Pastor’s Desk

Jesus – the Life giver

Dear  brothers and sisters:  Today is the third scrutiny for those who are preparing for the sacrament of Baptism at Easter time. Today’s liturgy speaks about death and life. Death brings hopelessness to human beings. When someone dear to us dies, it destroys our spirit because there is no chance of recovery. Today’s readings tell us how Jesus, the “life giver”, restores life again. The good news is that Jesus gives life to all who are dead physically or spiritually. This way He restores hope to believers. By raising Lazarus to life, and through His own resurrection, Jesus tells us that in Him death is not an end but a transition. This is what we celebrate in Lent, that in His death, our death is destroyed, and in His resurrection our eternal life is assured.

The second thing we understand from the text of today’s liturgy is that Jesus gives life to those who are dead in sin. “I have come to give life and give it in abundance.” We are dead in so many ways – when a person becomes insensitive to wrongdoing, or not doing anything to stop sin, when we are swallowed up by drugs and alcohol, when shame cannot allow us to confess our sins, when temptation is allowed to prevail on us, we become persons of the living dead. Jesus calls us to acknowledge our death to sin, and ask for the life of grace. Avail the opportunity during lent to ask for forgiveness from God.                                                                  Fr.Jerome

Open my eyes O Lord that I may see

 

Dear brothers and sisters:  Today is the second scrutiny for those preparing for Baptism at Easter. The celebrant prays over the candidates as a symbol that restores their spiritual sight, so they begin to see Jesus and to follow Him, like the man born blind in the gospel. The three readings help us to see a sharp contrast between light and darkness, spiritual sight and spiritual blindness. In the first reading, Samuel struggles as though he was in darkness, trying to find a king, but can only succeed to find the young David when he begins to see as God sees. In the second reading, Paul reminds us that we were once in darkness, but now because of our Baptism, we are light in the Lord.

The purpose of the second scrutiny is to symbolically restore the spiritual sight of the catechumens, so that they can see Jesus and follow Him. For those already Baptised, Christ renews our vision. We read, “I am the light of the world, anyone who follows me will have the light of life.” The entire liturgy therefore, celebrates the mystery of Christ, the light of the world, the light that dispels the darkness of our minds and our hearts. The Pharisees, because of their darkness of prejudice, refuse to recognise Jesus as the Messiah. They refuse to acknowledge that Jesus has the power to heal the blind man. The story tells us that Jesus not only gives the blind man physical sight, but also gives him the light of faith. Let us pray to God that He may open our eyes to see His goodness.

Fr.Jerome

We Thirst

Dear brothers and sisters:  Today we begin the first scrutiny of Christian Initiation. It’s certainly exciting for those who are preparing for the Christian initiation. This year we are blessed with five candidates who are preparing for the sacraments. I know how the grace of God has touched your hearts so living water may flow in you and through you. The readings of today speak to us all of the promise of Jesus to give us living water that will become in us a spring of water gushing up to eternal life. What is that living water? It’s the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It’s possible by our lifetime sanctification in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. So we may shine in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self control. When we persevere in our living faith in Christ, by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we become springs of water gushing up towards our eternal life in the kingdom of God. How does this come about to happen? It is through the sacrament of Baptism. When we are baptized through faith in Christ, our old nature dies with Christ and is buried with Christ. Through the grace of God we become new creations of the seed of God. The new heart and spirit that we receive during the sacrament of Baptism are the fulfillment of God’s promise.

I wish all the candidates who are preparing for the Baptism at the Easter Vigil may continue to grow in wisdom of God. Let us pray for our candidates for their continuing discernment.                                        Fr.  Jerome

Jesus Transfigured in Glory

 

Dear brothers and sisters:   I was wondering, after reading the text of transfiguration, what made these three apostles blind from recognizing Jesus. And, what keeps us from recognizing God? It is sin and unbelief for sure. Faith enables us to see what is hidden or unseen to the naked eye and the perceiving heart. We see how Abraham recognized God’s call. After that he became the father in faith because he put his hope in the promises of God. Faith makes us taste in advance the light of God’s glory.

Are we prepared to meet the Lord face to face and see his glory? God is eager to share His glory with us as He shared with His disciples. Now in the gospel we see Peter, James and John were heavy with sleep while Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah.  Upon awakening, they discovered that Jesus was transfigured in glory. How much do we miss of God’s glory and action because we are asleep spiritually? There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God. Mental lethargy and unexamined life can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of comfort can hinder us from considering the challenging demands of Christ. Prejudice can also make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God. Are you spiritually awake? Peter, James and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Jesus. We too, as disciples of Christ, are called to be witnesses of His glory. Do you seek His presence with faith and reverence? Lent is a time to do so. Have a blessed one.

                                                Fr.Jerome


Ash Wednesday 2013

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ:

 Throughout Lent we are encouraged to renew our faith in God, to deepen our knowledge and love for Jesus Christ, and to live a Spirit-filled life by sharing generous gifts of time, talent and treasure.

 This time of conversion and renewal of life begins on Ash Wednesday. The priest or minister marks our forehead with ashes saying either: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return; or, Repent, and believe the Gospel.  Both are life-changing invitations. If we recall that we are going to die, then how do we choose to live? If we accept that we sin, then how are we saved? 

In this Year of Faith, we strive to understand what we profess so that when we renew our baptismal promises at Easter, we will do so with fresh enthusiasm and joy! We share that enthusiasm with catechumens – men and women who choose to follow Jesus Christ as Catholics – who will be Baptized,Confirmed, and receive First Eucharist with us at the Easter VigilMass.Their choice encourages and supports ours!

 Lent, then, is all about LIFE lived to the full – in love with Christ, listening to His teaching and the teaching of theChurch, and caring for others, especially those who are most in need. We “fast” during Lent so that we might focus more intensely on His word and hear more clearly what He wants of us.

 Having “fasted” through Lent, we are invited to give some of our “treasure” to those who have less through the Share Lent collection. The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace benefits greatly from this collection and supports development programs around the world, particularly in the Global South. Again this year, I invite you to consider making a contribution of $1.00 per day (the amount to feed a family for a day) for each of the 40 days of Lent.

 In our daily prayer during the Lenten season, let us remember to pray for one another, especially those who are experiencing difficulties and challenges and who need the Lord in special ways. May God bless each one and all of us, DRAW US close to Him and to one another, and help us Rediscover the Joy of following Him!

 Yours sincerely in Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate,

  +Douglas, OMI

 (Most Rev.) Douglas Crosby, OMI

Bishop ofHamilton

 


 

What is the Joy and freedom of the Gospel

 

Dear brothers and sisters:

The word Gospel literally means good news. Isaiah had prophesied that the messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and affliction. Jesus came with the power to set people free from the worst possible destruction caused from the slavery of sin and the fear of death. Now God’s power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit; from confusion and error. The gospel of salvation is good news for us today. Jesus came as a fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. So this is the Joy of the Gospel, the good news of Redemption brought by Jesus to the world. Let us pray for the Spirit that it may bring us grace, truth and freedom.

 

Fr.Jerome

Background on the Gospel reading

Today’s Gospel reading combines two separate passages taken from the Gospel of Luke. First we hear the opening verses where Luke establishes the purpose of his Gospel. His style is typical of polished Greek and Roman literature. In this passage, we learn that Luke may have written to a specific person, Theophilus; but the word Theophilus may also be a general reference, functioning as the phrase “Dear Reader” might in contemporary writing. In Greek, the word Theophilus translates as “lover of God.”

Today’s Gospel reading then skips several chapters in which one would find the Infancy Narratives, Jesus’ baptism by John, the temptations Jesus faced in the desert, and the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. In chapter four of Luke’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus is in his hometown ofNazareth, attending the synagogue on the Sabbath, which is said to be his custom. In this account, we find another important clue that Jesus lived as a faithful, observant Jew. We will continue to read from Luke’s Gospel in sequence for the next two Sundays.

As Jesus stands in the synagogue, he reads from the scroll handed to him; it contains the words of the prophet Isaiah. At this early moment in his ministry, Jesus announces his mission in continuity withIsrael’s prophetic tradition. This reading from Isaiah defines Jesus’ ministry. We will find more evidence of this as we continue to read from Luke’s Gospel throughout the year. Jesus’ ministry will include bringing glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, healing to the sick, freedom to the oppressed, and proclaiming a year acceptable to the Lord.

Through this text from Isaiah, Jesus announces God’s salvation. The “year acceptable to the Lord” is a reference to the Jewish tradition of Sabbath years and jubilee. The Sabbath year was observed every seventh year. It was a year of rest when land was left fallow and food stores were to be shared equally with all. A year of Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year, the conclusion of seven cycles of Sabbath years. It was a year of renewal in which debts were forgiven and slaves were freed.

This tradition of Jubilee is the framework for God’s promise of salvation. And yet in Jesus, something new begins. Jesus not only announces God’s salvation, he brings this salvation about in his person. Jesus is Yahweh’s Anointed One, filled with the Spirit of God. TheKingdomofGodis now at hand. It is made present in Jesus, in his life, death, and Resurrection. Jesus will send the Holy Spirit so that theKingdomofGodcan be fulfilled.

The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ gift to the Church. The Holy Spirit enables the Churchto continue the mission of Jesus. When we do what Jesus did—bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, healing to the sick, and freedom to the oppressed—we serve the Kingdom of God.     excerpt from Loyola press

–—

Food for our Journey

 

Do whatever He tells you!

Dear brothers and sisters:

The key message of the story of the wedding atCana, the first sign performed by Jesus, is worth meditating and believing. God revealed and manifested to the world. This is the truth – God knows our needs and is with us. He has kept His promise toIsraeland is now among his people.Israelthought of God as good and loving and caring. The key image of that relationship was that God not only provided food, basic needs, but also wine, wine in abundance and freely available. This is the symbol of a joyful and pleasant world.

