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7/17/16 The Practice of God’s Presence (takes 2 minutes per day)

THE 16TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
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Dear friends in Christ,

Our beautiful Gospel tells us of Martha and Mary and their relationship with the Lord. We know that they —and Lazarus, their brother— were good friends of Jesus and would host Him at their home. And we also know that they were different and had a different way of relating with Him.

Typically, Mary has been seen as a symbol of contemplation and Martha of action. While this is important and true, it is also important to keep in mind that what matters is not primarily the way in which we encounter Christ, but that we actually do encounter Him, that we choose the better part. Martha’s problem was not that she was working hard, but that she was anxious and distracted and, therefore, while preparing a feast for Jesus, she was away from Him. The main lesson of today’s Gospel is that we need to choose the better part: be with Christ always, whether we are in church or at work, because that will never be taken away from us.

United in prayer,
Fr. Daniel


7/3/16 Your Name Written in Heaven

THE 14TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
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Dear brothers and sisters,

The Lord invites us today to reflect upon the true understanding of joy. After the disciples came back from their first mission, they were excited and happy about what they had done. Spontaneously, they began to share all their great works. It is significant that Jesus led them to a deeper joy than that which comes from what we can do. That deeper joy is also more stable as it does not depend on what we do; it lasts forever because it comes from God. That joy is the joy of being called: the awareness of being chosen, of having received a gift that we do not deserve, that surpasses our merits and can only be understood when we realize that we are loved. God’s love is unconditional; therefore, we have always a reason to rejoice, for our names are written in heaven. With gratitude, let us try to open our hearts to this profound joy so that we can also respond with generosity to such a generous gift.

God bless you all,
Fr. Daniel


6/26/16 Called for Freedom

THE 13TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
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Dear friends in Christ,

We have been called for freedom. The words inspired by God to Saint Paul are very clear and important: for freedom we have been set free. What does this mean? First, we have been set free: Jesus became one of us and died for us so that we can receive the gift of freedom: freedom from sin and death. Second, this gift does not guarantee that our life is going to be, actually, free from sins. The gift is there, given freely and generously. But we need to receive it and cooperate with it. We need to respond to God’s grace and choose effectively to do what God wants for us.

Freedom is not just a simple capacity to do things, to choose whatever we want. Freedom is, firstly, “being freed” by someone, and so, true freedom becomes responding to the one who has freed us. True freedom is to be able to say to Jesus I will follow you wherever you go, and actually do it, without looking back. Let us pray for the gift of freedom and let us make our best effort, in the daily and many times unpretentious circumstances of our life, to be actually free and follow Jesus in every action and thought.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


6/5/16 Praying with the Psalms

THE 10TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
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Dear brothers and sisters,

The readings show us Jesus as our true savior. He is truly our redeemer not only because of his divine power, capable of such an impressive miracle as the resurrection of a dead man, but also because He became man, one of us, our brother and our friend. This simple truth is absolutely essential: God saves us through Christ, whose human heart allows Him to experience compassion, in the true sense of the word: compassion; to suffer with. In this way, God really united Himself with us, reconciling the wound that separated us from Him. Being aware of this reality is important if the Gospel is to be more than a nice story from the past. The Word we heard today is the good news of our possible redemption, of the gift offered by Jesus in our own lives. And for this we need to open our own hearts to encounter Him more deeply in prayer, and especially in the sacrament of confession. Hopefully, this Sunday can become an occasion of renewing our desire to be more open to the salvation brought by Jesus to each one of us.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


5/8/16 Your Participation in His Victory

THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION
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My dear brothers and sisters,
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord and with it we reflect on the victory of Christ and our participation in it. The Gospel tells us of the significant fact that the Lord ascended into heaven as He was blessing his disciples. Contrary to what one may think, his departure is neither a curse, nor a negative event for us, who would be better off if He had stayed with us in the same kind of presence He had with his first disciples. The Ascension teaches us that his going to the Father is a blessing: the beginning of a new kind of relationship.

