This week’s memory verse: Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Hebrews 13:16
  • 9/25 – Proverbs 19:17
  • 9/26 – Acts 20:35
  • 9/27 – 2 Corinthians 9:7
  • 9/28 – 1 John 3:17
  • 9/29 – Luke 6:38
  • 9/30 – 1 Corinthians 13:13
  • 10/1 – 1 Timothy 1:5

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me a spirit of agape love and a realization of the Your call to that charity in all I do. Aid me in closing the chasms of my life by Your grace. Amen.

Where charity prevails.

between us and you a great chasm is established

Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of our Lord and fellowship in His Holy Name.

There are several things to consider today: The way we live our lives; The need for repentance i.e, change where necessary; and The reality of the Hell we build if we close or limit ourselves toward the other. All of this is summed up in the gospel as the “great chasm.”

Jesus uses the story of Lazarus and the rich man pointing to the necessity of living a life of love, for a life of love converts us fully, brings us most fully to the likeness of His Heavenly Father. This is the life we are called to, to be the model of God in the world exemplified in love.

Now, the confusing part is our perception of what love is. We mess ourselves up by quantifying and qualifying our love toward others.

The Greeks had it a bit easier for the word Agape means a love that is complete charity, total self-giving. This is the complete love Jesus speaks of and requires from His disciples. We are to live and practice, without quantifying, self-giving toward all we encounter. That powerful love, so often unseen and unexpected in our world, when shown, breaks down barriers and brings people into the Kingdom.

The rich man had none of that. Factually, his love was completely self-centered and could not even contemplate self-giving. He existed is a loveless great chasm, a place of emptiness, a hollow place. He made that chasm impenetrable, uncrossable, and a place of blindness toward anyone else. He never even saw or heard Lazarus under his window.

Could he have repented? Most certainly. The rich man could have opened his ears, eyes, and heart to Lazarus. He could have taken from himself and could have given, inviting Lazarus in to dine with him, not counting the cost. He could have offered his friendship to Lazarus and opened himself to him.

Yet, as we see in Jesus’ telling, the rich man could not even do that after death. There he was, in Hell, being tormented, crying out for pity – pity for himself. His self-centered life lived on into eternity, he remained in the chasm he built. Lazarus remained as nothing, just a potential water bearer and message carrier for the rich man’s needs. Not once does he look up to Abraham and Lazarus and beg forgiveness.

We must examine the places where we have built great chasms in our lives, where our love is less than the full giving Jesus requires. If there is a great chasm, let us work to close it. It is certainly not easy, it wasn’t easy for most of the Apostles and saints at first, but they got there. They closed the chasms of their lives and lived complete love as we must do.

This week’s memory verse: The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10:16
  • 9/18 – 1 Corinthians 11:26
  • 9/19 – Matthew 26:26-28
  • 9/20 – Acts 2:42
  • 9/21 – John 6:35
  • 9/22 – John 6:53-58
  • 9/23 – 1 Corinthians 11:28
  • 9/24 – John 17:21

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, I pray this week for Marianna and Karina, that Your overflowing hope may dwell in them as You now do. Grant that my hope may also be renewed and invigorated. Amen.

HOPE!

Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high and looks upon the heavens and the earth below? He raises up the lowly from the dust; he lifts up the poor to seat them with princes, with the princes of his own people.

Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of, and hope in, the Lord.

Thank you for joining for this celebration – a day in which the door to the reception of Jesus’ body and blood is opened to Karina and Marianna – a time in which the hope unity with Jesus offers – is made very real to them.

Thank you for joining us on this Back to Church Sunday, a moment in which we revitalize the hope we all have in Jesus.

The Church offers some tough readings and a difficult to understand gospel today. We may puzzle and wonder what that is all about. Recall, we read a gospel about a cheating steward who is getting fired and who then gets commended for more cheating.

Jesus was using a negative example to show that the businessmen of His day were more wise, bold, and forward-thinking in the management of what they had than the people of God were in managing what they had – their hope. Jesus calls on us to pursue the Kingdom of God and its hope with at least the same vigor and zeal that the worldly pursue their profits.

On special days like today we tend to look back at our first communion, our innocence, the joys of the day that perhaps we could not fully comprehend. When I made my first communion it was with a certain fear and trembling made more so by hair that had to be perfect, a back straight, kneeling stiff and straight through the whole Mass, and the thought drummed into my head of the power and glory I was entering into as Christ entered into me. I did not understand until much later the hope I now owned.

