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!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - October 16

Dear Parishioners:

In this month of the Rosary, I continue reflections on the Mysteries of the Rosary to encourage us all to take advantage of this gift to the Church.  The Rosary has a history that is fascinating.  It shows that Heaven continues to work with us through time, inviting us to grow in our understanding of the Life of Jesus.

The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary were “added” to the Rosary by Saint Pope John Paul II in is Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae in October 2002.  The Holy Father proposed the addition of a new set of Mysteries to fill in the gap between the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries that move from the childhood of Jesus (the Finding in the Temple) to the Passion (the Agony in the Garden).  The new Mysteries, called Mysteries of Light or Luminous Mysteries, all refer to the public ministry of Jesus from his Baptism to the Last Supper.

The Luminous Mysteries are:

·        Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan by John, where Jesus is revealed as the Beloved Son in Whom the Father is well pleased and upon Whom the Spirit descends.
(Matthew 3:17 and parallels)

·        Jesus’ Self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, where His disciples begin to see His Glory. (John 2:1- 12)

·        The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with the Call to Conversion.  This is the first proclamation Jesus gives after His time in the desert and the summary of the whole of His public teaching before His Passion. (Mark 1:15; Mark 2:3-13; Luke 7:47- 48; and John 20:22-23)

·        The Transfiguration, which is the Mystery of Light par excellence, becaue the glory of Jesus is seen in His human nature as a dazzling light (Luke 9:35 and parallels)

·        The institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.  This Mystery reveals the depth of Jesus’ Love and His full gift of Himself in sacrifice for our redemption.

These Mysteries invite us to reflect upon the Public Ministry of Jesus.  We discover Who He Is as the Light of the World, the One Who leads us from the darkness of sin into the Light of Life in relationship to God.

Pope John Paul II suggested that the Mysteries of Light be prayed on Thursdays.  It is noteworthy that the Pope did not impose these mysteries on anyone, but offered them as a suggestion.  They offer a way of seeing more deeply into the Mystery of the Incarnation, through which Christ makes us One with God in the joys and sorrows of our human experience and through the promise of glory.

Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - October 9

Dear Parishioners:

The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary invite us to reflect on moments of the life of Jesus and Mary that are full of the infallible sign of the Presence of God: Joy.  In our human experience, we can know with a certainty that penetrates into our depth that God is with us when we taste the kind of delight that we call joy.

When we pray the Rosary and contemplate the Joyful Mysteries (Mondays and Saturdays), we reflect on key moments in the life of Mary as she and Joseph received Jesus into the world as our Savior. 

  • The Annunciation is the moment when the Archangel Gabriel reveals to Mary that God wants her to be the mother of His Son.  Mary’s “yes” to God unites earth to Heaven and initiates the Incarnation of the Son of God, Emmanuel.

  • The Visitation is an act of spontaneous charity when Mary goes to be with her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.  The encounter between these two mothers offers us words of prayer that are echoed throughout the world in the daily prayer of all believers.

  • The Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is the fulfillment of the promise that a Savior would be given in the line of King David.  Angels sing out the message and shepherd respond in wonder.

  • The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the moment when Mary and Joseph fulfill the Law concerning the redemption of the firstborn and when Simeon makes known to Mary how deep she would be affected – to the point of a sword of sorrow – by the life of her Son.

  • The Finding in the Temple reminds us that Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived as an ordinary family, fulfilling together the dictates of the Law of Moses and that they experienced the joys and sorrows of human life together.

In our pondering of the Mysteries of the Rosary, we call to mind each Mystery as it unfolded in the life of Jesus and Mary.  Reflecting again, we can discover through our contemplation how the Mystery is experienced in the Church.  Again, as we come to know the Mystery in Faith, we begin to see how it applies to ourselves and our own human experience.

Families do well to pray the Rosary together especially while the children are young.  “The family that prays together stays together.”

The children of St. Timothy School and those in PSR and CGS learn the Mysteries and are invited to pray the Rosary together at different times.  A number of those who attend daily Mass pray each day before the 9 a.m. Mass weekdays.  The Knights of Columbus lead the Rosary once a month at the Rosary Prayer Garden (weather permitting).  How does the Rosary fit into your life of prayer?

Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - October 2

Dear Parishioners:

October is a very active month.  We are invited to open our eyes to the beauty of Life – both in this world and the next – and to commit ourselves to respect the dignity of every person from conception to the call to the Kingdom.  We are also called to prayer, in a particular way to pray the Rosary.  The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is October 7th, a day that commemorates the impact of united prayer on the efforts to establish peace among nations.

The witness of a family united in prayer is more crucial now than ever.  In this month of the Rosary, I invite every family to learn to pray together.  Do you have an established routine of prayer with those who share your household?  Try the Rosary.  It is truly a prayer that involves the whole person, body, mind and spirit.  It touches us heart and soul.  It draws us into a deeper relationship with Jesus and Mary and helps us to understand the ways of God in our lives.

The beads of the Rosary are held in our hands as we count our way through the Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s.  Our posture, generally kneeling or sitting attentively, take us into an attitude of prayer.  Reflecting on the Mysteries – Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious – take us through the whole reality of human life in relationship with the grace of God.  Each individual Mystery tells us about Jesus and Mary, about the Church, and about our own spiritual life.  We become ever more aware of the ways of God and that frees us to be more responsive to the Spirit’s promptings.

This month, I call you to prayer.  May you and your family grow in the spiritual bond that will see you through life’s journey.  And may we all learn how to proclaim the Gospel of Life that promotes dignity and harmony among all people.

Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us!

