One of the things that inspires and encourages me as we celebrate Mass during the Easter Season is how the followers of Jesus went from fear, disappointment, denial, and abandonment to courage, joy, and love. Their transformation is seen in the readings from the Acts of the Apostles. Once they received the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire on Pentecost, they went out with conviction and courage to continue the work of Jesus in living and proclaiming the Kingdom of God in their words and deeds. No longer were they afraid of those who tried to silence or persecute them. It is good to reflect on how the Resurrection empowered and filled them with life and how it can empower and fill us with the same life.READ MORE
As we continue our fifty day celebration of Easter we look at the ways we rise above not only sin and evil, but most importantly how we rise to do good for others. During Lent our parish project was to help Fr. Shibi’s order in their work of offering shelter to the homeless and orphans in India. Our generosity was a sign of the Resurrection - we rose above our own concerns and comfort to help those who are truly destitute.
Today at Mass, a video of the Catholic Ministries Appeal will be presented to invite us to join with the other 132 parishes in our diocese to support the ways in which we who are the Catholic Church on Long Island reach out in so many ways to help those in need. Through our donations services are provided to senior citizens, single women carrying children in their wombs, to those struggling with addictions, and many others in need in various situations. One of the beneficiaries of the Appeal is the work Fr. Magaldi and many other priests in our diocese are doing in addition to serving in parishes, the ministry of reaching out as chaplains to the students in the colleges in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Fr. Magaldi is happy to serve the students at Stony Brook University. I am asking him to write about his work as a college chaplain in a future bulletin. I invite you to look below at some of the many ways the Catholic Ministries Appeal reaches out as the Catholic Church on Long Island. This is another opportunity to be part of a true Resurrection experience, where we rise above and beyond our own personal concerns and needs to the needs of our fellow residents in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. I believe in the Catholic Ministries Appeal and donate to it every year. I invite you to join with me in support of who we are as the Catholic Church right here on Long Island.READ MORE
You can run but you cannot hide! These words came to my mind as I was thinking about Easter and reflecting on the readings from Mass the past few weeks. One of the clearest points that Jesus made by rising from the dead is that we cannot hide from His desire to love us. Two Fridays before Easter the Gospel at Mass recounted Jesus’ “secret” entry into Jerusalem: “You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, because my time has not yet been fulfilled.” After he had said this, he stayed on in Galilee. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but [as it were] in secret. (John 7:8-10) Jesus did go up to the feast and He was recognized, He could not hide: So some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Messiah?” (John 7:25- 26) Jesus was too good to be true to some people and His presence always brought the light of God’s love, a love no one can hide from and find peace. Yet sadly, some people wanted nothing to do with Jesus. Thinking they knew better than Jesus who God was and what God expected from them, they sought to arrest Him and kill Him, a motive that came to fruition late Holy Thursday night and on Good Friday. Their closed minds and self-absorption led them to hide from the ultimate love we all seek, desire, and need to live fully in this world and to live eternally in joy in the next.READ MORE
In the play “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare as Caesar is dying from the wounds inflicted on him by his assassins he utters these words as he sees his supposed friend Brutus among them, “Et tu, Brute?” You too Brutus have betrayed me? Caesar was killed on the Ides of March (March 15th) 44 B.C. Approximately 77 years later Jesus was crucified, giving His life for so many of those present to whom He could have said, “Et tu?” What we see in the Passion of Jesus by St. Matthew that we read at Mass today is how so many people who should have done more or spoken up remained silent. The followers of Jesus had to feel utterly powerless in the face of Roman rule by Pilate and the cunning plots of the religious leaders. Jesus was not a Scribe, Pharisee, or any other properly appointed religious leader. We also see so many religious leaders who were blind to the prophesies in the Scriptures about the promised Messiah. Our Passion reading today begins with the deception of Judas: “Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.”READ MORE
In two weeks it will be Easter. Our Lenten journey will lead us to the celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and clearly showing us His power over sin, evil, and death. Evil put human beings at odds with Jesus during His earthly life. In last Sunday’s Gospel reading we saw a wonderful miracle - a man born blind was healed of his affliction and was given his eyesight. Of course he saw far more than the people who loved him and the physical surroundings in which he lived. He saw God physically in Jesus and was even engaged by Jesus in conversation that not only gave him the ability to see with his eyes, but he also came to see the goodness and love of God in his life. That is our quest and invitation during the season of Lent - to see the goodness and love of God in our lives. But not everyone reacted with wonder and joy at this miracle. The religious leaders who were present tried to discredit what Jesus did. They thought they knew better than Jesus what God could, should, and would do. As Jesus said at the end of that Gospel, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” In the religious leaders in this passage and their self imposed blindness I am reminded of an expression that Fr. Liu used from his Chinese culture: you are a frog at the bottom of the well. When the frog looks up at the sky he thinks he sees the whole world, clearly a very limited vision. Jesus came to expand our vision and understanding of who God is and how much He loves us. Have we become more aware of this life-giving truth these past thirty-two days of Lent?READ MORE