Today Karina and Marianna are surrounded by their closest family and friends and the entire family of the Holy Church worldwide. They are made one with all of us in the body and blood of Christ. Most importantly, they share in the hope we have. Know that as you are surrounded today in love, so in receiving Jesus you will always be filled and surrounded by Jesus’ loving presence

By the Eucharist we live in Jesus’ eternal presence. Our, and your hope is in the assurance of Jesus fully present and real to us. We look steadfastly at Jesus and understand inside and out that living in Him gives us forever hope – a confidence that nothing can get in the way; nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus fully in and surrounding us.

Karina, Marianna, all of us receiving Jesus grow here and now in wisdom, boldness, vigor, and zeal for the Kingdom. In receiving Him we are lifted to heaven, seated with the hope filled royalty of the Kingdom.

This week’s memory verse: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17
  • 9/11 – Romans 12:2
  • 9/12 – Revelation 21:1-4
  • 9/13 – 1 John 3:9
  • 9/14 – 1 Peter 1:23
  • 9/15 – Ephesians 2:8-9
  • 9/16 – Colossians 3:10
  • 9/17 – Romans 8:21

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, Thank You for making me Your new creation, a member of Your body. Grant that I may shine forth love toward all in the model You gave me. Free me from anything that blocks my way to loving fully. Amen.

In Christ.

“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of, and dedication to, the Lord.

Today we celebrate a very special Solemnity. If we look up the definition of liturgical solemnity, we will see the following: A solemnity is a feast day of the highest rank celebrating a mystery of faith.

From the practical side of things, we know that this Solemnity was instituted in the Church at a time when we faced persecution for our beliefs. No, this wasn’t in the first centuries, the time of the martyrs, but rather in the early 1900’s. We decided as Church, the Body of Christ, His new creation, to emphasize Christ’s teaching on love, whether it be toward one another or toward those who hated us.

It remains sad, even to this day, that those who wish to come into our Church face castigation and persecution. So, we must remain steadfast in our love of these enemies. As St. Paul tells us, our love of them will heap burning coals on their heads. In Biblical language that means that our goodness will embarrass those who hate, and who knows, may convert them to ways of love.

The scholar of the Law knew the answer when he approached Jesus. To him, there was no mystery of faith. The scholar knew he was to love his fellow Israelites. Those were his neighbors, no one else.

Now the scholar wished to justify himself. That meant that he wanted to proclaim a legal verdict (as in a courtroom) of his righteousness and faithfulness, his innocence in the way he treated his fellow countrymen. The scholar wanted to be judge and jury over himself.

Jesus was having none of that and goes on, through the parable of the Good Samaritan, to open the mystery of faith to this scholar and those around him, and in turn to us. Our love is to be unlimited in relation to God and others, and that ‘others’ includes both friend and enemy.

Our love is to be such that it makes those closest to us and enemies uncomfortable. We are to bear an overwhelming love – a love I know we practice here so beautifully – which points to the fact that we are Christ’s new creation. We are fully in Christ.

We are indeed Christ’s new creation. Our lives have been taken out of this world and have been placed in the Kingdom. We have been severed from the ways of sin and death to eternal life in the love of Christ, the Kingdom of love.

While there are many ways to shine forth in the Kingdom – through prayer, worship, and fellowship – the premier way is to shine forth love. All those others – prayer, worship, and fellowship exist in support of the building up of the love of Christ in, and out of, us. So, as people in Christ, His new creation, let us be the Kingdom’s brightness of love always and everywhere.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.

One of the key questions at this year’s Central Diocesan Clergy Retreat was about the import of our faith in Jesus. Does believing in and following Jesus matter one bit beyond the couple of hours we spend at church each week?

This is an important question for us, both as clergy and as the entirety of God’s people. We should be doing this self check each day – and I highly recommend it.

Another consideration offered by our retreat leader, Bishop Richard Lipka, is does our faith matter to anyone else. He put it very realistically: Does Governor so-and-so or President so-and-so ever pause one minute during their decision making process to consider what God says, what Scripture speaks, or what the people of God proclaim? Of course not. We find ourselves faced with a world that wants us to give up hope, to just surrender. God says differently. A couple of practical examples.

One person I met this summer explained the many challenges they are facing – health, financial, and most importantly whether God really cares. Does my faith make any difference in my life? Is there reason for hope? As we spoke they reflected on all the people who are helping (generally people of faith) and how thankful they are. My response: You answered your own question. Those around you are sent by God, are a portion of the hope God offers. Yes, you have reason for hope.

A young person I encountered commented on how hopeless the world is, how it is a place where the loneliness of hopelessness predominates. That young person encountered people of faith and was transformed – both to faith in Jesus and to an attitude of hope.

