"Be it done unto me according to thy word" (Lk.1:38). "Not my will Father but your will be done" (Lk.22:42). Those are two of the most important phrases in the entire Bible. Blessed Mother was willing to accept the will of God, regardless of the consequences and uncertainty of her future as an unmarried, pregnant teenager. Jesus, the Son of God, accepted His horrific agony and sacrificial death to be obedient and please His Heavenly Father. Obedient trust in the will of the Father was not easy for them and is not easy for married couples who endure difficult times in their marriages. Obedient love of the Father is what every sacramentally married Catholic is called to do. Catholic marriage is a binding, life-long, exclusive, fruitful relationship that is always centered in Christ but most importantly when times are difficult.READ MORE
Oh my gosh, it is almost October already! Of course, the next three months are very busy for most of us. Before we get too involved in holiday preparations and school activities, including our parish Unity Festival, I want to remind you to consider giving to Catholic Education Arizona.
Our state is a leader in the tax credit program, and we can be proud of that. Donating to CEA, or any tuitions program is a direct credit on you tax liability to the state. If you are working, money is taken out of your check for your state taxes; you can get a refund up to the amount you give to tax credit organizations. You can give to different organizations. Public schools have organizations to help pay for special programs that are not part of the normal school curriculum. This is a great help to public schools as well.READ MORE
What is it about human beings that makes us suspicious of those who are not "one of us"? In today's Gospel, the Apostles want to stop a man who is driving out demons using Jesus' name.
But, Jesus did not see this man as a threat to His mission. Jesus was thankful that because the man drove out demons in His Name, he would not, at the same time, speak ill of Him. God alone sees the secret intention of the heart; no act of charity goes unnoticed. And God, alone, decides who is a recipient of His Spirit and His gifts.READ MORE
St Paul likens his ministry to the love of fathers for their children when he says, "We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in His own Kingdom and glory" (1Thes 2:12). Fathers have a huge role to play in their children's lives and God the Father gives them the grace to fulfill this role through the sacraments. Fathers take their fatherhood from God the Father and through their very lives of love and sacrifice, train their children to know, love and serve God. Fathers provide and protect their family and like St Paul's example, encourage, comfort and urge their children to do what is right in the sight of God through obedience to the commandments and to the Church Christ founded on the Apostles.READ MORE
Jesus delights in lifting up the lowly. When he took a child into His arms, He completely identified himself with the lowest member of society. Children are totally dependent on others for everything. Even in our day "important people" do not often ask small children for their opinions or preferences. Yet, there is something in us that knows it is good and right for a strong, influential person to stoop down and interact with a small child. The powerful and mighty decide what will happen, often imposing their wills on others.READ MORE
I want to again thank you for your generous contributions to the Together Let Us Go forth Campaign -Juntos Sigamos Adelante. Every week we receive pledge money and I know many of you send directly to the diocese. As I told you last month, we have already received our first check for our portion of your contributions totaling $24,000. Of course, we put that into savings until we receive enough to start fixing what we promised.READ MORE
Our Religious Education students return to their Sunday morning classes this week. Please pray for catechists and families to grow closer to Christ by learning to know and love God's ways.
Parents and children love to learn about Jesus as the miracle worker, the healer, the One whom even the wind and seas obeyed. But it is also necessary to learn that Jesus was the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah, the One who would be like a sheep led to the slaughter. Are we ready to follow Jesus wherever He leads?READ MORE
"Love is not selfish" (1 COR 13:5). To insist on your own way is selfish and says to your spouse, "My way is better than your way…I am smarter…you don't count." Marriage is not a game with winners and losers. If you insist on your own way, having to be right in every discussion, you are going to win the discussion and lose the love and respect of your spouse. Your spouse has the right to share their perspective on issues.READ MORE
Last week I reminded parents of their baptismal responsibility to bring their children up in the Catholic faith. I would add that this also applies to grandparents and godparents. I said that we as a parish community will help with that responsibility by providing programs for adults to grow in their faith as well as programs for children and teens.
One of the ways we try to help is by enrolling in the program called FORMED. We have recently renewed our parish subscription based on the feedback we have received from those who are using it.READ MORE
St. James, in today's readings tells us to imitate Christ who cares for the lost, the outcast, the sick, the weak, and the poor. When we were missionaries in Guatemala visiting an impoverished rural area, I got word that a young couple wanted prayers for their dying child. I wasn't sure what to expect. The mother was maybe 16 years old; the father not much older. She held their firstborn son in her arms. The father stroked the child's damp hair. The baby looked to be about fifteen months old, listless, his neck arched and unnaturally stiff. They asked me to please pray, so I began. "Oremos." - Let us pray. The instant I spoke, they dropped to their knees on the bare floor and I began to pray aloud in Spanish. I don't remember what I prayed, only how helpless I felt. When I finished, they stood, crying and thanking me again and again and again for my prayers.READ MORE
Have you battled over families of origin with deep anger but no resolution? You are not alone. We have all been hardwired by our family of origin, bringing what we learned as children into our marriage. We are to honor our parents according to the fourth commandment, to respect and help them when they are in need but we are not to repeat their toxic behaviors. You and your parents are not a sacrament. "A man is to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife and the two become one" (MT 19:5).READ MORE
This weekend our Religious education program begins and Tuesday our Jr. High Youth Group will start with our new Youth Minister, Julie McConnell. Of course, that also means that Wednesday our High School program begins. It is that time of year that many of our programs for adults will also be starting up if they have not started already. It is a busy time.READ MORE
To desecrate means to violate the sanctity, treat irreverently in a way that provokes outrage in others. Catholics are horrified when they hear of the desecration of a Catholic Church or of a Sacrament.
The Sacrament many Catholics neglect to protect, reverence or appreciate is the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. It is the most desecrated of Sacraments, possibly because the definition of love and lust have become blurred. True love is selfless. Christ's death on the cross for His beloved Bride, the Church, is the most beautiful example of true love the world has ever seen.READ MORE
Each time we listen to God's Word, especially the Gospels, we can be certain that Jesus is speaking directly to us. Since we know this is true, our part is to bring open, docile hearts, ready to hear and to do whatever he says. Our prayer should be, "Help me hear, understand, and obey."READ MORE
My good friend, Fr. Bob Binta, died recently: he was only 56 years old. He had asked me to preach at his funeral. As I was preparing I was reflecting on what a great friend he was to me, and how I had taken that for granted.
Actually, I began thinking of all of the wonderful friends I have had throughout my life and how I just assumed I would always have friends. I have even been blessed with a wonderful family.READ MORE