Jesus as the King of Kings. With the revelations of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque devotion to Christ became centered on the Sacred Heart… in practice it became more and more an individualistic pious devotion. With the Divine Mercy Revelations this trend continues, but with one could say a more universal emphasis on the individual begging God’s Mercy not just on himself but one the whole world. With these two beautiful devotions, the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy, which are surely mutually enhancive of one another, one could argue that devotion to Jesus as King seems to have been set aside for a more personal devotion. However, when we look at the history of devotion to Jesus within the Sacred Liturgy we find it is always center on Christ the King, no matter the liturgical season. For instance our Gospel today from St. John for the Solemnity of Christ the King is also the Gospel used on Good Friday-“Are you a king?”

In the Gospel from John we hear Jesus telling Pilate: “My kingship is not of this world.” Jesus admits that He is indeed a King, but not the kind of king this world knows or even wants. Jesus is not a political King, He is not a Democrat or Republican nor is He an Independent; in fact, His Kingdom on Earth--the Catholic Church, from which He rules, is not a democracy at all; it is a strict monarchy with only one King, Jesus Himself with full dominion and power.

Jesus the King is not a military or revolutionary leader; He is not socialist. He is not a king of material wealth or worldly power. This, by the way, is the type of King that the Jews wanted; to them the King-Messiah was to be a politico-religious liberator who would obtain their freedom from Rome and restore the glory, power and prosperity of their nation of Israel, making it again the dominant world power. What they really wanted was to create the perfect image of a King according to their own designs.

So many in our world today, as well, are looking for a king like this-a king of their own design. Many like the ideal of Christ the King, but only Christ as a king that will fulfill their earthly desires, their materialistic hunger for the things of this world. And so, many will worship Jesus as a king that will bring them economic prosperity, financial security and blessings, and the ease and comfort of the good life. But they will not worship Jesus as a King who places demands on His subjects, demands which call them to renounce themselves for the sake of the Kingdom. Too many want the Holy Church that Jesus personally and intentionally founded to be, not the Kingdom of God on earth ruled by priests, but instead a democracy where the truth should be voted upon and accepted according to the recent gallop poll, or better yet, their own personal opinion.

A good example of this refusal of many to accept the demands of Christ the King has been seen in the past few elections. Most of the voters in the elections of the last few years, the majority of who claim to be Christian and a good percentage of them Catholic, put the economy at the top of the list of importance and put the truth about human life and its need for protection at the bottom; and as a consequence, their vote actually continues the destruction of our economy and our world peace—They voted against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not against the war that is killing millions on our own soil through the weapons of mass destruction known as abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research. How foolish, for without the protection of defenseless human life, and without the truth of the human person, there can be no economic stability and no justice and so absolutely no peace.

Many, by their vote also allowed the distortion of human sexuality by caving into the Homosexual agenda, thus denying Marriage and the family as God intended. By doing all of this they rejected the truth that Jesus, the God-Man, came to proclaim; and by doing so, by their vote, they rejected the life Jesus came to bring and placed their mortal soul in jeopardy. In their pride they again and again voted Christ out of the social sphere, bowing down instead to worship mammon instead of adoring and loving God before all else, in Spirit and in Truth. By this they repeated in their hearts and in their actions these words of Pilate that we didn’t read today, but that immediately follow today Gospel, “Quis et veritas…what is truth?

But the Kingdom of God does not mean food and drink, economic prosperity, but instead righteousness and true peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus Kingship really is. By His answer to Pilate in today’s Gospel, Jesus makes it quite clear to us, as He as always done, that His mission is a spiritual one. His kingdom is “the kingdom of Truth and Life, the kingdom of holiness and Grace, the kingdom of Justice, love and Peace. The Kingdom of Jesus is a kingdom of a true love, the essence of which is a man laying down his life for his friends.

In this, we discover that true love must be through Jesus, in Him, and with Him or else it is not true, for Jesus is the Truth. Love apart from Jesus and His truth, results in our ideas quickly taking charge and then we end up creating our own version of the Kingdom of God, which is just our made up kingdom with a puppet on the throne—with a idiot king of our desire and making. This is the dictatorship of relativism which our Holy Father, the true Vicar of the true King, continually warns against, for in this pseudo kingdom, the false kings will turn against the very people who put them in power and in the end they themselves will be destroyed by their own ideology—but not until the good themselves will have much to suffer.

