Loved By God

02-05-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

The old Baltimore catechism asked, “Why did God make you?” The answer: “God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next.” First and foremost God created the world and created us in His very own image simply because He loves us and wants to share His life and love with us in this world and forever with Him in heaven. One of the thoughts we grapple with is why God loves me personally. We know we are not perfect, have said and done stupid and sinful things, and are not always as attentive and focused at Mass and in prayer as we would like to be and want to be. It is easy to trust we are lovable when we do and say good things. But we must never think we are unlovable to God. As I have written over and over again, the words of St. Paul in Romans 5:8 are perfectly to the point: “While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” When we were estranged from God and not giving Him our time, attention, love ,and gratitude He never gave up loving us. That is why He came Himself in the person of Jesus.

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The Wisdom of the Beatitudes

01-29-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Computers and cell phones are absolutely amazing. They are physical instruments that enable us to do countless things and to find more information than we would be able to find otherwise. At times they can be a curse, that is, when they are used for self pleasure or to send terrible messages to and about one another. We have smart TVs and cars that are more advanced than ever with electronic parts to actually run the car, keep us safe, and enable us to call anyone from any place.

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Walking Out of Darkness

01-22-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Darkness is part of nature. We have the sun to illumine the day. Living in the twenty-first century we have many ways to illumine the darkness with lights. I love the parts of Scripture that speak of the light that God in His goodness brings into our world through His mercy, love, and hope. In the first reading from Isaiah 8:28-9:3 we have these joyful words: “Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.”

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God is My Strength

01-15-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

“I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord and my God is now my strength.” This line is from the first reading at Mass today (Isaiah 49:3,5-6). In the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 1:29-34) John the Baptist points out Jesus to His followers and says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

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The Light of the World

01-08-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

There is a great difference between having all we need and having all we want. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings who followed a star that led them to the Christ Child. Clearly they were men of means as we see in the gifts of gold, frankincense, myrrh and they had the means to travel a distance on camels. It was not just curiosity about a new star that led them to find the Christ Child, but the inner longing and thirst we all have for something more, and that something more is God. We can feel very comfortable and secure at times, but there is always that inner longing God placed in our hearts when He created us in His very image, and that is the longing for the light of God’s presence.

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The Gift of God Himself

01-01-2023From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Happy New Year! As we begin another year of life in this world it is good to look at where we are in our lives, how we got here, and where we are going. As we begin the New Year as Catholics, we continue in the Christmas season with our prayers and readings at Mass. Christmas is about the GIFT we have all received, the GIFT of God Himself in the person of Jesus. Jesus came to fulfill God’s promise to send a Savior because we are a gift to Him. As much as we place our confidence and faith in Him, the foundation of our faith is gratitude. The Christmas season is our time offer prayers of thanks for the gift God is to us. He came in Jesus to save us from confusion, fear, ignorance, and sin, and, even more, to fill us with joy, hope, peace, truth, and love.

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Merry Christmas

12-25-2022From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Merry Christmas! How good it is to have this season of joy, hope, and love. And the more we can focus on the true meaning of Christmas the more hope, peace, and joy we experience. There is a great difference between being on the outside looking in and being on the inside looking out. All during Advent we read about the hopes of the Jewish people and God’s promise for a Savior through the words of the prophets, especially the prophet Isaiah. Today, Christmas, we celebrate the fulfillment of this promise. God did not send someone else in His place to be our Savior, He came Himself in the person of Jesus. His entry into our world was not one of triumphalism, fanfare, and public acclaim, but one of humility, unconditional love, and unwavering mercy. God did not use those in power and authority in the secular world or in the Jewish religion, but the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. In these two very beautiful people we see absolute faith in God, their love for God, and their love for one another. The Blessed Virgin Mary surely had the hopes and dreams of every woman who has been engaged to be married. St. Joseph was surely a good man who had the same hopes and dreams as her. But in both of them we see how we become more than we ever think we can or aspire to be. The Blessed Virgin Mary carried God Himself in her womb for nine months, held Him in her arms as her child, and nursed him as His mother. St. Joseph had the blessing of God’s trust to be Mary’s husband and the man who had the unique privilege of raising Jesus as an infant and young child into adulthood.

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An Unbelievable Disconnect

12-18-2022From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

The birth of a child is always a wonder and most times an occasion of great joy. Grandparents as well as parents joyfully share their excitement and joy in their words and pictures. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 1:18-24) we have St. Matthew’s account of St. Joseph learning Mary was pregnant and deciding to divorce her since he was not the father. But through an angel in a dream, God revealed she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph humbly and joyfully believed and had the unique experience of raising the Son of God as his son.

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Spending Time in Gratitude

12-11-2022From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

Rejoice! Today was formally called Gaudete Sunday. Guadete is a Latin word that means rejoice. The third candle, the pink one, will be lit today as a sign of our joy. In the twenty-first century we are not looking ahead to the coming of the Savior, but to His presence in our lives and our presence in His life. We do not wonder what He will do and how powerful He will be, but through the vision of faith we see how Jesus truly is our hope for life as individuals and fellow human beings in this world and our hope for eternal life in the joy of His presence with one another. In Philippians 4:4 St. Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” St. Paul was not on cloud nine - comfortable and accepted by everyone. In 2 Corinthians 11:25-26 he says, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep; on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers.” How can we reconcile this encouragement to rejoice in the midst of so much that is destructive and damaging in our lives with one another with His words to “Rejoice in the Lord always?”

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Many Gifts

12-04-2022From the Pastor's DeskMonsignor Ellsworth R. Walden

There are those wonderful times when we feel like we are in the right place at the right time. However through the gifts we have and the gift we are we can make any place the right place at the right time. It all depends on our inner attitude. Two weeks ago we celebrated the feast of Christ the King and the Gospel reading was Luke 23:35-43 where we had the account of Jesus dying on the cross between two thieves. One thief looked for the miracle of being taken down from cross so he could continue with his life in this world while the other thief recognized that he was in the right place as he sought Jesus’ mercy with his last breaths on the cross: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” As much as it was totally unjust and evil that Jesus should hang on a cross and die, He rose above the unjust and evil and assured the “good thief.” - “This day you will be with me in paradise.” - This scene shows us that as hard as it is we can almost always make the place where we are the right place through our goodness, love, humility, and mercy. When that happens we are a gift to those whose lives we touch.

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