January 19 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
Many of you have noticed I have had difficulties walking during Mass. It's because I had fallen several times in November and December. My new physical handicaps have given me a new perspective: I now realize most in a most profound personally how everything could change in an instant, and that I am healthy until I am no longer so. I know, it's a tautology, but it is true!
For now, I am coping with my disability through different means. But what has been most helpful to me is the recognition that I could offer up my little suffering for the sake of others. I am looking at my new situation with an awareness that I must slow down and take life in stride - not having to be always in a hurry! I also appreciate the suffering of others who have mobility problems. I am learning to empathize with them. Everything we have and are have been given to us by the good God. I am thankful to Him for being alive! I also thank you for having put up with me. God bless you!
January 12 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
The recent events between our country and Iran demonstrate how precarious world peace is. If anything, there are always simmering tensions kept under a lid until something triggers the explosion. Peace is what we desperately need but can't have because of our human condition. But actually there is Peace! Our Lord has said, "Peace I leave to you. My peace I give to you!" The Peace that we truly need is not the "political peace" that comes and goes, that depends on the superpowers of the moment. The Peace we need is from the Lord - the Prince of Peace. It comes from the knowledge that we are never left on our own to fend for ourselves, but He is always near us to protect us, to keep us from harm, to give us hope and reasons to go on. The Peace without which we cannot live is the Peace that comes from the knowledge that we belong to Him and we live and move and have our being from Him and in Him, and that not even a hair of our head could fall to the ground without Him knowing it! The Peace that sustains us comes from our companionship with Him, who is ever awake and ever walking alongside with us in all circumstances of life. Through the Sacraments, through daily prayers, through our constant conversations with Him, though the three Theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, Peace remains inside us and gives assurances that nothing, absolutely nothing, can destroy us. I will leave you with this quote from Roman 8, and I pray that you meditate on it!
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
January 5 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
I quoted the nihilistic philosopher Jean Paul Sartre's words in my homily last week that "Hell is other people." On Thursday, there was an article in the Post by Mr. Arthur C. Brooks of the AEI, who corrected Sartre with his own definition of hell: "Hell is the lack of other people!" I couldn't agree more. Hell, existentially speaking, is the same thing as loneliness and isolation and abandonment. Hell is the experience of a total absence of the experience of being loved by somebody else. Here in America, hell is a true reality for many of us.
In thinking about this endemic of loneliness rampant in this most affluent society of the West, I want to propose an idea: why don't we do something about this? Societal changes start with individuals. Each one of us can do something about this problem within our own spheres of influence. We can make the world a less lonely place if each of us would decide to chisel away at the wall of isolation - one conversation with one stranger at a time. Let's embrace the idea that, instead of allowing ourselves to be absorbed in our cell phones, we should engage another human being in conversation. Let's not use our cell phones as a barrier to protect ourselves from possible awkwardness or intrusion, but be courageous in daring to step outside of ourselves and invite a fellow human being into a genuine conversation. Be not afraid of strangers, but let's look at the people whom we meet as an opportunity to discover the hidden face of Christ! Let's put away the cell phone as much as we can, so that we have more time to interact with real people, whose life stories may matter a lot more than some email messages from the office!
The Gospel is preached most effectively within the context of a friendship. May the New Evangelization begin in earnest with each one of us, whose heart's affection reaches out to the stranger on the street because of our shared humanity and our common destiny!
December 29 Bulletin: My Dear Parishioners,
On the cusp of a new year of grace, I would like to propose a year end resolution: to offer thanks and gratitude to the Almighty God for the passing year that is coming to close. The year 2019 is about to end, but some of the issues and problems and headaches that have arisen within it might not leave us. Looking back on 2019, we also recognize, at the same time, the hands of God guiding us through all the events of life - big or small. And everything that has happened whose effects continue to haunt us to this day was and has been and shall continue to be occasion of grace for us, regardless whether it has brought us sorrow or joy. We realize, most of all, the fact that our God has preserved us in the faith, and has given us another opportunity today to be grateful to Him for the gift of eternal life! Why don't we sing a hymn of praise such as "Holy God we praise Thy name" on the last day of the year in gratitude to Him for all the blessings we have received? In fact, why don't we begin the New Year with a new resolution to say a prayer of thanksgiving every day when we wake up in the morning? Why don't we begin to form a habit of being ever grateful to God at every conscious moment of our life? St. Therese of Lisieux has said that gratitude brings us the most grace!
God bless you this New Year 2020!