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Scripture Reflections
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Saints John de Brebeuf and Isaac Joques, Priests,and Companions, Martyrs
In the gospel today Jesus is sending out his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations ……We are all Missionaries by our Baptism; this means that we have been sent to proclaim the Word of God. On the World Mission Sunday, we are requested to renew our commitment to missionary work. For many decades many men and women from this country would answer the call to bring the Gospel to Africa, to Asia, to the Middle East, Latin America and Pacific Islands.
Nowadays, many priests and religious from those countries, come here, to evangelize; I am one of them. It takes great courage, great conviction for the Gospel to leave one’s native land, and a great openness and trust in the Lord.
We celebrate today saints who left the comfort of their native land to bring the Gospel to North America.
Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint John de Brebeuf, and their Jesuit companions came from France, in the mid-1600s, to what was considered, New France, to the Northern U.S. and southern Canada, primarily Quebec. They are known as “the North American Martyrs”. They helped the natives recognize their true goal in eternal life with God

Scripture Reflections Monday, October 18, 2021

St. Luke the Evangelist
St. Luke, whose feast day we celebrate today, was a Greek convert to Christianity.
He was also a faithful companion to St. Paul when he was in captivity, and he made it a point to mention that in the 1st reading. Luke went on to write the Gospel and also the Acts of the Apostles.
This feast reminds us our Catholic Tradition to celebrate the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick because, Saint Luke, who was not only the author of the third Gospel, but also a physician.
St. Luke, Physician and Evangelist, brought Christ’s healing through his medical care and also through his writing of the Gospel. For those who read and meditate on the Gospel open themselves to the Divine Physicians healing graces.
In today’s Gospel, we hear of the Lord sending out disciples to expel demons and to cure the sick. The Lord’s commission to go and to heal the sick is certainly continued in the priest’s ministry to anoint the sick, and certainly in our prayers and care for sick family members, by doctors and nurses, in the many who visit the sick and bring holy communion and simply visit the sick in their loneliness and suffering. I know our Eucharistic Ministers to the Hospital, Nursing Homes and Homebound, have been doing a good job despite of the challenges of Corona. They been such a source of comfort, who bring Christ to the sick in the Blessed Sacrament and also in their kind words.
By meditating on the words of Luke’s Gospel and his holy example and by heavenly intercession, may St. Luke aids us in our great commission to follow Jesus.

As I read today’s Gospel this morning, I realized that maybe it was a good opportunity to speak to you about the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

When was the last time that you celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Why do we not celebrate this healing sacrament on a regular basis? Fear, Priest might remember our sins, previous bad experience, do not feel the need to celebrate the sacrament or why bother, as I will eventually commit the same sin(s) again in the near future.
What is the role of a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? He is the bridge to God’s abundant love and mercy. He is not there to judge the penitent. We do not hold onto your sins.
Look at the Rite of Reconciliation: The penitent confesses all their mortal sins and number, and your own sins. Do not confess your spouses or your children’s sins. Do not withhold any sins intentionally, otherwise the sacrament does not work. If you forgot a sin accidentally, confess the sin next time you celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Say the Act of Contrition when invited by the priest. There are two key points in the Act of Contrition: 1) Sorrow and 2) Promise to avoid sin to the best of your ability. The priest will give you a penance which you will need to do at your earliest convenience. If you are unsure about the penance, ask the priest to explain. The priest will give you the absolution in which God is forgiving and washing away your sins.
What is the seal of confession? Anything that is confessed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation cannot be revealed to anyone.
Do not be afraid to approach God for His unconditional love and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Scripture Reflections, Friday Oct 15, 2021

By: Fr. Claudius Mganga
Teresa was born at Avila, Spain in 1515. At the age of 20, she was so greatly moved by reading the letters of St. Jerome that she decided to become a nun at the Carmelite monastery. After reading the Confessions of St. Augustine and being deeply impressed by an image from the Passion of Jesus—scourged, bound, and crowned with thorns standing before a hostile crowd before his crucifixion, Teresa, at the age of 40, resolved to dedicate herself seriously to the practice of prayer.
Initially, she had some difficulty sitting through prayers. However, in the course of time, she became absorbed in deep contemplation. At times she felt overwhelmed with divine love and felt that the illumining grace of God would wash her soul away.
Teresa is revered as the Doctor of Prayer. Her definition of Contemplation is used in the Catechism: “Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”
In today’s gospel, Jesus reveals a God who is not detached from us, but who wants to be involved with the details of our lives, with our ups and downs, our joys and sorrows, our successes and failures. If God is interested in the details of our lives, we can speak to God out of our experience. We can bring before him the details of our lives in prayer, knowing that he is deeply concerned about us. Like St. Teresa, we can speak from the heart to God, as we would to our closest friend. God invites us to entrust our lives to him.
Through the intercession of St. Teresa, may we have the courage and strength to hand over more and more of our lives to God, to surrender to God that we may be purified of all our evil thoughts.

