Reflection for Quinquagesima Sunday 2014

Matthew-6-26

Lord, can I trust
in You, even if?

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.

There are two key things to consider when we reflect on God’s care for us. How far God’s love surpasses any human love and how far our commitment must go in response to His love.

Even the worst of prisoners, people who have done horrible things, still get visits from their mothers even after long years in prison. When other friends and family have given up and dropped away mom is still there.

As a child and even a young man, when I heard “Can a mother forget her infant,” I couldn’t imagine a mother ever forgetting her child or acting without love toward him or her. I felt that even if I did the worst of things my mom would still be there for me. She was, through many of my indiscretions. Looking back though I know I was immature, for look at the evils we have seen mothers commit. Most aren’t new, some are. Yet we still stand aghast at the evils some mothers do.

This makes God’s reassurance even more powerful. His love and care for us surpasses all human love, even the love of a mother for her child. Mom loved me and forgave me, yet even if she didn’t, God does.

God’s love is perfect and He wishes only to give that love to us, to care for us, to keep us in His care not just today – but forever. That is our true hope – an eternity of perfect, all encompassing, love in God’s presence.

The past three Sundays we have heard readings from Matthew 5. Now we are in chapter 6; still part of the Sermon on the Mount and still addressing similar issues: the life style of a disciple who, belonging to Christ, must live in the present while anticipating the fullness of the kingdom of God.

Over these weeks we learned about relying on Jesus as well as our family in faith. We learned to live maturely in the mystery of love. We learned that our every action, thought, and response, every routine, must be one with God’s way – making God’s perfection apparent in every part of our lives. Now we focus on how a disciple is to trust in the Lord. We learn to look forward with trust, beyond the needs of today, with full faith and trust in God.

This is a time of high worry about jobs, financial security, and how we might fulfill our ordinary needs. We still must work to provide for what is needed for our families and ourselves. This is normal. But Jesus is warning about a preoccupying or consuming worry that makes us less concerned about our eternal salvation and the promise of unending life just so we can have a better today. Our total commitment must be for Him and His perfect love.


Reflection for Sexagesima Sunday

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How can I even
consider these things?

But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles.

Prime Bishop Anthony, writing in God’s Field, discusses the Pre-Lenten season. He says:

“If we examine the Gospel of these three Pre-Lenten Sundays we will see that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is asking us to search beyond the normal rules of right and wrong. He asks us to go beyond even our actions to examine our motivations.”

He goes on to say:

“During the Pre-Lenten season the Church calls us to consider these words of our Lord and through them to examine our lives and our motivation. And especially we are called to take a deeper and deeper look into all things that we do as Christians and as members of Christ’ s Church. We must measure ourselves, not only by a few commandments, but on the whole Gospel of love, which has been given to us by Jesus Christ.”

Over these Sunday’s we are asked the impossible. We are challenged at the deepest possible level. Why do we do what we do?

Often times we live off instinct. It could be as simple as driving to work, to the store, or to church. We go on autopilot. The lights, the traffic, the streets, even the potholes are known to us. Sometimes we arrive and we don’t even remember how we got there.

This can happen in other areas of our life, even in prayer and charity. In prayer we recite the words. In charity we put the same amount in the envelope. Jesus is calling us to do something far more serious – to live beyond rote and instinct.

Author Jodi Picoult in her book Mercy says: “If God wanted us to act on instinct, we wouldn’t have the power of reason.”

This Pre-Lent we are called to live consciously. It is not just consideration of the words we pray or how often we pray – but asking ourselves – Why do I pray? It is not just thoughts of how often or how much I give – But why do I give at all? Jesus is giving us a deep and serious challenge. Are we “perfect, just as our heavenly Father is perfect?

Every moment of our lives is to be carried out with consideration. If instinct tells us to do the usual and respond to evils in the usual way, stop and do the unusual: consider whether our reaction, our habits, reflect life in Christ. Every action, thought, and response, every routine, must be one with God’s way. We must consider, think and act to make God’s perfection apparent in every part of our lives.


February 2014 issue of God’s Field now available

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The latest issue of God’s Field is now available online

Reflect on preparing for the Lenten period of preparation, get involved by volunteering for national commissions, check out news from the ecumenical community, and read about the life and work of our parishes and people.

Articles for the March issue are being accepted now through March 1, 2014. You may E-mail items and photos or send them to:

God’s Field
Polish National Catholic Church
1006 Pittston Avenue
Scranton, PA 18505


Reflection for Septuagesima Sunday 2014

spiritual maturity

How mature
am I?

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

St. Paul is telling us that we are the mature followers of Jesus. We are ready to receive the wisdom of God. This is not wisdom as the world or today’s rulers perceive wisdom, but something the immature cannot perceive.

Later Paul recounts that he began addressing us: as babes in Christ. He fed us with milk, not solid food; for we were not ready for it.

We must reflect on our spiritual maturity. Do we still need milk, to be spoon fed, or are we ready for solid food?

We begin at baptism, and our parents and the Holy Church worked diligently to raise us up in the knowledge of God’s mysteries. They worked to bring us from milk to solid food, but can we take that solid food?

This secret and mystery of God is not hocus-pocus. Rather it is the teaching of Jesus who shared with us every secret and mystery of His Heavenly Father. He recounts many of these mysteries in today’s Gospel. Do not hate, don’t even consider it. Reconcile with your enemies. Do not curse or criticize anyone. Do not lust for anything or for any reason. Don’t even consider it. Respect the human dignity of every person. Do not bear grudges against your spouse, but put your spouse first. Value the dignity and sacredness of your relationship.

In all these things – which are mysteries to the worldly – keep the commandments. Do not keep them as merely a law or a requirement, but keep them in a mature way – with love at the center: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is the great mystery. It is the mystery of loving fully and completely as Christians. It is our ability to accept and digest this solid food of love, to be mature followers of Jesus.

When we were immature we had to learn this slowly. We learned in the context of family and we learned in Church. Now we must assess whether we have matured; whether we are eating the solid food of God’s love daily. If we are mature we live the mystery and secret of love at all times and in every circumstance. If we eat the solid food of love we will love even when the world says it is ok not to. Eating this solid food of love we will live forever.


Reflection for Quinquagesima Sunday

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What are you living for?
For forever!

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

We are about to embark on our Lenten journey. In 4 days, we come to church to have ashes imposed on our foreheads in an act of desire – desire for repentance, change, and victory. These desires puts us on the side of Jesus so that we live in accordance with His way and in faith that His promised victory will be fulfilled for us.

Many people don’t get it. They might ask us why we take on ashes. What’s the point of our desire? Aren’t we generally good enough, victorious enough already?

If we are honest with ourselves and with them, we state a faith in Jesus and a victory beyond the here and now. We admit that Jesus is our life; that we have complete faith in Him and in His victory. We admit that the ashes symbolize our shortcomings in not living Jesus’ way of life. We state that we want to make our lives like His. Our ashes symbolize a fact and a desire – We want to fix our lives so we live as Jesus asked us to live. Then we will find eternal happiness and victory.

If we lived only by our own desires and practices our lives would be empty. We would always be chasing after perfection in what we want, but never find what we need. We know, in the end, that our ways, our desires, our wants and needs are ultimately unfulfilling. They offer no hope beyond today (and not that much).

By aligning ourselves with Jesus’ way, in striving to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord we conform our lives – we focus on living the right way. Living Jesus’ way brings us to eternal life which is God’s offer and promise of victory. Jesus’ victory helps us along the way and brings us to perfection even when we fall short. His love covers our failures giving victory.

In taking on ashes, in working through the season ahead, we implore God’s help to get back on track. We ask Him to help us in living for what is greater and more powerful than any temporary desire; better than anything the world can offer. We place our trust in His mercy that overcomes all weakness.

What can the world offer? The world offers more work, rules, temporary solutions, and a day’s wage. Are they enough? Where will they lead? Nowhere! With faith, and a re-commitment to Jesus we live for glory. All else will fade except happiness forever – our complete victory in Jesus.


Reflection for Sexagesima Sunday

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But he hit me!!!!
You’re older. You can take it.

“But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.”

Don’t you just hate it when justice isn’t done, when someone wrongs you and they don’t get what’s coming to them?

In the words above we may find a childhood memory. The young people here may recall saying and hearing the same thing recently. Dad or mom step in and tell us to act our age, take it. There might be some discipline involved, but it is never really satisfying to us. Once someone has hurt or wronged us they cannot take it back. They cannot put the genie back in the bottle or the toothpaste back in the tube.

This is the problem of sin.

Holy Scripture describes sin as the breaking, or transgression, of God’s law (1 John 3:4). It is also defined as disobedience or rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7), as well as independence from God. The original translation of “sin” is “to miss the mark” of God’s holy standard of righteousness.

If someone hates us, curses us, acts as an enemy, abuses us, hits us, or takes our stuff our natural reaction, based on our tendency to sin, is to do the same. Hit back, take their stuff, punish them, and wage war. Doing all that perpetuates sin.

Think of it this way, if someone passes me in their car, cuts me off, honks at me, and is otherwise rude and annoying, what do I feel like doing? My broken self calls out to do the same to them, or even to others. I might be so perturbed that later that day I let a door slam in someone’s face, I fail to hold the elevator, or I give someone a dirty look. What do they do? More of the same! On and on, sin perpetuating the next sin.

Jesus’s instructions break that cycle. They call us to live holy and righteous lives without sin. We live as light in the face of darkness, responding differently.

Jesus is telling us to act our age. He considers us to be the older children of His body. As such we need to act maturely in the face of sin. When the rude driver cuts us off, we need to say a prayer for them and do additional acts of kindness. In doing so we have followed Jesus’ instructions. In doing this we trust in God’s justice. We can’t put others toothpaste back in the tube, but we can make sure ours doesn’t get out. Doing that, we are on the mark, hitting God’s holy standard of righteousness.


February 2013 Newsletter

It is February 1st and lo and behold – a newsletter is here on-time! Our February 2013 newsletter and calendar is complete and now available. Tons of events, Soup on Sunday, everything you’d ever want to know for your Lenten journey, and a few surprises too. You may view and download a copy right from this website.

