Priest Corner

Weekly message from our pastor

Priest Corner

 

TWENTY-SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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n today’s Gospe l from Matthew 21, Jesus talked to the chief priests and the elders about his mission by way of another parable. In the parable, God is the landowner and the vineyard is Israel – God’s chosen people. The servants represent the Old Testament prophets – who were persecuted, rejected and some were also killed. And as we know the son in the parable represents Jesus, who would die on the cross, rejected by the majority of the chosen people of Israel.

Since the majority of the people of Israel rejected the Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God could have totally disinherited them and taken away any hope of salvation for any of them, but we know that our God is just and merciful. Jesus died for the people of Israel and all people, because he came to be the Savior of all people and the Savior of the world.

Good people are rejected in our local community today as well, either because of the color of their skin or their national origin, or their status in society or their religion among many other reasons for rejection. Rejection demands justice as well as mercy, and it is what God wants. He wants us to do justice in our part of the world. On October 10, our Justice Ministry will meet to discuss what we will be doing this year to support justice in Palm Beach County. Come and join us in the school classroom #118 at 7:00 p.m. God bless you and your family.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

October 08, 2017
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TWENTY SIX SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME World Communion Sunday - Respect Life Sunday

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n this twenty sixth Sunday of the Ordinary time we heard from one of the great Prophets of the Old Testament, Ezekiel, as we know him through his writing speaking to the Israelite’s people in a very specific moment of their life. It was about the time of their deportation far away from their native place. The Jews were scattered all over a pagan soil. It was like a deplorable catastrophe and many of them blamed it as the consequences of the sins of their predecessors. As usual it is somebody else’s fault, no one wants to take responsibility. The prophet Ezekiel reacts against this absurd mentality and reminds everyone about their own responsibilities. The only way to approach this situation is by reviewing their lives and keeping their focus on the Lord. Turn away from your iniquities and seek God’s grace to escape from the glamour of death.

In the second reading, Paul, in his letter to the Philippians gave us a model of what it means to turn away from iniquities and change one’s heart. In one word Paul is telling us clothe ourselves with humility and be united in heart with one another. Take Christ Jesus as our Model who accepted to empty Himself and took the human flesh just to journey close to us, we, humankind, to the point he died on the cross for our salvation. Such love has been shown to humanity in a very effective way in the person of Jesus whom God has exalted above all things here on earth and in the heavens.

The Gospel is of the other master piece where Jesus uses the analogy of the vineyard for the second time. Again, He was addressing a group of people who pretended to be the best among others. Of course they have been practicing the law and the precepts but they hide behind this glass and do not respond to the call for conversion. This parable once again put in context the choice Jesus has made to welcome the sinners. Those who have always said no to God. Jesus saw what they have in their hearts; he knows their suffering and their desires to change their lives. Since they found joy in Jesus, they opt for an encounter that has changed their lives and became his followers. Their “No” became a “Yes” because they have been touched by such great love in a way that they never felt before.

Through this parable, we get to truly understand that Jesus has extended an invitation to everyone, righteous and sinners alike, to be part of the vineyard and to do the will of the Father. To do the will of the Father is not about just having good intentions, rather it is a commitment, an adhesion to change one’s live and work in the vineyard as we share our faith and hope with the rest of the world. If you haven’t felt that need for commitment before, would you be able to change your opinion today, say a big “YES” to the Lord and go to work in the vineyard? The answer is yours.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

October 1, 2017


TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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e begin to read today from Matthew’s Gospel a series of parables narrated by Jesus about the vineyard. The example given to us on this twenty fifth Sunday is about the laborers of the last hour and the generous heart of God. God always shows how great and opened his heart is for everyone. Matthew as usual, placed us at the center of a paradox which is also a tangible and existential reality. There is a need for work everywhere. It was a great challenge during the time of Jesus as also a world while challenge today again. As we can see from the parable, everything begins around a public place; in a village of Palestine where people on a daily basis are expected to be hired for a daily wages. Don’t be surprised if I told you this is something that continues to happen even today in our modern and civilized country like in the US and others.

Let’s look at the question the master asked the people when he went out at five O’clock: “Why do you stand here idle all day? The question raised a great interest, desires and hope of these groups of unemployed people. They are those who live day by day on a single paid check and their answer expresses the sadness of the day and the vulnerability of their life: “Because no one has hired us”. The problem of the unemployment is one of the most crucial challenges of most nations on earth to the point that every candidate and leaders to any elective office makes it the number one priority of their political plan. That constant need for decent job continues to magnify the situation of many families fighting to provide for their household. This parable today just wants us to be aware of this permanent trouble in our nations and the world. As always being always in solidarity with us in our human condition, Jesus offers us a new opportunity to approach this challenge. His approach is like an awaken call for us. However, the parable also invites us to see further, and beyond of temporary reality, it anticipates to show us how much responsibility every baptized person has when it is about the vineyard of the Lord.

Through this beautiful passage from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is offering three important things for our understanding. Number one is: in the vineyard of the Lord, all of us without any distinction have been invited to work. It is never too late to respond to the job offer. Number two; at the time of the payroll we have the guarantee of a decent, equitable and a generous salary because he said to them: “go to work and I will give you what is just”. Number three, even though we did not clock in at the first hour due to some situations of our lives like tragedies, laziness, ignorance or negligence, our Lord guided by his tenderness, love and mercy continues to invite and offer us opportunity to work for Him and experience his outstanding generosity. Hope you can answer to the call.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

September 24, 2017


TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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irst of all, Sunday, September 10, is Grandparent’s day and I would like to wish a Happy Grandparent’s Day to all grandparents. .

Our Gospel today is from Matthew 18, which has been called the Sermon on the Community. In this sermon Jesus taught his followers, and teaches us how to deal with problems within a family or a community.

Today’s verses 15-20 deal with fraternal correction, that is how to proceed in case of conflict among the members of the community or a family (18:15-18), and prayer in common: how to take care of those who have left the community or the family (18:19-20). Jesus gives concrete steps or actions to take.

These steps may or may not work well today, in this same form, but the bottom line is that we need to try to reconcile with our family members or members of our community when harm has been done between two or more people. If necessary, one of our priests may be able to help resolve conflicts that arise in our community, but many times families can resolve these conflicts themselves.

In the Our Father, we say “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus tells us in this prayer how important it is for us to forgive each other. Forgiveness is not a one way street of reconciliation, it is a two way street. If we have been harmed by someone else we should tell them, and they should listen to us and ask for forgiveness from us, just as when we have harmed someone, we should listen to them and seek forgiveness from that person too.

In the unity that comes from forgiveness and reconciliation, we find that our families and the members of our community are able to co-exist in peace and harmony. May God bless you and your family.

Rev. Robert L. Pope
Parochial Vicar

September 10, 2017


TWENTY SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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n our Gospel today from Matthew 16:21-27, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope for the disciples of Jesus became for them, the source of life and of resurrection.

Last week we heard about St. Peter being the Rock, the Foundation of the Church, and in our tradition the first Pope.

This week, we hear how Peter and the Apostles, and the rest of the people in Israel were expecting a Messiah, so we can understand their confusion when Jesus says that he must suffer and die in Jerusalem.

In reality they should not have been confused, for the passion of the Lord was predicted in Isaiah 53:8 “Seized and condemned, he was taken away. Who would have thought any more of his destiny? For he was cut off from the land of the living, struck for the sins of his people.” Of course the people of Jesus’ time had no access to a printed Bible like us, so their confusion is understandable. Even with access to the Bible today, many still refuse to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior

Also, Peter loved Jesus so much that he did not want to lose Jesus so soon, let alone to see him suffer. But Jesus said to St. Peter “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” We have the knowledge of our faith after 2,000 years so we know exactly why Jesus had to die on the cross, but the people of Jesus’ time were really struggling with all they had seen and heard. They saw what Jesus was capable of, but they did not fully understand, until after Pentecost when they received the knowledge given them by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

We pray that our faith in the reason for the cross will be renewed and made stronger as we contemplate the awesome sacrifice that Jesus made for the forgiveness of our sins and for our eternal salvation. Thank you Jesus!

Rev. Robert L. Pope
Parochial Vicar

September 3, 2017


TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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ho do you say that I am? This question came in today’s Gospel as a bullet for the disciples. To understand the question we have couples things to look into. First of all: the place where the group of the disciples and Jesus were. It was around Tyre and Sidon very close to the Lebanon coast, almost at the bottom of the mount Helmond where the Jordan River begins. It is a very peaceful, beautiful, fresh and heavy woody spot where the King Herod Philipp built a beautiful city named Caesarea Philipp in honor of the Emperor Cesar. It is a very political and strategic place where also the travelers rested after a long journey of walk. It is obvious to imagine such setting has offered some great theological inspiration for this question: “who do you say that I am”.

The second thing: is the circumstance around, Jesus’ withdrawal from Galilee. As we read in Matthew’s Gospel, it seems that happens right after the death of John the Baptist. Basically Jesus is trying to avoid the crowd and moving out of Galilee to dedicate his time to his Disciples instructed and revealed to them the upcoming of his passion and suffering. At that time the central point of his message was humility. In this particular narrative Matthew is making a very important point that faith comes before insight not after. As we can see it from the Gospel, the disciples were very confused about Jesus’ identity. They did not really know what and how to answer. Their responses were fundamentally some type of speculations based on other people belief or vague ideas. They started telling Him what other people said like He is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. I am assuming also some of them were very hesitated to tell him what the religious leaders think about him like a glutton, a Heretic, a possessed by the demon and etc., etc. However, the point for Jesus is what would the disciples themselves think and say about Him. “Who do you say that I am”?

It seems amid of all the answers also his trust in God the Father, Peter was able to catch a flash of insight about the real identity of Jesus and he responded as always in his impulsive tone: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Something important to realize about Peter: he has made many mistakes, he is always the one to open his mouth first. In spite of all his lacks, one thing his important for our understanding he loves Jesus. Everyone would agree that Peter’s answer was not really well understood by the disciples neither by Peter himself. However, Jesus has conferred him the singular responsibility to unfold the great mystery behind his answer to other people when Jesus, He himself recognized in Peter a stable foundation for the Christian community.

We are all being called to say to the world one way or another who Jesus is. Today more than ever our society continues to be in search for an answer. Would you be able to take a chance with the small flash of insight of faith you have to tell the world that Jesus is the Messiah?

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

August 27, 2017


TWENTYIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

“My

House shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)

The people of Israel had returned from exile in Babylon, which lasted from 587 to 538 B.C. and now they hear the Prophet say these words to them – the chosen people. Imagine how they may have felt. They may have said, wait a minute; we are God’s chosen people, who are these foreigners that Isaiah is speaking of?

Do we ever do that? Do we wonder why a stranger has been invited to one of our ministry meetings? Are we welcoming to strangers that sit in “our” pew at the Mass we have been attending for many years, or do we give them a look that is not very welcoming? Are we willing to share our love for Jesus with others or do we act like Jesus is ours and no one else’s?

The prophet Isaiah points out clearly that anyone who observes what is right and does what is just; anyone who keeps the Sabbath and chooses what pleases the Lord and keeps the covenant are welcome to the house of prayer; anyone, not just a chosen race or nation of people.

Our Church Sanctuary is a house of prayer and all are welcome here. We, as parishioners must always be welcoming, because if we are not, this may be the last day that a particular stranger comes here to worship, and sadly we may be the ones who turned them away.

In the Gospel reading from Matthew 15, the disciples are ready to send away a Canaanite woman (a Gentile) because she is a Gentile, a stranger. It appears as if they felt she was not worthy of Jesus’ healing touch for her daughter just because of her nationality and her heritage. Canaanite people lived east of the Jordan river and were foreigners and therefore not welcome. Jesus even told her at first that he could not help her and that his mission was to the people of Israel. But the woman had strong faith and was persistent and Jesus cured her little girl and extended his healing mission to someone who was not an Israeli.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

August 20, 2017


NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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n today’s Gospel from Matthew 14 we hear that Peter became frightened and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

The apostle had confidence and trusted that Jesus was approaching the boat, walking on water, but then he took his eyes off Jesus and started looking at the strong wind. As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink.

How often in our own lives do we take our eyes off of Jesus and start to sink in the midst of the weight of the problems and challenges that we face?

How often do we forget what Jesus tells us when he says “do not be afraid?” He wants us to reach out to him when we are afraid and when we need him. He also wants us to reach out to him on a daily basis, showing that we trust in him and showing that we have a strong faith.

Last weekend we celebrated the Lord’s Divine Mercy for three wonderful days. I hope that you all were able to experience all or part of the program, which was very uplifting. Jesus wants us to reach out to him and receive his Divine Mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This Sacrament should be received often, not just once a year or not just once in a great while. Come to the confessional this weekend and receive his Divine Mercy.

On October 22, 1978, in his homily for the inauguration of his pontificate, Saint Pope John Paul II said: “Brothers and sisters do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ's power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ.

To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it.”

Brothers and sisters of our great Church family “Do not be afraid” – Jesus will reach out and save you in your time of need.

Rev. Robert L. Pope
Parochial Vicar

August 13, 2017


THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD

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mong all the episodes in Matthew’s Gospel that highlighted the awakening and deepening of the faith of the Apostles figure this great event named the transfiguration which is the most powerful sign any common human being would never experienced. As always Jesus performs most of his wonders for the sake of his people to teach them about the grandeur of God. Today’s liturgy once again introduces to this key moment in the life of this particular group of Apostles I mean Peter, James and John. Let’s look at the whole situation from three aspects:

1- The whole context is centered on Jesus. He is being recognized by the disciples as the Messiah, the Son of the living God who is giving to his fellow followers a lesson of faith. Probably we can remember in different occasions that the Sadducees and the Pharisees have asked Jesus to show them some signs; this by contrast can be seen as Jesus own testimony about the Glory of God revealed in Him.

2- The mystery: All of us would agree beside this adventure there is a tremendous scene of mystery of which the disciples Peter, James and John have witnessed. Reading the whole thing from within, we can easily confirm that the scene recalls the great manifestation of God which Moses and Elijah witnessed on the mountain of God Sinai and Horeb. Not only they heard God speaking from the cloud but also manifest His presence and His glory in their midst in spite of their fear. The climax of the event could be understood as the great revelation of the sonship of Jesus as the voice proclaimed: “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him”.

3- The message: The words spoken by the voice from the cloud are very important: “This is my Beloved Son, Listen to Him”. We must listen to Jesus. Also, we, Disciples of Christ have to be people who listen the voice of Jesus and take very seriously His words. The best way to listen is by putting our faith in Him and be sensitive to every single word spoken to us.

4- The experience: On more last thing for us is about the teaching of the experience. They are two moments in our spiritual experience; we have been called to go up the mountain as also go down the mountain. We go up the mountain to find some space of silence to better listen to the voice of our Lord. But also we cannot be settled we must go down and join the rest of people for a faith sharing experience with those who are desperate and hopeless. We have been sent to be witnesses of hope. How can we articulate these moments in our spiritual journey?

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

August 6, 2017


SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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rothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is the only treasure that satisfies.

In our careers we seek to have fulfillment through our dream job, but many times we find out that our dream job is just that, a dream.

In our personal lives we strive to have a bigger house, a new car, and the latest gadgets, but these things of treasure don’t really satisfy us. Instead they bring with them a larger mortgage, a bigger car payment and in the long run the desire for more things.

In our first reading, God asked King Solomon in a dream to ask God for something and God would give it to him. Solomon asked for an understanding heart. He could have asked for riches or a long life or the other items in the reading, but he did not. God was pleased with his request and granted him a heart that was wise and understanding unlike any that had existed before. Solomon wanted this so he could help others and so he could treat them with justice.

What would you ask for if God came to you and said “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Would you be able to ask for something that God would be pleased with?

Consider asking God this week to help you be the best disciple of Jesus that you can be.

Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that we must sacrifice in order to receive the treasure that comes from being his disciples. We must not focus on the sacrifice, however, we must focus on the reward that comes from discipleship.

What is the reward of discipleship? When we are disciples of Jesus Christ, we are committed to the teachings of the scriptures and of our Church and our focus is on loving God and our neighbors and our daily lives are transformed.

Living as a disciple has never been easy over the course of the last two thousand years, but we must be strong and be faithful.

If we do this, we will receive the ultimate reward of eternal life with Jesus in heaven. This is the reward we need to focus on instead of the rewards we might gain through our careers or our possessions, for careers end and possessions don’t last, but eternal life is forever. Have a blessed week as a disciple of the Lord!

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Parochial
Parochial Vicar

July 30, 2017


SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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he Clemency of God

We learn that God is all powerful. Though he is powerful, he never deals with us out of power but out of love. It is his love that makes him so merciful toward us. In our sinful behaviors we have offended him and follow our own path, desires, wants and feelings. We have fallen away from him and gone astray. He never judges us according to our merits but always shows us mercy and gives us a second chance for a new beginning. The power of our God is a source of justice that is always on our side. He always shows us his power as his grace has been made manifest in our weaknesses and sinfulness. He never condemns us. He gives us over and over again a chance to repent. He is so rich in mercy He sent us his only Begotten Son who stooped down in our misery in order to set us free from the yoke of sin and death.

God in his clemency also exercises patience toward us continuously. He lets the good and the bad grow together. By allowing the weeds and the seeds to grow together, Jesus gives a chance to anyone who might be acting as weeds. A chance to change and be transformed by him and through him into good seeds. This chance is only possible if we do what St. Paul points out in his Letter to the Romans (Rm 8:26-27). If we let the Spirit of God come to our aid in our weaknesses and sinfulness, He will show us how to pray properly and will intercede for us before the Father who is all good and forgiving. Like the psalmist in today’s liturgy we can all say, “You, O Lord, are merciful and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in Love, kindness, and fidelity. Turn toward me and have pity on me; give your strength to your servant.”

For sure the Lord will listen to you and answer your prayers and give you what your heart desires according to his holy will. When we recognize before the Lord that we have weeds in our lives he is ever ready to bind them and burn them in the fire of his love in order to transform us into a useful instrument for the sake of his kingdom. After this transformation we can live as children of God and shine like the sun in his kingdom in the world. God in his clemency wants all of us to be good seeds that can bear a bountiful harvest into eternity. He is always calling us over and over again to come to him and receive forgiveness in order that we might have a new beginning in our live.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

July 23, 2017


FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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he parable s as commonly known in the Jewish tradition have been a very important part of the Sacred Scripture. Throughout the tradition, parables have been understood as symbolic narrative destined of concrete realities of everyday life to illustrate a teaching lesson. For a better understanding of the parables, the recipients need to use their capacity of imagination. The Old as the New Testament are subsumed under this literature that constitutes a major part of the social, religious and spiritual teaching of God’s people. In the Sacred Scripture the parables taken from their anthropomorphisms or allegorical meaning they brought a message of hope, a message of grace accessible to the people with the ultimate meaning to open up their mind to faith. For the next three weeks we are going to read this group of seven parables narratives by Mathew in his Gospel. These parables are part of very important moment during Jesus’ mission where he has faced hostility and rejection.

The parable of the sower for this Sunday liturgy is first and above all, a message of hope. Through this parable, Jesus shows us his first interest is to sow the seeds of the kingdom everywhere. Even though there are few people who accept or believe in Jesus’ message but he makes it a great priority for everyone. In spite of all the obstacles the harvest will be great. It is all about receiving the message, be a good soil for the harvest.

Many will admit that Matthew uses this parable to facilitate a deeper reflection on faith since many of his believers couldn’t digest why many people have rejected Jesus message or did not have faith in him. Something that can truly be a great question for our society today: why many people have rejected the faith? Would it be because they found his message too hard to accept or because they are not ready yet? It is possible that each and every one of us at some point in our lives represented the different soil mentioned in the parable today. However, one thing has to open up our mind that God has no problem whatsoever to keep sowing the seeds of faith, the seeds of his word, and the seed of his love in our soil. This shows us God constant generosity to all humankind. Would you be able to fertilize your soil, your heart, and let the seed of his word to grow within you?

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

July 16, 2017


FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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n today’s environment of cable TV with hundreds of channels and internet with lots of bad content, it can sometimes be very difficult to live according to the Spirit rather than to live according to the flesh. Our attention spans have become shorter and what we pay attention to can easily lead us into temptation.

If we do concentrate on living according to the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will lead us to Jesus, and Jesus in turn will lead us to God the Father. If we have our attention spans focused on the Trinity, our lives will be focused on the things God wants for us. This will also help us to clearly discern what God’s will is for us, as well.

Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live according to the spirit. He did not become human to gain fortune and fame. He became human to live a life of humility and a live of service to the needs of others. He became human to die for us on the cross, so that we may have eternal life.

Our news media is filled with hateful rhetoric. There truly seems to be no concern for our neighbors. Instead of loving one another, there is a lot of hatred for one another, and that is not what Jesus would want us to do.

If we want to live according to the spirit, we can start by living the commandments of Jesus – loving our neighbor as much as we love ourselves and loving God more than anything else in our lives.

By doing this, we can focus on living humble lives and lives that are made complete by truly depending on God whenever our lives get difficult. If we live by the spirit, our lives will be guided by the spirit, and we will turn to Jesus without any delay or hesitation.

Rev. Robert L. Pope
Parochial Vicar

July 09, 2017


THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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ourney from Medical Ministry to Priestly Ministry… God is the one who has everything in order but not us, human beings. Twenty years ago I could never imagine that I would make it to the priesthood. I had planned to enter the seminary when I was twenty-one years old but it was not yet God’s plan. Through my mother’s will, God directed me to medical school and pharmacy school. I had fallen in love with the medical profession while studying. By the will of God I became a medical doctor and a pharmacist. I worked in both fields for hospitals and health units in different cities and suburbs of Haiti. Working in the medical field has been for me more than a profession. I have considered it as a vocation. I felt very comfortable working for Catholic, Episcopal, and secular hospitals. While being comfortable in helping others and gaining what I needed to live a decent life I felt some kind of a void that needed to be filled.

This feeling of emptiness led me back to my early thoughts of entering a religious community or the seminary. I had spoken to many priests and religious sisters about my calling to become a priest, who helped tremendously in orienting me and in making a right decision. I have no regrets in my decision of entering the seminary to study for the priesthood. I have experienced a lot of similarities between the ministry of a priest and of a medical doctor. A medical doctor is for the body, but a priest is for the soul. I spent my time, as a MD, working mostly in delivering babies. I have seen it as a preparation to help those who are to be born spiritually through the Sacraments, especially through Baptism. When a new born baby is being delivered, in entering this life, he or she cries. It is an awesome experience for me to see when I pour water upon the head of a newly baptized baby, he or she cries in entering the spiritual life of the family of God as adopted son or adopted daughter of God.

I see that the child passes through the biological water (amniotic liquid) of the mother’s womb to this earthly human life as the first step or the first birth; and the second birth is when the child passes through the water of Baptism from the womb of the Church in order to become a child of God and of mother Church. These two steps are necessary and very important in the life a child. Bringing children to society and to God is a very important process to keep society and the Church growing. It is a blessing to be part of this process by accompanying parents and other family members in that pivotal role. As a MD after the birth of the baby, most of the time my work ends there and I don’t even sometimes see that child again. However, as a priest, I will also be able to accompany the child in his or her journey in life while growing up by ministering the other Sacraments, spiritual direction, and spiritual counseling. Priests have a special role to bring children to God through their participation in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. They do so in all stages of life, not simply in the childhood of a person.

I feel blessed and humbled for this special calling. God always works in mysterious ways and he always surprises us with plans that go beyond our understanding when we obey. My journey has been a mystery with all its ups and downs and with all its twists and turns. In all of this, I say let the will of God be done, and praise and honor be to Jesus Christ who has called me to participate in his priesthood as his servant, to continue making present the mystery of his suffering, death, and resurrection for the salvation of souls. He is the true medical doctor who heals body and soul.

Now, being ordained, I feel privileged to be Jesus’ servant and co-worker both in the medical ministry and in the priestly ministry. These two ministries are not opposed but complete each other for the well-being of the human person. I am very grateful for being placed at St. Juliana Catholic Church as a parochial vicar. I am looking forward to have a very good experience as a newly ordained priest because my training time as a transitional deacon here at St. Juliana was great and beyond my expectations. It is always great to have a good mentor as one begins the priestly ministry; I am very grateful to have Fr. Ducasse as my pastor and mentor for my first assignment. There are things we can only learn in the field and not at the seminary. The art of how to be a priest can be learned only at the Church field, and I feel that St. Juliana with its wonderful people under the guidance of the pastor and all the clergy ,is one of the best fits, if not the best fit perhaps, for me at this time. Trusting in the Lord, He will provide all that is necessary for me and for the entire Christian community to have a fruitful ministry. May the Lord bless my entry into ministry and all of those that I will minister to. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME.

