Reflection for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2015

25 January 2015 - By

7612_Disciple

Following the call to
discipleship.

The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD’S bidding.

The call to discipleship is not a one-time event. If it were, most of us would likely miss it the first few times. Thankfully our God is constant in His call and He understands our stubbornness, the fact that we need to be reminded and called over and over.

Jonah is one example of God’s persistence. Jonah was a prophet of Israel, and for the most part he got to deliver happy messages. Then God’s call came: “Arise, go to Nin’eveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.”

This was a tough call. Jonah wouldn’t be delivering a happy message to his people, but would have to go to a foreign city, among non-believers, to deliver a very hard message. As we know: Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

Jonah literally went in the opposite direction.

Last week we heard John telling His disciples, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” So, The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

Today those same disciples are back to fishing. What happened in between? Perhaps they were scared by John’s arrest. Their prior discipleship ended in their leader going to a horrible prison. We could speculate as to the reasons that they went back to fishing, to being non-disciples. But, here comes Jesus, calling again saying: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus didn’t give up on them. He called again and they abandoned their nets and followed him.

There will be times in our life where faithfulness, where our discipleship wanes. There are times when we will go back to our old nets, our former ways. When we do Jesus will come again and say once again: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

It is up to us to hear and follow. Will we again leave our nets, our old ways and follow Him? Will we announce His message (even if its uncomfortable and against what the world tells us is ‘right’)?

When we are called, let us leave fear behind and get busy as true disciples. Jesus calls us for a reason. Like Jonah, we can make a real difference by helping people to repent and believe. Like Jesus’ first disciples, we can make His name known everywhere we go.

Reflection for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2015

17 January 2015 - By

tunein

Do they hear
His voice?

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet. The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

A little background for today’s Old Testament reading: Eli is the high priest of Shiloh, the second-to-last Israelite judge. He held the highest and most responsible position among the people of God.

While high priest and judge, he fails with his children. His sons are abusive and wicked. Eli knows what’s going on, but does not properly correct his sons. He is supposed to be govern over Israel but cannot properly govern his family. As a result God judges Eli and his family. Eli and his family were supposed to be an example to the people of God much in the same way we are called to be examples to the world. It is good to reflect on Eli’s failings and his lack of proper judgment, to measure how well we carry out God’s will and what kind of example we set.

Samuel is the son of Hannah. She prayed that God would give her a child and pledged that she would offer her child back to God. Her prayer was answered. Samuel is brought back and he is dedicated to the Lord and to be trained by Eli.

What’s interesting is that for all the training Eli was to impart to Samuel, at the time of God’s call Samuel was not familiar with the LORD. Did Eli fail to teach Samuel about the Lord, to help him hear the Lord’s voice? Did he fail as an example and witness to God’s presence for Samuel too?

The child Samuel remained true to Heaven and God came that night to call him as His witness. God went right past Eli to charge Samuel as a faith witness to His reality.

We have an important charge and choice. We are charged to witness to the Lord, to follow His word as the truth, and to judge rightly. We are to make the Lord’s truth known through our words and actions, the way we live our lives. Will we choose to witness faithfully to the Lord, will we say with confidence that we have heard the Lord’s voice and take His word seriously? Will we let others know about the Lord so He doesn’t have to pass us by in order to relate to those who do not know Him? In short, will we be an Eli or a John the Baptist. John understood Eli’s failure. John heard God’s voice and pointed Him out to everyone: as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” People will not hear or see unless we remain true, witness, and like John and true disciples we make Him known to the world. They must hear from us.

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord 2015

10 January 2015 - By

154309802

But when is the
first Sunday?

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

The Church’s calendar is a rather complicated endeavor. You have to be really good at math to properly assemble it, and understand various historical nuances.

In our parish, the calendar may seem a little odd. We continue to honor the Christmas season right through February 2nd, the Solemnity of the Presentation. Our Christmas decorations remain, yet the vestments we use will change to green next week. It will be the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Wait, ummmm, what happened to the First Sunday in Ordinary Time?

Technically, Ordinary Time is observed in two periods: The first period beginning on the day after the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord (which we celebrate today) and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday; and The second period beginning on the Monday after Pentecost (the conclusion of the Easter Season) and continuing until the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent.

That may be the right answer, but it really does not answer our question: When/where is the First Sunday in Ordinary Time?

We could see today’s Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord as replacing or offsetting the First Sunday in Ordinary Time or we could look at it another way. The Baptism of the Lord is a start, a beginning, a first thing we must live every day.

On this day God reveals that Jesus is indeed His Son, the Messiah. The identity of God is made know: On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Our lives are filled with ordinariness. But, it all depends on how we interpret our ordinary experiences. If we simply ignore our ordinary every day experiences or see them has having no importance, we are missing something very important. Our ordinariness is not meaningless. Every moment, our every beginning, is to be seen and experienced in Jesus.

