Ten Times Better

Dear Parishioners,

Years ago, a young door-to-door book salesman was assigned a rural area. One day he came upon a farmer seated in a rocking chair on his front porch. The young man went up to the farmer enthusiastically and said, “Sir, I have a book here that will tell you how to farm ten times better than you are doing now.”

The farmer didn’t bother to look up. He simply kept on rocking. Finally, after a few minutes, he glanced up at the young salesman and said, “Young man, I don’t need your book. I already know how to farm ten times better than I’m doing right now.”

This story is a good example of what Jesus is talking about in today’s gospel. The farmer was capable of farming better but he lacked the commitment to do so. The rich man was also capable of doing more than just keeping the commandments but he, too, lacked the commitment to do so.

Today’s gospel makes it clear that there is more to our faith than just keeping the commandments. There’s an old adage that says, “If we walk toward God with one step, He’ll run toward us ten steps.”

Our faith teaches us to take the first step towards God. We can do this by reaching out to help another person. We can help the person in need, even if it’s only in some small way. Once we take the first step, God will come running towards us ten steps. He will support us and show us the way from there.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Picnic "Thank Yous"

Dear Parishioners,

Last Sunday was the Parish Picnic here at St. Joseph Church. Many of you came out to enjoy good food and to spend time as a parish community.

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the picnic; those who organized it, prepared for it, assisted, did the cooking and who helped clean up. I would also like to thank all of you who attended so we could enjoy a beautiful day together.

The day was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to socialize. It was an enjoyable event, and there will be many more to come.

With the summer ending, there are many activities we look forward to in the upcoming year. This will give us more opportunity to come together and grow as a parish family.

 

                                              Sincerely in Christ,

                                           Father Dominick

The Journey

Dear Parishioners,

Each of us is making his or her own journey. It might be toward graduation from school. It might be toward marriage or toward a new career. It might be toward improved health, toward retirement or just a matter of trying to survive the stresses of each day.

Whatever it is, time is moving us along. We are unable to stand still in life. If we try, we’ll eventually discover that we’re going backwards. We know from everyday experience that if it is a better place we’re moving toward, we need to adequately prepare ourselves for it.

In our journey through life, there is an event for which we definitely need to prepare. That is the day we are going to meet the Lord. On that day, we will meet the Lord not just in prayer or in the sacraments but in a visible, unmistakable way at the end of life’s journey.

The Lord warns us to prepare for that day. He warns us because He loves us and wants us to share in all the blessings He has for us. Being prepared is not something we can make happen at the last second. It’s the way we live our lives in faith and love. It’s the way we live our lives every day the way Jesus taught us.


Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

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