Basic Things

Dear Parishioners,

An old monk prayed many years for a vision from God to strengthen his faith, but it never came. He had almost given up hope when, one day, a vision appeared. The old monk was overjoyed. Suddenly, right in the middle of the vision, the monastery bell rang. This meant it was time to feed the poor who gathered daily at the monastery gate.

It was the old monk’s time to feed them. If he failed to show up with food, the unfortunate people would leave quietly, thinking the monastery had nothing to give them that day. The old monk was torn between his earthly duty and his heavenly vision. He made his decision, however, before the bell stopped ringing. With a heavy heart, he turned his back on the vision and went off to feed the poor.

Nearly an hour later, the old monk returned to his room. When he opened the door, he could hardly believe his eyes. There in the room was the vision, waiting for him. As the monk dropped to his knees in thanksgiving, the vision said to him, “My son, had you not gone off to feed the poor, I would not have stayed.”

This story has a strong resemblance to today’s gospel. Like the disciples, the monk gave up everything to follow Jesus. He turned his back on the material wealth of this world for the spiritual wealth of the next world.

Like the disciples, the old monk learned that the best way to serve God is by doing something very basic. The best way to serve a God is to reach out in service to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are less fortunate than we are.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Goodbyes and Hellos

With the coming of September, we say goodbye and thank you to our summer assistant, Fr. John Opara. At the same time, we welcome Msgr. Edward Bradley and Fr. Scott Pontes as weekend assistants. Fr. Scott is a teacher at Oratory Prep in Summit. Msgr. Bradley, a long-time teacher at Seton Hall Prep who now assists retired priests of the Archdiocese, will also celebrate our 8:30 a.m. Mass on Fridays. We are blessed to have them!

Three Lessons, One Story

Dear Parishioners,

I’d like to talk about today's gospel where Jesus heals a deaf man with a speech impediment. This gospel reveals to us three valuable lessons.

The first lesson revealed to us is that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. Jesus does what Isaiah foretold the Messiah would do in today’s first reading. He clears the ears of the deaf and makes the tongue of the mute sing.

The second lesson revealed to us is that Jesus is a compassionate person. He takes the deaf and mute man away from the crowd to heal him. He doesn’t make a public display of him. Rather, He deals with him privately and personally.

The third lesson revealed to us is the solution to the problem that so many of us experience today. We are unable to pray. We are unable to speak to God and to hear Him speak to us in our heart. We are spiritually deaf and mute.

The solution to this problem is to do what the deaf and mute man did. It is to seek out Jesus and ask Him to heal us. More specifically, it is to set aside a few minutes for daily prayer. We can ask Jesus to touch us, to heal us and to make us one with Him.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Summer Blessings and Thanks

Dear Parishioners,

It’s already Labor Day! The summer has flown by! We’ve enjoyed the summer in many different ways. Students were on vacation from school. Many of us use this time of year to take a vacation and enjoy some free time.

Some of us may have traveled during the summer, gone to the shore or enjoyed a swimming pool. Summer always gives us the opportunity to take a break from routine and enjoy time with family and friends.

Now it’s time to go back to school or work. The vacation season is coming to an end. Hopefully we go back feeling refreshed.

As always, we want to thank God for His Blessings, for watching over us as we enjoyed our summer. We also want to ask God to continue to watch over us as we move along into the upcoming year.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Building God's Kingdom

Dear Parishioners,

When we come to church, we thank God for His many gifts as we listen to His Word. When we leave church, we want to take God’s Word with us. This is how we help build God’s Kingdom here on earth.

By our prayer life, we help build God’s Church. By our faithfulness to the liturgy and by following the Lord’s message of love, we’re helping to build God’s Kingdom here on earth.

We can also pass on the Lord’s teaching. When we follow the Lord’s message of love, we’re passing on His Word to one another. When our faith is represented by the way we live our lives, we’re spreading the gospel message.

God calls each of us to be His Disciples. As we grow in our relationship with God and stay true to following His Message, we, too, can pass on the Lord’s teachings and build God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Diamonds

Dear Parishioners,

The moment of receiving the Eucharist could be compared to a diamond. The time before and after receiving the Eucharist might be compared to a gold band.

A diamond by itself is beautiful. It becomes incomparably more beautiful if it is placed in the center of a gold band and made the centerpiece of a gold ring.

The same is true of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is, by itself, a beautiful experience. It becomes even more beautiful if we place it within a setting of a prayer.

If our own experience of the Eucharist seems to be missing something, maybe it’s missing the setting of prayer. What goes on in our mind and heart as we approach the altar to receive the body of Christ? What goes on in our mind and heart after we have received the body of Christ?

When we receive the Eucharist, we can speak to Jesus as a friend. We can give Him thanks, ask His forgiveness, and seek His guidance. We can meditate on the words we hear Jesus say in today’s gospel:

“My flesh is true food,

and my blood is true drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and

and drinks my blood

remains in me

and I in him.”

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Assumption

Dear Parishioners,

This Wednesday, August 15, the Catholic Church will celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What does this mean?

For many years it was assumed that Mary’s body was never buried into the ground after her life on earth. The body of Mary had never been tainted by sin. Mary came into the world free from original sin and she lived a sinless life. Since Mary’s soul had not been touched by sin, there was no reason for God to allow her body to return to dust.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII officially declared Mary’s Assumption to be an article of faith. He wrote, “Mary was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory. She was exalted by the Lord as the Queen of all, in order that she might be thoroughly conformed to her Son.”

When the Second Vatican Council met in 1959, the question of Mary’s position in the Church was given great consideration. The Council affirmed that the Blessed Virgin Mary is a daughter of the Church and indeed its first member. It said she serves the Church in a special way as exemplar of virgin and mother. It reaffirmed the honors and titles she possesses.

Let us honor Mary as our Mother. Let us pray to her daily. It has been said that hell has not contained a single soul who ever had a true and heartfelt devotion to Mary. Let us honor Mary here in this life as our Mother, so that in the world to come, Mary may claim us as her children.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Hungry?

Dear Parishioners,

Have you ever been hungry for something but you didn’t know what? For example, did you ever go to the refrigerator, open the door, look at everything on the shelves, and say, “I’m hungry for something, but not for any of that?”

To put it another way, do you have everything in life that’s important – a family, a job and an income – but still feel something’s missing?

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then today’s Scripture readings could hold an important message for you. They could remind us of something we often forget.

There are two kinds of hunger in the world. First, there’s a physical hunger, which only food can satisfy. Second, there’s a spiritual hunger, which no food in the world can satisfy. In other words, we may believe we have everything we need, but we still feel an incredible hunger inside us.

Our Scripture readings today contain an important message for us. Jesus, Himself, sums up that message in these words:

 

“I am the bread of life;

whoever comes to me

will never hunger,

and whoever believes in me

will never thirst.”

 

The message in today’s Scripture readings is this: There’s a deep-down hunger in all of us that only Jesus can fill.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick