Browsing News Entries
Posted on 04/3/2019 02:45 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Posted on 03/31/2019 12:04 PM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Mary Hudson is a gifted preacher and a mentor to many Christian women. But she’s also the mother of Katy (Hudson) Perry--one of the most famous pop singers in the world. When Mary was pregnant with Katy, a minister prophesied that her child would stand before kings and presidents. As a young girl, Katy wrote worship songs and performed them in church. People in church would weep when Katy sang. However, Katy abandoned her Christian faith and scandalized her parents with her provocative and shocking music videos. Christians would ask Mary and her minister husband Keith, “How could you have a daughter like that?” Despite criticisms, Mary and Keith have chosen to love Katy no matter what. They stay in close contact with her, and Mary sometimes takes calls in the middle of the night from Katy because of her non-stop concert schedule. Mary advises other parents with children who have left their Christian faith behind. She believes unconditional love and support is essential—not judgment, anger or estrangement. “It’s only the love of God that will bring them back,” she says. “Don’t cut them off. You have to rise above your feelings. You must stay in communication.” In Katy’s parents’ unconditional love for her, we see a glimpse of the Heavenly Father’s merciful love that is revealed in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Posted on 03/27/2019 03:02 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Posted on 03/24/2019 12:48 PM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
One week ago, the Jefferson House Children’s Emergency Shelter was bustling with activities. Located in Omaha, Nebraska it is a safe haven for children whose parents abandoned them, or who were living in an inhospitable environment. But today, the house is empty. Chris Sewall, the director of this emergency shelter for at-risk children and teens, has been laboring with a push broom to push out the mud out of the facilities following the recent historic flooding in the midwest. The state of Nebraska alone estimates that the recent flooding has caused $1.3 billion in damage. Many of you may have seen the surreal photos and videos of submerged farmland in the midwest states. It seems that when we open up the newspaper or turn on the TV, we are bombarded with news of catastrophes and unimaginable sufferings. Just this past month, we’ve seen news of the historic flooding in midwest, crash of an Ethiopian airplane, a massacre in mosques in New Zealand, a bombing of a Catholic cathedral in the Philippines, and devastation by a cyclone in Mozambique.
It is easy to be swept up in fear as we hear that we are to change our ways, right now. Yet, we are painfully aware how we are slow to change and how difficult it is for us to uproot our bad or sinful habits. Like the servant who patiently dresses and nurtures the tree without fruits, Our God is patiently cultivating us, pruning our vices and fertilizing our virtues, to bear fruit for His Kingdom. He is inviting us to use this present moment to the fullest, not wasting time in useless pursuits of the world, rather to refocus our lives as merciful instrument of God’s love. What can we do concretely today to refocus our lives?
Posted on 03/21/2019 04:23 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
How do we know whether we are following God’s Will, that is, what He desires for us? Are our personal goals and ambitions in line or at odds with God’s Will? Here is a series of prayer images that can help us discern with Jesus.
1. A Rowing Boat: You are rowing
In a gentle flowing river, you are in a small rowing boat. As you row, your back faces the direction of the boat. Jesus sits on the stern (back) side of the boat as he watches you row. The river is the flow of God’s grace and will. You decide where you’ll head toward and how fast you get there. At times it’s difficult for you to row because you’re going against the direction of the flow. Converse with Jesus about whether you’re going in the direction of Father’s Will or against His Will. He is attentive and smiling at you as you mention to him about what is going on with your life at this moment.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
2. A Rowing Boat: Jesus is rowing
You switch sides and allow Jesus to sit in the bow (front) side and row the boat. Symbolically you relinquish your plans momentarily to see where Jesus is taking you. You see the direction where he is taking you, and a part of you is drawn to the new direction yet you have some reservation as well. Converse with Jesus about what you are struggling to relinquish at this moment in your life.
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)
3. A Sailing Boat: The Holy Spirit propels the sail
Jesus raises the sail and allows the wind to propel the boat. The Holy Spirit is the wind filling the sail, pushing the boat forward. You relinquish both your desire to know where Jesus desires to take you and the desire to know how Jesus is going to take you there. You surrender your plans and ambitions, desiring only to please Jesus. Converse with Jesus about your readiness and willingness to desire only what He wants for you.
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Jesus desires for us to use our freedom to choose to serve--to decide to put others first in my care and concern. Are we willing to decide to serve others with love and compassion rather than for desire for a reward.
“Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.” (St. Ignatius Loyola)
-Fr. Paul Yi
Posted on 03/20/2019 02:46 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Posted on 03/17/2019 12:12 PM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
“I’m not afraid of death, father,” a parishioner told me from her hospital bed. “I had a near death experience and was led to a bright light in the tunnel. Now I’m not afraid of dying.” Her experience is similar to that of other folks who had a near death experience. She had received a vision of hope and now her confidence and trust in God are unshakeable. We all need a vision of hope to give us confidence and trust to face the trials of this earthly life without being discouraged and afraid.
Why did Jesus allow Peter, James, and John a glimpse of his divinity at Mount of Transfiguration? The Transfiguration revealed his perfection of life in heaven. Jesus knew that his betrayal, passion, and crucifixion awaited him in Jerusalem. He knew that his disciples needed the hope and confidence to sustain them as they headed toward Jerusalem. The glory they beheld was the glory that Jesus wanted to share with them. They needed to hear the voice of the Heavenly Father through the cloud urging them to listen and ponder all that His Son was going to say to them. The disciples would remember this Voice of the Father later on when they encountered hardships of following Jesus.
