Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 30, 2011 (Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

By Father TimMcGowan

Jesus was often accused by his adversaries of violating the law. And the law, of course, is the law of Moses. And the law of Moses was considered to be sacred, because it allowed people to live in harmony with each other and in union with God. The law of Moses was God's law, given to Moses on Mount Sinai — remember the tablets, the Ten Commandments.

However, down through the years, people in positions of power and influence added a bunch of petty laws, laws that were self-serving laws, so that when Jesus healed a person on the sabbath, on a Sunday, they accused him of working on the sabbath day which was prohibited by the law, "Remember to keep holy the Lord's day."

Now, Jesus says, is it good to do a good thing or a bad thing on a holy day, on a sabbath day? They said, "a good thing." Taking care of people on the Lord's day is what the Lord would have us to do. But they were always trying to show him to be in violation of the law. So he gives his defense in today's Gospel. He says, "I have not come to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill it."

And he fulfills the law in two ways.

First of all, he keeps the law. You can take the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses on Mount Sinai and place them on top of Jesus' life and they will match exactly. He kept the law; he kept God's law. He did not appreciate nor go along with the petty rules that people later put on the law.

And the second way that he fulfilled the law is he fulfilled it by expanding it for us. The law says "You shall not kill." I say whoever hates his brother or sister commits murder in their heart. So he challenges us not only to follow the law but to fulfill it by following his law of love. And his law of love says that every person is of infinite value. Why? Because you and I are loved by God. Who loves you? God loves you, exactly. Always remember that. Who loves you? God loves you. And if you will remember that God loves you then you will remember your dignity. You are a child of God, loved by god, forgiven by Christ when he opened his arms on the cross, redeemed by Christ when he rose from the dead. You are of infinite value. That doesn't make us arrogant, it makes us grateful. It makes us happy that God loves us so much that, even when we were sinners, Christ would open his arms on the cross and give his life for us. That's how much God loves you.

So today, tonight, in this Eucharist, let's renew this belief that we have in God's love for us so that we will, in turn, treat each other with love, with dignity, with respect and kindness.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 29, 2011 (Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Forgiveness is the theme of our readings this morning — God's forgiveness of our sins and our duty to forgive others.

One of the most powerful stories of forgiveness unfolded in October 2006. A gunman, Charles Roberts, entered a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He killed five girls, ages 6 to 13, and critically wounded five others before taking his own life. What shocked the country and the world was not only the killings but also the fact that the Amish community immediately offered forgiveness. Before the sun set on that fateful Monday, Oct. 2, a member of the Amish community went to the parents of the killer and offered condolences. The Amish community also reached out to Marie and her three children, the family of the gunman. Here is grace in action.

Jesus came to reconcile all creation back to the Father. And that ministry of redemption has been entrusted to us. The basic message is that, since God has given us more than more than Seventy Times Seven, we are not withhold forgiveness from one another.

Father Ronald Rolheiser offers this reflection of forgiveness: "In a world and a culture that is full of wounds, anger, injustice, inequality, historical privilege, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, murder and war, we must speak always and everywhere about forgiveness, reconciliation and God's healing. Forgiveness lies at the center of Jesus' moral message."

The litmus test for being a Christian is not whether one can say the Creed and mean it, but whether one can forgive and love an enemy.

Peter pondered the question of forgiveness by asking how often that grace must be extended to others. Jesus, again, uses a parable to demonstrate that God's mercy is unlimited and that we, made in God image and likeness, are to emulate that quality.

It is quite obvious that given the deep pain of being hurt, only by the grace of God can we do what the Amish community did. And as we deeper into Lent and closer to Holy Week and Easter, perhaps it is time for us to ask ourselves if there is any lack of forgiveness in our hearts. And if there should be, now is the time to extend forgiveness.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 28, 2011 (Monday of the Third Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Monday, March 28, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Our first reading introduced us to Naaman the Syrian, an army commander, a very powerful man. But he was sick. He had a very serious illness called leprosy. But fortunately for him, a young Jewish girl who was a servant of the king's wife told him that there was help available for him, there was a cure for him in Israel, that there was a prophet there, Elijah, who would be able to cure him.

And so Naaman set off with all his retinue and arrived in great style in Israel and found out then that we was to talk to the prophet. And the prophet told him simply, "Why don't you go and bathe seven times in the River Jordan?" Naaman was insulted. This was far too ordinary. There couldn't possible be a cure for him doing something as ordinary as going to wash in the River Jordan. So he was offended and said, I could have done this back at home. The rivers back home are just as good as the River Jordan. But he was persuaded to do it anyway. And he was healed.

