Posted on: March 8, 2023
Lenten Reflection from Father Antony
Lenten Reflection from Father Antony
(Book of the Prophet Joel 2:1-2, 12-17)
The season of Lent is based on three pillars—fasting, prayer and charity (alms giving). All of God’s creatures follow a season of transformation. The Holy Church teaches that the season of Lent that we are given each year is a gift from God for this transformation. Let us focus on the reading from the Prophet Joel that we heard on Ash Wednesday.
The Three Pillars remove our toxic bodily weights and the weight on our hearts, the rocks of grudge, hatred and judgment in our hearts.
The Prophet Joel reminds all of us and especially the priests and ministers, to pray and do penance for their own sins and the sins of their congregation.
As disciples of Christ, it is our responsibility, our call, to do penance for us and for our families. Sins that are held in our families will be removed by these Three Pillars—fasting, prayer and charity. We all have sins in from ages past that are held in our families. What special prayers do we do? Our Parish Lenten activities, which are listed in the bulletin, will be a great help for all of us. The Penitential prayers, including the Divine Mercy Chaplet, approaching the mercy of God through Confession and Adoration will wash away the generational sins that may be held in our families and in our lives.
The Prophet Joel also reminds us of our call to fasting that is true and real. Our personal examination of conscience should be, “What makes me different during Lent than throughout the year?”. What are we giving up as a fasting, whether from our behavior, personality or indulgence in food and drinks? How are we sacrificing with the Lord Jesus who sacrificed his life for our sins?
Charity (Alms Giving)
The Prophet Joel also speaks to us about charity during this season and throughout our lives. About returning the gifts and grace of God in a generous way which will help to cleanse our families. “Who knows whether he will have a change of heart and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?” (Joel 2:14) The Prophet Joel invites us to bring that grace of God to the body of Christ, the altar. “How am I generous enough to return the grace of God to the body of Christ, the Church, your Parish Home? When was the last time I increased my giving to the Church? Am I a generous giver to the Church? Do I have an envelope or electronic fund transfer?
All the religions of the world follow severe forty days of fasting, prayer and charity for repentance and redemption each year. For example, the religion of Islam has forty days of abstinence from worldly things. The religion of Hinduism has the same way of mortification and abstinence from worldly things for cleansing families held up by evil deeds. Thus, they will attain the Glory of God after the forty days.
The season of Lent gives us the opportunity to be interrupted and abstain from those evil addictions that are in our daily lives. Of course, giving up these things, taking courageous steps forward will be a sacrifice and mortification, but ultimately, these will bring cleansing, comfort, peace and joy and life will be a blessed happiness more than before. Following Lent in a devoted way joins us to these Pillars of Lent. So let us receive the strength from our Lord to follow these Pillars to be transformed into the fullest image of God that we received in our creation.
Doing the same thing , without any interruption , and expecting a special grace from God will not work. Let’s transform ourselves to become the disciples of Christ we are called to be.
Blessings of the Lord to all of you,
Father Antony, Pastor
Posted on: June 6, 2021
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI
From a work by Saint Thomas Aquinas, priest
O precious and wonderful banquet!
Since it was the will of God’s only begotten Son that men should share in his divinity, he assumed our nature in order that by becoming man he might make men gods. Moreover, when he took our flesh, he dedicated the whole of its substance to our salvation. He offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us forever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine.
O precious and wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness! Could anything be of more intrinsic value? Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here Christ himself, the true God, is set before us as our food. What could be more wonderful than this? No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift. It is offered in the Church for the living and the dead, so that what was instituted for the salvation of all may be for the benefit of all. Yet, in the end, no one can fully express the sweetness of this sacrament, in which spiritual delight is tasted at its very source, and in which we renew the memory of that surpassing love for us which Christ revealed in his passion.
It was to impress the vastness of this love more firmly upon the hearts of the faithful that our Lord instituted this sacrament at the Last Supper. As he was on the point of leaving the world to go to the Father, after celebrating the Passover with his disciples, he left it as a perpetual memorial of his passion. It was the fulfillment of ancient figures and the greatest of all his miracles, while for those who were to experience the sorrow of his departure, it was destined to be a unique and abiding consolation.
Know that in this bread is the body of Christ
which hung upon the cross,
and in this cup, the blood of Christ
which flowed from his side.
Take, therefore, and eat his body;
take and drink his blood,
– and you will become members of his body.
Eat this sacred food,
so that your bond of unity with Christ may never be broken.
Drink this sacred blood, the price he paid for you,
so that you may never lose heart because of your sinfulness.
– And you will become members of his body.
Posted on: May 19, 2021
The Power Of The Holy Spirit In You
“Lord, send forth Your Spirit and Renew the Face of the Earth” (Psalm:104:30)
From the dogmatic constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council
The mission of the Holy Spirit in the Church
The Holy Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful as in a temple. By the power of the Gospel he enables the Church to grow young, perpetually renews it, and leads it to complete union. The Holy Spirit not only sanctifies and guides God’s people by the sacraments and the ministries, and enriches it with virtues, he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every state of life, assigning his gifts to each as he chooses. By means of these special gifts he equips them and makes them eager for various activities and responsibilities that benefit the Church in its renewal or its increase, in accordance with the text: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for a good purpose.
These charisms, the simpler and more widespread as well as the most outstanding, should be accepted with a sense of gratitude and consolation, since in a very special way they answer and serve the needs of the church.
Let us Pray: God of mercy, you have gathered your Church together by the Holy Spirit. Keep us devoted to your service and united among ourselves. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen. (prayer of the Day).