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Why and Who do We live for?

Living in the Word for July 26, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,

The Gospel of this 17th Sunday also speaks to us, through three short parables (the treasure hidden in the field; the merchant in search of fine pearls; and the drag net), about the Kingdom of God. By way of these stories, Jesus invites us to think about the style of our life.

Is our life a continuous search for holiness? Is it the “indulgence” of our way because of which there aren’t good results? We all have before our eyes desire for consumerism, which makes life a search for only material well-being. As for the ultimate goal of life is concerned and how we will be judged at the end of our life, we don’t seem to have much interest. If that is the case, then, that would be a great evil.

We all know that when God created us, he put us in this world to seek the holiness of life which is our only true and eternal realization. Unfortunately there is an incredible number of people who choose “unsteadiness” to cover the emptiness they feel in themselves. But it is also truly interesting to know the number of “Blesseds” and “Saints”, even of our own time, that the Church recognizes and places before us, so that we may venerate them and follow their ideals. They are the great witnesses of the Kingdom of heaven, who help build Christians of today.

It is enough to have eyes, capable of looking beyond the shadows and haziness of the world, to see the number of people of all ages and conditions who really make Jesus their treasure. Maybe they don’t make news, but they arouse a lot of admiration when we meet them in person. It is a blessing to meet them and it still great to know them and to discover with them how the “hidden treasure in the field”, which is Jesus, is found. It would be enough to visit some Houses of Prayer to experience the joy of seeing these men and women, young people and families, who turn their life into one of a search for Heaven. “Saints” know how to find and live holiness in silence, in self-giving, in detachment from a world. Unfortunately, the world seems to only long for fun – which is a “market of emptiness” or worse still, of the abuse and exploitation of the weakest. But those who participate in it, sooner or later, feel and experience the emptiness in themselves, because they realize that, after the noise, only the bitterness of a wasted-life remains.

Today, then, it is really worthwhile, in the face of this vocational problem of holiness, to ask the question about the meaning of our life and to understand that holiness is the truth of our life. It is the testimony that is presented to us today in Solomon, which gives us all a great lesson in life. Let us hear again and make our own the question that young Solomon asked God and let us listen to the words of the Lord as if it were addressed to us: “The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night”. God said: “ask me what you want me to grant you.” Solomon said: “… I am just a boy; I don’t know how to regulate myself … Grant me your servant a docile heart, so that it can do justice to your people and to know how to distinguish good from evil; in fact, who can govern this so many of your people?”

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him: Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but you have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I grant you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you”. (1 Kings 3, 5-7-12)

Solomon’s words interpret well the thought of Jesus, that is, to consider life a service and not a triumphalism that is full of pride. In the Gospel, Jesus, in fact returns to the need to give first place to the daily search for the Kingdom of God. This is then the only great Good, immense Good – that which gives true meaning to life and before which all what we seek reveals itself for what it is: harmful rubbish.

Jesus returns to invite us to look at the true treasure of life: holiness, which means to live with him and in him, in simplicity, in service, and with joy. Pope Francis insists a great deal on joy. He writes in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium: “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew” (No.1)

Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ (No.2). Certainly, this is not the life of those who have found the hidden treasure: JESUS.

Let us pray that we may always search for Holiness and live for Christ who is our only true Treasure.

Have a blessed weekend!

Fr Saga.
Pastor.

Funeral of Lorraine Therese Foss

The family of Lorraine Foss has invited us to post the video of her Funeral Mass, celebrated in the Church on July 15th, 2020 at 10am, for those who were not able to attend in person. Lorraine Therese Foss passed away July 6th, leaving behind sons Norman & Michael, and daughters Linda & Lisa and their families along with many family members out of province.

Living in the Word for Sunday July 12th, 2020 “The day Jesus left the house and sat by the sea”

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,

The Gospel of this Sunday is centred on the theme of God the sower. God sows his Word generously on every type of land. His Word obviously fills the world with life.

“The sower went out to sow”. Already just this one phrase vibrates with joy and prophecy and is full of promises and harvests, a sign of bread and no hunger. Even now God goes out to sow generously. The pathways of the world and of the soul rejoice before God, the source of our lives. God is not the harvester who judges and weighs the harvest, but is the sower. He is the hand that gives, the strength that sustains, the day that begins, the voice that awakens.

Let each of us, therefore, ask/tell: how many times have I slowed down the course of miracle!
I am like a road, I am like a field of stones and rocks, I am like a tangle of thorns, a trampled heart, a stone surface,… I grow only thorns and roots of poison…

Well, we really like this Jesus who speaks in parables: the sower went out to sow and the world becomes full of life. Thus, the parable makes life to speak.
Life is not empty. There is something of God in life. If only we had eyes to look at life, if only we had the depth of the eyes of Jesus, we, too, would write parables in this life. We would tell of God using parables and poetry, as Jesus did.

We are called to be farmers of the Word, to spread it everywhere, with confident determination of the parable; because the strength is not in the sower, but in the seed; the strength is not in me, but in the Word. It will not return to God without bearing fruit.

The sower went out to sow. He still goes out to sow today, this morning, now. This sower-God, peasant God is great. He is great because he believes in the goodness and strength of the Word even more than in the visible fruits. He believes in the Word even more than in its results. It is the Word which is true, not so much its results.

God calls me to an act of pure faith, to believe in the goodness of the Gospel even more than the visible results of that word, to believe that God transforms the earth and people even when I do not see the fruits. He calls me to love his promise even more than the fulfillment of the promise, to love God even more than the promises of God.

This is an act of joyful and strong faith that the Gospel proposes today.
I don’t need crops, I just need big fields to sow and a heart not robbed.
I need God who sows, whom my dryness never tires.
And still the paths of the world will be able to celebrate life.
Let us therefore thank God-the sower who, by sowing his Word, brings life into our lives.

Have a wonderful summer week-end!
Fr Saga.
Pastor.

Weekly Reflection: Love the Lord “more” in order to love others

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

We are in 13th Sunday in ordinary time. Some of the expressions of Jesus in today’s Gospel seem to take some people by surprise. For instance this one: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me”. Does this underestimate love for parents? Of course not. All that Jesus asks is this: every human relationship is to be lived in relation to Him. Jesus does not ask to “love less”: it is just the opposite. Every rapport between persons can find its foundation and protection only when it refers to Jesus. When Jesus says that he came to bring “not peace, but the sword” to earth, he refers to the need to heal the wounds of human nature and that of the violent or failed relationships. The suffering, caused due to the fragility of the emotional ties and the fractures of the bonds of love between man and woman, is known to everyone. That is why Jesus invites all, so that people may convert their relationships through His paschal mystery (Cross, Death and Resurrection), and that everything might be reborn in an absolutely new way – this includes also the love between parents and children, between husband and wife.

Accepting to carry the cross and to follow the path of Jesus is a necessary condition in order to be His disciples. Evidently, everyone of us is, first of all, a follower of Jesus and the dignity of it lies precisely in marching towards Him who is our Master, while shunning away from anything ungodly. The disciple, who is worthy of the Master, is the Christian who does not walk behind the idol of himself/herself or what emerges in his/her own time or in the dominant culture. That is why, it is better to lose such a life and surrender oneself to Jesus. In other words, it is better to spend one’s life for the cause of Jesus. The triple underlining of the expression: “He is not worthy of me”, recalls the triple question of Jesus put to Peter: “Do you love me more than all the others.” In effect, today’s Gospel asks everyone one of us to love the Lord “more” in order to love others. Jesus may not be loved, but He cannot be loved less than another person, otherwise He would not be the Lord.

Dear brethren, as we can realise, when God is given the first place, everything makes sense in love. If the desire for God is great, then the values of the Gospel are also within our reach. Primacy to God only enables our love for each other stronger and more meaningful.

In today’s Gospel Jesus draws the profile of His apostle who is sent in gratuitousness and poverty, giving him/her the freedom to carry the Cross, to offer his/her own life in order to find it fully. Such an apostle mirrors, in this way, the face of the Master himself. It is Jesus who is received in the person of the apostle because the apostle does the same work of the Lord: Salvation, because he/she is capable of a love that is greater than any other affection.

Let us love Jesus more so that we may be able to love our brothers and sisters truly.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Fr Saga.
Pastor

Weekly Reflection: “Do not be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows”

“Do not be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows”.

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Every time we hear the above mentioned words, we tend to feel certain amount of fear and emotion blended together: fear of not being able to understand a God who seems to be lost/hidden behind the smallest creatures/things in the world (the sparrows and the hair of the head) and the emotion of images that speak to us of a God who performs unexpected things, who does for us what no one has done, what no one will ever do. He has engraved us on the palms of His hands and has prepared a nest for us in His hands. We are precious in His eyes. He cares for us. In other words, God is in love with every one of us.

The Gospel says that not even a sparrow will fall to the ground outside our heavenly Father’s care. Yet, “sparrows” continue to fall, innocents die, children are sold for a few dollar s or thrown away as soon as their short flight of life took off.
Therefore one might ask: is it God who makes us fall to the ground? Is it God who breaks the wings of our lives? No. At time people interpret this passage on the echo of certain popular sayings. But the Gospel does not say so, instead it ensures that no one will fall out of the hands of God, far from his presence. God will be there!