Thursday, October 14, 2021 – Scripture Reflection – Fr. Tim

The prophets are tasked with revealing the mysteries of God’s plan to His people. They are often bearers of bad news: 1) Impending disasters 2) News that the people do not want to hear.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus reveals that the mission of the Church continues the work of the prophets. Living a Christian life is not always easy. It goes against the culture in today’s society.
Who are the prophets that we have grown up with? Martin Luther King Jr who worked for racial equality. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, the advocate for the poor.
Reflection Question: How do we accept the prophets in our midst today?

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 – Fr. Tim

The month of October is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Respect Life. Today was the final apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three children at Fatima in Portugal. After a heavy rain, 70 thousand people witnessed what was called the miracle of the sun. The children saw Our Lady and Saint Joseph with the child Jesus blessing the world.
Scripture Reflection: How does God deal with our sinfulness? In Romans 2:4, “He shows us priceless kindness, forbearance and patience.” God wants to lead us to repentance and for us to return back to Him, no matter what we have done in the past. God is like the parent who waits up for his / her child who comes home late from his / her curfew. Jesus was patient with the sinners that He encountered along the path during the three years of ministry. Jesus kept His Apostles despite their moments of lack of faith. Today, Jesus stretches His hands out to us in our moments of trail and tribulations. Jesus opens the passageways back to His graces.
Reflection Question: What is getting in the way of our return to the Lord?

Scripture Reflections – Tuesday, Oct 12, 2021

You can always learn something about a person from the things he produces. This is true of artists and composers, and equally true cooks and carpenters.
Both of today’s readings draw attention to the importance of looking beneath the surface of things.
St. Paul insists that we can come to know God from what he has created. The world, indeed the entire universe, is the creation of God. There may have been an evolution, as modern science teaches us, but even such evolution must be understood as the gradual unfolding of God’s creative work.
This work of creation is a magnificent gift from God to us. The inner workings of the universe as well of the human body are not accident. Never can any aspect of creation be taken for granted. We as persons of Faith should feel compelled to praise and thank God for this great gift.
In the gospel reading, Jesus accuses the Pharisees of failing to look beneath the surface of the various ritual washings the Law prescribes to what is in the heart. They are overly focused on the outside and fail to take seriously the inside, what resides in the human heart. Jesus suggests that if the heart is in the right place, then good actions will flow from it, such as almsgiving.
Frequently we find ourselves polishing our outside but forgetting to cleanse our inner being of anger, wicked thoughts and resentment, It is easy to see the state of our insides when our frustrations rise to the surface when someone has a different opinion than we do. Are we free enough to face our Pharisee? Is the state of inner being radiate with goodness, integrity and compassion for others and ourselves?
The word of God is living and effective, says today’s gospel acclamation. The word of God would help us to reflect and discern thoughts of our heart, cleanse our souls. As followers of the Lord, we are constantly inviting the Spirit to renew us from within, to renew our hearts and our minds, so that they mirror in some way the heart and mind of Christ.

Scripture Reflections, Monday October 11, 2021

Saint John XXIII, Pope
Today we celebrate the memorial feast of one of St. Peter’s holy successors, as pope and leader of the Universal Church, namely Pope Saint John XXIII, who was canonized, along with Pope Saint John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014.
He was called “good Pope John” because he was beloved by the Italian people; he was dearly affectionate and had a good sense of humor. Pope Francis referred to Pope John XXIII as a “model of sanctity.” He is a model of holiness not just for the bishops and Popes of the Church, but for all of us.
He studied canon law, he served as a diplomat in the second World War, and helped save an estimated twenty-four thousand Jews.
He shocked the church and the world when he called for a Second Vatican Council, which began during his pontificate.
Pope John promoted dialogue with the Orthodox as well as with Protestants; he was the first Pope to meet the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. He also encouraged positive relations with Muslims, Jews, and men of good will around the world.
Pope John also set an example for all Christians in performing the works of mercy—he, like John Paul, Benedict, and now Francis, would leave the walls of the Vatican in order to visit the imprisoned and the sick. As St. Paul said in today’s first reading, Christians faith is coming to know Jesus by loving others as he loved. John wanted the whole world to follow the way of Christ’s love. Strengthened by the example of his holy life, taught by his words of preaching, may we aspire to work together for the spiritual flourishing of all mankind.

