Dear Parishioners,

You may have read this expression:

“What we are is God’s gift to us

What we make of ourselves is our gift to God.”

These words tell us that God has given each of us many gifts, i.e. strengths, abilities, talents, etc. What God asks of us is that we use the gifts He has given us. Making the most of these gifts is the way we give back to God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable where three men are each given a different amount of money. The first two men invest and double the money that was given to them. The third man, because he was given a small amount of money, decided to save it and didn’t invest it.

Jesus wants us to be like the first two men in this parable. He wants us to use the gifts God has given us, as we recognize how He has blessed us in so many ways. Jesus wants us to use God’s gift in a way so that we can give back to God:

“What we are is God’s gift to us.

What we make of ourselves is our gift to God.”

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Be Prepared!

Dear Parishioners,

Weddings have always been a wonderful celebration. At the time of Jesus, they would celebrate for days. Weddings weren’t at a specific place and time.

According to custom, the groom would go to the bride’s house to negotiate with her father. Then the groom would bring the bride to his home, and the celebrating would begin. On their way to the groom’s home, the couple was met by ten virgins carrying lamps. The wise virgins were prepared for whatever might happen, whereas the foolish ones used no foresight at all.

The gospel tells us about ten virgins awaiting the groom, five who fully prepared and five who weren’t. Jesus is teaching us to be prepared for when He comes a second time and we face our final judgment. We don’t know when that day will be. Let’s listen to the teachings of Christ and follow what He asks of us. So that whenever that day might be, we’ll be prepared for our final judgment and can receive the gift is eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Humility

Dear Parishioners,

A businessman met with the president of a private Chicago high school. To show his appreciation for what the school had done for his sons, he decided to set up a scholarship for needy students.

After working out all the details, the president said to the businessman, “Would you do us the honor of letting the scholarship bear your name?” The businessman said, “Let it bear any name you wish, except mine. I didn’t give it for that reason.”

This was a true act of humility by the businessman. He reached out to help needy students and wanted no recognition. He simply wanted those students to receive an education.

Jesus speaks to us about humility in today’s gospel. He tells us not to take great titles or look for positions of honor. God is our Father and we are all His children.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus teaches us about service, about humility. He tells us in today’s gospel, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” By following Jesus’s message of humility, we prepare ourselves for the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Love Can Change You

Dear Parishioners,

Years ago there was a movie called, Little Lord Fauntleroy. It was about a seven-year-old boy who went to live with his grandfather, who was a wealthy man and had many people working under him.

The old man was basically selfish and mean. But the little boy idolized him so much that he couldn’t see this. He thought his grandfather was generous and kind. Over and over he would say to him, “Grandfather! How people must love you! I’ll bet they love you almost as much as I do.”

To make a long story short, the little boy’s love gradually softens the old man’s heart, and he becomes the kind of person his grandson thinks him to be.

This story is like the parable Jesus tells in today’s gospel. It shows us how His love for us can change us and give us the power to become the kind of loving people He sees us to be.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Dual Citizenship

Dear Parishioners,

Some of you may have read the book, A Man for All Seasons. In this story, King Henry VIII of England was validly married. He appealed to Rome to have his marriage annulled, but he had no true grounds for an annulment.

Rome refused to grant the annulment. King Henry decided to take matters into his own hands. He remarried. He then ordered friends and officials to sign a document declaring that they agreed King Henry was right in what he was doing.

St. Thomas More, the English martyr, refused to sign this document. King Henry demanded that he sign or be arrested for treason and executed by the state. But St. Thomas More still refused. He remained faithful to his obligation to God.

Today’s gospel reminds us that we have a dual citizenship. We are citizens of the world and citizens of heaven. We have a loyalty and an obligation to each. If they ever clash, we can follow Thomas More’s example and remain faithful to our obligation to God.

R.S.V.P.

Dear Parishioners,

I'd like to share the following poem with you. Its title is “The Invitation”:

You’re invited to come dine with me,

From now through all eternity.

Believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,

and dine with Jesus as your host.

To live in heaven eternally,

all you must do is R.S.V.P.

 

Now this is obviously an invitation to all of us . . . to one day live with God our Father in heaven. The end of the poem says, “All you must do is R.S.V.P.” How do we do this? How do we tell God we accept His invitation for eternal life?

We answer God all the time. We let God know we accept His invitation by the way we live our life, by following His Will.

The king in today’s gospel is upset because he is planning a wedding feast and no one is accepting his invitation. The king in this parable represents God. The people not accepting his invitation represent sinful people who don’t follow God’s Will.

By hearing God’s Word and practicing His teaching, we are following God’s Will. In this way, we are preparing ourselves for the gift of eternal life.

God is inviting every one of us to live with Him in heaven. As the poem says, all we must do is R.S.V.P.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Stories

Dear Parishioners,

Storytelling has been popular ever since human beings learned to put words together to form sentences. Few ancient people were able to read or write. Whenever they wanted to teach something important, they made up a story about it. This made the teaching not only easy to learn but easy to remember.

Jesus probably told more stories than most people. His stories are called parables. Today’s parable of the vineyard owner is a good example of this. Jesus directed it primarily to the religious leaders of Israel.

This parable teaches us that God is patient with us, but we will still be held accountable on the last day. In the parable, the vineyard owner made three efforts to get the tenant farmers to change their ways. God our Father is also patient with us. By turning away from sin and following God’s Will, we prepare ourselves for the day of judgment and the gift of eternal life.

I’d like to close with a prayerful thought by paraphrasing lyrics of a song written years ago by Richard Wilson:

 

Jesus was the storytelling kind,

He painted pictures in the mind.

It was how He showed people,

like you and me,

the way things were supposed to be.

 

He used the sky.

He used the sea.

He used the birds.

He used the tree.

He used whatever He could see.

 

Storytelling?

Yes, Jesus was the storytelling kind.

He painted pictures in the mind.

It was the way He showed people,

like you and me,

the way things were supposed to be.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Conversion

Dear Parishioners,

In his best-selling spiritual autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain, Thomas Merton describes the first step in his conversion process.

He had just graduated from high school, was traveling alone in Europe and was living a rather flashy life. One night, in his room, he was struck with an awareness of his sinfulness. He writes:

“The whole thing passed in a flash. . . . I was overwhelmed with a sudden and profound insight into the misery and corruption of my own soul. . . . I was filled with horror at what I saw . . . and my soul desired escape . . . from all this with an intensity and an urgency unlike anything I had ever known before.”

Merton goes on to say that for the first time in his life he prayed – really prayed. He prayed to the God he had never known to reach down from heaven and free him from the evil power that held his body and soul in slavery.

The story of Thomas Merton illustrates the kind of change of heart the younger son had in today’s gospel. When we turn away from sin and open our hearts to God, we experience conversion.

The following prayer calls us to conversion:

Voice of Jesus, call to us

when we stray too far from you.

Eyes of Jesus, smile upon us

when we need encouragement.

Hands of Jesus, anoint us

when we grow weak and weary.

Arms of Jesus, lift us up

when we stumble and fall.

Heart of Jesus,

help us love one another

as you have loved us.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick