Gospel Reflections

Gospel Reflection Aug 18 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, August 18

Twentienth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12: 49 – 53

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Gospel Reflection:
Fire? Division? Families set against one another? Was Jesus having a bad day? Was He depressed, rundown, moody because all He could see was suffering and death in his future?

No, I don’t believe Jesus was having a bad day. He was simply telling us a very important truth. For you see, Jesus knew that in the future the disciple’s faith in their Lord and their Christian discipleship would be severely tested. It would even mean that families would be divided – those who follow Christ and those who ignore and reject the hope and true peace that He is offering. He is providing His followers this warning now so they will not be shocked when following Jesus will mean some very tough choices. And what can be tougher than choosing between loyalty to family and loyalty to Jesus?

In our society today, there is opposition to the values of Jesus in situations like abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, sexuality, family, and many others. But friends, we must be disciples of Christ before all of society, even when it means rejection.

There is no doubt that this text contains uncomfortable words, but Jesus’ words are still true today. Remember this, that Jesus brings a different kind of peace. He brings us a peace with God through the forgiveness of sins purchased by His Holy, Precious Blood. That peace divides us from those who do not believe. To compromise is to forsake Jesus and join them.

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection Aug 11 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, August 11

Ninteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12: 32 – 48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

Gospel Reflection:
El Paso, Dayton, Las Vegas, Columbine, Amish children, and so many other mass shootings in recent years — the world seems to have lost its reference point. In so many ways we just live through these tragedies. One shooting begins to run into the next and becomes nameless to us as we numb ourselves to all of it in order to simply cope. The flag nows flies at half mast seemingly perpetually.

This week’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s. Refer back to Deacon Frank’s reflection from last week about the man who had plenty and planned for a cushy future not realizing that his life would be forfeited that very day. Installing and operating home security systems are meant to guard us when we don’t want or cannot be constantly vigilant. Security is an illusion. We cannot buy our security. Today’s Gospel passage is yet a further reminder that we must not be like that man in last week’s Gospel.

Jesus tells us today to be ready for when the Master comes. For all our efforts, there is no way we can know when or how the Master will call on us. So what is one to do? First, we must keep in mind that God loves us completely and perpetually in ways it is impossible for us to comprehend — regardless of who we are and what we have done. It is inconceivable for us to understand this — but there in lies the rub. While that projection of God’s love is automatic and constant, to receive that love, we must be in relationship with Him, to desire and work toward knowing Him by spending time with Him — in the Mass, in the Eucharist, in prayer — all the while living in relationship with Him. He will call on us, not as a thief in the night, but it is hoped as an old friend someone who knows us and we know Him. Are we ready?

Gospel Reflection Aug 4 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, August 4

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12: 13 – 21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

Gospel Reflection:
Three modern day parables…

A sign outside a church announced: “Don’t wait for the hearse to take you to church”.
The famous preacher Rev. Billy Graham once said, “You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer”
When the richest man in a town died, the local news reporter asked his pastor, “How much did he leave?” The pastor replied, “all of it!”

This weekend’s gospel has Jesus sharing the parable of the rich farmer who stored up all his goods and wealth. The farmer thought he was set for life, he had all he needed. Yes, Jesus calls him a fool. The farmer was wealthy in worldly goods but he did not grow rich in the sight of God. The word “fool” simply means someone with limited thinking – someone without good sense.

The parable Jesus tells will follow a few comments he made about greed and how dangerous it is. Greed is one of the capital sins and gives rise to actions like cheating, stealing, lying, quarreling, fighting and even war. It doesn’t sound as if the farmer did any of these bad things. It sounds as if he made his fortune by good weather, and good old fashioned hard work.

So, is Jesus saying it is a sin to be rich and successful? Hardly! Jesus seems to be saying it is a sin if that is our main focus in life, if we build our security only on the things this world can give us, if we forget where our blessings come from. It is also a sin to be rich if our hearts are cold to the sufferings of those less fortunate than we are.

Giving away some of our money or sharing our goods reminds us that it is not all ours. It keeps us aware that all we have has been given to us. People like to say “I earned it.” Maybe so, but where did we get the health, the talent, the energy, the education and the opportunities to earn it. That was all given to us. We do have to provide for ourselves and our families and we have to save for that proverbial rainy day, but we can’t become totally selfish either. That’s greed. May we do our best to keep things in balance and loving God and our neighbor is part of the balance.

-Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection July 28 – Sr. Teresa

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Sunday, July 28

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 11: 1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,’
and he says in reply from within,
‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Gospel Reflection:
The passage chosen for today’s liturgy seems rather straightforward. “Teach us how to pray,” was the request of the early disciples but is not the desire to know how to pray stirring in our heart, too? The passage contains my favorite prayer. It is a prayer known and offered by so many through the centuries. Sometimes, this can be comforting, but, at times, it can be so familiar that I pray it as if I were a “robo-caller.” The underlying truths and constant challenge of the prayer can be lost. When I began to pray and reflect with the passage for today, I felt a certain pushing and pulling from the Holy Spirit. How do I dare to say, “Our Father?”

The world is living in times of struggle and what seems like impenetrable impasse. Living in these times and trying to hold the tensions of what we believe, or want to believe, or hope that we believe, or actually living what we believe, calls forth a hope and courage that has lived deep within us from all eternity. Could really daring to pray the Our Father be the grace that will unlock that hope and courage?

How do we dare to pray as Jesus taught us, Our Father? How do we look at each other, especially those who are poor, marginalized or discounted, and see with the eyes of Jesus? How do we enter the lives and hearts, the hopes and fears, the joys and sorrows, the anxieties and questions of this world and dare to say, Our Father?

Over the past few weeks I tried to pray the Our Father not from where I stand, but by standing in the shoes of others.

I prayed Our Father as the young mother with one child and pregnant with twins who was also grieving the death of her young husband.

I prayed the Our Father as the families who lost their homes and material possessions in the recent swath of destructive tornadoes and floods.

I prayed the Our Father as the person who is financially secure, healthy and happy and filled with great joy.

I prayed the Our Father as a child who searched for his “daily bread” in dumpsters.

I prayed the Our Father as one of the thousands of people who are being held in detention camps on or near our borders.

I prayed the Our Father as a border guard and member of border patrol groups.

I prayed the Our Father as a man on death row for murder. I prayed as the brother of the man he killed.

I prayed the Our Father as the young couple who stared in awe and wonder at the miracle of their newborn baby girl.

I prayed the Our Father as the man whose political and religious views are polar opposites of mine and the man whose religious and political views are so like mine.

I prayed the Our Father as a woman from a different faith tradition than mine and as a young adult who professes no faith tradition.

I prayed the Our Father as a member of the community of St. Brigid of Kildare.

I prayed Our Father as a Dominican Sister of Peace.

Each time my prayer was so different, so difficult at times (sometimes impossible) and so easy at other times. Praying in the shoes of another stretched the boundaries of my heart, opened my eyes, and challenged my attitudes and professed beliefs. It gave me new understandings of what it means to dare to say, “Our Father.”

The situations and questions in our world today are so complex and often seem totally overwhelming. In times such as these, how do we dare to say, “Our Father?” How do we do our part in helping Jesus’ deepest desire, ”that all may be one,” be realized in our time and in our place?

Earlier this month New York City hosted a ticker tape parade to welcome back the USA Soccer Team. During the parade Megan Rapine offered these words: “This is my charge to everyone. We have to be better,” she said, “we have to love more, hate less. We gotta listen more and talk less. We gotta know that this is everybody’s responsibility. It is our responsibility to make this world a better place.” When we dare to say “Our Father” we are acknowledging that responsibility.

Our responsibilities to the world, that is so deeply and wondrously loved by God, are vast and complex but not hopeless. In times such as these, how do face those responsibilities and be guided by the wisdom that comes from daring to say, “Our Father?”

Philip Simmons, who at the age of 35 was diagnosed with ALS, wrote a very powerful book entitled Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life. In his book, he notes our responsibilities “seem to begin here, in the simple and arduous act of seeing the world and responding—renewing our promise to it.” So important to him, in facing his life, is mindful living that he wonders if we could summarize all of scripture into two words: “Pay attention!” Did Jesus summarize it by teaching us how to pray by choosing two words, “Our Father?” Do we, in turn, dare to pray as Jesus prayed and dare to say, “Our Father?”

-Sister Teresa Tuite

Gospel Reflection July 21 – Fr. Morris

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Sunday, July 21

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10: 38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“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.”

Gospel Reflection:
One thing we often gloss over in this familiar Gospel is that Martha and Mary are sisters. So while we can easily read this Gospel as condemning Martha’s activism and praising Mary’s contemplative languor, we should also notice that this a classic case of both/and. Because they are sisters–a duo, a team, a partnership–Mary’s attentive entertaining of their honored guests can only exist alongside Martha’s diligence in the finer points of hosting.

