Be Courageous

07-31-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

It is very easy to get upset and riled up by reading and listening to news reports. Reporters have their own slant on how we should look at what is happening. Too much anger only makes the walls between us higher and thicker. It might sound naive but one of the best things we can do is get beyond worry and anger and what we cannot do, and embrace the good that is right in front of us. That is exactly what Jesus did. He did not overthrow the Romans occupying Israel during His earthly life nor did He support them. Instead He proclaimed the Good News of God’s love and was the Good News of God’s love. Every day in our homes, community, and parish true love and goodness are seen.


Opening Our Hearts to Jesus

07-24-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

There are many things that we seek and ask for in our lives. We seek good health, strong families, and true wisdom. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke11:1 -13) Jesus says, "And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Before we even think about what we ask for and seek from God, the best thing we can do is see what Jesus asks for and seeks. In the book Ronald Rolheiser, Essential Spiritual Writings, there is this parable from G.K. Chesterton that offers a lot of food for thought: “A man who was entirely careless of spiritual affairs died and went to hell. And he was much missed on earth by his old friends. His business agent went down to the gates of hell to see if there was any chance of bringing him back. But though he pleaded for the gates to be opened, the iron bars never yielded. His priest also went and argued: ‘He was not really a bad fellow, given time he would have matured. Let him out, please!’ The gates remained stubbornly shut against all their voices. Finally, his mother came; she did not beg for his release. Quietly, and with a strange catch in her voice, she said to Satan: ‘Let me in.’ Immediately the great door swung open upon their hinges. For love goes down through the gates of hell and there redeems the dead.”


The One Thing That Is Needed

07-17-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

“You are anxious and worried about many things.” Those are the words of Jesus to Martha who was complaining to Jesus about her sister’s seeming lack of help in welcoming Jesus in their home in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:38-42). Mary simply sat at the feet of Jesus welcoming Him with her joyful and undivided attention. We have much to be anxious and worried about in our personal and communal lives as Americans and inhabitants of the planet earth. The economy is making a great difference with the rising prices of so many of the necessities of life. There is the political and social unrest with protests over the overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court. We are living with relatives and friends who are dealing with same sex attraction. The summer vacation has brought a reprieve from what our children are being taught or exposed to in our schools at very young ages about same sex attraction. The Smithtown Library tried to take down a display in the children’s section and put it back up. Yes, there is much to be anxious and worried about.


Who is my neighbor?

07-10-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Many people come into and go out of our lives over the passage of time. The people who are most intimately part of our lives love us as we are. Marital intimacy is a beautiful gift that brings us into being in our mother’s womb. Our parents choose each other and marry with great joy, hopes, and love. We don’t choose our parents and they don’t choose us. Our birth is time of great joy as we are seen and held in their arms and embraced and kissed by them. They joyfully embrace us and accept us. They have a great deal of influence on us as we grow to adulthood and independence.


The Baggage that Weighs Us Down

07-03-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the joys many of us experience in the summer is to take a trip somewhere. A key part of our trip is packing what we need for where we are going and what we are going to do. Sometimes we over pack and sometimes we find we have left something behind that would be very useful. In today’s Gospel (Luke 19:1-12, 17-20) we see Jesus sending seventy-two of His disciples to places He intended to visit. His instructions are: “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.” Their concern is not what they need in terms of luggage, but what they are going to do. They are to prepare for His coming into the various villages. He makes it clear that they will not always experience a warm welcome. If that happens He instructs them to simply walk away.



06-26-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Courage is the ability to rise above and beyond fear, anger, confusion, opposition, rejection and condemnation. Courage is rising above all that is negative and evil to live and speak the truth with love. In the Gospel for Mass this Sunday (Luke 9:51-62), it says that Jesus was “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” He knew He was going to be rejected and crucified for speaking and living the truth with love. But He was resolute - resolved to do what needed to be done to bring us salvation, to save us from our limitations, fears, incompleteness, stupidity, ignorance, and sinfulness. Without Jesus we are doomed to know only insecurity, incompleteness, confusion, and division within ourselves and division among one another. Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided cannot stand.” It is the truth and only the truth that will set us free and illuminate the way to true peace and unity. Divisions are never healed or resolved with anger, vengeance, selfishness, hatred, apathy, or condemnation. Divisions are only healed when there is truth. Jesus clearly states He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)


The Most Nourishing Meal

06-19-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Meals are a very important part of our lives. To be healthy we need to eat foods that are good for us. But as important as food is, even more importantly, we are nourished by those we eat our meals with. It is always joyful to gather at table to celebrate special events in our lives. Weddings, graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries are but a few of the reasons we gather. How good it is to gather each day to eat with those we live with. We share our lives, experiences, thoughts, needs, and hopes with them. It is the presence of those we love and who love us that makes our meals special and nourish far beyond the vitamins, minerals, and other positives in the food we consume bodily.


