t’s a natural experience to desire winning as most of us do not don’t like the experience of losing. Trying to live our faith can be truly challenging. We need to go through a constant conversion so it may change our way of seeing things.
In today’s Gospel we are invited, not to win but to lose, in order to win: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Jesus invites us to win by losing! Prior to hearing Jesus’ words we may ask ourselves: What and why should I lose? What will I find or win when I lose? Following Jesus certainly will imply losing many things in order to win greater ones: losing selfishness to win self-giving or charity, letting go of resentments to live forgiveness, give up trying to control things and grow in our trust in God to take control.READ MORE
In today's Gospel the Lord mentions "not to fear" several times. Being afraid is a common feeling. Everybody has experienced fear at least once in their lives. We fear when we feel threatened by something or someone. There is also a good type of fear and is actually one of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit: FEAR of the Lord; this is a type of fear that instead of drawing us away it drew us closer to God because we fear being away from Him.
What type of fear is the Lord talking here?
Obviously He is taking about the first one. "Do not be afraid" - He says, but, afraid of who? - Of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. God has created us and has given us a body and a soul. Sometimes it is easier to forget about the "soul part" and look more at the body part because is what we can see. However, the Lord is asking us to look a little bit deeper on what is really is important. He is asking us to see the world with different eyes, the type of eyes that not only see what we can touch or feel but the type of eyes that see beyond.READ MORE
We have the beautiful tradition of receiving Catechumens and Candidates into the faith of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, which is a very significant liturgical feast to us. Those preparing to be received into full communion to the Church look forward to it the whole year. But this year, with the Covid Pandemic, those going through RCIA had to face the uncertainty of not knowing when their sacraments would take place. When we finally got the dates scheduled, we discovered that God really thought this one out.
Last Sunday six baptisms were celebrated during 5pm Mass. It was a beautiful ceremony where our Catechumens were Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit on none other than at the Feast of the Holy Trinity.READ MORE
It is always a great gift to be able to help those who are seeking to join the Church and receive their Sacraments. Never has the date for the Sacraments been as anticipated as this year. With all the uncertainty of the Covid pandemic, those going through RCIA were unable to receive their Sacraments at the Easter Vigil as is the tradition. We were just patiently waiting for the reopening of the Church. So when we finally got a date for the Sacraments, it was an occasion for great joy, as you can imagine.
Please pray for our Catechumens and Candidates who will be receiving their Sacraments and joining the Church during this month. June 7 at 5pm Sunday Mass we will have our Catechumens receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.READ MORE
Today we celebrate Pentecost. We celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit fty days after the resurrection of the Lord. Just as God never left the disciples alone, He sent us the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and continue the life and mission of Christ in us in the Church. God knows very well that we can’t do it with our mere strength! Perhaps we don’t always realize it but the Holy Spirit’s action and presence in us can be much more than we imagine. The Holy Spirit is the one who moves our hearts to love God. The gift of piety makes that love grow deeper. He is with us to teach us how to pray to desire intimacy with Christ. He is the One who enlightens our minds to know Him more and live the demands of the Gospel, the commandment of love. Finally, He strengthens our will to seek and serve His Plan in our lives. And it's good to recognize His action in our lives when we experience His fruits such as joy, peace, charity, patience, kindness, gentleness, and faithfulness.READ MORE
During these times, there has been an urgent need to find the balance in meeting the spiritual needs and the physical well being of the faithful. One of the greatest concerns of the Church is offering the Sacraments to the faithful. Another great concern is to take care of the people’s health.
A few weeks ago, on the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, our parish, with deep joy, finally began offering Holy Communion to OLMC’s parishioners with the necessary precautions to keep parishioners safe.
For many, having been unable to receive the Lord sacramentally for more than a month became an occasion to grow in the realization of just how the Eucharist is one of the greatest gifts of our faith! It’s amazing how this unusual context of the pandemic could offer us a great opportunity to grow in the many ways we couldn't even imagine. It was deeply moving to see the reverence and the deep joy shown by many as they approached to receive Holy Communion. Parishioners showed so much gratitude for finally receiving Jesus again through this sacrament after several weeks. This must have touched the heart of our Good Shepherd who wants nothing but to give Himself to us!