Rev. Wisman Simeon
Parochial Vicar

July 02, 2017


TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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HANK YOU: During my last week at school I was speaking with a couple of the girls in my homeroom. They were asking me if I had to leave the parish. I said that I didn’t have to do anything but that it was what our bishop was asking me to do. The girls started thinking of the possibility of changing the bishop’s mind. Finally one of them looked at me and said, “could you bribe him?

I’ve now been here at St. Juliana’s for four years. I had begun to try and imagine what it would be like to transfer to another parish. I come to discover that it’s very sad.

The dominant fact that I keep in front of me, or rather, that stays in front of me, is that this is all a big gift. I remember that over four years ago, everyone told me that I wouldn’t be going to St. Juliana’s, and yet, here I am.

I try to connect all the dots from the beginning. I didn’t decide to be born. Life was gratuitously given to me. I didn’t choose the family I was born into. They were given to me. I didn’t choose to be given hope in eternal life through Baptism, it happened before I even had the capacity to say no, and yet it was freely given to me. Later I did say yes, when I was about fourteen, I gave a very small but firm yes to that hope. God has made that yes grow. I didn’t call myself to be a priest. The desire to be a priest was given to me. I didn’t choose to come to St. Juliana. I was sent here by Bishop Barbarito, my dear father.

What is clear to me is that this is all an undeserved gift. I have tried my entire life to be happy. I have found no happiness in conceiving of life as my own. I have never had to orchestrate my destiny to get something good out of it. It’s always been so good. I suspect it’s still better than I know.

It’s with this confidence that I take the step to move to Port St. Lucie. I’m sure it will be a good for me, from what I have seen that came before. It’s the same good that I wish for all of you. The good of knowing that, “even all the hairs on your head are counted.” There’s no amount of sin, or limit, or weakness that can erase that.

At the bottom, Christians never say goodbye. Because God never gives us something good in order to take it away later. Christ saves it.

I’m extremely grateful for the four years I have spent here. Thank you for your openness toward me. Let’s keep moving forward together.

Rev. Michael Cairnes
Parochial Vicar

June 25, 2017


SOLEMENITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI – Father’s Day

A

s a priest, one of the most awesome things that I do is to celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass. During the part of the Mass that is called the Liturgy of the Eucharist, bread and wine and water are brought to the altar and are prepared by the priest or deacon. In the words of the Eucharistic prayer, thanks is given to God for the whole work of salvation and when the priest says these words “You are indeed Holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” At this moment, the “power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ's body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all the substance of the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ” (Catechism 1353).

When you receive communion in both species, you are receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus, just like his Apostles did at the Last Supper. In today’s Gospel from John 6:51-58, Jesus said “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”

In a commentary on Luke 22:19 where Jesus said “This is my body, which will be given for you.” St. Cyril said: “Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather receive the words of the Savior in faith, for since he is the truth, he cannot lie.” We must receive the words of Jesus without any doubt whatsoever and when we receive communion and we say Amen, we are saying that we believe that what we receive is without a doubt, the body and blood of our Lord.

Today we thank Jesus for his sacrifice of His Body and Blood and the gift that he gave us in the Eucharist.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

June 18, 2017

HOLY TRINITY

T

he doctrine of the Trinity – God as a communion of three divine Persons in one divine nature – is the most essential doctrine of our faith.

We were baptized in the names of the three persons of the Trinity and we sign ourselves often with the sign of the Trinity. We profess our faith in the creed at Mass, each Sunday.

In our first reading from Exodus 34 we hear the story of God renewing his covenant with Moses. Prior to this happening, the chosen people of Israel had broken the 1st Commandment by worshipping a golden calf. In Exodus 20, God had said “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me.” This was the first commandment and the people had made a big mistake in making the golden calf and worshipping it. God could have withdrawn his covenant but he did not. Instead he renewed it and the tablets were struck again and he forgave His chosen people.

God has also renewed his covenant with us through his Son, Jesus Christ, and we hear the famous passage from John 3:16 today that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

And just last weekend we celebrated the coming of God the Holy Spirit, our advocate, who we receive at Baptism and at Confirmation so that we can be the best Christians we can be in a world that needs the triune God so much.

So as we contemplate this great doctrine of our Church, the Most Holy Trinity, may we thank God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for our faith and for the sure hope that we will not perish but might have eternal life, thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Have a blessed week and Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

June 11, 2017

" Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".
Matthew 28:19

PENTECOST

F

ifty days after the resurrection of the Lord we have been invited to enter in a new movement together with the entire church to welcome the presence and celebrate the gift of Holy Spirit. This is an extraordinary celebration, the Feast of the Pentecost. The liturgy of the Word for this Pentecost presents two very wonderful and distinctive narratives that describe meticulously the coming of the Holy Spirit. First of all we have the narrative from the Act of the Apostles presented by Saint Luke which is very colorful, rich in imagery, movement and enthusiasm. And the second one is from Saint John Gospel which is quieter and more reserved presenting a figure of speech of Jesus offering his peace and his breath of life to the coward Apostles who were hiding behind the locked doors inside of the cenacle. As we try to understand both narratives we must be agreed on one thing the gift of the Holy Spirit has been given to humanity to renew the face of the earth, to reenergize the disciples and fire them up for a their mission.

One important thing from the authors Luke and John, both of them described that the event happened on the first of day the week. For those who are very familiar with the biblical language can easily understand that the first day is about the first day of the celebration of the new creation, the day of the Lord, the day of the new world offered by Jesus Christ from the beginning of his mission in Galilee.

The scenery is purposely painted and depicted with great imageries for example Saint John said the Apostles were hidden behind locked doors which mean they were scared and controlled or paralyzed by their fear. They were powerless especially when they realized their coward actions. For example Judas betrayed him, Peter denied him and the entire group went away the day of his passion. I believe they feel ashamed about themselves and did not see a way out. Like you and me the apostles did not keep their promise because of that they need to be forgiven and Jesus came at the right time and the right moment with his peace breathe on them the gift of the Holy Spirit and the locks are broken and a new day begun.

In our personal life experience Jesus comes always to tell us there is a new possibility, there is a way out from whatever the situation we are, and there is Pentecost. He is always there to give us a second chance no matter where we are in our lives no matter how our sinful are we. Like for the Apostles, today for you and for me the feast of the Pentecost is the feast of our second chance. This celebration offers us an incredible opportunity to renew our relationship with God and with one another, to be able to understand each other with respect and consideration. Today again we need a new Pentecost in our world divided by political opinions, ideologies and concepts. We need a new breath a new voice that can inspire unity and leads us toward lasting peace. Please, my brothers and sisters today once again pray to the Father that his peace continues to reign in your heart, in our world and our society. PEACE BE WITH YOU.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

June 04, 2017

"Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came top rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..."
Acts 2: 3-4

ASCENSION OF THE LORD SUNDAY

O

ur Gospel this week from Matthew 28 tells us that as Christians, each of us has the mission that was given to the eleven disciples just before the Ascension of the Lord. That mission is to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them about Jesus’ commandments. If none of us talk to other people about our faith, eventually the Church will close its doors. This is already happening in many parts of our country where Churches are being closed or consolidated because of a lack of active parishioners.

Each of our parishioners here at St. Juliana can start the process of people becoming disciples (new parishioners) by talking about their faith, sharing their love for Jesus and the Eucharist, and inviting others to come with them to our church to experience the Lord’s love for them. Our community would grow tremendously if each of us were active witnesses of our faith. This is OUR mission, brothers and sisters and we all need to take ownership of it.

The Catholic Church has great processes for accepting new parishioners into full communion with the Church. Children and adults can become disciples by going through Christian formation classes and then they are accepted at the Easter Vigil when they are finished with instruction. I am a convert myself and always have had a great respect for the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process, which is one way that new disciples are received.

If you know someone who is interested in becoming Catholic, please call Jackie Moyeno, Director of Faith Formation at 833-1278 and give her their contact information. Jackie will be glad to talk to them.

If you, as a disciple of Jesus have never invited someone that you know to come to Church with you, I encourage you to do so next Sunday, which is Pentecost Sunday. What a great day for people to be invited – the day that we celebrate the apostles receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is what Jesus said in our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus wants all of us to be his witnesses so that all people have access to the Good News.

Let us pray that all of us will be encouraged by the Holy Spirit to “Go and make disciples of all the nations.” If each of us makes the effort to do this, the Holy Spirit will take the seed that is planted and that seed of faith will grow into a new disciple for Christ. Have an awesome week!

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Sr.
Parochial Vicar

May 28, 2017

"So then the Lord Jesus,
after He spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took His seat at the right hand of God".
Mk 16:19

O

ur Gospel this week is from John 14 and the verses are a continuation from last week’s gospel. Last week, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to the Father and that he would prepare a dwelling place for them. We can only imagine what our eternal dwelling place will be like in heaven.

This week, Jesus promises the disciples that he will ask the Father to send an advocate to be with them always. This advocate is the Holy Spirit. If you continue reading John 14:22-30, you will see that Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will teach the disciples everything and remind them of all that he told them.

Each of us, as baptized and confirmed Christians have received the Holy Spirit in paragraph 683 of the Catechism we read that “By virtue of our Baptism, the first sacrament of the faith, the Holy Spirit in the Church communicates to us, intimately and personally, the life that originates in the Father and is offered to us in the Son.” What a gift we have been given that the Holy Spirit communicates with each of us this way.

Also in paragraph 688 of the Catechism we are told that: “The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit”:

 in the Scriptures he inspired;

 in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;

 in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists;

 in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;

 in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;

 in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;

 in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;

 in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation;

 we give thanks to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for our faith, for the Church, and for our salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Have a blessed week!

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Sr.
Parochial Vicar

May 21, 2017

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit
rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his
handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all
ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things
for me, and holy is his name.".
Luke 1:46-49.

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

I

am the way and truth and the life: The first Christian community has been challenged by a very important gift which is the gift of diversity. Day after day their number continues to increase; people from different cultures have joined them because of their genuine testimony and the compelling message they had carried out. Among them we found the newly converted; people from the Greek culture, Jews and pagans. As always the growth of any community caused some new difficulties and challenges and also new opportunities.

As we read the first reading this situation has influenced the decision of the Apostles to change the structure of their organization by opening their mind to the realities and the needs of their members who often have been dismissed or neglected of their basic needs. The introduction of the diaconate ministry was the response to that specific reality that the Apostles have encountered at the beginning of their mission. The need to serve the poor and the neglected has always a very important issue for the Church, the newly Christian community. The mission of the Church is to serve the poor, to witness the love of Christ to others and to preach the Gospel. The message of the Risen Lord has to become the center of our existence. Its purpose is to bring hope to the hopeless.

Nothing can trouble the Christian hope; because Jesus is in our midst. His constant presence has to be the core of our existence. So, neglected people of their basic needs like to worship God no matter their culture or race and tradition can be seen as a counter response to what Jesus wants us to do. Today’s first reading reveals to us the importance to serve others in our community. Our first mission is to serve as Pope Francis reminds us; to serve the poor, take care of the neglected, visit the sick and to protect the weak and the vulnerable. Today Jesus is reminding us again and again “He is the way the truth and the life”. This is an opportunity for us to have new way of seeing the future.

When Saint John wrote his Gospel more than sixty years after the death of Jesus, the Christian community has suffered all type of discrimination and persecution; they were kick out from the Synagogue, they were considered as the enemy of the Roman empire and considered as heretic even by their own people and the Jewish community. Now, just imagine they were like you, they were like me, neglected and rejected by their own people. However Saint John’s message came as a fresh breath for them: “Do not let your heart be troubled” believe in God and believe also in me”. My brothers and sisters, this is the message we want to share with you: in the mist of your struggle, do not let your heart be troubled because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the living example for us in midst of our hardship and desperation. Once again remember “Jesus is the way and the truth and the life”. May his peace reign in your heart.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

<-- Date -- >
May 14, 2017

“Whoever remains in me and I in him
will bear much fruit”
Jn 15: 1-8

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

O

n this Good Shepherd Sunday , I want us to focus on the words of Psalm 23. This Psalm tells us that “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” This can be true in all of our lives if we choose to trust our lives to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Jesus will give us our daily bread and he will make sure we do not want for anything. We need to become like sheep and let the Lord take care of us

It also tells us that He will give us much needed rest in verdant (green) pastures. When was the last time you went to a park with lots of green grass and had a picnic? Perhaps we all should try this soon and see just how the Lord gives us rest and relaxation when we are out and enjoying the beauty of a park.

It also says that He will lead us by the restful waters and he will refresh our soul. When we go to the park for that picnic we should sit by the water and just take in the beauty of God's creation - especially that of water. We cannot live without water, which refreshes our body, and resting by a body of water can also refresh our soul.

It also tells us that He will guide us in the right paths - the paths of His truth - and that when we walk in the dark valleys that life throws at us, we will not be afraid, because Jesus Christ, the risen Lord is at our side.

During Mass, the priest calls on the power of the Holy Spirit to change the bread and the wine into His body and His blood and then we will receive them during the Mass.

In the long run we will also dwell in the Lord's house, and in the house of the Good Shepherd there is love and peace and tranquility.

So, I encourage you today to read Psalm 23 again, very slowly, and meditate on what the Good Shepherd can do for us when we trust in Him and allow Him to lead us out of our dark valleys into the valleys filled with His light and his care for us.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, we trust in you!

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

May 07, 2017

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
They will come in and go out, and find pasture".
Jn 10: 9

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER

I

n today’s Gospel, the two disciples recognized Jesus after he broke the bread in front of them. Each time we come to Mass, we experience the breaking of the body of Christ, seen in the form of bread, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

During Mass, we receive the body and blood of Jesus and we hear the scriptures, and like the two disciples, our hearts should burn within us with the joy of our faith in Christ.

In turn, when we leave from Mass, we have the responsibility and the privilege to share the Good News with others. Our hearts should burn with love for others who do not know Jesus the way we do.

May you and your family experience the joy of Easter and the sure hope of the Resurrection. God bless you.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

April 30, 2017

This is the day
the Lord has made ;
let us rejoice
and be glad.

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER

O

n October 2008, when my Mother died, I experienced a great sense of lost. Back home we have the tomb basically in our back yard and I visited her grave again and again. But any time I went to the tomb it was sadness. I literally experienced deep pain and sorrows in my soul. I can imagine the same thing happened with Mary Magdalene when she went to the tomb; the first day of the week was for her a day of sadness. She realized she did not only lose a dear and good friend but also it was her hope in the future that was vanished from her. However this day of sadness will soon become the “Domenica Dies”, the Day of the Lord, the day of the resurrection.

Historically, we can affirm that the first Christian community met regularly on Sunday to have their weekly meeting. It was in this context of their weekly meeting that Jesus showed himself to them. The apparitions which are some manifestation post resurrection marked a very important moment in the revelation. Every Sunday renew for the disciples that specific Sunday time when Jesus the risen Lord mysteriously stood in their midst and spoke to them. As probably many of you might know, Sunday became a day of rest for the entire Roman Empire until 321 under Constantinople. As we look at the historical quest of the Sunday which is the day of Lord many would agree that the first Christian community anticipated very quickly to affirm that faith is not just an individual experience rather a community experience. This weekly meeting they had regularly was the center of the Christian faith.

As the Gospel described it; this is a new day, a specific time that the Christian community practically can’t live without these meetings on the day of Lord. They meet together to share the word of God and the breaking of the bread. It was a weekly meeting where everyone felt that they belong to the same family as followers of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord. Everyone shares the same commitment and being fortified by the breaking of the bread with great love for a new week and a new horizon. A meeting or gathering that gives new purpose to their lives. So definitely, this new day cannot be a day of sadness rather a day of joy to experience the ocean of mercy of God the Father Almighty who raises Jesus from dead. This is your day; this is my day to say yes to Jesus I believe even though I don’t see. This is the day to leave our incredulity behind us and embrace the adventure of faith which is a genuine experience of surrendering our own selves to Jesus and sing every day Alleluia, Jesus Christ is risen, Alleluia.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

April 23, 2017

This is the day
the Lord has made ;
let us rejoice
and be glad.

EASTER SUNDAY OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD

D

o not be afraid, I know who you are looking for:

The celebration of Easter’s festivities opens a new horizon, a new perspective for the entire world. The light of Christ has shown and darkness fading away. The Gospel said that the first day of the week reminds us the first verses of the book of Genesis when God illumined the universe when he created the daylight. So, celebrating Easter is a great reminder that Jesus, the risen Lord is the light of the world that shines in the darkness of our lives to bring joy, peace to us. Easter is the feast of life, the feast of joy. It gives the great purpose of our Christian faith.

As probably many of you can feel it, the liturgy of Easter Sunday is marked by a great sense of peace and serenity; daylight has shown in the darkness of the first women who went early to the tomb and realized something apparently strange happened. The words they heard were: “Don’t looking for the living among the dead”. He is Risen. What a tremendous surprise for the world. The resurrection brought a new day, a new light, new objective and new destiny to us. To the world entailed with violence, injustice and oppression God gave the reality of the resurrection. This is God’s response to the violence, hatred and torture of the cross. The resurrection is the way God, the Father, responds to the sorrow and pain of the women in the Gospel, this is also the way he continues to respond to the sorrow and suffering of the people around the world who desperate and hopeless.

My beloved friends, the Risen Lord is among us today in our daily lives, in our liturgical celebration. He is here among us to give us a new horizon for our lives. Our Christian life is a paschal life. We are rooted in this genuine reality tinted of hope and trust in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This is the hope in the resurrection that makes Christianity totally different than any other non Christian religion. This is our faith and trust in a God who refused to limit our lives only here on earth or who will accept that everything is over at the tomb. Our faith is a paschal faith even though we understand that there is still suffering, violence in our world; but peace, justice and life will prevail. We must know who we are looking for. Jesus the Risen Lord is in our midst. Let us rejoice and be glad. May this Easter Seasons bring to your soul a perspective to enhance your faith by making a very bold decision to follow the risen Lord to the Galilee of your own life. HAPPY EASTER!

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

April 16, 2017

This is the day
the Lord has made ;
let us rejoice
and be glad.

PALM SUNDAY

T

his weekend

we celebrate Jesus’ entering into Jerusalem just prior to being arrested. This is the beginning of our celebrations of the events of the Lord’s Paschal Mystery – his Passion and Resurrection.

Our Gospel reading from Matthew 21 reflects the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy from Zechariah 9:9 – Jesus, the meek and humble king and Jesus the long awaited Messiah beginning his journey to the cross. Jesus enters into Jerusalem knowing what will happen to him, and does so with a love that is beyond our human understanding.

Each year as we enter the forty days of Lent, we anticipate the coming of Palm Sunday and Easter. This is a time when we hear the awesome story of our salvation and a time when we can renew our commitment to our faith in Jesus Christ. This is a time when we can say to ourselves, our families and our friends that we have the hope of eternal life, because of what Jesus did for each of us.

May hearing and embracing the story of the Passion of Jesus awaken in us an appreciation for just how much we are loved by God. He loves us so much that he gave his only son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins

May the Lord bless you and your families in a very special way this Palm Sunday and during Easter.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

April 9, 2017

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT

D

ear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are a diocesan family of many blessings which include a population rich in cultural diversity with a large number of immigrant families. Many of us are from families who came to our great nation to find a new homeland and a hopeful beginning. Sadly, due to many years of the lack of adequate legal immigration reform, the current context in which our nation finds itself puts many of our immigrants in a situation of great concern, anxiety and fear. Hopefully, many of the fears are unfounded, but those who carry them need to be understood and supported in a manner that is in keeping with our faith through appropriate outreach.

There are many resources on our Diocesan website, www.diocesepb.org, to assist us in this regard. Among them, on the home page, are two: the most recent pastoral reflection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times, and a reflection I wrote for the Florida Catholic, To Welcome, to Protect, to Promote, to Integrate and to Pray. It is prayer, awareness and the proper action in accord with the law which are at the heart of our response. At this unsettled time of concern, may our faith bring us together as one family in our Church and in this great nation.

With every prayerful wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Gerald M. Barbarito
Bishop of Palm Beach

April 2, 2017

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

W

e continue this week with our Lenten Theme of “Encounter Christ” and the theme for the 4th Sunday of Lent is “Let Your Light Shine On Us.”

In the second reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, we hear how we as Christians, enlightened by our faith in Jesus Christ are to behave. We should “live as children of the light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” We should think differently than non-believers and we should do things differently as well. If we live in the light of Christ on a daily basis we are expected to do good things, to be righteous, and speak and live the truth according to the light of the world, Jesus Christ.

Jesus gave us a concrete example of how we can live in His Light when he talked about the greatest commandments as recorded in Matthew 22: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” We know how hard this can be, don’t we?

The contrast between lightness and darkness is also shown in this reading and in the Gospel. In the Gospel from John 9, the man who was born blind had lived in darkness and as a beggar for his whole life. Jesus, the light of the world healed him and he could see the light of day for the first time. It is interesting also that the culture of the time assumed that the man or his parents had sinned because he was blind. Jesus tells the disciples that neither the man nor his parents had sinned. Jesus healed the man so that “the works of God might be made visible through him.”

How can we let the light of Jesus Christ shine on us today and during the remaining days of Lent, 2017? In what ways can we let others see the light of Christ through our words, our actions, our attitudes? During the remainder of Lent 2017, let us pray that we will be a light to the world around us, so that others can see Jesus in us, through us, and all around us.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

March 26, 2017

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him
might not perish but might have eternal life".
John 3, 16

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

T

his week we continue to approach our scriptures using the Lenten theme of Encounter Christ and for the 3rd week of Lent the weekly theme is Refreshing Our Souls.

Sometimes we may get physically thirsty or hungry like the people in the desert in our first reading and we refresh our bodies with water and food, but when it comes to refreshing our souls, we need an encounter with Jesus. Each time we come to Mass, we have such an opportunity, when we participate fully in the mass with our mind, our body and our soul. If, however, we are distracted by our problems at home or work or there is something else that takes our minds off of the Mass, we may not receive full refreshment and our encounter with Christ may only be superficial.

The Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John, chapter 4 has a face to face encounter with Christ. He even says to her “I am he,” and she left her water jar and went to town telling people to come and see Jesus. Her encounter with Jesus that day refreshed her soul so much that she wanted to share the Good News with others.

Likewise, our encounter with Christ at Mass should refresh our souls so much that when we leave Mass we should be eager to share the Good news with everyone we encounter. May your encounter with Christ during Mass this weekend and during this beautiful season of Lent refresh your soul as well as your mind and your body so much that as we approach Easter Sunday you will have rediscovered your faith and be ready to share that faith eagerly. God bless you and your family.

Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

March 19, 2017

“Destroy this temple
and in three days I will raise it up.”
John 2, 19

SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

A

n overview of today’s readings presents to us with great emphasis of three constant movements in the lives of the believers: “leaving our place; move up a little bit higher to rediscover the light, and then accept to go down to the ground level to resettle”.

The story of Abraham in the first reading is a perfect example of those movements spoken above. First of all, he was called to leave behind his land and his tranquility to go where God has sent him to go. In the Bible there is that constant concept of displacement. We have seen it in the reality of Abraham, Moses and many other prophets of the Old Testament. The second reading from the letter of Saint Paul to Timothy is not too different than the first reading. Again, Saint Paul stresses out to us the great project of God for humanity. God definitely wants to confer to each and every one of us the same blessing given to Abraham. He wants to give us salvation.

In the Gospel, Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John to go up the mountain where he has transfigured before them. In the Bible, the mountain expresses the idea of proximity with God as a place of intimacy, place of prayer. From that specific experience the disciples have a certain taste of what it is to be in the presence of the magnificence of the divinity of God. Up the mountain they have entered a place more likely heaven where they have been transported to the divine realm of God. The transfiguration as it is known marks for the disciples a very important point of the great manifestation of the divine glory of God the Father.

