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Posted on 10/15/2018 10:58 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Posted on 10/14/2018 11:18 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Do you ever pray for a safe and secure life free of any worry? What does a secure and worry-free life look like for you? Some companies have made it their business model to sell a chance to win a version of a “secure life.” For example, I saw a TV ad for a sweepstakes company. The crew knocked on the door of a house ready to present a giant check reading, “You’ve Won $2,500 Per Week for Life!.” Apparently this sweepstakes is real, and real people register to win. The only caveat is that the odds of winning this sweepstakes is about 2.4 billion to one; the odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are better (e.g. 1 in 300 million). One has a significantly better chance of becoming a movie star or to be drafted by the NBA than winning this sweepstakes. Most of us dismiss the notion that money buys happiness and security. However, many of us of may have at least given a thought to, “If I won the Powerball, I would…” fill in the blank. If I won the Powerball now, I would help the folks in Florida, who in the matter of hours, lost their homes, livelihood, and the entire community. If we reflect on why we work so hard and spend so much time worrying, our desire for a secure life may be at the heart. What is evoked in us when Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”? (Matt 6:21)
In our readings today, we encounter two young men desiring for something more than what they already have. Both King Solomon in the First Reading and the Rich Young Man in the Gospel have enough wealth to feel secure and satisfied in their material needs. What more could they need or want? The Rich Young Man asked Jesus for guidance on how he could gain eternal life. He was a religious young man, practicing his faith and not breaking any commandments. He still didn’t feel satisfied. Jews in Jesus’ day regarded wealth as a blessing and opportunity for doing good. When Jesus challenged him to part with his wealth, however, he was saddened and disappointed. For Jesus, the only real source of security is to store treasure in heaven by trusting and loving God with our whole heart, not just partially. The young man was not ready to part with his attachments to his treasures, for it was the heart of his security and social status. He feared that he would not be happy or joyful if he followed Jesus and left behind his treasures. He could not trust Jesus, and thus could not let go of the control of his life. The man left not knowing the peace and joy that only Jesus can give.
The prayer of Moses in today’s Psalm points us to what should be the source of our security and happiness. The beginning of Psalm 90 reads , “Lord, you have been our refuge through all generations...You turn humanity back into dust, saying, ‘Return, you children of Adam!’...Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong; Most of them are toil and sorrow; they pass quickly, and we are gone...Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” The true wisdom is knowing what truly fills and satisfies us, as verse 14 teaches, “Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!”
Solomon, unlike the Rich Young Man, asked God for something greater than a throne, a crown or gold. He wrote, “I prayed...pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me...all gold, in view of [wisdom], is a little sand...Beyond health and good looks I loved [wisdom]...all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.” Solomon truly understood that to be rich meant to come to know God’s love and to follow in His footsteps. The riches of the Kingdom of Heaven--lasting joy and happiness--are available to everyone, but we must choose to love Our Lord and follow Him. Our prayers, reception of Sacraments, and our love in actions builds up treasure in heaven.
Posted on 10/13/2018 16:18 PM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Quotes of Sr. Lucia (one of the three seers of Our Lady of Fatima)
“When lovers are together, they spend hours and hours repeating the same thing: ‘I love you!’ What is missing in the people who think the rosary monotonous is Love; and everything that is not done for love is worthless.”
“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families… that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
“Since we all need to pray, God asks of us, as a kind of daily installment, a prayer which is within our reach: the Rosary, which can be recited either in common or in private, either in church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or at home, either with the rest of the family or alone, either when traveling or while walking quietly in the fields. A mother of a family can say the Rosary while she rocks her baby’s cradle or does the housework. Our day has 24 hours in it. It is not asking a great deal to set aside a quarter of an hour for the spiritual life, for our intimate and familiar converse with God.”
“Putting up with any sacrifices that are asked of us in our day-to-day lives becomes a slow martyrdom which purifies us and raises us up to the level of the supernatural, through the encounter of our soul with God, in the atmosphere of the presence of the Most Holy Trinity within us. We have here an incomparable spiritual richness!”
