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Christ is Risen Alleluia

Dear friends: Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on Sunday, and marks the end of Holy Week, and end of Lent. As we know from the gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day following His Crucifixion, which would be Sunday. His resurrection marks the triumph of good over evil, sin and death. This is one event which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the Dead. Since Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to mankind, it is the most important day in a Christian life. The gospel for Easter Sunday morning is from John, which unravels God’s promises that Jesus will be raised on the third day. The empty tomb and rolling away the stone from the tomb brought some anxious moments in the life of the women and the disciples.  Soon they experienced great Joy when Jesus met them. Jesus’ first command was “go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my father and your father, to my God and your God”. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” As we experience the Joy of Easter let us go and announce to others.

This will be my last Easter celebration here as your pastor. I thank you all for your love, care and support in the past seven years. I will be moving to Caledonia, part of St Catherine’s Diocese. I wish you all a Blessed EASTER and the Risen Christ’s abundant blessings.     

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Palm Sunday

Dear friends: With this Sunday we begin Holy Week. Palm Sunday records the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the place where He would suffer and be condemned to death. It was the practice for kings after victory to enter the city on horseback. Jesus instead enters on the colt of a donkey. Does this not say something to our heart? He enters the city knowing full well that the road to Jerusalem was the road to defeat and death. But, was it really defeat and death? Only apparently, for by His apparent defeat and death, Jesus would conquer sin and death and free us from that bondage. Let us, in a spirit of deep faith and prayer, enter into this week remembering that Jesus went through it all, like a lamb led to the slaughter, not opening His mouth, suffering, surrendering and sacrificing Himself for you and me. As we enter this Holy week, I invite you to gather with the community to celebrate Christ’s passion, death and Resurrection.  

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Don’t Condemn Others

Dear friends: The Gospel of today speaks not of the forgiveness of God but of non condemnation. Jesus has no need to forgive the woman caught in adultery, because He has not condemned her. It is important to note, however, that Jesus also doesn’t condemn the condemners of the woman. This is the challenge of unconditional love, to condemn no one. Thus the readings are a consolation to everyone, no matter to which category we may belong. If we are like the scribes and Pharisees in the gospel story of today, quick to condemn others and point fingers at them, the readings are saying to us that God will not condemn us or point a finger at us. We have been forgiven for this sin and forgiven unconditionally. If we identity with the woman in the gospel story, then to us too, the message is that we are not being condemned for our sin.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Return to God

Dear friends: On this fourth Sunday of Lent, the Church rejoices in the coming of Easter. It is the Gospel of the return of the prodigal son that is proposed to us as today’s reading. This is indeed a Gospel of joy and peace, for it concerns a truly profound and lasting conversion: that of a son who returns to his father and throws himself at his feet, asking for his forgiveness for having squandered his entire inheritance. Here we are called upon to renew ourselves and experience the loving invitation of our Lord. In the early church, those candidates to be baptized, and public sinners, were called upon to understand that Jesus alone is the new life. As we enter into this penitential week, I invite you to join, and celebrate God’s unconditional mercy and love.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Looking forward with repentance

Dear friends: In this Season of Lent, we prepare for the feast of Easter by trying to purify our body and spirit, in order to abundantly receive the fruits of the Redemption of the Lord. Today the church invites us to reflect on the urgency of repentance in an attempt to enhance our Christian lives. For us Christians, Lent is a time for serious, disciplined self-examination, a time spent in intensive prayer and repentance before the cross of Calvary. God personally calls each one of us to return to Him with all our hearts, with fasting, prayer and total surrender to him.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Congratulations – Around 70 young people received the Sacrament of Confirmation on Wednesday. Congratulations.

