Friday, May 5

In our first reading (Acts 9:1-20) we read about the familiar story of the conversion of St. Paul. Jesus intervened in a very dramatic way. After identifying himself, he struck Saul blind and advised him to go to Damascus and wait for a sign. That sign came in the person of Ananias who was sent by the Lord to cure his blindness. His eyes were opened and he was baptized. From that time he became Paul, the great preacher to the Gentiles. How many times have we been blinded to the things right in front of us, specifically our faith and how we translate that faith in our lives and our relationships with others?

In the Gospel reading for today (John 6:52-59)the people were arguing and trying to understand how Jesus could give us his flesh to eat. They looked at this as canibalism. Jesus tries to explain it in his capacity as Son of God and Son of Man. The point is that, in Jesus, God has enfleshed himself in our humanity. So, in an unexplainable way, fully known only to God, we now have a physical body and blood relationship with our Lord. God the Father, always caring about the welfare of his children, gives us a special food and drink necessary for our salvation. We should see Christ – body and blood, soul and divinity, in this special food which is offered to us at every Mass and be thankful for this very special presence of God among us.

Peace in the Holy Land

I watched with interest today at the Press Statements at the White House with President Trump and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Both spoke of their hopes for peace in the Holy Land. Earlier this year Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel visited with Pres. Trump.

While all of the talk was good to hear, I certainly hope that one day there will be peace in the Holy Land. It can be done but it will be very difficult to achieve.

Listening to this, I recalled my own experiences during my many visits to the Holy Land.. I especially remember one day at the Temple Gate in Jerusalem when I had a chance encounter with two elderly men. One was a rabbi, the other a Palestine and they knew I was a priest. In discussing all of the violence and problems in the area, both men told me the same thing. 

They said that all they wanted, and what most of the people wanted, was to live in peace; to be able to raise their children without fear; to enjoy family life; to be able work; to live in a spirit of peace and friendship. I wondered why that wasn’t being achieved. They both said it was the politicians on both sides. The people wanted none of the violence and constant tensions.

So that was from both sides of the story, which if you look at what they said, are pretty much both the same. I have heard pretty much the same thing from similar people around Israel and Palestine. 

Hopefully the politicians on both sides will listen to their own people, their average citizens; and just maybe, if they do, peace will finally come to a land too long suffering. 

Praying for Priests of Palm Beach

I have learned that the priests of the Diocese of Palm Beach are having their annual convocation this week. Since I am not a priest of Palm Beach, but a priest of San Angelo, I will not be present. However, I hope that everyone, especially those in the local area, will say some extra prayers this week for these priests, and indeed, all priests.

May 1: Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Today the Church celebrates the optional feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

This feast was declared in 1955 by Pope Pius XII. At that time most of the Communist and Totalitarian celebrated May Day – The Day of the Worker. The Church, by this feast, is declaring the dignity of human labor, as opposed to seeing labor as something forced upon us, to the benefit of the state and basically no one else. The dignity of labor recognizes the right of every human being to a decent job, wages, and the ability to take care of one’s family and other obligations. We should strive that every person has some type of honorable employment. We see work as a key theme in the Christian life.

Here is a prayer I found for this feast:

Saint Joseph, patron and pattern of all who are devoted to their work, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance, in order thereby to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting my devotion to duty before my own inclinations; to work with thankfulness and joy, deeming it an honor to be employed and to develop, by my work, the gifts that I have received from Almighty God; to work with order, peace, moderation and penance, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

New officers for CCW

Congratulations to all the new officers of the Holy Family Council of Catholic Women who were installed at the 10:00 am Mass this morning. Also thanks to all those who completed their terms of office. The CCW is a very important parish organization which provides so much to the life our our parish!

April 30 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

In our first reading (Acts 2:14,22-33) Peter gives a strong speech condemning the Jews for what they did to Christ. He reminds them that this man, whom they crucified, has been raised up by God and now sits at His right hand, pouring forth the Holy Spirit. He reminds them that they can take of advantage of this by professing their faith in the Risen Lord.

The second reading is from the First Letter of Peter (1 Pt 1:12-21) who exhorts the new Christians that they have been ransomed by the Blood of Christ.

Our Gospel reading (Lk. 24:13-35) is the famous story of the two disciples encountering the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus. They did not recognize him until they invited him to stay with them. It was in the breaking of the bread that they knew who He was — the Risen Lord.

We who have been the beneficiaries of treasure of Scripture regarding Jesus, can see in these three readings the continuous thread of announcing the Resurrection. It is announced to believers and non-believers alike.

Like the travelers on the road to Emmaus, let us be ready to recognize the presence of the Lord, especially in everyone whom we meet. Let us be ready to proclaim him to all. But first, let us be ready to accept him ourselves; because it is only when we accept the Resurrection and Christ’s presence in our own lives, that we will be able to share his graces with others.

Saturday April 29

Our first reading for today comes from the Acts of the Apostles (6:1-7) and recalls the call and ordination of the first Deacons of the church. These seven men were to assist the Apostles by ministering to the widows and the poor, thereby freeing the Apostles for more important works of ministry in the new Christian communities. After their selection the Apostles prayed over them and laid hands on them. All those who aspire to priesthood are first ordained to the diaconate and are known as transitional deacons. In modern times the original call to diaconate as a separate vocation was restored by the Second Vatican Council, and these ordained men are known as Permanent Deacons, and married men may be admitted to this grade of Holy Orders. They are ordained to serve the local Bishop for the ministry of Charity and the Word. As we remember the call of the first Deacons, let us pray for all those who serve us today in the Church.

Our Gospel reading (John 6:16-21) recalls the story of when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. They were terrified, but Jesus calmed them saying “It is I. Do not be afraid.” This was a favorite verse of Pope St. John Paul II, especially to young people. As we face things in life which are disturbing and that we do not understand, may we remember the advice of Our Lord and “Do not be afraid!”

Praying for Pope Francis

The Holy Father has arrived in Egypt, and has begun his heavy schedule for the two-day visit.  Pray for his health, and especially his safety during this Apostolic Journey. 

Pray for Annette

Our just-retired parish bookkeeper, Annette, had an episode during Mass this morning, which appeared to be cardiac in nature. She was rushed to the hospital by ambulance where she is now being evaluated in the emergency room. Pleas keep her in your prayers for a good diagnosis and speedy recovery. 

Laetare Sunday

Today is Laetare Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The word means “Rejoice!.” It is a brief pause as we continue with our Lenten observance, a pause to rejoice because we know the Easter Feast is approaching.

The Responsorial Psalm today is the 23rd Psalm, which we have all known from childhood. “The LORD is my shepherd.”

Perhaps we can take a few moments sometime today to meditate on this Psalm and its meaning and application in our lives.

If you read the Psalm thoughtfully, you might see God’s loving presence and care for us:
1. Throughout life.
2. At the time of death.
3. Into eternal happiness.