Saturday, October 9, 2021 – Fr. Tim

“Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it (Luke 11:28).”
What gets in the way of our listening to the Word of God? We live in a world that is filled with busyness (work related, family life, friends, etc.) and distractions (glued to our cellphones, watching our favorite sport teams on the television, listening to our favorite music, etc.).
What does the Scripture say about our listening to God’s word? In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus gave us a perfect example on listening to God’s word – His Mother Mary. What was the true reason for Mary’s blessedness? Mary obeyed God’s word (Faithfulness), she understood God’s word (Attentiveness) and she lived God’s word on a daily basis (Perseverance).
Jesus challenges the reader today to imitate Mary’s example of life. How are we open to receiving God’s word today? Have a blessed day.
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Scripture Reflections Friday, Oct 8, 2021
Let all who dwell in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. Joel 2:1
One of many things I have learned about myself over the course of the pandemic is that I enjoy looking forward to new things. It is in my nature to be curious and adventurous. I would like to explore new things in life.
For the past three days we had a 2021 Convocation for Priestly Renewal, and the topic was “Rebuild the Family, Transform the World. It was well presented by Michael and Alicia Heron, founders of ‘Messy Family Project’. But, between the sessions we had fun time. It happened that I played Golf with several priests, most of them newly ordained, getting to know them on their families, life back ground and parishes they are working. It was great!
The greatest benefit for all the experiences for me is that I have learned to be more present and appreciate what each moment has to offer. We humans are the only creatures on earth who have the ability to “travel” into the past and into the future in our minds, while all other living creatures exist entirely in the present moment. This ability we have is fantastic, and yet can also prevent us from being present, to ourselves and to others.
As I read today’s readings, all of which were somewhat apocalyptic, I was struck by a parallel idea to my pandemic experience. We can, in normal times, make all the plans we want, and yet, none of it assured. We have no real control over anything that might happen in the future. We only have control over the present moment and how we choose to live it.
What if we lived each moment as if the “day of the Lord” were here? Let us all not be divided any longer and let us all not be distracted by the numerous efforts by the wicked and evil spirits, Satan and all those enemies of the Lord who always seek to destroy us all. Let us commit ourselves to a new existence and life in God, and as a united community of the faithful, let us all do whatever we can to glorify the Lord at all times. May God be with us always, and may He strengthen each one of us to follow Him. Let ask the intercession of the Blessed Mother during this month of the Rosary.

Thursday, October 7th,2021-Memorial in Honor of OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY

Pope Pius V established this feast in thanksgiving for the crucial victory of Christian Europe over the Turks at the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571. It was said that the soldiers asked for the help Mary through the Rosary.

Today, as we honor Our Lady of the Rosary, we pray that by contemplating the mysteries of our salvation, all peoples may be brought together into one family and that we may become instruments of peace wherever we are.
In all the moments of her apparitions to various people mother does not cease to urge people to pray and mostly she encourages us to pray the prayers of the rosary, she tells us that no one who asks for her intercessions will go unanswered. Mother Mary assures us of her prayers.
The word rosary comes from a Latin word “rosarium” which means “a rose garden”, or a bed of roses, a garland of flowers and also a collection of nice quotes”. This entails that from the prayers of the rosary we experience nice things, and for us Christians it entails an experience of blessings and favors upon anyone who takes time to pray the rosary.
We are told that this feast was established in thanksgiving for the battle which the Church won against her enemies, the soldiers in their faith and trust in the intercessions of Mother Mary asked for her intercessions that they win the battle against the enemies of the Church, after winning the battle they attributed their victory to Our Lady of the Rosary.
This is an encouragement to you and me that whenever we have crucial battles in life, we need to ask for the intercessions of our Lady of the Rosary.
Today we all have our common enemies which is sin and all evil, let us pray for the intercessions of our Lady of the Rosary that we may always win this battle against sin and all evil.
Mother Mary is also known as the Queen of peace let us also ask her in this month of the Rosary that she may intercede for the countries that are experiencing wars that there may be peace in these countries.
Let us pray for ourselves that in this month of the Rosary we may take time to join the rest of the Catholic family world-wide in this battle of prayer against Satan.