February 2013 Newsletter.

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Reflection for Septuagesima and Music Scholarship Sunday

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How can I know you’re happy?
I’m singing to God.

Make a joyful shout to God all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious – Psalm 66:1,2.

Our Holy Church places a right emphasis on the place of music in worship. In the ancient Church, the Bishop as minister of the Eucharist sung the words of the Eucharistic prayer, raising people’s minds to the beauty and glory of God.

Our worship transcends time. Heaven will always resound with worship. When we complete our life on earth, we will have eternal careers as worshippers praising Him around His throne.

Our days in the community of faith – the Church – are to be spent in preparation for this eternal career through worship.

Jesus said: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.

Therefore, we encourage each other to worship and take this opportunity to stress the importance of worship through song. We further encourage study by our youth and adults through scholarships so that their talents might add to our worship.

Worship through music provides the body of Christ in the Church, and here in our parish, with an opportunity to engage in heartfelt and meaningful praise of the Triune God. The style of our worship songs varies, but through each we offer to God our praise and adoration in singing, choral music, ensembles, and special presentations.

Worshipping through song glorifies God, edifies the body, prepares our hearts for hearing the Word preached, and is our response to teaching. St. Paul told the people of Colossae, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

It is the Church’s goal that worship in song be a vital part of each believer’s life, allowing God to mold our attitudes and actions as we give voice to the “new song” He has placed in our hearts (Psalm 96:1).

The ministry of music plays a very important role in our worship. It expresses our joy in a special way and is a unique and vital aspect of our worship.

Our heavenly Father expects absolutely everything we do to be an act of worship. The purpose of worship in music is to bring Him glory by rehearsing His character through song. What better way to show Him, and each other, the joy we have in Christ.


Reflection for Quinquagesima Sunday

Swim away!
Maybe it would be better if…

“Child, your sins are forgiven.”

Fishing is a two-way relationship. It involves work, struggle, and tension. It also involves pain and trauma for the fish.

When a fisherman hooks a fish, which of them is really in charge? Most think the fisherman. He has the brains, the tools, and the power to overcome and land his catch.

Every fisherman knows that for every fish caught, many more get away. Some snap lines that trail behind them as they swim away. Others tear the hook out in the struggle, and swim away wounded.

Yet some fish figure out a simpler, braver path. Rather than pull, dash, or thrash, they swim toward shore, and approach the fisherman. When fish do so, you’re bound to see a frantic person reeling like crazy shouting “No, no, no—not towards me!” But if the fish persists, the line goes slack, and the hook comes out with a flick of its head.

In cases where fish swim toward their enemy, they often gain freedom from pain, and leave dragging nothing behind them.

Today, God asks us to consider His forgiveness and the way we forgive each other.

Like the fish and fisherman, we are in relationships with each other. At times those relationships can be marked by struggle, tension, and pain.

When we choose, as a result of hurt (those hooks that stab at us) to fight and flee, we end up either dragging the memories of those hurts behind us, or we end up deeply wounded.

God asks us to be the smart fish, to swim towards those who have hurt us. As we do, we free ourselves from the barbs that hurt us and we are free.

The pain doesn’t go away easily, and true reconciliation and the rebuilding of relationships is a much longer process, but it has to start with our going toward those who hurt us. There we offer our forgiveness.

When we hurt God through sin, we will always find Him swimming toward us, with complete forgiveness. As we enter Lent, let us resolve to do the same with each other.


Reflection for Septuagesima Sunday

Couldn’t I just sleep in a little?
Nope! Let’s get up and go.

“And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed.”

Jesus was hard at work. He fasted in the dessert for 40 days, underwent temptation, walked along the Sea of Galilee gathering His disciples, went to Caper’na-um where He preached and healed, went directly to Peter’s home where He cured Peter’s mother-in-law, took care of the crowds that came. Scripture tells us that: the whole city was gathered together about the door.

It would make sense for Jesus to want to sleep in a little, to seek some respite and refreshment.

Instead, Jesus got up before sunrise and went off to pray. This wasn’t casual prayer either, ‘Hi Father, how are You?’ This was intense prayer in which Jesus sought out the Father’s will. In that time of prayer He listened for direction and engaged in an active dialog with His Father.

None of this is to say that Jesus wasn’t weary. Of course He was. His humanity was screaming at Him, rest, rest, rest.

What did Jesus receive in prayer? First, He received the rest and refreshment He needed. Those who spend time in prayer find that they have more time in their day, a more rested mind and body, and have the ability to accomplish more. This isn’t just getting the dishes and the common work done, but more-so getting the work of God done.

When we are resolved to pray, to rest in God, and follow His commission, we are able to change the world.

St. Paul tells us that he received a commission – to preach the Gospel. Paul saw this as not just a commission, an obligation, but as a duty and a reward in and of itself. Paul chose not to take the things he was entitled to, including rest and recompense, and instead became a slave to all so that God’s work would be accomplished. Paul knew that those who accepted God’s word would be saved, and for this he set aside what he was due, even a moment to sleep in, so that he could pray and spread the Gospel of Jesus.