Pastor’s Desk

We are not far from the kingdom of God. -Why? Because we are following the Beatitudes, the new teaching of Jesus.

Dear brothers and sisters:

What is the purpose of God’s law or commandments? The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law and their ritual requirements. They tested Jesus to see if He correctly understood the law as they did. Jesus startled them with His profound simplicity and mastery of the law of God and its purpose. What does God require of us? Simply that we love as He loves. God is love and everything He does flows from His love for us. God loved us first and our love for Him is a response to His exceeding grace and kindness towards us. The love of God comes first and the love of neighbour is firmly grounded in the love of God. The more we know of God’s love and truth, the more we love what He loves and reject what is hateful and contrary to His will.

What makes our love for God and his commands grow in us? Faith in God and hope in His promises strengthens us in the love of God. They are essential for a good relationship with God. The more we know of God the more we love Him, the more we love Him the greater we believe and hope in His promises. Jesus, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new freedom to love as He loves. My question here is, do you allow anything to keep you from the love of God and the joy of serving others with a generous heart?  Do you know the love of God conquers all?

Let us say the prayer of St. Anselm (1033-1109) regarding the love of God. “God give us love, sweetest of all gifts which knows no enemy. Give us in our hearts pure love born of your love to us, that we may love others as you love us. O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love let our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and to others, be warmed by this divine fire. So help and bless us in your Son”.

– Fr. Jerome

“Could you do something for us?”

Two of his disciples, James and John, asked this question. Jesus counters with another question. “What do you want me to do for you?” We should remember this question because it is going to come up again and again in our lives. If we just say things like money, or winning a lottery, having good health, getting a good job, being successful, or whatever, we still have to say why or for what am I asking these things. In life what do I really want: happiness, security, peace or something else?

The two brothers answered, “Give us the two top places in your kingdom.” Their request showed they had no understanding whatever of what Jesus had told them. Jesus says, “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink? Can you be baptized with the baptism with which I will be baptized?” Jesus, here was speaking of his passion and death. They said no problem.

They had no understanding of how this king would triumph by emptying himself to the lowest human level and only then enter his kingdom. This is what Isaiah speaks about in today’s first reading. He speaks of God crushing the suffering servant with suffering as the way for him to have many heirs and live a long life. “By his suffering shall my servant justify many.” This is the way they would have to go. Greatness consists not in what we have, or in what we can get from others but, in what we can give of ourselves to others. In our own time, I suppose Mother Teresa is an outstanding example. Why did she get a state funeral? Surely it was in recognition of her greatness and also something she had never dreamt of or wanted. Her greatness was in the giving of her whole self to the very lowest, treating them as brothers and sisters and living close to them and like them.

Mother Teresa was a great missionary, bringing the gospel message of service to the very poorest. She did that missionary work in all directions of the world. Like James and John and the other disciples, like Mother Teresa, and many others, we are all called to be missionaries, most of us right where we are. To be missionaries we have to hear Jesus’ words about where real greatness lies. It is a message that is not always easy to hear in a society like ours. We are all called to be not only disciples and followers but, also apostles and missionaries. We cannot live our Christian faith fully unless we are sharing it and witnessing to it in our daily lives.

– Fr. Jerome

The Sad Story of a Rich Man

The young, rich man, came with this question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life.” 

Jesus loved him and said, “you are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come follow me.” Notice here that the rich young man did not ask “how can I help? Or, how much money do you need?” No, rather he asked Jesus how he, rich as he was, could receive an even greater inheritance than that which was already coming to him. Jesus asked him to make a risk capital investment, to place all that he had into God’s hands. Jesus asked him to give up security of his wealth, family position, and power; to give up his independence and become dependent; to hand over his self governance and so allow God to govern and direct his life. That became too costly. He turned and left Jesus, because he was wealthy.

Things of great value come at a high cost. Living a life of value comes at a cost. Jesus speaks of that in His parable about the pearl of great price. What is an investment I can make that will give me something that can never be devalued? Cheap things that do not last can be bought cheaply. That which has great and lasting value comes only to those who are willing to pay the price. Will you sell your soul for something cheap or will you sell all you have to acquire the priceless pearl?

