• The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament
  • The Parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament

Mass Times

Saturday Vigil
4:00pmHoly Cross
5:30pmBlessed Sacrament

Sunday
8:00amHoly Cross
9:30amBlessed Sacrament
11:00amHoly Cross

Daily Mass
Mon, Wed, Fri: 8:00amHoly Cross
Tues,Thurs: 7:30amBlessed Sacrament

Reconciliation

Saturdays
Holy Cross
3:00pm to 3:45pm

Blessed Sacrament
3:15pm to 3:45pm

Outreach Services

ServicePhone
AA Helpline1-800-640-7545
Al-Anon1-800-339-9006
Birthright of Scranton570-961-1133
National Hotline For Abortion Recovery1-866-482+5433
Rachel’s Vineyard Post Abortive Healing1-877-467-3463
PA 24 Hour Child Abuse Hot Line1-800-932-0313

Gospel and Homily 11/3/2012: Monsignor Michael Delaney; Coping with Loss

As we commemorate the members of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament who have returned to God this year, Monsignor Delaney talks about how in their lives they brought the light of Christ into the world. As our loved ones chose love, and brought His light into the world, now we must do the same.

Gospel and Homily 11/17/2012: Rev. Brian J.T. Clarke; Only the Father Knows the Hour, So Be Prepared

John F. Kennedy is said to be very fond of a particular story. During his 1960 presidential campaign he often used it to close his speeches. It is the story of Colonel Davenport, Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives back in 1789. One day, while the House was in session, the sky of Hartford suddenly grew dark and gloomy. Some of the representatives looked out the windows and thought this was a sign that the end of the world had come. An uproar ensued with the representatives calling for immediate adjournment. But Davenport rose and said, "Gentlemen, the Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought." Candles were brought and the session continued.

This weekend's readings are very appropriate for a society that is fretting over the so called "Mayan Apocalypse." Jesus tells us that the Father has reserved the knowledge of the end time for Himself. If Jesus and the Angels don't know when the world will end, neither does anyone else.

Any prediction of the Apocalypse should be of no concern to Christians. We should be preparing at all times for the Lord's return. The end--whether our own death or the actual return of Christ to gather us up into the fold--is something we should be anticipating. Just as Noah didn't wait for the rain to start building the Ark, we should not wait for some sign of the end to prepare our soul for Jesus. It should be our life's work.

Special thanks to Rev. Brian J.T. Clarke for coming to our parish and sharing his talents with us this weekend.

Gospel and Homily 11/24/2012: Monsignor Michael Delaney; Building the Kingdom of Christ the King

At the Solemnity of Christ the King, we finish out the church year, and reflect upon the graces and challenges of the past year. We are all called to serve the lord and to build his kingdom. We build it by fulfilling our baptismal call; by being the love of Christ for others.

On a practical note, Monsignor thanked Father Jeffrey Paulish for his service, and announced some changes to the mass schedule going forward.

Gospel and Homily 12/2/2012: Monsignor Michael Delaney; Preparing Our Lives for the Lord

We need to live our lives always vigilant, because the Lord will return. We shouldn't fear the return of Christ--it is the moment of our salvation. As Christians it is the moment we most anticipate. We look forward to the time when Christ returns, and we need to live our lives in accordance with that anticipation.

The time of Advent is a time of preparation. As we continue along the journey of life, we are always growing. Advent is a time to measure that growth, and see if we've grown closer to him. This process is how we prepare for the day when we will see Him face to face.

Gospel and Homily 12/7/2012: Monsignor Michael Delaney;The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Happy Feast Day! The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Just as Mary was chosen by God for a special purpose, we too are chosen. We must choose to follow God's Holy Will.

Do you remember when you first learned the Hail Mary? My mother taught it to me when I was a young boy, sick with a fever. The prayer sills us, and comforts us, especially when said in the Rosary. I remember when I was in the seminary I was working as nurse's aide in a nursing home. And I was taking vitals at the end of the day. There was a woman who had been agitated--upset. As I was taking her pulse, the group she was with happened to start praying the Rosary. I could actually feel the woman's pulse become less rapid. She was becoming more calm.

You and I have been called, to carry the goodness of Jesus Christ into our community. Mary is the model of discipleship for us. Let's respond to God's call with everything that we are, loving God and loving our neighbor.

