Fake News is Nothing New

01-29-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

In the past year we have seen how the media presents news in ways that can be distorting and biased. Our new president calls it “fake news.” “Fake news” is nothing new. In the Gospel for Mass last Monday (Mark 3:22-30), the religious leaders at the time of Jesus reported “fake news.” They accused Jesus of acting and speaking in the name of the devil. One of the weapons we use to discredit those we do not like is to speak out against them and then try to make our dislike more convincing. That is exactly what those in religious leadership of the time tried to do to Jesus. At weekday Mass the past two weeks, the Gospel for each day has come from St. Mark. These consecutive passages relate how Jesus began His public ministry, called His disciples, and brought God’s healing and mercy into the lives of the people of His time. He was too good to be true and was upsetting the status quo of those who were perfectly comfortable with their perception of God and their religious leadership. They accused Jesus of being a disciple of the devil. In some of the cures Jesus performed, those who first recognized who He was were the evil demons who told Him to leave them alone and go away. When anyone speaks out against Jesus and His way, the work of the evil demons, the work of the devil prospers.

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Evil's Destructive Results

01-22-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Like most Catholics my age, when we were growing up there was a far greater emphasis on what mortal sin is and how we had to avoid it to keep from going to hell. To intentionally miss Mass on Sunday was a mortal sin and before receiving Holy Communion again we had to first go to Confession and be absolved from that sin. Over the past 60 years, we seem to have lost our sense, understanding, and awareness of sin and its effects. Now only about 30% of our registered parishioners come to Mass on a regular basis. Mortal sin is by definition a deadly sin that separates us from God and has the potential to make that separation eternal. There are legitimate reasons that can prevent us or side track from coming to Mass: sickness, treacherous weather, or someone in dire need of our presence (Luke 10:25-37, parable of the Good Samaritan). As human beings we are great at rationalizing and making excuses, but in our hearts and consciences we know when we are just refusing to be honest with ourselves.

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God's Love: More Than We Can Comprehend

01-15-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Now that most of us have put away our Christmas decorations, we are back in our daily routines. Most of us enjoyed Christmas and hopefully had the time to reflect on what it is that we actually celebrated - God’s gift of Himself to us. There is the saying that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But Jesus came to be far more than a light in the darkness of our winter days, He came to be the reason for our very lives. He came not just because we wanted Him or He was promised and longed for, He came first and foremost because He loves us. How do we respond to that? Most of us who are older remember the basic truth we memorized from our catechisms: God made me to know Him, love Him, and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the world to come. That simple statement is far more than a fact, it points to the very core of who we are, where we are going, and how we are going to get there. Jesus is not the decoration or gift put away until next Christmas, He is the gift that inspires, encourages, and enables us to be fully who we are created to be. The key is to let Him so far into our lives that He becomes the center and core of our very being every moment of who we are.

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Finding Joy in the Presence of Christ

01-08-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One the comical definitions of insanity or unreasonableness is to do the same thing over and over again, but each time hope for or expect a different result. When something does not work out the way we had planned or hoped we need to readjust our methods. Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, the journey the Magi made following a star to find the Christ child. They saw something different in the sky and felt compelled to make a journey to see who it would bring them to. The wonder of Jesus’ birth was announced by an angel to shepherds who responded to the invitation to see the newborn Christ. The scriptures tell us: When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. (Luke 2:15-20) They were not put off by finding the child Jesus in a stable, but awed by the message from the angel and even more by the very presence of Jesus.

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Finding the Peace Jesus Came to Bring

01-01-2017From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Happy New Year! The older I get the more amazed I am at the year we have arrived at. Today is the first day of 2017. When I was younger, I used to think I will be old when the year 2000 comes around and now we are seventeen years beyond that. It is not that we have survived long enough or deserve to be alive at this point in history, because life is a gift and 2017 is the gift of another year of life. We can look back and see countless events and experiences that have brought us to this point. And what enables us to keep the past and present moments in perspective is gratitude and humility. How good it is to recognize how God has blessed us and all the good people in our lives who have inspired, encouraged, and walked with us during our journey through life. First of all, we gratefully acknowledge how good our parents were to give us the gift of life and the gift of themselves in their love for us. You who are parents have the blessing of your children and are a blessing to them. There are so many people who have contributed to the person we are today.

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