Let Freedom Ring!!

The Fourth of July reminds us of our freedom as a nation , freedom that we ought to cherish and respect for it was gained at a cost. Freedom that has been defended by so many who gave their life that we may  be truly free.

The Holy Scriptures also remind us that we are called to be free and that part of that freedom is to ensure that we find time to evaluate the direction of our lives.

Freedom does not mean that all restrictions are lifted and now I can do  whatever I want. It does not mean that I can follow my inclinations and desires wherever they lead me. Such a person is not really free, he is a slave governed by inclinations instead by his head, as a free person.  St. Paul insists that we are free, free to live the life we were meant to live. This life is regulated by the Ten Commandments. The Commandments are not an infringement  on our freedom, on the contrary they really help us to live as free people.

“We are not to tear each other to pieces”.  Freedom brings certain obligations for, ‘freedom without responsibility is abusive license’. Our freedom is a freedom which loves God and our neighbor. Christianity is the only true democracy for it states that everyone should think as much of his neighbor as he does of himself.

Jesus teaches us the duty to love, to respect and to be tolerant. Now, tolerance must not be based on indifference but on love. We are not tolerant because we couldn’t care less, but because we look at others with love and wish them well.

The more  we live the gospel of Jesus, the more we promote freedom, love and justice. We are to be generous with what God has given us , and with Jesus on our side, we shall not be disturbed , we live in freedom.

‘I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America  and to the Republic for

which it stands,

One Nation , Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All’.

God bless you–God bless America.

Fr. David, O.P.

 

 

 

 
God bless you, God bless America!!

Fr. David, O.P.

 

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Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Peter  and Paul  are the two columns next to the cornerstone ( Jesus) of the Christian Church. On the 29th of June, we commemorate Peter and Paul , the celebration of the ancient Church of Rome, which became the mother of the Christian Church. This Church has a double foundation…The Petrine and The Pauline with a mission to Israel and the Gentiles.

Peter, whose name was Simon, was born in Bethsaida ; a  fisherman by trade. At his start of his mission, Jesus walking by the lake of Galilee, called him,” Simon, come after me and I will make you a fisher of men”. Jesus immediately changed his name to Peter, meaning rock.  Peter was present at the Transfiguration  and we also find  him in the garden of Gethsemani . Peter was the first of the apostles to witness the resurrection. He was the first to perform a miracle in the name of Jesus.  To him Jesus gave the keys of the Kingdom, “Upon this rock I will build my Church”.

Peter preached in Asia Minor and Anthioc,  where he was acclaimed as bishop . He ended up in Rome. Tradition has it that Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom in the Eternal City.

Saul of Tarsus was a roman citizen.  His zeal as a Pharisee  made him hate the new religion (Christianity). Saul was on his way to Damascus to apprehend Christians and put them in jail and certain death. We can say that he was a “terrorist”.  At the gate of the city  of Damascus he was faced with the risen Lord and it was a sudden conversion. He took the roman name of Paul, the name by which he is known. His life and conversion to Christianity  is narrated in the Acts of the Apostles.

A prolific writer, Paul wrote letters to the Philipians, Romans ,  Galatians,  Hebrews, Corintians, to  the  Thessalonians, Titus , Timothy  and Philemon. Three times he was shipwrecked and died in Rome as a martyr. Paul is known as the apostle of the Gentiles.

On this feast, we are to remember that we too have been sent by Jesus, we are apostles. We build the Church with Christ and for Christ. As Scripture says,” We are living stones” ,

surrounding and holding on to the cornerstone, Jesus, and the pillars of the Church, the apostles  . We are to be loyal by teaching or preaching  not our opinion but the gospel of Jesus as it had been handed on to us. As we celebrate the feasts of Peter and Paul, we could speak of all the great sermons they preached and the miracles they performed. It’s best to be witnesses of their faith, their loyalty to Christ and his gospel which landed them in prison and eventually to martyrdom and then to the glory of heaven

Prayer:::Lord our God, encourage us through the prayers of Saints Peter and Paul.

May the apostles who strengthened the faith of the infant Church help us on

our way of salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and

ever. Amen.(Bk. of Christian  Prayers)

God bless you and yours.                                    Fr. David. O.P.

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Corpus Christi:::The Body of Christ.

