Mom’s construction
job.

For it says in Scripture: Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame. Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and A stone that will make people stumble, and a rock that will make them fall. They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny. You are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

So how can I possibly tie together the themes from this Sunday’s scripture with Mother’s Day?

In the gospel, Jesus is beginning His disciple’s preparation for His passion. The words of our gospel are then from the beginning of Jesus’ pre-Passion discourses meant to help envision a horizon that extends beyond Easter to life in the community of faith after Jesus is no longer visibly present with his followers.

The Acts narrative speaks of the appointment of the first deacons (a scripture that has always been very dear to my heart).

St. Peter reflects on scripture that seems to have more to do with God as builder. He talks about cornerstones and stumbling blocks and how the two are in One.

For some of us older folks, it is hard to imagine mom in a construction vest and hard hat laying down a line of mortar with a trowel. How would that beehive fit under the hard hat?
What we may have failed to perceive is that our moms were our first encounter with construction workers.

The good moms in our lives (this could have been a grandmother, aunt, other woman) did all they could to build us up into God’s solid people.

The key thing they did was to help us understand the place Jesus wants in our lives. He wants us to see Him as our cornerstone, He is the One we build upon, we develop from Him. With Him as our cornerstone, we do not stumble, we do not fall. He is our Rock – the stable place we can always go to.

The good women in our lives follow the model of Mary who points to Jesus, who holds Him out to us as our foundation. They don’t put themselves first, but rather the craftswomen who make us fully human – into buildings that will stand forever. Without their work, their building, we stumble and fall. Without them our destiny is one of limited potential, limited effect, people whose destiny is brokenness – like crumbling and decaying buildings soon to fall to the ground.

With our lives built on the true Cornerstone we are thankful for their craftsmanship.

Faith and
courage.

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: ‘Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me’

It is a pretty exclusive deal to belong to Jesus. It requires more than just showing up. It requires a leap of faith and active courage.

The leap of faith is to do what Thomas failed to do after Jesus rose from the dead. To say I believe in You Lord. I welcome you into my life. I am Yours first and foremost. I am sorry for the wrongs I have committed. I trust in You Lord.

Courage is required for that, and even more so to keep at it, to live it out in front of friends, family, and the rest of the world.

Jochebed was Moses’ mother. She was one of God’s chosen people and more importantly a godly woman who stood with God and or her faith with courage.

Jochebed lived in a totally hostile environment – a slave, under subjugation who was forced without mercy to do bitter work. In the face of that she did not allow herself to surrender to hopelessness.

We would think the last straw came when Pharaoh ordered the killing of all of Israel’s first-born male infants. For Jochebed, that included her son Moses. Resistance would mean her death or a life in prison at best. But as a godly woman she was determined to resist and counter the evil pressures of Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s government, and anyone who went along with Pharaoh’s plan. She refused to go with the flow. She refused to consider her own life, comfort, convenience or safety. She refused to bow.

Jochebed, fearing God more than man, made a decision that, though it put her in great jeopardy, proved to be the decision that saved her nation. By seeking to preserve Moses’ life she saved Israel’s future lawgiver and the leader of the Exodus. She gave Moses everything she could during those first few months and then gave him up when she couldn’t hide him anymore. Certainly, after placing him afloat in the Nile she figured she’d never see him again, but she entrusted her child’s life and hers’ into God’s hands. She acted in faith and with courage and received back more than what she gave.

It was a mother’s love, faith and courage that saved her child from a cruel death and preserved him to bless the world. All godly moms do that. They trust in God and leave a legacy of faith and courage so that the world will be blessed in us.

Let us remember the godly women in our lives and be thankful for their example of faith and courage. More than that, let us live up to that faith and courage, and Jesus’ prayer for us, by our very lives.

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Love as
God loved us.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

We are a busy Church today. As we observe the Sixth Sunday of Easter we also observe the 64th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Joseph Padewski and Mother’s Day.

It may seem to be a difficult challenge. We have to, as a Church, concentrate on Easter. That is our first duty, to proclaim Jesus’ salvation and the promise of His resurrection to the whole world. How do you mix that with the fact that members of the Church are sometimes called to suffer and even die to proclaim this message – something happening right now in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Then couple all that with honoring our Blessed Mother and our moms in a special way.

Certainly, each of these events can stand alone and with deep significance for the Christian faithful. Thankfully, our Lord has already showed us how all this is bound together: This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Jesus told us what we should do, but as opposed to false prophets and made up gods – He walked the walk. He laid down His life for all of us voluntarily. As St. John recounts Jesus saying: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.”

Bishop Padewski lived his vocation and followed in Jesus’ footsteps. He returned to Poland from Albany to serve God’s people in the devastation following World War II. He did not consider his own safety or comfort, but rather followed the commandment of love and walked into the horrors of the communist takeover of Poland. He was arrested, tortured, and killed for his love of God’s people and his faithfulness to Jesus.

The Blessed Virgin is the exemplar of love for Jesus. We not only honor her as our heavenly mother, but also as our example of love and dedication to her Son, Jesus. She sacrificed her heart and life for Him. So too our mothers, the first example of love in our lives. They laid down their lives in a great act of sacrificial love.

All of these themes, all of Christianity, is joined together by love – love of God and for each other – giving all we are for the truth of love.

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

Reflection for Good Shepherd Sunday 2014

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Recognize the right
Shepherd

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Jesus begins talking about sheep, shepherds, and gates with a scene from everyday life. In Jewish villages each family owned a couple of sheep for personal use. The animals stay at night in the courtyard of the family’s house. Families in the village agree as to who will shepherd their combined flock. In the morning this shepherd goes down the street to gather the sheep. The person at the door recognizes the shepherd and opens the gate for the sheep to pass through. The shepherd has a distinct call or whistle, which the sheep recognize and follow.

We too live as a single village, a family; the family of Jesus called the Holy Church. We are God’s single flock composed sheep gathered from the courtyards of various homes. The doorkeepers in our homes are our faithful parents, particularly our mothers who were our gatekeepers. They stood watch over the gate of the home. They recognized what was best for us, what was safest, what would lead us to salvation and life. So, they opened the doors of the their homes to the Good Shepherd. They took action to recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd, as the One who would shepherd their little flock, their children to salvation and life.

The One to Whom our mothers gave authorization, Jesus, enters into our lives in the proper fashion, through the gate. We recognize Him and He leads us to salvation and life while those without authorization, the false prophets, only have “the voice of strangers.” These forces of media, politics, celebrity, and peer group are not really powerful at all, but constantly try to draw us to ideas and aspirations that are contrary to those of our Shepherd. They want to lead us to separation, loneliness, fear, fading vanity, and death. They do not have the good of the sheep, our good, in mind but rather selfish ends of their own.

Our parents, our mothers who guard the fold, recognized the Good Shepherd. His entry into our lives was natural, out in the open, without forcing. Such has been Jesus’ entrance into this world and amongst his own people. He has come in the appropriate manner, having been sent by the Father to bring us life that is faithful, loving, dependable, and gentle.

What has been shown to us, taught to us, starting with our mothers, is the manner by which we recognize the Good Shepherd. In recognizing Him we find salvation and life.

May 2014 Newsletter – The Easter Season, Mom, and more…

It is May and our newsletter has arrived. It is filled with information on so many holy and exciting events as we continue to celebrate the fifty days of Easter. We start by visiting the upper room and study the witness of those who were there, including Mary, the mother of Jesus. We invite you to stand with your family in faith as we celebrate mom and worship together right here in Schenectady. You may view and download a copy right here — May 2014 Newsletter.

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Bible Study for the Seventh Week of Easter

  • 5/12 – Psalm 121:2 – Lord Jesus, I thank and praise You for my mother who led me to faith in You. May I ever live up to her example of reliance on You.
  • 5/13 – Isaiah 66:13 – Lord, thank you for the gift of my mother who comforted me throughout my life. Grant that I may recognize, by her example, Your comforting hand.
  • 5/14 – John 14:18 – Lord Jesus, grant me recognition of Your presence in my life, knowing that You are with me and that I am never alone or abandoned.
  • 5/15 – John 3:5 – Lord, I thank You for the gift of life and the life of faith given through my mother. Grant the fulness of life to all the unborn. Grant all parents the grace necessary to trust and to bring their children to new life through the waters of regeneration.
  • 5/16 – 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 – Lord, I thank you for the Holy Church, our devoted mother. Grant Your Church perseverance in caring for Her children and the wisdom to raise them up to orthodox faith in You.
  • 5/17 – 1 Timothy 5:14 – Lord, grant all women strength in faith, perseverance in the face of the world, and Your care in all they do.
  • 5/18 – Hebrews 13:5 – Lord, even when faced with abandonment and loneliness, grant me the strength of reliance in the fact that You never abandon me.