Peter is extremely obsessed by this experience to the point he wanted to take his spot and build his tents. But the voice came and said: “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him”. These words are very important for us today. All of us have been called to listen to Jesus. However to listen to Him we must be closed to Him, having some type of proximity and intimacy with him. How do we listen to Him? We listen to Him through the Gospel, in the Eucharist and also in the suffering of the poor and the neglected. That’s why we need to come down from the mountain and go where the people of God need our presence and our solidarity.

We pray today that like Peter, James and John the experience we have in this Eucharist continue to give us a permanent memory of our own and personal encounter with Jesus, especially during this Lenten Season.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

March 12, 2017

“This is my Son, whom I love;
with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”.
Matthew 17:4

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT

T

he season of Lent began this week and the overall theme for our community for this Lent is Encounter Christ.

Each week we will also have a sub-theme, and the one for the first week of Lent is “Turn Your Heart to God”. Our readings for this Sunday describe the fall of humanity and how God the Father sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ for our salvation. In the first reading, the first man and woman are tempted by the devil and they chose to turn away from God and exercise their free will, so that they could obtain the knowledge of good and evil. As a result of their actions, sin and death are introduced into God’s creation. They chose to turn their hearts away from God for selfish reasons and humanity has suffered ever since.

In the second reading, Saint Paul describes Jesus as a gift to us. Jesus, obedient to the Father even to the point of death on the cross, gives us the gift of forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. We are forgiven of original sin through our baptism and by turning our hearts to God in our lives. Yes, we will sin, but then through the sacrament of reconciliation, we will once again turn our hearts back to God. For us this is a lifelong process, but knowing that God’s mercy is so great, we have hope each time we fall.

In the Gospel, Jesus is tempted by the devil after He had spent forty days in the desert and was hungry. Perhaps the devil thought he could convince Jesus to accept his offers because he was physically weak. Perhaps he thought back to when he had tempted Adam and Eve and figured he could convince Jesus to sin. Boy was the devil mistaken.

Of course, we know why Jesus put the devil in his place. Jesus did not come to be sinful, or to be rich and to have a luxurious life, so he wanted nothing to do with the things the devil was offering him. Jesus came to die for our sins, so that we may have the gift of eternal life. We can learn so much from the way that Jesus rejected all temptation and try to model our lives after his each day. Each time we feel that we are tempted, we can say to the devil, “Get away Satan.”

So during this Lent, I encourage you to encounter Jesus in a new way. Start by recalling how Jesus has been a part of your life in the past and pray that you will encounter him in new ways during Lent and daily for the rest of your life. And remember to say to the devil, “Get away Satan” as you turn your heart to God and away from sin and temptation.

Rev. Robert Pope, Jr.
Parochial vicar

March 05, 2017

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

For the past six weeks

W e have been reading the great message of Jesus mainly know as the Sermon on the Mount. In the fifth chapter of Mathew’s Gospel we found this long text where Jesus presented a great exhortation to his followers. These exhortations could be easily seen as the fundamental ethical code of Christianity where Jesus teaches us his law of love as we become more familiar to his teaching. However today, the scriptures for our liturgy took a different step in inviting us to trust God and not to worry.

In our first reading the prophet Isaiah spoke to the people of Jerusalem at a time where they were living a very painful situation under the Babylonian oppression. Due to that situation they believed that God has abandoned them. The word of prophet make known to them God’s unique desire is to be with them. Even though everything is going wrong God would never abandoned his people. The prophet has distinctively expressed the analogy of the motherhood of God to inspire trust and confidence to his people. The main thing is God would never fail us. We can always count on Him

Today’s Gospel unlike the Sermon on the Mount feeds us about what to avoid in our experience with God. “You cannot serve God and Mammon”. The word “Mammon” in Arabic means: Gain, Profit, Money and Riches. By using this expression, Jesus seems to show the intention to compare money with Idol. In this specific term it seems like money can be seen as an adversary of God whenever it continues to control the world and the soul of human kind. One important thing to realize is that Jesus did not condemn the riches; what he disagree is on how we use it. In this specific text Jesus denounced the servile approach about money which is the true cancer of our societies today. Jesus comes in this turmoil saying one thing to each and every one of us: “Do not worry” which is also a great commandment. He definitely knows how anxious we are in our world today. How uncertainty can be cultivating human heart because so many people are living in fear.

In this Gospel narrative Jesus is calling us also to trust God. He wants to invites us to focus on the essential. What we need to do first is search for God’s kingdom? Money, power, riches cannot be the only motivation of our lives. Jesus came to free us from all type of obsessions that what he wants to show us as we began the Lenten Season this coming Wednesday. He is reminding us again and again that God would never abandon us. One thing he wants us to do is to change our heart.

Rev. Ducasse François.
Pastor

February 26, 2017

SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect

I n the first reading from the book of Leviticus we found two commandments: the first is “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy”. The second is “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”. It is very surprising that those powerful commandments were already found in the Old Testament especially in the book of Leviticus which is very sensitive to the holiness of God. This is a great revelation that required the fraternal love as model of life. It is clear that fraternal love is much than better than any ritual or religious practices.

Talking about love in the New Testament, Saint Paul helps us to move one step further when he insisted on the universality of the love of God in his letter to the Corinthians {second reading}. For Paul every human being is a sanctuary in the eyes of God. We belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.

Today’s Gospel which is a follow up of the sermon of the Mount, we found two antithesis of the new law of love presented by Jesus: “You have heard that is was said…but I say to you”. This figure of speech is very extraordinary and means: “God has said and well I said”. It is important to associate this figure of speech in this context where Jesus said I have come not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, which means make it perfect. Yes indeed, Jesus came to make the law more perfect with a great love that can transcend everything. That is the type of love he invited us to experience and share in our life in our parish, in our society and in our world.

Rev. Ducasse François.
Pastor

February 19, 2017

Be holy, for I, the Lord,
your God, am holy
Leviticus 19:2

SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

L ife has many choices. We make them every single day. Many of our choices are made without much thought – they are automatic.

Other choices involve decisions between life and death, good and evil, or right and wrong. These kinds of choices can be quite difficult and many times they can lead us to sin.

In our first reading from Sirach 15 we hear “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you.” His advice is quite clear in this passage. Our choices in life have consequences and we need to keep the Lord’s commandments. In case you have not reviewed the 10 commandments lately, I refer you to Exodus 20:1–17, and Deuteronomy 5:4–21 or to the Catechism, paragraphs 2084 to 2557. These scriptures and these paragraphs in the Catechism should be read by all of us at least once per year, but just like our other daily choices, it is an individual choice.

Jesus reinforced the importance of the commandments in our Gospel from Matthew 5:17-37. He said he had come to fulfill the law and the prophets. We have the choice to believe in Jesus and in his teachings or not, and we have the choice to obey the 10 commandments or not. I don’t know about you, but I would rather choose to follow Jesus and his teachings and obey the 10 commandments, since after all is said and done, many of our choices have eternal consequences, don’t they?

Rev. Robert Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

February 11, 2017

"Jesus stretched out his hand,
touched him and said: be cured".
Mk 1:42

FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

O ur first reading from the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 58, tells us that our faith needs to have concrete actions – sharing our food with the hungry, clothing the naked and not turning our backs on our own.

Then in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, Jesus tells us “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly father.”

There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words, and that is so true. If all we do is talk about doing something yet we never do it, eventually people are going to want to stop listening to us. We must put our words and our faith into action by doing things.

How can you do this at our parish? You can put your faith into action by getting involved in one of our many ministries at the parish. For example, our Social Ministry, led by Deacon Miguel could use donations of food for the hungry and the items are often listed in the bulletin, but if you call the ministry at 588-5840 they can tell you what they need. Our list of ministries is on page 5 of this bulletin, but if you have questions, please feel free to call me during the week or email me at frbob@stjulianacatholicchurch.com

May the Lord help you discern what you are called to do in order to let your light shine brightly before others in 2017 and beyond.

Rev. Robert Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

February 5, 2017

"He cured many who were sick and drove
out many demons".
Mk 1:34

FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

T he Gospel reading today is referred to as the beatitudes and the verses are part of the Sermon on the Mount, which is in Matthew chapters 5-7. These three chapters contain teachings of Jesus that are given from a mountain. In the Gospel of Matthew, many important events in Jesus’ life take place on mountains.

The beatitudes tell us that those who possess these characteristics or these attitudes in their life will be blessed by God. Who are these people? They are people who are poor in spirit, or mourners, or meek, or hungry, or thirsty, or merciful, or clean of heart, or peacemakers, or persecuted.

The opinion of the world would not be that such people are blessed but instead that they are cursed or lazy or weak. But the worldly opinion is not what matters, is it?

What matters is the teaching and the opinion of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior.

The world would say we can only be happy when we compete well and when we pursue our ambitions and strive to be successful in the world or when we seek fortune and fame. In reality, are wealthier or more successful people happier people?

The world would also say that people are happier and more successful when they have more things, more possessions, and more wealth.

Jesus, on the other hand tells us in the beatitudes that we should not have a worldly attitude. Instead we should have an attitude that is from our hearts and an attitude filled with love and an attitude focused on things of heaven.

I would hope that this week, you might take the time to read the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety. As you read it, prayerfully consider your contribution to this year’s Diocesan Services Appeal, because the DSA’s mission is one of service to many people who have the characteristics of the beatitudes – especially the poor, the hungry, the thirsty and the persecuted.

May God bless you and your families with a faith that is formed by the beatitudes of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Robert Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

January 29, 2017

"He taught them as one having authority".
Mk 1, 22

THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

T he Gospel today shows us that Jesus begins his mission at Capernaum in Galilee. He withdrew from Nazareth to Galilee a very important move for the beginning of Jesus ‘public life. What do we know about Galilee? It was a large province where many people from different cultures, race and ethnic groups live for centuries. Galilee was a very cosmopolitan city located on the northern region surrounded by three major important roads. The first main road by the sea leads to and from Egypt, the second one going to Damascus in Syria and the other going to Tyre and Sidon by the Mediterranean border.

As we can see, Galilee was an international corner rich with a dense cultures and great civilization. It very influenced and contaminated by the pagan world. At some point due to the cosmopolitism reality the name was Galilee of the nations. This is why we can understand when the prophet announced these territories are going to receive also the salvation. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown” said Isaiah in the first reading.

After 30 years living in the tranquility of Nazareth, so going to live there was like living our small villages and establish at some huge city in other part of US where there are novelty, technology, turbulence, pluralism as well as insecurity of whatever the form we can imagine it. This is where, at this shameful place, Jesus has chosen to go and moreover his first disciples and collaborators are from this pagan and sinful region. Talking to some of them he said: “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. They were ordinary people; neither theologian, nor scholars, or Levites. They were just ordinary people like you, like me.

In Capernaum Jesus begins a new mission and his preaching. He is speaking to everyone. The entire Gospel shows that he came to call and to save. The Good News is for everyone and no exclusions whatsoever. The core of his message was the same as John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. This word “repent” is a very important expression for our understanding. It carries out a huge change of our vision of the world, of us all and of our society. The word, repent invites us to turn our sight to God and let ourselves be guided by his grace and place our total trust in Him. To follow and to repent entail another word or expression: which is “leaving behind”. Jesus always expects this act of renunciation, to leave behind our formal life and start something new and work for the kingdom of God. How do you receive that call today?

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

January 29, 2017

"The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to
bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim
liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year
acceptable to the Lord."
Luke 4:18-19

SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

T he writer of Psalm 40 wrote “Here I am Lord; I come to do your will.” When was the last time you said that in prayer to the Lord? If it has been awhile, please consider doing that this week.

St. Paul wrote that he was “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” Each of us is called by God to have an active role in our community as dedicated and faithful Christians.

Jesus’ call or mission was to be the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. We can and should spread the Good News to others, as part of our active role in the Church.

As a parish community, our mission statement is “The Mission of St. Juliana Parish is to grow spiritually, evangelize and serve, united as one family of faith, welcoming and including each person with love.”

Which part of our Church’s Mission are you called by God to participate in more actively in 2017? What is your mission statement as a parishioner of this great parish? This week, I would challenge each of our parishioners to seriously consider this question and if you want to know how you might get involved, please email me at frbob@stjulianacatholicchurch.com

Together we can make this great parish into a place where each of us can grow in our faith and in our commitment to do God’s will in our lives.

Rev. Robert Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

January 15, 2017

"Behold, the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world."
John 1:29

Epiphany Of The Lord

W Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

In this New Year, I’m going to make the question and quest of the wise men my own. Where is Christ in my life? Who is Jesus to me? The wise men had the star. What are the signs of his presence for me?

It is, for me, easy to skip over these questions. I think that I have already finished my quest. I’ve received all of the sacraments of initiation. I’ve been going to Sunday Mass my whole life. I spent eight intense years in the seminary studying philosophy and theology. I am now a priest. And yet, to think that I have reached the end of my journey, my search, would be to begin to prepare my grave.

Till today I discover myself being ideological, abstract, defensive, reducing life to a manual, a set of principles to abide by, a burden to get through. These are all symptoms of a person not being on a search, not open to reality, stuck in the mind, thinking that one has already arrived.

Therefore I commit this year to ask myself everyday is life good? If you are like me, it’s easy to say that life is good when I have a cold foamier in my hand; it’s not so easy to say that life is good when my alarm clock goes off in the morning.

To me this question is essentially wrapped up in the relationship with Christ, the search of the wise men, and my search. Without taking this search seriously, I know that I run the risk of no longer being a Christian, or a nominal Christian at best.

What is more, I risk not being a person. Because to search for the reason for everything is the quest of every person. Happy New Year and Happy Hunting.

Rev. Michael Cairnes,
Parochial Vicar

January 15, 2017

Lord, every nation
on earth will adore you
Responsorial Psalm

SOLEMNITY OF MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD

O ops! This is another year, another time, another reality; time for new resolutions, new perspectives, and new projects of life, even time to look for a new horizon. The light of the year 2017 shines already upon us and the glamour of new hope probably keeps us awake and pondering on how many reasons we have to celebrate together with the Blessed Mother Mary. Once again our Mother Church has given us another reason to celebrate in prayer of thanksgiving the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. This feast of the solemnity of Mary Mother of God, on the first day of the New Year, brings to us a great vision of the action of God in our lives.

At the beginning of the New Year 2017, as we gather together as family to celebrate and to give thanks to God, we must think about this genuine responsibility of ours as God’s people. It is our prerogative to focus on the needs of our family, both, social and spiritual in today’s world, and to pray for peace and justice

It is with great enthusiasm and powerful spiritual devotion that the Church on New Year’s Day celebrates the Feast of the Blessed Mother under the title: ‘Mary, Mother of God”. This emphasis on Mary’s status, a type of Mariology from above, is in fact what the great mystery of the Incarnation explicitly reveals to us. Saint Paul in his letter to the Galatians said: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as son”. She bore the Son of God who is the Alpha and Omega.

Together let us begin this New Year with the conviction and assurances of Mary’s guidance and protection as we continue to deepen our faith in God our Father, who continually offers us consolation and happiness. As we all make our New Year resolutions let us create a space in our heart to respectfully welcome God’s grace and generously be mindful of his continued blessings. On behalf of Fr. Michael, Fr. Bob and myself, I want to wish each and every one of you a “HAPPY NEW YEAR. MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

January 1, 2017

Lord, every nation
on earth will adore you
Responsorial Psalm

The Fest of the Holy Family

M ay all the earth rejoice may all people be glad; God is in our midst in spite of everything else God makes the choice to be with us. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests”. With such transforming words addressing to the shepherds, Luke opens an incredible opportunity to introduce people to the new story that humanity have been greatly expected.

In the story, the shepherds are ordinary people we can identify ourselves with. They became the first witnesses of a singular event; they draw us into the story and provide models for discipleship. One important point to consider, shepherds in ancient time were not the gentlest people. In ancient time the presence of shepherds around the neighborhood caused tension since they were considered dangerous outsiders who lived rough lives in the wilderness. In this specific story of the nativity of Jesus, they became God’s kind people and received the first invitation to meet the Christ. What a huge contrast?

What a transforming message, what such transforming encounter? Overwhelmed by joy when they found the Child we can imagine how those who used to be seen as dangerous outsiders became now undeniable insiders carrying out the message of peace to all people of their surroundings by repeating again and again what they have heard from the Angel: “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest”. Such message echoes in our ears today in a very special way and context. People are living in fear; people experiencing the shadow of death, people are seeking for truth, they seek light. Yes indeed, the light has shown in our midst. God comes and visits his people. Today, we can feel in our own lives the impact of his transforming presence. May this Christmas season help each of us to experience the joy that Jesus, the Son of the living God, has brought to us. Merry Christmas!

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

December 25, 2016

Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Allelula: Roman Missal

Fourth Sunday of Advent

O ne week from today, we will begin our celebration of Christmas, the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We may see the faces of people we do not recognize. Let us greet them with love and joy and a welcoming smile. This will be a great sign for our time, for our community and for our church.

In our first reading, from Isaiah 7, God offers to give King Ahaz a sign but the king refuses it. The prophet scolds the king and God gives him a sign anyway. Of course, for us this sign is the prediction of the virgin birth of Jesus, the Emmanuel, God with us. The history of interpretation of this passage before the birth of Jesus was very controversial and created a lot of tension for Old Testament scholars. It was not until the actual birth took place that the prophecy became clear.

This week’s Gospel from Matthew 1, connects and fulfills the prophecy from Isaiah with the birth of Jesus. We can only imagine the tension that St. Joseph felt when he realized that Mary was pregnant. Imagine the thoughts that must have gone through his head. How was she pregnant? Who was the father? What will we do to avoid shame and disgrace to our families? But his tensions are turned into joy when the angel of the Lord explains the circumstances and St. Joseph welcomed Mary into his house with joy.

May we welcome everyone that we encounter during the weeks of Christmas, and welcome them into our parish with joy, just as St. Joseph joyfully welcomed Mary and Jesus into his home.

Rev. Robert Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

December 11, 2016

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word”
Luke 1, 38

Second Sunday of Advent

T oday’s readings will lead us to a certain preparation for the second coming of Jesus which will be in some way the end of the world history and of humanity. This preparation based of its importance can be seen in a context of a “Joyful Tension”. Our Liturgy Committee, reflecting on the significance of this Advent Season, had decided to use the “Joyful Tension” as the theme for our Advent reflection. It seems to me very appropriate to look at this time through the light of the Scripture as we move forward in our Advent journey.

Joyful tension, the first thing we found that all the readings for today’s liturgy invite us to change our sights on the time where we are living and focus also on the second coming of Christ where our hope to experience definitely the lasting peace. In the first reading God make a clear promise to his people that from the roots of Jesse a bud shall blossom. It seems like a time of great peace in the midst of the great tension. This is the prophet Isaiah who is saying that day will come where all the creatures will live together peacefully. This is a message of hope, a message of peace for a world so tormented by violence and oppression. But to be able to live this wonderful experience Saint Paul invites all of us like he did to the Christian of Rome to intensify our Christian life and actively strive to be a welcoming community as we glorify the Lord. Be a welcoming community is also a way to prepare ourselves to welcome Christ our Savior.

Joyful tension, in the Gospel, John the Baptist voiced to all human kind to prepare the way for the Lord. Be ready; do not let yourself be distracted by the sounds or the noise of this world and all sort of delusional attitudes of our society flooding all sort of non sense of sensationalism in our minds. What seems more important for the evangelist Matthew is first of all the message that John the Baptist proclaimed: “Repentance and produce good fruits as evidence of the repentance. If we get to understand this joyful tension in this context of the Advent Season what would that mean for us: “Repentance and produce good fruits”? To me it means to take some steps and change anything that need to be changed in my life, reject all forms of comforts that would prevent me to see God in the face of my brothers and sisters and most of all let me be infused by the love and the light of Christ. It also means to be in touch with the reality of the tensions that exists even sometimes in our own and personal life, in our nation; tension sometimes of even keeping our eyes open to what is going on around us, like our expectation, and of course the general tension of preparing for Christmas; tension of preparing for penance, repentance and conversion. Brothers and sisters, in spite of all those tensions, calamities, suffering, acts of violence that we know the Season of Advent must be for us a way of living, an active hope, a great reason to love and a better way to build a flourishing future with great expectation where joy and happiness will keep us always awake.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

December 04, 2016

"A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his pats".
Mark 1:3"

First Sunday of Advent

I s the First Sunday of Advent, our annual liturgical season of preparation and celebration. During this time each year we should be preparing for the coming of the Lord. It is the time, however, when we focus on material things rather than heavenly things. We focus on what we will buy and for whom, for Christmas presents. We focus on decorating our houses instead of making sure we are ready for the coming of the Lord.

We may ask some of our loved ones, what do you want for Christmas this year? Some will have their answers ready for us because they have prepared, they are ready. Others will hem and haw and beat around the bush and never give us a real answer. Some are ready while others are not. .

In the second reading, St. Paul expressed what we should do during this holy time when he said “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” The armor of light is Jesus, not Christmas lights. Our focus needs to be the light of the world, not the lights on the house.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us all that we must be ready; we must be prepared “for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Are we ready?

Have a Blessed Advent season!

Rev. Robert Pope, Jr.
Parochial Vicar

November 27, 2016

FEAST OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST - KING OF THE UNIVERSE

I f you are the king of the Jews, save yourself. When I read those words from Saint Luke’s Gospel, the first thing that comes to mind is “What a horrible statement and a vicious interpretation of Jesus suffering on the Cross by the people around the cross. The idea of Kingship in this context required a better understanding from our today’s world and even in Jesus set of mind as he explicitly said: “My kingdom is not in this world”. As we go through the Sacred Scripture we can admit that Jesus never associated himself to the title of King, for instance, he would prefer to be known as Good Shepherd, Servant, Son of Man even sometimes Messiah and Teacher. However when He is being associated to the kingship of David this is how He is being pictured: with a crown of spine, a large tunic by which people make fun of Him and a royal inscription placed above the cross. Perhaps looking at all those facts we can get the sense of what Jesus said: “My kingdom is not from this world”.

Through today’s reading we can see how this concept of kingship and kind are being played. For example in the book of Samuel the kingship of David is very essential for the reunification of all Israel’s Tribes and also introduced the most brilliant period of God’s people. David’s kingship is considered as a great symbol of the triumph of God’s promise. However, it will take time for the people to change their mind from this temporal triumph to the vision of the kingdom of Christ. As we go through the responsorial psalm, the joy of pilgrims singing songs of praise as they approached the Holy City Jerusalem founded by David is descriptive and anticipation of what today’s Christian will envision as the True Jerusalem which is the Church. And, Jesus as perceived by Saint Paul in his letter to Colossians is the Perfect image of God invisible who was acting from the beginning in the creation.

Today’s Gospel offers a perfect vision of Jesus kingship. It is very noticeable through all the images of his crucifixion. The cross became the privileged scene and symbol of His kingdom. Upon the cross Jesus is showing to the whole world intrinsically who He is: “A free and generous man” who is capable even at the most horrible and disturbing experience to forgive and to restore the fallen humanity. The power of darkness couldn’t stop Him to do what the Father has been doing from the beginning of the creation to give new breath of live to those who have been lost and lifeless by the distraction of the world. Upon the cross there is a King inviting the entire fallen humanity to embrace the new reality where we belong to. Upon the cross there is a King calling you and calling me to a new experience. Would you accept that invitation?

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

November 20, 2016

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

LORD, TEACH US HOW TO PRAY

H aving trouble by all the recent shooting of the police in uniform and the terrorist attack last week in France, today I come to the request of Jesus’ disciples saying: “Lord, teach us how to pray”. The request seems to be very interesting when we consider how much need we have in our society and in our world. Jesus, teach us how to pray in the midst of the uncertainty of our society to choose the path to the future when everyone is wounded.

The request echoes in our heart when we feel from wherever the angle we are there is an unbroken chain of unforgiveness, resentment and anger; there are too many victims from violence and hatred. Jesus, teach us how to pray when we feel we are part of an unconceivable chain “where everyone is wounded and everyone wounds. Everyone sins and everyone is sinned against. Everyone hurts and everyone has been hurt. Everyone needs forgiveness and everyone needs to be forgiven”. Lord, teach us how to pray when we feel, we, all of us betray and sin. We betray ourselves, betray our loved ones, and betray our communities and we sin against God.

