Peace be with you! The peace I desire for you is the peace that Jesus brings to us at Mass especially at the breaking of bread in the Eucharist. This peace is important toward enhancing our individual lives and our community living.
At St. Mary's, I have seen the zeal in the hearts of men and women for Jesus. I have seen how they approach the sacraments with love and reverence in their hearts knowing that every step brings them closer to Jesus. At the confessional, they approach Jesus for strength to carry on with the journey of life. At the daily celebration of the Eucharist, they never fail to seek Jesus as their bread of life. They know that the Church is a place that connects them with the divine and this is the ultimate joy of serving as a priest.READ MORE
After spending years doing missionary work in South America, Africa and in Eastern Europe, Paul Washer published the book Narrow Gate Narrow Way (Reformation Heritage Books, 2018) detailing his experiences in these locations. Using Matthew 7: 13- 27 as a leading text, Washer reminds Christians to lay a solid foundation based on the teachings of Jesus as the Master. Without following the examples of the Master, some Christians live a vain Christian life because it is not based on the teachings of Jesus as found in scriptures. Also, Washer argues that the way of Jesus is the narrow gate and only a few strive to go by that road.
The book of Washer deals with other topics on how to walk in the narrow way, pursue real holiness and gain a fruitful profession of faith. The gospel of today from Luke 13: 22- 30 discusses these topics with the question of how many will be saved. As Jesus entered Jerusalem, someone confronted him with a question about how many will be saved. He replied , "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.' " This reply by Jesus is scary and fearful about how some people will be treated at the end of time for their non-adherence to the principles he taught.READ MORE
Greetings in the name of Jesus. After four weeks, a few things are evident in our parish of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church. The desire for the Eucharist remains strong and the attendance at the daily and Sunday Masses show a rise in numbers. This is a testimony to our faith as Catholics. We are encouraged by your presence at every liturgical celebration.
In addition to the attendance at every liturgical celebration, I have noticed an improved participation in the singing from the congregation. The hymnals in the pews are useful in assisting congregants sing and I am impressed with the enthusiasm to praise God. More so, the choir gives us familiar songs in familiar tunes which help the congregants to participate.READ MORE
James Davison Hunter's To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2010) explores how the Christian faith influences the modern world. Do Christians living in this modern world positively influence the attitude of others in the world towards living a godly life? These questions may seem academic, but they are also pastorally inclined because the divisions within our relationships make them relevant for a general discussion.
Hunter's book is even more relevant when we consider the desire of conservative Christians in America that there is need for a revival due to low pew numbers. By returning to the old-fashioned practice of religion, families refrain from imbibing neo-liberal ideas that portray Christian values in a different light. The irony of this thinking is that it is too late to return to the old-fashioned religion. However, adherence to the values of the Christian faith is necessary toward witnessing to the name of Jesus in public and private life.READ MORE
Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka's On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century (Image Books, 2013) is a dialogic exchange between then-Cardinal Bergoglio and Argentinian Rabbi Skorka. In this book, both Bergoglio and Skorka express their opinions on different topics affecting Jews and Christians such as God, religion, fundamentalism, politics, the holocaust, and the relationship between Jews and Christians in the story of salvation.
In the 21st century, the dialogue about heaven and earth is still also relevant because the hope of every Christian is to share eternal life with God in heaven. The personal dialogues of now-Pope Francis and the Jewish Rabbi give us an understanding of what Jews and Catholics believe in. Although the fundamental basics could be expressed differently, the core belief systems point to an understanding of a life after this life. A common heritage between Jews and Christian is the bible, a sacred book that contains Jewish historical lifestyle and the story of the messiah. Both respect the Word of God as revealed through the ancient prophets and the work of inspired writers. The pointers in the bible offer us undeniable openings to the realization that earth is temporal while heaven is permanent and eternal.READ MORE
This week witnessed more disturbing events around the world. All of them are pitiful. The shootings in Gilroy in California that killed 6 including a child, the shootings also in Chippewa, Wisconsin that killed six, and other bizarre events.
A few years ago, there was a shooting in a church in France that ended in the murder of 84-year old Fr. Jacques Hamel in the suburb of Rouen in northern France. Fr. Hamel was celebrating morning Mass when his two attackers rushed on the altar in a most indescribable way and martyred him. The Church is the last unusual place anyone would expect an attack of this kind. But don't be deceived, the world in which we live in is capable of surprises. There are ready elements waiting to visit mayhem on their targets, and the Church is the least you would expect. This is truly unfortunate for the 21 st century.
Such bizarre actions to the most vulnerable and harmless within the confines of their comfort zones are the most despicable under the sun. Today's readings illustrate to us the vanity of life by reminding us that life has a finality. All the toils and labors of daily life have an end.READ MORE
I greet you in the name of Jesus. This week I am impressed with the work of our parish volunteers.