Message of Fatima
“Hell is a reality. It is a supernatural fire and not physical. It cannot be compared to fire that burns wood or charcoal… Continue preaching about hell because Our Lord himself spoke about hell, and it is in Sacred Scripture. God does not condemn anyone to hell. God gave men the liberty to choose, and God respects this human liberty.” [Christus Magazine Interview]
“Let us all willingly endeavor to follow faithfully the path that He has mapped out for us. Yes, because it was out of love that God sent us this pressing call from his mercy, in order to help us along the way of our salvation.”
“The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. However, Our Lady has already crushed his head.”
Posted on 10/7/2018 11:00 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Have you ever entered into a commitment that was easy? The other day, as I drove by a local gym, I jotted down the phone number and then called it later left a message. My intention was to join the gym for six months. After a day or two, a thought occurred to me: ‘Isn’t this the fourth time that I’m joining a gym? Didn’t I only go a less than a dozen times at each gym and waste all those fees?’ Not willing to make the commitment, I called and cancelled my appointment to sign the contract. By definition, commitment is not easy. Commitment means pledging oneself by vow, promise, or a resolution to faithfully perform some action or dedication to a cause or co-operation with a person or a group. Commitment is a choice to give up choices. Far from limiting, making a commitment actually brings great freedom and depth. No longer are other possibilities a distraction. Once committed, all one’s energy goes into making this commitment work. Our readings for today focus on marriage, and those of us who are single may not feel a connection to the readings. However, we are here today because of the commitment our parents made. We may be a brother-in-law or sister-in-law because our siblings are married. And we interact on a daily basis with co-workers who are married. So we know that good marriages resulting from commitments lived out faithfully are what brings happy and stable environment for our families and communities.
Now, as was then, marriage is challenging because anytime we love someone we run the risk of exposing ourselves to hurt. Even our spouse whom we have chosen and promised to love and spend the rest of our lives together has the power to hurt us. From the outsider’s point of view, marriages of friends and neighbors seem so perfect. Yet just because a couple is going to church together, to family events, or on vacations does not mean that a marriage is happy or healthy. Beneath the surface or behind closed doors, a couple may not care about each other’s needs, neglect God as part of their marriage, stop communicating, suffer from problems such as substance abuse, gambling, pornography, depression, infidelity, or workaholism. God loves good marriages, but when truth, honesty, and decency are gone from the relationship and when spouses choose to harm each other, the couple’s life together becomes a poor imitation of true marriage.
Despite their best efforts and intentions, some couples suffer the heartaches of separation and divorce. Perhaps a spouse is not interested in having a real marriage, not putting forth any efforts to save the marriage. Perhaps after repeated infidelities or abuses, trust is gone. And barring a miracle from God, there is nothing more that a spouse can do; one may have waited a long time for a miracle, but the other spouse doesn’t seem to want it. Persons who stay in bad marriages are really good people, spiritual people who care about God and others. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity asking God for direction, some spouses make an agonizing decision to separate. The decision to separate and divorce may seem like the most unloving thing they could possibly do. In actuality, it may be the most loving thing, both for them and for their spouse. One cannot grow in an angry, false, codependent, indifferent relationship.
Whether we are a couple enjoying the fruits of daily commitment, a couple toiling through challenges, or a couple who is separated or divorced, God is close to you. As Isaiah beautifully wrote, “Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you in the womb and will help you: Do not fear…” (Isaiah 44:2) Through our baptism, we have been assured of Father’s faithfulness, mercy, and love for us. Relying only on our human resolve to remain faithful to our commitments will not be easy. Yet when we ask the Holy Spirit to assist us with His courage and strength, we will not grow weary as we fulfill our commitments as disciples of Christ.
Posted on 10/5/2018 03:12 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Why Is Faustina So Important?
On Oct. 5, we celebrate St. Faustina, a saint of extremely humble beginnings. Father Chris Alar, MIC, the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, gave a talk that highlighted St. Faustina's life before she became a revered saint.