If only one sister was present… then Martha would probably have well-fed but bored guests, while Mary’s guests would be having a swell time but with growling stomachs.

These two sisters are the patron saints of “balance” in Christian discipleship. Sure, “faith without works is dead” but “works without faith” is also a big problem.

Prayer and then action, listening and then doing, waiting patiently and then engaging fervently: this symbiosis is necessary for a follower of Jesus Christ.

Father Morris

Gospel Reflection July 14 – Msgr. Hendricks

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Sunday, July 14

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10: 25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?
How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied,
“A man fell victim to robbers
as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road,
but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place,
and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him
was moved with compassion at the sight.
He approached the victim,
poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.
Then he lifted him up on his own animal,
took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins
and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,
‘Take care of him.
If you spend more than what I have given you,
I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion,
was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Gospel Reflection:
The lines we want to remember form the gospel today are, “Which in your opinion was neighbor to the robbers’ victim? He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

It is here in the words of Jesus where we get the commission to do as Jesus did. And who was it that did just that in the gospel? The one who was an outcast of the Jewish community, the Samaritan. This would have shaken up the ones who were listening to this story that Jesus told them. The point being that it is not the ones who are recognized as the leaders in the Jewish community whose actions should have spoken louder than words, but the very one who had no voice, went beyond the call of mercy and gave of himself and his resources to help the stranger.

The message of the gospel is always clear and sometimes frightening, for it points the finger at us. How is it that we can be like that good Samaritan and perform even the smallest acts of kindness and compassion to the stranger, the outcast, the person who is depending of us to help in their need?

I love this gospel because it melds faith and action. It causes us to bring our faith into action to the ones who cry out to us in their need.

Find someone today to show mercy and compassion towards, even if it is a small act of kindness. It might change and brighten their day and their world.

Monsignor Hendricks

Gospel Reflection July 7 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, July 7

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10: 1-2, 17-20

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

The way our Spring weather was this year, with all the rain, I’m guessing the farmers were wondering if they would ever get their crops in the fields. Hopefully, they are in a better position today so they can reap a great crop at harvest time.

In the Bible we hear of another harvest. This is called the harvest of the Lord, and the Lord’s harvest is a spiritual one. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Well, much like the 72 of Jesus’ day, today the Church is also looking for those Laborers to bring in the Abundant Harvest.

Who are these Laborers that Jesus is speaking about? They are you and me! Though none of us starts out as laborers in the harvest of Christ’s kingdom, when God plants seeds of His Word into us, and with the watering of His Spirit and the warmth of His love, those seeds begin to grow. As we grow in God, we become His laborers. We go forth in God and work in the world doing good by showing God to others who do not know Him. We do this by opening up our loving arms to bring cheer to a sad heart. We listen when someone needs to talk about a problem. We share our experience of God in our life and the relationship we have with Him.

And so, friends, are we laborers for Christ Jesus? God is calling us to work in the field for there is a ripe harvest awaiting to reap for God’s kingdom.

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection June 30 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, June 30

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

For many of us, this Gospel is difficult first to understand, accept, and then incorporate it into our lives. The Gospel today is measuring what it means to be a disciple of Christ — how to become fully committed and fully free. For Luke, Jerusalem is the focus of Jesus’ life where his work unfolds. Jesus sets out for Jerusalem ready to face whatever comes. His reference to foxes and birds is a reminder to us that Jesus left nothing behind to delay or prevent his journey. Also, he has no expectations of anything in front of him — no prospects, no money, no domicile, that is, no constraints to distract him or prevent him from his mission.

The bad reception he gets by the Samaritan village during his journey is a reference to religious bigotry. Yet, the very reason for his journey to Jerusalem was to put an end to religious bigotry and persecutions. Jesus’ message is to provide the world a way out and bring an end to religious barriers. It is difficult to fully understand exactly what “going to Jerusalem” really means, so the Gospel gives us three examples.

In the first example, the person courageously yet unwittingly says to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Enthusiastic, but that enthusiasm may fade away once he realizes what awaits Jesus and his followers in Jerusalem. A more modern day equivalent to Jesus’ response is when Winston Churchill told the British people at the beginning of the Second World War, he had nothing to offer them but “blood, sweat and tears.” We need to realize what is expected of a disciple — to be able to let go of our worldly attachments and not be ruled by them. Are we ready for this? Or do we secure our own comforts first and then, after all the details are worked out, decide to follow him?