This is why the disciples did Him homage and left with great joy. They understood that the Lord was going to be with them always; they realized that his sacrifice on the cross was the source of all blessings, and his risen presence would never be taken away from them. For us, the Ascension is the beginning of our own discipleship, of the way given to us to follow Christ and announce Him. Today is a day of joy for us, as it was for the first disciples, for the Lord’s ascension is a great blessing.

Also, today we rejoice for the 40 parishioners who are receiving the sacrament of Confirmation from Archbishop Aquila. Please, pray that they will experience the closeness of the Lord, and the joy of being anointed by the Holy Spirit. Finally, Happy Mother’s Day to all those who give us God’s love through the gift of motherhood!

Happy Solemnity of the Ascension,
Fr. Daniel


5/1/16 What is Peace?

6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
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Dear brothers and sisters,

One of the fruits of Easter is the gift of peace. When we hear the word “peace,” we think of something good and positive. Even people without faith would agree that peace is something to be aimed for. But what is peace?

Today’s Gospel offers an important key in order to understand the gift of Christ’s peace. He said Do not let your hearts be troubled. What does He mean? The Lord is saying that even if there are difficult and painful moments in life, we should not be troubled. It is one thing to suffer; it is another thing to be troubled. How can we endure difficult times without letting our hearts be troubled? This is only possible if we welcome the gift of Christ’s peace. His peace is not a feeling; He spoke of it as something He will leave us, as something He gives. This gift is a reality that we cannot produce, that comes from outside our hearts, from his own heart, giving us the serenity and security that his love is indeed stronger than sin and death. It is only because of his risen presence that peace can be a reality in our hearts and that we can be not troubled, but be in his loving presence.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


04/24/16 Authentic Discipleship

THE 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
No Homily Recording this Week
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My brothers and sisters in Christ,
The risen Christ has been reminding us in the past Sundays of the importance of encountering Him as a living person, not as an idea. The Lord Jesus is alive and wants us to experience his love. This Sunday, He invites us to live out the logical consequence of that love, and so love one another. Indeed, we cannot really love God if we don’t love our brothers and sisters. We should love as He has loved us, and this love will be the sign of our authentic discipleship.

It wouldn’t be strange if we felt that this, while being a beautiful ideal, is ultimately something impossible. Can we really love someone as Jesus has loved us? If we just try to imitate the very actions done by Jesus as manifestations of that love, the answer is no; that is beyond what we can aspire. But if we think about what the Lord expects from us, the answer is yes. Jesus loved with a real commitment, with fidelity, with patience. That, although not as perfectly as in Jesus’ love, is an achievable goal. In the midst of our own imperfections, we are called to love as Jesus did: without counting the cost. This, which we should try to do in the daily and simple circumstances of our life, is what will show that the victory of Easter is real, and that the Lord is truly risen and his love is more powerful than any selfishness and sin. Let us think on ways of growing in this kind of love throughout the week.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


04/17/16 Consequences of the Resurrection

THE 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On the fourth Sunday of Easter the Church invites us to contemplate one of the dearest images of Jesus, one used by Christ himself to describe his unique love and relationship with his disciples: the Good Shepherd. This image was very dear to the first Christians, who painted it in their catacombs, finding comfort in the midst of persecutions.

The Lord said in the Gospel: My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. Even before we get to know Him, He knows us. He knew us even before we were born; He knows every single thought, every longing, every pain and every joy. Because of this, we trust Him and we hear his voice, we follow Him.

This reality is a consequence of the resurrection. Because He rose from the dead, he is truly alive and can be with us; we hear his voice because He is alive in his word and comes to us in the sacraments; we follow Him in the Church, our Mother. This Sunday becomes an occasion to try to renew our awareness of his risen presence in our lives, the certitude that He is truly the Good Shepherd, who knows, loves and protect us.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


4/10/16 To Realize with Certainty

THE 3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER
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Dear brothers and sisters,
The third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection was the occasion for Peter to renew his love three times, and so heal the wound of his triple negation. The Gospel tells us with fresh tones what happened: after a night of empty efforts, Jesus appears and invites the disciples to cast the nets again; just as the first time some year earlier, a miraculous catch makes them realize that that man was different, special, divine. It is the Lord, said John, and from that moment, they knew that it was Him. However, the Gospel tells us that none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. They knew, but in a different way; they knew through faith; they had the certainty that needs no questions, that knows well.

