Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - December 4 Second Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners:

This past week, the reality of our world as a dangerous place became very evident to us with the events on the O.S.U. campus.  We hear about acts of terrorism around the world and it can seem very distant.  When it is right down the street and when many of our own loved ones are nearby, it becomes something very personal.  It is a reminder of the fact that life is fragile and can change in an instant.  We pray for all concerned.  We pray for the recovery of all who experienced the violence.  We pray for a change of heart in all who would be motivated to such actions of hatred and despair.  We pray that we may find a way to live together in harmony.

The call of Advent is to realize that we are always part of a world that is destined for change.  We are invited to long for a better world, a world in which Justice and Mercy meet, a world in which all can find Peace.  As we continue our journey through this holy season, let us set our hearts on what is above and commit ourselves to live in such a way as to share with all our hope in the Lord Whose Coming we await.

This week, we will celebrate our country’s Patronal Feast, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Let us pray for our nation, that we may be open to the grace God offers us so as to establish true peace within our borders and among the nations.  May God bless America, stand beside her and guide her, through the night with a light from above….

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - November 27 First Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners:

Advent opens a new Liturgical Year in our celebration of our Faith.  We begin again the first year of the three-year cycle of readings, taking Matthew as the Gospel.  It is a good time to make new resolutions and to respond to the grace of the present time.  The Year of Mercy concluded with the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.  Now we enter a new time of grace.  What comes after Mercy?

It struck me this past week that the first celebration the day after the close of the Year of Mercy was the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Tradition tells us that Joachim and Anne entrusted their precious daughter to the Temple at the age of three and that she spent 12 years there, learning from the priests (among them, Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist).  So, the first look of the Church after the Jubilee is to the one human being who knew perfectly how to accept God’s will:  “Let it be done to me according to Your Word.”

Mercy teaches us that God makes room for us.  Mary responded by making room for God and receiving into her own womb God’s own Son.  Mercy invites us to live as a reflection of God’s Love.  Mary opened her whole life and person to that Love and gave birth to Love Himself.  Mercy gives us the grace to persevere in a hostile world.  Mary was faithful to the end, standing by the Cross of her Son.

After Mercy comes a life lived truly for God.  As we enter into this time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas, may we allow the Spirit to prepare our hearts to receive the graces that God wants to offer.

I invite you to consider signing up now for Alpha.  This program will offer you a dinner, served by members of the parish in our Parish Center, which is experiencing some upgrades in preparation.  It will allow you to hear the Gospel anew and to share fellowship with others on the journey of Faith.  It will remind you that we are just beginning to know the Lord and that we can always learn more about Him from our brothers and sisters.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - November 20 Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend we bring to a close the Year of Mercy.  However, just as they say on Broadway, “The show must go on!”  Now that we have spent a year in reflection on Mercy, we are in a better condition to put it into practice.  Mercy is a quality that tells us that God is with us especially in the tough times.  We are called to be a people who bring His Mercy to the world.

No one can deny the need for Mercy.  The challenge is to discover the practical ways to live it out.  As St. Faustina teaches us, we need to Ask for Mercy, to Be merciful and to have Confidence in God’s Mercy and to completely trust in Him.  “Jesus, I trust in You” is the simplest prayer that acknowledges the Mercy revealed by the Heart of Jesus.  The Divine Mercy Image shows us that the blood and water that flowed from His side on the Cross continues to flow out as rays of Mercy upon the world.

The Mercy Chaplet contains three short prayers:

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

It is clear that the focus of this devotion is Eucharistic.  We experience Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and the Divine Mercy Devotion allows us to carry it into the world.  This can be prayed for our own needs and the needs of the whole world.  It is especially effective when we are at the deathbed of loved ones.

The proclamation of God as Merciful Father was the center of the Year of Mercy.  We entrust to the God of Mercy all that we experience to we trust Him to bring us to the Kingdom.  As we complete journey of the Year of Mercy, may we now carry the Message of Mercy to the whole world.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all you love!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - November 13

Dear Parishioners:

This weekend we welcome Fr. Dave Sizemore to St. Timothy Church to speak on Alpha.  His parish at St. John Neumann in Sunbury has been a pioneer in the Diocese of Columbus in promoting activities and programs to deepen commitment to the New Evangelization and to Spiritual Life.  As you will discover, if you did not know this already, Fr. Dave is a dynamic young priest whose wisdom and enthusiasm are engaging.

I have known Fr. Dave since his College years and for a time served as his Vocations Director.  I have also had the chance to share “down time” with him as we continue to experience the wonderful fraternity of the priesthood.  He has a great sense of humor and a wit that won’t quit (even though sometimes you wish it would!). Recently, Fr. Dave traveled with a group that did the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage walk that travels through several nations in Europe.  He is always ready for adventure.  I am sure that in my absence you will be showing Fr. Dave a warm welcome. 

Just so you know that I am not playing this weekend: while Fr. Dave is here at St. Timothy, I will be at his parish of St. John Neumann to promote their program of Eucharistic Adoration.  I intend to ask for them to pray in a special way for our first experience of Alpha that will begin in January 2017.  I invite you also to accept this as a challenge to pray that the Holy Spirit will be at work among us to make us true disciples.  You may want to add Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to your own practice of devotion.  This takes place each Wednesday from the morning Mass until 6:30 p.m.