Nothing happens without God wanting it, right? However, many things do happen in the world against the will of God. Every hatred, every abuse, every conflict, every violence happens against the will of the Father, and yet nothing happens without God being “involved” in it, in the sense that nobody dies without Jesus not suffering the agony of it. Nobody is rejected without Him being rejected, nobody is crucified without Christ being crucified. Therefore, God is there in every moment of our sufferings and hardships. For that reason and for many more other, we shall announce to the world what we hear/know of God: “God is our loving Father”. “God cares for us His children”. There is nothing authentically human that does not find echo in the heart of God. Let us love our heavenly Father and let us not be scared of Him.

But at the same time, we must rather fear the one who has the ‘power to make the soul perish’. The soul is ‘vulnerable’. It is a flame that can languish, for it can ‘die’ of superficiality, of indifference, of lack of love, of hypocrisy. Soul ‘dies’ when we let ourselves be corrupted, when we disorientate others and take away their courage, when we work to demolish, to slander, to mock ideals, to spread fear.

Dear brethren,
In today’s Gospel passage three times Jesus reassures us saying: “Do not be afraid, you are worth!” How beautiful this expression is! If God cares for the sparrows, surely He will care for us His children. Yes, we are worth because of God. Each one of is worth more, more than many sparrows, more than all the flowers of the field, more than each one dares to hope for. Let us, therefore, thank God our Heavenly Father.

Let me take this chance to wish all Dads a very Happy Father’s Day ! God bless them all!
Fr Saga.
Pastor.

Weekly Reflection: The Eucharist shows God’s Love for us All

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,

 

“Corpus Domini” is certainly one of the most popular feasts celebrated in the Catholic Church. The solemnity underlines the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In most of the parishes, this day is marked by offering special prayers & singing of hymns to Jesus in the Eucharist, often accompanied by processions, visual representations and decorations depicting the Eucharistic Lord. So today, we rejoice in a special way, for the gift of the Eucharist.

 

As we see, when children are small little ones, they know practically nothing about themselves and their needs, but then Moms (parents) take care of them every day and night. Although little children do not express themselves well, yet mothers understand them perfectly well. How do mothers know and understand their children so very well? The answer, obviously, lies in Mom’s heart: the mother loves her child. If she loves, then she understands what her child, whom she loves, needs, even if the loved one does not know how to speak or communicate clearly. So, here is the reason of today’s feast: today we celebrate the certainty that God loves. In fact, He has always loved us and taken care of us.

 

The OT book of Deuteronomy tell us beautiful things in this regard: thousands of years ago, when God’s people in the desert walked and followed Him, He gave them water to quench their thirst; manna and quail when they were hungry; light when it was dark; road signs when the desert looked the same everywhere and it was not clear in which direction to go. It is an example to say how much God loved and cared for the people of Israel right from the beginning.

 

God’s love is best manifested in and by Jesus in the New Testament especially in the Gospel of John. “God is love”, says John and he would repeat this many a time and “love is the inmost moral essence of God, which animates, directs, and holds together all other attributes. It is the motive power of God’s revelations or self-communications, the beginning and the end of his ways and works, the core of his manifestation in Christ. The Eucharist reminds all this. It is indeed the sacrament of memory, reminding us, in a real and tangible way, of the story of God’s love for us.

 

Dear brethren, as we are celebrating the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, we are telling ourselves and declaring to the world the depth of the love of Jesus for us who gave himself for us as the Way, Light and as Nourishment for our spiritual Life. Jesus, indeed, truly loves us.

When we eat His Body and drink His Blood, this divine food and drink make our hearts to find the Way to Eternal Life. What a grace and blessing to feel that we are always loved, cared for, nourished by Jesus, the Eucharistic Lord.

 

Let us therefore praise Him! Let us rejoice because He is here now and thinks of us!

Let us allow ourselves to be loved, cared for and nourished by His Body and Blood.

Happy feast of Corpus Christi !

 

Fr. Saga

Pastor.

Tony Malito’s Funeral Service

The Malito family have extended an invitation to all St. Dominic Savio Parishioners to view the Funeral Service of Antonio (Tony) Malito. Tony passed away on May 31, 2020 after a short illness. His funeral service was held at Park Memorial on June 5, 2020.

 

 

Father Saga’s Reflection on Pentecost, Sunday of May 31, 2020

The Holy Spirit is the greatest Gift of God

 

The feast of the Pentecost is the biggest one together with Easter. The Greek word Pentecost literally means “fiftieth day” after Easter, when we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. On the Ascension Day last Sunday, we heard that Jesus was raised high, then a cloud took him out of the eyes of the Apostles and went up to heaven.

 

But his going to the Father does not mean that he left the Apostles (and us) alone! Before going to heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit.

In today’s Gospel, we hear that already on the evening of Resurrection Sunday, Jesus went to the Apostles, blew on them saying: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” From this “breath”, which starts from within Jesus, we understand that the Holy Spirit is Jesus Himself, it is the breath of love that is born from his heart and that is transmitted to the Apostles.

