Posted on January 2, 2017 by Father Joe
Posted on December 9, 2016 by Father Joe
Here is a bobble-head Pope Francis (in honor of his visit to the Philippines) on my bookshelf next to the Metaluna Mutant from the 1955 classic science fiction film, THIS ISLAND EARTH. The books they are sitting upon are rather interesting, too… see the titles.
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Posted on November 29, 2016 by Father Joe
My dear friend Paul J. Wrabel passed away this morning. He was a parishioner of Holy Family Parish here in Mitchellville, MD and a member of Fr. Michael C. Kidd Council of the Knights of Columbus. Here we see him with his beautiful daughter, Kristin. My deepest condolences to his family.
Below we see Paul with DGK Mike Turner.
Paul and Joan are together again.
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Posted on November 27, 2016 by Father Joe
Today we (Holy Family Parish, Mitchellville, MD) hosted a Memorial Celebration for the Knights of St. John, International and the Ladies Auxiliary. Thank you for your long legacy of service to the Church. May all the faithful departed rest in peace.
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Posted on October 11, 2016 by Father Joe
Israel’s war against Amalek might have been a foreshadowing of the Church’s struggle against the world and the devil. The raised hands of Moses are often connected to the raised hands of the priest at the altar. The power that wins the battle is not Moses but that of God. However, Moses is seen as a conduit for divine power, showering his soldiers with heavenly strength and inspiring them with his presence on top of the hill. When Moses grew tired, Aaron and Hur supported his arms.
I am reminded about the story of an elderly priest who had to offer Mass from his wheelchair. A makeshift table was placed on the lower level before the altar. The priest had a debilitating muscular disease and his arms and hands were weak and useless. Two men from the community would hold up his arms for the orations and blessings. When he needed to hold the sacred elements, they would clasp their hands upon his so that he could raise up the bread and wine for consecration. Visitors one weekend were critical, noting that it was a shame that there was no healthy priest to say Mass properly. A large number of parishioners quickly objected to the criticism. One of them retorted, “What do you mean? We have our priest and he is empowered by Christ to give us the Eucharist and God’s blessing… what more could we want?”
The faith of the Jews and later of Christians is a mediated faith. We lift our hands and voices to the Lord. God uses weak human vessels to show his power and to transmit his gifts. God sends his deliverers, prophets, apostles, bishops, priests and deacons. God is our ultimate guardian but he gives us human sentinels who keep watch over his flock.
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Posted on October 10, 2016 by Father Joe
The worldwide Catholic Church fulfills the command from the Gospel to pray unceasingly. The Mass is offered, the Liturgy of the Hours is prayed and the Rosaries are said. Unlike the dishonest judge, God cannot be manipulated or forced to comply with our wishes. However, God wants us to pray and to petition him as a loving Father. Persistent faith and prayer is an antidote to human fickleness. We need to have the heart and mind of God— to want what he wants.
Constant prayer and a lived faith will transform us. We become God’s children in truth. Yes, God knows what we need even before we petition him; however, this posture of dependence is demanded by God for our own good. A person may give drink to the thirsty but the receiver must hold up his glass to receive the life-giving water. It might seem that God is moved but we are the ones being moved. God pours himself out; but we must be receptive to the divine presence and grace.
I remember my departed mother. She was never happier than when her family needed her. Even when we were selfish, she immediately responded with love and caring. All good mothers are the same. Our supplications may be endless, but so is God’s charity and patience. We belong to him. Everything is God’s gift to us. He delights in hearing the voices of his children.
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Posted on October 9, 2016 by Father Joe
God is the source of justice for those wronged by the world. While our faith must be lived outside the church doors, do we really make our own the bidding prayers of the Mass? What are the intentions that we bring to the Eucharist? Do we really believe that God hears and answers prayers? Some critics think that we are just talking to ourselves and making a wish-list that will never be realized. Of course, the Lord is not a genie from a lamp. His response to prayer, not wishes, is not to serve selfishness but charity, compassion, peace and truth.
If we belong to the Lord then we should witness in faith to his justice. The world resists and does not want to change. Jesus laments, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
If we want our petitions answered, do we respond to the cries of the poor?
Do we pray for courage so as to live out a heroic witness as signs of contradiction?
Do we ask for the grace to love and forgive as Jesus does, even those who hate and hurt us?
Do we pray for enemies, as well as for friends and loved ones?
Do we pray for the living and the dead?
Are our petitions devoid of selfishness?
Do we pray for the salvation of souls, vocations and the sanctity of life?
Are we emissaries praying for the wounded world?
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