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, I thank and praise You for the my mother who led me to You and taught me Your ways.

Reflection for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Awesome Moms lead us to see Jesus

For I see…
What do you see?

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.”

Today, our readings and Gospel look at the present and the future.

As Stephen is about to die he looks up and sees Jesus at the right hand of the Father. He is heading toward Jesus, to His loving embrace. Stephen has Jesus with him in his suffering, and because of that forgives his murders. He is also joyful, even in the midst of the stoning, because He knows what the future holds. Stephen is in a moment so totally now, and in his (and our) future.

John is on the island of Patmos. Jesus is speaking with him once again in terms that can be read as very now, in the present, and for the future. Jesus tells John that He is the Alpha and the Omega – timeless. He also tells John: “Behold, I am coming soon.

We look at these statements and from them understand that Jesus is ever present, always with us and is also the ultimate goal, our promised future. John knows that Jesus is his present and future. To him Jesus is a joy, better than any other thing the world can offer.

Jesus is delivering His farewell address to His disciples just before the road that will lead Him to Calvary. He is reminding them that they are bound to Him by their knowledge and love, by their unity. They have the reality of God living with and in them, ever present, ever now. They also hear that they have a share in the future reality of God – the kingdom and paradise.

Like Stephen, like John, we need to listen to Jesus and rely on this reality – that He is with us in this moment, in the present, and is not just as a goal or someone we will meet in the future. Also, that we have a share in a wonderful future that surpasses any suffering or difficulty.

Our mothers have seen what Stephen and John saw. They brought us into the Holy Church so that we would see these things, so that we might listen to Jesus and understand a moment so totally now, and a vision for our future.

Because of their faith and the instruction they provided for us we were given an opportunity. When asked, ‘What do you see?’ how will we answer? If we took mom’s lessons to heart we can say: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” Saying that we can offer this vision to others. We can let them know about Jesus who is with us now and is our future.

Pray with and for mom this Sunday

What better way to start the day than to praise God for the blessings He has given us through the work and sacrifice of our mothers? Please join us in praying with and for mom this Sunday as we also seek the intercession of our heavenly mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, on her behalf. Join us too after Holy Mass for a free Mother’s Day breakfast.

A woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. – Proverbs 31:30-31

Thank God for Mom

Reflection for the Sixth Sunday of Easter and Mother’s Day

I can’t give you all the answers.
Some things you have to figure out for yourself.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

We have all likely had that experience with our mom. We have a question, or need an answer, and suddenly we are confronted with her challenge – that we figure it out for ourselves. That’s one attribute of a mother’s love. After spending years nurturing us, helping us, she recognizes that moment when we must attempt to fly on our own.

If our moms didn’t live by Jesus’ instruction on sacrificial love, they would hold on to us, think only of their needs, hobble us and keep us dependent. But here we are, strong, faith filled, independent adults who are strong enough to discern answers, to figure things out.

Of course mom stands by in the background, for if we were to reach out in genuine need, perhaps for a kind, reassuring, and loving word, she would be ready to generously offer what we need.

As we face our tomorrows, even those dark and difficult tomorrows after we loose our moms to eternal life, we face them prepared because of her love.

We know mom has done her utmost, not to simply make us independent, strong, and faith filled but to give us the one gift that make our lives perfect.

In their love for us, our moms gave us the gift of eternal life in the joy of heaven. They did this by baptism, their prayer on our behalf, the instruction we need to know and love Jesus, and the way they modeled and encouraged life within His Holy Church. We saw her pray and worship, finding the calm and reassurance that she needed. She heard Jesus speaking directly to her – “No one has greater love than this…” This is the commitment she lived.

Now it is time for us to step up, to figure this one out for ourselves. This is what my mom means to me. This is what she did to make my life so very special.





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We love you mom!!!