Gospel and Homily 12/9/2012: Monsignor Michael Delaney; Advent - A Wake Up Call

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The 2nd Sunday of advent is a wake up call. As we all get caught up in the business of the season, decorating and re-arranging our homes for the holidays, we must look within and do the same. it's time to re-arrange things. It's time to let God work within us, and go to those places that are fearful or dark or need forgiveness. He knows exactly how he wants things arranged. We've got to give him a free hand to work within us.

Are we holding on to resentments? Do we need to say "I'm sorry?" Do we need to say "I forgive you?" Do we need to pick up a phone and reconnect with someone? Where do we need healing? We must let God go to that place in us.

Gospel and Homily December 16, 2012; Bringing Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. " — Philippians 4:4--6;

When I was a third grader, one of the nuns showed us her ring. Inscribed inside it was her motto: JOY. She said it stood for Jesus and You with Nothing in the middle. This is our challenge: to allow nothing to come between us and the Joy of Jesus.

This Gaudete Sunday, the readings speak of joy. Yet we come to mass today stunned by the depths of sorrow of the attack in Newtown, Conneticut. How can we resolve the readings to our experience this week? In the midst of things such as murder and war, in the midst of evil we cannot fathom, we must turn to Jesus. It is He who turns the night into day. He is the light that comes into the world at the darkest time of the year. In his message we find the hope of a light that cannot be dimmed for it is the promise of eternal life in the embrace of God.

No one said that would be easy to proclaim hope--often in direct contradiction of our experience. No one said that it would be easy to follow Jesus. Tragedies are our opportunities to to respond to the love of the Gospel--to bring Christ's hope where it is so desperately needed.

Our community does this in many, beautiful ways. The generosity of the community reaches out to wherever it is needed. We ask God to use us to bring Hope and Joy. It is not a false Hope. It is not an easy Joy. In Jesus they are real and they are ours.

Gospel and Homily: December 23, 2012; Surprise and Joy

Do you like surprises? Today's readings are about surprises. A little, inconsequential town such as Bethlehem was chosen be the birthplace for the Messiah. Elizabeth and Zechariah were told they would have a son. Zechariah was literally dumbfounded, unable to speak until the child was born. And the biggest surprise of all was experienced by Mary. That by the power of the Holy Spirit she would bear a child--a child who would be called Holy, the Son of God, the savior of all, the Messiah!

Upon hearing this good news, she sets out to see Elizabeth. She becomes the first evangelist, bringing the news of Christ coming into the world to her cousin, and the two rejoice.

They are our examples for this season. With all that is going on, and all hustle and bustle and stress, we must be open to the surprise and joy of the season. God continues to come into our world--sometimes in places we don't expect. Even when we receive communion, it should be done with surprise and joy. Jesus is coming into our lives! We must always receive Him with great joy, and carry that joy with us as we go through our daily life.

Decoration of the Churches For Christmas: December 23, 2012

On December 23, 2012, members of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament Parishes gathered to prepare the Churches for Christmas. In this time-lapse video, you can see some of the preparations for Jesus' birth. Merry Christmas!!!

Holy Cross Blessed Sacrament Christmas Day; The Touch of Forgiveness

Merry Christmas!!!

At the vigil mass, we learned that Jesus is born to a very human family. God became incarnate in the most humble of circumstances--really a most unusual way. We tend to romanticize the birth of Jesus, but if we really look at it, the manger was no place for a child to be born. Have you ever really imagined a child being born among the animals in a stable? Wouldn't any of us do our best, given the opportunity, to give Jesus a cleaner, warmer, safer place to be born?

God, the greatness of God, is instead born of the most humble beginnings. And we are meant to notice this as we celebrate. The greatness of God is always about letting go; about less, not more. Who were the first to receive the news of Jesus' birth? The Shepherd; those with the most simple life. The Glory of God proclaimed by the angels was proclaimed first to the poor. This tells us so much about what God values, and what we should value.

And now we come together at this mass, and we hear a very different story. The Gospel of John begins with the words "In the beginning..." The same three words that begin the bible. In yesterday's readings we are reminded that Jesus is truly human. In today's reading, we are reminded that he is truly God. Jesus existed before all, and was immersed in the creation of the universe.

And this very same God of infinite power and complexity, has come to us in flesh. The God of our longings, our desires and our dreamings is here.

In 1986 (now stay with me here) there was a movie that came out called "Stand By Me." It was about a rambunctious group of boys out to find a dead body--not a great Christmas story. However, what captured my attention, was how the boys were so quick to forgive each other. They messed up and hurt each other's feelings, but all they had to say was "Give me some skin," and with a touch of the hand all was forgiven and forgotten.

This is what Christmas is about. God knew that for us to know forgiveness, it had to be done in the flesh. It had to be done in such a way that we could touch it and sense it and feel it and know it, so that we could move beyond the obstacles that hold us back. Even more so than mangers and baby and Mary and Joesph, this is where we experience Christmas. This experience is an adult faith, an adult Christ, an adult Christmas. It draws us to the reality of Jesus suffering, death and Resurrection. The manger always takes us to the cross, because we know that this birth is noteworthy, because this child will save us from our sins. He saves us from ourselves. He saves us. He saves us. And that salvation is what we celebrate this Christmas morning.

So if going through your day, you find yourself in need of some forgiveness? Give me some skin.

If you find you want to forgive somebody? Give me some skin.

As we come to the table of the Lord, our Messiah, He give us Himself.

And on this Christmas day, we are able to carry Him into our community.

It's a great day. It's Christmas day for you and for me. And we are celebrating that God's love is in flesh, and real, and incarnate. And for us, we who celebrate this day, are going to carry out this love to God's people.

It's a wonderful day. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Gospel and Homily: December 30, 2012; After Three Days

We hear from the second reading proclaimed that we are God's children now--now at this moment. And as children of a loving Father we are called to be brothers and sisters to one another. Brothers and sisters in the lord--sisters and brothers: Family with one another!!!

Now the responsibility of this is enormous. It's huge, isn't it. And we recognize that responsibility and sometimes we do so well and so wonderfully, and sometimes we need to ask forgiveness of one another. Sometimes we need to be forgiven with one another. That's what family is all about. It's no coincidence that we come together today thinking not about the Christ child as an infant. Today we look upon him as a 12 year old boy.

Imagine parents, doing all the things that are part and parcel of the Jewish religion, and they come to the temple with their twelve year old Son. And on the way back it occurs to them that He's not around, and they start looking for Him. Parents, as you're thinking about your children, if you've ever just been walking down the isle of the grocery store and suddenly your child is in another isle and you look around and they're not there, you know the panic which ensues. You understand. We can't even begin to imagine what Jesus's parents, Mary and His foster father Joseph, were encountering and experiencing, wandering around their family and acquaintances, finally returning to find him in the temple.

We can insert our stories anywhere along the line here. Perhaps it's not the temporary panic cause by a child wandering into the next isle. Perhaps we have anxieties, or frustrations or worries about family members that weigh us down. We understand why Mary responds to Jesus in the way she does. "Don't you know your father and I have been looking for You with great anxiety?!?! Why have you done this to us?!?!?" She's a worried mom, both upset and relieved upon finding her Son.

And it's three days...that's significant isn't it? This isn't an bit of biographical information or a historical footnote. When you look back at the Hebrew scriptures of the old testament, the stories that revolve around three days are about losing and finding; about being with and being without. Three days is about separation and reunion.

In the bible three days is not chronological, it's symbolic. Abraham and Issac on the mountain? Three Days. Jonah in the belly of the whale? Three days. The Lord Jesus in the tomb? Three days.

Three days means loss and transformation. It means death and Resurrection, and it comes to us at Christmastime, when we are singing Christmas Carols and thinking of the infant Jesus. We are confronted with this story, which brings us back to the adult reality of Jesus and our responsibilities as followers and disciples of the Lord.

At Christmas Christ comes to us to be with us. He comes because we are brokenhearted at times. The peace and the joy of Christmas isn't just for fun and celebration--though it is. It's also because we need it so much. We need the healing in our sorrows. We need the mercy in our terror, the company of the Lord in our Wanderings.

Christ wants to be with us, because sometimes we're lost. Sometimes we're searching and feeling alone. Sometimes we're like His parents--we fell like we've lost the Holy Child within us. Sometimes we fell we've lost the sense of the holy in our lives.

We feel shackled in the darkness.

But the good news is that we come to celebrate Jesus as our light. The good news is that we haven't lost God. The good news is we are never alone, and death does not have the final word.

The Light of Christmas shines on those who know darkness and the shadow of death. For many Christians, the ribbons and wrappings of Christmas are braided with sorrow. There will always be sorrow and fears. There will be times when we feel without God. But after three days, beyond the appearance of time and space, we will be reunited with the light, and we will find ourselves in a holy place.

After three days, Mary and Joseph find the beloved Jesus their Son, our savior and brother, in a holy place. This holy family comes together today, to find Jesus in this holy space, and we encounter Him here. He who is our light continues to shine on those dark places within us and around us, continuing to provide us with a path to hope, and the reassurance of the divine presence--even in the most difficult and most anxious times of our lives.

