Bible Study for the 17th Week in Ordinary Time

  • 7/29 – Genesis 1:1-2 – Lord God, Your Spirit infuses water with the power to heal, refresh, renew, and regenerate us. Grant that I may see Your hand at work and Your Spirit alive in these waters and that I may find You touching me through them.
  • 7/30 – Genesis 7:17-19 – Lord God, drown me in the waters of Your love and infuse me with Your life.
  • 7/31 – Exodus 2:5-6,10 – Lord God, save me from floating away in despair. Draw me out of the way of the world and make a home for me in Your Holy Church.
  • 8/1 – Exodus 14:21-22 – Lord God, You used the waters of the sea to save Your people. Grant that my entry into Your life through the waters of baptism may not be a one time event, but the start on the road to salvation.
  • 8/2 – John 3:5 – Lord Jesus, lead all to the waters of baptism. Grant that I may continue to live the promises of my entry into Your Holy Church and that the power of the Holy Spirit may make me an example of love and service to all so they may find their home in You.
  • 8/3 – John 4:14 – Lord Jesus, give me this water. Grant that through my partaking of the waters of eternal life that flow from You I may be renewed to do Your will; follow Your way.
  • 8/4 – Revelation 22:1-2 – Heavenly Father, the rivers of life flow from You through Your Son to wash and renew us. This water brings me life to the fullest. Grant me full access to the river of life.

Pray the week: Lord God, thank You for using water to drown us in Your life.

Reflection for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is any kind of drowning good?
Only one, drowning in God.

“one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Today we once again get to experience the most remarkable and beautiful of events, a baby enters into the life of faith, is reborn, regenerated into the life of Christ, an abundant life.

In this most sacred of moments, Julia will be drowned in the waters of baptism, her old mortal self buried, and she will arise from the waters anew as a new person, a person of faith and dedication – a person who now enjoys the promise of eternal life. Julia becomes a member of the Holy Church, the community of faith. She becomes a warrior for Christ.

She will know, though the dedication and work of her parents and godparents, her grandparents, the words St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians – there is one faith, one baptism, one God and Father – who is now hers.

All this requires faithfulness. We certainly gain through the grace of baptism, but it is not enough. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We need to dedicate ourselves to learning His gospel message; we need to practice His way of life. This cannot happen at home alone, and cannot be carried out on a part time basis.

Everyone who has been baptized is required to commit to the school of faith – the Church. To learn the Word, to put into practice, not just what everyone thinks is a good life, but the true way that brings eternal life; Jesus’ way.

We have chosen – and we all have to choose – to take Jesus’ way of life seriously. Where is He in our life – God, the one Lord over and through all, in all – or just a nice philosopher who is dead?

Our drowning in Christ is serious stuff. If we live out our baptismal commitment, acknowledge our regeneration, we become truly new people, participants and heirs to a life that is eternal, committed members of the body of Christ.

Jesus fed thousands. They wanted to proclaim Him king – but not of their hearts, only of their stomachs. They were not willing to fix their eyes on Him in faith, to take up the commitment to drown in Him so that they would rise to a new life.

Julia enters into new life today through water. For her, for all of us who have committed, we know we have new life; we have Jesus’ promise to back it up. None of the false drowning’s will do the same – none can fulfill their alleged promises. The Lord will give Julia, and all of us, the promised reward for drowning in Him.

Bible Study for the 16th Week in Ordinary Time

  • 7/22 – Matthew 6:26 – Heavenly Father, I praise and thank you for Your constant care, for Your closeness, for counting me worthy of Your great love.
  • 7/23 – Revelation 3:20 – Lord Jesus, even when I sin You continue to pursue me, knocking at my door. Grant that I may never cease to invite You into my life.
  • 7/24 – 1 John 4:18 – Lord, thank You for loving me so, for teaching me Your way of love. With Your love I will fear nothing, I know I will live with You forever.
  • 7/25 – Jeremiah 31:3 – Lord, You came to break down all barriers, to remove all separation between us. Your faithfulness is forever. Grant that I may be faithful to You, to Your Gospel.
  • 7/26 – Psalm 139:1-5 – Lord God, You know us even better than we know ourselves. Grant me faithfulness to Your call, to the way You set before me.
  • 7/27 – Matthew 6:9 – Heavenly Father, You seek no separation from us. You are intimately involved in our lives. Thank You for being my Father.
  • 7/28 – John 15:13 – Lord Jesus, You loved me so much You died for me. In Your resurrection You opened heaven to me. Grant that I may never forget how much I mean to You.

Pray the week: Lord God, thank You for being ever close to us; for loving us and knowing us.

Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What were they looking at?
Unfortunately, only themselves.

“His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”

Tom Allen tells the story of a large bowl of Red Delicious apples, placed at the front end of the cafeteria line at Asbury College, a school that trains Christian leaders. The note attached read: “Take only one please, God is watching.” Well, some prankster attached a note to a tray of peanut butter cookies at the other end of the line. It read: “Take all you want. God is watching the apples!”