Corpus Christi is the solemn feast of the Body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The institution of the Holy Eucharist is commemorated on Holy Thursday of Holy week, however because of other liturgies and the somber atmosphere of Holy Week, the Church set aside another day to celebrate this solemnity, feast, with greater solemnity.

This feast was established by Pope Urban IV in 1264  who also commissioned the dominican Thomas Aquinas and the Franciscan  Bonaventure to compose the Mass and Prayers for the feast. It is said, that when Bonaventure saw what Aquinas had written, he withdrew his own so that it wont even  be  considered. Thomas Aquinas gave us some of the most beautiful Eucharistic hymns, ::Pange Lingua, Tantum Ergo, Lauda Sion, Panis Angelicus, etc. and of course the prayers for the Mass of Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi takes us back to  the last supper in the ‘upper room’.  At that last supper, Jesus said, ” I have wanted  so much to eat this Passover meal with you (his disciples) before I suffer “. ( Lk. 22, 14-15). During the supper Jesus took bread and wine and gave them a new meaning and a new function,” This is my body, this is my Blood, do this in my memory”.

Great men wanted to be remembered by statues , monuments or paintings. Jesus left us Himself  in the Holy Eucharist.

A poster once got my attention. It said, ” Jesus of Nazareth invites you to a supper to be given in his honor”. We are invited to come, taste and see the goodness of the Lord so that we may live. We accept and we believe. and with ST. Thomas the apostle we proclaim, ” My Lord and my  God “.

Prayer::Oh Sacred Banquet in which Christ becomes our food, the memory of His passion is celebrated, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

You gave us bread from heaven, containing every blessing.

Oh  God in this wonderful sacrament you have left us a memorial of your passion; help us we beg you, so to reverence the Sacred Mystery of your Body and blood, so that we will constantly feel in our lives the effects of your  redemption thru Christ our Lord. Amen.

God bless you and yours!                                                Fr. David, O.P.

 

Pentecost ::Happy Birthday, Church !!

The three  great Jewish Feasts are: The Passover ,  a celebration  of the exodus which is recalled in the Passover  (Seder) dinner .

Pentecost, a harvest feast in which the  first fruits of the harvest is presented to God. A feast of Thanksgiving.

Feast of the Booths or Tabernacles . After the harvest, booths were erected to celebrate in the fields and then in the Temple.

Pentecost, meaning 50th day, has its roots in Jewish tradition. This coming Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost , the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples of Jesus.  It’s the Church’s birthday.

In the Christian Church, the feast of Pentecost brings to conclusion the Easter  season. God, sent the  promised  Holy Spirit, and as we learn from Christ what the Spirit does for us, his disciples, we come to appreciate more and more this wonderful gift. Jesus promised that he will not leave us orphans. He promised the Advocate (lawyer) who will substitute victory for defeat, hope for despair, strength for weakness and courage for fear.

At Pentecost, the disciples had an experience of the power of the Spirit such as they never had before. What a change came on the disciples of Jesus!

The promise of Jesus came true on Pentecost. ” When the day of Pentecost arrived, all believers were gathered together in one place, (The upper room). Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded  like a strong wind blowing …Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire spreading out; They were all filled with the Holy spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak”.(Acts 2).

Unity came to the believers, and now their faith  and courage survived all kinds of difficulties and persecutions.  The Spirit  of Truth still moves and protects the Church today. We , the Church cannot succumb to fear or  be  ashamed of our religion. We as the dicsiples, have a role to play in human history . As people filled with the Holy Spirit,  we  have the duty to proclaim the good news of the gospel, ‘both when convenient or inconvenient’. It’s our duty  to spread  hope and courage. ‘Do not be afraid’, after every setback, the Church  became more glorious and triumphant  and  fortified with new hope into a new  Pentecost. ‘The  greatest gift we can give to the Church on her birthday, is to renew our trust and our hope in her mission. The Church  has a sacred role to play. It is the visible sign of Christ’s presence within history. Happy  Birthday, Church !!!

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The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:::Wisdom,  Understanding,  Knowledge,  Counsel, Fortitude,  Piety, and  Fear ( Awe) of the Lord.====Veni, Sancte Spiritus…Come Holy Spirit.

Prayer:::Almighty and ever-living God, you fulfilled the Easter promise by sending us

your Holy Spirit. May that Spirit unite the races and nations on earth to proclaim

your glory. Grant this through  our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and

reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

(Bk. of Christian Prayer).

