Who or what would we do anything for? While we dream about winning the lottery and having abundant cash at our fingertips, we know deep down in our hearts it is the people we would share it with, not just a resource for any and every whim and desire. But we don’t need financial security to have a treasure. In today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44- 52), Jesus tells the parable of the man who finds a buried treasure in a field and sells everything he has to acquire it. We are who we are because of the gift of life. When we were born, we were embraced as a treasure by our parents. As time passes, we come to see what a treasure our parents are to us. One of the great joys of being a priest is celebrating Baptisms and seeing the joy in the parents and all present with them.READ MORE
Speaking with the man who takes care of the grass and landscaping for us, I learned there is a fairly recent weed growing on our lawns called nutgrass. After two or three days this weed grows high and makes it look like the grass was not cut for a while. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 13:24-43), Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds. In this parable we see the farmer planted good seed. A short while later an enemy sowed weeds to prevent a fruitful harvest. The weeds spoken of are the weeds that grow around the wheat and cannot be pulled up without pulling up the wheat also. In the end both are harvested and then separated. The wheat goes into the barn, but the weeds are burned.READ MORE
Every time I look out the kitchen window over the sink in the rectory, I see a lush, beautifully growing garden. Fr. Fred and Fr. Abraham have worked hard and continue to tend all the plants there. Already they have brought in radishes, lettuce, and zucchini to eat. The other crops include tomatoes, potatoes, beets, okra, beans, and onions. All this happens because they enriched the soil and continue to water everything growing there every day. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 13:1-23) Jesus tells the parable of the sower where He calls us to look at the seed of faith that was “planted” in our hearts when we were baptized. In His explanation Jesus gives four examples of how the seed of faith is either rendered useless or bears fruit.
The seed of faith in our hearts bears fruit every time we share our time, talents, and resources generously. When a seed germinates it becomes much more than it was before it was planted. Of course the more it receives the right nourishment, the more healthy the plant. The question to consider is: “What kind of fruit comes from the seed of faith planted in us at Baptism?” First of all we need good “soil.”READ MORE
One Step is Enough: One Step is Enough is a biography of John HenryNewman, a 19th century British theologian andhistorian. Newman was raised in the Anglican Churchand became an Anglican priest and a professor atOxford. Over time he became critical of both theevangelical emphasis on dramatic personal conversionas well as the merely academic or intellectualChristianity that was common at Oxford. He believed inthe need for critical thinking as well as intenseprayerful devotion. This led Newman to promote theidea of "via media" or a middle way betweenProtestantism and Catholicism. But when he offered anew interpretation of the 39 articles of the AnglicanChurch, he faced intense opposition from within hisdenomination. Finally in 1845, Newman became aRoman Catholic. His legacy is that of a propheticthinker whose ideas profoundly influenced the SecondVatican Council of the 1960's. Newman died in 1890and was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Yesterday we celebrated the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that laid the foundation for the country we have today. We have to admire and be grateful to those who had the courage to sign this document and all those who gave their lives to give birth to our nation. Part of our celebration is setting off fireworks. We are mesmerized by the light patterns in the night sky that explodes forth from them. As we celebrate our 244th anniversary we have other not so pleasant “fireworks” to deal with: the coronavirus and the protests. At this point we are in Phase 3 on Long Island but must be faithful to the vigilance and restrictions that have gotten us to this point. The other “fireworks” is the movement to call our attention to injustice inflicted upon black people. Black lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter. All lives matter.READ MORE