Christ for His part, only allows in His Kingdom to experience the peace and joy of His reign, those who accept and practice the Truth revealed by Him and proclaimed by His Holy Catholic Church which is His visible Kingdom on earth. This Kingdom is ruled by priests acting in Christ stead, or in persona Christi et capitis—in the person of Christ the head. By their obedience of faith to Christ’s leaders, the pope, bishops and priests, His loyal subjects, show their acceptance of Christ’s rule over them and His Father’s will for them and so accept God’s love and mercy for the world.
Jesus became man to make this truth about the Father's love for man known and to enable men to accept it and live it, through the grace He won through his death on the cross.

Those who recognize Christ’s kingship and sovereignty, accept his authority given to His Church, and so allow Jesus to reign over them in His eternal and universal Kingdom, these and these alone are his faithful Subjects. And these faithful subjects live their lives on this earth by following His Way, the only true way, which is the royal way of the cross, which is the way of self-denial and sacrificial love, loving God above all things and their neighbor as themselves for love of God.

The Solemnity of Christ the King, ends ordinary time and thus the liturgical year. We now enter into the Season of hope--advent. Our readings take on the tone of the last things, death, judgment, heaven and hell. The Holy Spirit wants us to be ready, not only for the coming of Christ at Christmas, but for His Second Coming in glory at the end of the world or at our death whichever comes first. “Behold Jesus is coming amid the clouds and every eye will see Him even those who pierced Him.”

But the Holy Spirit reminds today not to think this event as happening somewhere off in the distance future. Behold He is coming soon!!. This is the theme of Advent. For those souls who die this day, the second coming will happen today, and for each of us, our death is the second coming, for on that day we shall see the King face to face and He will question us about love, our love…our love based on the truth, and so our love for Him who is the truth, and our love for one another and He will judge us accordingly. On that day, He will exercise fully His Kingship and His Divine authority both on the righteous and the unrighteous. All people will serve him one way or another.

For those who refused to acknowledge Him as King in this life and did their own thing, and chose their own king, they will serve Christ by force in the everlasting torment, where they can sing eternally the theme song of hell, "I did it my way-I chose a king, but not the King of kings." But for those who acknowledged Jesus as true King in this life, allowing Him to reign over their hearts by adoring Him, following His commandments and the teaching of His Holy Catholic Church in loving obedience and loving God and neighbor more than themselves--these alone will serve Him in freedom and in love, they will bow down and prostrate before Him for all eternity, as they did in life, and they shall see Him as He is, for they shall become like Him and praise Him and the Father through Him in the Spirit, for ever and ever..

Beginning today, let us more deeply acknowledge Christ as our King; let us start by offering our Hearts to Him at this Holy Mass which makes the King Himself, His royal throne of the cross, His crucifixion, Resurrection and ascension and His Kingdom truly present on earth, right here in this Church and in every Catholic Church around the world.

As we prepare to receive the fruit of the Crucifixion and Resurrection at this Holy Mass--Jesus Christ our King in the Holy Eucharist, the Kingdom of God personified, let us ask Him for the grace to hear His voice and to heed his words in testimony that we are committed to the truth of His Kingdom with every fiber of our being. Let us ask Him through His Holy Mother to help us keep His Authority and the Will of His heavenly Father and our Father, as the driving force of our life. Holy Mary, Queen of the Kingdom of Christ, Queen of our hearts, pray for us.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

O Mary of the Rosary, keep me recollected when I say these prayers of yours; bind me forever, with your rosary, to Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament.

21st Sunday after Pentecost. October 21st, 2012 Extraordinary Form

This Sunday is World Mission Sunday. In his Message for World Mission Sunday last year, Pope Benedict XVI explained its theme, saying, “The universal mission involves everyone, everything and always. The Gospel is not an exclusive possession of those who have received it, but it is a gift to be shared, good news to be passed on to others.”
World Mission Sunday reminds us that “The very nature of the Church is missionary,” And so, each one of us in virtue of our baptism are called to missionaries. Each one of us is called to proclaim the Gospel, to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel to our families, to our neighbors, and to our country and our world.

We are called this Sunday, not only to this awareness of our mission, but to share more deeply in the broader mission of the Church to bring the light and love of Christ to the World. And as a consequence this World Mission Sunday should enkindle in us a love for evangelization, which is to bring Christ to the World and so to help others share in the fullness of life on this earth, a life in Christ; and so, help others reach finally the joy and eternal life of heaven.