Very conscious of the need for forgiveness Jesus structures his lesson on prayer about forgiveness since he fully understand that everyone stands in need of forgiveness. As we can see, forgiveness and mercy are the major parts of Jesus’ prayer; the Our Father. In the first part of the prayer He invites us to turn to God and work for His Kingdom, his Glory and his will. On the second part He invites us to turn to our needs and the needs of the world most particularly the need for forgiveness and mercy. In the middle of my trouble and my personal desperation Jesus invites me to trust in his mercy since mercy can open my heart like Pope Francis said: “Mercy overcomes every wall, every barrier, and leads you to always seek the face of the man, of the person. And it is mercy which changes the heart and the life”. May today our world experience that mercy and put an end to hatred and vengeance.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

24 July, 2016

SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

" Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

When we feel anxious and suffocated and that life is a big burden, what is the cause? In my own experience, it comes from thinking that everything in my life is based on me. Everything is up to me. I need to do it. I am at the center of my problems and my life. And in front of big problems I even might turn to God: “Oh God give me the strength to fight through these problems, to fight through life.” And in the end, when my burdens become too heavy, I complain.

To me complaining is that great symptom of that illness which is the thought that I-am-at-the-center-of-everythingby-myself-and-self-reliant. For example why isn’t life a huge burden for children? Because they are in a relationship of reliance with their parents. The child says: I-am-in-relationship-and-dependence-with-you and therefore can breathe, even laugh. In this culture we think that becoming an adult means to stop relying on others, to be independent, and so also to be alone, lonely, miserable with the burdens of life, and therefore complainers.

Whereas what is most evident is that reality is given. I certainly do not create it. And 99% of the most important events of my life, events most connected with my destiny, aren’t even up to me. They are given. I simply say yes and follow. For me, this is the recognition of Christ’s presence with us. I can say You, and so I can begin to live. The conscious Christians say: I-am-nothing-in-relationship-with-and-totally-dependent-on-you-who-are-everything and therefore lacks nothing. There is really only need of one thing; being with the Mystery of Being made flesh, being with the gift giver and the gift, being with Christ.

Rev. Michael Cairnes
Parochial Vicar

17 July, 2016

SOLEMNITY OF SAINT PETER AND SAINT PAUL

O ur human reality is always viewed from two angles: the center and the periphery. Both angles carried out a deep understanding of how human being sees things and reacts when we approach the history. Christianity is not exempt from that deep understanding to the point some figures like the Apostles represents not by meaning or definition but by virtue of ministry caring out these angles. The feast of Saint Peter and Paul we are celebrating today is a perfect example of this unique reality. Both of them are companions and spiritual brothers and well known through the tradition as founding pillars of the church. Without any inwardly perception of competition, Peter is being identified always as the rock, the steady one at the center and in fact the great leader of the Judeo-Christian movement in Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome. Meanwhile Paul himself is the one being seen and sent at the peripheries to bring the message of salvation to the gentiles and marginalized people outside of the well known places

These are two perfect examples for us in our desperation to understand our own spiritual life’s mobility. In Mathew Gospel we heard Jesus saying to Peter: “you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church (Mt 16:18)”. This genuine revelation echoed Jesus desires to entrust into human hands and guided by the Holy Spirit the continuity of his ministry. His choice of Peter was not based on his ability or his capacity to lead rather on this moment where Peter is being fully absorbed by the Holy Spirit. There are those moments in our lives where we are fully and totally vested by the power of the Holy Spirit, moments when our own confession about Jesus like Peter can be our ultimate conviction. Those moments are real and being known as spiritual experience allows us to grasp the most intimate reality of our call to be Christian and Followers of Jesus. At the other hand, we have to be honest with ourselves also because very often we have fallen into fear that can ultimately turns the rock into a tempter like we have seen in Peter’s experience. Talking about that Pope Benedict wrote:

“Peter, names Jesus the Christ in particular revelation, that is, while living close to God, while feeling the Spirit move through him. In that moment Simon truly was Peter, he was a rock because he was the one who had shown the ability to trust that what he had experienced in Jesus was true, that the living God was a God of mercy, a God who looked and acted like Jesus. And then, five verses later, he falls back into fear and so tries to prevent the one in whom he has experienced the living God from continuing to listen to that God. It is this attempt to prevent Jesus from being himself and from accepting the consequences of being himself that turns the rock into a tempter”.

How often we have been cut off in our experience not being able to be the rock or present at the peripheries to witness the love of Christ. Today we pray that truly understand that following the voice of Jesus means to be the rock and stand at the peripheries to be the voice of the marginalized and those who are desperate and searching for meanings. Nuestra

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

08 May, 2016

ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

In one of his beautiful articles,

" Back to Wonder”, published by America Magazine, John Savant refers to mystery in religious term “as to things that cannot be proved or disproved but that nevertheless exert a force on our thinking”. Reflecting on John’s idea through the light of this weekend scriptures readings gave me a great perspective of God in his great mystery revealed to humanity. I mean the mystery of his mercy and unconditional love for human beings. In God, reflects this great idea of that there is anything and no nothing, though all of our existential questions or concerns still unanswered, the fact is in God there is anything and no nothing to the extent that our imagination can give us a glimpse of what has been inaccessible to reason.

The message we have heard today is completely in perfect resonance to the reality of God who is capable to reach out to humankind and not only extend his sympathy but also offer forgiveness and countless mercy. The experience of David in the first reading from the book of Samuel shows the incredible heart of God. His mercy is without measure compare to the sins of man. God offers his forgiveness to all and invites all back to wonder. Though very often humans is the subject/object of intense scrutiny but God’s mercy and forgiveness are offered to help man achieving a certain inner resonance with himself and in other word “Back to Wonder”. This resonance is certainly possible as we break through the obstacles of life’s existence by the grace of God.

The woman in the Gospel is definitely a great example of this specific reality. Her gesture is absolutely a break through, a genuine surrendering, a breaking through her own shadow and subsequent perception and self judgment. Her courage and determination win her a certain existential reorienting of self toward what was probably unknown to her for her entire life. Probably she has been clinging to her own drama or her own wounds. But her encounter with Christ brought her new life by recapturing her lost of the sense of wonder and mystery. Her alabaster flask of ointment broken entirely to wash Jesus’ feet can be seen as her genuine openness, selfgiving and most of all her total trust and response to Jesus forgiveness.

In spite of the intense scrutiny of the host and some of the guests she did not let herself be intimidated by their criticism and their complaints. For instance, she was ready to break the most expensive jar of perfume to exquisitely experience the wonder. That break through can be understood as her conversion, her way to initiate her allegiance to the kingdom, a way to invite every men and women to inhale the perfume of God’s grace and mercy given through Jesus Chris.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

08 May, 2016

ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

In one of his beautiful articles,

" Back to Wonder”, published by America Magazine, John Savant refers to mystery in religious term “as to things that cannot be proved or disproved but that nevertheless exert a force on our thinking”. Reflecting on John’s idea through the light of this weekend scriptures readings gave me a great perspective of God in his great mystery revealed to humanity. I mean the mystery of his mercy and unconditional love for human beings. In God, reflects this great idea of that there is anything and no nothing, though all of our existential questions or concerns still unanswered, the fact is in God there is anything and no nothing to the extent that our imagination can give us a glimpse of what has been inaccessible to reason.

The message we have heard today is completely in perfect resonance to the reality of God who is capable to reach out to humankind and not only extend his sympathy but also offer forgiveness and countless mercy. The experience of David in the first reading from the book of Samuel shows the incredible heart of God. His mercy is without measure compare to the sins of man. God offers his forgiveness to all and invites all back to wonder. Though very often humans is the subject/object of intense scrutiny but God’s mercy and forgiveness are offered to help man achieving a certain inner resonance with himself and in other word “Back to Wonder”. This resonance is certainly possible as we break through the obstacles of life’s existence by the grace of God.

The woman in the Gospel is definitely a great example of this specific reality. Her gesture is absolutely a break through, a genuine surrendering, a breaking through her own shadow and subsequent perception and self judgment. Her courage and determination win her a certain existential reorienting of self toward what was probably unknown to her for her entire life. Probably she has been clinging to her own drama or her own wounds. But her encounter with Christ brought her new life by recapturing her lost of the sense of wonder and mystery. Her alabaster flask of ointment broken entirely to wash Jesus’ feet can be seen as her genuine openness, selfgiving and most of all her total trust and response to Jesus forgiveness.

In spite of the intense scrutiny of the host and some of the guests she did not let herself be intimidated by their criticism and their complaints. For instance, she was ready to break the most expensive jar of perfume to exquisitely experience the wonder. That break through can be understood as her conversion, her way to initiate her allegiance to the kingdom, a way to invite every men and women to inhale the perfume of God’s grace and mercy given through Jesus Chris.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

08 May, 2016

ASCENSION OF THE LORD SUNDAY – MOTHER’S DAY

Not Alone!

H appy Mother’s Day! Today we honor our mothers and pray for them living and deceased. I believe we all know that the airport is a busy place. There are always people rushing here and there and going everywhere. However, the airport can be a rather emotional place too. Especially at the arrival gate, there is usually the excitement and the joy of meeting someone coming home or welcoming a visitor from abroad. On the other hand, at the departure gate, which is on another level, seems more sober and solemn. People are waving goodbye with sentimental faces. Others may be giving each other a long handshake or a hug as they bid farewell. Some have tears in their eyes, while others just have expressionless faces.

To say it all, saying goodbye and bidding farewell can be an emotional affair. Indeed, we don’t have to go to the airport to know what the feeling is like. In the Gospel reading today, we can understand how the disciples felt. As we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord into heaven, it will be the last time the disciples will see Jesus on earth. Jesus had been with them from the time He began His ministry, to His suffering and death and resurrection. He had been with them in their joys and hopes, in their grief and sorrows, in their amazement and disappointment. Just when they have begun to understand who Jesus is to them, and how much they needed Him, Jesus seemed to bid them farewell for good. However, the meaning of the Ascension is not about saying goodbye and bidding farewell. Indeed, Jesus raised His hand and it was not to wave goodbye to His disciple but He lifted His hand to bless them.

The Ascension of the Lord is not about Jesus going up to heaven and leaving His disciples with an empty absence or to be alone. Rather, in His Ascension into heaven, Jesus blessed His disciples and promised to be with them in a more profound way. The Ascension also marks the beginning of the Church’s Novena, the 9 days of prayer to prepare for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised us that we will be clothed with power from on high. Yes, the Holy Spirit will be descending on us so that Jesus will be present in us and His Church always.

So my dear brothers and sisters, let these days be days of prayer and spiritual preparation. We wait for the arrival of the Holy Spirit who will empower us with truth and love, with joy and holiness, so that the world can see that Jesus indeed present in each one of us.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

08 May, 2016

SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Am I willing to love God?

W e all knew that St. Francis of Assisi had a deep love for God and man. One day he met a fellow who admitted he had no love for God. As they walked along they met a man who was blind and paralyzed. St. Francis asked the sightless cripple: “Tell me, if I were to restore your eyesight and the use of your limbs, would you love me?” The cripple replied: “I would not only love you but I would be your slave for the rest of my life.”

“See” said St. Francis to the man who maintained he could not love God, “this man would love me if I gave his sight and his health. Why don’t you love God who created you with eyes and strong limbs?” God asks each one of us the same question every day: Why don’t you love me who gave you health and countless other blessings? We must say to God what the beggar said to St. Francis: “I will not only love you, but I will be your slave for the rest of my life.”

That is what Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel reading: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” Love of Christ means the desire to do what Christ wants. What Christ and His Heavenly Father want is made clear in the Ten Commandments. We can ask ourselves, am I trying to do what God wants or am I trying to do what I want? In our society today, some people falsely maintain: all we have to do is love God. Don’t bother about the commandments. Suppose a man said to his wife often, “I love you,” but then did what his wife did not want or like. Actually he does not love her.

That is what Christ is talking about today. It is not a question of one or the other love or the commandments. It is love and the commandments. We will prove our love for God by doing what He wants and avoiding what He doesn’t want because He has been all-good to us. Like the beggar in our story we will not only say we love God, but also we will be His loving servants.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

01 May, 2016

"Jesus, I Trust in You"

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

N o one can ignore that there were some types of friction and discomfort among Jesus disciples. Like any other group very often there were out of understanding even out of logic to the point that Jesus often reminds them to focus on the essential which is love one another. This expression appears to be in Saint John Gospel as a testament from Jesus who truly understood that any type of tension can become a psychological blockage for the spiritual growth of any community.

Today’s Gospel brought a very interesting insight about Jesus offering Himself as a perfect model of love that the disciples should follow in saying: “Just as I loved you also you should love one another. By this statement Jesus make “love” the new commandment, doesn’t mean love did not exist before but it is a matter to love like Jesus loves us. Now we are talking about a love that can transcend, a love that can healed the wounds of division and separation, a love that can break through any type of obstacles and human misery. Even though this part of John Gospel has preceded the resurrection event, it carries out a great paschal symbolism since love is the primary reason of Jesus giving his life for the salvation of human kind.

In fact, the statement is also associated to another great expression in the biblical literature. The word “glory” this part of the Gospel gave a great insight to the reality of Jesus and the Father. The word glory here is a great manifestation and a luminous and active presence of God in Him. In the most vulnerable and dramatic moment of his life Jesus feel the glory of the Father in his active life. Therefore it is important to understand what does that mean the glory of Christ. One important thing is how the revelation of the New Testament connects the glory with the person of Jesus. In Him the glory of God manifests. Jesus is the splendor of God’s glory however the full manifestation of this glory will take place at the second coming of Christ, nevertheless by his resurrection he has entered into the divine glory with the Father. All of this is possible because of the divine love they share together.

All of us have been called for that same love in our existence and to experience the glory of God in our life. And the best way we can do that is by actively apply in our own lives this golden commandment: love. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Today we have a great choice to make in our life as we try to understand that “love has his own logic. Just to quote John W. Martens: The more it is offered and shared, the greater it becomes. Love heals the wounds of sin by offering a balm of mercy and forgiveness”.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

24 April, 2016

"Jesus, I Trust in You"

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY

A Through the light of this Paschal Season the Church invites us on this Second Sunday of Easter to celebrate today the Divine Mercy Sunday. This paschal activity is overwhelming by the incredulous story of the resurrection of Jesus as it is revealed in John’s Gospel. The story is perfectly counted by many like the women and the disciples as they experienced the apparitions. This is the story of the great love of God who shows no partiality when it is about salvation for humanity. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, this the same story we have been called to proclaim by telling people that: “The Lord never tires of forgiving: never”!

On this Divine Mercy Sunday what do we need to know? First of all from a Scripture point of view, Mercy is part of the central revelation. Even though very often the people have deviated by sins but mercy would bring them back again as soon as they soften their hearts. God is known in history as a God of tenderness and grace. God always moved to commiseration when His people cry out to Him from their misery and troubles. Scriptures always show that God yearns for the salvation of the sinners. Mercy is part of the essence of God. Second thing is in Jesus we see the face of the Divine Mercy of God. He proclaims the Gospel of the infinite mercy of God. In Him, sinners found refuge and grace. Throughout His ministry mercy was the center part. For Him, mercy is the heart of God the Father. There is no other way we can know God rather than through His continued acts of mercy. Jesus was the one who cares for humankind, who is not afraid of the sinners and the unjust but who embraces them with compassion and tenderness. Very often He goes beyond the law to mercy the most vulnerable and those excluded from society

The third thing I would like to mention is about the Church on the idea of mercy. Pope Francis can be seen as the champion in expressing and applying the work of mercy when he said: “I believe this is the time for mercy”. This is an authentic call for all of us to be merciful to one another. The wounds of injustice, the wounds of broken family, the wounds of divided society, and the wounds of broken promises make our world more fragile. There is an authentic and a real need for mercy. Jesus by taking the Cross and dying for us showed us how mercy works in order for us to be merciful. He gave us the authentic revelation of a servant figure of God the Father. Today, in this Divine Mercy Sunday let us be mindful of about the need for our soul to experience the mercy of God offered to us in the person of Jesus. My question today is: as Church community what can we do to be more merciful? May the words of Saint Paul John II help us in our meditation: “The Church lives authentic life when it professes and proclaims mercy; the most amazing attribute of the Creator and Redemptor, is when he leads humanity to the fount of mercy”.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

03 April, 2016

"Jesus, I Trust in You"

FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

T he three Scripture passages for this fifth Sunday offer us an idea about the vocation of three great biblical men. It is about Isaiah, Paul and Peter who respectively had some personal experience with God that had transformed their lives completely. Even though their experiences are by no mean identical but they have realized that their God is real and holy and they are themselves sinners and loved by God. Each of them, in spite of their humanness personality, they get to understand that they have been called and sent by God. Isaiah in the first reading proclaimed “I am a man of impure lips”; but touched by the Holy Spirit, was able to say here I am Lord. Paul in the second reading admits with great humility that because of his past life he is not fit to be called Apostle but realized by the grace of God He is what he is. Finally Peter of course, the most fully human Apostle in spite of his unworthiness took a chance with Jesus words.

Looking into the vocation of Isaiah, Paul and Peter we can realize each one of us won’t know profoundly our misery our sinfulness only in the presence of God when he revealed to us his holiness. Of course the experience for each of us will be different and adapted to our life style and realities. But the essence will be the same. God’s love, forgiveness and mercy transformed and placed us in the front line of service. Jesus loves to surprise us. I can imagine the reaction of Peter and his companions by the Lake of Gennesaret when Jesus said: “Put out into deep water and lower the nets”. Peter great fisherman in his own comfort zone is being challenged by the Lord Jesus. Very often we have challenged by Jesus; the only thing we have to do is to let go. Peter with all humility took a great risk and profoundly aware of his doubt and unworthiness surrender to Jesus when he saw the great amount of fish they have caught.

My brothers and sisters, today we have an opportunity to once again review our call to serve and follow the word of God like Isaiah, Paul and Peter. Our participation in the Eucharist is a reminder to each of us of our commitment and mission to lower the net of the word and make it accessible to all those around us. God is calling us to become fishers of men in spite of our unworthiness and sins. May he stir out in our heart any doubt and insecurity and transform us with his grace, mercy and his unconditional love

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

31 January, 2016

The three pillars of lent
Almsgiving
when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that you almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Matthew 6:3-4

Prayer
When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Mathew 6:6

Fasting
When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And you Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.
Matthew 6:17-18

FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

L ast week end we have shared the video message from the Most Reverend Bishop Gerald Barbarito about the Diocesan Services Appeal. In his own words, our bishop told us that: “We are called to participate in our Catholic faith through acts of faith, hope, charity and mercy. Through this Appeal we are inviting you to carry out the mission of the Church through financial support benefitting the great work that the diocese has done and will continue to do throughout the five counties of our diocesan territory and elsewhere”. The theme for 2016 DSA is “We are called” and it reminds us of our baptismal vocation to serve the vulnerable and those left behind. How can you help the diocese through its ministry to fulfill this call?

Once again, today, I write to thank you for your thoughtful response to this year’s Diocesan Services Appeal. Your gift helps to reflect Christ’s love to many people and is a genuine sign of your gratitude for your many blessings. Countless lives in our parishes, our communities and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast, are touched by the ministries and programs supported by the Diocesan Services Appeal.

I am proud to be your Pastor. Your response gives me confidence that we will continue to journey in faith and grow in our understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. I am very grateful for your countless efforts that really contributed to help us to reach last year’s goal. As you are taking time to respond prayerfully to the 2016 Diocesan Services Appeal, please consider this to be a sign of your understanding in this Jubilee Year of Mercy that we are called to share the works of mercy.

Our goal for this year Diocesan Services Appeal is $158,500.00. I pray that God will bless our generous heart as we work together to reach our goal. Pope Francis in this Jubilee Year told us we are called to be missionaries of mercy. One way that also we can do that is by supporting the Diocesan Services Appeal. Again, thank you for your continued support and may God bless you.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

31 January, 2016

THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – ECUMENICAL SUNDAY

How ready are we to be revived from drowning today?

D ear brothers and sisters, imagine for a moment someone suddenly experiencing difficulties while taking a dip in a swimming pool or at the beach. Maybe he/she develops a muscle cramp or doesn’t swim very well. Whatever the reason is, the person starts to struggle in the water. Finds it very difficult to stay floating and after sometime, the struggling gets weaker and weaker. The person begins to drown.

Thankful, an alert lifeguard sees what’s happening, dives into the pool or into the ocean, and pulls the person out. However, he/she has already stopped breathing. The body has already started to shut down. The lifeguard immediately begins administering CPR, blowing life-giving air into the person’s mouth and compressing the person’s chest. At this is being done, a small group of people starts to gather. They want to see if the lifeguard will succeed or if it is already too late. Will the drowning person once more draw breath?

Isn’t this also what we find in our readings today? In each of our readings, there are drowning people requiring resuscitation. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus begins His public ministry by entering the synagogue in His hometown and preaching the Good News to the people there. Using a passage from the prophet Isaiah, Jesus describes what He is doing in terms of a rescue mission. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tiding to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.

In the second reading, we also find people drowning in some way. Do you know that the Christian community in Corinth was blessed with many different spiritual gifts? They had gifts of praying in tongues, of healing and teaching. However, the people place such great emphasis on their individual giftedness that they lose sight of God, the Giver of every good gift. They use their different talents in ways that divide the community. Saint Paul is talking to a people drowning in their arrogance and over blowing sense of self-importance.

My dear brothers and sisters, it is into this people that Saint Paul breathes God’s Word of Life. Paul reminds them and also us that we should be exercising our gifts not to inflate our own egos, but rather to build up the Body of Christ, of which we are all members. We, together, are Christ’s Body, and each one of us is a different part of it. For whether we are to admit it or not, we are like the people in each of our readings, we too live in constant danger of spiritual drowning. Maybe they are some of us today who feel struggling to stay floating. If you are among those who feel this way, then our readings offer you good news. As you listen to God’s Word, and eat at God’s table, God is breathing into you a breath of new life, reminding you of His undying love and concern for us. He is encouraging you to persevere in living according to His ways

So my brothers and sisters, whatever our situation may be today or these coming days, God, our Divine Lifeguard, wishes to breath into us a Breath of the Spirit, the Breath of love and compassion, and the Breath of freedom and fullness of life. The question for you and me is how ready are we to be revived from drowning today?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

24 January, 2016

"The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to
bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim
liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year
acceptable to the Lord."
Luke 4:18-19

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

New Beginnings!

M y friends, do you believe that today the Christmas season comes to an end with our celebration of the feast of the Baptism of the Lord? This feast provides an opportunity for you and me to look back upon the past two weeks of Christmas and to see how it has truly been a celebration of new beginnings.

Maybe to some of us, it may seem a little wondering. Just last week we were celebrating the Epiphany and Jesus was still a newborn babe lying in the manger, being adored by the Magi. And today, quite suddenly this baby has become a grow man and is being baptized by John in the Jordan.

Indeed, it is the mystery that we are contemplating. We are still celebrating the beginning of new liturgical year as well as the beginning of our salvation with the coming of the of God’s light to dispel the darkness of our hearts and our world. A couple of days ago, we marveled at the light that shined out to all the nations through the babe in the manger, so today we continue to contemplate how this light shines out anew in the public ministry of Christ beginning at His baptism in the Jordan.

Christmas is indeed a celebration of new beginnings, and even as we bring the season to an end, we are invited to reflect also on our own beginnings as Christians, on our own baptism. For just as Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of His public ministry, so too is our baptism meant to mark the beginning of our role as bearers of Christ’s light to others. Like Jesus, we too are called to continually let our lives revolve solely around doing the will of the Father and proclaiming the coming of God’s Kingdom.

And just as the power of Jesus’ ministry flows from an awareness of His own identity as Beloved Son upon whom the Father’s favor rests, so too is the authenticity of our Christian living conditioned upon our own awareness of who we are. Normally many of us may seem to be, in water and the Holy Spirit; we have all been baptized into an extraordinary calling. In Christ we are all adopted daughters and sons of the Father. In Christ, we have become those upon whom the Father’s favor rests.

My dear brothers and sisters, in order to continue making new beginnings, we need also to hear the Father’s ongoing affirmation of us in the Holy Spirit. We need to spend time everyday in prayer as Jesus does after His own baptism. We need to give our hearts the time and space to listen to the words that have the power to mold and transform each one of us, the words that are spoken in ways that the Father alone knows how to speak: you are my son and you are my daughter. You are my beloved. My favor rests on you.

As we bring our Christmas celebrations to an end today, how are we being invited to continue making new beginnings?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

17 January, 2016

"I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming".
Lk 3, 16

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

New Beginnings!