And so from the ordinary came something extraordinary, came healing for Naaman. Jesus mentions Naaman the Syrian in today's Gospel as one who received God's healing and God's blessing. Jesus came to Nazareth, and there the people found him too ordinary. He was one of them, he grew up there. They couldn't understand that there might be something extraordinary about him. But we know that there was. Jesus was no ordinary man. He was the Son of God; he is the Son of God.

And so the people rejected Jesus and were even trying to throw him off the brow of the hill to kill him. But Jesus continued to preach and teach God's ways. And these readings come to us this morning to teach us, also. Perhaps they can teach us that in the ordinary events of life, we find God, we find the extraordinary, we find wonderful things in the ordinary events of life. And we can find holiness in doing the ordinary things of life, doing them as well as we possibly can. That is God's will for us.

We come to the Eucharist this morning and we take what is ordinary bread and wine, and that becomes something extraordinary — it becomes the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. So through doing the ordinary things of life, and through God's grace, we can become extraordinary people, also. And God's grace and God's healing can flow through us, also.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 26, 2011 (Saturday of the Second Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Saturday, March 26, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Well, we are making our way through Lent; tomorrow is the third Sunday of Lent. So here, this morning, Jesus offers us a parable, a very well-known parable, a parable of God's mercy, and we call it the Parable of the Prodigal Son. And Jesus, through this parable, wants to teach us something important — something very important. What does Jesus teach us through the Parable of the Prodigal Son?

Forgiveness. Whose forgiveness? God's forgiveness. God forgives us.

See, the parable was told because the scribes were accusing Jesus of eating and being in the company of people who were considered sinners. So Jesus went on to tell the people and to tell us this parable of the younger son who leaves his father's home and spends all his money and is in great need and hungry and he doesn't know what to do. So he decides he'll go back to his father's house and ask forgiveness and asks that he be treated no longer as a son but just as a hired worker. But he goes back, and his father is waiting for him, thrilled to have him back, and treats him with great love and great compassion, great forgiveness. So Jesus is telling us that sin takes us away from God, from our heavenly father.

Sometimes we take the wrong road in life, we are disobedient to God, but God is always waiting to receive us back and always ready to forgive us. God is ever merciful. And this is a very important teaching that Jesus wants us to learn, that God forgives us and we don't have to worry about our past sins. When we repent of our sins, we are forgiven.

During Lent, especially, we are encouraged to receive the sacrament of reconciliation, go to confession, make a good confession, receive forgiveness and God's grace to help us to stay on the right road in life.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 25, 2011 (Friday of the Second Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Friday, March 25, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

Now, I was never good at math, but according to my count — and I could be wrong — but I have counted 11 images of Mary in this church, not counting the stained-glass windows. And her statues and her depictions normally radiate sweetness. She's always young, in the back there. Pink cheeks. Slender. Beautifully dressed, robed in all kinds of lovely garments, cascading down. But as lovely as these depictions are, they're inconsistent with the Mary of the Gospel. She's not pictured that way here.

Mary of the Gospel is neither a fairy tale princess or a romanticized, lovely lady dressed in blue. The flesh-and-blood Mary was altogether real and altogether human. She was a human woman. She was a pregnant adolescent who was painfully misunderstood by the man that she was engaged to marry and whom she loved. She was a frantic parent, searching for her lost child in a big city. She was a caring woman who was not afraid to speak her mind or voice her questions. She was an anguished mother who stood stoically at Calvary's hill and watched her innocent son be executed.

The figure venerated in the beautiful depictions of art and statuary in our church is a woman whose feet were planted firmly on the ground, on the earth. Mary of Nazareth knew the pain that only a mother could feel. She knew the joy that only the humble, the selfless, and the giving woman of faith, could experience.

In today's Gospel, we hear Mary — uneducated, adolescent girl that she was, living in a small, occupied country — change the entire world with her simple ascent: "Let it be done to me according to thy word." Mary, the young, unmarried, pregnant girl, can believe the incredible event that she is about to be a part of. And if she can, ordinary people like us can believe our parts as well. We all have a part to play. And Mary is the perfect model of discipleship. She is the perfect symbol of our salvation. She is the promise of what the church is called to be and one day will become. She is the model Christian, open to God's will and word in her life, even when those circumstances seem painful and confusing. She is the hope; she is the comfort of the pilgrim people. She is the foretaste and the promise of what we shall all be.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 24, 2011 (Thursday of the Second Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Thursday, March 24, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

A long time ago there was a song, and it was sung by Barbra Streisand. It was called "People Who Need People Are the Luckiest People in the World." Now, I won't sing it for you, but that's basically the theme of the song, was "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world."

