A few weeks ago, on what was one of the first cold days of the Fall, I was out for my Friday morning sick calls to the parish’s shut-ins, and because of the cold, I was wearing a scarf. I am assuming that because I was wearing a scarf, the couple who approached me were not aware of who I was. I was at first, also not aware of who they were. As it turned out, this couple was a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses Missionaries and as they stopped me to talk, they offered me a copy of their beautiful magazine. Once they had showed me their magazine and introduced themselves, I decided that I would be a little mischievous with them. After they showed me their beautiful magazine that offered to explain the Bible to me, I told them how happy I was to meet them because I was from the local Catholic parish and sometimes we needed assistance serving the poor. I told them that with some of the other Christian denominations and synagogues in the neighbourhood our parish offered a meal to the poor once a week and I would love to be able to add their community to our local list. They told me that they did not do that kind of thing. That is alright I said, because I also said that with the Salvation Army and some of the other Christian denominations, the Catholic Church operates places like Covenant House and the Good Shephard Mission and that maybe they could give me some of the addresses for their shelters, just in case ours ever got filled up. I was told that they do not do that kind of thing. Just as one final attempt, I said that our St. Vincent de Paul Society will often do home visits to those in need in our community and sometimes I direct people to the Salvation Army Store. If I needed to get help for someone in their neighbourhood, I asked where could I send them? I was told that this was the government’s job and that they did not do that kind of thing. With that, I gave them back their beautiful booklet and told them that I think they had explained to me how their bible works. Continue reading
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life.”
Is not this the question that each one of us would like to ask Jesus? Is this not one of the reasons that we try to follow Jesus and observe his teachings? In today’s Gospel, we hear of a man who runs up to Jesus and kneels before Him to ask the question to which many of us would also like to know the answer: “What must we do to inherit eternal life?” In responding to this question, Jesus answers with three different layers to His response. The first response that He gives to the man is that he is required to both know and follow the commandments. We know this man must be a good person, because he testifies that this he has done his whole life. The man is already living a good life and sincerely seeks to follow Jesus. When this man tells Jesus that he has always followed the commandments, Jesus tells him that there is still one thing that he must do, “sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” With these words, the man goes away, sad that he is not able to follow Jesus, because as the Gospel tells us, he had many possessions. The man is not able to give up everything to follow the Lord. As the other disciples see this good man go away sad, they wonder about their own future and Peter asks on their behalf what will happen to them, since they have left everything. To those who have left everything, Jesus assures them that will have treasure in Heaven and that they will indeed inherit eternal life. Jesus has a stern warning, however, for those who cling to worldly wealth, since it will be an obstacle to them entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus uses the image of a large camel trying to pass through a gate in the wall of the city of Jerusalem, known as the “eye of the needle.” Just as no camel was able to pass through this gate, so too those who cling to their wealth, will not be able to pass into Heaven. Their attachment to this world will make it impossible for them to freely pass into Heaven. In fact, Jesus goes on to say that in most cases, it is impossible for people to be saved on their own. Happily, as Jesus reports, while it is impossible for a person to be saved on his or her own, with God all things are possible. For the person who truly wishes to be saved, all that is really required of him or her is that he or she welcome Jesus as a little child would do. For those who do this, salvation is very easy, because it is accomplished not by one’s own efforts but by God’s Grace. Continue reading
“He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” In fact, He, Jesus, has done much more than that. He has also destroyed death and given to each of us the gift of eternal life. It seems to me that this week’s Gospel and Sunday readings contain a very powerful reminder about what our faith is all about and where it is as Christians that we are really called to place our faith. Continue reading
This past week, one of the local neighbours invited me to attend a movie with him at the Varsity Cinema. The movie that he asked me to attend with him was called: “Won’t You Be My Nieghbour.” This is a documentary about the children’s broadcaster Fred Rogers and his show for children, which was better known as the Mr. Roger’s Show. It tells of how Fred Rogers was preparing to study to be an ordained Presbyterian Minister. However, just as he was in the midst of his studies he encountered the new medium of television in the early 1960’s. As he watched television, he was concerned about the kind of entertainment that was directed towards children. He saw that all of the television shows produced for children did not take them very seriously and had rather mindless comedy at their centre. He was particularly concerned by the pretend violence that these shows directed towards young people. Fred Rogers believed in the value of each young person and thought a more important mission would be to produce television which took young people seriously and tried to let them know how much each of them was valued and loved. Continue reading
We celebrate this weekend our parish’s titular feast day, the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. This feast takes place on June 29th, but over the last few years we have switched its celebration to the nearest Sunday so that it may be celebrated more solemnly at our Sunday Masses. It is obvious why we call Saint Peter our titular saint— the parish being named St. Peter’s; but perhaps the connection to St. Paul is not so clear. It is because of the many years of faithful service that the Paulist Fathers rendered to this parish that we also honour Saint Paul as our parish’s other titular saint.