M y friends, do you believe that today the Christmas season comes to an end with our celebration of the feast of the Baptism of the Lord? This feast provides an opportunity for you and me to look back upon the past two weeks of Christmas and to see how it has truly been a celebration of new beginnings.

Maybe to some of us, it may seem a little wondering. Just last week we were celebrating the Epiphany and Jesus was still a newborn babe lying in the manger, being adored by the Magi. And today, quite suddenly this baby has become a grow man and is being baptized by John in the Jordan.

Indeed, it is the mystery that we are contemplating. We are still celebrating the beginning of new liturgical year as well as the beginning of our salvation with the coming of the of God’s light to dispel the darkness of our hearts and our world. A couple of days ago, we marveled at the light that shined out to all the nations through the babe in the manger, so today we continue to contemplate how this light shines out anew in the public ministry of Christ beginning at His baptism in the Jordan.

Christmas is indeed a celebration of new beginnings, and even as we bring the season to an end, we are invited to reflect also on our own beginnings as Christians, on our own baptism. For just as Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of His public ministry, so too is our baptism meant to mark the beginning of our role as bearers of Christ’s light to others. Like Jesus, we too are called to continually let our lives revolve solely around doing the will of the Father and proclaiming the coming of God’s Kingdom.

And just as the power of Jesus’ ministry flows from an awareness of His own identity as Beloved Son upon whom the Father’s favor rests, so too is the authenticity of our Christian living conditioned upon our own awareness of who we are. Normally many of us may seem to be, in water and the Holy Spirit; we have all been baptized into an extraordinary calling. In Christ we are all adopted daughters and sons of the Father. In Christ, we have become those upon whom the Father’s favor rests.

My dear brothers and sisters, in order to continue making new beginnings, we need also to hear the Father’s ongoing affirmation of us in the Holy Spirit. We need to spend time everyday in prayer as Jesus does after His own baptism. We need to give our hearts the time and space to listen to the words that have the power to mold and transform each one of us, the words that are spoken in ways that the Father alone knows how to speak: you are my son and you are my daughter. You are my beloved. My favor rests on you.

As we bring our Christmas celebrations to an end today, how are we being invited to continue making new beginnings?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

10 January, 2016

"I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming".
Lk 3, 16

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

T he presence of the Magi in Matthew’s Gospel has a great theological importance for us to understand as we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord today. This feast presents a very interesting contrast in the birth of Jesus. His first adorers were the shepherds, a very distinguished group of farmers with not very good reputation. The second group was magi coming from afar representing the priestly and royal circle of the Persians civilization; they came all the way to give Him homage. The enthusiasm of the magi and the nobleness of the shepherds are crucial in the understanding of Matthew’s Gospel. Both groups can be seen with so much interest; the shepherd commonly known were part of the elected people of Israel and the magi were pagan citizens searching to make sense of the star they have seen from distance and that has called their attention. Instead of finding a new born king in the palace of Herod they were led to the stable where God has revealed Himself in the most contradictory way in the infant lying in the manger.

What Matthew wants us to really understand? Through all the symbolism of this wonderful narration Matthew introduced us to the great mystery of Jesus Christ. From the first page of his narrative he reveals that the salvation mystery is offered to the entire humanity through the incarnation of Christ. This is for the whole world including the pagans that has been called to be coheir of God’s promise. The Feast of the Epiphany’s celebration is a profound expression of the great encounter between divinity and humanity. God became human for the world he has created out of love.

The magi are the perfect example of the beneficiaries of this exceptional action of God. After Matthew has led us to meet the Angel and the prophetical word of the Old Testament in his Gospel now he invites us to discover the “star” which is in fact the key factor for the magi in their search. Would it be theological prudent to say that this mysterious heavenly actor (the Star) in this context of revelation is in fact the key indicator of the joy of the pagan kings soon to be the new messengers of God. Would the star also refer to the Holy Spirit according Matthew? Many theologians would agree with this idea and in fact the Gospel was clear in saying they followed the star until it leads them to the place where the Baby and his mother were together. The star is in fact the supernatural light of faith which is different than our natural intelligence. So to meet Jesus we must be led by the Holy Spirit, the super natural light of faith. Today, may the Star, the Light of Christ teach us when to move forward and when to step back? May it also enable us to understand the littleness of all that we do in God’s greater plan of salvation and his majestic and mysterious work within us?

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

03 January, 2016

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESÚS, MARY AND JOSEPH

F rom centuries after centuries the institution named Family has been viewed and celebrated as the sanctuary of life to the point God Himself has chosen that His Son, the Savior of the world to be borne within that structure under the care of Mary and Joseph. This structure is essential in the context of the revelation of the great mystery of the incarnation, the Word made flesh and dwells among us. This great mystery of the incarnation is an ideal tool that sanctifies and gives sense to the vocation and mission of the family. The celebration today is a reminder to all of us that God has made this choice just to help humanity to get to the point to understand that the human history is a history of love since human being has been created in God’s image and likeness.

Through the celebration of the Feats of the Holy Family, the Church invites us to contemplate the fundamental foundation of society which comes from the covenant stipulated in the marriage vows between man and women as well as the nuptial covenant between God and humanity. As a response to that covenant both parties have to make a promise that will be concretized through faithfulness, pardon, mercy and solidarity. As we can see in the symbol of the Holy Family Jesus, Marie and Joseph everything flows and regenerates through God’s grace. “Blessed are they who dwell in your house o Lord” was the cry of the psalmist expressing the yearning and the desire of humankind in the search of happiness.

There is urgency in our today’s society to strengthen the structure of family. Too many children or marriage couples are suffering because of the lack of positive response to their specific realty. Pope Francis on the threshold of the year of mercy said: “That families are also invited to open their doors “to meet Jesus, who waits for us patiently, and wants to bring us his blessing and friendship…A Church that is not hospitable or a family closed in on itself would be a terrible reality that mortifies the Gospel and makes the world more arid,” he said. This invitation to open our doors echoed in our ears as the cry of the century where we are losing the true meaning of life and relationship.

Would be that true to say that there is a huge shift in the concept of family in our world today? For instance, our society lost completely the sense and the right for the babies to be born and to be raised by their families and the radical choice for man and woman to consecrate their lives to one another in marriage. With all the loyalty to political correctness, we have created a new selfish society that prevents us to even respond to our true vocation and mission. Today there is an invitation to look on to the Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph to contemplate the great mystery of God’s redemptive plan for us and to become disciples of mercy.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

27 December, 2015

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

T he responsorial psalm for this 4th Sunday of Advent offers a poetic and delightful sound to hear. It expressed a sense of longing in the secret and consecrated love between a lover and a beloved. It is a combine binomial aspect of waiting and anticipation where desires, joy and sweetness are mirrored in a pleading as it said: “Lord, make us turn to you; Lord let us see your face and we shall be saved”. This plea is a plea of joy, a plea of genuine longing, a plea of a self searching for intimacy.

The prophet Micah in the first reading sensed that plea through the great promise of God made to his people to give them a ruler whom they are waiting with great joy. The prophet through these words offers the richness of wait: “Therefore the Lord will give them up until the time when she who is to give birth has borne and the rest of his kindred shall return to the children of Israel”. The richness of “wait” dwells in the delightful joy of the fulfillment of the promise being seen as a gift. As we wait we are enjoying with anticipation the offerings or the gifts. This is precisely the whole context of Advent. We began the first week with the wait or hope and peacefully move to the second week pondering on the magnificence of the offer as we move joyfully to celebrate Christmas.

The Christmas celebration of this year must be for all of us the expression of the love that Blessed Mary carries in her heart by the birth of Jesus and the enthusiasm of the shepherd by the reassurance of themselves also being invited to seek out for the light of the world. That is an interesting way for us as a community to celebrate Christmas, thinking about what kind of opportunity God is offering us.

Merry Christmas.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

20 December, 2015

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

T he hurricane season began the first of this month. Here in Florida we have had experiences of many disturbing moments caused by storms, heavy rain and bad weather. I have plenty of memories of days, weeks and months of cleaning and repairing the damages left behind by the hurricanes and storms. No matter how much information or preparation we may have, it is very true that the hurricane season and storm days are scary. The Scripture readings for this weekend bring to us the full image of storms and bad experiences in our life and also the human attitude during those times.

In the First reading our friend Job, as a human being, in the midst of a fierce storm starts complaining about God, a complaint that God Himself described as “proud waves”. Too often we blame God for everything that happens in our lives. It’s like God is responsible for our struggles and the storms of our lives. It takes a huge sense of humility to realize that God loves us beyond our little understanding and that God is God independently of how we think and what we do or say. It is very comforting to hear that in the overwhelming humbling of Job, God spoke to him out of the storm. If God is capable to speak to us even in the middle of the heavy rain, the raucous storm of our lives, we must likely need to listen.

In Mark’s Gospel, the story about the storm we read today has always intrigued me. We saw extremely opposite attitudes. The disciples while the violent storm threatens to swamp the boat were overwhelmed by their fear and Jesus peacefully curled in his sleep in the back of the boat. Two important things for us: the overwhelming fear leads to doubt, insecurity, unworthiness, and unfaithfulness and you name it. The sleeping Jesus leads us to the sense of calmness and peacefulness we long for in our life. Only a total trust in God can die down the storm of our existence. As per the question of the disciples in the Gospel: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing”? Jesus’ response is very loudly expressed in that implicit invitation to die with him. Die to our fears, die to ourselves, and trust God totally. Applying Jesus’ words in our lives today it is all about making a bold decision to follow him in deep waters to be transformed and become a new creature (second reading). He is inviting us to take his message into our hearts and position ourselves to rebuke the storm, the rain, and the wind that continue damaging the world, our society, our families, our nation, our people, and ourselves. With God on our side, everything is possible.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

28 June, 2015

"Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”.
Mk 4:40.

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

T he hurricane season began the first of this month. Here in Florida we have had experiences of many disturbing moments caused by storms, heavy rain and bad weather. I have plenty of memories of days, weeks and months of cleaning and repairing the damages left behind by the hurricanes and storms. No matter how much information or preparation we may have, it is very true that the hurricane season and storm days are scary. The Scripture readings for this weekend bring to us the full image of storms and bad experiences in our life and also the human attitude during those times.

In the First reading our friend Job, as a human being, in the midst of a fierce storm starts complaining about God, a complaint that God Himself described as “proud waves”. Too often we blame God for everything that happens in our lives. It’s like God is responsible for our struggles and the storms of our lives. It takes a huge sense of humility to realize that God loves us beyond our little understanding and that God is God independently of how we think and what we do or say. It is very comforting to hear that in the overwhelming humbling of Job, God spoke to him out of the storm. If God is capable to speak to us even in the middle of the heavy rain, the raucous storm of our lives, we must likely need to listen.

In Mark’s Gospel, the story about the storm we read today has always intrigued me. We saw extremely opposite attitudes. The disciples while the violent storm threatens to swamp the boat were overwhelmed by their fear and Jesus peacefully curled in his sleep in the back of the boat. Two important things for us: the overwhelming fear leads to doubt, insecurity, unworthiness, and unfaithfulness and you name it. The sleeping Jesus leads us to the sense of calmness and peacefulness we long for in our life. Only a total trust in God can die down the storm of our existence. As per the question of the disciples in the Gospel: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing”? Jesus’ response is very loudly expressed in that implicit invitation to die with him. Die to our fears, die to ourselves, and trust God totally. Applying Jesus’ words in our lives today it is all about making a bold decision to follow him in deep waters to be transformed and become a new creature (second reading). He is inviting us to take his message into our hearts and position ourselves to rebuke the storm, the rain, and the wind that continue damaging the world, our society, our families, our nation, our people, and ourselves. With God on our side, everything is possible.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

28 June, 2015

"Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”.
Mk 4:40.

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

T he hurricane season began the first of this month. Here in Florida we have had experiences of many disturbing moments caused by storms, heavy rain and bad weather. I have plenty of memories of days, weeks and months of cleaning and repairing the damages left behind by the hurricanes and storms. No matter how much information or preparation we may have, it is very true that the hurricane season and storm days are scary. The Scripture readings for this weekend bring to us the full image of storms and bad experiences in our life and also the human attitude during those times.

In the First reading our friend Job, as a human being, in the midst of a fierce storm starts complaining about God, a complaint that God Himself described as “proud waves”. Too often we blame God for everything that happens in our lives. It’s like God is responsible for our struggles and the storms of our lives. It takes a huge sense of humility to realize that God loves us beyond our little understanding and that God is God independently of how we think and what we do or say. It is very comforting to hear that in the overwhelming humbling of Job, God spoke to him out of the storm. If God is capable to speak to us even in the middle of the heavy rain, the raucous storm of our lives, we must likely need to listen.

In Mark’s Gospel, the story about the storm we read today has always intrigued me. We saw extremely opposite attitudes. The disciples while the violent storm threatens to swamp the boat were overwhelmed by their fear and Jesus peacefully curled in his sleep in the back of the boat. Two important things for us: the overwhelming fear leads to doubt, insecurity, unworthiness, and unfaithfulness and you name it. The sleeping Jesus leads us to the sense of calmness and peacefulness we long for in our life. Only a total trust in God can die down the storm of our existence. As per the question of the disciples in the Gospel: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing”? Jesus’ response is very loudly expressed in that implicit invitation to die with him. Die to our fears, die to ourselves, and trust God totally. Applying Jesus’ words in our lives today it is all about making a bold decision to follow him in deep waters to be transformed and become a new creature (second reading). He is inviting us to take his message into our hearts and position ourselves to rebuke the storm, the rain, and the wind that continue damaging the world, our society, our families, our nation, our people, and ourselves. With God on our side, everything is possible.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

28 June, 2015

"Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?”.
Mk 4:40.

ELEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

" And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.” Ezekiel

From this Sunday’s first reading we get a reminder that God is all in all. When we say that God is in heaven, we mean that God is in the deepest origins of nature, of life. God is not far, but close. So close, in fact, that we often miss Him.

God makes the withered tree bloom. We are that withered tree and only God can make us new. Let us embrace our littleness, our nothingness, our sinfulness, and thus open ourselves up to Another who is there and who can make all things new.

Rev. Michael Cairnes
Parochial Vicar

21 June, 2015

"The mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds,
grows into the biggest shrub of all".
Mk 4:32.

THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST SUNDAY

O ne of the events of the Church that has really influenced my life when I was young boy has been the feast of the “Corpus Christi”. I remember the long procession on the streets; people on different corners of the city have prepared their decorative altars with all type of plants, flowers, art works, etc. to receive the Blessed Sacrament for a moment of prayer and Adoration. Among the multitude was the priest carrying the monstrance with the consecrated Host. Every single eye with great respect and admiration was focused on Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. One can have the impression that everyone was in the middle of a spiritual manifestation of joy and faith. This specific spiritual event can give us an idea of how the people leading by Moses carrying out the Arc of the Covenant as a form of celebration and their respect to God the Father.

This feast of Corpus Christi has been instituted by Pope Urban IV in 1264, in the midst of a huge controversy about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Since then, the catholic community everywhere celebrates the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Eucharist continues to be the center part of the life of the Church, the people of the covenant. The history of the Old Testament reminds us that God is a God of the covenant. On the mountain Moses and the people receive and celebrate the covenant through the sacrifice of the lamb. The ritual of sprinkling the altar and the people with the blood while saying: “This is the blood of the covenant the Lord has made with you” constitutes a key moment for people. Blood is a symbol of life. God has made a perpetual covenant of life with his people and they have been called to respond with obedience and love.

In the New Testament Saint Paul spoke about a new covenant in Jesus Christ. Now the offering for the sacrifice is Jesus himself not a lamb as it was in the Old Testament. Jesus offered his own blood for the sacrifice. His sacrifice expiates our sins and frees us for a new life; and the new and eternal covenant. Through his exclusive sacrifice Jesus is our mediator between God and us. He has vested of all the necessary elements for the New Covenant. This is the letter to the Hebrews that reminds us He is the unblemished Lamb, the High Priest, the Mediator, etc. in one word He possessed the perfection and the holiness of God to lead the people toward the eternal salvation. The gift of His Body and Blood; the bread of life, is his ultimate expression of his desire to sanctify humanity and to bring it to God the Father. For this reason come and adore him.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

07 June, 2015

FEAST OF THE HOLY TRINITY

Do you remember the name of God?

A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting a sharp 95 years old elderly woman in the hospital. The daughter told me about her mother. She said, “Mon is 95. She fell and hit her head, and was hospitalized for several days. A handsome young doctor checked on her twice a day and he would ask each time if she knew the date and who the Pope is. After several visits, Mom looked at me and whispered, what is the matter with that young man that he does not remember what day it is and also the name of my famous Pope?”

Do you remember the Name of God? Today, we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity Sunday. Holy Trinity is not a celebration of an event in the salvation history such as Christmas or Easter or the Ascension of the Lord or the Pentecost. Holy Trinity is a celebration of our faith and beliefs in the One True God. This One True God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who has revealed Himself to us. In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples and also to each one of us that “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Today we would like to concentrate on thanking the Holy Trinity for what they have done for us. We thank God the Father, who out of love created us as intelligent human beings, and then even made us His sons and daughters. We thank God the Son who became a man, lived, labored, taught, died and rose that we might be restored to the Father. We thank the Holy Spirit who dwells in the Church and in the soul of every one of us, to help us truly love all Three Members of the Trinity, to lead us to unending happiness.

Now, what can we do on our part to respond to this One True God who loves us that much?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

31 May, 2015

" Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".
Matthew 28:19

PENTECOST

T oday we celebrate the feast of the Pentecost which is the feast of the Holy Spirit. We are exactly seven weeks after Easter Sunday. Like Easter, Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday. What is the meaning of it? As we all know Sunday is the first day of the week which corresponds to one of the six days that God created the universe. So, it is very gracious to view to feast of the Pentecost as the celebration of the memorial of the first creation as well as the celebration of the new creation. The gift of the Holy Spirit given to the Church comes to transform us, the entire body of Christ, into new creatures renewed and restored through the paschal mystery.

The book of the Acts of the Apostles precisely mentioned - it right after the Ascension of the Lord, the Apostles gathered at the same place, the same house where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with them, and all, Apostles and disciples together received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is very interesting to realize the event happened at the same place where the Apostles were consecrated to their priestly ministry by Jesus. There is a great significance between Jesus’ sacrifice and the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is very obvious that when the Holy Spirit comes to the Church is to sanctify and strengthen us in our mission as baptized people to make disciples for Jesus and build the body of Christ which is the Church. The Holy Spirit has been given to build the Church without fear, without shame. The disciples who were hidden for fear of the Jews now receiving the Holy Spirit became more convinced people who can take risks and witnessed the message of the Risen Lord to others. The Spirit given to them is a Spirit of unity. They were speaking in different tongues but they can understand each other.

One last aspect I would like to mention is the presence of Mary, the mother of the incarnate Word of God on the day of the Pentecost. As we all know she never left the Apostles since the death of her beloved son. So her presence here can bring to our mind this constant idea of recreation since she is the perfect model of fecundity in the New Testament. This is Luke’s Gospel that explicitly mentioned the Holy Spirit cover her as spouse on the day of the incarnation and she became the mother of God. So on the day of the Pentecost from the heart of spouse in the presence of Mary, the Mother of the incarnate Word of God, the Apostles received the gift of the Holy Spirit to fecund the earth for a new creation of all peoples and nations from different cultures and languages the same faith in one God, one Lord and the same Spirit. As we celebrate today the presence of the Holy Spirit among us on this day of the feast of the Pentecost let us pray that, we, as a community, will be always guided by the Holy Spirit in our pastoral work serving others especially the poor and those left behind.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

24 May, 2015

"Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came top rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..."
Acts 2: 3-4

THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD

When are you going to start?

D ear brothers and sisters, as we move from one stage of life to another we are required at some point to let go of past ways and moved on adopting newer ways of life. For example, as infants we had to be carried and fed, as children we had to hold our parents hands as we moved about. As teenagers we tended to be independent and yet we needed guidance and help sometimes. As adults we believe we can manage on our own. Nevertheless in our faith relationship we always need God and cannot manage without Him. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord; we are given a new presence of God within us.

The first reading begins with the first chapter of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, that links the birth of the Church to the moment Jesus is taken up to heaven, reminding us that the Church itself is the new presence of Jesus in our midst. Indeed, the disciples believe that they can manage by themselves relying on their own resources, they are ordered not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. For us who are used to plan our action, one of the most difficult things is to wait for God to act. If we look at our own experiences, we are always making plans for ourselves and for how God should act in our lives. We even sometimes set deadlines for when God should act in our lives. Our plans usually spin around like: “I”, “me”, and “myself” while God still has more wonderful plans which will unfold if we wait on Him.

In the Gospel we have Jesus bidding farewell to His disciples. He makes them understand the recent happenings and how they fit into the Father’s plan. He opened their minds to understand the scriptures and told them to go into the whole world and proclaimed the Good News to every creature. He told us that the Holy Spirit comes to give us the gift of understanding. The Word of God comes alive and makes sense when we can see how it connects to our life, when we see that it all fits in. However in order to understand we have to stay until we are filled, renewed by the Holy Spirit. Stay here in Jerusalem, in the Church, in your prayer until you are clothed with power of the Holy Spirit. We may have wonderful ideas and plenty of experience and feel that we can manage with what we have. But if we are ready to wait, if we are ready to surrender to the Holy Spirit, something still more wonderful will happen in our life. The Gospel concludes with Jesus was taken up into heaven, withdrawn from His disciples sight and took His seat at the right hand of God. His mission was accomplished, now the mission of His disciples was about to begin. You and I are his disciples. Have you ever started the mission of Jesus by proclaiming the Gospel, by praying, serving, helping and loving our brothers and sisters yet? If you are haven’t start, when are you going to start?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

17 May, 2015

"So then the Lord Jesus,
after He spoke to them,
was taken up into heaven
and took His seat at the right hand of God".
Mk 16:19

Sixth Sunday of Easter

T The scripture passages we read on this sixth Sunday of Easter are all into one and unique expression: “LOVE”. Sacred Scripture from the Old and the New Testament present love as one of the commandments of the Lord. However the first Christian Community was kind struggling on how love should be expressed when they were dealing with the newly converted to Christianity. The book of the Acts of the Apostles shows the first Christians have shared the mentality of exclusion found in the Jewish tradition especially when they were dealing those coming from other religious background joining the community. Thanks be to God Peter moved by the Holy Spirit has truly understood the necessity for any pagan newly converted to be integrated in the Christian assembly. In one word we can say: “Jesus’ Gospel is for everyone included all those who are far away. We need to be very careful with any type of hurtful attitudes or reactions that can be a major obstacle to the expansion of the message and the love of Jesus. Salvation is for everyone who accepts and believes in Jesus Christ the Son of God. “God show no partiality. Rather in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him”. What matters to God is his unconditional love for us.

The first letter of Saint John offers a greater emphasis on the importance of commandment of love. In just three verses, Saint John uses the word love 9 times. This repetition or insistence is part of Saint John teaching method and it is important for us to listen to this call again and again especially when we are confronting with so many disputes and divisions that are destroying the life of our communities. “Let us love one another, because love is of God”.

This cry for love is more than ever a necessity for our families, our nations and our communities facing so much hatred, division and discrimination. We must admit and be able to repeat it again and again: God loves us and he loves the world. He had offered for us through his only begotten Son a unique sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. This act of love is not just a simple quality of God but it is of God nature because “God is love”. The Trine and One God of our faith is a very open circle of love who called us into relationship with Him. The only way we can really respond to this act of love is to remain in the love of God the Father. This love is communion and also creates communion among brothers and sisters.