Now, we have story in the Gospel that Jesus told the scribes and the Pharisees about two people: One was a very poor man named Lazarus who lay at the gate of a very rich man's door. He was hungry, he was sick, and he was alone. Dogs would lick his sores — awful sight — while there was rich man dressed in purple and feasted on fine food everyday. And Lazarus would have loved to have just some of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table.

Both people die. Lazarus goes to the bosom of Abraham — which in the Jewish mind at the time was the ideal life, perfect bliss to be with Abraham, their father of faith — while the rich man went to a place of torment, where he was thirsty. And he made two requests: Father Abraham, send Lazarus to dip his finger in cold water to quench my thirst; and send Lazarus to warn my brothers not to end up in this place of torment. Now, both requests are denied. One, because it was not possible — you can't get there from here; and second, because it would be in ineffective. They won't listen to him, even if someone should rise from the dead, they won't listen because they have Moses and the prophets and they're ignoring them, too.

Moses and the prophets would say you take care of each other because you need each other. Now, it's clear that Lazarus needed the rich man. He needed his food, he needed some of his money so he could take care of his sores, and he could have used his friendship, too. But what we don't realize and oftentimes think about is that the rich man needed Lazarus. He needed Lazarus. He needed someone to shake him out of his selfish world. The rich man only thought of himself all of his life.

Can you imagine living a life where nobody needed you? They didn't need your advice, they didn't need your help, they didn't need your friendship. What a lonely place that would be. The rich man was a lonely man even though he had all kinds of food and fancy clothes. He was totally self-absorbed. And someone has wisely said that there's no smaller package in the world than a person that's all wrapped up in themselves.

The rich man needed Lazarus as much as Lazarus needed the rich man. Sometimes we don't realize that. We who have been blessed by God are to be a source of blessing for others. We need the poor. We need people who need us. Imagine how awful it would be if you were not needed. But here's the good news: we're all needed. God has made this world such a place that every one of us is of infinite value in God's plan, no matter how big or how small or how smart or how simple we are, we all have something that we can contribute to each other.

So during Lent, and especially during this Eucharist, let's recognize that there are people in our world — in our class in our community, among our friends and our family — who need us today.

How fortunate we are to be people who can need one another. We're the luckiest people in the world.

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 23, 2011 (Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Wednesday, March 23, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

We hear in the Gospel about the mom of James and John, the Zebedee. She comes to Jesus, she wants greatness for her sons. That's a normal thing for a mom to want for her children. And she wants one to sit on his left and one on his right when he enters hie reign. Jesus says, "you don't know what you're asking," because his way is the way of the suffering servant. His definition of greatness is the one who is great among you will be one who is the servant.

Everyone of us needs to be aware of his or her own importance. The mother of James and John — the Zebedees — she was not expressing anything that was unloving, unwise or wrong. She wanted greatness for her children.

Far too many people in this world, I'm afraid, live with the illusion that they're not important at all, that they don't matter, that their lives are insignificant, don't count for anything. They've long ago decided that their lives are inconsequential, and, therefore, they do not know how to live. Few concepts are more morally degenerating than this. Much of the shawdy living that goes in our world, the irresponsible living, is done by people who have lost or who never had an awareness of their importance. Your life, my life, is of infinite value, loved by God, redeemed by Christ.

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus points the way that even the most ordinary among us can rise up to a level of greatness, and that's through a life of unnoticed, unheralded, simple deeds of service. It may be that no one will even know of it but God himself. And that doesn't matter, because we get up in the morning, we go to bed at night firmly convinced of our own importance because we have been of service this day, we've contributed to the well-being of another. You and I are involved in the most vital of all industries: helping people. And we can all do it in simple, small acts of service.

Some years ago, I heard a story about an American actor; I never heard his name before, his name was Charles Brookfield, and he was mistakenly reported to have died. He, thus, had the unusual privilege of reading his own obituary. Now somebody would say you check the obituary page in the morning to make sure that you're still alive? Someone also called it the Irish sports page. I don't know. But this man had the unusual experience of reading his own obituary, and there was one particular obit that he said he will always remember. He said it went like this, it said of him, "He was never a great actor; however, he was invaluable in small parts." Now, don't you love that? "Never a great actor, but invaluable in small parts." I can be that. You can be that. We can all be that.

Never make the mistake of thinking that we're unimportant. You and I are invaluable in small parts. There's work waiting for us to do; there's service available that will never be done unless you or I do it. That makes us a vital link, a important part of the eternal scheme of things and, according to Jesus' definition, gives us the opportunity for true greatness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 21, 2011 (Monday of the Second Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Monday, March 21, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Our first reading from the Prophet Daniel was an acknowledgement of the sins of the nation, especially of their infidelity, lack of faithfulness to the covenant. And it was an appeal to the mercy of God. And so we heard the words: "Yours, oh Lord, our compassion and forgiveness. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us, "be merciful as your father is merciful."