In the second example, this person also wants to follow Jesus. He makes what appears to be a reasonable request: “Let me go and bury my father first.” Jesus’ reply appears harsh, “Let the dead bury their dead.” We are to “…go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” While perhaps harsh, we should not assume that the man’s father was already dead. He may have been saying that he would follow Jesus only after he had fulfilled all his duties to his father. Jesus is not saying that we should not care for our family. He is asking where our priorities in life really lay? How many of us plan out our careers and many other of life’s needs first and only then ask how we might become good Christians?

In the third example, this person says he wants to follow Jesus but wants to say goodbye to his family and friends first. Like the previous example, he wants to control the timing and circumstances before responding to Jesus’ call.

To be fully committed and fully free does not mean I defy authority, misbehave morally or socially, and be self-indulgent. To be free means not clinging to external securities like money, property, status, success, achievements and the like. Ironically, the free person does exactly what he wants because he is guided, like Jesus, toward the good of others.

We live in a world where religious bigotry continues, self-indulgence is equated with freedom, and journey to Jerusalem is before us. Jesus asks us to join him in his journey to Jerusalem today. Hopefully, we are asked at a time when we can respond and respond for the right reasons. Can we put our hand to the plow and not look back?

Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection June 23 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, June 23

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

Luke 9:11B-17

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God,
and he healed those who needed to be cured.
As the day was drawing to a close,
the Twelve approached him and said,
“Dismiss the crowd
so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms
and find lodging and provisions;
for we are in a deserted place here.”
He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.”
They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have,
unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.”
Now the men there numbered about five thousand.
Then he said to his disciples,
“Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.”
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up,
they filled twelve wicker baskets.

Every time we celebrate Mass we enter into the offering of Christ on the cross and proclaim his life-giving death and resurrection. The words “Do this in memory of me” echo across the centuries as priests have offered the Mass with the people in majestic cathedrals, humble parish churches, prison cells, in war zones, both in public and in secret under fear of arrest and prison.

This weekend when we hear about the multiplication of the five loaves and two fishes in the Gospel hopefully we reflect once again on the wonderful miracle pointing to the deep desire of God to feed God’s people and the abundance with which God pours gifts on the beloved. This sign points toward the Last Supper when Jesus speaks of the offering of his body on the cross and the gift of his body and blood to the disciples assembled with him.

May this weekend’s celebration of this Feast of Corpus Christi be both an invitation to adore the Lord in prayer and a summons to love in action. Before the Blessed Sacrament we meet like friends with Jesus, listen to him and tell him our needs. Jesus waits for us in prayer, which is an act of trust in him. It is also a summons to action. At the end of Mass, we are sent out as the deacon proclaims: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your Life”. May we once again glorify the Lord by our love in action as we serve those in need and celebrate the gift of the body and blood of Christ for our journey on earth toward eternal life.

Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection June 16 – Deacon Alfonso

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Sunday, June 16

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

John 16: 12 – 15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It is the central truth of our faith which holds that God is a communion of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sharing in one nature. Any analogy used to try to explain this great mystery risks describing the Holy Trinity in an incorrect way. But as the great 20th Century German Catholic philosopher Dietrich Von Hildebrand said “a mystery is distinct from a problem, for a mystery is meant to be reverenced, while a problem is meant to be solved.” God is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be reverenced and admired. And though we with our limited finite human capacities struggle to understand the infinite God, we can understand something very essential about God and that which is also true for you and I. God in his very essence is an eternal communion of love between persons. And having been created and made in the image and likeness of God, we can be assured that you and I have been hardwired to be in such a communion of love for all of eternity. It is thus no wonder that human convention has designed solitary confinement as one of the harshest forms of punishment for criminals. The human person was not meant to be alone. The pain of isolation, loneliness, abandonment and separation evidence this. The pain tells us that something is wrong and that this is not how it is supposed to be. And that experience has meaning. Our longing for communion should direct us to the fact that if we long for something eternal, then it must exist for we cannot desire something that doesn’t exist. Our longing for eternal communion does in fact exist and is found in the Holy Trinity. While this desire is ultimately obtained in Heaven, while on our earthily pilgrimage our thirst for this eternal communion is quenched by Holy Communion of the Blessed Sacrament. In it we are united to a person, to Jesus Christ who by the Holy Spirit leads us to our Father. May your hearts find comfort there with our Triune God.

Deacon Alfonso Gámez Alanís