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Sept 9, 2007: Twenty-third Sunday - Fr. Satish

"“If Anyone Comes to Me Without Hating His Father and Mother"

Sunday Mass Readings

Perhaps, one of the most controversial events of our times is the war in Iraq. The nation, and indeed, the world finds itself divided on the issue. In spite of the controversy surrounding the war, thousands of young people have joined the armed forces and some of them from this parish. Why on earth do young people with bright futures choose to go into the very midst of death? Yes, some do out of financial compulsions, and others for an education. And then there are those who find in their commitment, a cause higher than their own survival. For them, direct participation in the war in not about the war but about their love and commitment to a nation – a commitment that supersedes their relationship with their father, mother, brothers and sisters, and even their spouses and children. In other words, human beings sometimes are instinctively capable of heroic sacrifices that defy any rational explanation.

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Sept 2, 2007: Twenty-second Sunday - Fr. Satish

"Those Who Humble Themselves will be Exalted"

Sunday Mass Readings

The last issue of Time magazine dedicated its cover story to Mother Teresa. This rather well written article is a commentary on the latest book about her titled, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. Compiled and edited by Fr. Kolodiejchuk, the book contains Mother Teresa’s correspondence with her confessors and superiors over sixty-six years. Whereas most people expected her correspondence to be warm and fuzzy about her spiritual life, in reality, they express her feelings of abandonment at God’s hands.

Let me read just one of her entries. Lord my God, who am I that you should forsake me? The Child of your Love—and now become as the most hated one—the one—You have thrown away as unwanted—unloved. I call, I cling, I want—and there is no One to answer—no one on whom I can cling—no, Non One.—Alone… Where is my faith—even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness—My God—how painful is this unknown pain—I have no Faith—I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart—and make me suffer untold agony. So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them—because of the blasphemy—If there be God—please forgive me—When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven—there is such convicting emptiness that those every thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul.—I am told God loves me—and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?

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August 26: Twenty-first Sunday - Fr. Satish

"Lord, Will Only a Few be Saved?"

Sunday Mass Readings

I would like to deal with the same question that the disciples asked Jesus, “Will only a few people be saved?” (Luke 13:23) That is a good question. Who will be saved? Jesus gives no direct answer to this question. The Bible itself has no one single answer. In Matthew 25: 31-46, acceptance into the Kingdom or rejection from it depends on the “feeding, clothing, or caring for the least.” Those who cared about the least will be welcomed into the kingdom. The rest will go off to eternal punishment. In the beatitudes, the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers, the ones who mourn, the persecuted are the ones to whom the Kingdom is promised (Mt 5: 1-12). In both these places there is no indication those who are saved have to be believers. On the other hand, there are other scripture passages, which seem to suggest that the only way to be saved is to have explicit faith in Jesus. For example, in the gospel of John, Jesus says, “No one come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In the letter to Romans, St Paul says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). In the Act of the apostles it is even easier. Acts 2:21 says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

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August 19, 2007: Twentieth Sunday - Fr. Satish

"I Have Come to Set the Earth on Fire"

Sunday Mass Readings

Let me take you to the story of a young woman at the very beginning of the third Century. Vibia Perpetua was a young woman of noble birth. She was twenty-two, a wife, and a mother of a young son. From the point of view of the Roman Empire, there was only one thing she did not do right – she became a Christian. For this crime she was imprisoned. Along with here was another woman, a slave, name Felicity, who was in the last stages of her pregnancy.

Fortunately, Perpetua kept a diary. In it she records the events of her days in prison. One of the entries has to do with her conversation with her father. Pepetua's father was a pagan and came often to the prison with her son in his arms). He would plead with his daughter to renounce her religion and save her life - to no avail. She writes:
"When I was in the hands of the persecutors, my father in his tender solicitude tried hard to pervert me from the faith.
'My father,' I said, 'you see this pitcher. Can we call it by any other name than what it is?'
'No,' he said.
'Nor can I' [I said], 'call myself by any other name than that of Christian.'
So he went away, but, on the rumor that we were to be tried, wasted away with anxiety.
'Daughter,' he said, 'have pity on my gray hairs; have pity on thy father. Do not give me over to disgrace. Behold thy brothers, thy mother, and thy aunt: behold thy child who cannot live without thee. Do not destroy us all.'
“Thus spake my father, kissing my hands, and throwing himself at my feet. And I wept because of my father, for he alone of all my family would not rejoice in my martyrdom.” So I comforted him, saying:
'In this trial what God determines will take place. We are not in our own keeping, but in God's.'
So he left me - weeping bitterly.

On March 7, 203, Perpetua and her four companions were led to the arena where the crowd demanded they be scourged. Then a boar, a bear and a leopard were loosened upon the men while the women were attacked by a wild bull. Wounded, Perpetua was then put to the sword. Felicity was executed only two days after she had given birth to her child.

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August 15: Feast of the Assumption - Fr. Satish Joseph

"Blessed are You Who Believed that Everything the Lord Promised Will be Fulfilled"

Today's Mass Readings

The year I969 will always remain marked in the history of mankind the year of the greatest achievement. For on the 1969, mankind for the first time put his foot on the moon. When Neil Armstrong and his companion returned back to the earth after their expedition to the moon, a gala reception was organized for them. As they reached the stage to receive the accolades, the people kept shouting, “We hail you, supermen!” When time came for them to speak, they said, “We are not supermen. If we were supermen, then our achievement would have no significance. But it is because we are ordinary men, that small step is a giant leap for mankind.” (Adapted)

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