Dear friends in Christ,
Christ is in our Boat
I have a confession. Nothing puts more fear into me than flight turbulence. Each time a sudden shift in air currents bumps my plane, I cringe. I'm not too fond of flying because of turbulence during flights; it makes me dread being a passenger on an aircraft in flight. The apostles feared their boat capsizing due to roaring and destructive waves swaying it over the sea as they cross to the other side of the shore at the instruction of Jesus. I share their feelings. And, Yes, Jesus was in the boat with them. He was asleep through it all as the furious storms tug their boat up and down the sea.
We can compare the loud and destructive storm rocking the boat in which the disciples inhabit with trials, difficulties, and tragedy that we face in life. These fear factors threaten the peace and faith of the most devout Christians. We all face furious winds and stormy seas in our day-to-day living. We have our daily long and short-term fears and anxiety related to our health, family, children, finance, career, and other life-related matters. These can be faith-testing fears. Like what turbulences in flight do to me and, I dare to say, many others, the trials and tragedies we experience in our lifetime can be a significant threat to our faith in God's presence and power.
We may feel abandoned when we pray to God, and it may appear he is deaf to our cry to him during these threats to our faith. But the lesson from the Scriptures this Sunday is not to let our fears make us forget who God is and what he can do. The God we worship is the same one who told Job amid his stormy trials about his divine omnipotence by reminding him of his power over wild nature: "Who shut within doors the sea… and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!" (Job 38:8, 11). Jesus, our Lord, "rebuked the wind, and said to the sea: Quiet! Be Still!" (Mk 4:38).
Jesus is in our boat, in our life, family, Church, and world at large, even as the fear of the unknown assails us. Jesus is present; wake him up with prayers. Cry to Him in supplication as the disciples did amidst scary wind against their boat. When the winds are against our soul and faith, let us call on Jesus, who never abandons us. We need to have the kind of intimacy the disciples had with Jesus. When we truly live for Jesus and are new creatures in him (2 Cor. 5: ), we can cry to him in faith, and he will give us calmness and strength. The storm will not destroy us because Jesus is in our boat. The turbulence will not crash my plane because Jesus is in it with me, and the plane is built strong enough to withstand the air currents rocking it. We should not give in to fear but allow our fear to confirm our faith. Then, in faith, we can say, Lord, let us hear "Quiet! Be Still!"
Let me conclude by wishing our fathers a Happy Father's Day!
In the love of Christ,
Fr. Bernard, OP
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Christ Shed Tears. His Priests Shed Tears Too
What a Corpus Christi Mass and procession we had last week! It is a milestone in my almost 21 years in the priesthood. Jesus spoke to my heart and mind at mass the way he has never spoken before. Why did I broke into tears during mass? I don't have the language to express it; it was the Spirit of the Mass that touched somewhere deep in my soul, and took over. But I can say this, Jesus loves us so much, and we don't even realize how much he does. It is painful, yet joyful.
The pains of frustration sometime yields into complex tears. That happened to Jesus in the Scripture. Sometimes, the frustration with my lack of ability to express adequate appreciation for the love of Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Mass turns into uncontrollable sobs. Yet, they are at the same time tears of joy. My mind, soul and body are often taken over by spirit of joy in knowing the unconditional love of Jesus and in a complicated and confused way, flows out as tears. Let us leave tears aside and turn to thanks.
There are no words adequate to express my deep appreciation for all who planned a successful Corpus Christi procession after the 10:30 AM mass last Sunday. But I will use the words available, insufficient as they may be, THANK YOU. Thank you to Joseph Barone, the MC, members of the Knights of Columbus, St. Michael’s Guard, the special alter servers, Dr. Gregory Martin, the canopy bearers, Corinne and the singing group, the CCW, Men's Club, and of course, all the parishioner participants who did the walk with Jesus to the Historic Church despite the threat of the scorching sun. Thank you to all. May Jesus smile upon your soul.
May the seed of Eucharistic devotion sown last Sunday grow in large bounds and transform our parish at large into a Eucharistic centered family of God.
In the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.
Fr. Bernard, OP
~~~~ There will not be daily Mass on Monday, June 14th ~~~~
Dear brothers and sisters,
Jesus Walks Through Elizabethtown Today
On this Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ commonly called Corpus Christi Sunday, we will be carrying the Eucharistic Jesus in procession from the church on the hill down to the historic church. We will be bearing testimony to our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We will do so prayerfully, singing in praise and adoration of our Living Lord as we lift him high in the monstrance through Elizabethtown. We will be praying for healing and unity, that he restores life to its proper order, for a renewal of faith and a new beginning for our church and community.
Please come with faith and devotional love. You will need these graces to accompany Jesus through our town. Just as in the Gospel, people flock to Jesus, seeking his mercy and blessings; we will gather around Jesus asking for his needed help. He will grant us our desires if they are according to his will; let's approach him in faith, love, and spirit of adoration.
We shall be processing after the 10:30 AM mass. The children will lead, strewing the paths Jesus would walk with flowers. They will be followed by the liturgical ministers, Guards of St. Michael, and altar servers, bearing the torches and thurifer in symbolic honor and liturgical worship of Jesus, the Light of the world. The priest carrying the monstrance will be protected by a liturgical canopy, all in adoration of Jesus, really present in the Eucharistic host. The crowd of worshippers, publicly singing and praying, will follow. Let us hail and praise Jesus. Adoro te devote---let us adore him devoutly, our Lord and Saviour.
Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. He will be passing by today. Let us come out in large numbers to walk closer with Jesus and venerate him. It is Christ himself who will walk through our town. This is our faith.
In Christ who loves us,
Fr. Bernard, OP