Abram also received from God a vision of hope that awaited him-- a promise of descendants as numerous as stars in the sky. His hope against hope prompted him to begin an arduous journey of moving his family, livestock, and possessions 1,500 miles across the barren desert over the course of months. “We walk by faith, not by sight,” St. Paul said to the Corinthians, and the faith of Abram was precisely in obeying a command from a God that he could not see, putting his trust into action by walking to the promised land.
I often hear folks ask, “How do I know that I’m on the right path? I pray, I go to Mass, and I try to live right. But I’m disoriented and confused by the hardship I’m facing. Am I going the wrong way?” St. Paul was familiar with hardships while staying on the right path of God. He wrote to the Christian community in Corinth who were going through terrible trials and tribulations with this encouragement: “We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10) We are like fragile jars made of clay, yet we hold in these jars the indomitable Spirit of God who provides the grace to persevere through suffering and hardships. The hope that the Holy Spirit instills in us is a vision of our happy life in eternity with God when He calls us from this life. Until the moment God calls us to Himself, we strive to live joyfully in God’s love and mercy, sharing generously with our neighbors what we have received from God.
There is also a possibility that when we feel our life is disoriented, that certain aspects of our life may be out of balance. Counselors typically ask basic questions: “Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating right? Are you getting some physical exercise? Are you under heavy stress?” We should also ask ourselves, “Have I put all of my hopes on someone or something instead of God?” When our hope is misplaced or we are excessively attached to someone or something, we do not have peace. Peace comes when we realize that God who loved us and created us, wants us to make choices in our daily life that draw us closer to Him. While persons and things of this world are created out of God’s goodness, if we do not prioritize our desires first on God, we may attach ourselves to someone or something that cannot fulfill the hole that only God Himself can fill.
The Transfiguration of Jesus reminds us that our guiding hope and happiness lies in Jesus alone. Jesus asks us to follow Him. If we have stopped following Him because we were lured away by someone or something, then “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full, in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”
Posted on 03/12/2019 02:17 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Posted on 03/10/2019 12:12 PM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
Not much has changed in our human nature since the Fall of Adam and Eve when they realized that the forbidden fruit was good for food, delightful to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. Like Adam and Eve, we are susceptible to temptation by the evil one; we are still attracted to what appears to be good, pleasing, and satisfying to our senses. It’s not that creation itself is bad; what’s bad is our inordinate or excessive desires to satisfy the self at the expense of a relationship with God and neighbor. Satan tempts us to redirect our love for God toward love of something far inferior--food, pleasures of flesh, possessions, security, vanity, and pride.
What could happen to us when we face similar temptations? Sometimes we attempt to make inanimate things of life into a necessity that we could actually do without. You have heard a saying, “our eyes are bigger than our stomachs”; sometimes we think we need the latest phone or the newest item that comes along even when we can’t afford it. The sad reality is that we all have given into so many temptations that we no longer consider them temptations. We no longer consider giving in to over-indulging as gluttony. We now say that we’re being truthful even when we’re giving into the sin of detraction and calumny. We are so saturated with sensual images and innuendos in media that we no longer consider impure thoughts and actions as sin of lust. Have we at times dressed up our sinful behaviors as something good that God would want for us? It’s time for us to form our conscience through the Word of God and the teachings of the Church in order for us to be the person God created us to be. Make no mistake; God is only desiring that which is good for us. He created us out of love, and we are made to love--to love the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.
We will never be free of trials and temptations as long as our earthly life lasts. Therefore, we should always be on our guard against temptations, always praying that our enemy, the devil, who never sleeps but constantly looks for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8), will not catch us off guard. … [In times of temptation] wait for the Lord, act bravely, and have courage. Do not lose trust. Do not turn back but devote your body and soul constantly to God's glory. I will reward you most plentifully. I will be with you in every tribulation.
Posted on 03/7/2019 02:14 AM (Homilies of Father Paul Yi)
After 10 years, you would think that if something repeats every year, you would catch on to the pattern. But I just realized this year that the Ash Wednesday scripture readings are the same every year! How’s that for a slow learner! The scriptures from this day which marks the beginning of Lent, urge us to reflect and change the habits that drive a wedge between us and God. We come humbly as children of God--white, black, Asian, Latinos, the poor, the rich, the good, and the bad --to put ashes on our forehead to remind us that we all share a common destination: death and eternal life.
I have not forgotten the funeral I did 10 years ago when a family member handed me their loved one’s cremated remains in a Ziploc bag. It was a stark reminder of the Book of Genesis where God tells Adam after the Fall, “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dust, and to dust, you shall return. (Genesis 3:19) What a wake-up call for all of us that even though we work so hard to become somebody while we are alive, in the end, we become a handful of dust.
The ashes placed on our forehead in the form of the cross remind us that every moment of our lives must conform to the cross where we die to self and live for Christ. “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” Our Lord said to Heavenly Father on the Cross. This must be our motto for our earthly lives. Jesus taught us to repent, get our lives centered on God, our priorities straight, and cleanse our hearts. As Lent commences, let us ask Jesus for the grace to recommit to our baptismal vows and say to the Father, “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”