The Dutch painter Rembrandt painted many beautiful pictures. One of his classic paintings is the painting of the Prodigal Son, a celebration of God's mercy where the son comes back to seek his father's forgiveness. The Carmelite poet Jessica Powers, also known in religion as Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, has written about God being clothed in mercy. And in her poem, "The Garments of God," she wrote that our greatest prayer is not made of words, but our greatest prayer is clinging to God's garments of mercy. It's a beautiful image.

And the Gospel also teaches us — Jesus teaches us — that we are to imitate God's mercy in our dealing with others. We are to be merciful. We are not to condemn. We are not to judge. We are to imitate the great compassion and mercy of our heavenly father toward us.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Parking on Avenue 33

You may now legally park your car on Avenue 33 between the church and Verdugo Road on the weekends.

We thank our parishioner, Joe Lucey, and Councilmember Eric Garcetti for having the parking signs changed by the city of Los Angeles. Mr. Lucey has been a persistent and successful lobbyist. Well done!

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley,
Pastor

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 19, 2011 (Saturday of the First Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Looking at the readings for today's feast day, the feast day of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, we find the first reading from Second Samuel very important because it can be seen as the beginning of the expectation of the Messiah coming from the house, or line, of David.

God promises David that he will be his house from which the king, the Messiah, will come. For Christians Jesus is that Messiah who was promised long ago. St. Joseph is a key player in all of this because he is the one who is from the house of David. It is Joseph, and not Mary, who will provide the necessary link for Jesus to fulfill the promise made to David centuries earlier. He will do this through adoption which was legal and fitting.

There is very little information about Joseph in the Gospels. Matthew makes him the key character in his infancy narrative, but he appears no where else in the Gospel. Matthew portrays him as a just and wise  person who, through dreams, is able to guide the course of the early events that dramatically unfold around Jesus, Mary and himself. It is when Joseph is told that he should not dismiss Mary because she is pregnant, but rather take her into his home, that the house of David officially becomes available to the child that will be born. With this, Joseph has fulfilled his key role in God's plan of salvation; nothing more need be said of him.

A presence and only a few words is not a sign diminishment or unimportance. Joseph's role is key and he fulfills it perfectly. And the church today honors this great man who was so important in the life of Jesus and Mary and, hopefully, as important in our lives also. He prays for us, he gives us an example of one who faithfully fulfills God's will for him and who was open to God, leading him in directions that perhaps he had no idea that he was supposed to go. Joseph was obedient and just. May we, too, be obedient to God's will and just in all our dealings.

St. Joseph is the patron saint of happy death. Obviously, because it is believed that Jesus and Mary were with him when he was dying, and we hope that Joseph, Mary and Jesus will be with us also when our time comes to leave this world.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 18, 2011 (Friday of the First Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Friday, March 18, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

Mark Twain once said of an acquaintance: "He's a good man, in the worst sense of the word."

"He's a good man, in the worst sense of the word."

Have we known people like that? I think I have. I think I've been that kind of person once in a while. Jesus obviously knew people that. The scribes and the Pharisees were good people. They were strict adherence of the law of Moses. They practiced their faith with --- they tried to, anyway --- perfection. They were serious about it. But they were good people in the worst sense of the word because they had become unhuman. They were very difficult to be with and they looked with pride down on the lives of other people; they separated  themselves.

Now, in order to illustrate this, Jesus says, if you bring your gift to the altar and then recall you have something against your brother or sister, go first be reconciled with your brother and sister, then come and offer your gift. In other words, the kind of goodness that Jesus calls us to, that the kingdom of God is about, is the kind of goodness that can't be right with God and wrong with each other. In order to be right with God, I have to be right in my human relationships. And this is where the rubber meets the road because the human relationships are the difficult ones. I mean, sometimes God and I don't always agree on how things oughta work And sometimes I stubbornly stop talking to him, but he is always faithful and he will always be there. It's in my human relationships that the difficulties arise, and Jesus is saying, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you're not going to experience the kingdom. It's here in our relationships with one another that we are challenged.

And so we are here in Lent, not only to work on our relationship with God --- and that always can be improved upon --- but also in our relationships with one another, to be reconciled with one another.

And we have a great a saint --- St. Cyril of Jerusalem --- today we're remembering his life was not easy. I think people have the impression that the saints had these serene, wonderful, easy lives, always in ecstasy in the presence of God. That's not the case. If you look at the life of St. Cyril, you'll discover that he, as bishop of Jerusalem, spent half of his bishop's experience in exile. He had to work out relationships with, not just the mystical body of Christ, but the body of Christ --- the church.

So if we're experiencing difficulties in our relationships with someone in our family or friends or at work, know that the saints had the same struggles. But we're not a people who give up on those struggles. We're here to be nourished in word and in sacrament so that our holiness can surpass that of scribes and Pharisees, that our holiness will enable us to experience God's kingdom.

And of course, the supreme example is Jesus himself.  His relationships with people were often times difficult and full of tension. His relationship with God was sometimes one that made him ask, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Let this cup pass, but if it be your will ... And so Jesus himself knew the challenges that come with relationships, and he sets the example for us. And the responsorial psalm is one that beautifully typifies for us what is in store. I cannot mark your inequities, because if God marked my inequities, how could I stand?

So let us endeavor this day, and this Lent, to recognize that our relationship with God is worked out in the everyday with our relationships with one another. I can't be right with God and wrong with you. This is the challenge that Lent and the Gospel today present before us.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 17, 2011 (Thursday of the First Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Thursday, March 17, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

The theme of our readings here this morning is that of prayer.

In the Gospel passage, Jesus urges us to pray and to pray with confidence that our prayers will be heard. He says, "ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

In our first reading, Queen Esther, living in the fifth century before Jesus, a Jew married to the king of Persia, was going to intercede on behalf of her people who were threatened with death. And before she went to intercede with the king, she prayed to the Lord to give her strength to accomplish the task that she had to do.

And also prayer was very much part of the life of St. Patrick whom we honor today. Patrick was a man of deep prayer. He belonged to the fifth century after Jesus. He went to Ireland two times, first time unwillingly when he was captured at the age of 16. His birthplace is not certain. But in his writings he tells us that at the age of 16 he was captured by Irish raiders, brought back to Ireland and sold as a slave, spent several years  herding sheep in the northern part of the country and suffered a great deal from hunger and cold, and spent a great deal of time praying. He prayed that God would deliver him and that he would be able to return to his home country and to his home and family again. His prayers were heard. He was told in a dream that a ship was waiting at the harbor for him. He escaped and made his way to the ship and returned home. There he continued his education and went on to be ordained a priest.

However, he again tells us that he was constantly hearing in his dreams the voices and the pleadings of the people of Ireland to return to them and to bring to them the Christian Catholic faith. Patrick was ordained a bishop and commissioned by the pope to go to Ireland as a missionary. So this was his second time coming to Ireland, this time returning willingly, bringing the faith and knowledge and love of Christ with him and spent the rest of his life in the conversion of the Irish people. He was very successful, and the Irish church became very strong and the Irish people very fervent in their faith. They sent missionaries in succeeding centuries out to convert the rest of Europe.

So the legacy of St. Patrick is great. His feast day is celebrated around the world, sometimes in ways that would not probably be very pleasing to St. Patrick, but, nevertheless, his feast day is celebrated and he is remembered. He is remembered as a great missionary. And we also need to remember him as a man who teaches us the importance of prayer.

In his teachings, he gives us the following prayer:
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 16, 2011 (Wednesday of the First Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Wednesday, March 15, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

Does anybody remember the name Jonah? You know something famous about the person named Jonah? What do you know? We got a fish story about Jonah. It doesn't say a whale, actually, in the Bible, but it does say a big fish. And the biggest fish we know is a whale.

Now, Jesus says in the Gospel that this is an evil generation; it seeks a sign. No sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah. So some people have interpreted that to mean ... Jonah spend how many days in the belly of the big fish? Three. And he was spit up on the shore, and he was told by God to go preach to the Ninevites repentance: turn away from their way of living; stop behaving the way you are behaving now and behave differently. And you know what they did? They listened. They did exactly that, and they avoided punishment. The punishment that God had planned for them he didn't do because they listened to Jonah and they turned their lives around.

Now, Jesus spent three days where? In the grave. Right? And he came out of the grave victorious over death, a victory he shares with all of us. He shares his victory of sin and death over us. So some people thought that that sign of Jonah is three days in the belly of the whale, and the three days that Jesus was in the belly of the earth. But, no, the sign is repentance. Jesus says, you have it greater than Jonah here. The people were not listening to his words. They were resisting him. And he said, look, when Jonah came preaching, the people of Nineva listened, turn their lives around and were spared punishment. "You have it greater than Jonah here," referring to himself. Then he said, the queen of the south came from the ends of earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. But you have it greater than Solomon here. 

Now, the problem with the people in Jesus' day is that their minds were closed. They thought all the great events and all the great people were in the past. And there were great people and great events in the past. Great people: Jonah. People of wisdom: Solomon. And they've been called the great events when the queen came all the way over and listened to Solomon and when Jona went all the way over and preached to the Ninevites saying, you have something greater here and you're closing your mind to it. You have a greater truth in my words, you have a greater wisdom in my teachings.  

Now, Lent is a time when you and I try to open our minds to the truth and the wisdom of Jesus, that we not be the foolish people in the Gospel who did not recognize that right there in their midst was God's own son. Right here in our midst, in the Eucharist, in the Gospel, is God's son, and during Lent we're called to reform, to change our lives, to listen to God's word, be obedient to God's commands, and live in God's love. 

So, we're here to be strengthened so that we can be those good people who listen to the wisdom of Jesus and put his truth into practice in our life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 15, 2011 (Tuesday of the First Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

In spring time, nature blossoms forth assisted, of course, by the rain and the sunshine; nature blossoms forth with flowers and plants and trees bearing blossoms and so forth. Nature comes alive.

In today's first reading, we heard from the prophet speaking on behalf of God saying how the rain and the snow comes down from heaven and causes growth here on earth and so it is fruitful, and so God says my word also is to come down and it is to bear fruit here on earth. That is God's plan and God's hope that his love his teachings, his care for us is going to produce fruit, an abundant fruit in our lives.

And in baptism, God's word, the seed of God's life, was planted within us. And that seed is to grow and produce fruit in our lives, the fruit of good works, the fruit of being faithful disciples of Jesus. And that seed or that word of God, that life of God that has been planted within us, is to be nourished by God's grace that comes to us especially in the sacraments and most especially in the Eucharist, but are also nourished by prayer. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray, and the Our Father is very familiar to us, of course, as the prayer that Jesus has left us as an example of how we should pray; therefore, we are to seek that God's will be done here on earth, that glory be given to God by our lives and that, as we ask forgiveness form our heavenly father, we are also to extend forgiveness to one another.

So during these weeks of Lent, it is certainly God's plan, and let it be our plan also, that our lives will bear more abundant fruit, that we will grow spiritually, that God's life, God's word, becomes more alive in our lives and in our actions and in our thoughts and in all of our deeds. So these are weeks of grace and, hopefully for all of us, weeks of spiritual growth, too.

Vatican announces Facebook, YouTube pages for John Paul II

From CNN Faith Blog

Pope John Paul II, famous for his power to communicate the Roman Catholic Church’s message around the world, is getting another chance to do so, with the Vatican launching pages dedicated to him on Facebook and YouTube.

The Holy See launched the social networking pages Tuesday, in advance of the beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, the last step before sainthood.

"The aim is to diversify the instruments so as to give this initiative as great an exposure and as wide a coverage as possible,” the Vatican press office said in a statement.

... Continue reading: "Vatican announces Facebook, YouTube pages for John Paul II"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 14, 2011 (Monday of the First Week of Lent)

Transcript of homily recorded on Monday, March 14, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Both of our scripture readings here this morning teach us about how we are to treat one another, how God wants us to treat one another.

In the first reading, we heard from the Book of Leviticus which emphasized doing no harm to a neighbor, to another and, therefore, most of the injunctions began by saying "you shall not," "do not." But Jesus in the Gospel takes [it] much further, and in effect he tells us, it's not enough just to do no wrong to someone else. He calls us to do good for others, that we are called to help one another. We are called to have compassion for one another, we are to have kindness in our hearts and translate that into doing good deeds for those in need. And so we are told that we are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, etc. And then Jesus also tells us that when we do acts of kindness and goodness towards others, we are doing it towards him. And so we are called to see the face of Jesus in those who need us.

And finally, Jesus tells us that the last judgement will be a process of separation: separating those who had love and kindness and compassion in their hearts and translated that into actions, good deeds for others, from those who did not care, who had no kindness, no compassion, no concern for others, went about their way in the journey of life, unconcerned about the needs of others.

So during this Lent, let's remember this injunction, teaching of Jesus. And let us find ways to be compassionate, to be kind, to be concerned in our dealings with others.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 12, 2011 (Saturday after Ash Wednesday)

Transcript of homily recorded on March 12, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Here in our Gospel, we have been told of Jesus calling someone, calling someone to follow him. And that someone was a man named Levi, later known as Matthew. And the call was to leave his position as a tax collector and to go with Jesus. And we're told that leaving everything, Levi, or Matthew, followed Jesus. Levi, or Matthew, became one of the apostles and a writer of one of the Gospels.

And so Matthew heard Jesus, and he heard him in his heart, and he responded to that call of Jesus and went with Jesus, and thereafter his whole life became centered on Jesus.

This Gospel speaks to us of how Jesus also calls us. He calls us to follow him, to be his disciple, to listen to him and to love him, to serve him and to witness to him to others. And Jesus calls us in many different ways from the cross. In the midst if his suffering, Jesus has called us to follow him. In our baptism, Jesus has called us to follow him. And from the statue behind the altar here, Jesus is calling us this morning to follow him. And from the Eucharist, this morning, Jesus is calling us to follow him. And what will be our response? Hopefully, our response will be that during this time of Lent we are going to follow Jesus more faithfully, pay more attention to his teachings, put into practice what he asks us to do to love one another, to be compassionate, to be forgiving, to repent of our sins, and to turn to God's mercy.

So let's hear the invitation that Jesus gives as he gave to Matthew: "Come, follow me." May our response be a resounding "Yes!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Archbishop's statement on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

By Archbishop José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

It is impossible to view the pictures coming out of Japan without feeling the desire to pray for the earthquake and tsunami victims, and to do something to help the survivors.

Crises such as this remind us of the fragility of life, as well as our common humanity and the connectedness we share with others through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. So, let us pray in a special way for those who have lost loved ones and homes, and for the swift recovery of the Japanese people from this natural disaster. May those affected by this devastation experience God's love and be aware of his comforting and healing presence in the days and months to come.

In addition to prayer, each of us can assist in the recovery effort by donating to Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. Bishops' international aid agency. Information on how to contribute has already been sent to parishes. Please consult your parish bulletin or office for more information.

May Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, grant you peace.

Here’s where you can donate to Pacific tsunami emergency

Catholic charitable agencies are accepting donations for Japan and other countries affected by the magnitude 8.9 earthquake and tsunamis that followed.

Catholics can send donations to Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency, or to Caritas, the church’s charitable arm.

In Britain, Catholics may donate to CAFOD, which has a Pacific tsunami relief fund

— Courtesy CNS

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 11, 2011 (Friday after Ash Wednesday)

Transcript of homily recorded on March 11, 2011

By Monsignor Gerald McSorley

Among other Lenten practices, the church calls on us to fast, to do penance, and so forth. And our readings this morning speak of penitential practices.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells those who criticize him that the time will come when his disciples will fast, will do these penitential practices. And in the first reading we heard from the Prophet Isaiah very strong words beginning with the opening lines, "Cry out fill-throatedly." Cry out with a very strong voice, says the Lord. And what is the prophet to cry out? The prophet says, speaking for God, you complain to me because you pray and you do all of these fasting and other penitential practices and I don't respond; and God says, what is wrong with your fasting and so forth is that it's not coming from the heart, it doesn't bring about any change in your life. And one word that was very strong in today's responsorial psalm was the heart.

And so Lent speaks to us not just of external things and giving up something or doing this, but what's taking place in our hearts? The graces of Lent should change us from within, change our attitudes, and result in us being better persons in how we treat one another, how we are concerned about others, how we share with others, how we are compassionate.

So as we indeed continue with Lent and with some of the Lenten practices that we have decided to undertake, we need to ask ourselves now, how do I translate that into my actions and into my thoughts and attitudes?

Damage keeps Japanese church officials from assessing needs

From Catholic News Service

TOKYO (CNS) — Damage from a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and ensuing tsunamis were preventing church officials in Japan from assessing needs as tsunami warnings were issued for 50 other countries.

Yasufumi Matsukuma, a staffer at the Japanese bishops' conference, told the Asian church news agency UCA News that most staffers would remain in the offices overnight because of suspended rail service and continuous aftershocks.

"In Tokyo, telephone lines are so busy that I cannot contact diocesan chancellor offices in Japan. Aftershocks have followed. The tsunamis are terrible and we cannot get any information concerning the church yet," he said.

... Continue reading "Damage keeps Japanese church officials from assessing needs"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daily Lenten inspiration, March 10, 2011 (Thursday after Ash Wednesday)

Transcript of homily recorded on March 10, 2011

By Father Tim McGowan

So in both our readings this morning, we are given a choice. Moses sets before the people a choice: I give you the choice of a blessing or a curse, life or death, and he encourages to choose life by keeping the commandments.

And in the Gospel, Jesus presents us a choice: following his way, which means self-denial — deny myself, taking up my cross — or choosing the way of the world, which leads nowhere. His life, the way he lived, is the way that God wants us to live. But we have a choice.

Now, we're here this morning, and we're here in this season of Lent, to try to strengthen that choice of ours, to choose life, to choose the way of Jesus who gave his life for us all. And we have the Eucharist here to nourish us and strengthen us during our Lenten journey. So, with the words of Moses and Jesus to encourage us, let us rise and offer our prayers of petition.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The 2011 Lenten season

From United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Our observance of Lent begins this year on March 9, Ash Wednesday, a day of fast and abstinence for Catholics. At Mass on Ash Wednesday, the imposition of ashes replicates an ancient penitential practice and symbolizes our dependence upon God's mercy and forgiveness.

During Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.

... Continue reading The 2011 Lenten season

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New American Bible translation makes media splash

From United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Tomorrow brings not only the start of Lent but also the publication of the New American Bible (NAB), revised edition, or NABRE. The publication marks the first major update of the NAB in 20 years and includes the first revision of the Old Testament since 1970 and a complete revision of Psalms. It retains the 1986 translation of the New Testament.

... Continue reading: New American Bible Translation Makes Media Splash

Saturday, March 5, 2011

'For greater things we were born'

By Archbishop José H. Gomez

"For greater things we were born."

There are many matters on my heart as I begin my new ministry as your Archbishop.

But I keep coming back to these words from Ven. Maria Luisa Josefa de la Peña, the refugee from Mexico who founded our Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.

I find her words express some of my deepest desires for my ministry.

I want to spread this simple and beautiful truth of the Gospel: That each of us is born from the love of God. That each of us is a child of God who belongs to the family of God, the Church. We are born to be saints — every one of us!

Since I came here last May, I've put a lot of miles on my car. I've traveled our great freeways to each of our 20 deaneries. I've been blessed to celebrate Mass with many of you, and to talk with you and get to know you.

I am eager to meet everyone. And I look forward to our friendships growing in the years to come.

My heart is truly in Los Angeles now. I am rooting for the Lakers! I feel at home here in this beautiful archdiocese, in this beautiful state. And I'm excited to begin my ministry.

I have five basic priorities as I begin my work. They are rooted in the priorities of Christ and his mission for the church. They are priorities that the United States bishops have identified for the Church in this country. They fit well, too, with our Archdiocesan Synod's goals of promoting faith education, sacramental life, social justice, evangelization, collegial leadership and greater a sense of responsibility in ministry.

My first priority is education in the faith. We need to know the Gospel. It is our light and our salvation. We need to know our Lord's words and how he lived. We need to know the teachings of his apostles and his church. We need especially to know the church's social teachings, so that we can live as faithful citizens.

I also want to promote vocations to the priesthood and the religious and consecrated life. Our church needs more men and women who can testify to the radical beauty of a life dedicated totally to Christ.

My third priority is to help us to see the beauty of the church's cultural diversity. The Catholic Church is meant to be a great multitude called from all nations, peoples and tongues. As Catholics, we need to break down the walls that divide us, every barrier that keeps us from being one family.

My fourth priority is that we proclaim to our society that life is sacred from conception to natural death. We must insist on the rights and dignity of the human person — born or unborn; young or old; sick or healthy; no matter where he comes from or what kind of documents he possesses.

Fifth and finally, we must defend and strengthen the natural institutions of marriage and the family based on the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman. We must insist that society respect the church's freedom to promote our belief that the family is the fundamental cell of civilization.

All five of these priorities are a means to an end.

The end is this: that our church proclaims the Gospel in all its power and truth to the men and women of our day.

That is what we are here for, each one of us. We are here to be saints and missionaries. We are here to bear witness to the greater things that Jesus promises to those who love him and live by his Word and his teachings.

I am humbled by the extraordinary works being done in our parishes and in all of our Catholic institutions. There are many needs and many problems — material and spiritual — here in Los Angeles and throughout California.

The church's works of mercy and justice must intensify. Every one of us must do our Christian duty to help the poor and the strangers in our midst.

In all our work, let us be animated by the "greater things" of the Gospel — the beauty of knowing Jesus Christ. Through our acts of love, little and big, we can help bring our brothers and sisters closer to God.

I ask your prayers for me this week as I begin my ministry. Please ask our good God to make me worthy of this beautiful task of serving the family of God here in Los Angeles.

I pray for you every day. And I ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for you and your families this week.

Archbishop José H. Gomez is the newly-appointed archbishop of Los Angeles.

Welcome to our new archbishop; Together in Mission still needs contributions

 

We welcome and pray God’s blessings upon the new Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez.  May he lead the church of Los Angeles with the wisdom, grace and gentleness of the Good Shepherd.


***

Thank you to all who made a pledge/contribution to this year’s annual appeal Together in Mission on commitment weekend.  We had a good response, but we have some ways to go yet to reach our parish goal. I ask those who did not have the opportunity to participate last weekend to do so by making a generous pledge or contribution. Pledge envelopes are in the pews. All contributions, great or small, will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

— Monsignor Gerald McSorley,
Pastor