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October 8, 2009

October 9th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 1 Period II.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for October 9th are Sorrowful.


   

China Retreat

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October 13th -

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Mass at 3:00pm

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October 8, 2009

 

 

Mary, Mother of God

 

Numbers 6: 22-27

Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, 'Speak to Aaron and his sons and say:

    "This is how you must bless the Israelites. You will say:

May Yahweh bless you and keep you.
May Yahweh let his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you.
May Yahweh show you his face
    and bring you peace."

This is how they must call down my name on the Israelites, and then I shall bless them.'

 

Galatians 4: 4-7

but when the completion of the time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law, so that we could receive adoption as sons. As you are sons, God has sent into our hearts the Spirit of his Son crying, ‘Abba, Father’; and so you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir, by God’s own act. 

 

Luke 2: 16-21

So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.

When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.

 


January 1, 2007
 

Today we begin a new year.  It’s been a difficult year in many ways. Yet we celebrate.  Why?  Perhaps because 2003 is over. Perhaps because we’ve made it this far in spite of problems and dangers.  Hopefully, we celebrate also in gratitude for the good things that happened. And finally I think we celebrate because we are essentially optimistic people.  We have hope in the future in spite of possible dangers and inevitable problems.  Optimism is the only attitude a Christian can adopt because we believe in the goodness of God and his plans for our eternal happiness.  St. Paul’s statement in Romans has always been a source of strength and optimism for me: “For those who love God, all things work out for good.”  (Rom. 8, 28)  If I didn’t believe that, I would be very depressed.  Our optimism is grounded in reality, however, and we can be sure the coming year will not be wonderful in every way.  So we begin the year with prayer, the greatest prayer we have, the Mass, asking for God's blessing and help for the future.   

My friends suggested I make my remarks short and sweet; no one will feel like listening to anything too heavy or too lengthy today, they assured me.  Well, I will be short, but the beginning of a new year is a profound event.  And so I want to offer two ideas that are extremely important.   

The first concerns how we answer the most profound questions about the meaning of life, the meaning of our own life and where our life is taking us.  Popular culture, TV talk shows, the people we hang around with, the books we read, the variety of religious beliefs in the world today all give us ideas as to why we’re here and where we’re going.  Everything we do this year will be fundamentally guided by the answers we give to these questions.  Even to make no decision about these basic life issues is to make a decision.  Our faith tells us there is only one reliable answer: the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus is God's Son who came to earth to show us the way to eternal life.  “I am the way, the truth and the life,” he tells us. Any other way will lead us nowhere.  That’s why we pray, why we come to Mass, why we are encouraged to read the Scriptures, so we can be guided by his light, his wisdom, his truth.   

My second profound thought is about time.  It is precious.  Use it well.  And if we haven’t used it well in the past, it’s not too late to start over.   Amen. 

 

 

Baptism of the Lord

Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold, 
my chosen one 
    in whom my soul delights. 
I have sent my spirit upon him, 
he will bring fair judgement to the nations. 
He does not cry out or raise his voice, 
his voice is not heard in the street; 
he does not break the crushed reed 
or snuff the faltering wick. 
Faithfully he presents fair judgement; 
he will not grow faint, 
    he will not be crushed 
until he has established 
    fair judgement on earth, 
and the coasts and islands 
    are waiting for his instruction.  

I, Yahweh, have called you 
    in saving justice, 
I have grasped you by the hand 
    and shaped you; 
I have made you a covenant of the people 
and light to the nations, 
to open the eyes of the blind, 
to free captives from prison, 
and those who live in darkness 
    from the dungeon. 

 

Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22

    A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to wonder whether John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Now it happened that when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical form, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son; today have I fathered you.’

   

 

January 8, 2007 

INTRODUCTION: Today’s first reading is closely connected with Jesus’ baptism.  This first reading was written over 500 years before Christ.  It is a mysterious passage in that scholars do not know who the prophet was writing about.  But in hindsight, we can see how perfectly Jesus fulfilled this description of God's servant.  The words that introduce our first reading are directly connected with the account of Jesus’ baptism.  In our first reading God introduces his servant in this way: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am well pleased.”  And it is on this servant that God has put his spirit.  God's words at Jesus’ baptism are almost exactly the same except for one word that is changed.  At Jesus’ baptism,  God speaks of Jesus as his Son.  And upon Jesus God the Father sends the Spirit.  We have here something more than just an introduction of God's Son to the world and his being empowered by the Spirit.  The words of the Father also gave direction to Jesus’ future work.  Jesus was being called for the victory of justice.  He was to be a covenant of the people, a light for the nations as described in this servant passage from Isaiah.   