"First of all, St. Faustina's life was in many ways dull. It was average. It was ordinary. But is that surprising? No. Because that's exactly the person that Jesus or God always works through."
Born Helena Kowalska, the third of ten children in a poor family from Glogowiec, Poland, she began working to support her family at a very young age.
"She was so poor that she had to share a dress to wear to Mass with her sisters," Fr. Chris said. "So they took turns, dressing for Mass every five weeks."
At seven years of age, she felt a calling to the religious life while attending the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. When she finished school, she wanted to enter the convent, but her parents needed her to work as a housekeeper and nanny to support her family.
But she couldn't ignore the call forever. In 1925, Helena Kowalska flew to Warsaw and approached several convents, asking them to consider her. She was rejected by all but one because she lacked both a dowry and an education. On August 1, 1925, she applied to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She was accepted on two conditions. First, that she work as a housekeeper for a large family near Warsaw to cover the expenses. Secondly, that she be a member of the second choir—the choir reserved for the poor and less educated convent members that was responsible for cleaning, cooking, and gardening.
On 30 April 1926,at 20 years old, Helena received her habit and took the name Sister Maria Faustina. Faustina means the "fortunate one or blessed one."
Jim and Deb Joy of St. Catherine's Parish is Hudson, New Hampshire chose to celebrate St. Faustina's Feast Day at the Shrine as a part of Joy's birthday celebration. They were surprised St. Faustina, who is known for her steadfast serenity, struggled throughout her life.
"I didn't realize she faced so many obstacles to give her life to God," Jim said. "She had such happiness, and such a devotion to others, despite all of her suffering."
During his talk, Fr. Chris also explained the Divine Mercy message, which St. Faustina was entrusted to share with the world after Christ first appeared to her in 1931.
"Divine Mercy is not just a devotion, it's both a message and a devotion," Fr. Chris said. "It's interesting because people don't necessarily refer to the same thing when they're talking about it. The Divine Mercy message is the heart of the Gospel. It's Christ himself."
Fr. Chris then said The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering "ABC:"
" 'A' stands for ask for God's mercy. God wants us to approach him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking him to pour his mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.
B stands for be merciful. God wants us to receive his mercy and let it flow through us to others. Forgive and love your enemy. Jesus told St. Faustina that we most resemble him when we forgive others.
And finally, C stands for completely trust in Jesus," Fr. Chris said, while pointing to the Divine Mercy Image above the altar. "God wants us to know that the graces of his mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive."
Deacon Bob Digan also spoke at the event. His wife, Maureen, experienced a miracle that supported the Beatification of St. Faustina in 1993. Maureen had undergone more than 50 operations for lymphedema, an incurable condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. In 1981, she went to the tomb of St. Faustina in Poland with her husband and their son, Bobby, who was also ill. She asked St. Faustina to heal them, and that night, the swelling in her leg was visibly better and their son experienced improvements as well.
When she returned to the United States, five doctors examined her independently and concluded she'd been healed. The Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints examined the accumulated evidence along with teams of theologians, cardinals and bishops. Her cure was accepted as a miracle caused through Sr. Faustina's intercession to The Divine Mercy.
Jessica Roemischer, internationally acclaimed pianist and guest author, preformed several musical pieces at the event, including, "Amazing Grace." She also spoke about her book, In Duet with God, a book she said she wrote at the Holy Family Shrine at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. Her book was inspired by her relationship with a woman named Flora, her nanny when she was a child, who Jessica calls "the saint in her life."
"Growing up with a saint, you never realize you're a sinner, because the saint makes the light seem that much brighter," Jessica said.
Pilgrimage to Poland with Fr. Paul Yi
May 27-June 4, 2019
Posted on 10/4/2018 13:37 PM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
FRANCIS’ MYSTICAL MARRIAGE
By Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM “FRANCIS: The Journey and the Dream”
To speak of love had never been difficult for Francis until Christ stole his heart. Then there was something so sacred about their relationship that all love became love caught up in Jesus.
