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LENTEN SERIES ON VICE CONQUERED BY VIRTUE

ASH WEDNESDAY

As 21st-century believers, we readily acknowledge that we have never walked with the earthly Jesus, but we have walked with those who witness His resurrected life and follow in His steps. Saint Paul calls us ‘ambassadors for Christ.’ When people ask what it means to be Christian, we can, without words, show them.

But realistically, we know that none of us perfectly image Christian virtue. Mahatma Gandhi once said that he had no problem with Christian virtue though he did have a problem with Christians. We deal with the paradox every day. And every day, we are reminded through Scripture and our Traditions in the confidence we have that God sent Jesus, Who never sinned, to bear on His shoulders our sin so that we might become righteous before God.

Ash Wednesday is the time we, as believers, enter into the desert of our hearts. We will, hopefully, encounter there our imperfections and our sins; the times when we were deceived into believing we were doing the right thing, when all the time we were just choosing the easy thing. We will rely on what the Church gives us and on Holy Scripture to lift us up onto the shoulders of Jesus Who comes to ‘make all things new;’ Who comes to set us free of our burdens and create in us ‘the new man,’ who will stand as righteous before the Face of God.

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by Father Cioppi

‘Love is patient, love is kind:’ you know these words!

Chiara Lubich in 1943 founded a movement in Italy called (Hearth) “Focolare.” She spread her message of unity in the crucified and abandoned Christ around the world. A few years ago, she gave in Rome, an insightful meditation on the state of the world:

Humanity suffers from deafness, she said.  It can no longer hear the Word of God through speech because there is too much noise in the world. Parents and children are too busy to listen to Christ’s message. They have no time to listen for ways to heaven. They no longer hear the sounds of people crying or suffering even in their own homes.

We have to admit that our attention span becomes shorter every time we tune in to social media, TV News networks, and the like. So much information we can hardly grasp it all. Silence is becoming something we fear, because we feel alone and empty in quiet.

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by Father Cioppi

Let His Word be your spirit and life!

In the Gospel, we are at the beginning of the pastoral ministry of Jesus. He wants to lay out for us the scheme of things so we can understand the context in which he preaches by word and by deed.

He first tells us that it is the Spirit of the Lord that directs Him. The Spirit has anointed Him for a reason and that reason is ‘to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives; recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners.  He is to announce a year of favor from the Lord.’

These are radical changes in any kingdom but for the kingdom of God these are words and actions reflect the true nature of God.

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by Father Cioppi

Be astonished by what you see and hear today. God is near!

Jesus performed miracles in order that we may believe that “God is near.” When we meditate on the Wedding Feast of Cana, we discover the Face of God in very ordinary ways.

Consider Jesus and His mother being invited to a wedding.

Jesus asks if He can bring some friends along, so the wedding was open, usually lasting a whole week. Everyone having a good time. Men stood on one side of the room and women on the other.

Consider now Mary gathered with the women, talking, sharing funny stories about their husbands or their children, the price of food or the communal well. Suddenly, the mother of the bride seems anxious.

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by Father Cioppi

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

 

The Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan begins the reflection of the great mystery which is incarnated through the Gospels and sacramentalized through the Church. It connects us with our own Baptism and our responsibility to announce and witness the mission of the Son of God.

 

The living water of baptism initiates the soul into the family of God and establishes a common goal, which is eternal life in Him.

 

The Gospel, spoken today, in every church, in every city across the world announces with great joy that this Jesus Who we behold on our Altar is indeed “my beloved Son;
in Whom I am well pleased.”

 

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by Father Cioppi

EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD

Since the beginning of Advent, we have become like the Magi, searching for the promised One who changes our lives and the life of history. Matthew says, “And on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” (Mt 2: 11).

Outwardly, their journey was over. It seemed as though they had reached their goal.

However, at this point a new journey began for them, an inner pilgrimage which in fact does change their lives. These men were not expecting to see a child. They were expecting to see a man, a King! They were coming from a world of chaos looking for peace! What they found was a vulnerable Child lying in a manger offering ways to peace.

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by Father Cioppi

Welcome to our Parish

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by Father Cioppi

HOLY FAMILY -’don’t be afraid of the quirks’

Each family is an icon or a reflection of the Holy Family. Often, we can identify some part of our lives with theirs. Other times they can serve as a model for us to imitate.

Joseph is righteous before God, he has a good work ethic that he passes on to his son, and he is a faithful loving husband, who brings stability to his home life and to the community in which he lives. Mary is humble, nurturing, and directive. She treasures in her heart everything about her Son and she worries.

Jesus is an obedient son, loyal to tradition, faithful and caring for his parents. He is a willing student so He may become a better Teacher.

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by Father Cioppi

“A new day, a new life, a new hope!”

The Morning is here; the darkness and the shadows have disappeared; a new Day, a new life, a new hope!

Here in our spiritual home, we encounter the Child of Bethlehem, and remember that Christ dwells in our hearts burning to be set free.

To become a Christian means to be “brought in” to the Family of God; to be embraced by them and to be welcomed at their Table. This Table is prepared for us; this is our meal where all of God’s secrets are revealed. We know from experience that in the family there are no secrets.

We enter this Sanctuary; the home of the Three-personed God. It is here that we ‘converse’ openly, truthfully and in right relationship with one another. In the family, each person is who they are called to be. In each family, God is revealed and Truth is shared.

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by Father Cioppi

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

The last O Antiphon is “O come Emmanuel.” Our destiny resounds in the voice of Elizabeth as she is filled with the Holy Spirit announces “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

The appointed time has come! “May it be done according to His holy Word.”

After today, we begin the great vigil of Christmas. We will greet the rising of the sun as a prelude to the Christmas dawning. We have done all we can do to prepare. All that is left is to anticipate with joyful faith the glorious coming into our hearts of Jesus the Lord.

“O come Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the hope of all the nations and their savior: come and save us, Lord our God.”

 

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by Father Cioppi