The Treasure of Faith

07-30-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As I have started to pack and get ready to move to St. John the Evangelist in Center Moriches on November 1st, I look at the things I have accumulated in my twenty years here. In the rectory I have two rooms in which I have lived for these past twenty years and there are countless books, papers, clothes, pictures, and other treasures to go through. What will I take? What will I give away? What will I throw out?

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Nurturing the Seed of Faith

07-23-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the joys in life is seeing good things happen when we put our hearts, minds, and souls into what we are doing. In last Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 13:1-23) and in the Gospel for today (Matthew 13:24-43), Jesus uses the image of crops growing and the kind of harvest that comes from our efforts. Jesus came to sow the seeds of God’s love and is the very presence of God’s love. He shares this presence with us when we pray, read the Scriptures, and receive the Sacraments. How patient and hopeful Jesus is. He accepts each one of us for who we are and loves us as we are in every moment of our lives.

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The Fruit of our Love

07-16-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As I look out the kitchen window in the rectory, the garden Fr. Fred and Fr. Abraham planted is full of fruit-bearing plants that are growing and prospering. How amazing it is to see how such little seeds when planted produce such stalks and stems that bear so much fruit. One tiny tomato seed grows into a large plant that produces so many tomatoes. We so easily take for granted this wonder of nature that provides us with so much that we need.

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Meek and Humble of Heart

07-09-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Back in the sixties the word “cool” was used to describe people who seemed calm, in control, and not rattled by anyone or anything. It was referred to as a “hippie” compliment. It is not so easy to be calm, cool, and collected in our everyday lives. We live in a society of constant and instant news report and opinions. Our minds are all too easily focused on the phones we carry in our hands. We text, e-mail, shop, express thoughts and opinions, and amuse ourselves on these technological wonders. What can be a tool for communication and knowledge all too easily leads to an addiction that blinds us to who and what is going on around us.

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True Freedom

07-02-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

This coming Tuesday we will celebrate the Fourth of July, a day when we remember the courage of our founding fathers as they declared independence from British Rule as a colony and established a nation where all people could be free. Freedom is a beautiful gift and at the same time can be used to make choices and do things that hurt others and separate rather than unite us. In our nation today freedom is hampered as we are clearly divided over abortion, immigration, and polarized political ideology and visions.

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Do Not Be Afraid

06-25-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

“Be not afraid.” Pope John Paul II spoke that simple sentence at the Mass of his installation as pope on October 22, 1978 and frequently said those words throughout his pontificate to open our minds and hearts to the strength, hope, and courage that comes from living our faith in our everyday lives. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 10:26-33) Jesus says, "Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.”

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Growing in Our Wonder and Awe of Jesus

06-18-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Our lives are full of dreams, expectations, hopes, desires, goals, invitations, and blessings. Not only is this list part of our personal lives for ourselves, other people also have them for us. Most importantly God has them for us. Not everything we hope for or expect become realities for us. In today’s Gospel we see Jesus calling the twelve apostles. At this point they are certainly honored but they have not yet come to see the depth of God’s faith, hope, and love for them. Like you and me they grew in their life with Jesus and they discovered far more in God’s dreams, expectations, hopes, desires, goals, invitations, and blessings for them. They experienced and grew in their wonder awe of Jesus and their presence in His life and love.

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The Blessing of God's Presence

06-11-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

At times we see ourselves living in a very fast paced, critical, suspicious, and violent world. When we focus on all that is negative we become defensive, protective, and suspicious. Every move, demand, and opportunity is calculated. We also know that when we love someone we give without counting the cost and are grateful for the opportunity to do so. Gratitude is a key foundation block in our ability and willingness to rise above all that keeps us from loving with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. At the Last Supper, the night before He died, Jesus, knowing the horrible passion and death He would face the next day, opened His heart to His disciples and in that process to us, as He took bread and changed it into His Body and took wine and changed it into His blood. Jesus knew the price He would pay for doing what He was doing. Fear, rejection, betrayal, abandonment, and injustice could not and did not dampen His love for us.

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Being Part of the Family of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

06-04-2023From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As we go through life we meet and encounter many people. Our first encounter is clearly with our family. We are welcomed and become a source of joy and love when we are born. New life does not lessen the love we have for others, but expands our generous and joyful hearts. When difficulties, problems, sickness, and death occur, we seek to comfort one another because of our common family bond. When we meet new people and let them into our lives they come to see the power of our family bond and we see theirs. As children we “fight” or disagree with each other at times, but as we mature we come to see the goodness and love in each other and experience the joy of one another’s presence, love, and company.

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Companions, Not Competitors

05-28-2023From the Pastor's DeskRev. Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the ways we entertain ourselves is by participating in or watching competitions. Sports is good to learn team work and help our physical well being. Lifegiving friendships are formed. On collegiate and professional levels sports are a huge business that generate tremendous amounts of money. On TV we have sports channels and so many other channels that broadcast games in the different sports seasons. Sports is so enveloping that it takes time, energy, and hard work for children and their families who juggle schedules to get everything else besides done. One of the “competitors” that has taken over our Sundays is between going to Mass and going to sports competitions. Sunday is a prime day for the different media channels to beckon us to watch whatever competitors we like. How far civilization has come from observing the Lord’s Day by focusing on Him and His presence to not finding enough time to fit the Lord in on His Day.

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Comfort Zones

05-21-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

There are certain people, places, and situations where we feel very comfortable. It is encouraging to be accepted, respected, and loved and to be with people we love, accept, and respect. But we are not in a comfort zone every moment of every day. Some days and situations make us uncomfortable. It is in those situations that we need the courage and wisdom to be who we are in the best sense possible. When we are in a controversial place, our challenge is to respond with the courage and Spirit of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ, that is, to respond with His courage and Spirit. Jesus Himself faced many challenging people and situations. He responded with His inner trust and love for the Father and the inner hope and love He had for those He was with. The Gospel passages these past Sundays have come from the Last Supper accounts of St. John’s Gospel, chapters 13-17. In the ever hastening moments of the suffering and injustice He was about to face and endure, Jesus met the challenge with unconditional love for the Father and us, trusting and hoping we would accept and embrace Him and His love.

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Holy Mother Church

05-14-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Every day I begin praying the Divine Office in my breviary by taking the holy cards from my mother and father that I use as book markers and hold them to my heart, thanking God for them and asking them to pray for me. It fills me with joy and gratitude to think about and pray for them. They are a great source of hope for me as I begin my prayers every day.

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day and thank our mothers for all they have done for us. As I have mentioned many times before, at Christmas and on her birthday my mother would say, “Don’t buy me any gifts, just come to see me.” Being with those we love is a tremendous source of joy, hope, and gratitude, especially with those who have given us their hearts, minds, and souls. May we always know the blessing our mothers are to us.

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Be Prepared

05-07-2023From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

There are many attractions, places, and people we think about seeing at different points in our lives. One of the most beautiful and interesting places I have been is on a cruise to Alaska. It was amazing to see the wonder of glaciers, whales and salmon jumping out of the water, and just the pristine beauty of nature there. But there is one place we all want to go, but not yet: the Kingdom of Heaven when we die. Jesus speaks about the preparations He has made for all of us in the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 14:1-12): “"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way."

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