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April 19 - Acts 9: 1-20

today's other readings are Psalm 117 and John 6: 52-59 I am not good enough.  I am not holy enough.  My past is too sin-filled.  I am too busy ... Those are some of the many excuses said about why one cannot commit oneself to follow the Lord.  Saul had some excellent excuses to try to refuse the call from the Lord.  Like his fervent persecution of the early church, and his arrest of many Christians.   But God had plans for him.  And as we know, He would soon be renamed Paul, and become the Apostle to the Gentiles. A couple of takeaways: First, God has plans for every single one of us.  EVERY one of us.   Second, no excuse is good enough to refuse that call to follow Him.

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 19, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

April 18 - John 6: 44-51

today's other readings are Acts 8: 26-40 and Psalm 66 Promises, promises, promises.  Some are given casually, but without thought.  Some are fragile.  Some are said but not really meant.  And others are made with sincere conviction and with complete truth.   Jesus' promise today falls into that last category.   Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. Dear reader, now that's a promise you can bank on.

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 18, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

3rd Sunday of Easter homily

today's readings are Acts 3: 13-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 2: 1-5 and Luke 24: 35-48 A story for you. Now while it's not a true story, it's a story that has much truth to it.  It's the story of a teacup - a talking teacup.   One day, two grandparents were in a store looking for a birthday gift for their granddaughter.  At one point, the grandmother called out to her husband and said, "Honey, come over and look at this!"  She then showed him a beautiful teacup.  The grandfather exclaimed, "Wow!  It is beautiful".  To their surprise the teacup exclaimed, "Thank you! Thank you for the compliment!  But to be honest, I wasn't always this way."  The grandmother asked, "How is that?"  So, the teacup told its story.   “In the beginning I was just a big, soggy, dirty lump of clay.  But one day a man with big strong hands shaped me and then put me on to a wheel.  Then he started turning me around and around and around until I got so dizzy that I couldn’t see straight.  ‘Stop, stop’ I cried.  But the man with the big hands said, ‘Not yet!’  Finally, he did stop.  But then he did something even worse.  He put me into a furnace.  That furnace was so hot!  I got hotter and hotter until I couldn’t stand it!  ‘Stop, stop!’ I cried.  But the man said, ‘Not yet’.  Finally, when I thought I was going to burn up, the man took me out of the furnace.   “Then a lady began to paint me.  The fumes from the paint were so bad that they made me sick to my stomach.  ‘Stop, stop’ I cried.  But the lady said, ‘Not yet!!  Finally, she did stop.  But then she gave me back to the man again, and again he put me back into that terribly hot furnace!  And this time the furnace was even hotter than before!!  I was sure that I was going to burn up!!  ‘Stop, stop’ I cried.  But the man said, ‘NOT YET!!’  Finally, he took me out of the furnace and let me cool.    When I was completely cool, a nice woman put me on this shelf, next to this mirror.  When I saw myself in the mirror, I was amazed.  I could not believe what I saw.  I was no longer a soggy, dirty lump of clay.  I was a beautiful and clean teacup!  I cried for joy!  But then I realized that all that suffering and pain was worthwhile.  Without it I would still be just a soggy, dirty lump of clay.  The awful pain I had experienced had passed, but the beauty it brought me will remain forever.”  That story I just told lines up nicely with what we heard both in today’s first reading and gospel - that before Jesus could rise to glory on Easter Sunday, He first had to suffer and die. As St. Peter said our first reading, “In this way God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer” – but God would then raise Him from the dead.  And in our gospel Jesus reminds the disciples that “Thus it is written that the Messiah is to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.”  And if you turn to John 15:20, Jesus reminded the apostles that would happen to him, would also happen to us, that we too will undergo times of pain, persecution and suffering in our lives.   Suffering is a part of every single human life.  It can come in many forms – like the pain of dealing with a physical illness; or the pain of dealing with one's impending death or the death of a loved one; or the suffering of extreme loneliness, separated from one’s family and friends; or having to deal with great uncertainty for the future regarding oneself and one’s loved ones.   No one likes suffering.  But every life will have its suffering.  And before Jesus would rise to His glory, He had to suffer first.  And if we, after we die, are going to rise to glory just as Jesus did, then we too will experience like Jesus did.  Now when this happens, at times we are going to want to shout, “Stop, stop”, just like the teacup did.  But suffering will not have the final say in our lives - for we will cry for joy – just as the teacup did in the story, and just as Jesus did.  So, what should we do during those times of suffering?  First, pray.  Pray for the courage and the strength from the Lord to be able to handle the cross that you carry.  But be mindful that in your suffering you are sharing in the very cross that Jesus carried.    St. Augustine, 1600 years ago said this about the process of suffering: “You are like a piece of pottery, shaped by instruction, fired by tribulation.  When you are put in the oven, therefore, keep your thoughts on the time when you will be taken out again; for God is faithful and will guard both your going in and your coming out.”  I will never forget the conversations I had 17 years ago with a parishioner who was dying of cancer, who, as it turned out, had only a few more months to live.  What he shared was so poignant.  He told me of his worries for his wife and family for the future.  He spoke of his physical pain from his cancer, and how each morning he would ask God to give him the strength to endure this suffering. He also realized that he was not alone in his suffering, that Jesus was sharing in his suffering.  In our prayers together he would also pray for all those who were also suffering, no matter what form it took - and he prayed that God would give them the same grace that he had received.   I treasured his wisdom when he said that, “Father, having faith is not an insurance policy against suffering. But having faith brings meaning to my suffering.  I know that my suffering is not in vain. And I look forward to the glory that is to come, that heaven where is only joy and endless bliss.”    I’d like to finish with a short story – in this case, a true one.  In 1954 the famous French artist Henri Matisse died at the age of 84.  His final years were spent battling both cancer and severe arthritis, which crippled his hands.  But Matisse continued to work, despite the terrible pain.  One day he was asked why he continued to work despite all the pain he suffered in doing so.  In reply, Matisse, looked at his hands and said, “The pain passes”, and then gesturing at one of his masterpieces, “But the beauty remains forever”.                              