We are fortunate to have two such amazing saints as our parish’s titular patrons. Both St. Peter and St. Paul have so much to teach us. I believe these two great saints teach us by their lives both who we are and what we are called to become. Their lives show us the power of God’s grace to transform our lives and the way in which we are called to witness to what that grace is capable of doing in each of us. Continue reading
One of the things that I am most grateful for in my life is that I have lived into my fifties and still have my father and mother and they continue to be happy and healthy. There is no doubt in my mind that the older I get, the more I appreciate all that they have done for me. Since they have been together for as long as I have been alive, it is impossible for me to think of them as separate. They are and always have been for me simply “my parents.” So much do I think of them as one, that I sometimes find it odd when I tell people that I am going to visit my parents and certain people respond by saying, “Oh, you are going to visit your mommy.” It always makes me wonder what kind of relationship they had with their parents and I always make a point of saying, “no, I am going to visit my father and my mother.” Both my father and my mother have always been there for me and have always supported me with their love. Continue reading
Have you ever noticed how we as human beings talk to one another when we are in love with another person? Once we realize that we are in love with a person, we usually try and get the courage to tell the other person about this love. After we have said it once, we usually want to tell them over and over again. As these words lose their strength, we start to add adverbs and adjectives to describe our love. We say: “I love you very, very much,” or, “I will love you for all eternity.” I have always thought that this reality about ourselves, that when we love someone, we want to love them forever, is one of the best proofs for the existence of God and the fact that we each have an eternal soul. Because we are made in the the image and likeness of God, who is love, we are all of us made for love. The fact that when we do love, we usually wish to love a person for all eternity, points also to the fact that we have an eternal soul, one which was created to live and love forever. This is why when two people are in love and one of them dies, they can still feel such attachment and such a strong desire to continue in relationship with the person with whom they are in love. Continue reading
A Year of Transition
This year, our parish community will experience many changes and transitions – some challenging, and others very exciting. I believe it is important that all of us, as a parish community, understand the changes and the reasons for them. So, your parish Pastoral Council decided it was an appropriate time to provide you with an update.
The two biggest changes we face this year involve the parish offices moving out of the Paulist Ministry Centre and the renovations to the Rectory. Continue reading
“The Kingdom of God is at Hand. Repent, and Believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
The Season of Lent begins with the beautiful practice of presenting ourselves before the Lord on Ash Wednesday for the imposition of ashes on our foreheads. As the ashes are imposed on our heads, there are two formulas that may be said as we receive the ashes. These are either: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel;” or “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” These two formulas express well the meaning of this season. In Lent, we are called to turn away from all that prevents us from following the Lord. This is what is implied in the first formula that calls us to conversion. We are also to remember that it is only because of Christ’s resurrection that we have been saved from turning back to dust at the end of our earthly journeys. Because Christ has risen from the dead, we too are invited to share in His resurrection and the Kingdom that He has won for us by His life, death and resurrection. The whole purpose of Lent is that we should prepare during this season to renew our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday. Continue reading
We begin reading today at Sunday Mass the Gospel of Mark. The Sunday readings are divided into three different annual cycles of readings. These have the names: “Year A”, Year B”, and “Year C.” In each of these years, the Church has us listen to one of the three Synoptic Gospels, which are Matthew, Mark and Luke. The Gospel of John, because it is dramatically different from these Synoptic Gospels, is read in portions in each of these three liturgical years. The Gospel of Mark is read in Year B, which is the liturgical year that we begin now. In the early Church, people thought that the Gospel of Matthew was the first to have been written. This is why the Gospels are ordered Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible. However, today, Bible scholars think that the Gospel of Mark was written first and that it was used by both Matthew and Luke indirectly to write their Gospels. Because the three seem to have similar sources, they are called the Synoptic Gospels. The Gospel of John is so different that it is believed to have been based upon an entirely different set of traditions. For this reason it is not one of the Synoptic Gospels and is read each year in small portions. In fact because the Gospel of Mark is the shortest, this year, during Year B of the Lectionary, in the summer there are six weeks in which we read from chapter six, the bread of life discourse, from the Gospel of John. Continue reading