God bless you and yours.                   Fr. David, O.P.

 

 

 

When God Created Mothers.

While trying to get rid of some old papers , I  happened  to run into this beautiful ‘ essay’ on motherhood.

The  author is unknown.  Since Mother’s Day is upon us,  I  would like to share  this essay with all of you, in honor of our mothers living and deceased.

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When the Lord was creating mothers, he was in the sixth day of overtime  when an angel said, ” You are doing  a lot of fiddling around in this one.” And the Lord said, “Have you read the specd  on this order ? She has to be completely  washable, but not plastic…have 180 movable parts,  all replaceable….run on black coffee  and  leftovers….have a lap that disappear when she stands up… a kiss that can cure anything  from  a broken leg to a disappointed  love affair…..and six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said “Six pair of hands ? No way”.  “It’s not the hands that are causing me problems, “said the Lord.  “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”  “That’s on the standard model ?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded.  “one pair that sees through  closed doors when she asks, “What are you kids doing in there?” when she already knows.  Another in the back of her head that sees what she  shouldn’t  but what she has to know.  And of course, the ones in the front that can  look at a child when he goofs up and say ” I understand and I  love you ” without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel touching  his sleeve  gently, ” Go to bed. Tomorrow is another …..”

” I can’t, said the lord, ” I am so close now. Already I have one who  heals  herself when she is sick,  can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger, and can get a nine-year old stand under a shower.”  The angel circled the model  of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft, ”  she sighed.  ” But tough !  said the Lord excitedly. ” You can’t imagine what this mother can do or endure.” ” Not only thinks, but it can reason and compromise, ” said the Creator.  Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. ” There is a leak. There is a leak ” she pronounced.

” It’s not a leak, ” said the lord. ‘ It’s a tear.”  “What’s it for ?”

” It’s for joy, sadness,  disappointment, pain , loneliness, and  pride.” ” You are a genius, ” said the angel. The Lord looked somber, ” I did not put it there.”

—Author  Unknown—

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL MOTHERS. God bless you all.!

Fr. David, op

 

Anoining of the sick::Fitting time.

”  Is any among you sick ?  Call the presbyters of the Church, let them pray, anointing the sick with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, the lord will raise him up, and if  he  committed  sins, will be forgiven.” (Jas. 5:14-15).  Notice here, that this sacrament is Not the sacrament of the dead,  but of the sick.

Potential candidates for receiving the  anointing of the sick,  would be anyone with serious illness  or  in danger of death from old age, etc.  These should seek the sacrament. The fitting time has certainly arrived.

Do not wait till you go to the hospital or worse, to emergency. It is sad to anoint someone who is unconscious of what’s happening , when the anointing of the sick could  have easily  be done at home or at church, surrounded by your loved ones and able to participate in the celebration of the sacrament of healing.

We are to refrain from brief and emergency forms of anointing  unless absolutely necessary.

Remember, anointing is  Not a preparation for death, it is a supportive prayer in the battle against illness.  Sacraments  are actions of Christ who continues to touch us in order to heal us.

Prayer::” Through this Holy anointing  may the Lord in his love and mercy, help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and may the Lord who forgives you your sins save you and raise you up”. Amen.

God bless you and yours.                                           Fr. David, O.P

Praying with the Four Seasons.

The four seasons of the year, is a time of reflection. Nature works hard during these seasons.  We can learn a lot from  reflecting  on nature . These seasons were put in place by the Creator and so are we ! Together with nature, we also set a time to reflect , to meditate and to give our spiritual life  a spiritual checkup . Together with nature after a rest, we will be able to reap   the fruits  of our work and enjoy creation anew.  There are many lessons that can be taken from the four seasons of the year . How are our ‘spiritual   seasons’ doing ?  Are we preparing  for a new spring, a new festival  of a virtuos  life ? Do we take advantage of restful  periods  so that we can enjoy some time with God alone ?  Are we letting God,  the vinedresser  to do his wonderful work in our souls ? Remember.” I am the vinedresser and you are the branches”.  A branch by itself can do nothing , unless it is connected to the trunk . No one can appreciate God’ creation  unless we wonder and wonder at what He has done.