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 14, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

April 12 - Psalm 27

today's other readings are Acts 5: 34-42 and John 6: 1-15 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? So we read in Psalm 27, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. This is one of those psalms that brings a smile, and sometimes, a glow to my soul.  The psalmist is very forthright in his/her thoughts and hopes.  The only thing that matters is that one day the psalmist with dwell in the house of the Lord, and to behold Him.  While the psalmist was at that time referring to the presence of God in the Temple in Jerusalem, it is only natural to transpose that desire to dwell in the house of the Lord to dwelling in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And there, dear reader, we will behold the glory of our God.  

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 12, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

Holy Hour Tuesday April 16th

Dear parishioners: Please join us for our next Holy Hour this coming Tuesday, April 16th, following the conclusion of the 7 pm mass.   Please note that the mass and Holy Hour will be held in the church that evening. Join us in this sacred hour of adoration, prayer and praise as we continue to pray for our parish community.  A social with refreshments will follow in the hall afterwards, concluding at 9 pm.   

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 11, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
3heart

April 10 - John 3: 16-21

today's other readings are Acts 5: 17-26 and Psalm 34 Just as we needed to read the Monday's gospel passage to fully appreciate yesterday's passage, so to the same applies for today.   For the famous passage of John 3:16-21  is only fully understood by reading 3:14-15 first. There are some fundamental points being made here: 1) Jesus's passion and death on the cross would be crucial to our salvation; 2) we are saved through His death and resurrection, and His actions give us the possibility of eternal life.  Yes we will die, but what He did can mean that our lives will not end, but change in a glorious way, when we die. 3) it is up to us to accept and believe this.  And as to point #3, dear reader, God says, "It's your call".     

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 10, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

April 9 - John 3: 7-15

today's other readings are Acts 4: 32-37 and Psalm 93 As we read in John 3: 1-2, a Pharisee named Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night.  This is not a coincidence.  Nicodemus, does not want to be seen by his colleagues, as he knows he would be attacked if the news spread that he had come to Jesus.  But he is also is in darkness as to who Jesus is.  In this passage Jesus enlightens Nicodemus by referring to the raising of the serpent in the desert by Moses in Numbers 21: 9, so too will Jesus be lifted up - onto the cross.  And while the people of Moses' time were saved by looking at what he had raised, eventually they would die.   We too will die - but our saving will result in eternal life.   Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.  

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 9, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