Believing in and following Jesus matters greatly. It is transformative in individual lives and in the world. We offer something the world cannot offer – hope that is more powerful than anything we may face. We have been born of God Who overcame for us. We have victory and overcome hopelessness in Him. Praise Him and share the hope.


Welcome to September and all of the incredible blessings being poured out on our community of faith. God Is Good!!!

On September 11th we welcome the Solemnity of Brotherly Love – the foundation of our relationship with each other as citizens of the Kingdom. September 18th we celebrate Back To Church Sunday with the theme “HOPE HAPPENS HERE.” All are welcome in the Kingdom. Invite someone, or just show up, find those blessings we all so need. We celebrate First Communion on the 18th as well. So proud of our young people and their commitment to the faith. September’s Newsletter also provides a report on all the fantastic events we took part in throughout the summer. We start our Christmas Vigil Raffle with a chance to win $2,500. Get your tickets now. We engage in prayer for the upcoming XXVI Holy Synod of the Church – everyones’ prayer help is needed! We solemnly mark the 21st Anniversary of 9/11/2001.

Check out Music Scholarships, Daily Holy Mass, Check our Worship Schedule, our September Discipleship message, and we begin a new series of devotions to the Infant of Prague in the Polish Language.

Zapraszamy wszystkich Polaków – Koronka do Praskiego Dzieciątka Jezus w Waszych intencjach w każdy wtorek o godz. 12:30 po południu.

Check it all out in our September 2022 Newsletter.

This week’s memory verse: Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

Psalm 63:3-4
  • 9/4 – John 17:22-23
  • 9/5 – Deuteronomy 6:5
  • 9/6 – Psalm 42:1-2
  • 9/7 – Jeremiah 31:3
  • 9/8 – Philippians 3:10
  • 9/9 – Philippians 3:7-8
  • 9/10 – John 17-3

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, Grant me a heart that sees differently, hands that work differently, and a heart that does all things in intimate relationship with You. Amen.

Doing differently.

Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.

Welcome and thank you for joining us this day in our worship of, and dedication to, the Lord.

A couple weeks ago we talked about the difference between hearing and listening. Last week we heard God’s call to humility and away from pride. Today we cover the difference between knowing and understanding.

We can certainly connect with historical personalities, even in our families, who wished to know God. We saw them spending their lives focused on prayer and working toward a deeper knowledge of God which would then blossom into understanding.

That kind of dedication to knowing God is a movement toward true intimacy with God, a kind of love evidenced by such a closeness that nothing can get between the individual and God. This is a truly beautiful state of being, to understand God not in the academic sense, but in in a close and personal way.

Today’s reading from Wisdom speaks of all that confounds our growth toward God. Yet God will not let the burdens of self and earth stand in the way. He grants wisdom by His Holy Spirit to lead us on the right path – the path to knowledge, understanding, and intimacy with Him.

Well, what if I have not spent my whole life in prayer growing closer to God? What if my scripture reading isn’t what it should be? Maybe even my churchgoing hasn’t been what it should be? Am I cut off from knowledge, understanding, and intimacy with God?

No, of course not, and here’s a bit of a shortcut. To know and understand God is to accept the fact that He does things differently and calls us to be so as well.

St. Paul provides us an example in the Letter to Philemon. Paul comes to know Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. He brings him to knowledge of Jesus – and then as Roman law requires – he sends him back to Philemon. But now something is radically different, the relationship has been changed, because of a God Who sees and does differently, makes us different to the core of who we are. So, Philemon and Onesimus must be different in Christ Jesus.

In the Gospel we hear more of Jesus’ hard sayings. Reject that which binds you down, even if it is possessions or family. Take up your cross. Follow me.

Jesus in revealing His Father to us calls us to a radically different life. He does not want us to just know we should be different, but to understand and with intimacy be different. We are to proclaim our intimacy with God in lives that show our closeness to and trust of God as we take the risks God asks of us in building the Kingdom. The One, Who is intimately with us, empowers us in this work and will blesses us for it.

This week’s memory verse: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you

1 Peter 5:6
  • 8/28 – 2 Chronicles 7:14
  • 8/29 – James 4:6
  • 8/30 – James 4:10
  • 8/31 – Micah 6:8
  • 9/1 – Hebrews 11:6
  • 9/2 – John 14:6
  • 9/3 – Ephesians 2:8-9

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, Grant me true humility, a constant walk in Your gospel way, and a complete surrender to You.  Not my way, but Yours always. Amen.