Fall:: It’s the season to have a good look at our past and see if anything needs to be straightened.  Many a time we take things for granted , we feel fine and so think everything is great. We are satisfied with the way we live even if that means abusing and hurting others. We are happy and are not concerned with those around us. Why change ? well, we are not to be egoistic, we are to remember that we are the ‘body of Christ’ and if a member of this body is hurting, then something is not going right!

Fall also reminds us of the barren tree of the cross. It seems everything ended up in disaster. Yet, the tree of the cross is also waiting for the resurrected life. ” When I am lifted up, I will draw all to myself”.”Unless the grain of wheat  dies,  It just remains a grain of wheat, but if it dies it produces much fruit.”

In a way, Fall teaches us to be humble. The humble accepts his shortcomings, accepts that there is always room for improvement. There is a force within us , things  begin to happen if we only are willing to reform, to prepare for a new life awaiting us..  We are to be humble emough to yearn for the possible good.

As in Fall, we are to prune our way of living, we are to cut off whatever is hindering us from living a full person , fully alive.. We are to make sure that we are living the life we were meant to live. We are to be prepared for a ‘new spring’. “We are to become ‘ Alleluia’ people.”. (ST. Augustine).

Winter:: It is a time of rest. Nature needs a rest. Bare trees,  blowing wind and of course snow. Snow  is beautiful, but the passing beauty of snow might remind us of the short attraction of sin.  As in our spiritual life, we too need to take some time off from our busy’ ministries’.  We can give this season a spiritual dimension by calling it the ‘sacrament of waiting’.  This should not be  wasted time. It is a most deserved rest to pick up strength for a most beautiful spring. A season  with new life and new vigor. Rest is important. Some are so busy, even with their ministries that they do not have time for themselves or for their loved ones. It is important for us to look for ways to control our ‘energy’, to control  currents of tension that aggravate us. . Learn from Mother Nature. The more restful we are the more fruitful we become. We wait for a great symphony of colors and sounds . Wait with eager expectation , for something marvelous is going to take place. A new Pentecost!.

Spring::What a beautiful season! Nature now got rid of useless leaves, useless branches so others will take their place , that new life can flourish! Beautiful flowers, new greens on the trees, birds singing all around us , is a sign of a vigorous life , a sign of a new life., a sign that the rest was not invain . We are prepared for the journey.  It is a sign  that God is still among us and wants us to enjoy his masterpiece! Like this  beautiful season, we embrace our new spiritual life, a life ready to walk hand in hand with her God. Take a good walk during this season, look around you and appreciate the beauty of flowers, the singing of the birds, the lofty mountains ,  the vastness of the ocean  ,the green around you. Lift up your spirit and heart to God and say a big Thank You for sharing  creation with us. Before the resurrection, the disciples were timid, afraid to be known as followers of Jesus. But at Pentecost, suddenly they  were filled with the Holy Spirit and a new springtime began for the early Church!’ During this season sing the glories of God. Let your life shine and let your peace with God be contagious.

Are you more  Christian than before ? Can others see goodness in our lives ; are we better Christians , more Christ-like?  We , now  wear new  signs of life. Let us keep this hope alive.

Summer. What a beautiful, fruitful season.  All vegetation is blooming , the birds and all God’ creatures are all enjoying a fuller life. God has been good to us. He made the sun to shine and to warm, the rain to fall and everything around us to whisper his presence In this season;  we are encouraged to bloom, to bloom where we are planted.

The greatest force of nature has been set free to bring new life to everything it touches.  “When I see the sun and the moon and the starry heavens, I know for certain that the Creator has passed this way. These are footprints of God.”  It is  prececely in this beautiful natural  and spiritual season, that we are called witnesses of God’s creative hand. After a rest and a period of preparation, we are ready to be Christ’s hands, Christ’s feet, his voice  and his example..” Every person , by living a truly Christian life  is radiating sympathy or sorrow , hope or despair , cynism or joy. To live a Christian life is to radiate.” Be fully human, fully alive. Our presence as truly Christian people radiate warmth,  optimism,  purpose and meaning.  We , as Christians, have great responsibility to the rest of society.

So, embrace the seasons, they not only make life wonderful ,they  show us  the beauty of creation and by reflecting on them  they become the best of teachers of spirituality.

God bless you and yours.                                               Fr. David, O.P.

Prayer::O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have

made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder…..birds sweetly singing in   the

trees. When I look down  from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook and

feel the gentle breeze.  O God , how great thou art!!!( Music Issue)