2nd Sunday of Easter Homily

today's readings are Acts 4: 32-35; Psalm 118 : 1 John  1 John 5: 1-6 and John 20: 19-31 “Peace be with you”.  Up to that moment, the disciples knew no peace – the doors were locked, they were scared – scared of the authorities had Jesus put to death.  They are also in shock at His horrible death.  There they are, with their world turned upside down.  And then Jesus shows up and says, “Peace be with you”.  It was a peace for their fears, and to comfort and reassure them.  Next, they receive the Holy Spirit - for the forgiveness of sins.  Because there is a whole lot of forgiving that going to be needed – from Jesus, for each other, and in the centuries to come, within the Christian community.  How did they now feel?  Relieved, grateful, and joyful.     But Thomas is not there – they tell him later what has happened – but he won’t believe them – dear ol' doubting Thomas.  But I have always wondered, why wasn’t Thomas there?  We don’t know – the gospel doesn’t tell us.    Some years ago, I asked that question to a very wise nun. She gave an answer that I think is “bang on” – she said that Thomas wasn’t there because he was full of shame.  Shame about what he has done – shame about what the others have done.  Think about it, they walked with Him, broke bread with Him, learned from Him.  But in His hour of need what did they do?  Other than John, they all fled. During His suffering, passion and death they betrayed Him, they denied Him, and they deserted Him.  When the going got tough – they got going. They let Jesus down – Thomas realizes this, and he is filled with shame.  Have you ever betrayed someone or really let them down?  And afterwards you think that what you did is so bad you don’t want to even face that person – there’s no way you can look them in the eye.  And if you do meet them, you are fearful about how they are going to react to you.  Are they going to yell at you, hit you, give you the cold shoulder – and will they ever forgive you?  That gives you an idea as to how Thomas might have been feeling.  After what they have done to Jesus, Thomas can’t conceive that Jesus would want to have anything to do with them – hence his disbelief when he was told that Jesus appeared to them.  Jesus comes back one more time – and says “Peace be with you”.  He knows Thomas needs peace. And then He presents his wounds to Thomas – the very visible signs of what brings such shame to Thomas.  But Jesus doesn’t angrily stick His wounds in Thomas’ face, but does so in forgiveness.  Peace be with you – Thomas, don’t hang your head in shame - I forgive you – I love you.  You are Mine.    Peace be with you.  Jesus says that to every single one of us today.   Where do you need peace in your life – maybe in a relationship that needs mending because of something bad that has been said or done – or maybe because of your fears - for fears for the future – fears about your health, your job – fears about a friendship - just like the disciples, just like Thomas, we all need peace – in our world, our communities, in our lives.  Jesus offers us His peace.  A peace that says – I am never going to leave you, I will never desert you.  Yes, as humans, each one of us can desert Him, but He, He will never desert you.  And even if you are at a point in your life where you don’t like yourself or don’t love yourself, remember this - Jesus never stops loving you – and not just the good you.  He loves ALL of you.  Peace be with you. That peace He offers to us? It’s a peace of endless love and divine mercy.  That is what we celebrate this Sunday.    

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 7, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

Easter Friday - John 21: 1-14

today's readings are Acts 4: 1-12 and Psalm 118 Dear, dear Peter - a complete package of contradictions.  Passionate, and yet fearful.   Impetuous, yet methodical.  Faith filled, and at times, faithless.  Loyal, but also a betrayer.  Wise, and then incredibly silly.  And with all that, he would be the rock on which Jesus would build the Church. Today we read of an example of Peter's impetuous nature and silliness.   John realizes that it is the risen Jesus speaking to them from the shore.  Peter, put on his clothes and jumps into the sea, swimming to Jesus.  This is going to be a 90 m swim.  And he is going to do so fully clothed.  Not a good idea.  In fact, a downright dumb idea.   You can just picture him, arriving on the shore, exhausted, gasping for air, the water pouring off his clothes.  And I can picture Jesus looking at him and thinking, "What a knucklehead!" But a bit later in this story, starting with verse 15, we see Peter's faith being put to the test. as he is asked 3 times by Jesus, "Do you love me?".  Peter passes the test, although Jesus warns him of the terrible death Peter would endure.  Even with that insight, Peter will still follow the Lord. How many times I think of myself like Peter, with all the same qualities that are listed in the 1st paragraph.  Do you ever feel that you are like Peter?  But importantly, are you following Jesus just like Peter would?

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 5, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
1heart

Easter Thursday - Acts 3: 11-26

today's other readings are Psalm 8 and Lk. 24: 35-48 St. Luke the Evangelist bestowed upon us 2 great gifts: the gospel named after him, and the Acts of the Apostles.  In both cases, you will notice at the start of each book he addresses a person called Theophilus, "friend of God", which may be either a person that Luke knew or could be a collective of people, as Theophilus was a common Greek name for a man at that time. The acts of the Apostles is an account of some the works, events and teachings of the early Christian church.  Today's reading is a continuation of yesterday's reading (3: 1-10), which centres upon the healing of a lame man by Peter and John.   All those who witnessed the healing or else knew the man beforehand are amazed. Peter tells the people it is not by their power that the man was healed, but by God. This statement of Peter's is a challenge to all of us.  For all the good we do, and the works we accomplish, yes, they are our efforts, but nothing can be done without God.  After all, he gave us our gifts and talents and life and faith.  And it is the Spirit that ultimately prompts any such good actions.  As Peter rightly points out, in the end, all the glory goes to God, not us.

Fr. Michael Machacek

Apr 4, 2024 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart