Reflection for Palm Sunday 2015

29 March 2015 - By

itretempidimaria

Let us be poured
out for Him.

When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me.”

Twelve days after Christmas we celebrate the visit of the Magi, the Kings, the Wise men. They came to pour out their gifts for Jesus – gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. So too they poured out the time (almost a year), effort, and treasure it took to make the journey. Their gifts were poured out with joy in recognition of Jesus’ kingship and were also poured out in preparation for His burial.

Jesus comes to Jerusalem, well aware of what was to occur. As He enters the city the people pour out praise. They acclaim Him King, the One who comes in the Name of the Lord.

Today a woman comes and pours out costly perfume for Jesus. Mark notes that she anoints His head. John says she anointed His feet and washed them with her tears. In either case, she pours out her time, treasure, and tears for Jesus. She stands up to ridicule and pours out an embarrassing amount of love for Jesus, her Savior.

In Good Friday’s reading of the Passion we hear of Joseph of Arimathe’a and Nicode’mus who will come, risking their lives before Pilate and those who plotted against Jesus, asking for His body. Nicode’mus pours out a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry people came to Him. They poured out their sins, needs, troubles and tears. They poured out their expectations and their love. They poured out hatred and mistrust as well. For thousands of years since people have continued to do the same.

For all that humanity has poured out, Jesus came to pour out far more. He did not limit His ministry to what was being poured out to Him, but rather poured Himself out to take all darkness away. Through His pouring out we have been freed. Even what we fear to pour out is taken away. The deepest and darkest recesses of our lives – the places were sin and evil have taken root – Jesus came to take those away. Psalm 116 asks: What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? Let us pour out faithfulness, love, praise, worship and thanksgiving to Jesus who poured Himself out for us.

Ś+P Rt. Rev. Anthony Rysz

22 March 2015 - By

From the Scranton Times-Tribune: Bishop Anthony M. Rysz, 90, died Friday, March 20, in Geisinger Community Medical Center emergency room after being stricken ill at home. His wife of 46 years is the former Marie Bednash Rysz.

Bishop_Anothny_RyszBishop Rysz was the son of the late Aniela Szmyd Rysz and Joseph Rysz. Born in Old Forge, he was educated in local schools and attended the University of Scranton. During the Second World War, he served with the Fifth Amphibious Force of the Pacific theater with the United States Navy. Long involved in church activities and organizations, his calling prompted him to enter Savonarola Theological Seminary of the Polish National Catholic Church.

He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on Oct. 19, 1950, by the Right Rev. John Misiaszek, and was assigned as assistant to St. Stanislaus Cathedral. In February 1954, he was assigned to the pastorate of Holy Mother of Sorrows Parish, Dupont, and was elevated to the rank of senior priest on Nov. 11, 1964, by the Prime Bishop, the Most Rev. Leon Grochowski. In February 1968, he assumed the pastorate of St. Stanislaus Cathedral and received Episcopal consecration on June 26 of the same year. He served on various commissions of the church, including the United Polish School Societies, Clergymen’s Aid Fund and Seminary Board. He was the personal secretary to the first bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church, Francis Hodur, and his successor, Leon Grochowski. From 1959 to 1966, he spent many months as the consignee for Aid to Poland under the American Polish National Relief Program.

Bishop Rysz was actively involved in the International Bishop’s Conference of the Union of Utrecht, of which the Polish National Catholic Church was a member. Additionally, he was the chairman of the Commission on Dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and had participated in numerous ecumenical celebrations, both here and abroad. He was the editor of God’s Field, the official newspaper of the Polish National Catholic Church and a contributing writer to that publication. He was actively involved in programs which encourage the participation of younger people in the life of the church. In recent years, he served as pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Nanticoke.

He is also survived by a sister, Josephine R. Kwiatkowski, Taylor; and two brothers, Theodore, Scranton; and Walter; nieces and nephews.

He was also preceded in death by a sister, Celia Ambrose.

He will lie in state on Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. in St. Stanislaus Polish National Catholic Cathedral, 529 E. Locust St., Scranton. The funeral Mass will be on Wednesday at 10 a.m., celebrated by the Most Rev. Dr. Anthony A. Mikovsky. Interment will follow in the parish cemetery.

Donations in the bishop’s memory may be made to the Clergy Pension Fund, the St. Stanislaus Elementary School PTO or St. Stanislaus Renovation Fund.

Eternal rest grant unto your servant, priest, and bishop and may the perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.

Reflection for Passion Sunday 2015

22 March 2015 - By

curtain

The tide is
rolling in.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD

Today marks the 1st Sunday of Passiontide, the beginning of the two weeks before the Solemnity of the Resurrection. It is a time in which we can most deeply encounter Jesus by walking with Him.