When he heard the Gospel read at Mass, it was Jesus speaking directly to him, and every word was a love-word. He swallowed each word and assimilated it into his whole being. He wanted to become one with the Word, to make literally his own the Word of God. This Word of God was its own message, because Jesus was the Word and by becoming a man he had put flesh onto His own message of love. He was the Word. So when Francis heard the Gospels read aloud, it was as if Jesus Himself were entering his ears and filling his whole self with His presence. And the word he listened to took on flesh in Francis himself.
The demands of Jesus were hard, but to Francis they were love-requests and the harder they seemed, the more elated he was that Jesus should ask him. It was a privilege far surpassing any gift that earthly lovers gave one another. And Francis basked in the sunlight and pleasure of Jesus’ company. Had the Lord asked nothing of him, he would have felt small and neglected like a knight who is not trusted with great feats but must be satisfied with helping orphans and widows while the great knights were away fighting huge battles to secure good in the land.
He knew Jesus loved him because He made such terrible demands of him, the most difficult of which were the invitations all through the Gospels to leave everyone and everything for His sake. But the more Francis renounced, the more he possessed, pressed down and flowing over. It seemed that Jesus wanted Francis to give up everything so that He could have the joy of returning it as a gift to Francis. That way Jesus could keep handing back what Francis had first given Him, and there would be an eternal effort to outdo one another in selflessness. They understood each other and were becoming one flesh in a manner that man and woman could never duplicate. And that was love as Francis had hoped it would be. So celibacy for Francis was not something sterile and barren, and he never thought of celibacy anyway, but of virginity, which was more positive and implied something you chose for the Kingdom rather than something you endured because of your role in the church. Virginity brought fullness to Francis because, in renouncing marriage, he did not shrink as a person but grew in his capacity to love more and more people. He moved in a world much larger than the family.
Besides, his identification with Jesus was so absolute and literal that he could never be anything other than a virgin like Christ. Francis thought that Jesus’ own virginity made possible His total love for him, and vice versa. And the paradox in Francis’ life was that his exclusive love for Jesus was at the same time inclusive of all humanity. Again what he had renounced had come rushing down in waterfalls of new capacities for love and giving. And the pool of self was constantly refilled with the fresh and clean water of love that flowed out of Francis in countless streams of attention, affection, and service of others. The living waters of Jesus had become his own, and he thereby became a reservoir of unselfish love for all creatures.
Posted on 10/2/2018 17:05 PM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
By Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP
The guardian angels are a proof of how much God loves us. He sends the guardian angels to protect and attend us, especially when we do not know how to take care of ourselves. St. Basil the Great teaches that “beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (CCC 336; St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III: PG 29, 656B). This prompts St. Jerome (d. 420) to comment, “How great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it.”
We need our angelic protectors, explains St. Thomas Aquinas, because, although we can to a certain degree avoid evil thanks to free will, we cannot do so in any sufficient degree. Just as guardians are appointed for people who have to pass by an unsafe road, so an angel guardian is assigned to each human being as long as that one is a wayfarer.
Guardian angels regulate us and move us to good by instructing us, by assisting us in prayer, by warding off demons, and by preventing both bodily and spiritual harm. St. Gregory of Nyssa (d. 395) tells us that “the Lord of the angels procures life and peace through his angels for those who are worthy.” And St. Ignatius (first century) adds, “It is characteristic of God and his angels that in their activity they give true joy and spiritual exultation, while removing the sadness and affliction that the enemy excites.”
Father Simon Tugwell, O.P., describes the distinctive help offered by the angels: They cannot give us the warm, animal, emotional kind of support that we get from other human beings, but the very simplicity of their spiritual vision can help to alleviate the complexity of our animal life.
The purity of their praise can come to our assistance when we are bogged down in the turmoil of our sensuality or our emotions and can find no way through. When we are weighed down by our corruptible flesh, we can be lifted up, like our Lord in Gethsemane, by the spiritual joy of the angels. St. Edith Stein assures us, “It is their bliss to be allowed to cooperate in God’s dispensing of graces.”
