Only Fear One Thing

Dear Parishioners,

Pope John Paul II had as his motto: “Be not afraid.” Of course, he was quoting Jesus, whom we heard say to His apostles in today's gospel, “Do not be afraid.” Since God knows how many hairs are on our head and is aware when even a little sparrow dies, then He's aware of every detail of our lives.

God is aware of what will take place in our lives and cares, but He does not guarantee that bad things will not happen to us. Ups and downs are part of our existence. They even happened to God's prophets and to Jesus himself. Because God is aware and cares, He tells us not to fear. He will make everything turn out right for those who are faithful to Him.

When Jesus tells us not to fear, He's telling us not to worry and to put our trust in Him. One thing Jesus tells us to fear is God. “Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the ones go can kill both body and soul in Gehenna.”

Jesus's words confuse some people. Aren't we supposed to love God? If we fear Him, how can we love Him? The fear that Jesus talks about is the fear of being unfaithful to God. It is about having a sense of awe, respect and reverence when we approach God. If we are at peace with God and know the Lord is with us, we will have little to fear.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

A Beautiful Gift

Dear Parishioners,

Summer is just around the corner. Weather will be getting warmer and we will be planning our vacations. Throughout the year, we often think about the summer and look forward to it, especially during those cold winter months.

During the summer, we see the beauty of nature in many different ways; the green grass, a beautiful garden, the ocean water. As we appreciate nature in its various forms, we recognize the many gifts of God.

Today in the Catholic Church, we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi. This is a celebration of the body and blood of Christ, which brought us our salvation. As we prepare for summer and to see God's many gifts, today we celebrate God's greatest gift, the gift of eternal life.

At the Last Supper, before Jesus died for us, He turned the bread and wine into His body and blood. At that first Eucharist, the disciples were able to receive the body and blood of Christ. Today we can still receive Jesus in the Eucharist. We can receive the saving power of His love.

As summer begins, we will experience the beauty of nature. Let's be sure to recognize the many gifts of God. As we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, let's be sure to recognize God's greatest gift, the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

 

Practical Trinity

Dear Parishioners,

There's a park in London called Hyde Park. It's a favorite place for soapbox orators. On a Sunday afternoon you can go there and hear talks on every topic under the sun. They range from talks on politics to talks on religion.

Frank Sheed, a famous Catholic layman who lived in England, went there often to talk about religion. He used to say that he could hold a crowd for two hours in the rain, talking on the Trinity. Sheed's remark is interesting. It makes an important point. People are interested in the Trinity and want to learn more about it. They want to make the Trinity come alive in their everyday lives.

Unfortunately, very few articles are written about the Trinity and very few homilies are devoted to it. Even when you read an article or hear a homily on the Trinity, it is often tedious. This is understandable because when we talk about the Trinity, we are talking about a profound mystery.

Today as we celebrate Trinity Sunday, what can we do to make the Trinity come alive more in our own personal lives? One way that is found helpful is a prayer exercise that is followed each night before falling asleep. It is a three-minute exercise replaying the day that has just ended.

During the first minute, pick out a high point of your day, something good that happened. Speak to the Father about it and thank Him for it. During the second minute, pick out the low point of your day, something bad that might have happened. Speak to Jesus about it and ask for forgiveness. During the third minute, look ahead to tomorrow and what may take place. Speak to the Holy Spirit about it and ask for guidance.

As you can see, this exercise combines prayer with an examination of conscience. But more importantly, it brings the Holy Trinity into the nitty-gritty of our everyday lives. I'd like to suggest in the week ahead to set aside three minutes each night and try this prayer exercise in honor of the Trinity.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Pentecost

Dear Parishioners,

Today in the Catholic Church we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. Our celebration is the coming of the Holy Spirit. We remember the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples to continue to guide them to follow Jesus.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He didn't leave His disciples alone. He sent His Spirit to continue to guide them, to continue to teach them.

The Holy Spirit also guides each one of us. We received the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Baptism and again in the sacrament of Confirmation. As we stay open to our faith, we allow the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us, to continue to teach us.

So today, as we celebrate Pentecost, let's remember that God our Father is always sharing His love with us, Jesus is always there for us to learn from Him and the Holy Spirit is always there to guide us.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Making Time

Dear Parishioners,

As the weather is getting warmer, we begin thinking about summer and our vacation plans. This is when school is out for a few months and we're able to take some time away from work.

What is important to remember during our free time is to still make time for Jesus. He is present to us in the summer months in the same way He is present throughout the rest of the year.

Last Thursday was Ascension Thursday. On that day, we remembered how Jesus ascended to the Father. This was, of course, after coming to earth, proclaiming God's Kingdom and gaining for us the gift of eternal life.

When Jesus ascended to heaven, He left His disciples to continue to teach His word. Jesus told His disciples he would continue to be present to them and He would be watching over them. Jesus left His disciples to continue to follow His teaching and to pass His message on to others.

The same thing is asked from all of us. Jesus is still present to us, just like He remained present to His disciples after ascending to heaven. So when we take our vacation and enjoy our free time in the summer, let's remember to keep time for Jesus.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Doing it for Love

Dear Parishioners,

There's a story about a person who saw an angel walking down the street. The angel was carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. "What are you going to do with that torch and that bucket of water?" the person asked.

The angel stopped immediately, looked at the person and said, "With the torch, I'm going to burn down the mansions of heaven; and with the bucket of water, I'm going to put out the fires of hell. Then we're going to see who really loves God."

The angel's point is that many people obey God's commandments out of fear of punishment in hell or hope of reward in heaven. They don't obey for the reason Jesus gives us in today's gospel. They don't obey them out of love: "If you love me," Jesus says in today's gospel, "you will keep my commandments."

When we sum up God's commandments, they tell us to love God and to love one another. This is what Jesus is telling us in today's gospel. We show the Lord we love Him by following His teaching. We also show the Lord we love Him through our love for one another.

So the commandments teach us to love. As we show our love to the Lord and to one another, we can hear Jesus speaking to us when He says, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Mother's Day!

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate Mother's Day. I'd like to wish Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, grandmothers and godmothers on your special day.

This weekend, St. Joseph's twenty-five girls and boys are receiving Jesus for the first time in the Eucharist. Congratulations on your First Communion Day!

These are beautiful celebrations taking place during the Easter season, when we recall Jesus gaining for us the gift of eternal life. We hear Jesus say in today's gospel, "My Father's House has many rooms." Jesus is letting us know that His victory over sin and death has prepared a place for each of us in Heaven.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

The Shepherd and the Sheep

Dear Parishioners,

We have had some very nice weather, beautiful spring days. As we look at the sun shining, we can truly celebrate that Jesus is risen.

Jesus is present to us and He calls us to follow Him. He tells us in today's gospel how the gatekeeper opens the gate for the sheep. They hear the shepherd's voice and follow him.

We are all Jesus's sheep. As we respond to how the Lord calls us, we're being obedient sheep. We hear Jesus say, "I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters through me will be saved."

As we celebrate the Risen Christ, let's stay open to recognizing Him in our life. He calls each of us to Him in many different ways. As we listen to the Lord and respond to His call, we prepare ourselves for the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick