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Gospel Reflections

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

Gospel:
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.

Reflection:
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

Gospel:
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.”

Reflection:
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

Gospel Reflection June 9 – Msgr Hendricks

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Sunday, June 9

Pentecost Sunday

John 20: 19 – 23

Gospel:
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Reflection:
The gospel this Sunday takes us right back to the day of the Resurrection when the Risen Lord appeared first to his disciples. It is given to us to understand that Jesus has fulfilled His promise to never leave us and to show to all people for all time that He has conquered what we fear most, everlasting death. The gift He bring is everlasting life! Jesus is the one who has overcome and defeated death and sin and because of Him we live a new life.

A further gift of the Risen Lord to his apostles and to all who believe in his name, and pledge their life to His, is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who perinates the whole world with love. The sustaining and life-giving gift of the Holy Spirit is what the Church wishes us to focus on today and it is this gift that completes the circle of love, of the Creator, and the Redeemer Jesus Christ.

Today, and this weekend, as the focus of the world has turned to the events of D-Day in 1944, and the great valor and sacrifice of those who have served, and prayer for those who have given their lives for our freedom, the gift of the Holy Spirit reminds us that having received this love of God in the Spirit, we must not hold it in but share it with others so that all may know the power and grace that the Lord bestows on the world and on each of us personally.

Perhaps the prayer we need to say repeatedly this weekend is “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.” Come Holy Spirit, come!

Monsignor Hendricks

Gospel Reflection June 2 – Fr. Morris

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Sunday, June 2

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Luke 24: 46-53

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer
and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins,
would be preached in his name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things.
And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you;
but stay in the city
until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany,
raised his hands, and blessed them.
As he blessed them he parted from them
and was taken up to heaven.
They did him homage
and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and they were continually in the temple praising God.

Reflection:
The Resurrection of Christ had been witnessed by the disciples “after the fact;” they saw the empty tomb, they witnessed the Risen and Glorified Body of Christ in his post-Resurrection appearances, and they learned from His own lips their apostolic mission of spreading the Gospel. But for all that, they had not witnessed the literal moment of Christ’s rising from the tomb, the rolling away of the stone, which took place unseen in the still darkness of Easter morning.

But Christ grants to them a singular privilege, of witnessing with their own physical eyes His Ascension. The Christ they saw persecuted, tortured, killed, and then Risen and Alive, they now see returning to the Father. They can truly attest: Christ has returned to the heavenly Kingdom, taking into the heart of the divine mystery His glorified Body, a living testament to His Redemption of all humanity from the shackles of sin and death.

Fr. Morris

Gospel Reflection May 26 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, May 26

Sixth Sunday of Easter

John 14: 23 – 29

Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.”

Reflection:
Who of us hasn’t required an advocate from time-to-time? Someone that can help guide us through the journeys of our lives. Well, today’s passage is part of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse to His disciples on the night before His death. Jesus was assuring the disciples that even though He was going away, His departure would not be an ending. Throughout the Farewell Discourse, Jesus teaches the disciples that His time of “advocacy” is coming to an end and He is handing it over to them to continue the work. It will not be easy, they are warned; they will encounter intense opposition as Jesus did. But how will they be able to face this most daunting task?

As Jesus was preparing His disciples for what was to come, He told them that if they loved Him, they would rejoice that He was going to the Father. However, Jesus also promised not to leave His disciples orphaned. Just as God had sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus had asked that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, be sent into the world to continue His work after His ministry had ended. Jesus assures us that with the Holy Spirit we will never be abandoned, even in the midst of the loss, pain, and sorrow that are part of this broken world.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” God dwells in our souls, eager to guide us to that peace. The question is: Will we trust Him? Friends let us reflect today on what a blessing it is to have the Holy Spirit in our lives as our Paraclete…our Comforter, our Encourager, our Counselor, and our Advocate!

Deacon Paul Zemanek

Gospel Reflection May 19 – Deacon Don

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Sunday, May 19

Fifth Sunday of Easter

John 13:31-33A, 34-35

Gospel:
When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

Reflection:
This Gospel might be a good time to reflect on Jesus’ declaration to his disciples, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” The comment may seem innocuous enough to many of us if we simply apply only our own notion of love to his statement, but Jesus intended much more than our 21st century over-simplified romantic view of the word “Love.”

Many of us may reduce love to a feeling, an emotion, and too often it is diminished to what we learned from reading novels, watching television, or engaging in social media. Love becomes limited from our own personal experience. This Gospel requires us to expand on our narrow definition. Clearly, Jesus himself is the meaning of love as example to us. This goes way beyond the idea of feelings or emotion and replaces it with definitive action. Limiting love to simply feelings and emotions allows us to define the scope under our own terms and conditions rather than Jesus’ intent. By reducing love to just a personal “thing,” we can easily reject that Jesus’ love requires us to be in community and to serve (love) each other. That may be one reason why so many of our youth reject formal religion and yet hunger for spirituality. One way many do this is to experiment using new age tactics in forming their own personal spirituality such as yoga, Buddhism, being the best version of yourself, and being a good person. This can often isolate themselves from the world and assume their experience satisfies Jesus’ requirement above. This is not enough. While those modern tactics may sometime help in our coping with (or avoiding) society, they can often fall short of our commitment in loving one another. At best, this narrow approach is but a single dimension toward Jesus’ goal.

It can be scary and even dangerous to apply Jesus’ love in the manner being asked of us. It means that our love for others may translate to tolerance of others. That would be short sided as well. Tolerance does not mean avoiding correction of self and others. Jesus’ communal notion of loving one another does include the necessity of correction of others. It requires us to watch out for each other and help each other obtain heaven — with our spouse, ourselves, our children, and to carry our actions to the broader community. In today’s world, these forms of correction may lead to activism. We have many widespread examples where societal errors in thinking are in need of active correction. To be effective at this work requires our actions to be thoughtfully considered, exercising incredible skill, patience, and restraint. Our challenge is seeking ways, means, and tactics to assist correction in a manner that does not totally alienate others. Our manner and conduct in expressing correction should be in a way expressing love to others in the same way that Jesus expressed his love to us.

Jesus’ call “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” is indeed very challenging, especially in a world that readily rejects or bends the message of Jesus to fit personal preference and ideology. Nonetheless Jesus leaves us with no ambiguity in the Gospels — as difficult as those challenges seem. His love is a community thing. It requires definitive action on our part. It leaves us with the ultimate challenge to apply his type of love to include those around us and to correct errors and elevate the entire community toward Jesus’ call to his kind of love.

Deacon Don Poirier

Gospel Reflection May 12 – Deacon Frank

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Sunday, May 12

Fourth Sunday of Easter

John 10: 27 – 30

Gospel:
Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

Reflection:
Traditionally, this fourth Sunday of Easter is always known as “Good Shepherd Sunday” as we will hear once again the passage from Saint John ‘…I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep…and my sheep know my voice…’ Good Shepherd Sunday is also a day of prayer set aside for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated Religious life.

In every age the family of the Church is in need of those willing to dedicate their entire lives to shepherding the flock, but in today’s Church we are becoming more and more conscious of the fact that every disciple of Jesus, by virtue of Baptism, is called to share in the ministry of shepherding, caring for, and healing those in need.

Once we commit ourselves to the Lord we recognize that we are the brothers and sisters of Jesus, children of the Father, members of Christ’s body. We all have a vocation, a calling from God. Within our own country and in many parts of the world it is important that we stress the need for this, because the Christian community will flourish only if all are using their gifts to ensure that we remain vibrant and united in the Lord.

Let us continue to pray at Mass this weekend for the needs of the Church, remembering that we are called to a life of love and service.

Deacon Frank Iannarino

Gospel Reflection Apr 28 – Msgr Hendricks

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Gospel Reflection
April 28, 2019

Sunday, April 28

Second Sunday of Easter

John 20: 19 – 31

Gospel:
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

Reflection:
Easter Sunday continues with another appearance of Jesus and this time it is to the apostles huddled in the “upper room,” with the doors locked fearing that what had happened to Jesus might happen to them. The fear that has taken over their lives has imprisoned them, and they cannot even go out to be with their loved ones.

What the Risen Lord does here is to take the fear away and to send them yet another gift, the Holy Spirit to change their fear into courage and to restore their faith in him and in themselves. It is from this encounter, (and it takes two visits of the Risen Lord) to give them the energy of the mission to spread to the world, and first to the temple in Jerusalem that he is indeed alive and wants us to be alive with him forever.

This Sunday also marks what St. John Paul instituted for the entire Church called Divine Mercy Sunday. Calling on St. Faustina, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet the Church celebrates the everlasting mercy and forgiveness of the Lord in our lives. This devotion takes place throughout the diocese in various parish churches normally at 3 pm.

Easter Season is the time when the Church celebrates for 50 days, the Resurrection of the Lord, a new life after physically death that has been promised us because of His salvific death, a death conquering both sin and death.

Like Thomas in the gospel today may we have the courage and faith to say about Jesus the Risen one, “My Lord and My God.”

Monsignor Hendricks

Gospel Reflection Apr 21 – Fr. Morris

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Gospel Reflection
April 21, 2019

Sunday, April 21

The Resurrection of the Lord

John 20: 1 – 9

Gospel:
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

Reflection:
“For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

The readings and liturgies of the Easter Season welcome us into a deeper understanding of the mystery of Our Lord’s Resurrection. We are blessed to have over two thousand years of prayer, theological reflection, and catechetical elaborations on this central mystery of the Christian faith to aid us in our pursuit.

But perhaps we can best start our Easter season by going back to the earliest years of the Church, when the religious radicalness of the Resurrection was amplified by the fact that the Apostles and other witnesses to it were still alive and known.

The Apostolic Father and disciple of St. John the Evangelist, St. Ignatius of Antioch, advised the Christians at Tralles to grapple with the full historical impact of Christ’s Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection:

“Stop your ears, therefore, when any one speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was truly born, and ate and drank. He was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate; He was truly crucified, and truly died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. He was also truly raised from the dead, His Father quickening Him, even as after the same manner His Father will so raise up us who believe in Him by Christ Jesus, apart from whom we do not possess the true life.”

On behalf of all the clergy and staff at St Brigid of Kildare Parish, may I wish you and your family a joyous and prayerful Easter season!

Father Morris

Gospel Reflection Apr 14 – Deacon Paul

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Sunday, April 14

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Luke 19: 28 – 40

At The Procession With Palms – Gospel: 
Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
As he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany
at the place called the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples.
He said, “Go into the village opposite you,
and as you enter it you will find a colt tethered
on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
And if anyone should ask you,
‘Why are you untying it?’
you will answer,
‘The Master has need of it.'”
So those who had been sent went off
and found everything just as he had told them.
And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them,
“Why are you untying this colt?”
They answered,
“The Master has need of it.”
So they brought it to Jesus,
threw their cloaks over the colt,
and helped Jesus to mount.
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He said in reply,
“I tell you, if they keep silent,
the stones will cry out!”

Reflection:
Today, the Church celebrates both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday. It is on Palm Sunday that we enter Holy Week and it marks Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem five days before his crucifixion. It is during Holy Week that we welcome Jesus into our lives, asking Him to allow us to share in His suffering, death, and Resurrection.

We commemorate and relive during this week our own dying to sin and selfishness and rising in Jesus, which result in our healing, reconciliation, and redemption. We must ask ourselves, are we ready to surrender our lives to Jesus this Holy Week and welcome Him into all areas of our lives? Are we ready to become like the humble colt that carried Jesus and carry Him to a world that does not know Him? Are we willing to follow Jesus, not just to Church but in our lives? Are we willing to entrust ourselves to Him even when the future is frightening or confusing?

Friends, let us remember that this is a Holy Week, not because it is sad, but it is a Holy Week because together we walk this road with Christ. It begins as it ends, in triumph, to remind us that suffering is a journey with a goal, not a winding road that leads to nowhere. The end of the journey is the resurrection, a new kind of existence. The way to that new life is through the cross and the tomb. It is a road that Jesus himself traveled. And He accompanies us along the way today and every day of our lives. During this most Holy Week, may the time you spend reflecting on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus bring you a greater awareness of GOD’s love for you!

Deacon Paul Zemanek