We do have a

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, ” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

We have a bit of a problem as Christians.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is before Pilate. Jesus stands His ground and tells Pilate about His kingdom. He tells Pilate the purpose of His coming – “to testify to the truth.

Our “bit of a problem” is that when we describe Jesus as our King we often times, both in words and visually, describe Him as a humble King. His head is bowed, He looks meek and frankly – weak.

This image can be compounded further because our Church has a democratic tradition in its management. We also live in a democratic society and take our liberties seriously. We tend to prefer our King to be meek and weak.

To help us fully appreciate the Kingship of Jesus – His formal and official Office as our King – the Holy Church gives us this Solemnity. We need to take this opportunity to fix our perspective, to adjust our vision to see Jesus as the One who has absolute authority to rule and reign over us. The Magi and Pilate called Him King. Jesus comes to Jerusalem as the gentle and humble King riding on a donkey – a symbol of a king arriving in peace. In the days to come, with the arrival of the fullness of His Kingdom, He will come astride a white horse. The King astride a horse is a symbol of a king arriving in power to judge and wage war.

The “Kingdom of God” is noted at least sixty-six times in the New Testament, most of the references are in the Gospels. Jesus proclaims: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come . . .

We should have no doubt, Jesus is our King and we owe Him total loyalty, obedience, worship, and adoration. While the time is here we need to greet Him as the King who came in peace to free us and accept His forgiveness and His Lordship. We need to receive Him in awe and reverence for LORD! We are not worthy. It is time for us to recognize that we need to give Him the Lordship and power over our lives – for “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!”

On Saturday, November 14th, we gathered as a Seniorate at Blessed Virgin Mary of Częstochowa Parish in Latham, New York for a Seniorate Thanksgiving Holy Mass and Luncheon. Thank you to all who attended this beautiful event of prayer and fellowship as we showed forth our thanksgiving for all the Lord has done in our life.

The on-time/early newsletter record goes on…

In November we offer up prayers for all of our dearly departed, those who have proceeded us in holy death. This process of praying in holy memory of our beloved must serve some purpose, correct? It is right to ask, what are we praying for? If everyone goes straight to heaven (as so many think today) there really is no purpose in praying for them. They certainly don’t need our prayers – we need their’s. If we are praying just to keep them in memory, we should pray for ourselves. If, however, our loved ones journey goes on, prayer for them is necessary. Read more about prayer for our departed in our newsletter. Remember, The Lord is patient toward us, and does not wish that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

November also brings Thanksgiving, a continuation of our Holy Masses for Healing and our Bible study, and lots of other news.

You may view and download a copy of our November 2015 Newsletter right here.

What if things aren’t
so great?

And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.

Today our Holy Church celebrates another of its unique Solemnities – that of the Christian Family. Many pastors will speak today about the unique and beautiful ideal that is the Christian family. This is certainly the model we should be pursuing. We have the example of the Holy Family as our model – Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

In the gospels we read of all the wonderful things that emerge from the blessings of family. Mary came to the assistance of her kinswoman Elizabeth when she was expecting. Joseph protected his family when Herod sent his army to kill them. John proclaimed the coming of His cousin, Jesus. This is certainly the kind of mutual support and overall family goodness we strive for, we hope to find in our lives. But what happens when things go wrong, when our lives don’t exactly match up to the ideal?

The Holy Family faced one of those moments. Jesus went missing. Things weren’t going according to plan. He couldn’t be found. He wasn’t with family and friends. Some Biblical scholars and historians estimate the festival crowds in Jerusalem at about 3 million people. A boy of twelve was somewhere among 3 million people… Scary stuff.

Our lives are filled with scary stuff. When those moments come – abuse, divorce, addiction, poverty, homelessness, infertility, infidelity, and so many other struggles – and we think about the Christian family – we feel that God must have turned His back on us. We are abandoned and alone. We can’t possibly live up to the ideal.

God didn’t abandon Mary and Joseph in their moment of fear. He didn’t abandon His Son in the midst of 3 million people. God has not and will not abandon us. Remember, we are worth so much that He offered up His Son’s life for us. When problems center down on us we have one stronghold we can rely on. It is one stronghold with two aspects. The first aspect is that the Father has adopted us all. We are brothers and sisters to Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit with us to strengthen and uphold us – God who gives us life and complete love. The other aspect of our Father’s provision is the Holy Church and each local parish. This is the Body of Christ in all its reality – brokenness striving to heavenly glory. Mutual love and support so that we may assist each other as one family when things aren’t great.

An on-time newsletter again. The record is unbroken…

Fall is here and we take a look at prayer. For whom and for what do we pray? Do we dare to pray big? We are encouraged to trust in God’s promises and to lay before Him more than our most immediate needs. We should be praying big – for all the saints, for the Church, and for the wealth of blessings God offers to His elect. Let’s trust in Him.

This month we will celebrate another one of our Holy Church’s great Solemnities – the Solemnity of the Christian Family. October also brings our Seasonal Craft Fair and Polish Food Kitchen, our Rummage Sale, a continuation of our Holy Masses for Healing and our Bible study, and many other events.

Also in our newsletter – congratulations to our young people who made their First Holy Communion.

You may view and download a copy of our October 2015 Newsletter right here.

Great gifts and

“Would that all the people of the LORD were prophets! Would that the LORD might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Today we celebrate a very special day in the life of our parish and the Holy Church. Two young people will receive from the Table of the Lord for the first time. Our readings and Gospel discuss the importance of receiving from the Lord.