Scripture Reflections, Monday Oct 4, 2021

St. Francis of Assisi
There is a rather strange thing about life. We often meet our destiny on the very road that we took to avoid it. And when we take a moment to think about it, we will be able to see the truth in it. Whatever we are avoiding or running away from, we seem to run into it and come face to face with it.
And when we think deeper about it, could it be God’s way of telling us to face the reality of life so that we can grow and learn from it!
In the 1st reading, Jonah tried to run away from the mission that God was calling him to. But in the end, it seems that he was running right into the hands of God. And we don’t have to look high and low to see what God wants of us.
St. Francis whom we commemorate today was also ignorant of his saintly calling. As a young man, Francis gained the reputation of squandering his Father’s money, dressing in the latest fashion, drinking in night clubs all night. Definitely an example of man who made no time for God. Yet, Francis became one of the greatest saints of Christian history through a radical commitment to Christ’s Gospel. Francis’ nature flourished because he entered into harmony with God.
Most of us remember of him is his love for the animals and nature. His appreciation of all creation is memorable, but his other accomplishments may be more significant. He founded one of the great Orders the Franciscans. Poverty and reliance on the generosity of others are hallmarks of the Orders.
Let us learn to practice the spirit of detachment of St. Francis that we may be liberated from our sinful attachments, and evil habits.
In poverty one makes oneself available for the kingdom. Once the goods are no longer one’s own, they become available for all. Goods are made to be shared. Let us preach the Good News of Jesus’ love, mercy and forgiveness as St. Francis did, by imbuing the true spirit of the Gospel, loving all God’s creation and leading transparent Christian lives radiating Jesus all around us.
As we begin the month of October, we are reminded that October is a month dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
It is a month to go back to the basics of the spiritual life and to renew our prayer life.
The Rosary is such an effective prayer because Mother Mary prays with us in the Rosary. In fact, she calls out to us to pray the Rosary with her.
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Scripture Reflections, Friday Oct 1, 2021

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin, Doctor of the Church
This past Sunday many Churches hosted Mission Co-Op Appeals.
Whenever we think about missionaries and going for mission, some images would come to mind. We would think of faith-filled and courageous men and women who would leave the comfort zone and go to some distant land to witness to the Good News of salvation. That is often the obvious image of missionaries and the mission and that is quite true.
Today we celebrate the feast of St Therese of the Child Jesus. She was born in North France in the year 1873. Her mother died when she was only four years old. She became a Carmelite nun when she was fifteen. Her father died when Therese was only twenty-one. In the following year, she showed the first signs of the tuberculosis that would eventually take her life. She died on September 30 1897 at the young age of twenty-four.
For St. Therese, she too had wanted to go for mission, but her frail health did not make that possible. She prayed about it and then it came to her mind that though she could not be a missionary and go for mission, she could still do her part and pray for missionaries and for those who have yet to know about the Good News of Jesus Christ. She called her method of spirituality ‘the Little Way’, the essence of which was the performing everyday actions in the awareness of the Lord’s presence and love.
She believed that this way could transform every situation.
In the gospel reading, Jesus declares that the people of the towns of Galilee did not recognize his loving presence; they were unaware that their Lord was present among them, even though he had performed many deeds of love, miraculous deeds.
St. Therese’s, holiness was not about doing extraordinary things but about doing ordinary things well, out of love for the Lord and others. Her life also reminds us that within the church power and authority are not to be equated. She had no real authority in the church, and, yet, her life proved to be spiritually powerful to an exceptional degree. It is worth reminding ourselves that the truly powerfully people in the church, those through whom the Lord is working most powerfully for the good of others, are not necessarily those in positions of authority and responsibility. Her life, like the life of Jesus, displayed the power of love. She continues to love from heaven. She once said, ‘I will spend my heaven doing good on earth’. We are all called to be powerful in the way Therese was.
May we like St. Therese, offer our prayers for missionaries and for the mission of the Church.
Also, in whatever state of life we are in, we are also in a sense, missionaries working and praying for the fruitful mission of the Church. October is the Month of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us ask for her intercession.

