For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ

Fanciful stories and romantic notions. This day is a bit about that. Fanciful stories and romantic notions. It comes from the idea that we, and I want to emphasize we have to do something with our Blessed Mother. 

Indeed, we owe Mary a debt of gratitude for her fiat, her acceptance of God’s will for her, that she be the mother of His Son Jesus. We owe her a debt of gratitude for the ministry she performed, both throughout her Son’s life, and in the early Church. She left us an example of dedication and service that we should all be following.

At the same time, there is no gospel of Mary. Rather, Mary lived the gospel path her son laid out for all of us. As a faithful follower of her Son, by her yes to God and her service, she showed us that we too can follow Jesus’ gospel path. Mary did not propose alternatives.

What Mary did say we read in today’s gospel: “From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” The entire Magnificat concerns what God has done and is doing. Mary is the vessel through which God would accomplish the works Mary praises. Accordingly, she deserves honor, respect, and the title blessed. Blessed is she among women because the fruit of her womb is the Blessed One.

So, what must we do with Mary? If we hold Mary in esteem, as we should, we honor her rightly. We must not ascribe to fanciful stories and romantic notions. We do not make her ‘appear’ over trees, in the hills, and on mountain sides sharing ‘special messages.’ We do not remove her humanity. We do not rush her resurrection from the dead. We follow the gospel path her Son Jesus laid out for us. We trust His words alone. We follow His teachings exclusively. We honor and esteem Mary. We seek her intercession.  We entrust ourselves to the power of her prayer before the Throne of God.

Bottom line is that we need not ‘do’ anything with the path of Mary’s life and death. We need not impose our fanciful stories and romantic notions on Mary. We need only trust that if we too follow Jesus like she did then we, like she, will be brought to life at Christ’s coming.

Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Abide is a great word. It is a word with depth to it. We might think of similar words like remain or stay, but abide, that’s deeper. St. John writes about the meaning of abide in that deeper sense. It is not about just hanging out. Having invited folks to come over we might even invite them to stay or remain, but rarely do we ask people to abide with us – to stay forever. You see, stay and remain are time constrained words. Abide implies permanence, to persist, continue, and last. In abiding we go on without ending. To abide means we are in a stable and fixed state of relationship. In the phrase “abide in Me,” (John 15:4) which is May 2nd’s gospel, Jesus asks us, His followers, to stay constant in our relationship with Him, to live with Him in His gospel way forever. To abide, to stay forever in relationship with Jesus, is at the heart of the Christian journey. Our abiding with Him means we are incorporated into His Body and that we have accepted the responsibility of living out the gospel walk. We have received the gospel, God’s very word. Receipt of the gospel means more than just having a bible on the shelf, for if we have come to Christ by faith and have given Him our lives, then He has invited us to abide – in all that word means and implies. In this month of May, as Spring blooms about us, it is opportune to ask ourselves – where do I abide? Do I walk in Christ’s gospel way? Those who abide are changed outwardly and inwardly. The daily cares of the world continue, but impact us far less. In the Church of Hebrews and in Acts, people lost everything, homes, possessions, freedom – yet they counted it as nothing because they did not abide in the world. They knew where their home was, where the promise was. So they lived as citizens of heaven and as people freed from anything that might have constrained them, particularly the cares of the world. Let us who abide in Jesus then walk His way, free in His promise forever.

May and our Easter journey abiding in the True Vine continues. We also honor our Blessed Mother Mary, relying on her intercession for us as we continue moving forward.

This month’s newsletter is jammed packed with information. Summer activities, including the Annual Men’s Retreat and the Kurs Encampment are on. Learn about and get in on Great Centennial Raffle. We reflect on all the joys we experienced in April as we continue in Easter joy. We honor Mary in a special way this month as we also honor all our moms. We celebrate on Ascension Thursday as we look forward in hope to our risen life in the eternal kingdom. We have special gifts for you from the Annual Mission and Evangelism Workshop, “Discovering the PNCC.” We reflect on the discipleship example of Bl. Joseph Padewski. And… we look forward to the renovation of our church interior. That and so much more…

Check out all this and more here in our May 2021 Newsletter.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”

I am hungry.

We previously considered so much to be a part of normal routine. Much of it now fades away, and rightly so. There are certainly things in normal routine that we have learned are not all that important. We have reprioritized our cares. For each of us, church may have been another ordinary routine. Now we cannot gather as we did. We, even the servers and musicians present with me, cannot receive at the table. The Fast of Lent has carried forward, for we are deprived of the Bread of Life, the Cup of Salvation. This is a hunger pain beyond comprehension. It hurts! Jesus pointed out that the hungry would be satisfied, that those of us who really get it and weep now (you know I am emotional, but now I tend to cry at the slightest thing), will laugh. The sacrifice carries on. The mystical union is not ended, it will not end. The bread is prepared. Feel the hunger and cry now in prayer knowing that we will be satisfied and laugh. He promised!

May is here. The world is different. Our newsletter contains helpful hints for remote participation in parish activities and words of hope and encouragement so needed. In May we honor the Blessed Virgin, our moms, continue our celebration of Easter, honor the members of our parish from the former Good Shepherd parish and receive a special gift from Holy Spirit parish. We look forward with hope and continue to be the faithful church both at home and together. Check out our plans for Memorial Day as well.

Read about all it in our May 2020 Newsletter.

Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”

Mary spoke seven times as recorded by scripture. While I am sure she spoke more than that, that is all that is recorded. In those seven moments (depending on the Bible translation), Mary spoke a grand total of 189 words. Of the 189 words, 180 were spoken before Jesus was born and through His childhood. Only 9 were spoken when He was an adult, and only as a precursor to His launching His ministry. We tend to place a lot of emphasis on words, and perhaps not enough on action. However, the action is where it is at. That’s where we want to be, taking part in what’s happening. The Magnificat – a fancy way of saying Mary’s Prayer – gives us an example of one who really wants to be part of the action. Mary is proclaiming how her very being, her soul and spirit, are intent on magnifying and rejoicing in the Lord. She is throwing her whole self into God’s way of living, God’s way of being, God’s way of changing everything. She saying – I just don’t want to be part of that, I am fully in, onboard. Throughout the rest of scripture, we occasionally meet Mary. She is there as her Son ministers, she is along the Way of the Cross, at the foot of the Cross, a witness to His burial, and with the disciples on Pentecost. She made herself all-in. She did this by her service, by her willingness to follow, by her letting her Son’s precious words and actions shine forth. As we enter the month of May, Mary’s month, recall that the Holy Church sets her example forth not as some long ago tale, as some stale devotion, or as words for the sake of words, but so we may live her engagement as a disciple. Mary did not sit back and let words come before her action of magnifying and rejoicing in the Lord. This May, as we mow, tend to new blooming gardens, and honor mom, let us redouble our action and engagement, placing our whole selves into Jesus work, like Mary.

Join us in May for the fullness of the Easter Season, great national and local events now and throughout the summer, special thanks, and lots of great fellowship right here in Schenectady.

Read more in our May 2019 Newsletter.

Even now
I trust.

Martha went to meet Him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

As we enter Passiontide we continue our focus on conviction and the kind of faith that shows we have not just accepted conviction but have been changed to people of deep faith.

Remember Jesus’ earlier encounter with Martha and Mary. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to Him teaching, filled with faith. Martha was busy in the kitchen and was annoyed – her sister wasn’t helping. Martha complained to Jesus and Jesus told her straight out that Mary had chosen the better part. Mary saw the opportunity of God’s presence while Martha was convicted for busing herself with less important things.

Now Martha’s brother is dead. He’s been placed in the tomb and the tomb is sealed. They had sent word to Jesus while he was still alive, but He didn’t show up. Now Jesus is approaching.
The woman who busied herself in the kitchen, who missed Jesus’ teachings, who chose the lesser part, comes running out …but Mary sat in the house. What happened?

What happened is that Martha got something deeper from that earlier encounter and conviction. She received a gift of faith so deep and powerful that not even death could diminish it. Not death, not disappointment, nothing!

In running out to Jesus and in speaking with Him Martha proclaims the depth of that faith gift. Listen carefully: “Lord, even now I know…”

Even now… Despite, nevertheless, notwithstanding. No matter what has happened, even now I know You are Lord.

The key is that Martha recognized there was nothing more powerful than God. Faith demanded that she lay aside all mistrust. While Mary listened to Jesus, what did she take away from that listening? Was her trust increased? How was her faith at her brother’s tomb?

Martha believed Jesus could have healed her brother – same as Mary. Yet her faith differed. She exercised a much more powerful ‘even now’ faith. She saw more deeply because she knew Jesus could see her heart. She trusted Jesus completely because He revealed what her true concern should be – not in the kitchen, but in faith. She accepted the gift and made faith active.

If we look closely, Martha did not think Jesus would raise her brother. She knew he was dead She even told Jesus – look, he’s dead, he’s rotting already. And that is the power of her even now faith. She is our example. Everything hasn’t worked out, yet even now I trust in You, Lord.

May is here and our thoughts turn to Mary and Mom. They are not mythological creatures or goddesses – but rather true witnesses to commitment and dedication. Let’s pray together and ask Mary’s intercession for our moms while reflecting on what their commitment and dedication say to us.

Our newsletter arrives as warmer days have finally arrived in New York’s Capital District. Get out there, tend to the garden and do not forget about God’s garden – help your spiritual life grow too. Our schedule is jam packed with great events – please join us. We have added a new monthly Holy Mass and Anointing for Healing. The first will be May 18th at 6:15pm. Read more and reflect on what it means to be PNCC, get updates on Church-wide events for this year of regeneration, and check out the summer schedule.

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

Mothers by Martin Creed

Solemnity of the Dormition

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Dormition. According to Holy Tradition Mary spent her life after Pentecost supporting and serving the Church, and lived in the house of the Apostle John in Jerusalem. The Archangel Gabriel had revealed to her that her repose would occur in three days. The apostles, scattered throughout the world were miraculously transported to be at her side when she died. Mary was buried in Gethsemane, according to her request. After three day, the Apostles visiting her grave found her body was gone, leaving a sweet fragrance. An apparition is said to have confirmed that Christ had taken her body to heaven after three days to be reunited with her soul.

The key is that we honor and love Mary for her faith example. Like her, we are to live after our Pentecost, after our regeneration, supporting and serving the community of faith, the Holy Church. Following her example of humility, faith, and service, we live as children of the Father and the body of Christ, never making ourselves more than or greater than her Son.

May Devotions and Mother’s Day

May is the Month for Devotions to our Blessed Mother Mary. We keep this tradition in our parish in honoring the Virgin Mother for her dedication and sacrifice of life to become the Theotokos, the Godbearer, for us.

These devotions will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 5th, 12th, 19th, and close with a service on Wednesday, May 26th. All services will be at 7pm.

It is hoped that these evenings in the month will be kept open so as to come and give thanks for Mary being our Blessed Mother, the example of purity of life, and to take time to celebrate her inspiration.

“Pray for us, O Holy Mother of
God, that we may be worthy of the
Promises of Christ!”

On Mothers’ Day we will begin our prayer with the “crowning of Mary” and dedicate our prayers to those mothers who are with us and those who have been called to eternal life. A light breakfast is scheduled to honor our moms on this Sunday.