 

The Holy Spirit is the breath of Jesus, it is he himself who enters in us and who continues to walk with us, who is always close to us, who makes us strong in doing good. The first breath of the Spirit that Jesus breathes on the Apostles gives them the power to forgive sins, just as he did in his earthly life. Even the successors of the Apostles (Bishops and Priests) have received this power and every time we go to confession, if we are repentant and promise not to do evil anymore, we actually receive God’s forgiveness.

 

And what happened on the day of the Pentecost?

“On the day of Pentecost, the Apostles were all together in the same place. Suddenly from heaven came a sound like the rush of a violent wind and filled the whole house where they were”. After this, tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. As we know, the Holy Spirit is “divine presence“, it is like a fire that purifies and transforms.

 

In other words, the Holy Spirit “takes possession” of the Apostles, purifies and makes them new. The Spirit of Jesus makes the Apostles become so courageous that they will go to the whole world to proclaim the Good News – all which shows us that God loves us and that he gives us his love through his Son Jesus!

 

Because of the gift of the Spirit the disciples were able to constitute themselves as a Church. The same Spirit, as the main protagonist, would continue to be at work in the Church. When we speak of the Church with a capital “C”, we do not speak of a building, rather we speak of all of us, gathered together as a community that believes in God.

 

Dear brethren, each of us received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Baptism and later on on the day of our Confirmation. It is the greatest gift that we could ever receive from the Lord. As we thank the Lord for this wonderful gift, let us not forget to abide by the promptings of the Spirit so that we may always bear good fruits, fruits in abundance.

 

Happy Feast of the Pentecost!

 

Fr Saga.

Pastor.

Father Saga’s Reflection: Sunday, May 24 th 2020, the Ascension of our Lord

God is with Us Every Moment of Every Day – 24/7

 

Dear brothers and sisters in the Risen Lord,

 

The glorious Easter Time continues and we go back over the last days of the life of the Risen Lord Jesus. We are particularly very keen to know where Jesus went, where he is now and about the special relationship he had with the Apostles.

 

There happened a conversation between two little students. One of them asked:

But if I always look at the sky, can I see Jesus? Or

Is there a particular hour when he appears?“.

The other readily replied: “What are you saying!

Did you not hear what the religion teacher said today?

Jesus appears only to the disciples! To those who lived with him two thousand years ago!”.

So Jesus lives in the past?“, asked the other.

 

In effect, we all think that the house of Jesus is heaven and the heaven (the Kingdom of God) is there up above, somewhere beyond the clouds – far far away. Is it really so? Even the apostles, who last saw Jesus climbing to heaven, remained with their faces looking upwards, because they saw a cloud taking him away! Two angels (mark the words) point out that it is useless to continue to stare at the sky, because Jesus will return to be among people! Actually, they do not say where he went, but they guarantee that one day he will return to be among people.

 

The Gospel explores other aspects as well, but in Jesus’ last address to his faithful collaborators he says “… I will be with you till the end of the world.”. At this point, one may ask :

In what way will he be present with his friends?

Does he simply look at them from his abode from heaven?

Does he check to know if they really carry out the things he told them to do?

Well, to answer these questions, let us just remember how he was with them and the times when he forgave them their unfaithfulness … I think this itself is enough to say that he is not someone like a controller and that he is not so far away from people. In fact, Jesus not only promises to be always with his Apostles, but he assures them of his support through the Holy Spirit.

And who is the Spirit – if not God himself who works among us guiding our actions, suggesting thoughts that lead us to God.

 

So we feel the closeness of Jesus, when we forgive others or when we help people in need.

We experience similar joy, when we pray each morning or each night before falling asleep.

Certainly, each of us and all of us feel Jesus is close to us, especially when our heart is full of joy, graceful without bitterness. Therefore the dwelling of God, the place where Jesus lodges is indeed our heart, where he often finds great and welcoming accommodation, sometimes narrow and inhospitable. He never gets tired, for sure, and stays with us always, for we are his creatures that he loves deeply.

 

Another point is the special relationship of the Master with the Disciples (Apostles). Before going back to the Father he asked them to baptize all the people and to teach them everything they had learned from him! Yes, Jesus gave his Disciples, who traveled and lived with him, an assignment to fulfill. In fact, he asked them to continue his mission, that is, to announce to everyone the love of God for all. But there is a special relationship, as said in the beginning, between the Apostles and the Lord: Jesus trusts them and counts on their help. All of us, who are his disciples, have been invested with such a job: to make known the Lord and His message – which means that He trusts us!

 

Dear brethren, today on the solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus, the Church celebrates the promise of God that he always stays close to all of us and we rejoice for the trust he places in all of us. Great is our God!

 

Fr Sagayaraj Devadoss

Pastor