Wine in the ancient culture, as in our own, wasassociated with having a party. We still bring a bottle of wine when going to a dinner or a party. Wine in abundance was the symbol of generosity. We do not want to be stingy with wine, as people thought at the wedding.  As we see in the chef’s comments, usually people serve the good wine first and after the guests have become drunk they give the inferior wine. This sign that is turning water into wine has obvious connections to the sacrificial meal of abundant feeding we know and celebrate as the Eucharist. With that sign the greatest gift was made known to the world. The son of God has come among us. Like the best wine which only came at the end of a long period of waiting, so came Jesus in the history ofIsrael. God is generous and loving and wine is the fitting image of His care, but His greatest generosity is sending His own Son among us. As God was generous towards us, let us be generous towards others. Let us try to listen to Him.

Fr. Jerome

 

 

 

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Dear brothers and sisters:  we end the Christmas season with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and begin the season of ordinary time. When Jesus came to receive Baptism, a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased.” This sets the tone for His public mission. Everybody must be thinking, why did Jesus go into the river Jordan and receive Baptism? Was there a need for Jesus, being the Son of God, the Beloved one, to have Baptism? He did it with the intention of uniting people’s desire for the kingdom of God. He saw the pain and misery of people because of sin, so He accepted the mission.

He began His public ministry, for the love of His people, which would end in the destruction of sin, with obedience to the Father. By embracing His mission, He defeated the devil and established the kingdom of God, then called each of us to continue and complete His ministry. We are called to continue the work of Jesus.  How shall we do it? Some of us are called to the vocations: to married life, to parenthood, to the priesthood, to religious life, or to the life of the committed Catholic single.

When we use the particular gifts He has given to each of us to make the world beautiful for others, we are continuing His mission. Should those of you who are married put your spouse before yourselves, you are continuing His mission to make love the motivation of life. When those of you who have children empty yourselves so your children can grow into the reflections of God, you are continuing His mission. If we say no to sin and yes to care for all who are hurting, we are continuing His mission. By making time to be kind to those whom our society hates, the downtrodden and socially unacceptable, we are continuing His mission. While responding to the grace to do something for someone else and realizing that we are not the centre of the universe but, that Jesus is the centre and our centre, we are continuing His mission. The Father was pleased that Jesus embraced His mission and that we continue Christ’s ministry.

What a gift we have been given in Jesus Christ! Some people think that life is meaningless and without purpose. But, we Christians know why we were created and how we can live meaningful lives.  We can make a difference in the world by uniting ourselves to the One who changed the world with His life.

-Fr. Jerome

Food for the journey. Joy to the world!

It’s Christmas, the birthday of the Lord Jesus. Finally, after four weeks of Advent, of waiting and praying for the coming of Jesus, Christmas has arrived. The angels are bringing us the good news of great joy for all the people, for to us is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. God has come to visit us and be with us. It’s our birthday also, because through His coming He made us the children of God. To all those who receive Him and believe in His name, He gives power to become the children of God. This is the news of great joy. Angels appeared singing for joy, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men of good will.”

Why has Jesus come? Because God loves us, and that everyone who believes in Him may not perish, but have eternal life (Jn3:16). He is Emmanuel, God with us. In Him, God’s love and grace have been revealed. His coming has made salvation possible. He came to teach us how to live and what to do. He came so that we may have life and have it abundantly (Jn10:10). He came to serve and to give His life to redeem many people. The celebration of Christmas calls our attention to life and its final goal. St. Augustine said God has become man so that man might become God. When we look at the scene of nativity, it tells us of the profound love of God manifested in a humble way. This event invites us to live a humble, holy and just life. God, who is love, communicates with us and leads us from darkness to light. Therefore, we must focus our minds on the heart of Christmas which is Christ. Christ came with the message of peace and joy. He came to proclaim the good news to the poor.

At this time, I wish to acknowledge the good work done by parishioners who have helped the needy through our Food Pantry, with Christmas Hampers and Toys – one way to share the joy and peace of Jesus. Thanks too, to our volunteers who serve the community by visiting the retirement homes and Freeport Hospital.

Hats off to all who have donated to our window renovation fund, which is almost paid off. A special thanks to the volunteers who create the stained glass crosses and stars, donating hundreds of hours to this project.  Thanks to the Youth of the Parish who have raised funds through the Car Wash and Christmas Party.

Last but not least, I wish to thank all who decorated the church, and served in their various ministries – Mass Coordinators, Altar Servers, Eucharistic Ministers, Ministers of the Word, Choirs, Musicians and Ushers, over Christmas and New Year’s, and in fact, all year long.  The solid volunteer base in all committees and  groups is commendable and much appreciated. 

Fr. Martin and I are grateful to all of you for welcoming us and supporting us as we become established in the community.
I am looking forward many good things to happen in the coming year as St. Aloysius Parish completes 60 years of service to the community. I wish you all Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.           

-Fr.Jerome

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