Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 18 October 2020 | By

    Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 18, 2020

    Dear Parishioners,

    This is a fitting Gospel for the election season.  Politics...yikes! I'll do my best to keep it spiritual.  As I've said before, I personally subscribe to the position of St. Edmund Campion, the English priest who was martyred by Queen Elizabeth in the 16th Century.  "I never had mind," he said, "and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts."

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Give to God What Belongs to God

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 18, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

This is a fitting Gospel for the election season.  Politics...yikes! I'll do my best to keep it spiritual.  As I've said before, I personally subscribe to the position of St. Edmund Campion, the English priest who was martyred by Queen Elizabeth in the 16th Century.  "I never had mind," he said, "and am strictly forbidden by our Father that sent me, to deal in any respect with matter of state or policy of this realm, as things which appertain not to my vocation, and from which I gladly restrain and sequester my thoughts."

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Moderation is Key in Life

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 11, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Moderation is key in life.  Often the path to holiness is simply finding the mean between extremes.  It is okay to have sweets, but one piece of candy, and not ten.  Okay, maybe two pieces of candy.  The Old Testament acknowledges the permission of delicacies when Isaiah prophesies, "On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines" (Isaiah 25:6).  This isn't permitting getting drunk or stuffed on those rich wines/foods, like that hillside for the overserved at Oktoberfest in Munich, but just recognizing that it is okay for God to delight us.

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Increasing Our Faith

Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 4, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

A pretty grim parable, no?  Yes, but there is hope, especially if we look at the parable with a Trinitarian lens. 

We might think the King is reckless, careless, and imprudent in sending his son to the rebellious vineyard, especially after all of the previous messengers have been killed.  And we might also think the King is distancing himself from the situation, as if he's saying, "Go, figure it out, Son, while I just hang back at the palace."  But the Son is an ambassador—an extension of the King.  When the Son is rejected and killed, it is the Father ultimately who is rejected and killed.

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Spiritually Whining

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 27, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

"That's not fair!" How many times have we heard that from a toddler? Or from a NFL player complaining about a flag (or no flag)?  Or maybe a spouse saying "that's not fair!" to his/her partner?  Or a priest saying that to his bishop?  Or an associate pastor or seminarian saying that to his pastor (never here, of course, at Saint Juliana!)?

Or us saying that to God?

We might not know we're complaining internally to God.  We can usually tell by our "spiritual mood."  Are you more prone to distraction in prayer? Do you find yourself brooding in prayer or anxious in prayer? Is there a glaring division between your prayer life and moral life? That is, you seem to be praying okay or experiencing peace at Mass, but then as soon as you see your family or walk out to the parking lot you're angry?

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Christ Will Be Magnified In My Body

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 20, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I do my best to exercise regularly.  When the gym to which I belong closed during Covid I began to jog outside.  In fact, you might have seen me (and my apologies, if you have).  Well, by some inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when I returned from my 30-Day Retreat I began running through St. Adalbert Cemetery.  I mentioned this on a recent Chi-Bro podcast.  I very much enjoy 'running amongst the tombstones' because (no, I haven't lost my mind) the grounds are beautiful and quiet and full of religious symbols to keep me focused on Jesus.  Also because I'm confronted, when I do so, with my own mortality.  Sure, I'm healthy and young now, able to run and exercise, but death is chasing me and will eventually catch me.  I won't live forever and I certainly won't be healthy forever.  I am dust and unto dust I shall return.

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Forgiveness Is Our Rest

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 13, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When you get hurt playing sports or exercising, the best thing to do is rest.  I think of spraining an ankle.  If you keep running on the ankle, it won't properly heal and you'll never be playing at one hundred percent. 

Now, there are some exceptional athletes where the team is better off with the individual playing at less than one hundred percent than sitting out altogether.  But, for most of us peons where our "100%" is still not really that great, it is more advantageous to us let the injury completely heal. 

I have this image in mind when I read the line from our first reading, "Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD?" (Sirach 28:3). 

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Moderation and Temperance

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 30, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When I first started seminary in the fall of 2007 right after graduating college, I remember going to the gym downstairs in the seminary basement to work out. On the wall by the bench press was this quote from today's second reading: "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).

Yo, bro, you lift?

I heard Jesus say that to me. Just kidding.

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St. Peter

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 23, 2020

I love Saint Peter. He has to be my favorite saint. I know I joke with the daily Mass crowd often in my homilies about how I have hundreds of "favorite saints"; how my "top five" list of saints contains about 50. But this I really mean, and I really mean that. Beside the Blessed Mother, Saint Peter is my favorite. The kids in school often ask me who my favorite saint is, and my response is always Peter.

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The Canaanite Women

 

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Have you asked or hoped for something recently and not received? Then you are in company with the Canaanite woman from the Gospel.

Let me quote at length words from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, who is the preacher of the papal household.

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The Order of Elijah

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 9, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

One cannot think of Elijah without thinking about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Elijah was the first contemplative monk. He lived atop Mount Carmel in prayer and asceticism. He drew others to follow him. It was said when he prophesied rain to relieve Israel in the midst of a terrible drought, he saw a cloud in the shape of a foot rising from the sea. He understood this as the sign that the drought would end, but more importantly that the Messiah would come. Elijah saw this foot as the foot of the Virgin Woman, who would be the mother of the Messiah. She, the immaculate cloud, would rise from the blue sea of humanity.

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