April 18, 2021: My Dear Parishioners,
How has Easter changed the world? Easter changes the world through Divine Mercy being unleashed by the risen Lord, so that the entire world is soaked through and through with new hope and forgiveness. Divine Mercy is the newness of God, which has broken through the hardness of the human heart and is renewing with grace what has been imprisoned by death. This is the reason why I can't wait for Easter: to celebrate the outpouring of God's Mercy over the entire world and into each and every human soul that is open to it. I myself have tasted the goodness of God bestowed on me in the form of Divine Mercy, and this goodness has followed me down through the years, accompanying me through every event, every happening, and every occurrence. There is nothing beyond God's mercy, and there is no one His Mercy would refuse to touch. Four years ago, my father finally converted to the Faith after almost four decades of resistance. He was baptized into the Catholic Church just before a horrific illness robbed him of his memory and reason. And now, every time I see him, I see the face of a young child snatched away from the clutch of Satan not a moment too soon - all on account of Divine Mercy. For someone like my father, no amount of reasoning or arguing would have worked. But the grace of God that came at the insistent begging of my mother and us children was truly out of all proportions! That is why getting old is not such a bad thing - if God lets me live long enough on this earth, I am bound to discover His boundless Mercy rescuing more and more souls!
April 11, 2021: Dear Parishioners,
The older I get, the more homesick I become. I have been living here for more than 40 years - almost three times as long as I lived as a child in Viet Nam. God willing I might be able to return to Saigon for a visit before my life on earth is over. There is another feeling of homesickness that is actually deeper: the homesickness for my true home - heaven! Wasn't it St. Augustine who said that we will always be restless until we rest in God? We are made by God for God. And as such we are made "of longing", of "restlessness", of homesickness. And this feeling of homesickness intensifies when we get older and older. Fr. Benedict Kiely in an article in Crisis quotes Cardinal George on this subject: "If the earth is our mother, then the grave is our home and the world is a closed system turned in on itself. If Christ is risen from the grave and the Church is our mother, then our destiny reaches beyond space and time, beyond that which can be measured and controlled.”
This past Sunday was our Easter Sunday celebration - a celebration that last 50 days! It was an amazing celebration! Our hearts were filled with gladness and joy as we welcomed the beginning of a new springtime of grace for 2021! Easter Sunday reminds me of my true home and that fact that our Lord and Savior has re-opened for us the way back to our true home, our ultimate destiny. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church is our home away from home! For this I am eternally grateful to God! Happy Easter!
April 4, 2021: My Dear Parishioners,
Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom not only as one sent by God, as God’s Son who is himself God, but as the Crucified One. For the death on the cross is the salvific solution invented by God’s unfathomable wisdom. In order to show that human power and human wisdom are incapable of achieving salvation, he gives salvific power to what appears to human estimation to be weak and foolish, to him who wishes to be nothing on his own, but allows the power of God alone to work in him, who has “emptied himself” and “become obedient to death on the cross.”
The saving power: this is the power that awakens to life those in whom divine life had died through sin. This saving power had entered the Word from the cross and through this word passes over into all who receive it, who open themselves to it, without demanding miraculous signs or human wisdom’s reasons. In them it becomes the life-giving and life-forming power that we have named the science of the cross.
Paul brought it to fulfillment in himself: “Through the law, I died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
In those days when all turned into night about him but light filled his soul, the zealot for the Law realized that the Law was but the tutor on the way to Christ. It could prepare one to receive life, but of itself it could not give life. Christ took the yoke of the Law upon himself in that he fulfilled it perfectly and died for and through the Law.
Just so did he free from the Law those who wished to receive life from him. But they can receive it only if they relinquish their own life. For those who are baptized in Christ are baptized in his death. They are submerged in his life in order to become members of his body and as such to suffer and to die with him but also to arise with him to eternal, divine life. By St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce (Edith Stein)
March 28, 2021: My Dear Parishioners,
I would like to borrow the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch who died a martyr in the year 110 to express my thinking of late: "May the Lord reveal to me that you - the entire community of you - are in the habit, through grace derived from the Name [of our Blessed Lord], of meeting in common, animated by one faith and in union with Jesus Christ - Who in the flesh was of the line of David, the Son of Man and the Son of God - meeting, I say, to show obedience with undivided mind to the bishop and the presbytery, and to break the same Bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote against death, and everlasting life in Jesus Christ. Take care, then, to partake of the one Eucharist; for, one is the Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His Blood, and one altar; just as there is one bishop assisted by the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow servants."
Holy Week is here with Palm Sunday this Sunday. I long to see the faces of those who have been away from the Holy Mass. This would be the second Easter Season when the Church shall continue to be deprived of many of her beloved children. What would a Catholic faithful do without the Sacraments? Spiritual Communion is too abstract a thing. And how would the Church continue without her raison d'etre? And yet, freedom dictates everything. And love is at the heart of every decision. The parish is not destitute financially, yet. But we have been already desperately destitute of friendships, of companionships, of fellowship - of all the things that go to make up this spiritual family. May God bless us this Holy Week with special graces!