So what are you willing to risk? You and I are here in church today because we claim to be a Christian. If you are serious about your commitment to Christ then you will be faced with living a risky life. What will save us comes from our hearts and souls not from our brains and hands. Knowledge has not and will not save us. Wisdom offers us more. Wisdom bids us place our lives, our fortunes, our treasures and our talents into the care of God. Living as a disciple of Christ means that you necessarily give a public moral witness that emerges from deep within the church and from Christ’s presence working in and through His Mystical Body. Today, what is being asked of you is that you make your own risk capital investment of all that you are into the hands of Jesus. It is to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, who abandoned his privileged status along with the wealth of his family.

Dying on His cross Jesus cried out, “My God My God why have you forsaken me?”  It is only with great faith and courage that we can, with Jesus, give our Father in heaven our final commitment. Father into your hands I commit my spirit. No greater investment can be made by any man or woman. And the reward? a higher and better life in this world and forever in the next. Let the story of a young rich man, though it is a sad story, become an eye opener for all of us, to commit ourselves to Jesus.

– Fr. Jerome

October 7, 2012

Devotion to the Holy Rosary

Dear parishioners,

The church dedicates the month of October to the honour of Our Lady of Rosary, therefore, I would like to share with you the importance and fruitfulness of the devotion to the Holy Rosary.

It is a very popular and easy form of prayer in which we contemplate the life of Christ and the mysteries of our redemption. In the rosary we turn our loving and grateful eyes to these mysteries with an attitude of listening, openness and assent and participation. The feast of our Lady of the rosary comes from the feast of Holy Mary of Victory, which pope St. Pius V instituted on the anniversary of the naval battle of Lepanto against the Turkish fleet on 7 October 1571. It is believed that the Christians won because of the help of Mary, whom they invoked by praying the rosary. In 1716 Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the universal church, to be celebrated on the first Sunday of Oct, in thanksgiving for the victory of Prince Eugene of Austria over the Turks in 1683 and liberation of Cyprus. The rosary is ordinarily considered a Marian prayer. It is true that Mary is remembered and prayed to in all the twenty mysteries of the rosary as she is directly or indirectly involved in all of them. As Pope John Paul II says “One cannot think of the reality of the Incarnation without referring to Mary, the mother of the incarnate word.” (Redemptoris Mater 5). It is Biblical prayer, as it recalls the events narrated in the gospel. It is a Christological prayer as it dwells on the birth, manifestation, suffering, death, resurrection and glorification of Christ. The rosary is also very much a Trinitarian prayer. Besides repeating the Lord’s prayer and the glory be, it recalls the annunciation that brought the Father’s message to Mary, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon her, and her becoming mother of the son who became man. The rosary is prayer in which we consider the life of Jesus and Mary and meditate on the mysteries of salvation. In every mystery we meet the love and mercy of God. The rosary presents before us, as in a motion picture, the life of Jesus the Lord from the moment of the incarnation till the ascension. Therefore, the praying of the rosary vivifies our faith and guides us in our Christian living. To pray the rosary is to recall the great things God has done for the human race. It is participation with mind and heart in the redemptive action of Christ. Thus rosary becomes a meeting with God and a loving act of praise and thanksgiving to Him. The rosary is a very simple and very rich form of prayer very practical and very suitable for our human condition. It engages the mind, warms the heart, uses the voice, moves the lips and occupies the hand. Thus it is well focused and absorbing prayer as the entire person is involved. Mother Mary has repeatedly recommended the praying of the rosary. In 1917 at Fatima she appeared to three shepherd children Lucy, Francis and Jacinta and asked them to pray the rosary. By praying the rosary one obtains interior peace, another obtains unity in the family , another is healed of an illness, another finds employment, another is able to resist temptation, another finds spiritual progress.

Yet do we take sufficient interest and the time to pray the rosary? If not what prevents us from doing so? The rosary takes no more than twenty minutes. We, who spend hours and hours in front of the TV or laptop, can certainly find the time to pray if we want. In fact, however busy we are, we do make time for what is important for us. Let us take care that we have the right priorities in our daily life and praying the rosary is never neglected. Let us love and honour Jesus and Mary and trustingly ask their help in all spiritual and material needs. And praying the rosary is an excellent way to do that. If anyone has not been praying the rosary he or she has a wonderful opportunity to begin it today. God will definitely bless those who devoutly remember and pray the mysteries of salvation.