We laugh. Why? Because we know that God sees all things in all places, all at once. That is God’s self-revelation in scripture. He is Omnipotent, which means He is Almighty and all-powerful. God is Omnipresent meaning everywhere at all times. God is Omniscient, knows all things. Nothing can be hidden from Him.

Sometimes we forget these facts. We become like the leaders of the people in the time of Jeremiah. They stood there looking at themselves, taking care of their needs, and forgetting their responsibilities; the fact that they were to be representatives and models of God living among His people. They looked at themselves and forgot that God was right there, knew their hearts, and was looking at them.

Christians do forget that their Father knows everything equally and effortlessly. This truth often fails to be in the front of our hearts and minds, slipping out of our conscious thought.

Our culture has dethroned God, shrunk Him down to size so to speak, and has little or no time for His All-seeing, holy Presence. We live among people who can only think of ways to limit God’s claim on their lives, or justify their ignoring His call.

We need to focus our efforts starting with our lives. We need to put God ever in our hearts and minds. We need to recognize His presence in our lives. Remember that He knows all we think, feel and do.

Next, we are to do as Jesus did in today’s Gospel. We are to look beyond our needs to the needs of those around us. We are to respond, even when we have other plans, even when it is inconvenient. We are to be good shepherds leading people to God by our responsiveness, our words and actions. Know God’s presence, see it then act on it. Don’t be afraid because He is watching – rejoice to know He is with us in the way we love.

Bible Study for the 15th Week in Ordinary Time

  • 7/15 – Psalm 150:1-6 – Lord God, grant that we may praise You in all we do, in our every action, in our every thought. May our lives sing out Your praise.
  • 7/16 – Psalm 103:2 – Lord, may my soul never forget to bless and praise You. Keep me mindful of all You do for me.
  • 7/17 – Psalm 65:1-3 – Lord, I praise and worship You. You withhold nothing from me. You save me each day. I vow to live in Your way; grant that it be so.
  • 7/18 – Psalm 148 – Lord God, nature sings out Your praise. Grant that I may see Your hand everywhere singing Your glory in unison with all nature.
  • 7/19 – Psalm 21:13 – Lord God, You are mighty, all that exists belongs to You. Your miracles surround us. Grant that we may trust solely in Your strength.
  • 7/20 – Psalm 33:1-3 – Lord God, grant that through the guidance of Your Holy Spirit within Your Holy Church we may grow in righteousness, standing as one in praise of You.
  • 7/21 – Psalm 107:8-9 – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we yearn for life with You. You alone can satisfy our hearts. Grant that all humanity may recognize and praise You with one voice through my Christian faith.

Pray the week: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we praise You without end.

Reflection for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

How can I glorify You?
Sing my symphony of love!

“In him we were also chosen, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.”

A young man wrote: Why am I angry? This morning, I became angry after someone hurt me. I just realized that I had no place to go with my anger and so I kept it within although outwardly I appeared pleasant. This was a pattern of living that led to my burnout and depression of a few years ago. There is something here that the Lord wants to work on.

I was just reflecting on Ephesians and what struck me was the repetition of “to the praise of His glory.” I was chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven and given hope in Christ and the indwelling Spirit and the reason: It is all about Him– “to the praise of His glory.”

I realize that anger often results in me when I think and act like it is all about me. Lord, forgive me–how often my life is lived–not to the praise of Your glory but for my pleasure, comfort, insecurities, fears. I perceived that my rights were violated today and I became angry which only reveals that it was all about me at that point. Thank you God that there is ongoing redemption, forgiveness and hope in Christ. To the praise of His glory!!!

Today we learn of Amos’ journey to Bethel after God called him. When confronted, Amos told Amaziah who he was; a simple shepherd and a dresser of sycamores called by God. He didn’t react in anger. He didn’t quit and run back home. He stood his ground to praise and glorify God by doing God’s work.

Paul tells the Ephesians to concentrate on glorifying God because of the great riches of grace God has given us in Jesus.

Jesus sent out His disciples to deliver a message — that something wonderful had happened. God entered the world and salvation had come. Sins were to be forgiven. Healing was to take place. We have a home in God’s heart; a new song to sing.

This is the Divine symphony, a song of great love, of triumph, of security, release from sin, healing. Our job is to go out like Amos, like the Ephesians, like the disciples – because that is what we are.

We set forth from this house of worship, not with iPods or radios, but with the music of the Divine symphony within us.

So many need this music, this message – that God’s symphony is for them too. Stand like Amos and deliver. Go like the disciples and praise Him by our music – the word of God.

Bible Study for the 14th Week in Ordinary Time

  • 7/8 – Joshua 1:6-9 – Father, grant us not just the gift of boldness and courage, but that Your word may be the foundation of that boldness and courage, the source of all our successes.
  • 7/9 – Acts 4:29-31 – Lord Jesus, grant that the boldness given to us may not shrink before worldly challenges, but that we may persevere in proclaiming Your word.
  • 7/10 – Ephesians 6:10 – Lord Jesus, all power and might has been given You by the Father. Grant that we may be bold by our inclusion in Your body, the Holy Church.
  • 7/11 – 1 John 5:14-15 – Lord Jesus, grant that we may be bold in reliance and trust in Your hearing us; Your giving us all we need.
  • 7/12 – James 1:5-8 – Lord Jesus, heal our weakness of faith. Grant us the grace to live as Your saints and disciples in the world, standing strong and bold before all, completely trusting in You.
  • 7/13 – Hebrews 4:16 – Father, we are Your children, we draw close to You in our need, in our wants, in our sufferings. Sooth us with Your love. Grant us the boldness to be confident in Your love for us.
  • 7/14 – John 7:26 – Lord Jesus, You did not hide the Father’s word, but proclaimed it openly without fear. Grant us the faith and boldness to follow Your example. Help us to know that even death holds no fear for those who live in You.

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant us the gift of holy boldness so that all may know You.

Reflection for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Can you just stop about Him?

“…they shall know that a prophet has been among them.”

Mark Bocinsky writes to teens and discusses Holy Boldness. He says: Being bold is more than acting without thinking. Being bold is much more than being close-minded, pretending to be tough, and never backing down.

I want to be bold, but I want to live in holy boldness (Acts 4:13). The Apostles, after being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit were bold with the leaders, elders, and scribes as they preached the Gospel even when being told to shut up. “Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, [the leaders, elders and scribes] recognized them as companions of JESUS” There was something different about them. They didn’t seem like exceptional people, but the leaders knew, through their boldness, that they were companions of Jesus. Do people see how we are living and speaking and acting and know that we must be followers of Christ?

Now, so often in the past I have tried to imitate this boldness and fallen flat on my face. You see, in the past I have translated boldness as acting without thinking, and that certainly isn’t boldness: that’s stupidity. If our boldness isn’t united with love, then we’re just being rebels. We must have a reason for our boldness. If we are striving for holy boldness, than we must be united with Christ. The way to holiness is to remain in Him.

Being bold is taking that next step in speaking the truth. Holy boldness, combined with love while being rooted in Christ, will change the world.

Today we hear of Ezekiel’s calling, to go and be a prophet. We see Jesus scorned by the townsfolk He knew since childhood. They couldn’t recognize Him as prophet and Messiah.
Like Ezekiel, we are called to be bold prophets, to speak of God and His way to all we meet. In doing that we provide them with the opportunity to know Jesus. Like Jesus, we must go out and speak the way of life, the Gospel, boldly knowing that some will not accept us.

The key to holy boldness is to be faithful to Jesus’ way. Go out relying on His promises. Be bold and filled with love. In our love we show Jesus’ way and open the door to people’s understanding and acceptance of Him. If told to shut up, respond with the love of Jesus, because that’s the best and boldest way to be His prophets and change the world. Doing all this, they will know a prophet has come.

Thank God for freedom

Today we celebrate Independence Day. Let us pause to give thanks for the freedoms we have as citizens of the United States and as members of our Church. Let us pray that these freedoms remain and are protected in law, in spirit, and in the life of our Church.

Independence Day is a day that is special to the heart of every Polish National Catholic. Our parents, grandparents, as well as members of our parishes to this day, have come to the United States not just for economic opportunity but also to live within the spirit of freedom.

When our ancestors’ former Church continued to oppress their freedoms, treating them as obedient servants only, with their pastors and bishops as a sort of exclusive royalty, they struck back by organizing a true Church that upholds the Holy Catholic faith and operates as a free society.

In our Church, as in our country, every person has a voice and a vote. In our Church, women have voted and participated in its democratic traditions even before women had a right to vote in our country. In our Church the clergy are not an aloof, royal class, but co-workers with the laity. We are a Church of liberty, freedom, and equality.

Let us give thanks this Independence Day for our free country and our free Church.

Parishioners invited to a BBQ

The members of our parish have been invited to a BBQ sponsored by the YMSofR at Blessed Virgin Mary of Częstochowa PNC parish in Latham. The BBQ will be held this coming Sunday, July 8th starting around 11am.

This is a great opportunity to share in fellowship with members of the PNCC from across the Capital District and Mohawk Valley.

The BBQ will be held on the BVMC church grounds at 250 Old Maxwell Rd, Latham, NY. Food and refreshments will include smoked BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, and of course kielbasa.

Feel free to bring a salad or a side dish to share. Also, bring lawn chairs and if you wish lawn games, umbrellas (for the sun), bathing suits for the water slide, a big appetite, and your favorite music.