Scripture Reflections, Thursday Sept 30, 2021

St. Jerome, Priest, Doctor of the Church
In our first reading the people discover the wonder of the word of God. For the first time they grasp the meaning of what Scripture intends. Ezra reads to them “the book of the law.” This is not primarily a legal code; it is the story of how God brought the enslaved Hebrews into the promised land.
Today we commemorate the memorial feast of St. Jerome., Priest and Doctor of the Church. The Opening Prayer today refers to St. Jerome’s “living and tender love for Scripture” And his work in this area is his greatest gift to the Church. Just imagine, he lived nearly 1700 years ago, but his impact upon the Church, both Intellectual and spiritual live of Christian has been profound,
St. Jerome appreciated Scripture. He studied it, commented on it, and translated it. He knew its importance. The Catechism of the Church quotes St, Jerome and it says, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” He meant that one cannot know about salvation unless he or she learns the lessons of Scripture. Both Old and New Testaments reveal how God saves all humans as surely as He rescued Israel.
One way to learn Scripture is to take to heart the daily Mass readings. They don’t cover all thirty thousand or so verses found in the Bible. But they do provide representative passages from each book. We should read, and meditate on Scripture every day. Having a “living and tender love for Scripture” leads us to a living and tender loving care for God and the willingness to follow his Holy Will.

Scripture Reflections, Wednesday Sept 29, 2021

SAINTS MICHAEL,GABRIEL, AND RAPHAEL ARCHANGELS
From the Bible and from what the Church teaches, there is the existence of the spiritual world of angels.
The word ‘angel’ comes from the Greek word for ‘messenger’. The angels appear in the Scriptures as the messengers of God. One of the ways that God communicates with his people is through angels. .” The angels are called in the letter to the Hebrews “ministering spirits” because “With their whole being the angels are servants of God”
In this multitude of angels, we know the names of three of them, and the Church calls them “Archangels.” St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. All three names end with “el”, which is the old Jewish word for “God”.
We do well to invoke St. Michael to defend us from the great evils of this age. From those who work to take away our religious freedom, for all persecuted Christians, , for those experiencing any form of demonic oppression, for the pandemic and all that plagues our culture.
From St. Michael, we know that God protects us and so we pray to St. Michael and there is a prayer that is dedicated to him.
Because of the special messages Gabriel brought he is a special patron to those in the fields of communication. If we ever have a difficult message to deliver: a word of rebuke or correction to a disobedient child, an invitation to a fallen away Catholic to return to the sacraments, we do well to invoke St. Gabriel.
If we need special healing: a serious illness, a friend with an addiction, difficulty forgiving someone who hurt us, we do well to invoke Raphael; also, before we make a pilgrimage or dangerous journey. I like to invoke Raphael for safety in air travel especially, as the airplane is speeding up on the runway.
The archangels point ahead to Jesus who was the fullness of God’s presence in human form, Emmanuel, God-with-us.
The image of the angels of God ascending and descending on Jesus in today’s gospel reading, suggest that Jesus is the true meeting point of heaven and earth, the one through whom heaven comes to earth, the one in and through whom God is fully present. There is a sense in which we are all called to be flesh and blood angels, reflections of Jesus himself.
Through the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, we can each reveal different dimensions of God’s presence to others.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 – Fr. Tim

The theme in today’s Gospel passage is Jesus is rejected by the community that He and His Disciples were visiting.
I remember visiting a hospital in my first summer assignment while attending the Institute for Priestly Formation program in Creighton University. My first time visiting the hospital, I met a woman and we had a great discussion until she learned that I was studying to become a Catholic priest. She became upset and asked me to leave the room. At the end of our assignment the seminarians came together and we shared our experiences with our supervisor who was a Catholic priest. I can remember the wisdom that the priest shared with me that day: “She was rejecting the Good News that I was sharing with her.”
Jesus and His Disciples came to experience rejection as well during their ministry. The Sons of Zebedee brothers, James and John, wanted to call down fire from Heaven on the inhospitable Samaritans they were visiting. Jesus calmed down His Disciples and rebuked them. Jesus was traveling through a Samaritan village and decided to make a stop. However, the community was not very receptive to Jesus and His Apostles. What did Jesus do next? They continued to their next village.
We always want to be welcomed and accepted by those around us. It hurts when we are not invited as a member of their community. How do we react when the people reject us? How accepting are we to those around us?
Have a blessed day.