– Fr. Jerome

September 2, 2012

Back to School…

It’s school time again. There is excitement in the air, mixed with anxiety, happiness and maybe a little sadness that summer is over. Some kids feel nervous or a little scared on the first day of the school because of all the new things: new teachers, new friends, and maybe even a new school. Luckily these new worries only stick around for a little while. Probably the nicest things about going back to school are new books with their fresh fragrance, and new clothes. An amusing part of school life, perhaps with every kid, is that a new career is in a growing field, while the more studious types said school time is cool time, as there will be home work, tests, and assignments. The happy go lucky have a “missing holidays” kind of look on their faces. It’s time again for hard work. Teachers kick off the school year by introducing themselves and talking about all the stuff that will be happening that year. Some teachers give students a chance to tell something about themselves to the rest of the class. So children, it’s a great day to make new friends. Fortunately for the kids, the weather seems to be perfect to begin their school year.
I wish all the school children the very best; do well again in your further studies. If you are in grade two or seven (or up), think about enrolling your names for the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. Be bold and be on your toes and get set go. God is our protector, pray at all times and He will protect you always.

– Fr. Jerome

August 26, 2012

 

Do you also wish to go away?

Dear brothers and sisters:

After going through the discourse on Jesus the Bread of Life for four Sundays we are finally coming to an important stage where we need to make a decision of our life to follow him or to deny. 

In the narrative Jesus the Bread of Life, John presents to us the Eucharist as the source and summit of our faith.  It began with the multiplication of loaves and fish which satisfied the physical hunger of people.  Now Jesus offers to satisfy their spiritual hunger where he prepares to give his own body and blood as their food and drink.   This leads to the murmurs of objection among the multitude, the ordinary people.  How could this man give them his own flesh to eat? They were unable to accept this and Jesus did not explain it to them either.  He simply demanded faith in his word.  He came down from heaven and he was more than a mere man.   He is also God and he had the words of eternal life.   Today’s reading gives us the objections among his disciples, the outer band of followers who had been continually with him for some time now.  They were a group distinct from the Apostles.  Their reason for objecting was the same as that of the multitude for they considered him as a mere man. 

The gospel passage of today presents to us some of the responses that emerged.  Much like the Israelites in the desert, some of the disciples complained about the incomprehensibility of what Jesus had just said.  Others went beyond complaining to expressing their disbelief to what they had just heard.  Finally we are told that some of the disciples quit following Jesus and rejected him over the claims he made about being the bread that came down from heaven.   Jesus was asking them whether they would accept this offer of his and whether they truly appreciated the communion and oneness with him.  He clearly indicated to the disciples that Eucharist means being one with him and united to him.  The disciples were being presented with a crucial choice to accept Jesus or to reject him.  It was indeed a matter of challenge.  Jesus did not indeed appear shocked at the negative response from some of his disciples.   He accepted them as they were.  John presents Jesus to us as the person who knew everything even to the point of betrayal. 

At this juncture Jesus turned to the inner circle of the Twelve to whom he had been talking at a deeper level and giving his followers a glimpse of who he is and what he is about on a supernatural level.    There is no indication that they were more intelligent than the other disciples but it is obvious that they have been given that initial grace of faith that is required for being able to believe in Jesus.  His teaching was difficult and he knew that it would take more than a normal understanding to grasp the matter.  They needed the faith which is the gift of the Father.   This initiation to faith can come only from him through the Spirit.   Without the grace of faith and openness the words of Jesus the teachings of the Lord make no sense.   So he turned to his close inner circle of disciples and asked them whether they too wished to go away from him.   Peter, speaking on behalf of the Twelve makes the profession of faith: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.  ” Jesus was everything to the Apostles and to those who believed in him. 