This is the kind of certainty that we need: to realize that it is Him, that in moments when we would like to ask unending questions, we can find the answer in our faith: it is the Lord. He is alive and risen; He is present even when we feel He is far away; it is Him, our Lord and Friend, more interior than our intimacy and higher than our highest. May these days of Easter be an occasion to grow in our faith, to renew our love for Him, just as Peter did, allowing Jesus to reconcile our hearts with the sweet power of his risen love.

God bless you all,
Fr. Daniel


4/3/16 Divine Mercy

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY
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No Homily Recording This Week

My dear friends in Christ,
Happy Easter and happy Divine Mercy Sunday! The joy of the resurrection, with its explosion of song and color, is still fresh in our hearts as we close today the octave of Easter, celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday.

As we are in a special jubilee of Mercy, this year the celebration of this Sunday has a particular relevance. The call to trust in the merciful heart of Jesus resounds loud and clear, especially amidst the many difficulties we all experience. While being the time in which more has been said about the rights of human beings, the past two centuries have experienced the most insane wars, and have seen the most radical violations against human life. This world needs to know the infinite mercy of God.

But the devotion to Divine Mercy is important not only because of the world’s problems. We know that our hearts need mercy. It is consoling to hear again the story of Thomas, who doubted and yet in the end believed. We ourselves have our own problems, sins, and doubts. But we can always change, as long as our hearts open to the good news of God’s divine mercy. So let us celebrate this good news, thanking God for his mercy and trying to be more merciful in our lives.

With my prayers,
Fr. Daniel


3/24/16 Accompanying Our Suffering Lord

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Holy Thursday Homily:


Good Friday Homily: 


Easter Homily:

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

Happy Easter! After experiencing again with our Lord his passion and death, his love reaching the extreme of the cross; after the silence and hope of Saturday, in which we awaited with Mary the fulfillment of the ancient promises, we come now to the inexhaustible joy of the resurrection. The Lord is risen; He is truly risen!

Why do you seek the living one among the dead?, the Angels said to the women at the tomb. This is what is said to us as well: Don’t seek for life where you can find only mortal things, or mortal people. We have been made for more; we long for an infinite love, stronger than death. Today we find what we are looking for, and we find it in an empty tomb. The Lord Jesus, true God and true man, is risen. Because of this, He is with us here and always, and He offers us the gift of his mercy: his forgiveness, his company, his friendship. Let us rejoice for so much love and mercy! All our problems and struggles are not as strong and powerful as the joy of Easter. Let us believe that this is real: Jesus is risen; He is truly risen!

Happy Easter! God bless you and your families!
Fr. Daniel


3/20/16 A Time of Renewal

PALM SUNDAY
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No Homily Recording this Week

Dear brothers and sisters,
As we enter the Church in procession for the solemn celebration of Palm Sunday we enter the most special and intense time of the year. Holy Week is not just a time to remember what Jesus did a long time ago, but the sacred moment of the year when those events are renewed. The awareness of this fact is essential for a fruitful participation in the liturgical celebrations. Otherwise, those liturgies are nothing more than our effort to remember a past –certainly important- but ultimately past event.

In reality, much more than that happens: through the mystery of the Church, those events happen again; in the visible signs of the liturgy, Jesus is in action, and He institutes the Eucharist and the priesthood, He suffers and dies for us, He rises from the dead. These days are truly holy. Let us be holy. Let us avoid distractions, let us pray more, let us have a prayerful and reverent disposition for the liturgies, so that this week will be for us a time of salvation.

With my prayers for a good Holy Week,
Fr. Daniel


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