We began our Lenten journey by receiving ashes and pledging to walk with Jesus for forty days as He fasted and prayed. Now that journey is drawing to a close.

As in any long journey we perceive the fact that we tire as the journey gets closer to the end. Being near the end we have choices to make. Do we continue the same walk we have been on for the past five weeks? Do we give up now because we are tired or because we never really got started anyway? Or, do we double down, and chose to walk more closely with Jesus in this Passiontide?

The right choice is to walk more closely with Jesus. The time is drawing near and over the next two weeks we will recall Jesus teaching in the Temple as He tries to change the hearts of those who would hear Him. We see Him headed to the Upper Room where He will teach His closest friends, will wash their feet, and will leave them the gift of His body and blood through which they will ever be with Him. He will walk to the Garden to pray. He will be arrested, tortured, and will face false accusers at trial before unjust and mocking judges. He will be whipped, carry His own cross, be nailed to it, and die on it. He will be buried in a borrowed tomb.

How close will we be with Him in this Passiontide? Jesus reminds us today: Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.

To walk more closely with Jesus requires something tremendous, that we give up our life, our ways, our opinions, our judgment of right and wrong and conform to Jesus’ way – He is the Way. Passiontide tests us more thoroughly. When the going gets tiring and tougher, will we walk way or work harder? Is where He is the place we really want to be? These are very difficult questions, and our answers – if they are right – will be persecuted in the world. Yet we have the promise of true freedom and victory. Let us walk more closely with Jesus for He was lifted up to draw us all closer to Him.

Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent 2015

15 March 2015 - By

What is from
God?

God's free gift

In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him!”

Cyrus the Great is counted as the patron who delivered Israel from Babylonian captivity. Cyrus was the king of Persia. He was not Jewish. There is some speculation as to his religion, but as with many civil rulers to this day he believed in whatever may have suited him politically at the moment. So here is this politically savvy ruler who captured Persia, founded the Achaemenid Empire and conquered most of Southwest and Central Asia and the Caucasus. His rule stretched from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Indus River in the east. So why, in the first year of his reign, would he make a decree that the Temple should be rebuilt in Jerusalem and that the Jewish people who wished could return to their land for this purpose? He even allowed the treasures of the Temple, captured by Nebuchadnezzar, to be returned.

We can look at this like many look at faith – with incredulity. A savvy and strong political leader being generous – Who can believe that? Why would he empty his treasury and let these people go? There are all kinds of speculation as to why. Maybe it was a political move, gaining allegiance from all of the people Cyrus had conquered. Maybe he had an affinity for their belief system. Maybe… a thousand reasons.

St. Paul tells us: …by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God. Paul tells us that God gives us tremendous gifts specifically so that we might have life. Cyrus is held up as an image of God’s generosity. Cyrus owed Israel absolutely nothing and they could do nothing for him. He had power and control and turns to these people and gives them everything.

The lesson is that God’s generosity is inestimable and unexplainable. God is self-sufficient yet desires to love and care for us He emptied His treasury and sent His only Son to die for us so we might enter into His eternal and heavenly city. What is from God is not power or security, or even health as the world understands those things. It is the gift of faith that is far more generous. By the gift of faith that is from God alone we enter into relationship with Him have life for all of eternity.

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Institution of the Polish National Catholic Church – 2015

8 March 2015 - By

And they will be amazed.

Then the righteous man will stand with great confidence in the presence of those who have afflicted him, and those who make light of his labors. When they see him, they will be shaken with dreadful fear, and they will be amazed at his unexpected salvation. They will speak to one another in repentance, and in anguish of spirit they will groan, and say, "This is the man whom we [...]Read More

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent 2015

1 March 2015 - By

Sometimes the test is almost impossible.

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am!” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”
Over recent weeks it seems that the number of troubles among those I know [...]Read More

Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent 2015

23 February 2015 - By

The time is here and now.

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’
Mark’s rendition of Jesus’ time in the desert is very short. It also focuses us on one of Mark’s key themes; Jesus’ ministry is confrontational. Think of the very real confrontations [...]Read More

Simply Grand Concert Series – Art Song Treasures of Poland on March 22, 2015

21 February 2015 - By

From WVIA: WVIA's next Simply Grand Concert on March 22, 2015 features soprano Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki and pianist Carol Ann Aicher in a program titled, Art Song Treasures of Poland PITTSTON, PA (WVIA) - WVIA's next Simply Grand Concert features soprano Barbara Liberasky-Nowicki and pianist Carol Ann Aicher in a program titled, "Art Song Treasures of Poland." The live concert will be held on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 3 p.m. in the Sordoni High [...]Read More

Reflection for Quinquagesima Sunday 2015

15 February 2015 - By

Time to get a new shirt.

And Jesus said to them, "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is [...]Read More

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