Saint John’s Gospel narrative reminds us the word of Jesus spoken to his disciples just before his passion: “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love”. This is His will for us, his most profound desire for us. Each of us has been called to experience and to share the true love. “This I command you: love one another” said Jesus. Truly, “love” makes us fulfilling the purpose of our creation: “In likeness and resemblance of God”. God is the source of true love. No one can live without this love of God. And no one can live this love without taking into consideration those around us. So brothers and sisters: Remain in the Love of God.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

10 May, 2015

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit
rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his
handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all
ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.".
Luke 1:46-49.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

T The scripture passages we read on this sixth Sunday of Easter are all into one and unique expression: “LOVE”. Sacred Scripture from the Old and the New Testament present love as one of the commandments of the Lord. However the first Christian Community was kind struggling on how love should be expressed when they were dealing with the newly converted to Christianity. The book of the Acts of the Apostles shows the first Christians have shared the mentality of exclusion found in the Jewish tradition especially when they were dealing those coming from other religious background joining the community. Thanks be to God Peter moved by the Holy Spirit has truly understood the necessity for any pagan newly converted to be integrated in the Christian assembly. In one word we can say: “Jesus’ Gospel is for everyone included all those who are far away. We need to be very careful with any type of hurtful attitudes or reactions that can be a major obstacle to the expansion of the message and the love of Jesus. Salvation is for everyone who accepts and believes in Jesus Christ the Son of God. “God show no partiality. Rather in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him”. What matters to God is his unconditional love for us.

The first letter of Saint John offers a greater emphasis on the importance of commandment of love. In just three verses, Saint John uses the word love 9 times. This repetition or insistence is part of Saint John teaching method and it is important for us to listen to this call again and again especially when we are confronting with so many disputes and divisions that are destroying the life of our communities. “Let us love one another, because love is of God”.

This cry for love is more than ever a necessity for our families, our nations and our communities facing so much hatred, division and discrimination. We must admit and be able to repeat it again and again: God loves us and he loves the world. He had offered for us through his only begotten Son a unique sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. This act of love is not just a simple quality of God but it is of God nature because “God is love”. The Trine and One God of our faith is a very open circle of love who called us into relationship with Him. The only way we can really respond to this act of love is to remain in the love of God the Father. This love is communion and also creates communion among brothers and sisters.

Saint John’s Gospel narrative reminds us the word of Jesus spoken to his disciples just before his passion: “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love”. This is His will for us, his most profound desire for us. Each of us has been called to experience and to share the true love. “This I command you: love one another” said Jesus. Truly, “love” makes us fulfilling the purpose of our creation: “In likeness and resemblance of God”. God is the source of true love. No one can live without this love of God. And no one can live this love without taking into consideration those around us. So brothers and sisters: Remain in the Love of God.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

10 May, 2015

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit
rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his
handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all
ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.".
Luke 1:46-49.

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Would you be a homemaker for Christ?

D ear brothers and sisters, do you ever sometimes stop and ask yourselves what would you like the most in life? What is your deepest desire? I sometimes think that at some level, everyone of us is looking for a special place, a place where we can find comfort and security, intimacy and acceptance. At some level, I think we are all looking for a home.

Isn’t that what we spend much of our lives doing? For example, why do we spend so many years in school? And have you noticed that how school seems to be starting at an ever earlier age these days? Why do we slog so hard at work every day? It is not, in some way, to build a better life for ourselves or to make ourselves a better home?

That is why it is important for us to pay attention to what our readings this weekend tell us. As we continue to celebrate this Great Season of Easter, our readings invite us to meditate more deeply on where and how we should make our home.

In no uncertain terms, Jesus Himself answers the “where” question in the gospel. Indeed, Jesus says, “Make your home in me as I make mine in you.” And He follows that by repeatedly telling us no less than eight times in the gospel reading today to “remain” in Him as branches in the true vine, so that we can bear fruit in plenty.

How shall we respond? How might we remain in His love? Again, the readings are helpful. In the second reading, Saint John speaks clearly about the need to “keep his commandments.” And “his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of Jesus Christ and love one another just as he commanded us.” St. John also makes it very clear that our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active.

In the first reading, we see that kind of real and active love, don’t we? Having repented of his former obsession of persecuting the followers of Christ, Saul now tries to join them in Jerusalem. But quite understandable, “they were all afraid of him.” So we are told that Barnabas “took charge of him (Saul), introduced him to the apostles, and explained how the Lord had appeared… and spoken to him.” What exactly did Barnabas do for Saul? Was it not in effect to help make a home for him among the disciples? And isn’t this what real and active love is? Isn’t this what it means to remain in Christ? Isn’t this what it means to be a Christian to help make others at home in Christ?

So my dear brothers and sister, as we continue to enter more deeply into the joy of this Easter Season, how are we being invited, as individuals and as a community, to become better homemakers in the household of the Lord?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

03 May, 2015

“Whoever remains in me and I in him
will bear much fruit”
Jn 15: 1-8

Fourth Sunday of Easter

" I am the Good Shepherd”: This is the predominant expression for this Sunday liturgy. I am always fascinated by Saint John’s language in the Gospel. The simplicity and downward humility of it echoed a perfect coherence of the person of Jesus whom he has tried to present to his congregation and his community. John uses the most humble and smallest creatures to reveal the most profound and intimate of Jesus self. “I am the bread of life (6:35, 48). I am the light of the world (8:12). I am the gate (10:7.9). I am the Good Shepherd (10:11, 14). I am the way; I am the truth (14:6). This is the beauty about Saint John; the message is extremely fluid, accessible and comprehensible to all since he uses people daily life’s realities, no one can feel left behind.

All of these well known human realities have been transformed into powerful signs and revelation of the great mystery of Jesus who is the resurrection and the life. All these I Am converge into one thing that He is the Good Shepherd who gave his life freely for the salvation of humankind.

The Great I Am under these titles offer to the universe a perfect response to the human tragedy: I am the only one who gave my life for your salvation. Everything we say, everything we do must convey us to speak from the heart of a genuine self giving love in Jesus Christ. Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy Of the Gospel said: “To speak from the heart means that our hearts must not just on be fire, but also enlightened by the fullness of revelation and by the path travelled by God’s word in the heart of the church and our faithful people throughout history”. Those words from Pope Francis can be seen and understood today as a prophetic inspiration for each and every one of us in our effort to proclaim the of the resurrection to the rest of the world.

I Am the Good Shepherd; these prophetic words of Jesus open up salvation automatically to the entire universe. No one is excluded. All of us have been called for this purpose; seeking wisdom. All of us must embrace the same call since presumably we know the voice of our Good Shepherd and of course He knows us as well. So what can we say? The resurrection is our time; “this is the time to be sure that our life is not simply a story of what happen to us. Rather it is the time to break through the surfaces under which God was hiding all along”.

This is the time to hear the voice of Jesus our Good Shepherd.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

26 April, 2015

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
They will come in and go out, and find pasture".
Jn 10: 9

Third Sunday of Easter

Real Medication!

D ear brothers and sisters, have you ever suffered a very persistent cold? I recently heard a woman talk about such an experience. She told me that she had already taken several courses of antibiotics, but even after a couple weeks, she still didn’t feel one hundred percent yet.

This reminds me of the two pieces of advice that I have received in the past regarding real medication. The first is an old Vietnamese proverb that goes thuốc đắng dã tật or good medicine is bitter to the taste. This probably explains why many of us continue taking antibiotics even if it’s seldom a pleasant experience. The second piece of advice is from a musical produced in the sixties that was made into a movie, which I watched years ago. Some of you may recall Mary Poppins, and the song entitled A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down. There is much wisdom in that, don’t you think? My sick friend needs rest.

Taken together, these two pieces of advice tell us that real medicine needs to be both bitter and sweet. And this seems also to be the experience of the people in our reading today, third Sunday of Easter. There are at least two groups of people who are feeling unwell. In the Gospel, the disciples are still suffering the traumatic effects of having witnessed the shameful execution of Jesus, in whom they had invested all their dreams and hopes for a better life. And even though the Risen Christ had already appeared to several of them including, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Even though, He had supported them and administered to them His own powerful brand of antibiotics, they are still feeling under the weather. Yet, the condition of the people that Peter addresses in the first reading is probably even more serious. Not only do they have no experience of the Risen Christ at all, but also they don’t even realize the depth of their need for Him. How do these persistent illnesses find their cure?

In both cases, there is a bitter pill that needs to take. There is the need to acknowledge, not only that Jesus died but also that those who are ill are somehow implicated in His death. As St. Peter says to his listeners and to each one of us that “The author of life you put to death.” And even if the disciple did not actually kill their master, in the Gospel reading today, they remain burdened by the shame and guilt of having abandoned Him. Isn’t this why they are so fearful when at first they mistake the Risen Christ for a ghost?

Indeed, thankfully the cure is not all bitter. Actually, unlike many of our modern sugar coated pills, which are sweet only on the outside, but bitter on the inside. The core of the Easter message is one of joy, as it is the experience of the disciples in the Gospel. For the one directing the precious cure to them is not a ghost but someone who they can experience in a very real way, one who is truly alive. As St. Peter also tells us that, “The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead.” The disciples’ fear is changed into joy and amazement, for in the Risen Christ they find that their mistakes have somehow been neutralized. And not just neutralized but even used to bring about a greater good. They have an intimate experience of what the awesome power of God can do even in the face of human weakness and sin. Much more than a spoonful of sugar, the disciples experience the sublime sweetness of the resurrection.

My brothers and sisters, today how might we deepen our experience of this bittersweet cure of Easter, so that we might better share it with others?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

19 April, 2015

This is the day
the Lord has made ;
let us rejoice
and be glad.

Divine Mercy Sunday

What is Divine Mercy?

H ow does it reach us? How does it look? In my life this has come about in two ways. The first is the mercy of God on my nothingness. Coming home from high school one day I was trying to imagine what it would be like if I never existed. It was an exercise of trying to imagine nothing, taking away all memories, all feeling, all consciousness. I was not imagining how life would be for others if I never existed, but what never existing would be like for me. As I walked up to the red door of the house where I lived I was all of a sudden hit by what was for me like the back wall of the universe.

My mind ran into a wall, the wall of nothingness, and in an instant it throw me back to myself and hit me in the face with a great power. I drew in a deep breath, like after having been literally hit in the face with cold water, and I said: “Wow. I do exist.” I was filled with awe at the fact that I am here, and that I very easily could not have been. Existence was not something to be taken for granted, but rather it reaches me as a huge gift. God chose to call me out of nothingness, to have mercy on my nothingness as a totally gratuitous gift, a total grace.

The second way that mercy reaches me is through the knowledge that being here is good. It’s good that I’m here, that we’re here. Life is good. Far from being a superficial or cliché affirmation this has its origins in a great grace. The grace of hope. Because I can only affirm the goodness of life if I can have certain knowledge that this life will not end. I discovered this hope in an encounter with the Presence of the resurrected Christ. Only an historical event that therefore is knowable in experience is enough to change me and let me be myself. What person can look at life and desire it all and love it all and then have to say in the next moment that it’s a lie because it will all go away? Can such a person truly be himself? What mother can look at her children with tenderness knowing that someday she will never see them again? Can such a woman truly be a mother? These are hateful prospects that create relationships of violence because they are founded upon an illusion, a lie. For some people life is a lie because it ends in death. From my perspective without the resurrection of Christ everything goes back to being the way it has been for the past 13 billion years: nothing. There is nothing, then my short life, then nothing again. Instead, for us who have been chosen: there is something, then our short life, God’s forgiveness and then eternal life?

For this reason I truly believe that the Christian fact is not something discovered in another world with otherworldly consequences. It is a Presence that I meet that truly allows me to be myself, that allows me to begin to love myself and experience forgiveness, and which allows me to say: It’s good to be here. That is Divine Mercy.

Rev. Michael Cairnes
Parochial Vicar

12 April, 2015

This is the day
the Lord has made ;
let us rejoice
and be glad.

Easter Sunday

H e is risen, this is the expression of the day. From the great proclamation of Peter in the Acts of the Apostle, the invitation of Saint Paul in the second reading and to the testimony of Mary Magdalene about the empty tomb, Christians around the world have a message for humanity. Jesus Christ the crucified one is risen. I can imagine how that story spread very quickly around Jerusalem at that time. John and Mark Gospels both offered some details about the empty tomb found by Mary Magdalene and the disciples. And their narratives seem very compelled describing this un-precedent event that had occurred three days after Jesus crucifixion and death. Though it is not the primary key indicator of any theological explanation but the empty tomb is a very interesting factor for the witnesses and a first piece of evidence of the resurrection at that time and even today and many generations to come.

Why many and many centuries later this message continues to resonate in the heart of humankind? This is probably because of the impact of those who believe without seeing and become convinced by the message and the testimony of the Apostles. More than two thousands year later the message is still fresh in our memory and very vital in our life; moreover instill a deep desire for a personal and intimate encounter with the Risen Lord. There is always that constant need for a revitalization of this encounter on a daily basis. This is Pope Benedict who wrote: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” The event we are talking about is the paschal mystery which means the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. This encounter brings a unique life changing experience to everyone and a new life in Jesus Christ.

The resurrection of Jesus is the central mystery of our faith, something that really happened in the history although not proven by our scientific methods. What we know and are proven by documents history that Jesus of Nazareth lived in Palestine during a very specific time and was died by crucifixion in Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate. The verbal and existential testimony of the Apostles after the resurrection is the crucial and the key factor for the proclamation of Jesus’ message. The credibility of their message is very obvious and carried out by personal experience especially to the point they gave their lives themselves. Now in day on this Easter Season all of us have been called for a personal encounter with the Risen Lord and bear witness as Pope Francis encourages when he said:

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.” My brothers and sisters, may the joy of this Easter Sunday raise our soul as we sing Alleluia to Jesus our Savior and Redeemer? Happy Easter!

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

05 April, 2015

This is the day
the Lord has made ;
let us rejoice
and be glad.

Palm Sunday

Are you uncovering your heart for God’s mercy yet?

H oly week is approaching. A question that has always pondered in me is: Why was there such a significant change in the mood of the crowd of people in Jerusalem from Palm Sunday to Good Friday? Why the change from “Hosanna to Son of David” to “crucify Him”?

I think one of the answers has to do with expectations. For example, when we are all excited and our hopes and expectations are about to be fulfilled and suddenly they are dashed to the ground. For that reason, we are not only extremely saddened but we many times get angry.

Two thousand years ago, the people of Jerusalem hoped that Jesus was going to be their expected Messiah; God’s anointed One, who would lead them to throw off their hated Roman and give them freedom. When it appeared that Jesus was going to be a different kind of Messiah, the one who appeared to be gentle and forgiving. The one who perceived as weak, their frustrated hopes turned into anger, particularly anger at Him. In fact, that appears to be what upset Judas, the one who was so concerned with money and power, and caused him to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

So my friends, what do we expect God to do for us? And when God does not answer our prayers the way we want, how do we react? What is our own response? I think you have the answer. You and I have seen it in others; perhaps we have seen it in ourselves. We easily get mad at God, turn and walk away from God and also from the Church. The painful truth is that Judas models our own turning away from Christ. So let’s uncovering our hearts and face it. We all have some falseness in our hearts.

My dear friends let me challenge you and I also challenge myself. Instead of asking what we want God to do for us, why don’t you and I turn the question around today and ask ourselves: WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO?

We are about entering to Holy Week and once again God our Father gathers us up into His only Son, Jesus Christ. He knows full well what is in our hearts but He is undeterred by our failures and weaknesses. Next Sunday, we will come out on the other side of Holy Week and will be filled with thanksgiving because our hearts are already uncovered. We will with Christ, enter into His resurrection from the dead sharing His victory over that which covers our hearts and separates us from God, even death itself.

God’s love for us is infinitely strong, steadfast and more powerful than all the demonic force that hell can throw at us. In our society, a history filled with infidelities, betrayals, and violence this is our only hope for peace in our hearts and the triumph of love. Let us now uncover our hearts, minds and souls and join ourselves into Christ and there be swept up onto the heart of God.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

29 March, 2015

Fifth Sunday of Lent

T he Biblical literature from the Old to New Testament is entailed with some descriptive metaphors, a type of figures of speech by which a term is applied to something totally different. Today one of the metaphors I propose to look at is about Jesus as the high priest presented in the letter to the Hebrews. The author identified Jesus as the high priest of the order of Melchizedech. First question we should ask ourselves is: “What does that mean”?

Everyone in Nazareth knows Jesus or at least understands that he was highly knowledgeable of the Jewish tradition. However no one can ever attest he was part of the tribe of Judah neither a Levite. Being said He was not literally a priest. His presence in the temple of Jerusalem has never been as he was performing or serving as priest beside the rhetoric and controversial attitude he has shown when he drove people out of the Temple. So what does mean “high priest of the order of Melchizedech”? This powerful metaphor borrowed from the psalm 110:4 expressed the whole reality of Jesus ministry of sanctifying the whole world through the sacrifice of himself. The Old Testament presents the high priest performed the ritual of the Day of Atonement and the New Testament Jesus is viewed as the mediator between God and the people. Through the sacrifice of Himself he is facilitating reconciliation between human being and God. This ultimate sacrifice brings salvation to humankind. So, his death on the cross is for the expiation of our sins and the whole world.

Both human and divine commonly known as the great mystery of incarnation make Jesus highly qualify to be the mediator since that function entailed necessary an act of obedience and dependence on God. To really understand Jesus as the high priest, the mediator, we ought to understand his humanity. Gethsemane and the Cross are essentially among those moments that show us how he endured or sensed in his humanity. His words in Saint John Gospel: “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name” definitely reflected his agony and his total trust to God the Father. Through his suffering he really experienced the human misery and by suffering he grows in solidarity with human beings and makes salvation accessible to all.

As the second reading tells us, we were dead through our sins. We may have continued to walk around as though we are alive. However, we were, in fact, already dead. We were trapped in our selfishness and our lives revolving only around our own narrow concerns and interests. We are unable to find release. Like the exiled Israelites of the first reading, we needed a savior. Jesus was sent for us. He was lifted up on the wood of the cross just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him.

This great Jewish metaphor reminds us all Christians living in today’s world that Jesus really became one of us. “His humanity is real and the choice he makes on our behalf is freely chosen”. His desire is to connect us with the divinity to experience the unconditional love of God the Father.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

22 March, 2015

Jesus teaches his disciples about the way in which
he will glorified by God, and a voice from
heaven is heard to affirm his teaching
John 12:10-33

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Uncovering Your Heart for God’s Mercy!
Happy Laetare Sunday!

M y friends, are you familiar with the movie entitled The Sixth Sense? It stars Haley Joel Osment as Cole, a boy who is troubled by a secret ability. He sees dead people, not dead bodies in hospitals, but dead people who continue to walk around as though they were still alive. Dead people who don’t know that they are dead. They look terrifying and they torment poor Cole because they insist on talking to him, and want to tell him their stories.

Only later in the movie does Cole gradually come to realize that these dead people actually need his help. All of them are trapped by something in their past with some unfinished business that prevents them from moving on. It’s only when Cole summons up the courage to listen to their stories, that he is somehow able to help them to find release and freedom.

Dead people are walking around like regular people. They don’t know that they are already dead. I know. Sounds like what you see in a horror movie, but not in real life. And yet, isn’t there something similar in our readings today?

As the second reading tells us, we were dead through our sins. We may have continued to walk around as though we are alive. However, we were, in fact, already dead. We were trapped in our selfishness and our lives revolving only around our own narrow concerns and interests. We are unable to find release. Like the exiled Israelites of the first reading, we needed a savior. Jesus was sent for us. He was lifted up on the wood of the cross just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him.

That is why we need to observe this great season of Lent to prepare ourselves, to uncover our heart for God’s mercy and to renew our baptismal promises. The promises by which we die for our sins and are raised to life in Christ. To prepare ourselves to be sprinkled, once again with the healing waters flowing from the pierced side of the Crucified Christ. We spend this time reminding ourselves of how easy it is to be dead and not even know about it.

All of which should give greater motivation to our Lenten discipline. For us Christians, we undergo the rigors of Lent not just for ourselves. We prepare to renew our baptismal promises not just so that we can enjoy eternal life ourselves. We do so, also, because we know that the light of Christ is given not just to us, but also through us to others. Like the boy Cole in The Sixth Sense, we too are somehow gifted with the ability to see dead people, but only so that we can help them to find release. To help them to encounter the Crucified and Risen Christ in who is to be found the fullness of life.

Dear brothers and sisters, on this fourth Sunday of Lent called Laetare – Rejoice Sunday, do you see any dead people around you, people who need your help today and this week?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

15 March, 2015

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him
might not perish but might have eternal life".
John 3, 16

Third Sunday of Lent

I t is always fascinating to read the Ten Commandments and any other precepts of the law in the Old Testament. The focus is always about human being in his relationship with God. Many scholars and the teaching of the Catholic Church in the Catechisms agreed that those laws given to the people in the context of the covenant express this genuine implication of belonging to God. For instance, it will be completely out of context if we look at the laws as the essence of moral obligations rather than a beginning of a life experience to the call to love God and our brothers and sisters. Throughout this third week of Lenten journey we have been called to pay attention to the book of exodus while we are uncovering our heart for God’s mercy.

Also this second week of Lent invites us to read with attention the most dramatic expression and attitude of the Messiah in temple of Jerusalem in reference to the famous cleansing of the Temple. This is a narrative very common to all four Gospels. However, we must admit that John’s narrative is the most dramatic one which captivates more attention and sometimes controversial. From a theological perspective many would agree that Jesus wants people to focus on the real meaning of the cult and the presence which the first Christian community will attribute to the body of Christ. Jesus is truly present in the life of the community where people have been called to adore Him in Spirit and in truth. This is Saint Paul who really helps us to understand the whole meaning of this text when he invites us to focus on the scandal of the crucified Lord when he said: “Jews demand signs, Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified”.

The scandal of the Cross becomes the center part of our faith and our life journey. God wants us to have a different image of his love for us. To the extent of our fearful experience, self-absorbed heart wrestling with our countless needs and wants there is a something we should look upon which is God desire to bring your cleansing to completion. Let’s take a moment to reflect throughout this week and uncover your heart and see to what extend you would like your life to be cleansed and reshaped by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

08 March, 2015

“Destroy this temple
and in three days I will raise it up.”
John 2, 19

Second Sunday of Lent

Uncovering Your Heart for God’s Mercy:

T his second week of Lent bring us to the test of our faith and to a genuine experience of God tenderness and compassion. This exclusive experience comes through listening and hearing. Abraham in the first reading from the book of Genesis shows us some type of inconceivable act of trust and total confidence in God, an unconditional proof of faith, obedience and faithfulness. His action was an act of total obedience and his willingness to be always attentive to the voice of God. Because of that, God offered him the promise land and poured out his blessings upon him and all generations to come. What does that mean for us today? It’s all about transformation. As we are more attentive to the voice of God, we are more inclined to be transformed by his endless blessing.

At some points in our life experience, we have heard the voice of God one way or another, directly or indirectly. Very often trials, sufferings, tragedies cover our face and prevent us to create the connection with God. So what can we do? What can we say? The response resides in that unconventional act of trust and unpeeling, uncovering your heart to see God’s mercy because: “If God is for us, who is against us?

Como nos proponemos este tiempo de Cuaresma para reflexionar sobre el tema: " Descubrimiento su corazón por la misericordia de Dios" nos sentimos muy obligados por nuestra fe para ir más allá de nuestra pequeña expectativa ya que estamos buscando una gran transformación o transfiguración que sólo es posible y cuando mantengamos viva nuestra fe. Lamentablemente estamos viviendo en una sociedad donde el materialismo y el consumismo se convierte en el núcleo de personas modus vivendi. La prueba, la demostración, el tacto son las normas de conocimiento. Cualquier cosa abstracta mantuvo estrictamente al nivel de la imaginación. Sin embargo, puedo decir: la verdad de mi existencia no es sólo porque soy; sino también porque soy un ser en relación con mis alrededores, el cosmos y la trascendencia. Jesús en la transfiguración lo ha puesto muy claro para los discípulos que Él es un ser en relación con el Padre y todos los grandes personajes del Antiguo Testamento. Por esta razón el principio de nuestra fe es escuchar a Él, Él es la Palabra que Dios habla a la humanidad. La fe nos lleva a la gracia y la misericordia de Dios. Durante esta segunda semana de Cuaresma vamos a tomar un poco de tranquilidad y pelando, descubriendo nuestro corazón para experimentar de una manera muy íntima la misericordia de Dios por nosotros

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

01 March, 2015

“This is my Son, whom I love;
with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”.
Matthew 17:4

First Sunday of Lent

Uncovering the Face of Your Heart!

H ave you ever noticed how a single place can often present to us very different faces? Places can look and feel very different under different circumstances. When I was a seminarian, for example, I twice visited Chicago. The first time was when I went to a wedding of one of my friends right after Christmas. The place seemed always dark and gloomy and grey. Temperatures consistently remained far below freezing. Many times, as we toured the city, we were hit by blasts of icy wind blowing across Lake Michigan. I wasn’t sure which would happen first, whether I would be frozen solid or simply blown away and never to be seen or heard from again. After my first visit, I said to myself, never again.