God is so gracious to us and in His infinite graciousness He has set forth gifts and promises we can take hold of.

God saw that Moses needed help in leading the people. He asked Moses to assemble seventy worthy elders. God took some of the spirit that He had given to Moses and bestowed it on those elders. This was an incredible gift. God’s spirit of prophesy, leadership, and authority that He had given to Moses would now be shared with more people. These elders, including the ones who had not gone to the meeting tent, received God’s spirit. They immediately acted on it. They began prophesying in the camp. God shares His gifts with those He has chosen so they can do His work.

In our Gospel the apostles hear of people doing wondrous things in Jesus’ name. They got concerned and John came to Jesus saying: “we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”

Jesus knew that His gifts were for all who believed in Him. As such, we too are empowered with His gifts to do marvelous things.

Paul shows us that the opposite is true of those who place their trust and belief in the world – in power, money, and things… Those things will rot away and they will devour those who have put their trust in them. If we are misled we will have no real power. We will miss out on God’s gifts and promises. Imagine the greatest treasure we could possibly obtain and we walk by it to get a plastic replica.

Eden and Erickaa receive from the Table of the Lord for the first time. In doing so they accept the greatest gift a person could ever hold – a treasure not made of gold – a treasure made just for us. Jesus!

We have Jesus. The greatest gift ever. In receiving Him we hold within ourselves the fullness of His graciousness and promises. We are joined all together in His greatest gift.

His gift is His promise. We have true life, real life, great power, and a gift that will never fade or rot away – all in Him. We have life forever and His power. Let us live always as faithful and thankful receivers of His gifts and promises.

Seeking to be

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

After the lawyer gave Jesus the correct answer on the Law of Love Jesus was well pleased. Wouldn’t it be great to hear God say to us: “You have answered right?”

The lawyer goes on to ask Jesus: “And who is my neighbor?” The layer was seeking to justify himself – in other words to see if Jesus would say that his way of life was the correct path, that he had done rightly not just in words, but in his life.

It is easy to give Jesus the right words. We can do this every Sunday in prayer and worship. We can do it in talking to others. But words are not enough. The lawyer knew this much.

In the lawyer’s mind he thought he knew the answer – my neighbor is my people – the Israelites were his only neighbors – and he expected that Jesus would confirm his opinion.

Jesus goes into the great Parable of the Good Samaritan. The lawyer would have recognized his neighbors as the priest and the Levite, but something went wrong. They didn’t follow through on the Law of Love toward their fellow Israelite. They walked on. Then this non- Israelite did something amazing, he lived out the Law of Love.

Could the lawyer possibly be justified if he did not believe and act similarly? The lawyer could walk away thinking that Jesus was completely off base, but wouldn’t he have to wonder? Was he truly justified if he wouldn’t live and act as the Samaritan had acted?

We have two challenges. The first is to consider our instinct. How do we feel about the lawyer, the priest, and the Levite at a gut level? Of course we’re on the side of Jesus and the Samaritan – but what about them? They are easy to dislike. Maybe they are not quite enemies, but not our kind of people? The challenge is to see them with eyes, hearts, minds, strength, and soul as our brothers. We are to love them and forgive their failings as Jesus would.

The second challenge is to move beyond just saying words of love – to extend the totality of our love – a love with eyes, hearts, minds, strength, and soul – to everyone. Then we will truly be justified and live-forever hearing Jesus say – “You have answered right?”

Getting to

And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”— that is, “Be opened!” — And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

Tomorrow we celebrate Labor Day. Our Holy Church has a long history of support for the Labor movement. Our founders were in tune with the struggles faced by working men and women. They experienced the reality of exploitation by the powerful moneyed interests of our nation. Bishop Hodur spoke out for the respect that was due workers, for fair treatment, payment of proper wages, and a fair share of the profits they produced. He advocated for the same kind of democracy in industry that was part of our Church. All worked against selfish interest and for the collective good of the community.

It would be one thing to advocate for workers from self-interest as an ends, but we well know that advocacy for the rights of workers and for the community comes from and is centered in our love for Jesus’ way of life.

As we see in today’s gospel, Jesus’ healing takes physical form. He works to make the deaf hear and the mute speak. In John 9:5-7 we see Jesus again healing physically: “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam ” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.

St. Paul reminds us that we cannot forego justice toward the weak, the downtrodden, the worker. We are not to make distinction, but look to the collective good of all – because Jesus showed no partiality: show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?

Our faith in Jesus requires that we work faithfully for the collective good. We must be unafraid of working to renew the world – to help those deaf to faith to hear; to help those who fear proclamation to cry out; to open streams of the life giving waters to the entire world; and to show no partiality, treating all as equal before God.

An on-time newsletter once again. The record continues…

Summer is coming to an end and Fall is around the corner. We look to one of the greatest Feasts established by our Holy Church – the Solemnity of Brotherly Love. September brings the first ever national webinar on Brotherly Love (register here), a continuation of our Holy Masses for Healing, Back to Church Sunday, a new Bible study, and prayerful recollection of the 14th Anniversary of the Tragedy of 9/11, and many other events.

Also in our newsletter – congratulations to our young people who won music scholarships, the start of Sunday School classes, and a report on our summer activities. Get updates on Church-wide events for this year of regeneration and much more.

You may view and download a copy of our September 2015 Newsletter right here.