We thank Bishop Crosby for invoking the gifts of the Holy Spirit on them. Thanks to all the principals from our schools, grade 7 teachers, parents, sponsors, volunteers who helped us to prepare children and organize the celebration, choir members, Altar servers and ushers.              The Pastor

Call to Conversion

Dear friends: God’s call is personal. It is an invitation to enter into His holiness with an attitude of faith and total trust in the Divine. We encounter a God who speaks to us and we are called upon to listen to Him and respond to Him. During the Season of Lent, He invites us to convert ourselves and become like Him as He prepared Himself to the mission of His Father. As we now enter the Second Week of Lent, our task is to continue to examine our hearts and change ourselves in order to be worthy of His glorious paschal mystery. God tells us that our thoughts are not like His thoughts and our ways are not akin to those of His choice. As human beings we do not like change and we resist any change as much as we can. However, change is a part of our life and we cannot just depend on our past glory and achievements. We know that we are pilgrims on a journey to a more permanent dwelling place, a place of total union with our God of Truth and Love. The readings of today invite us to reflect on the paradox of our Christian faith that we belong here and we do not belong here. It is in this world and through this world that we are to find our God. That is the goal of living and we need to keep it constantly before our eyes. Whatever we do on earth has its consequence in our life to come. While we are expected to be fully involved in our life here, contributing to the fulfillment of the Kingdom, we are reminded that our final citizenship is in Heaven.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Lenten Prayer

Dear friends: Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a time of fasting, prayer and penance which leads us through the forty days to Jesus’ resurrection. Symbolically the forty days remind us of Jesus spending forty days in the desert praying and fasting. By observing prayerfully the days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days and at the same time contemplating His suffering, death and resurrection. Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice. Ashes were used in ancient times as a sign of mourning. The liturgical practice of applying ashes on one’s forehead during the Lenten Season goes back as far as the eighth century. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. They are signs that we are sinners and we are called to repentance. It is an invitation to look into our hearts and make the ancient prayer our own: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Change Comes From Within

Dear friends: In our gospel today, Jesus asks us to search as carefully as possible our own faults as we do for the faults of others. When we are aware of our own weaknesses and strive to overcome them, knowing that we also have faults, we are slow to judge and swift to give the benefit of the doubt.

In the second reading, Paul invites Christians to be firm, steadfast, fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord their labour is not in vain. The hard work of the Christian is not a waste because the Christian is “in the Lord” who has already won the victory. In the first reading, the Book of Sirach helps in shaping the faith of the Jewish people and equips them to remain steadfast in their belief.

Dear friends, March 6th we begin the Season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. During Lent, we will have the Stations of the Cross every Friday after the 7:00pm Mass. Our Lenten Penitential Service and retreat will be at the end of March 30/31. I invite you to come and join in these preparatory liturgies for Easter. Our Holy Father Pope Francis’ message for Lent is try to do good to others and that will be the best way to prepare for Easter.

 

Fr Venil, our associate priest’s birthday falls on Ash Wednesday, but we anticipate a celebration on Monday March 4th after 8.15am Mass in the parish centre, so we can eat sweets and don’t need to worry about fasting. I invite you to come, join us in wishing him many blessings.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

Prayer of Forgiveness

Dear friends: The love of God is a forgiving, sacrificial love. He loves all and in Him there is no partiality. He has created everyone and everything and in His image and likeness He has created them. The key theme that runs through today’s readings is one of love. In the first reading, David shows how a Christian should respond to the challenge God has given him by not killing the enemy. In the gospel, Jesus speaks about loving their enemies and sincerely praying for their persecutors. He tells them that the reason for this is that the Father in heaven is caring, loving and merciful. He is kind to those who are ungrateful and wicked. Let us pray that we may have the courage and strength to forgive our offenders.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

True Blessing Comes From God

Dear friends: The theme of today’s readings is centered upon hope in God, who invites us to stay close to Him and heed His guidance. In today’s gospel, we have the images of abundance and scarcity, blessings and woe, time and eternity, and all these make us reflect on our ultimate destiny. The words of Jesus show how startling the Gospel message can be. In fact, it is just the opposite of the wisdom pervading our consumer society. Woe, says Jesus to the rich, the satisfied, those financially secure and blessing to those who are poor, suffering and the hungry. How can this be real? On reflection we see that material satisfaction can isolate us, but a lack of it can take us beyond ourselves. Our poverty, hunger and sorrow can lead us to greater riches as it takes us close to the divine. The true blessing comes when we empty ourselves, make a room for God and realize His plan in our life.

Fr. Jerome Mascarenhas

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