Reaching out for God’s help by praying “Our Father”

Imagine what it would be like if Canada Post only delivered on one day during each person’s entire life. On that day, the individual would receive every letter and every bill from his or her lifetime. The experience would be overwhelming and would crush the person who attempted to deal with this lifetime of correspondence in a day.

Sometimes, I think we can all loose perspective on life and think that we must handle all of our life’s problems on our own—all in a day.

This is certainly what I did when the events of COVID 19 started to develop last March. Instead of taking things one day at a time, one thing at a time, I began to panic and believe that I had to solve every possible concern facing myself and the parish, on my own and in that moment. Continue reading

Come, Everyone, Receive Love and Life Eternal, Without Cost

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading from Matthew, we hear the miraculous story of the feeding of the five thousand. As we hear of this incredible miracle, we might be tempted to ask ourselves why five thousand? Why did Jesus feed only five thousand?

Well, I think the readings also hint at the answer to this question. Jesus only fed five thousand because there were only five thousand there to receive what He offered. In fact, the scriptures indicate that He actually fed more than five thousand, as the Gospel actually says: “And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

Jesus fed everyone who came to Him to be fed. He still does this today. Continue reading

Getting Through COVID 19 With the Help of all My Rich Friends

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend from high school. He was sharing with me how a few of his wealthy friends had helped him make it through COVID 19. One of his wealthy friends had given him a contract to do some work shortly after he had lost his fulltime employment. Another friend had allowed him to live in a spare condominium that he owned. Still another friend had loaned him a car to get to work during the pandemic. Despite all of this assistance from others, this person still appeared to be worried and anxious about the future.

As I thought about this individual, and the way many of his wealthy friends had helped him out during the COVID 19 pandemic, this week’s reading about the hidden treasure and pearl of great value got me to thinking about some of the super-rich people who have helped me out during this pandemic. I thought today, I would tell you about some of my rich friends who have helped me out during this pandemic. Continue reading

God Believes in Human Beings

The readings that we hear this Sunday, on the Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, touch on some of the most difficult questions that we as Christians might find ourselves struggling with before God. These questions are: How is it possible that God allows evil to exist and grow alongside the good? Why are so many crimes left unpunished by God or treated so leniently? Why, in sum, is there this sort of permissive attitude on God’s part, as if He did not have the means to punish evil and check its spread?

I remember being asked questions like these a few years ago by the candidates to the parish’s confirmation class. It seemed at the time that the best way to answer this question was based in the answer that is always right when it comes to God, so I said “because God is love.” Continue reading

“Let anyone with ears listen” (Matthew 13:9)

In the Eastern Rites, before the Gospel is proclaimed, the announcement is made to the assembly: “Wisdom: Let us be attentive.” This seems to be a good summary of what Jesus is asking us to understand as He tells the Parable of the Seed and the Sower in this Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew.  His message is that God’s Word has been sent for us to hear, we are responsible for whether our hearts are open to receive it.

A few years ago, I was flying down to visit my parents. As I sat on the plane, I was reading a copy of the Youth Catechism (YouCat). Although the lady seated next to me had a large book of her own, she was clearly more interested in the book that I was reading. I noticed that she kept gazing over at my book and trying to make eye contact. After a while I looked up and smiled at her. As soon as our eyes connected, she asked me if I was a Catholic. The second that I replied that I was a Catholic priest, she could not wait to tell me that she used to be a Catholic but was now a member of the Church of Scientology. With great joy and excitement, she showed me a huge book written by L. Ron Hubbard and told me that she had read almost all of his books. Continue reading

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28)

On the first weekend in March that we were told that we could not celebrate Mass publicly in our churches, I had what I can only describe as a panic attack. During the first few weeks of the closure of the churches, I struggled with a great deal of anxiety. I was terribly worried about how our parish, which struggles financially under normal circumstances, was going to pay its bills through this crisis. I was fearful that it would be necessary to lay off our parish staff and I did not know how I was going to look after the parishioners during this time of closure or how our huge property could be maintained without our staff. The anxiety and stress that was causing me to panic was based in the fact that I thought I had to solve these problems on my own and the illusion that I could be in control in these difficult circumstances. Continue reading

The Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

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. Continue reading

The Source of Our Dis-ease

Ever since COVID 19 became a reality in our lives a few months ago, everyone that I have spoken with has shared with me how uneasy this situation has made them feel. For all of us, the uncertainty of illness, fear of suffering and death make us uneasy. This reality of our human condition is expressed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church at number 1500, as it states: “Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, [we] experience powerlessness, limitations, and finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.” It is this fact, that illness can give us a glimpse of death, that I think makes many of us so uneasy in the face of the current situation and the uncertainty that comes with sickness. It seems to me that this uneasiness that we all feel in the face of uncertainty and sickness, or the fear of death, can best be described by the word “dis-ease.” Continue reading

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: Sacrament of the Real Presence of God’s Love.

These days, during the COVID 19 pandemic, and the state of emergency that is now in existence in our province, many of us have gotten used to doing things “virtually.” We meet with people from work virtually, attend Bible studies and have virtual family celebrations. There is a certain ease to doing things virtually. There is no need to really show up for a virtual encounter. These kinds of meetings are convenient and don’t call for the same kind of commitment and sacrifice that really showing up for an event can require. Continue reading