We are all members of the Body of Christ.  No person hates his or her own body.  They nourish it and tenderly care for it, just as Christ does with the Church.  Hence Jesus says that unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, we will have no life within us.   Through these words, Jesus was preparing the way for the revelation of his continued Divine Presence in the world through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  Jesus was inviting them to a new life through his very person but many failed to understand him and left him.   But those who had faith in the Lord, those who had been called by the Father, they trusted in Jesus.   We know how shocking and difficult are the words of Jesus if they were heard literally, telling the disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood.   Now, not only the religious leaders but Jesus’ own disciples are deeply scandalized as they found this teaching too difficult to accept.  We today are at no disadvantage because we are attempting to follow Jesus centuries after he was on earth.  The key was never his physical presence.  The key has always been the faith and from that perspective we are absolutely at no disadvantage.  Jesus had explained and described what communion with his Body and his Blood consisted of, and what its fruits were: to live in him in his own divine life which he himself gets from his Father.  Jesus had said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.  ” The Eucharist, therefore, is this: a Mystery of Faith. Faith is a supernatural virtue which resides in our intellect: faith requires some human support, that of our human knowledge, a knowledge which may consist of simple ideas, but which is often made up of more or less elaborate judgments.  Faith, a gift of God, serves to lift up our soul and spirit above material things It is to this supernatural attitude that Jesus tries to lead his disciples. 

– Fr. Jerome

August 12, 2012

Feast of the Assumption of our Lady

Dear parishioners:

I would like to share my reflections on the feast of the Assumption of our Lady which falls on the 15th of August. The belief in Assumption dates back to the early centuries of the church. Christians always believed that Mary’s death was a falling asleep in the Lord. With the exception of Jesus, who is the eternal word, Mary is the greatest person to ever exist, and she was conceived through a human mother and a human father. She is the one who gave her life so we can have a saviour. Being the feast of Mary, I would not mention here the role of women in society without regarding the role of men too.

The greatest of us all is a woman. Mary brought a new dignity to every woman who has ever lived and whoever will live. Women bring life into the world and nurture this life. Mary sacrificed herself for us. Our women bring a reflection of Mary into the world as they nurture God’s image, His children and her children, with their lives. Women are life givers. Christian women give life to the Divine. Women are the source of love, carriers of love and sustainers. She said YES to the angel Gabriel’s message thus throwing herself into the arms of God. She nurtured and cared for the child; she stood with him as He was tortured to death to complete the Father’s plan of redemption; she accepted John and us into her heart and became our Mother. For all this Mary was rewarded with total union with God at the end of her earthly life and she was received, body and soul, into heaven.

Our parish is blessed to have so many women who have taken the role of Mary, in doing wonderful service for the community and society along with their beloved husbands. They share their time, talents and resources with the needy, thus imitating our Heavenly mother.

I would like to congratulate these women of our parish for their selfless and dedicated service. We understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods, we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful. Let us all learn to be humble, thankful and helpful like Mary, so that following her earthly footsteps, we shall follow her into the glory of heaven. There, the Lord Jesus Christ will change our mortal bodies and make them like his own glorious body.

– Fr. Jerome

July 29, 2012

Signs of nourishment:

D ear parishioners of St. Aloysius, 
We have been blessed by God with various gifts and talents, the number of volunteers who serve in various capacities in this parish is a vivid example. I am indeed blessed and happy about this fact. When I took over as pastor of this parish, I was a bit nervous, because this was my first appointment as pastor. But now I strongly believe that God takes care of his people. That’s the message coming across loud and clear in today’s readings. He feeds them not only with material food but with spiritual food that brings them closer to God. So the Eucharist that we are celebrating today, is also about giving, loving and sharing. The bread which has been offered by all is blessed at the consecration, then broken and given out to all. The Eucharist that we celebrate  becomes effective only when it’s a genuine sign of what is going on in our daily lives.

Two signs of such life are:
A mutually supporting and outreaching love expressed through selflessness, gentleness, and tolerant patience.
Each one should do their utmost to preserve a unity that comes through the spirit by the bond of peace. We are not a collection of individuals trying to please God but we form one body of Christ, one community which people should be able to see is bound by love and caring. The Eucharist is the sign of that body. There is one Lord, who shows us the way to follow. There is one baptism, by which we have all, whatever our origin, becomes brothers and sisters in one caring fellowship, one new family. This unity can’t be achieved by ourselves alone but we need the help of Jesus our Lord, who is the Bread of life, who comes to us through the Eucharist. Let us come together to celebrate and live.

God Bless you,

– Fr. Jerome

July 15, 2012

Dear parishioners of St.Aloysius Parish:

Coming to Kitchener ON is like coming home. St. Aloysius parish is our home and we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for extending a warm welcome to both of us. We are very happy and pleased with the way you accept us as your own family members. Here we go — to build and proclaim a faithful witnessing community of believers. May God Bless you all.

– Fr. Jerome

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