However, as it happened, a couple of years later, I did go back. However, this time it was in the summer. I could hardly recognize the place. The gray and gloomy had given way to gorgeous greenery and brilliant sunshine. It was as though Chicago had two completely different faces.

We see something similar in the readings on this 1st Sunday of Lent. We are presented with two closely connected places; the waters of the flood in the first reading, and the wilderness of temptation in the gospel. We see their close connection when we recall that Jesus entered the wilderness immediately after His baptism in the waters of the Jordan. And, in the second reading, we are told that the waters of the flood point to the waters of baptism. In any case, whatever their connection, it is undeniable that both the waters and the wilderness are places of tribulation. Here people suffer.

Unlike the natural way of the seasons, the way from death to life, from darkness to light, must pass through the discipline of obedience. It was so for Noah and for Jesus. So it must be for you and I as well. Which is why this season of Lent is so important. Here in this sacred time, we recreate for ourselves, in some small measure, the conditions of testing. By undertaking the rigors of prayer and fasting and almsgiving, we are allowing God to train us in the discipline of obedience. We submit to a kind of testing that will hopefully enable us whenever we encounter places of tribulation where people suffer not to retreat, but rather to remain. Noah remained on the waters of the flood as well as Jesus remained in the wilderness of temptation. Therefore, we need to commit ourselves to the vows of our baptism. The same vows that we are preparing to renew at Easter. And this too is what our world continues to require of us. In the many places in which we encounter human suffering, to persevere in bringing life out of death, light out of darkness, and joy out of sorrow.

So my friends, in your own life, how is God inviting you to uncover the face of your heart. This is also the theme for our Lenten Season: “Uncovering Your Heart for God’s Mercy.”

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

22 February, 2015

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

T he Old Testament outlines in Ancient Judaism two forms of comprehensive impurity: Ritual impurity and Moral impurity for example: acts like adultery and murder, impure and sinful acts were under the category of moral impurity and some natural processes like childbirth, sexual act, menstruation any sort of skin diseases though does not reflect sinfulness but fall under the category of ritual impurity. The book of Leviticus offers a variety of teaching on those specific aspects of cleansing and purity as it expresses anyone with some type of impurity should cut off from the community and religious life including those with leprosy. By contrast to this view of Leviticus Jesus offers a very interesting approach about cleansing and the need for people to feel not rejected rather appreciated and loved.

The touching of the leper in Mark Gospel with the word “Be made clean” pronounced by Jesus shows the radical choice of the Savior to be compassionate to the human suffering. With an intense affection and love he makes the option to fully engage in the reality of the human condition. By touching the leper Jesus subsequently violated the law of the ritual impurity since the touching of a leper was considered as contagious, however the fact of the matter the man was cleaned from his illness and fully reintegrated in the community. That touching shows us not only that Jesus has the power to heal, but also he has the willingness to care. That contact or touching skin to skin even though prohibited in the Judaism is a powerful example of how far Jesus wants to go to restore the human dignity deprived by the glamour of sins and to give them the sense of wholeness.

As of today humanity, is facing the same tragedy, diseases, war, famine, mass of refugees… you name it. People are confused and lost. Christianity is striving to offer an alternative but nothing would be able to replace what Jesus called us to do and to be: caring and loving people always moving with compassion and mercy. Mark Gospel mentioned that Jesus had pity for the man with leprosy which indicates his deepest sincerity and feeling and affection for the man even though living in such terrible condition. Out of that deep and sincere compassion, love and affection he touched him and cured him. We might not be able to cure or to heal the sickness or the suffering of people around us but we can care and love them. However, my wish for each and every one of you today is that may we continue to be a caring and loving community sharing the values of the Gospel.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

15 February, 2015

"Jesus stretched out his hand,
touched him and said: be cured".
Mk 1:42

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Don’t say; I can’t handle it anymore!

There is a story about a couple who has been married for more than fifteen years. One evening, when the husband returned from work, he found his wife packing. He asked: “What in the world are you doing?” She replied, “I can’t handle it any more. I’m tired of all the bickering and arguing that has been going between us all these years, I’m leaving.” Whereupon, the husband rushed to the bedroom, pulled a suitcase out of the closet, filled it with his belongings and ran after his wife saying, “I also can’t handle it anymore and I am going with you.”

Today’s first reading tells us the story of a man named Job who is at a point his life where he can’t handle it anymore. His words describe the miseries of human existence. Eventually, he arrived at a place in his life where he expresses himself as a man without hope. Have ever you felt like that? On the other hand, the second reading presents us St. Paul as a true and dynamic follower of Jesus; ready to do extra for the Lord. St. Paul’s convictions about the Good News and his commitment to Christ were so intense that preaching the Gospel had become a desire for him. Knowing that he had been called to do more than just preach the Good News. Yet, he resolved to preach it without payment. Pointing out the free response of Peter’s mother in law after she had been healed by Jesus namely waiting on them at table.

Indeed, today’s Gospel teaches us that true discipleship means getting involved in giving unselfish service to others. Jesus finished the first day of his publish ministry at Capernaum on a Sabbath day. During the day, he had taken part in the synagogue worship, taught with authority, exorcised a demon and healed Peter’s mother in law. After all that, in the evening, he “cured many who were sick with various diseases, and drove out many demons” (Mark 1:34). Jesus Himself spent and most of his time ministering to the needs of others, giving healing, forgiveness and new beginning to a lot of people. He was well aware that even the most important work has to be continually refueled and evaluated before God His Father. Hence, Jesus rose early the next morning and went off to a deserted place to pray in order to assess his work for his Father’s glory.

Jesus was a man for others, sharing what He had with others. In His life there was time for prayer, time for healing and time for reconciliation. Let us take this challenge by sharing love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness with our loved ones and others. Instead of considering life as gloomy and boring let us live our lives as Jesus did, fill of dynamism and zeal for the glory of God.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

8 February, 2015

"He cured many who were sick and drove
out many demons".
Mk 1:34

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

It becomes a great tradition each year at this time to talk about the Diocesan Services Appeal. Last week end we have seen the video message from the most Reverend Bishop Gerald Barbarito. Our bishop inviting us to carry out the mission of the Church through financial support benefitting the great work the diocese has done and continues to do throughout the five counties of our diocesan territory and elsewhere. The theme for 2015 DSA “A Family of Faith in Service to Others” reflected our mission as baptized people calling to build communities, because of that we are compelled by the love of Christ to care for the entire family through work of charity and pastoral ministries. As one family together for instance we strive faithfully to ensure through our generosity and love to transform lives. Our pledges and donations are really transform lives in many ways for instance to educate, to support, to share, to strengthen and to give.

Once again, today, I want to thank you for being very generous to our parish and to the DSA. I am very grateful for your countless efforts that really contribute to help us to reach last year goal. With great enthusiasm I am asking you again to consider participating and making your pledge to the 2015 DSA. Every single pledge or donation is very appreciated by the entire family of our diocese and God will bless tremendously for your generous contribution. As you take a time to respond prayerfully to this year’s DSA theme, please consider this to be an act of faith and love on your part, and take joy in being a faithful partnership to the great mission and pastoral work of our diocese.

Our goal for this year is $130,500.00. I strongly believe with God’s grace on our side and your generous support as usual we can work together and make it. I pray that God will bless our generous heart as we work together for this common goal. A Family of Faith in Service to Others resonates very clearly like Jesus’ mission while he was ministering to the people. Today this mission has been entrusted to our care. May the Holy Spirit strengthen our faith as we carry out faithfully the work of Jesus.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

1 February, 2015

"He taught them as one having authority".
Mk 1, 22

Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Would you like to go out fishing for God?

How many of you have ever been deep sea fishing? I have gone to deep sea fishing quite a few times. Indeed, I was shocked to learn that more than 2 million participated in the sport last year, resulting in retail sales of almost $2.4 billion dollars, sales tax of $143.7 million and a total economic impact of almost $4.5 billion dollars. Deep sea fishing provides jobs for nearly 55,000 people.

You may be wondering and asking what deep sea fishing has to do with today readings and with the church. You are going to see over the next four weeks that deep sea fishing is a picture of the deep soul fishing. As Saint Mark tells us in today’s reading: “Jesus passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, ‘come with me, and I will make you fishers of men.”’ That announcement tells us what our primary business is, both as a church and as followers of Jesus individually. You and I are followers of Jesus. So, I would like to invite you and also myself to go further and understand that every day Jesus would like fishers of men to launch out into the sea of humanity to catch human souls for God.

Actually, the church's primary business is the fishing business, and no matter how well we do it, if we ever get out of the fishing business, we are out of business. Indeed, your neighborhood is a lake full of fish. Your office is a lake full of fish, and also your school is a lake full of fish. When Jesus said: "I will make you fishers of men,” he not only told Simon and his brother Andrew but he also continues to tell it to you and I. He was saying, I will take you, with your personality, your background, and I will use you to catch men and women and boys and girls and bring them into my family.
You and I also can be Jonah to the people of our communities, and our nation. So, are you ready to go out deep soul fishing for God?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran,
Parochial Vicar

25 January, 2015

Come after me; I will make you
Fishers of Men.
Mark 1, 17

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

E very single human being needs someone in their life, a friend, a family member, a co-worker or classmate whom we can trust. Finding a sincere and very good friend in today’s world is not easy but we need to start somehow. To really build a relationship or friendship there must be some attentiveness, some dedication and even someone who can work us through. The experience of the young boy Samuel we heard from the first reading is a great example of how sometimes we get to start new relationship because someone else helped us. When Samuel heard the voice calling he was not able to realize where the voice was coming from so he needed the experience and the guidance of the great prophet Eli to help him to perceive him that God was calling him.

Attentive listening is very crucial to start any type of relationship. It is even more important to have someone to introduce us when it is about God and to have openness for this relationship. We found the same reality in today’s Gospel about John’s disciples when they introduced Jesus to them saying: “This is the Lamb of God”. With a great thirst for a new friend they followed Jesus and as usual Jesus has taken the initiative to ask them: “What are looking for”. Their response spoke very highly about their needs for a new friend for they asked Jesus where are staying. Actually “What are you looking for?” Is actually one of the deepest question one person can ask another. To paraphrase, “What—really, down deep—are you seeking as you live your life? Power? Pleasure? Wealth? Relief from loneliness? Relief from pain, hunger? Knowledge? Truth? Love?” This question pushed the seeker to go deeper, really deep inside from their inner self. The disciples’ response “were you staying” was not that simple either. It expresses the need for some personal and intimate information deeper than what a novice can imagine. It is not just asking for a street address rather than your identity like “Where are you from? What is the source of your life and your ultimate purpose?

Now, Jesus famous’ answer: “Come and see” culminate the whole conversation since it is a great invitation and commitment to come and follow Him while experiencing, understanding and believing. Basically, as we can see: time is extremely important in friendship. “The more time we spend in conversation with God, the more deeply we know God”. Today let us together take this opportunity of the invitation to spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist in order to be able to really see him in everything in our life.

Rev. Ducasse François,
Pastor

18 January, 2015

“Behold, the Lamb of God”.
John 1:35

Baptism of the Lord

Does the baptism of Jesus remind our true identity?

Last week we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord and the star of Bethlehem invited us along with the Magi to see what God is doing in our lives and our world. Today, we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and the vision of God begins to unveil to us. Have you ever wondered the fact that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist? I myself have. And we might ask why did John the Baptist baptized Jesus? In other words, why did Jesus, the sinless Son of God, received the baptism of repentance meant for sinners?
To answer our questions we need to look at the whole picture in the great mystery of our salvation, one is the Incarnation of Christ, the birth of Jesus, and the other is His suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection.

About three weeks ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus; God’s son becomes one with us. In His baptism by John the Baptist, God’s son becomes one with us in our sinful state and in our state of separation from God the Father. Christ becomes immersed in our stained human nature. The word baptism means immersion. Jesus is being totally immersed in our human separated condition. This allows Him to meet us and allows us, in turn, to meet Him where we are at. Now we go to the Holy Week and Christ’s redemptive suffering and death. As He told His disciples: “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished. Luke 12:50.” He was totally immersed into our sinful humanity, and immersed in our death.

When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, His side was pierced by the lance of a soldier and water came out. At that moment “the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. Matthew 27:51.” Both of these events are contained in the baptism of Jesus by John in the River Jordan. The water flowing from the side of Jesus made holy the water of our own baptism. Heaven is opened to earth because of Christ’s suffering and death. There is no more veil in the sanctuary. God has become man and now man can find his way to God through baptism.

Now, we must remind ourselves that what we are reflecting here comes from above just as the light from the star of Bethlehem descended from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus when He was baptized. All of this is not about how good we are. No, it came from God and comes to us in our own baptism. We cannot make ourselves holy, only God can make us holy. It doesn’t matter how wonderful and powerful we think we are? We are helpless in our human condition because of our sin.

It says in today’s Gospel that when Jesus was baptized a voice came from heaven saying. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. Mark 1:17.” Like in our baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon you and me, and we become one of God’s own beloved. Therefore, we are called to be pleasing to God.

Now we all know: baptism is not simply a pretty ceremony, something we just do because it’s a family tradition. We don’t bring our newborn child to church and have him/her baptized simply to please our parents and grandparents. No, baptism is an initiation into a way of living in which we try to live with God and with others in the way Jesus Christ lived, and continues to live with others in our daily lives.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran,
Parochial Vicar

11 January, 2015

“You are My beloved Son;
With you I am well pleased.
Mark 1:11

Epiphany Of The Lord

Out of the simplicity and poverty marked at the birth of Jesus, stand also some extravagant figures of the magi called the three wise men very pompous by the gracious gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. Mathew’s Gospel chapter two presented these extraordinary pictures by pointing out also the magi’s postures and their homage to the new born king and their outpouring generosity in response to God’s revelation. This is a great story at the beginning of this New Year to reflect upon as we take our own journey for our personal encounter with the Lord.

Couple of things I would like to mention: first of all is about the magi’s journey itself. The starting point makes a huge deal for them. They have seen a star and they followed it without knowing what to expect like dirty road, weather condition, rough accommodation, poor travel assistance, facing danger, discouragement and you name it. The journey to Bethlehem crossing the ancient Persia and Babylonia was not a simple curiosity rather a journey to search for the new child who has been born king of the Jews. Mathew’s Gospel seems driving us throughout this journey to a deeper spiritual reality which is the encounter between the ancient and pagan world and the revelation of the divine manifestation of Jesus himself.

Second, that journey of hundreds of miles on camel was worth and a life transforming not only for the magi but also for the rest of the world. It has made a real difference in their lives. Their postures and act of reverence spoke eloquently of the transforming effect of this manifestation of the divine in their lives. As soon as they reached the place it was very uplifting for them because there was no more stress, no more pain, no more tiredness, it was just contemplation and adoration. This genuine life transforming experience makes them no longer at ease but lead them to hit the road for a mission totally different than the previous one.

One last thing I should mention is about what can make us hit the road back to our routine: discipline and commitment. Because of their discipline and commitment, the magi show us what it will take to contemplate God’s divine gift manifested in the birth of Jesus as they took their journey. May like the magi, we too, during this year 2015, get to the same understanding of the meaning of the journey which is a journey of hope not just for ourselves but for the entire human family.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

4 January, 2015

Lord, every nation
on earth will adore you
Responsorial Psalm

The Fest of the Holy Family

J esus looked upon the women and the men he met with love and tenderness, accompanying their steps with patience and mercy, in proclaiming the demands of the Kingdom of God. These words from Pope Francis came to my mind as I was approaching the time to write this reflection for the feast of the Holy Family. Love and tenderness could be the most prevalent vision for this Holy Family weekend celebration since it is within that context God make himself known to humankind using that dynamic movement of human development. The mystery of the incarnation and the words of eternal life which we found in the biblical tradition brought to our attention the ultimate sense of God’s desire for us. We are family and this is the nucleus or the branch of which God make himself known in history

Celebrating the feast of the Holy Family gives us new purpose and new perspective as well as new responsibility. This is the wise man from the book of Sirach who is encouraging his fellow young man and women to a mutual respect and dedication for the continued growth and endless blessings for human family. The words he uses like honor, revere, obey, kindness are acquainted to relationship within a family context.

Saint Paul in the second reading reminds us that we are the chosen ones of God. The human families are the chosen one, so therefore we must live and act like the chosen one. When Paul had spoken to the Colossian he gave them this advice: “Be Heartfelt Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Bearing with one another and over all of this is Love. All of these are about relationship and can be really experienced within the context of family which where we learn how to be human living the genuine call to follow Jesus.

Probably all of us can feel very easily the struggle people have or we have to make these virtues the standard of our life. However Saint Paul challenges us in a way to be able to come at some point in our existence to realize that we are the chosen one as we keep seeking to accomplish these virtues in our families. May the Holy Spirit continue to be a model for all the families of our society as they strive to lead their children to grow strong and filled with wisdom under God’s protection. Jesús

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

28 December, 2014

Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Allelula: Roman Missal

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today our first reading taken from the second book of Samuel has been seen as one of the most significant theological contribution of the Old Testament. It is all about the fulfillment of a promise of a Messianic hope. The text begin by showing David wanting to build a temple for God and Nathan encouraged him to move forward with the plan and later strange coincidence Nathan will receive the word from God that directed to David about God’s promise an eternal dynasty that becomes technically the basis for the development of royal messianic throughout the Bible.

When Nathan spoke God’s word to David, the prophecy was very clear and explicit: “I will rise up your offspring after, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom forever. In one word David wants to build a house for God and God is not building him a house but he gave him a kingdom as well. “Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me, your throne shall be established forever.” This is basically the messianic promise we found through the biblical tradition of the Old Testament. The responsorial psalm for today’s liturgy also takes the same logic of kingdom and kingship and expressed implicitly the fundamental hope of God’s kingdom that would be definitely established to end all kingdoms, a kingdom that can drew all nations and all peoples who long to see his face.

As we are getting closer to the expectation of the Advent journey, I feel strongly that we need to revisit the reality of that logic of kingship and kingdom echoed in the Old Testament to compare to what we are anticipating to celebrate. We basically anticipate celebrating the fulfillment of Hope; a hoping in something greater amid of our fear, our insufficiency, our sinfulness and incoherency. Since we began this journey almost four weeks ago our focus was substantially on that fundamental hope grounded in the promise of our living God to bring his kingdom here on earth. That fundamental hope leads us to the understanding of this truth: nothing is impossible for God as we can read in the multiple signs of today’s Gospel. As we continue to reflect on our deepest need on this fourth week of Advent may we’ll be granted like Mary the grace to be thankful for the miracle of coming of the Messiah and may we be prepared to receive Him with total trust and love

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

21 December, 2014

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word”
Luke 1, 38

Third Sunday of Advent

Are You Getting Ready to Rejoice?

There is a story told about a man from New Orleans, Louisiana, who had to travel to St. Louis on business. This was years ago when Christians kept Sunday as a very special day. For this man, “keeping the Sabbath day holy,” also meant not riding the trains on Sunday. Therefore, after he finished up his business late Saturday night, he had to stay over in St. Louis until the following Monday. On Sunday morning, he left the hotel looking for a place to worship. The streets were quite empty, but finally he saw a policeman and asked him for directions to the nearest church. The stranger thanked the policeman for the information and was about to walk off then he turned and asked the policeman: “Excuse me sir, why have you recommended me to that particular church?” The policeman smiled and replied: “I am not a church man myself. However, I believed it is the Catholic Church because the people who come out of that church are the happiest looking church people in the city and they claim that they have received Jesus and joyfully taking Him to their homes. I thought that would be the kind of church you would like to attend!”

Advent is the season four weeks before Christmas in which we prepare for the coming of Christ. The theme for our first week was: Let Every Heart Prepare and on the second week was: Listen to the Voice. And the theme for this week is: Get Ready. Today, the Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, “Rejoice Sunday”; the Scripture for today reminds us that every Sunday must be a Rejoice Sunday. Today also we light the rose candle, the priest and deacon may wear rose vestments, to express our joy in the coming of Jesus, our Savior. The common idea running through today’s readings is that of encouraging joy as we meet our need for the preparation required of us who wait the rebirth of Jesus in our hearts, lives and homes. Such as the prophet Isaiah, Mary and John the Baptist all bear joyful witness to what God has done and will do for his people. How about us, are we ready to bear joyful witness to one another?

Indeed, the readings for the third Sunday of Advent remind us that the past, present, and future coming of Jesus is the reason for our rejoicing. The first reading, the prophet Isaiah tells us that we should rejoice because the promised messiah is coming as our savior and liberator, saving us by liberating us from our bondages. And in the second reading, St. Paul urges us to rejoice always by leading blameless, holy and thankful lives guided by the Holy Spirit, because Christ is faithful to His promise that He will come again to reward us.

Lastly, the gospel tells us that John the Baptist came as a witness to testify to the light, Jesus. The coming of Jesus the light into the world is cause for rejoicing as He removes darkness from our daily lives and the world. We should get ready and also be glad and rejoice because like John the Baptist, we too, are chosen to bear witness to Jesus, the light of the world. We are to reflect His light in our lives so that we may radiate it and illuminate the dark lives of others around us. Are you ready from now on when we come out of the church to be the happiest looking church people in West Palm Beach and to claim that we have received Jesus and joyfully taking Him to our homes?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

14 December, 2014

He said:
"I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,
'Make straight the way of the Lord'
as Isaiah the prophet said."
John 1:23.

Second Sunday of Advent

Listening to the voice!

My dear friends, do you like coffee? I don’t really like it much but I know many people do. Isn’t it a great feeling, when you find yourself stumbling sleepily, early in the morning, to have your senses pleasantly awake by the fragrance of freshly coffee? Have you ever felt that way?

My friends, as much as many of us might enjoy our precious cup of coffee, but how many of us actually like to be the one to prepare it? Each one of us has the answer. As kindly as it is to be greeted by freshly cup of coffee, it’s often difficult to find the motivation to make it. Especially, if it’s the first pot of the day that usually involves having to be the first one out of bed. Of course, you can’t make coffee without first cleaning out the coffee machine. Not only do you have to empty the coffee pot and wash it, but you also have to throw out the used filter along with the damp and tired coffee grains contained in it. It is not a very pleasant thing to do.

Whether we like it or not, it is truth that you can’t enjoy the consolation a cup of coffee unless there’s someone willing to prepare it. Imagine how silly it would be if someone were to try to make coffee using an un-cleaned machine with some of the old coffee still in the pot?

So the same principle applies in the spiritual life as well. Isn’t this our today’s readings are reminding us? Isn’t this what the voice crying out in the desert is saying to us? Notice how all three readings today offer us the assurance that a great consolation is coming. In the first reading the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find this in the moving image of the shepherd, feeding his hungry flock, and tenderly gathering the weak and defenseless lambs into the warmth and security of his powerful but with gentle arms.

In the gospel, John the Baptist takes the place of the voice crying in the desert. And the One who is mightier than John fills the shoes of the shepherd. Just as in the first reading the shepherd comforts his sheep, so here in the gospel, we’re told that this mighty One who is coming will baptize with the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that we received at our baptism. This is the Spirit who comforts the afflicted and nourishes the starving, who strengthens those who are weak

So also in the second reading, we hear the wonderful news that the coming day of God will bring with it new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. A place where we find there will be no more suffering and no more pain, where the hungry will be fed, the lonely cared for, and every tear will be wiped away.

Indeed, this is the breathtaking consolation that our readings speak to us about on this second Sunday of Advent. Like the smell of freshly cup of coffee, this is a voice and a message that brings us comfort in our troubles, consolation in our distress. This is the Good News that we are preparing ourselves to receive more deeply during this season of Advent.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

7 December, 2014

A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his pats".
Mark 1:3

First Sunday of Advent

Right after we celebrate this wonderful tradition of Thanksgiving here in the USA, we initiate this great and spiritual season of Advent. I don’t want to make a false interpretation but while we are preparing to welcome our Lord and Savior, it is not overdoing to give thanks to God like Saint Paul did in the second reading from where we heard a thankful voice proclaiming: “I give thanks to my God …for the grace He has bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in Him you were enriched in every way,…so that you were not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Waiting, waiting this is the main purpose of this season.