There as been in recent years a great failure in the missionary activities of the Church on many levels. I think that this stems from a great loss of faith. So many members of the Church no longer see the necessity of working for the conversion of people of different faiths or even no faith. So many embrace the false idea that everyone is going to heaven they’re just taking different paths or different vehicles to get there. Some wrongly attribute this understanding to the teachings of Vatican II. Surely this mistaken notion comes from a misunderstanding of the Council, but not from its documents and decrees properly understood; for the Council was a great calling to all Catholics to become evangelistic, to become great missionaries. The teaching of the Council was a call to evangelize the world through its universal call of each Christian to holiness of life.

I remember before my ordination listening to a priest friend of my trying to encourage a missionary priest who had become despondent with his priesthood. The missionary could no longer see the need to continue his work in a foreign land. In fact, he spent most of his time, not baptizing souls but working a large garden on the Church property were he lived. He had lost his missionary spirit. He longer saw the need to work for the salvation of souls; before we judge him perhaps his failure came from not enough Catholic’s supporting him in sacrifice and prayer.

I encounter this loss of missionary spirit during my seminaries years as well. The ideal of mission that I was presented with was one of so-called “social justice and peace.” The missionary spirit was one that was socialistic and political in nature, working and even protesting against so-called unjust social structures in differing lands and even in our own country-it called for equal distribution of wealth and so saw all rich people as evil and all the poor as saints; it was an idea of all out class warfare. Sadly many times it was said that the Church Herself, the spotless bride of Christ was one of the worst of these unjust social structures because of its hierarchal and so non-egalitarian nature.

This Sunday’s call for us to be missionaries and to support the missionary work of the Church is particularly important in this “Year of Faith.” The growth in the mission of evangelization within the Church begins with us. And to enkindle our love for
evangelization we must grow in our faith. This is the year to commit to doing so with ever-greater vim and vigor; in other words, holy zeal, holy zeal to spread the light of Christ to our world and so to souls for the sake of their salvation and ours. And as I have said, this zeal for souls begins in our families and in our parish families. We must become zealous in our solicitude for the salvation the members of our family and parish family. Evangelization must begin with the re-evangelization of our families and parish families and then go out to our communities and our country.

And so, on this Mission Sunday within this great “Year of Faith,” we are called to grow in our faith in order to become true missionaries working for the salvation of souls. However, as today’s Epistle reminds us, the more we do so, the more we will come up against opposition; I don’t just say from the world around us, but even and most especially within our family and our parish families. But we must remember as St. Paul says, we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against principalities and spirits of this present age. Our true enemy is Lucifer. And he is not to be slighted; he is a mighty adversary. Jesus never dismissed the devil as of no account and neither can we. Satan is described in the book of the Apocalypse or Revelation as a mighty dragon; elsewhere as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

In this “year of the faith” we must as St. Paul tells us; Put on the Divine Armor of God. It is not with human strength or by merely human means by with which are to fight but with God’s strength and with God’s weapons, which have already been given to us by our Baptism. We are call to now in a special way in this “Year of Faith” to come to understand more deeply these six implements of war, by which we are to fight the battle, not only for our own preservation, but for our work in the salvation of souls.
Let’s look quickly at these impressive and most effective weapons.

The Sash: St. Paul says: “Be gird with the sash of truth.” In St. Paul’s day soldiers used a sash or cincture as a kind of carry-all-to carry all the items he needed in battle; it was most especially use as kind of scabbard to slip their swords into. Truth is an incomparable good. IN fact, Christ is the Truth, and He promised the truth would make us free. Consequently the consciousness of possessing Christian truth in its fullness-the full teaching of the Church-is a tremendous strength for us. WE must as St. Paul carry the sword of truth!

Our breastplate is one of Justice and holiness and they may be regarded in equal terms. St. Paul says: “Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” We must as the scriptures tells us, “put a the new man; that is Christ. We must become as Jesus by deeper conversion and so growth in holiness-we must become other Christs for the world, for our families and parish families. WE must not only possess the truth but we must live It in Charity!

