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3/6/16 Why Do We Rejoice?

4TH SUNDAY OF LENT
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Dear friends in Christ,
It is always special when we wear the rose vestments that clearly make us think about an unusual day; after all, we only wear these vestments twice a year. With great wisdom the Church puts before our eyes a symbol of gladness, an invitation to renew our joy. In the midst of Lent, as the celebration of Easter approaches, we are called to raise up our eyes to the gift that we are about to receive and increase our expectation.

Now, this increased expectation and renewed joy must mean more than a momentary emotional experience. This “Laetare Sunday” is meant to be a day of joyful renewal of our Lenten resolutions, a moment to refine our efforts now that the celebration of Holy Week approaches. And so, with the joy of this day and moved by the amazing mercy of our Good Father, lets us try to be good and prepare our hearts as best as we can, for a fruitful participation in the mysteries of our reconciliation.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


2/28/16 Are You Bearing Fruit?

3RD SUNDAY OF LENT
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The Gospel shows us, first, a conversation between Jesus and some people who told Him about a tragic situation that happened. Jesus made clear that those things did not happen because they were greater sinners than the rest. But even more, Jesus was emphatic in the main lesson: if you do not repent you will all perish as they did. The point is simple and very important: we can ask many questions about the problem of evil; we can reflect and talk about important issues. In the end, what matters is if we repent, if we work for our conversion and live according to the Gospel.

Lent is a time to bear fruit. This is why the second part of the Gospel tells us about the parable of the fig tree: from a simple perspective, if a tree does not give fruits, you cut it off. But Jesus, the gardener, intercedes for us and obtains a new opportunity. Lent is that time of salvation in which we should offer some fruit. We don´t know how many more Lents we will have; how many more opportunities. Now is the acceptable time, now is the time of salvation. Let us give fruits now.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


2/21/16 Seeing Him Transfigured

2ND SUNDAY OF LENT
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No Homily Recording this Week

Dear friends in Christ,
The second Sunday in Lent takes to a different place than where we went a week ago, when Jesus took us to the desert to witness his temptations. Today we go with Him to the mountain, where we can see his glory in the mystery of the Transfiguration.

Now, the important detail is that we “can” see his glory. The Gospel tells us, significantly, that when Jesus’ face changed in appearance and Moses and Elijah appeared, the disciples were asleep. This is what we read: Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory. Just as the disciples, we can be “asleep”, distracted and not see the glory of the Lord as it is manifested before our eyes in so many ways. But also, we can become fully awake, and so see his glory. Lent is the time to try to become fully awake through more prayer, more sacrifice and more charity.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


2/14/16 Lent: Understanding the Temptations

1ST SUNDAY OF LENT
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Dear friends in Christ,
A new Lent has begun and so we are taken again with Jesus to the desert. These forty days are a time to be with Him, more closely, more intimately, in the silence and quietude of the desert. Lent is considered a desert because it is a time that should be different; a season in which change should help us to grow closer to God. This is why we commit to some resolutions: not simply to keep some external customs, but rather to do things that might not be part of normal routine and can help us to work in our conversion. These resolutions should be means to grow in charity, to offer some sacrifice and to pray better.

Do you have your Lenten resolution? Is it something that will move you closer to Christ? Is it easy or challenging? May our resolutions help us to experience the unique character of Lent; may they guide our steps through the desert of this time of conversion.

With my prayers for a holy Lent,
Fr. Daniel


2/7/16 Announcing Christ Without Excuses

5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
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Dear brothers and sisters,
The liturgy of the Word of this Sunday clearly makes us think about our calling. We are all called to follow Christ, but also, as it appears in the readings, to be his apostles. This is one of the points in which we can find more resistance among Catholics. While most people will accept that we should all announce the good news of Christ, very few would do the simple math: that means me too. In some strange but common way of reasoning, we frequently find arguments to be the exception to the rule: I don’t have time, I have too many problems, I am not worthy, I have no formation. However, our readings show us that there are no excuses. Isaiah felt unclean and yet he was sent; Paul, who had persecuted the Church, was not fit to be called an apostle, and yet he was chosen; Peter was aware of his sinfulness, and still, Jesus called him to be a fisher of men. Our excuses are no more than that: excuses. We should not try to show God what, apparently, he missed when he called us (our lack of time, our past sins, our lack of preparation, etc). He knows that, and He calls us today to be his apostles. What will we say? Hopefully, even being aware of our unworthiness, we will say like Isaiah: here I am, send me.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


1/31/16 You Are Fully Known

4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
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Dear friends in Christ,
The Gospel today shows the dramatic contrast between the initial benevolence of those who heard Jesus’ first preaching and their final rejection, between the “all spoke highly of him” and the “all were filled with fury”. What happened?

What happened back then is what happens still today. It is easy to speak highly of Jesus as long as He says nice things; it is easy to like his words as long as they do not make us uncomfortable. But when Jesus challenges our life, the initial admiration frequently turns into rejection. Anyone who has heard the call to announce the good news of Christ knows the truth of this reality. In the first reading, Jeremiah, consecrated to be a prophet even before his birth, had to experience the opposition of those who felt his message to be too harsh. However, he trusted in God’s promise: they will fight against you but will not prevail over you.

How can someone trust in the midst of opposition and difficulties? The answer is found in the second reading: true love endures all things; true love never fails. Love, a gift from God, is what strengthens us as we try to share the good news.

United in prayer,
Fr. Daniel


1/24/16 Active Participation in the Eucharist

3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
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Dear brothers and sisters,
The beauty of Ordinary Time lies in its simplicity. As we do not focus on the big events and solemnities of the life of Jesus, we follow Him, paying attention to the simple events of his daily life, to his teachings, his works, his miracles. In this way, we get to know Jesus more deeply and learn again what it means to be his disciples.

Today we witnessed the important moment of his first preaching. He went to the synagogue of Nazareth, a small building where the Word of God was read and meditated. But this time it was not someone reading a word; it was the Word himself proclaiming that the prophecies were being fulfilled. Jesus said: today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your presence. Jesus was the one they were waiting for, the one who was bringing glad tidings to the poor and proclaiming liberty to captives.

When we read God’s Word at Mass, those passages are being fulfilled in our presence. It is not just us randomly reading some words, but God himself pronouncing his own Word in our midst, Jesus saying again for us today what He said for the first time two thousand years ago. This active power of God’s Word at Mass is a powerful and moving mystery that we should try to appreciate more and more, through a silent and reverent disposition of truly listening to the Word of God when we come to Mass. This is one of the most effective ways of actively participating in the celebration of the Eucharist.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


1/17/16 Jesus’ First Sign

2ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
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No homily recording this week.

Dear brothers and sisters,
After the special days of the Christmas season, we are just beginning the path a new ordinary time, with our focus placed now on following Christ along his ordinary, daily life. It is very meaningful that today we are called to reflect on Jesus’ first sign and on Mary’s intercession.

Jesus showed his glory to his disciples through a sign that expressed his concern for our happiness: He multiplied wine for a wedding celebration. His hour had not yet come, but He still made what seemed impossible. This “sets the tone” for Jesus’ teaching and ministry: He cares for our salvation, but He also invites us trust in his providence for all our needs. In this first miracle, Mary had a decisive role. She, with motherly reverence and care, noticed that they were running out of wine and interceded for the couple before Jesus. She obtained this miracle, this sign of God’s love, this first manifestation of Christ’s glory.

In the same way, as we begin this year, Jesus wants us to rest assured of his providential love and trust in Him, and Mary wants us to place our confidence in her maternal intercession. With her, we can be certain that our needs will be taken care of, because she will know what is lacking in us and pray for it to her Son.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


1/10/16 Renewing Your Baptism

FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
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Dear brothers and sisters,
Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and with it, we close the Christmas season. Certainly, the Baptism of Christ happened many years after his birth, at the beginning of his public life. However, the Church wisely invites us to reflect on this mystery while we are still celebrating the joy of his nativity. Why?