Focolare Word of Life for October 2016

“Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.”  (Sirach 28:2)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - September 25

Dear Parishioners:

How do we need to improve in our commitment to the Gospel as the center of our life together and in our fulfillment of our responsibility to St. Timothy Church? 

Over the past few years, I have been reading and studying a lot about leadership.  One aspect of leadership that all leaders find difficult is to hold accountable people who work with them as paid co-workers and especially as volunteers.  In response to my own call and in light of the challenges that we are facing as a parish these days, I am working to be accountable to my own “duties” and I am trying to meet the challenge of holding us all accountable in the Name of Jesus to the witness we are called to share. 

I would like to invite you to reflect on your responsibility to be accountable in your choices to God and His Church as well.  If you will do this, it will certainly make my job easier!  How are you meeting the challenge of living the Gospel in your life?  When you commit to something, do you take the necessary steps to make it a real priority?  How are you responding to the call to stewardship?

Pope Francis has offered us a challenging vision for the Church.  We are meant to be a hospital on the edge of the battlefield of the world, giving comfort and hope to all who are wounded and suffering.  How do we give hope to others?  Is our witness truly a witness that is worthy of the Gospel?  When others see us, do they say, “See these Christians – how they love one another!”?

As members of Saint Timothy Church, we are to follow the example of our Patron.  We are to be men and women of God.  We are to “fight the good fight” and not be caught up in worthless battles.  We are to keep our eyes fixed on Eternity and to pass on the fullness of the Faith to the next generation.  Parents, how do you do this for your children?  Elders, are you holding strong in the face of life’s new challenges and continuing the race to the end?  Husbands and Wives, are you fulfilling your vows and cherishing one another in your Sacramental bond?  Young people, are you beginning to make the Faith you have received truly your own?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - September 18

Dear Parishioners:

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News!”  This is the charge to proclaim the Gospel, the very reason for the Church to exist.  It tells us our purpose in life.  It is the Great Commission that we have received from the Risen Lord.  Jesus wants us to live so that others may come to know in Faith that He Lives forever and has the Gift of Eternal Life prepared for us.

Since this is so, Communication is at the heart of who we are called to be.  How do we communicate with one another?  There is one who tells the news, there is one who receives the news, and there is the medium or manner by which the news is told.

Each aspect of this is important.  If I want you to understand, I have to be clear about my message.  If you will truly understand, what I say has to be put in a way you can understand it.  And there has to be a clear transmission, without static or interference.

One problem we have regarding the proclamation of the Gospel is that it tells us news about the nature of the world itself.  Our own personal experience can only cover a part of the world, some limited aspect of the way things are.  So we have to use analogy, comparison, parables and stories to tell the news we have to share.

Over the past few years, in the St. Timothy community, we have shared an experience of mis-communication.  Having reviewed and reflected upon the surveys taken last Spring, it has become very clear to me that we need to go back to basics in regard to communication, to be sure that we understand one another.  So, my goals for the year are very basic: Communication, the Priority of Sunday Mass and Hospitality.

I will commit to the effort to be as clear and direct as possible.  I invite you to listen with an open heart.  When it comes to the Sunday homily, all are invited to pray, “Lord, give Your minister the homily you want me to hear; give me the ears to hear it, the heart to receive it, and the grace to put it into practice in my life.”

Let us seek the way of the Lord as we ask ourselves:  How do we communicate with the other members of the community and all who are part of St. Timothy?  What do we need to know and understand in order to meet our own responsibilities?  How can we grow together as a witness to the truth of the Gospel so that we may respond to the Great Commission?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Word from Your Pastor - September 11

Dear Parishioners:

The events of 9-11-2001 forever mark the current generation of America, even though those who are now in High School and younger will have no memory of that day.  I recall it vividly, as the realization of what was happening unfolded for all of us in the midst of what appeared to be an ordinary day of School where I was at Blessed Sacrament in Newark.  The parish secretary told me to watch the news on television.  As I watched, it became clare to me that I needed to say something to our children, teachers and staff in our school.  As I walked over toward the school, a member of the staff met me in the playground and I made the decision to invite the whole community to the church to pray.  I sent out an email to parishioners inviting them as well. 

We gathered in record time and I set up for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  I led the children in praying the Rosary and invited the upper grades to lead each decade.  I told the children that they would need to carry a message to their parents: that God would be with us no matter what happened and that we would be all right.  Of course, I was near tears as I offered this Word of the Lord, but I spoke from the heart and they heard me.

It was very moving in the weeks ahead to see how many turned to Faith to find strength during that time.  The churches were full.  We prayed for those affected by the terrorism and for those who were fearful in the face of it.  It was sad that this condition did not stay on course.  Everything has changed.  But it has all gone “back to normal” and, in fact, is now even worse than before.  Statistics say that there is a whole new class of persons among the current generation that consider themselves “Nones,” that is, not having any religious affiliation.  In the past, some drifted away from church during high school and college, but then returned after Marriage or when children were born.  That is not so any longer.  They leave and do not come back.  Some now are raised without any religious education at all because their parents have no interest in it.

Jesus asked a question: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find any Faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  This question is a serious question.  How do we help to ensure that there is Faith among us and our children?  Two simple answers: we live our Faith, making Sunday Mass a priority, and we invite others to join us in learning about the Faith.  We must communicate Faith in a way that it can be understood – by a living witness.  We must hold ourselves accountable by at least a weekly “checking in” with the Master.  And we must welcome others to share the Faith by our evident joy in a living relationship with Jesus.

Let us pray for one another, that we may be the disciples that the Lord calls us to be.  May we open our hearts to God’s grace and be generous in our response to His call.