My good Guardian Angel, you have been appointed by God to be my protector and shepherd, leading me to life and peace. Thank you for your guardianship. Without the benefit of your angelic care, I would be left to the custody of my own feeble resources. You delight in dispensing God’s graces to aid me in my salvation.
Regulate my life and move me to the good. Instruct me that I may live by the enlightenment of heaven. Assist me in prayer. Ward off demons that would threaten me, and remove the sadness and affliction brought on by the enemy. When weighed down by my emotions and fleshly things, lift me up and let me share your joy. Protect me from all bodily and spiritual harm.
Please forgive any times I may have neglected you. With trust in your angelic protection, I offer you my intentions: (mention your request here).
Posted on 10/1/2018 02:08 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Posted on 09/30/2018 03:52 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
In your opinion, what types of people seek after God? Is it only those with religious upbringing or the ones brought up as Christians? A religious sister shared her experience of attending a symposium for religious sisters. The theme for the convention was, “Be prophetic witnesses in the world.” At the convention center, there were more than 500 sisters from 60 religious orders. There were two other conventions going on simultaneously at the facility. One was a cheerleading convention, and the other was a tattoo and body art convention. As she passed by the booths at cheerleading convention, she was struck by the human desire to encourage someone in their efforts and a desire to tell someone that we are with them in their endeavor. When she was walking by the tattoo and body art convention, a young woman with tattoos all over her body was passing by the sister but with her head turned away, hoping to avoid the gaze of the religious sister. The sister, as she looked on the young woman, remarked, “That’s amazing!” The young woman breathed a sigh of relief and struck a conversation with the sister. The woman told the sister that beauty is fleeting, nothings lasts, and that no one sees it again. As the sister was listening to the young woman’s explanation about why she wears art on her body, she was struck by the young woman’s desire for permanence, commitment, and a great desire for infinite beauty that does not pass away.
The deepest desires of our hearts--whether a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or atheist--is to belong, to be loved and cherished. God has placed this profound longing in all of his children. Yet do we see others with such an attitude or are we excluding others who are not ‘one of us?’ Mahatma Gandhi was once attracted to Christianity and decided to attend a church service in Calcutta, India to learn about Jesus. At the entrance of the church, ushers stopped him to inform him that only the high caste Indians and whites were allowed in. Since Gandhi belonged to neither category, he was turned away. Was the Christian church living out its mission when it excluded a man whose desire was to get to know Jesus?
The mark of a Christian is to see others through the eyes of the Heavenly Father. Even though they may not agree with our theology, values, or lifestyle, the goodness of God is present and active in them. Do we recognize that God works through all kinds of people? During many catastrophes we find people of all walks of life - believers and nonbelievers - coming together to relieve the suffering of others. I’m certain that during the aftermath of the 2016 flood, had someone said “I don’t believe in your church but I want to help”, that none of us would have turned him away. So, are we we judging and excluding people or throwing up roadblocks in their way because they don’t necessarily agree with our beliefs or point of view? When Our Lord learned that disciples stopped a man from performing exorcism in Jesus’ name because he didn’t belong to the disciple’s group, Jesus admonished them not to prevent him. Like the disciples, we can overlook the good work that God is accomplishing through others because they seem to not belong to ‘one of us.’
The Gospel calls us to reflect on our attitudes and behavior. Does it reflect Our Lord’s inclusive love? The religious sister who recognized the beauty and goodness in the young woman with tattoos allowed herself to be an instrument to radiate God’s gentle compassion. Through our baptism, we have been called to be another Christ to others. “Be the prophetic witnesses in the world.” We are not only to be good persons but to be a brother or sister to others, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or political views; to be a prophet means to proclaim in words and actions that Our Lord Jesus Christ came to save and redeem all through his passion, death, and resurrection. Discipleship to Jesus is not some personal privilege to be jealously guarded. We are called to recognize and appreciate the good work of the Holy Spirit done in others.
Posted on 09/29/2018 11:39 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)