Third Sunday of Advent

Gaudete et Exultate!
Rejoice and be glad!
Happy Gaudete Sunday!

This third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday and is hallmarked by the ROSE (not pink!) candle. Much like the first hues of the morning sky as dawn approaches, so does this Sunday mark a turning point is the waiting for the coming of Christ is almost over and we can see the first hint of light on the horizon. In the words from our second reading from the book of James, however, “Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.” It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here, but we must not get ahead of ourselves. There is still plenty of Advent joy left, as we prepare for the coming celebration of Christ’s birth. I hope and pray that this Advent season has been fruitful and has led you to a deeper relationship with God. Let’s use whatever time we have left in this season to continue our preparations so that we may be ready to go out and meet Christ when he comes.

Love,
Fr. Jason

Christ King of the Universe

Today marks the last Sunday of Ordinary Time and next week we begin the season of Advent as we prepare for the coming of our Lord at Christmas. It is fitting that we conclude the liturgical year with the celebration of Christ the King of the Universe. This pilgrimage of life finds its culmination in our entering into the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Christ our King and High Priest gives us but a foretaste of that heavenly kingdom in this eucharist. That is why what we do here is so important and why we come week after week, so that we may not lose sight of the heavenly reality to which we are called. As we conclude this liturgical year it is good that we pause for a moment for some spiritual reflection. To acknowledge the blessings God has brought into our lives as well as the challenges. In reflecting hopefully we are able to see how we have grown spiritually!

Love,
Fr. Jason

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

First and foremost, I would like to thank all those who worked so hard last weekend to prepare a beautiful celebration for my Installation as a pastor and all those who came out to celebrate with us. It was such a beautiful day and another vivid reminder of God’s abundant grace.

With my Installation fresh on my mind, this weekend’s gospel resonated with me. As I mentioned, out of the seventeen years I have been a priest, I have been a pastor for 14 of them. This weekend marks the fourth time I have been installed as a pastor of a parish (in the case of my first pastorate, three parishes). For a priest, and even more so for a pastor, the relationship to a parish does have a spousal nature. The question that can be drawn is, whose pastor will I be in eternity?

I recognize the absurdity and silliness of the question, but it reflects an important point. We have a hard time understanding the heavenly reality, indeed, we have a hard time fully understanding God. Too often, we try to apply our human constructs to God and to eternity. Yet, God and the heavenly dwelling are so far beyond what we can conceive that even the greatest theologians have barely scratched the surface. The realities of this world do not hold true to those of eternity. This is the point that Our Lord is making to the Pharisees in today’s gospel and it is a point he sadly must make at times to his own disciples, God’s ways are not our own.

It is good for us to step back from time to time to gain objectivity and to realize that in our lives here on Earth, we catch but glimpses of what lies in store for us in eternity.

Love,
Fr. Jason

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

This weekend at the 12 noon mass, Bishop Estevez will officially install me as pastor of Assumption. As I have said, it is very good to be home! I want to thank you for the warm welcome home and for all the love and support you have shown me. As we continue this journey together I look forward to working with you as we strive to proclaim the gospel and build up the Kingdom of God! Please know of my prayers for you each and every day, and please pray for Fr. Eric and I as we strive with your help to serve the needs of our community. May Almighty God bless and guide us in the many years to come!

As we have just passed All Hallows Eve, and I am sure that so many of our children enjoyed a night of trick-or-treating, I would like to talk about Zombies….bear with me…and no, I am not talking about the walking Zombies with their faces glued to their smartphones! A little warning that this movie would be a bit much for young ones.

A brief caveat, I only watched this movie because a Sister on twitter recommended it and said that St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body could be seen as an underlying theme throughout the movie. This was not the intention of the writers of this film, I am sure.

In the movie Warm Bodies, we go on a journey with a Zombie who recognizes that he is a Zombie and we hear his inner monologue as he shares the story of his current state. As with Zombies in general, he is not accepted by humanity, I don’t think I need to explain why. Through a chance encounter, whatever was still human in him falls in love with a human woman. What unfolds is a story out of how an encounter with love can transform the human heart and restore our humanity.

Jump to today’s gospel. Zacchaeus is a tax collector who, because of his profession, is shunned by his community. Yet there is something in his heart that still yearns for love and acceptance despite his current state. He finds this love in the person of Jesus Christ and this encounter transforms his life and restores the fullness of his humanity.

When we encounter Christ, I mean truly encounter him, we never walk away the same. The love of Christ transforms and renews us and helps us to recognize not only our own dignity but the dignity of others.

As we have celebrated All Saints and All Souls, we remember those who have gone before us, especially those who exemplified the faith. May we never forget the saying, “every saint had a past, every sinner has a future.” As St. John Paul II reminds us, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”

On another note, Save the Date: Camino Presentation. We have an upcoming Camino April 19- May 3, 2020. We will have an informational meeting on Friday, November 8, 2019, at 6:00 PM in Kohls Hall with Rui and Yoli from Ultreia y Suseia who will share with us the Camino experience, the upcoming Camino and answer any questions you may have. Come and join us!

Love,
Fr. Jason

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