Our shoes. “Have your feet shod with the readiness which the Gospel of peace brings.” By these words the Apostle refers to the instant cooperation with which we are to respond to the occasions we are presented with to preach and spread the Gospel, doing so not only with words but most especially with actions. A well-equipped soldier must always be well shod. He must have good shoes. By the way one of the reasons Napoleon was so successfully was not just in his military tactic but because we made sure his soldiers had good shoes. Patton made sure his troops had not just enough socks but fresh socks—so important are the feet in the battle. We too must have good shoes—that is; great zeal for the Gospel. Zeal is a consequence of love; it lightens the step. A Christian soldier sure of his step will preach the Gospel of peace; He will be ever ready and prepare to do so when and however the opportunity presents it self; He will do so not just for friends but for His enemies, that is even to those who oppose him!

The Shield. Our shield is faith. Ancient soldiers always carried a shield. For the Roman soldier it was made of hardened leather and was carried on his left forearm and measured 4 by 2 and half feet. It covered a man from the tip of his nose down to his knees. It deflected the arrows and blows of his enemies that would otherwise have seriously injured or killed the warrior. But like all man-made defenses there comes new weapons to defeat them and with new weapons comes of course new defenses. For the romans the new weapon that answered the shield was the flaming arrow that when embedded in the leather shield quickly rendered it useless and so exposed the soldier to direct attack.

There is one shield, St Paul tells us, that never fails to ward off even the fiery arrows of the enemy and fend off even the fiercest onslaughts of the devil and his minions. This is the shield of faith in God. IN all temptations, faith serves to protect the Christian soldiers. The eternal truths of faith cannot be destroyed by the malicious attacks of the enemy. But faith must be a living faith…the truths of our Catholic must not just believed, but lived in charity!

Our helmet for us is the helmet of salvation. A soldier’s helmet is designed to protect his head, which is the principal target of the enemy. Modern helmets have proved their usefulness in countless engagements. They protect the head from all kind of shrapnel coming from explosion of the bombs of the enemy. No fighting man can afford to be without it. We the Christian soldier have at our disposal the helmet of salvation; which in Christian hope, we already possess. In fact, St. Paul calls this hope of salvation our helmet (1 Thes 5:8). It comes from the knowledge that Jesus has come and has won the price of our salvation and so has already defeated the enemy. Jesus has already won the war and was and is the Victor; this fills the true soldier with confidence and great, great Hope.

These are our defensive weapons, but we are not to engage in a merely defensive war against the enemy. No we are missionaries; we take the light of the Gospel to the world. We cannot build a castle surround with a mote and hide from the world. Vatican II reminded us that we must engage the world; we must take Christ out to the world not just protect ourselves from the world…WE must be in the world but not of the world.
And so we have, at our baptism been given powerful offensive weapons. It is not a soldier’s job merely to deflect the blows rained upon him by his enemy; he must also fight back. He must take up the sword. We too must take up the Sword.

Our sword is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We have the scriptures the Word of God and we have its correct interpretation contained in the deposit of faith and presented to us infallibly by the Magisterium of the Church—the Pope and the bishops in union with Him. Like the flaming sword of the Cherubim who guarded the entrance into paradise, the sword puts to naught the powers of sin and of error. Remember, Jesus Himself, by his use of Scriptures against the devil (Mt 4:4,7,10 etc), proved how powerful a weapon the Word of God is when used along with the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition.

Our other offensive weapon is Prayer. This is the weapon par excellence.. With this most powerful weapon the Christian warrior can strike anywhere and anytime, from close or afar, with greater rapidity and precision than any laser guided weapon, in fact; more so than any weapon yet devised or that will be devised. The Romans legions had the most advanced weapons of their day, but yet the Apostles armed only with the power of prayer, conquered Rome itself. Paul recommends prayer in all its forms; whether adoration, petition, thanksgiving, vocal or silent.

This brings us to the most effective prayer—prayer in faith before the Blessed Sacrament. The Word of God is most effective offensive weapon but the Word of God is not just the written Word of God. No, the Word of God became flesh and dwelt and now still dwells among us truly in the Holy Eucharist. Prayer, with faith in His true Present is most effective because it is faith in His Incarnation; and so, it is faith that the Eucharist is Jesus in His resurrected body, the only way to victory, the only way to the Father.

Faith in the Eucharist and prayer before the Eucharist is our most effective weapon; in fact, it is the weapon of our salvation and the Weapon that will ensure our share in the victory of Christ not only for ourselves but for countless souls as well. For our Faith in the Holy Eucharist will make us true missionaries-true soldiers of God.

O Mary of the Rosary, keep me recollected when I say these prayers of yours; bind me forever, with your rosary, to Jesus of the Blessed Sacrament. Blessed be Jesus, my love, blessed be the Immaculate Virgin Mary.