I will be away for a few days this week, spending some time with the Focolare priests of the United States.  As many of you know, the Focolare Movement promotes Unity among all people under the patronage of Mary.  I have found it a great support in my ministry and an encouragement to grow in the capacity to seek Unity in the life we share.  May we all be One!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - November 6

Dear Parishioners:

As we come to the close of the Year of Mercy, it is time to review what we have learned this past year.  God is a God of Mercy.  In my estimation, this teaches us one simple truth: God is approachable.  We can draw near to Him, no matter what our own condition may be.  

If we are in a good relationship with God and we are not conscious of any grave situation that might keep us from Him, He shares with us His desire to draw close to others.  We are invited to be merciful to others and to do whatever we can to be a worthy “ambassador” for God.  When others reject us, we do not reject them.  Instead, we wait, patiently, for them to be ready to open to us again.  At times, this will mean being willing to overlook faults and offenses against us.  Always, it will mean being ready to forgive, to show mercy as God does.  In short, Mercy means allowing God to be recognized as the God of Mercy through our witness.

If we are aware of grave sin, some reality that makes us distant from God and His Church, Mercy means we can draw close to God and trust in Him to be loving and forgiving, waiting with open arms, willing to bring us back.  Sacramental Reconciliation is available to us through Confession.  There is no unforgivable sin except the sin of not believing that we can be forgiven.  This is the “sin against the Holy Spirit” – the attitude that does not give the Spirit room to act.  All we have to do is to ask for Mercy and to allow that Mercy to penetrate our hearts.

To enter into Mercy is to enter into a living relationship with God that has practical consequences.  Mercy – received and given – sets us free.  We are able to be close to God and others because of the fact that Mercy creates room for growth and change.  Mercy sustains us and changes our very way of being, because it is a quality of God.  It allows us truly to become ourselves.

The Year of Mercy will come to its official close with the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20.  What will you take with you as the year ends?  How have you been changed by Mercy?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - October 30

Dear Parishioners:

The Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary take us to the heights.  Through them, we are invited to contemplate the glory that God intends to share with the human race through Jesus Christ.

The Glorious Mysteries Mysteries are:

·        The Resurrection of Jesus:  The Suffering Messiah enters into His Glory in our human nature.  He is proven True.  His divinity is made evident through the power of God to overcome death.  The Risen Body of the Lord shows that our own humanity has a transcendent goal.

·        The Ascension of the Lord is that Mystery that creates the “return bridge” to God.  The Son Who became one with us through the Incarnation now takes His own Risen Humanity into God, into the divine life that is shared by the Holy Trinity.  We have a “place” in God because He Is God in God in His Risen, Glorified Human Nature.

·        The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost brings the power of God into the world anew and we are given the capacity to grow in holiness on the way to Glory.  Our human nature, now sharing divine life, is capable even in Time of receiving that life through the action of the Holy Spirit.  Mary shares in this Mystery with Jesus’ first disciples as the Church is brought to birth.

·        The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Mary’s personal sharing in the victory won by her Divine Son.  She is assumed body and soul into Heaven and receives the full fruits of the Redemption won for us.  Her unique ministry as Mother and Mediatrix is able to continue now from Eternity.

·        The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary completes the gift promised to humanity from its beginning.  The Son gives Mary the honor He is able to give her as her Son, sharing His own glory.  She is our Advocate and Intercessor before the Throne of God because she shares in the Kingdom as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

As we complete our journey through the Mysteries of the Rosary, may we learn ever more from our Blessed Mother how to respond to the offer of grace.  May we continue to grow in our understanding of the promises the Lord has made to us and may we trust that what has been promised to us will be fulfilled.

Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - October 23

Dear Parishioners:

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary take us into the heart of the Paschal Mystery, Jesus’ pouring out of His Love for us as He gives Himself back to the Father in our human nature.  The simple fact that Jesus experienced personally human suffering to the point of death is something worth contemplating.  It tells us that the Incarnation is a complete reality.  Jesus, the Son of God, endured everything that human life offers, including all its joys and sorrows.

The Sorrowful Mysteries are:

·        The Agony in the Garden, is where Jesus enters into the moment of decision, acknowledging the Father’s Will that He accept the Cross.  In this Mystery, we see that Jesus Himself had to struggle in His human nature to conform His human will to the divine Will.  He prays for deliverance and at the same time commits to carry through as His Father wills.

·        The Scourging at the Pillar shows us how Jesus endured suffering in the flesh.  Taking our sins upon Himself, He shows His willingness to be one with us in every suffering.  “By His wounds we are healed.”  He suffers in the flesh for the sins we commit in the flesh.

·        The Crowning with Thorns is a particular poignant moment.  Jesus’ Kingship is recognized and acknowledged even as it is ridiculed.  In the declaration of Pilate “Behold the Man” (John 19:6), we see that Christ our King sums up all our human nature and is established as the New Adam.

·        The Carrying of the Cross reveals the depth of Jesus’ Love for humanity, as He stretches His human nature beyond endurance.  The encounters along the way that are called to mind in the devotion of the Stations of the Cross serve to draw us into a greater awareness of the depth of Jesus’ suffering for us.

·        The Crucifixion is the final Sorrowful Mystery, inviting us to contemplate the Lord of Glory Who loved us to the end and Who gave up His life for His friends.  Reflecting on the Seven Last Words, the Scriptural accounts of what Jesus said to those who were with Him in His final hours, can offer us a greater realization of how Jesus transforms everything, even death, “making all things new” (see Revelation 21:5).

Having passed through the Joyful, Luminous and Sorrowful Mysteries, we reach the end of life in this world and Faith opens us to the glory yet to come.  We learn from Jesus and those who accompanied Him in His final hours to accept suffering as part of life and to allow the Spirit to transform it into a means of grace for ourselves and others.

Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us!