In this time of the pandemic, one of the things that has been awakened in us, is reaching out to others. Living our faith demands in our hearts: charity! There’s a tremendous need to continue announcing the Lord, especially at these times.
We’ve been busy connecting online. Sr. Cristina with the RE team has created videos for their students. Sr. Maria Jose, with ASU Newman Center, continues to meet with the students virtually. Sr. Monica has been meeting with her RCIA Catechumens and Candidates online as they wait to receive their Sacraments. Sr. May organized a virtual retreat for the 8th graders and with Sr. Cristina, led the weekly rosary for OLMC School. We’ve been livestreaming Adoration from the Convent to pray for and with the parishioners. We’ve also been reaching out through phone calls to our parishioners especially the homebound.READ MORE
This Sunday we celebrate Mother's day. Today is a beautiful day for us to reflect on what it means to be a mother. Mothers are the women chosen by God to give us life, to carry us in their wombs for 9 months, to teach us how to walk, talk and many more things. Today is also a day to look at Mary. Mary was also a woman chosen by God to be a mother, the Mother of Jesus. She, with her yes, gave us Jesus, our life, and her fiat made us able to be born to the life of the spirit. She too taught us how to walk and talk spiritually. When we first started this journey of faith we didn't know many things; she was there, helping us to communicate with God, interceding for us, whether we were aware or not, there is no doubt of her presence. She helped us to speak to her Son, she carried us in her arms when we couldn't walk more. Today let's elevate a prayer of Thanksgiving to Mary, our Mother. She knows our heart, and with tender love she holds our hand to take us to her Son.
“Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” These were the words Jesus said to the women who came to see the tomb. Go to Galilee.
Speaking of this emphasis on Galilee, Pope Francis said:
Faith always needs to go back to Galilee, to reawaken its first love for Jesus and his call: to remember him, to turn back to Him with all our mind and all our heart. To return to Galilee means to re-read everything on the basis of the cross and its victory.READ MORE
Lent is a special time of conversion, of healing to grow closer to God. It’s a special time of grace to ask ourselves what attitudes, sins or attachments that draw us away from God. Today’s Gospel relates the story of the man blind from birth to whom Jesus gave sight. Healing comes first of all because we recognize ourselves sick. Jesus came for the sick or the sinners, not for the healthy or the just. It is a favorable time to turn to Him and allow Him to cure the blindness that we have: selfishness, indifference, pride, resentment. Let us ask Him with deep humility and simple hearts knowing that if we do this, we recognize that Jesus truly came personally for us, that Jesus came to heal our own personal wounds. Jesus came to be our Light so we won’t have to live in darkness!
Eight days before His Transfiguration, Jesus told His disciples about the suffering and death He would go through and that He would be raised the third day. He promised glory and eternal happiness but He never hid the reality of the cross or sufferings. Jesus said that if we want to follow Him, we should deny ourselves and take our cross every day. However, sometimes we fail to remember this reality, especially when we are in the middle of difficulties: maybe in our families, our relationships, our work place, personal struggles, or suffering of our loved ones.
Following Christ is certainly not the easy path: choosing Christ means giving up our selfishness, pride or sinfulness, it means selflessness, forgiving, loving even our enemy. It is the narrow path that we should follow but it is The Way, the only way to eternal glory, the only way to be truly happy. Let us keep in our minds that the story doesn’t end on the cross but in His glory. And sometimes, all we need to do is to be faithful day by day and look for the little and simple moments of “lights”, when we “hear” His voice and “see” His Plan clearer.
If you attended 9am Mass, you will have seen our Catechumens receive a special blessing. In Sacred Scripture, the Book of Revelation makes reference to the “Book of Life,” in which are written the names of those who have chosen to follow the Lord Jesus. Those who are already baptized, as Catholics or in other denominations, had their names written in the Book of Life at Baptism. In this Rite, those preparing for Baptism are invited to come forward and sign a book, as a sign of their desire to be numbered among the chosen of God.
On the first Sunday of Lent, across the entire world, Catholic Bishops welcome those sent by the Parish to gather together with their Sponsors in what is known as the Rite of Election. This symbolic book will be presented to the Bishop and will mark their Election. Please pray for our Catechumens as they start their final preparationtowards their reception to the Church.