HOMILY: The baptism of John the Baptist was a baptism of repentance.  Jesus was God's Son, human like us in every way, except he was without sin.  Why would he present himself for baptism by John?  If you are confused about the baptism of Jesus you are in good company.  The early Church was confused and somewhat uncomfortable about it.  St. Matthew reports John saying to Jesus “I ought to be baptized by you, yet you come to me.”  St. Luke, as we heard in today’s gospel, hardly mentions the baptism itself.  And St. John in his gospel makes only an indirect reference to it.  Yet all the gospels as well as the Acts of the Apostles know that it happened, but they struggled to understand it.   

Jesus did not have sin to repent of, so John’s baptism had no relevance in this regard.  One approach to understanding this event is to see it as a clarification of who Jesus is.  He is God's Son, his beloved, with whom the Father is well pleased.  There would be no question about Jesus’ identity.   Jesus’ identity had already been revealed to us in Luke’s gospel when the angel told Mary at the annunciation that she would conceive her child through the power of the Holy Spirit and he would be holy and would be called Son of God.  Jesus’ identity was also revealed when Jesus was lost in the temple for three days and when he was found he said to his parents:  “why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I must be in my Father’s house?”  But his identity was hidden from everyone around them.  It was only when Jesus was baptized and God announced to the world “This is my beloved Son” and the Spirit came down upon him that the world was to know who he was.   

Our baptism gives us our identity too.  It tells us: we are God's child, sharing God's life, beloved by the Father and called to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to our heavenly Father.  So often we forget who we are and that we are God's beloved.  The advertising media is constantly telling us we don’t measure up, we’re not worthwhile.  We’re not as beautiful, as shapely, as energetic, as stylish, as popular, as successful, as wonderful, as happy as we should be.  But do not despair!  The ads tell us the product they happen to be promoting will make everything better.  It will solve our problems and make us over into someone worthwhile.  

God has already made us someone worthwhile.  He first made us in his image and likeness.  More than that he has given us his life.  He has made us his beloved son or daughter.  Archbishop Tutu, the Anglican bishop from South Africa, says he always preaches one message to his people there.  His message is simple and he repeats it over and over again.  It is that “God loves you.”  “I tell them that,” he says, “because the entire culture tells them that they are unlovable, and I have to give them the message of who they really are, because God loves them.” 

Through baptism we have been defined forever as God's children and the only one who can deface or destroy that dignity that has been given to us is we, ourselves.   

But, Jesus’ baptism not only clarified for all the world who Jesus was, but it also gave Jesus his mission.  He was to be a covenant of the people and a light for the nations.  Especially he was called to establish justice on the earth.  Justice here means “righteousness,” fidelity to God, goodness, living up to what we know God wants of us.  Who we are should define how we live .  If a person is a policeman, he or she is to work to uphold the law.  If a person is a doctor, he or she has a concern about people’s health.  If a person is a teacher, he or she is oriented toward helping people grow in wisdom and knowledge.  If we are God's child, we are called to live up to that dignity.  And in trying to live up to that dignity, who better could we imitate than the perfect Son of God, with whom the Father was well pleased.    

As we celebrate Jesus’ baptism, may we at the same time celebrate our own.  May we rejoice in God's gift of love and life given to us, and may we live up to the high dignity with which God has blessed us. 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 31, 1994

Words of Jesus to Members of
Shepherds of Christ Associates:

"My beloved priest-companion, I intend to use the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates, in a powerful way for the renewal of My Church and the world.

"I will use the newsletter and the chapters of Shepherds of Christ Associates as a powerful instrument for spreading devotion to My Heart and My Mother's Heart.

"I am calling many to become members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. To all of them I will give great blessings. I will use them as instruments to help bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. I will give great graces to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. I will call them to be deeply united to My Heart and to Mary's Heart as I lead them ever closer to My Father in the Holy Spirit."

- Message from Jesus to Father Edward J. Carter, S.J., Founder, as given on July 31, 1994,
feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits)

 

  

 

  


 

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