The mystery of the Baptism of Jesus is one of revelation: God’s love and kindness “appear” and are seen by everyone. In the fact that Jesus was baptized by John we see his solidarity and humility. We know that John’s baptism was one of repentance, and of course, the Lord had no need of repentance. But He chose to share our life, to teach us and guide us, walking with us every step of the way. This is something that we see when He receives Baptism from John: at the beginning of his public ministry He shows his total love and commitment. And in doing so, He receives a wonderful confirmation of his identity and mission, when the heavens were opened and the Father solemnly said to Him: You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased. As we rejoice for seeing this love and solidarity, we should also try to renew our own Baptism, and be good children of our good Father.

God bless you all,
Fr. Daniel


1/3/16 A Joy That Words Cannot Express

THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY
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Dear brothers and sisters,
Happy Solemnity of the Epiphany! Today is a day of great joy and celebration, as we contemplate the glory of Christ, hidden in his humility, yet revealed for those who are humble. The magi came from afar to see the newborn King. There are many details of this narrative that remain unknown to us. But, among those that we know, one aspect of their story appears particularly salient: they were overjoyed when they saw the star. “Overjoyed”… if we look carefully at the original text of the Gospel, a more literal translation would read: they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. These words are so rich! They sound redundant and even clumsy, but they express what words cannot express: the unique joy of knowing that all the promises are being fulfilled, that the long centuries of expectation are reaching their fulfillment, that all evil and suffering are going to be overcome in the coming of the Divine Child.

For us, the star also brings good news. Our own problems find an answer; our sins, redemption; our hopes, fulfillment. It is true: God becomes one of us, He becomes our brother, He comes to redeem our lives. Hope is real, and thus, joy is overwhelming: we too, should rejoice exceedingly with great joy, for we have seen his glory, the glory of his Epiphany.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


12/27/15 God Became a Member of a Family

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
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Dear brothers and sisters,
Happy feast day of the Holy Family! Still within the octave of Christmas, we are celebrating today one of the most beautiful realities of the mystery of the incarnation: God became man, God became a member of a family. In this way, He teaches us with his own example that family life is part of God’s loving plan for us, that it is a path to holiness.

As we contemplate the simple and meaningful life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we feel moved to renew our efforts to grow in our love for our families and be good, as good as we can. And so we listen to the program for growth in virtues announced by St. Paul in the second reading: heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another.

Simple, but sometimes challenging! This is the path of true love, which is the bond of perfection, the way for a truly alive family. We should celebrate the great gift of the birth of Christ, and the joy of being part of a family, knowing that God has sanctified domestic life, opening for us the wonderful horizon of true love.

In Christ, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Daniel


12/25/15 The Lesson of Christmas

CHRISTMAS
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Christmas Vespers Homily (4:30PM)

Christmas Night Homily (10:00PM)

Christmas Day Homily (9:00AM)

My dear parishioners,
We are very close now to the joyous celebration of the nativity of Christ. In just a few days we will renew the unique joy of knowing that God was made man for us. As we get ready for the great solemnity, the Church leads us to our Mother Mary. In her example of going to serve Elizabeth we find an encouragement to go “in haste” to the heights, as she did, and go beyond our normal and mundane worries, to the heights of God’s love, who becomes low and little to show us his love.

In Mary, we find not only an example, but also comfort and intercession. She prays for us that we will grow in our own expectation of the coming of her Son. She prays for us, that we will have an open heart to welcome the Child Jesus with humility and love. I pray that all of us, our families and friends, will have a merry Christmas. Not so much because, at least for some hours we might forget our problems and sufferings, but rather because we will remember that God became one of us to transform everything into a path towards authentic joy. This is the lesson of Christmas. This is our gift: for us God became man.

Happy and blessed Christmas!
Fr. Daniel


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