Monday, September 27, 2021 – Fr. Tim

Today the Church celebrates the Feast Day of St. Vincent de Paul. St. Vincent de Paul was born in 1576 to a poor peasant family in France. He was very intelligent As a young boy, he spent 4 years with the Franciscan friars getting an education.
St. Vincent began his Divinity studies at the University of Toulouse. He was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 20. Soon after his priesthood ordination, he was captured by Muslim slave traders and was taken to Tunis. Vincent was able to convert one of his owners to Christianity. He later escaped and made his way back to France. Upon his return to France, he served as a parish priest near Paris where he instituted organizations to assist the poor, nurse the sick and find jobs for the unemployed.
He was appointed chaplain-general of the prison systems in France. His tender charity brought tremendous hope into the galleys where only despair was found. He walked through the streets of Paris at night seeking the children who were abandoned on the streets.
One night Vincent was accosted by robbers thinking he had money on him. When Vincent opened his jacket, the robbers recognized who he was. They got on their knees and begged for his forgiveness. Not only was Vincent the “Savior of the poor” but also of the rich, for he taught them to do works of mercy.
When the work for the abandoned children was in danger of failing because of a shortage of funds, he assembled the ladies of the Association of Charity. He instructed them to take care of the little children, as if they were their own sons and daughters. His work continues today through the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, which is found in many parishes throughout the world, the Sisters of Charity and the Priests of the Mission.
Saint Vincent de Paul died in 1660 and was canonized by Pope Clement XII in 1737.
I am grateful for my 5 years of Seminary Formation at Saint Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. Saint Vincent de Paul pray for us!
Saint Vincent de Paul is the Patron Saint of: Charities, Charitable workers, Hospitals, Hospital workers, Lepers and Lost Articles.
(The above information was taken from the “Illustrated Lives of the Saints” pages 216 – 217)

Saturday, September 25, 2021 – Fr.Tim

The theme in today’s Scripture Passages: The Lord is our protector. The main message in the Prophet Zechariah is to cheer up for things will get better. The Book of Zechariah was written in 520 BC and has two parts. The first part was written by the Prophet Zechariah. He calls the people to rebuild the Temple and promises a future when God will make everything right. The second part spoke about a future great battle between good verses evil in which God will triumph. The people of Jerusalem were reminded that God will be there protector.
In the Responsorial Psalm we read that the Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock. Shepherds work long hours out in the weather, protecting the flock, guiding the flock and providing them their nourishment. The Prophets of the Old Testament and the New Testament were guiding the people and challenging the people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The Prophets and Jesus were the shepherds for God’s people.
Reflection Question: What gets in the way of our listening and responding to the shepherds in our time?

Scripture Reflections Friday, Sept 25, 2021

For these two days we have been reading of the book of the prophet Haggai for our First Reading, a rather short book of the Old Testament consisting of only 38 verses. Haggai speaks to those Jews returning to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. Sixteen years had gone by and the Jews had not yet rebuilt the Temple. So, Haggai shares with them the Lord’s desire that they focus on their religious duty to God.
In a sense, the people had put their own business ahead of God’s, they were more concerned about their own lifestyle than about the house of God. To be fair, the Jews were somewhat discouraged. Returning from exile, their land was desolate, their crops had failed, their work was hard, the Samaritans, their neighbors to the north, hindered their work. Yet, the Lord sent two prophets, Zechariah and Haggai, to urge the people to finish rebuilding the Temple.
Sometimes in the midst of chaos, our religious duties take second place, don’t they. But putting our religious duties first, we find the strength and peace we need, to deal with the chaos rightly and justly.
Today’s verses from Haggai may sound familiar to us, we have difficulties, challenges of ministering and witnessing the gospel in this very chaotic time to our faith due to the pandemic.
Like the disciples, may we also draw strength from the hard teachings of Jesus and gain courage in times of despair.

Thursday, 23, 2021 – Fr. Tim

Today the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Saint Padre Pio. He was born Francesco Forgione in Pietrelcina, Italy in 1887. His family lived on a farm and were shepherds. At the age of 16, he entered the Novitiate of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars and was ordained a priest at the age of 20.
After going home for a while because of health concerns, he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo where he remained for the rest of his life. While he was praying before a crucifix he received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, and was the first priest to receive the stigmata.
His popularity began to spread throughout the world. He became the center of pilgrimages for both the powerful and the curious. American Soldiers who were returning home from World War Two came across the holy priest. They shared stories of their encounter with Padre Pio.
He heard Confessions for hours and is said to have been able to read the consciences of those who held back telling him their sins. Remember you must confess all your sins for the sacrament to be effective. He was also said to be blessed with the ability to bilocate, levitate and heal the sick with his touch and prayer.
Fr. Padre Pio met with a young priest who visited with him and spoke about his future papacy. The young priest would later become Pope John Paul II. Padre Pio founded a hospital that cares for over 60,000 people a year and founded prayer groups that are still in existence today. He died in 1968 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II.
(The above information was taken from: “Illustrated Lives of the Saints.”)