Why do we celebrate John the Baptist’s birth today? John the Baptist was six months older than his cousin Jesus. On December 25th, we celebrate Jesus’ birth, so in June, six months earlier, we celebrate John’s birth.
John’s vocation was to “make ready” the hearts of the weak, the sinful, the doubtful, the lost, to prepare them for the coming of Jesus.
The Church uses the work of Ordinary Time—a quiet planting of the seeds of the Kingdom of God, week by week, in us to prepare us little by little for the far off seasons of Advent and ChristmasREAD MORE
I know it has been a long wait, but we can finally announce our new parochial vicar (associate pastor): Father Miguel Noyola. Father Miguel is from Guatemala. He has been a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, but wants to join our diocese. Because he was a member of a religious congregation it took a little longer to get the official notice.
Father Miguel has been working at Most Holy Trinity parish here in Phoenix, and he has occasionally helped us with Spanish masses at the Capilla. He will arrive here on Aug 17.
I know you will welcome him; he is very excited to be with us.
God, the ever generous Father, gives us gifts to help grow in sanctity. Some gifts are in the form of a cross while others are joy filled.
Instead of gratitude for His gifts, we, His spoiled children, complain. Instead of praying, “Give us this day our daily bread” our prayer is more like, “Give me nonfat, fructose and gluten free, whole grain lightly toasted bread with real fruit preserves and for coffee I want….” Demanding, complaining and negativity are rejections of God’s goodness.
Questioning God’s fairness, complainers think they deserve more and better. As selfish sinners, we don’t deserve the free gift of salvation just as Jesus did not deserve crucifixion. Both were freely given due to God’s boundless generosity. Freed from slavery, the Israelites in the desert grumbled against God and were punished by not seeing the Promised Land.READ MORE
Jesus liked to use examples from the daily lives of the people he knew to teach them about the Kingdom of God. He used simple stories to help us think about much deeper mysteries.
One of the mysteries of God’s Kingdom is that the future cannot be predicted by how things appear here and now. The tiny little mustard seed grows so much bigger than we could have imagined possible. The tiny seed mysteriously grows into “the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
In the Kingdom of God, things are not as they seem! This is good news to us who too often judge based on what we can see.
The seed of the Gospel planted in us and in those we love requires patience and faith. God always sows His kingdom's seed. Our work is to welcome it with a good and generous heart. Then it will produce a rich harvest.READ MORE
“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for it” (Eph. 5:25). Jesus laid down His Life for His Bride, the Church. The greatest example of love is a person laying their life down for another. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk: it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (1 Jn.3: 18). Marriage is sacrificial love. It is the action of laying one’s selfishness down for their beloved spouse. Faithful marriage is the heroic call of love in which the husband and wife consider his/her spouse before him/herself. Thinking and caring for the beloved before self is not easy. However, when a couple begins to live this way, they fall more deeply in love no matter how long they have been married. Both husband and wife are then always thinking, “How can I serve my spouse better? What would my spouse want or need when he or she comes home? How can I help my beloved?” Giving to your spouse is not a form of weakness. Rather, it is following the example of Christ. These nine little words can change your marriage. “What do you need and how can I help”?READ MORE
Next weekend we will say, “Adios” to Fr. Ryan; he will celebrate his last Masses with us at the English Masses. Of course, he will be missed greatly. It is such a privilege to have newly ordained priests with us as they bring so much new thinking to our parish. Fr. Ryan will especially be missed at the school, where the younger children enjoyed his magic tricks so much.
Fr. Paul Sullivan recently said that he thinks I have had more newly ordained priests than any other pastor, not just at OLPH, but throughout my time as pastor. For me, the newly ordained help to keep me up to date on theology and what is being taught to our new priests; yes, they are a little more work at times but always worth it. For the parish, they help us to better understand our Catholic faith: some are more traditional than others, some more liturgical and others bring different gifts. All are faithful Catholic priests and help us become better Catholics ourselves.
Please take the time to thank Fr. Ryan for all he has brought to us.READ MORE
I know that one of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother. That’s why I was confused by today’s Gospel where Jesus seemed to ignore his own mother and brothers when they came “wishing to speak to him.”
It turns out that, despite first impressions, Jesus’ response is not a sign of disrespect. He wants to teach us that in the Kingdom of God, true family ties come not through shared blood, but through obedience to his Father’s will; his law of love.
In the preaching of Jesus, his mother is whoever hears God’s Word and keeps it. When we truly follow Christ we become a mother to him because, by our faith we bring Christ to birth in others.READ MORE
It is hard to believe but the day has arrived! Next Saturday Deacon John Nahrgang will be ordained to the Catholic priesthood, and on Sunday he will celebrate his first Mass here at Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 10:30am. Of course all are invited to both of these special events.
You may remember that when John joined our diocese a few years ago, he was assigned here to OLPH. He lived in the rectory and worked for a number of months before leaving for the seminary. He has been faithful to come “home” to visit during vacation times, so many of you have gotten to know him well.READ MORE
Are you an appropriate model of marriage to your children? Do your children look at your happy, loving marriage and dream of having the same kind of marriage as yours? Do you show your love for your spouse by wanting to be together, serving each other with love, touching them with tenderness, paying attention when they speak, never speaking unkindly to them or about them and praying for them? Or do your children hear you yelling, using angry words, saying unkind things to them and about them, showing frustration and irritation with much of what they say and do?
God designed married love to be joyful and peaceful so that spouses can learn to love as God loves. If your marriage has fallen short of this design, fix it today. The evil one wants to destroy all faith, peace, joy and love. If things aren’t right in your marriage, he will work very hard to present thoughts of discouragement in order to break it. If you feel like giving up, don’t! You and your spouse are listening to the wrong voice! Replace the angry words and arguing with words of encouragement and appreciation. “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up” (1Thes 5:11).READ MORE
In sixth grade I was assigned a seat next to a first-grade girl on the school bus. Her blue plaid uniform told me she attended a Catholic school. The words she sang caused me to listen more carefully. She repeated the same refrain several times. “Eat his body, drink his blood, eat his body, drink his blood . . .” “That’s so sick!” I later commented to my mom. “No, it isn’t. She’s singing about communion,” my mother explained. “It’s no different than the songs we sing at our church.” We didn’t sing about drinking the blood, but we did sing about being washed in Jesus’ blood. I had not considered how strange such a song might sound to someone who had never heard it.READ MORE
It is hard to believe, but Monday I will celebrate my 35th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. Where has all the time gone? I can truthfully say it has been a joy to serve here in the diocese of Phoenix. My first Mass fell on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of the Lord. What a great day to celebrate Mass for the first time! I remember that day well.READ MORE
Jesus, who is God, came “to serve not to be served” (Mt 20:28). In a sacramental marriage, we are to serve our spouse and family with a happy rather than a resentful heart. Because the home and children belong to both spouses, the responsibilities of running the home and caring for the needs of the children belong to both spouses. Regardless of whether both spouses work outside the home or only one, both need to address the evening tasks together with a happy heart. Develop and cultivate the idea of joyfully serving your precious spouse and family. Instead of sitting and relaxing while your beloved makes dinner, does dishes, helps with homework, finishes the laundry and gets ready for the business of the next day, pitch in and assist. When chores and responsibilities fall primarily on one spouse, couples can easily feel used, grow apart and become resentful. But, when couples work together lovingly, kindly and respectfully, marriage and family bonds are strengthened.READ MORE