Through our prayer of thanksgiving and praise on this first Sunday of Advent we begin a new liturgical and a unique journey that lead us over the landscape of our heart just to prepare ourselves to experience God’s wonder. During this unique journey, as the people of God calling into intimacy with Him, we have a chance to reshape our lives and embrace a new horizon of hope. During this unique journey we will be guided by the light of Christ, the Eternal “I am” through whom we come into existence. This journey will definitely take us to the center of the great “mysterium” of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ who truly understand our lost, yearning, desperation and confusion.

During this journey we have been called to rediscover the beauty of the creation, the beauty of our church’s community, our family, and people around us and moreover the beauty of our own vocation here on earth. All of us would have to embrace that journey with great enthusiasm and expectation as we are reevaluating our sense of longing and keep watching carefully and be alert. During this journey these words from the responsorial psalm: “Lord, make us turn to you; Lord, let us see your face and we shall be saved” must resonate very well to our ultimate desire since it is purposely what we are longing for. One thing we must be aware of is: this journey never comes to an end since there is that constant needs to know and to start again and reshape our lives to meet the Lord who always asking us to honestly present ourselves to Him in gratitude for the gift of his only Son for our salvation. This journey would never end since there is always that waiting, expectation, longing, anticipation, joy, preparation as well as excitement, frustration, impatience, desire, emptiness and loneliness, hunger that constantly need to be reevaluated and bring to closure. As we journey together let us pray so that we are not lacking in any spiritual gift as we wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ during this Advent Season.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

30 November, 2014

Be Watchful! Be Alert!
You don't know when
the time will come.
Mark 13:33

Christ the King

With the celebration of Christ the King our universal church put an end to another liturgical year “Cycle A”. This solemnity of the feast of Christ the King brings us to some closure of a momentum in our spiritual experience. Christ Jesus is being proclaimed the King of the universe. He is the Shepherd; I shall not want who in the midst of chaos, uncertainty, tragedies and confusion always come to refresh our soul. This powerful image of God as Shepherd is really well expressed in the first reading by the prophet Ezekiel who described God as very compassionate and with tenderness care for his flock. God unconditional love for his people is very obvious through all these initiatives and words spoken by the prophet. People can find delight and great momentum in those words as we listen to them again and again speaking in the silence of our heart.

In the Gospel reading Jesus invites us today to look at the reality of God’s love one step further. This is a very interesting piece of reading. As we can see Matthew transfer to the Son of man some judicial prerogatives reserved only to God in the Tradition of the Old Testament. This piece exclusive to Mathew spoke about the final judgment of the humanity. Everyone has been assigned to that tribunal but the judgment consists to separate the good from the evil, goats from lambs and left and right. The basic idea of the judgment is about the practice of the virtue of charity: What you have done to one of the least of my brother you have done and what you have not done to the least of my brother you have not done to me. Jesus as usual had shown his exclusive solidarity to the poor and the defenseless. The ultimate truth is while serving the poor we are serving Jesus as well.

My question to you today is: how the message of the final judgment resonates to you today? As you can imagine the fundamental message of the Gospel is about the kingdom. Many of us asked or have been asked about when and how the kingdom is going to establish? Where and when is the second coming of Christ and the final judgment? The response is very clear and simple: it is realizing whenever we are fulfilling or not fulfilling our obligation to love and care for those who are in need. As we celebrate Thanksgiving weekend let us be grateful to God and be merciful to our brothers and sisters.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

23 November, 2014

He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh,
"King of Kings, and Lord of Lords"
Revelation 19:16

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

One of the best words to describe our responsibility in the church using God’s gift given to us is Stewardship. The best definition of this word stewardship is: “Is receiving the gifts God has given us, tending them responsibly, and sharing them with other so we can give them back in increased measure to the Lord”. It is very coherent that the biblical tradition has been extremely stewardship oriented. Precisely in the book of Exodus (34:19) a tenth of the harvest has been required to be dedicated to God. This portion should be given in thanksgiving to the Lord as the master and giver of the harvest. In the New Testament the term stewardship is more explicit. This is Peter in first letter saying: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied gifts”. (1 Peter 4:10) The biblical tradition has been very helpful in leading us to the understanding on the sacrificial and the sacredness aspect of giving and sharing. One thing we can agree is that: stewardship is not a method of being rather a way of living our faith since “we are children of the light and children of the day”.

It happens; since the twentieth century, many parishes around the United State have introduced this concept in their strategy to respond to their pastoral concern as well as to energize and renew the parishes’ life community. The spirit of being a good steward is expressively mentioned in the New Testament. A good steward is basically someone who is using very wisely the talents received from God as a good servant leader for the benefit and the growth of the community.

Today’s Gospel offers to us a perfect idea of the quality and the seriousness of the gift entrusted to us. God trust us with his gifts. We must work diligently to produce more fruits. Last weekend we have initiated a series of talk about stewardship and the necessity to consider this path as a goal to respond to God’s call to build his kingdom here at Saint Juliana. Over the weekend many of us have heard one way or another about the opportunities we have to participate more actively in the life of our parish by considering to reevaluate in prayer and trust the way to use our time, talent and treasure with God for the spiritual growth of our parish. By doing so, we, as stewards of the gifts of God, are being positioned ourselves to set up a blaze of love that can precisely enkindle the heart of many in and out of our church community.

Also, today’s Gospel taught us to be vigilant and productive while waiting for the coming of the Lord. The core of the reading leads us to understand that the employer is Jesus Christ and the employees are all of us baptized people to whom God entrusted his talents. Therefore we must be vigilant, “let’s stay alert and sober”. “We are not asked to be flawless to repeat Pope Francis, but to keep growing and wanting to grow as we advance along the path of the Gospel; our arms must never grow slack. What is essential to paraphrase Pope Francis “is that the “steward” be certain that God loves him, that Jesus Christ has saved him and that his love has always the last word”. This week I am kindly asking you to give thanks to God our Father for the many gifts you have received from Him and make a sacrificial commitment to find one way to practice stewardship by sharing your Time, Talent and Treasure.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor

16 November, 2014

Well done my good and faithful servant.
Matthew 25:31

Feast of dedication on Saint John Lateran Basilica

Do you know that you and I are God’s temple?

Today we celebrate the Dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, the oldest and one of the most important Christian Basilica in Rome. In the fourth century A.D., Constantine, who was the first Christian Emperor, and became a protector of the Church instead of a persecutor built a chapel on land that was given to his wife. Throughout the centuries, that chapel has been destroyed, rebuilt, and expanded. However it has always been recognized as the basilica church of the bishop of Rome, the Mother Church.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran is the sacred place where the sacred waters of our faith first surfaced with public celebration. All parish churches and chapels descend from this Mother Church. But most of all, in the second reading tells you and I that we are the living stones of the Church, and his spirit dwells in the bodies of you and I, rather than in cement and hollow bricks. We celebrate the temple of God incarnate in the Body of Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being.

Furthermore, in the first reading, the prophet Ezekiel saw healing water flowing from the Temple and going out in all directions. In reality, that is you and I. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus wants to fill us to overflowing. In order to bring Christ to the world, however, we must sink deeply into the fountain of life ourselves. In personal prayer, the gift of the sacraments, the wisdom of scripture, the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and all of these are their own founts of life for us. Indeed, if Constantine, the most powerful man in the western world at that time, could be converted through the witness of the Christians, imagine what our witnessing could do for our neighbors, friends and co-workers. If we immerse ourselves in Christ, we really can change the world.

Indeed, Jesus loved His church, the temple. Yes, He not only went out into the woods and desert and mountains to pray. He also went into the temple to pray many times. That same Jesus comes down on this altar at St. John Lateran Basilica, and also at our church St. Juliana. He meets us here in Holy Communion. Through Him, and with Him, and in Him we here give honor and glory to the heavenly Father. And in the communion of the saints, we are linked to one another, past, present and future, living and dead. We are like chapels in the living basilica of God on earth, the new earth, the New Jerusalem, the new St. John Lateran, and also St. Juliana, where God will dwell in His people to perfection. May God reward you for building and maintaining this home, St. John Lateran Basilica, and St. Juliana for Him.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar

9 November, 2014

Cathedral of Rome

All Souls

The struggle of this present age consists precisely in our weakness to accept the fact of the matter of the human condition based on those two poles life and death. These two realities have been always great topic of reflection from a metaphysical and spiritual point of view. What will happen after death? The biblical tradition revealed that those who died their souls are in the hand of God. The richness of the reading for today’s liturgy on the commemoration of the faithful departed is centered on God greatness toward the souls.

The first reading from the book of wisdom is a master peace of meaning of eternity: “The soul of the just are in the hand of God”. The responsorial psalm offers a great response: “The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want”. That ultimate truth of our existence gives us hope and “hope according to Saint Paul does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured into our heart”. We are people of hope called to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Saint John‘s Gospel places that hope in a very special context in saying: “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who believes in Jesus may have eternal life and I will raise him on the last day”. This is the reason of our faith to receive eternal life. Many of our brothers and sisters, members of our parish’s family have gone before us this year. Today, let’s take a moment to think about them and to pray for them. Let’s remember together:

Pedro A. Gattas, Constance D. Martin, Francisca Díaz, Bertha García, Carmen María Ulloa, Phyllis Janet Sturrock, José María López, Eduardo Mederos, Diahann F. Caullineau-Kraft, Marissa L. Stevens Generoso León, Teresa Molina, Narciso Pérez, Dora González Medina, Marvin José Osorio, Mercy P. Maribona, George Memely, Janet Kirker, Mercedes Quesada, Anna Cascarino, Andrés William Cortez, Luis Del Castillo, Josephine A. Wood, Antonio S. Batallan, II, Ida M. Anastasi, James A. Riley, Ana Pastora Lay, Leona Mae Blake, Marguerite G. Larmoyeux, Richard Márquez, Grace Higgins, Michael Steven Brown, Nicholas Walter Coppola, Inés Carolyn Corral, José H. Corral, Katie Teresa Laremont, María C. Santiago, Fernando A. Figueredo, Raquel Quiñones Morgado, Diego M. Correa-Vargas, Sulpicio A. Luna- Espinal, Andrés Corcino Márquez, Rosa M. Fernández Domínguez, Lourdes Del Castillo, Gloria Figueredo, Blanca Rosa Núñez, Alfredo Solano, Maryellen Howley Lewis, Luisa Margarita Voss, Mary Margaret Ries Iluminada Carmenate, Liliana M. Medina, Adrian Ampuero, Armella M. Still.

May their souls and the souls of Faithful Departed repose in peace.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor
2 November, 2014

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Have you ever asked God to help us love Him and our neighbors?

In an evening Bible’s class, a professor asked his students how they would tell when night had ended and day has begun. One student made a suggestion: “Would it be when you see an animal in the distance and cannot tell whether it is a sheep or a dog?” “No,” answered the professor. Then another student said: “Would it be when you look at a tree in the distance and can tell whether it is a palm tree or a coconut tree?” “No,” the professor said. “Well,” the students demanded, “When is it?” The professor answered: “It is when you look on the face of any man or woman and see that he or she is your brother or sister. Because if you cannot do that, then no matter what time it is, it is still night.”

Our first reading and the Gospel present us with a very challenging topic: “Love.” When we hear that word, we automatically think of romance, joy, and warm feelings. Sometimes it is; sometimes it is a matter of dedication, faithfulness and commitment. Those who have matured in learning about love know that sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is hard work.

Moreover, the readings’ today give substance and meaning to the word, substance and meaning that fill it with the content of specific deeds and attitudes we should have toward others. In reality, there are people who are afraid to love, people who have a fear of the vulnerability that’s required when we love. They question love in order to avoid its demands. And so in the Gospel account we find an attorney for Pharisees being the leadoff questioner: “Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” The question may appear harmless to us, but it was a verbal booby trap. For centuries the Jewish authorities had been arguing about this very question. If this was their lucky day, then Christ would give an unpopular response. The crowd would turn against Him and He would become history.

So I would like to put before you the idea that legalism is really a form of rejection. It is minimalism. It involves doing only what’s necessary. Legalism keeps us in low maintenance when it comes to expending our energies. Legalism gives us academic careers in which we learn only what’s necessary to get by. Love of learning? Forget it. Intellectual curiosity? That’s only for geeks. Just getting by with minimalism is a kind of rejection.

Now! What about our relationship with God? Do we do only that which is necessary to keep up a minimal relationship with God? Do we think that the best Masses are when the priest preaches the shortest homilies and Mass is over and done with within fifty minutes? Are those what we consider to be the best Masses? Is that all we want to give God when it comes to worshipping Him?

So instead of asking, “What must I do?” why don’t we ask “What can I do?” Instead of dealing with restrictive minimal norms, why don’t we approach God with generous, unrestricted hearts, and ask Him to help us love Him and our neighbors?

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar
October 26, 2014

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Mattew 22:39

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”.

This quote from this week end’s Gospel echoes a very legitimate concern for the people who were trying to entrap Jesus. In a no win situation Jesus has referred to the function of our system of society based on taxes and regulations that can compromised our life. As usual at the center of the conversation in the Temple which is a great symbol for the Jewish people, Jesus opted for a clear position in many fundamental realities of Jewish and Christian faith. For a better understanding of the controversy, let us look together a couple important points.

First of all who came to speak to Jesus?: the Pharisees among them some “Herodian”, those with no doubt who want to restore Herod’s power over the entire region of Palestine and the Pharisees, even though they were politically divided but of course they offer their allegiance to the Romans? Only very few of them, some extremists who refused to even touch the roman coins and acknowledge their only attachment to God. But the real question was: Is it legitimate from a religious point of view to pay the imperial taxes?

Second, let’s look at the piece of the roman coin which basically has a picture of the Emperor crowned as a god with those pretentious letters: “Tiber Caesar, divine son of August”. The divine pretention of the King was eloquently elaborate in the coins what make it a huge interest of controversy. Usually for some transaction within the Jewish territory by respect for the religious sensitivity they use a coin without picture, however to pay the imperial taxes they must use the coin with the effigy of Caesar which carry out the huge debate. This is a very complex dilemma it’s like a double sword; Jesus response is very crucial and engages a lot interest among the group of people. Now, if he rejected the taxes, his point of view will be seen as an act of rebellion or subversive and if he admitted it he will be accused of idolatry. So Jesus’ compelling answer has changed the whole course of action: “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” which mean don’t give Caesar what you have in you that only belongs to God.

Each of us has something that only belongs to God. Don’t make anything else your first priority. Allegiance to God has to be your priority and your objective principal in life. We are in the world for the transformation of the world. This is the reason why it is imperative for us Christian to become more proactive as we work diligently in our society to ensure that the authorities don’t promote unjust laws that not are compatible to the Gospel. “Caesars inevitably comes and goes”. Government and political system, as popular or necessary they might be, rise and fall. But only one endures eternally: God. Now, what does that mean to you: give to God what does belong to God?

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor
November 2, 2014

Mattew 22:21

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I t is not too easy to explain a parable, but looking deep inside the text of today’s Gospel like for any parables, we need to take into consideration some important aspects like the original intention from Jesus and the community who has received the message. In this specific case Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees however the people and the community applied it to themselves looking deep inside their new reality. The basic teaching is: salvation is offered freely to everyone without distinction. The only reason is because God is good and generous. The narrative is very explicit about how the workers were contracted at different times of the day and payroll begins with the last. It is very obvious that those who started earlier would expect it to be done in a different way, however the Master choose his self-invented genuine method.

It is obvious that Jesus presents to us in a very efficient way God’s generosity which is goodness and mercy. It is not something that we can grasp through our merit rather through grace. God’s gifts: like his grace, call to the faith and eternal life have been given to us and are only the effects of God’s goodness and generosity to human kind. This teaching is a huge contrast for the Pharisees, the Jews who were the first heir of God’s promise to the patriarch. They were faithful observer of the Mosaic laws whom Jesus compares to the first laborers and the last ones are the sinners whom He came to save. Now all together we formed in an ecclesiological context the new God’s people a community of believers formed by different group and culture with new attitudes and motivations.

The idea of fairness and justice echoed in today’s Gospel gave us a new trend of thinking about how God always opened his grace to all. In our world today we constantly heard people said that: “It is not fair” especially when things don’t go their way. People are obsessed with being first and winning prizes. People always expected a trophy which is a very common reality because it always comes across that we did more than others. Sometimes instead of challenging ourselves we waste our time on who has more than me. Very often we resist accepting that God is good with everyone and obviously his generosity goes beyond our own expectation. Today Jesus offers to each and every one of us a new way of thinking. May though his guidance we embrace it with great love and gratitude as “we conduct ourselves in a way worthy to the Gospel of Christ” (1Cor. 20:27).

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor
26 October, 2014

Matthew 20:1-16

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

T The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross celebrated today brought to our attention the importance of the meaning of the symbols in our language. For mostly all of us symbols expressed a deep and coherent reality that could obviously escape from our attention. For instance, for the non-believers the Cross is a symbol of defeat and punishment, but for us Christian this is the sign of victory. For them it is the punishment of blasphemers, sign of repression, tool for fear and terror, strength of tyrants and for us Christian it is the ultimate answer to our why, the summit of our life, negation of our confusions, the victory of our King. The Cross makes us go from day to day in the depth of divine love. Christianity from the very beginning has prioritized this sign as the most ultimate expression of faith.

Today’s readings are a reminder to us about how far God wants to go to rescue humankind from the glamour of sins, a renewal about human response to God ultimate offer of love. As a response to the need of healing for the Israelites, God instructed Moses to mount a bronze serpent on a pole and whoever looked the bronze serpent will be healed. The Gospel by contrast echoed the same sense of this old image in saying whoever keeps their eyes fixed on Jesus hang up on the Cross will be saved from death.

This is the symbol of life. God’s divine love for humankind is being expressed and proclaimed not through the world glory rather through the folly of the Cross. What we have seen and proclaimed on the Cross is a life ignominiously cut off by torture but embracing humanity with such great love and understanding. The depth of that love is what makes Jesus humble himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of His obedience, humility and genuine love for humankind, He is exalted and forever exalted above all..

This feast of the Exaltation of the Cross helps us all baptized people to understand the true significance of the Paschal Mystery, the meaning of our suffering and the promise of eternal life promise by Jesus. The Cross becomes the main focus where the response to human drama is being heard. This is Saint John in today’s Gospel who is inviting us to a personal experience of gazing up at Jesus on the Cross where human drama is being developed and transformed. Up on the Cross there is a whole drama of God’s love that is played for every man. That gazing will enable us to picture the exaltation through the suffering that will bring us to a union with Christ our Savior. So may all of us confess that Jesus Christ is Lord the glory of God the Father.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor
14 September, 2014

John 3:13-17

23nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

F or the past several months we have heard so many horrific things happening around the world. Violence has spread around the Middle East and a good part of Europe. Tremendous crime against humanity committed by some extremist groups seems to cause a deep uncertainty on our future as human being. Many of us feel real pain when we hear about the suffering of the victims. Their voices touched our hearts and we are suffering with them to the point we get concerned how and when God is going to change the hearts of the evildoers. Today’s first reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel shows us how God has chosen the prophet to work for the transformation of people’s hearts. Human behaviors have changed so tremendously we are losing the sense of our common core of values and responsibilities. God summoned Ezekiel to take upon that specific mission and try to change human behaviors just to bring us back to our senses. For this reason if today you hear his voice hardened not your heart {Ps 95}.

Human behaviors have changed because of the lack of love. Saint Paul in the second reading shows how love can transform everything. Through love we can build community which is the essence of Christianity. Through love we can experience true forgiveness and restore what we have lost through hurt, hatred and crime. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the solution Saint Paul offers to those who are living in fear and the shadow of repression. To experience that true love Jesus offers to his followers what we call the fraternal correction. For the true loving community is where we care for each other even in the midst of conflict and division. Even sometimes we cannot see how to reach the right decision but we should work it out together.

How does that resound in the middle of violence, war and tragedies of our world today? Is there any room for consultation or just room for retaliation and more violence? Jesus answer again is love we can work it together: “For where two or three have gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” {Mt. 18,20}. Let’s us together as we gather in Jesus’ name today to pray for an end of violence in the world as we continue to work or the transformation of human behavior.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor
7 September, 2014

"Ephphatha,” (that is, “Be opened.”)
Matthew 7:34

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

On August 14th 2014, just before the opening of the school year the staff, faculty and teacher of Saint Juliana Parish/School had a change to spend one day of retreat together. It was a great moment to refresh our minds, our souls and set up a tone for the new school year. We were blessed to have Msgr. Steven Bosso from Saint Vincent de Paul Seminary leading us through the day. Msgr. Bosso during his talk had helped us to see the role of the teachers as seers, dreamers and prophets. Reflecting on today’s readings I remember Msgr. Bosso’s talk and I can see how much emphasis has been put on the shoulder of the prophet.

The word of the prophet Jeremiah in the first reading reflects the experience of his own trouble as prophet feeling rejection and insecurity. Jeremiah uses a language that can trouble people. For instance prophecy it is a job he doesn’t want. There is no appreciation since the position of the prophet is always disturbing others. It looks like suffering is an essential part of the prophet’s life. Even though sometimes he wants to quit but the word of God, the word of truth always overpowered him like fire burning in his heart to the point he cannot resist anymore. God’s word creates always this burning fire of conviction to the point that our soul can have that desire to be fed by the word of God and God himself the like the psalmist said: “My soul is thirsting for you O Lord my God”.

When we have that thirst for God nothing can stop us from submissively offering ourselves to God in complete and total choice of surrendering and accepting the cross. It is St. Paul who urges us in the second reading to “offer our bodies to God, our spiritual worship” looking in everything to do God’s will. Through our experience like the prophet Jeremiah we have realized that the will of God is not an easy path. This is Jesus again who reminds Peter about the will of God and the way to discern about it.

Peter’s situation in today’s Gospel is very compelling on how sometimes we can take it for granted that we understand everything. Peter comes with a great triumphant set of mind about the kingdom of God. He is the rock; he has the key and the power. However there was a problem, he is thinking as a human does, not as God does. When Peter’s mind was leaning toward God he was able to see beyond the pictures but when he was leaning toward his own desire he was not able to think rightly. Today Jesus invite us to take our cross and make a choice not to conforming to this age rather to place ourselves where we need to be, living the message of salvation to a level high conviction and trust and become seers, dreamers and prophets.

Rev. Ducasse François
Pastor
31 August, 2014

Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are not thinking as God does.
Matthew 16:23

If we did not hear the word, we were not listening!

In our first reading today, Elijah was listening. He was at the end of the road; then, he climbed a mountain and went into a cave and waited to hear the word of God. Along comes a strong wind blowing rocks around. Then, there was an earthquake. Then, there was a fire. But Elijah was not fooled by the strong wind or the earthquake or the fire. Maybe, many of us would be fooled. Many of us try to figure out what a tornado or an earthquake means. Elijah knows to wait in silence. Then, he hears the still, small voice, the tiny whispering sound, and he recognizes the voice of God.

If we are going to hear the word of God, we need silence. How do we expect to hear the voice of God? We certainly cannot hear Him if we are talking. We cannot hear Him over the sound of the television or radio. So, when exactly does God have a chance to tell us what we need to hear? He will not shout over the TV or radio. He will not interrupt us. He will continue speaking His word to us, but we will not hear it until we stop and listen.

Listening patiently for God’s word is not wasted time. It is the opposite of wasting time. As we enter into the silence, waiting patiently to hear God’s voice, we can begin by knowing that He exists. Jesus says in today’s Gospel "It is I. Do not be afraid." When Jesus sees the apostles, they are afraid, so He reminds them: "It is I." I exist. Jesus exists. Therefore, we do not need to be afraid. We have to walk through this world with confidence. There is no reason to be afraid. I am not saying that bad things will never happen. Bad things do happen, but Jesus continues existing. No matter what, He continues loving us.

The apostles were afraid because they thought that they were alone. Jesus reminds them that they are never alone. We are never alone. When we have problems, God knows all about them. When we sit in silence waiting for God, God is sitting there with us. God is never far off. It may seem like He is far away, but He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He knows our needs, our burdens, and our fears better than we could ever know them. Indeed, God has a word for us, a word that could change us, that could make us who we wish we were. This word of God is not without power, but it will only have effect if we can quiet ourselves down long enough to hear it.

Rev. Dominic Toan Tran
Parochial Vicar
10 August, 2014

The Assumtion of the Virgin Mary into Heaven