Jesus came to show us that what is ordinary – what is us – is so very important to Him. He shows us that our ordinariness is graced and we can accomplish all through and in Him. He has taken us by the hand. Every Sunday and every ordinary moment is of first importance lived in Him.

Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family 2015

3 January 2015 - By

Icon-of-the-Holy-Family-of-Nazareth-Photograph

Bless and protect
our family.

Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.

How very important is St. Paul’s discourse with the people of Colossae in Asia Minor. The primary subject of the section of his letter we read today is how to live the ideal Christian life.

As Jesus had told us: [we] are not of the world, even as [He is] not of the world. But we must live here; we must work to transform the world, conforming it to Jesus’ way of life so that His kingdom may be made real among us. That is the job we accept in our baptism. As such we must strive to be living examples. We must work toward the perfection of life Jesus modeled for His disciples – that’s us.

The Church at Colossae was not without troubles. Paul had spent two years planting and building the Church in Asia Minor. Starting in Ephesus he branched out and as Acts tells us: “all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.” Of course, Paul wasn’t solely responsible, for the initial hearers of the word became proclaimers of the Word.

From prison, Paul had heard that the Colossians, who had at one time been strong in their faith, were now vulnerable to deception about the faith. He wrote to refute each of the errors the Colossians were tempted to embrace and which were dividing them. The letter, however, takes readers far beyond theology. Paul cared deeply that all of his readers (including us) understand the context of their lives within God’s Story, and what that looks like in their relationships. We can imagine the disputes that were taking place, the confusion, and people stepping forward as ‘thought leaders.’ Others saying, ‘Forget it, I’m quitting.’ Paul was calling them back to right faith and right action – that they be one body, one family. They were not to quit, even if offended, but to forgive, to become better, and to be living examples of life in the family of Christ.

He puts a fine point on this by saying: And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Whatever we do when we enter the doors of the Church, and when we leave is to be done in the name of Jesus. Very appropriate to us, the family of Christ blessed and protected at Holy Name of Jesus!

Ś+P Donald F. Mushalko, Ph.D.

1 January 2015 - By

From Trib Total Media: Polish culture, music backbones of man's life

Ś.P. Donald Mushalko devoted his life to music and to keeping Polish culture alive in the Pittsburgh region. The outgoing and friendly former music professor at the University of Pittsburgh traveled extensively and had friends across the country and throughout Europe, said his sister, Jean Jasiewicz of McKeesport. “Our grandparents emigrated from Poland, (and) they lived with us,” Jasiewicz said. “We learned the [...]Read More

Solemnity of the Circumcision 2015

1 January 2015 - By

First reading: Genesis 17:9-14 Psalm: Ps. 19:8-11 Epistle: Galatians 5:3-6 Verse Philippians 3:3 Gospel: Luke 2:21

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Today we observe the Solemnity of the Circumcision. In accordance with Mosaic law, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after His birth. As we read in Genesis: An infant of [...]Read More

Thank You Lord for the Year Past and Bless Us in the Year Ahead

31 December 2014 - By

We give Thee our most humble and hearty thanks O God, for blessings without number which we have received from Three in 2014, for all Thy goodness and loving kindness, for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life. And, we beseech Thee, give us that due sense of all Thy mercies, that our hearts may be truly thankful for all things, and that we show forth Thy praise, not only with our [...]Read More

Stoning of St. Stephen and small ‘t’ tradition

30 December 2014 - By

A great story from the Sunday Dispatch below. We honored this tradition at home when I was young. My grandmother (Busha - a Polish term of endearment for grandma) used to wake us up by throwing a few nuts at us. This story brought back those memories. In these small 't' traditions we do a certain kind of catechesis that is experiental. From the Sunday Dispatch: Stoning of St. Stephen honored in Duryea by [...]Read More

Watch “A.D. The Series”

29 December 2014 - By

From the renowned producing team of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes A.D. on NBC – a landmark television event continuing where The Bible series left off. A.D. starts with the Crucifixion and The Resurrection – catalysts that altered history. What follows is the epic tale of “A.D.” chronicling several of the most intense and tumultuous decades in history. The complicated birth of the early Church was a time filled with enormous faith, persecution, [...]Read More

Ś+P Very Rev. Edward Meus

29 December 2014 - By

Very Rev. śp. Edward Meus, age 72 of Portage; formerly of Merrillville, IN, passed away Wednesday, December 24, 2014. He is survived by his wife Eva of 48 years; three children: Steven Meus, Donna (Jack) Pavlik, Christine Waugh; four grandchildren: Kayla and Megan Bowman, Abigail and Zachary Meus; brother Very Rev. Henry (Sophie) Meus; sister Sophie (late Joseph) Kulba; and many nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by parents Adam and Mary Meus; brother Dr. [...]Read More

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