The first time I arrived at our parish office, I was taken to a section of the St. Mary Center. I saw huge freezers and I began to wonder what purpose they serve in our community. I was told that they belong to Our Daily Bread, a society within our parish that prepares sandwiches for distribution to the needy in our town. I was deeply impressed. For the past three weeks, I have watched how volunteers go in there and spend hours working as a team preparing sandwiches and other goodies for the needy. This is what teamwork is all about, and what it means to live in a faith community such as ours.READ MORE
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship (Simon & Schuster, 1959, 1995) writes about our human relationship with God as divine Father. Bonhoeffer says vividly that God is our Father and we are his children with a special bond and an undying love. Bonhoeffer writes, " The child asks of the Father whom he knows. Thus, the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition. The right way to approach God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father." This passage describes what every Christian needs to do to establish that special bond with God. Prayer is that opening that makes us bond with God beyond any imagination.
Thus, the topic of prayer is wide, and no amount of discussion can cover it. However, we can pinpoint few aspects of prayer that are very important. By itself, prayer is the raising up of our hearts and minds to God through a special connection. Faith is that special connection which we need to talk to the Father, the creator of the universe. But sometimes this special connection has distractions and we find ourselves without proper focus when we set out to pray.READ MORE
I greet you in the name of Jesus. There are a few points to relate this week.
Since the Mass is the center of our worship as Catholics, we need to participate. While the Mass is being celebrated, it is important to respond to the prayers and receive that blessing from God during our worship. By singing, we pray twice as St. Augustine said, "He who sings, prays twice."READ MORE
When we are faced with many options, we tend to choose that which is beneficial to us at any given time. Choosing what is important makes us unique in our tastes and in our vision of life. This is evident in the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus entered their home. While Martha concerned herself with serving Jesus at table, Mary chose to listen to what Jesus had to say. Both chose to act differently when Jesus entered their home.
The reply of Jesus to Martha's choice is an admonition of what she needs to pay attention to at that given time. He said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." Between Mary and Martha, one of them did what was necessary when Jesus visited their house. Using our intuition to do things at the right time with the right intention makes us unique. You cannot be dancing when your house is on fire, neither can you be at peace when your loved one is sick. You need to act quickly when a challenging situation comes your way.READ MORE
The parables of Jesus teach us how to live the Christian life. By reading them carefully, we can draw many lessons from them. This week's gospel is about how to inherit eternal life. By giving us the examples of how to gain eternal life, Jesus draws our attention on the best way to gain eternal life.
The scholar replied to Jesus based on what was written in the law of Moses. Every Jewish man and woman knew the law by heart; "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." The scholar decided to ask Jesus about who is a neighbor. Jesus did not give a direct answer; he rather gave a parable that answers the question. The story is about a man who fell among robbers and he was left between life and death. Three people saw him by the roadside but only one person, a Samaritan did something to save him.READ MORE
Thanks for the welcome! Fr. Julius Kayiwa and I are happy to work in your midst both at St. Mary's Kingman and Our Lady of the Desert, Dolan Springs. We take these assignments seriously. We see these assignments as our call to duty in the Church and we remain grateful to Bishop Thomas Olmsted and his auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares for trusting us.
Since arriving here, many parishioners are asking the kind of leadership we shall offer. The leadership is that of Jesus and Mary showing us the way. As Parochial Administrator, I have taken time to read a brief history of the parish of St. Mary's. From the 1900s to the present time, many priests have worked here. The parish, therefore, has a long history in which many actors have come and gone. We are here not as actors but as priests ready to continue with the good works of our predecessors. In this way, I shall strive to lead the parish toward understanding the teachings of Jesus as exemplified by the Catholic Church. I shall strive to draw people to the Eucharist via the celebration of daily Mass.READ MORE
We are never alone, especially when we are in Adoration. Our guardian angels and patron saints are delighted to see the souls entrusted to their care come into the presence of the Eucharistic Lord. In fact, when you go to Adoration, you give a special gift to your guardian angel. Their whole mission is to bring your soul to Jesus. Well, we come into the presence of Jesus at every Holy Hour! Take a minute in Adoration to thank your angel for their prayers and their constant, steadfast help, and maybe even offer a prayer for their intentions.
If, after an initial period of silent Adoration, you feel a desire to pray, read or write, then you simply allow yourself to move naturally into whatever activity you feel led to do at each moment. Reading the scriptures, pamphlets, or books is always appropriate, and many people also like to pray the Rosary or make the stations of the Cross. Traditional prayers in preparation for Holy Mass or in thanksgiving after Mass can also be very fruitful, particularly when they are addressed directly to Christ in the Eucharist.
Like St. Faustina, we all need to spend times of silence in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord to let Him minister to us with His healing, merciful love. And we also need these times of silent presence to love Him and make reparation for our sins andthose of the whole world. It is a powerful and effective way to thank Him for His gift of mercy tous and, at the same time, to be “merciful to Him”since the Lord continues to suffer in His Body, the Church.