All You Who are Thirsty, Come to the Water!

06-12-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus and concluded our fifty day celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. There are many different ways to contemplate the Resurrection of Jesus. One of the thoughts that came to my mind as I was praying the rosary last Sunday and reflecting on the first Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection of Jesus, was that there are two very distinct things that happened. First of all He physically rose from the dead. He also rose above all that caused His death - the betrayal of Judas, the denials of Peter, and the abandonment of all the other apostles except St. John. And when He rose He came back to His followers. He did not rise and descend into human anger, vengeance, and disappointment. He rose to continue to do what He always did with His followers all during His three year public ministry - to assure them of HIs love, to raise them beyond their fears and doubts, and to enable them to look beyond the horror of Good Friday to the true meaning of Easter. The words of joy and hope that were expressed in the Preface at the Masses for Ascension Thursday open our minds and hearts to the wonder of Jesus’ love for us: “Mediator between God and man, judge of the world and Lord of hosts, he ascended not to distance himself from our lowly state but that we, his members, might be confident of following where he, our Head and Founder, has gone before.”


Come Holy Spirit

06-05-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

This past Monday we celebrated Memorial Day as a nation. I was privileged to be part of two celebrations here in Smithtown as I said prayers at the Smithtown Fire Department service at the fire house at 9:00am and then the prayers at the end of the parade on the steps of Town Hall. At a time when we have tension, division, and violence in our nation, it was refreshing to gather and give thanks for those who have served in our armed forces, those who serve in the Smithtown Fire Department, those who have given their lives for our nation. We have the freedoms we have and when we use them well good is accomplished.


The Best Gifts

05-29-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

How good it is when we are united in love and concern for one another. The prayer of every parent and every family member is seen in today’s Gospel (John 17:20-26) where Jesus is ending His words to His disciples at the Last Supper and about to go out and pray in the Garden and then be arrested and crucified. Jesus knows that the unity He prays for will not happen the next day. In fact His disciples will run away in fear when He is arrested and crucified. But Jesus never stopped hoping because He never stopped loving. His words of prayer from His heart were: “Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” The more we can see the love others have for us, especially in their patience and forgiveness, the stronger our bond with each other and the more united we become.


The Path of Life

05-22-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

Consistency is a very important part of who we are. To be consistent, we strive to be faithful to our commitments in life. It is very easy to make a commitment, to speak the words. But when we are challenged and questioned, our hearts and minds are revealed. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 14:23-29), Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.” Jesus not only speaks the words of God, He is the Word of God. This point is clearly made in the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel where St. John tells us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”


The Only Way, Truth & Life

05-15-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the passages from the Bible that is read at funerals at times comes from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. It begins with these words: “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens” and concludes with these words: “There is a time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace.” We are all very aware of the war going on in Ukraine. How horrible to see the death and destruction of the people there. How and when will peace come? In our own nation we do not physically have a war but we certainly see a lot of hatred and anger. Will love ever become our guiding light?


Growth and Change

05-08-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

At times we quizzically ask, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” That simple question came to mind after a conversation I had that was thought provoking: What comes first - growth or change? In order to change growth has to take place and if growth is going to occur change is necessary. From birth to death our bodies and minds are constantly changing. Our bodies grow physically from infancy to adulthood to old age. Our minds are filled with ideas, thoughts, and information and experiences that we reflect on. Our ultimate quest is to see not only how we got to where we are in this point in life, but where our life’s journey is leading us.


Jesus Loves Us As We Are and Loves Us Too Much to Leave Us That Way

05-01-2022From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As we continue our celebration of Easter we reflect on the power of Jesus to rise from the dead and to share His power over sin and death with us. From a human point of view Jesus could have just given up. He could have come back breathing anger and disappointment. But as we saw in last Sunday’s Gospel with the doubting Thomas, Jesus came back to reassure and renew His followers with His love. I recently listened to a short reflection that had this simple point: Jesus loved His followers as they were, but He also loved them too much to let them stay the way they were. The crucifixion of Jesus filled them with fear and despair. As we saw in last Sunday’s Gospel (John 20:19-31) Jesus came through doors the disciples had locked for fear of being associated with Him and greeted them with these words: “Peace be with you!” As much as He loved them all during His three year public ministry, He did not let their flawed and fearful humanity lead Him to give up on them. He loved them as they were but loved them too much to leave them that way.