General Parish News

Fr. Bob Writes – January 5, 2020

Fr Bob writes:  We begin our post-Christmas journey, looking back to the birth of Jesus and forward to his time of public ministry on earth, leading to the events of his Passion, Death and Resurrection, which will bring about the salvation already announced in his birth “To you a Savior is born” (Luke 2).

Now we follow closely the footsteps of Jesus as he goes about the villages of Galilee, healing the sick, forgiving the sinner, raising the dead, cleansing the leper, preaching good news to the poor, just as the prophets of the Old Testament predicted he would do.  Watching him closely, we learn how we are supposed to behave as followers of Jesus.  Our words and actions are not meant to divide, discourage our condemn, but unite, inspire and heal. 

The members of my community of Lift Jesus Higher have enshrined those thoughts into a helpful slogan: BULUCU RAPATA.  It stands for the way we should behave towards one another: Build Up, Lift Up, Cheer Up, and the way we should behave towards God: Rejoice Always, Pray Always, Thank Always .

Maybe as a New Year resolution, you might think of adopting this slogan as your own, as you follow Jesus in his ministry in the gospel of Matthew throughout the year ahead?

Happy New Year to all our parishioners!

Fr. Bob Writes – Christmas 2019

“God is absolutely predictable in who He is, but absolutely unpredictable in what He does.”                      These words from the Christian teacher and prophet, Graham Cooke, are certainly borne out as we contemplate the Christmas story in the next week. 

God is total love and mercy, and wants only to save us, from our sins, and from the crazy things we do to sabotage our salvation.  Despite our first parents’ original sin in rebelling against His will, thus depriving themselves and the whole human race after them, of that sanctifying grace which gives us eternal life and happiness with God, even at the moment of supreme disaster, God steps in to speak a word of prophecy over them.  He says there will come a time when an offspring of Eve will “crush the head” of Satan, who led her and Adam into such a catastrophic sin.  We know that this offspring is to be Jesus.

What we are certainly NOT prepared for is that this Jesus would also be God’s own Son.  As the Easter Exultet proclaims: “to ransom a slave, God gave away a Son.”  “In the fullness of time”, St Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians (4:4). “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born of the Law, to ransom those who were under condemnation by the Law”. As we used to say back home in England, “Who’d have thunk it??”

Not only that, this Son of God, who will come to rule the nations, is born under conditions of great poverty, in an animal’s feeding trough, from parents who scarcely have enough to rub two pennies together (else they would not have had to rough it in such crude accommodation).  No sooner is he born then this King of the Jews, is pursued by the henchmen of King Herod, also king of the Jews, who wants to kill the infant Jesus before he can take his throne from him. So this new-born King is forced to become a refugee with his parents, and emigrate to another country. Again, who’d have thunk it??

Ahead for Jesus is further rejection from his own people, desertion by his own supporters, betrayal by a close friend, denial by another, and a humiliating, gruesomely painful death on a cross, the cynosure of a whole group of mocking spectators. Yet, it is this very death, which will bring salvation to the world and establish Jesus as King of Glory.

In the words of one of my most favorite Christmas songs: “A Strange Way to Save the World!!”

A Merry Christmas and Happy and Holy New Year to all our parishioners

-Fr Bob, Deacon Mark and Deacon Louis. 

Fr. Bob Writes – Dec 22, 2019

“God is absolutely predictable in who He is, but absolutely unpredictable in what He does.” These words from the Christian teacher and prophet, Graham Cooke, are certainly borne out as we contemplate the Christmas story in the next week. 

God is total love and mercy, and wants only to save us, from our sins, and from the crazy things we do to sabotage our salvation.  Despite our first parents’ original sin in rebelling against His will, thus depriving themselves and the whole human race after them, of that sanctifying grace which gives us eternal life and happiness with God, even at the moment of supreme disaster, God steps in to speak a word of prophecy over them.  He says there will come a time when an offspring of Eve will “crush the head” of Satan, who led her and Adam into such a catastrophic sin.  We know that this offspring is to be Jesus.

What we are certainly NOT prepared for is that this Jesus would also be God’s own Son.  As the Easter Exultet proclaims: “to ransom a slave, God gave away a Son.”  “In the fullness of time”, St Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians (4:4). “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born of the Law, to ransom those who were under condemnation by the Law”. As we used to say back home in England, “Who’d have thunk it??”

Not only that, this Son of God, who will come to rule the nations, is born under conditions of great poverty, in an animal’s feeding trough, from parents who scarcely have enough to rub two pennies together (else they would not have had to rough it in such crude accommodation). No sooner is he born then this King of the Jews, is pursued by the henchmen of King Herod, also king of the Jews, who wants to kill the infant Jesus before he can take his throne from him. So this new-born King is forced to become a refugee with his parents, and emigrate to another country. Again, who’d have thunk it??

Ahead for Jesus is further rejection from his own people, desertion by his own supporters, betrayal by a close friend, denial by another, and a humiliating, gruesomely painful death on a cross, the cynosure of a whole group of mocking spectators. Yet, it is this very death, which will bring salvation to the world and establish Jesus as King of Glory.

In the words of one of my most favorite Christmas songs: “A Strange Way to Save the World!!”

A Merry Christmas and Happy and Holy New Year to all our parishioners

-Fr Bob, Deacon Mark and Deacon Louis. 

Fr. Bob Writes – December 15, 2019

The gospel reading this Sunday once more focuses our attention on the person and mission of John the Baptist.  John is the New Testament prophet of the Advent season, as Isaiah is the Old Testament prophet.

When this gospel episode related this Sunday took place, John the Baptist was already in prison, for preaching against King Herod Antipas who had married his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias, in contravention of the Jewish Law, something that Antipas should have been upholding, not violating.  Now in prison, and realizing he would not be released, John knew his work was over, his mission completed.  But who was the one God was sending, the one for whom John had been called to prepare the way? 

Note Jesus’ response to the disciples of John.  He quotes from Isaiah 35:5-6, today’s first reading.  By that moment in history, the signs from Isaiah 35 were considered indicators of the coming of the long-awaited Messiah.  Jesus basically tells John’s disciples, “Go tell John what is taking place.  He’ll be able to read the signs.”

Are we able to ‘read the signs of the times’?  The vociferous fundamentalist preachers of God as an avenging, judgemental God are not making any headway in convincing non-believers to come to Christ.  In the Middle East, in countries like Israel, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, people are coming to faith in Christ, in their thousands, as they see him performing miracle after miracle, without force or intimidation, in the way that their religious and political leaders are using such methods to force an adherence to Islam.  How strong is our faith in Christ as Messiah, God’s Anointed One, to bring salvation to the world?