This Christmas prayer will be shared with all those who do not yet see the Light in their lives, for those that are still in sorrow, and for those who are still searching and feel glum: We pray that God's presence and the faith of this family here gathered will continue to enfold them. And that God's love and God's hope will be with them: those who are seeking, and we who have found and been found, every day.

Gospel and Homily: Solemnity of Mary; Recognizing the Presence of Jesus Within Us

Happy New Year! It's going to be a wonderful year. And what better way to start the year than by coming together in prayer, and asking God's blessing in honor of Mary. We pray for peace, in our homes, in our relationships, and in our world.

As I was thinking about how this day makes sense, celebrating and honoring Mary as Mother of God, I thought of some experiences that I have most every year. I have close friends who invite me to their home every Christmas eve. They immigrated from Mexico about 23 years ago, and on Christmas even have a number of people for prayer and celebration. We pray the Rosary, we pray Novenas, we sing traditional Spanish hymns, and I must say, the food is beyond delicious.

On of the customs that impressed me the most, is their tradition of taking the baby Jesus from the manger in the apartment, and having the children of the family babysit the baby Jesus while the parents pray. The children love this. They can't wait for it to be their turn. They cradle Him as they carry Him from room to room, singing beautiful lullabies.

This is what I think of as I think of this feast. The children are being taught to follow the example of Mary, the bearer of Christ, the mother of our Lord Jesus. As we consider who Mary is and all that she did, we must consider what example she presents.

We must now be the bearers of Christ. We must carry Jesus in our own unique way. We must care for Jesus, her son, our Savior. We are called to be attentive to the presence of Jesus, as we bring consolation, as we bring support, as we hold one another in prayer and love.

This day is about beginning a new year, and seeing where Jesus needs to be carried. There are people in our community who bear heavy crosses. We are called to awareness, and to be conscious of the needs of our brothers and sisters. We're called to go into our community and care for Jesus as we find Him.

We're called to be attentive to the spirit within us--to recognize the presence of Jesus within us. We're called to come here this day, beginning this year, taking in the Eucharist--the presence of the Lord--and to become that presence more and more.

Resolutions? What more do we need than to say we will be the body of Christ, this year, this day, this moment.

We will be His body, broken open, poured out in love and in generosity and care for one another.

So let's carry Jesus from here this day. When we do so we will honor Mary, who has been able to show us through her example and extraordinary model of Grace, how we are to do that; how we are to see Jesus, and take him into our community.

Gospel and Homily: Epiphany, 2013: Illuminate our World with the Light of God's Love

We're here together continuing this Christmas season, recognizing and lifting up in honor, that Jesus is a revealing light to the nations, and the message of God's love is for everybody. Every nation will adore Him, and all people will know Him.

You know, it's customary at the beginning of the year, that our homes are blessed. It's a tradition that many of us remember and cherish, and it's a way to bring the life and peace of Christ into your home. There is blessed chalk at a prayerful blessing at the back of the church.

Traditionally, after the prayer, you mark the lentil of the door with the blessed chalk. The lentil is marked with the year and the initials of the three Kings. (20 + C + M + B + 13, in this case.) Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. It's a reminder that your home is blessed; it is a place of prayer and is the domestic church.

A good friend of mine, when he was a newly ordained priest, wasn't accustomed to doing this, and went to bless someone's home, and didn't know what to do with the chalk. So he wrote over the doorway "This house is blessed."

And it was!

This house (the church we are in) has been blessed and made holy. Your homes have been made holy by the light and love of God that you take with you from here, and bring into your homes--the light and love that we bask in, bathe in, every day.

And it only takes a little bit of light. It's amazing. The three kings were looking for the presence of something remarkable. They'd seen an indication in the skies. It's the 50th anniversary of the second Vatican council and we're remembering the beautiful documents; one of the pascal letters opens speaking of the joys and hopes of God's people. We're reminded that we have to be vigilant of the signs of the times. To keep our eyes open--as was said in the first reading from Isaiah. "Lift up your eyes and see." All too often we're too distracted to see the goodness around us, and react to it.

The Magi saw something in the sky, and they responded. They got up and traveled because they were willing to. They were overjoyed. It wasn't a little bit of joy they were OVERjoyed, and began to follow the star. And they weren't like most of the guys I know, because they actually stopped and asked for directions. They didn't have GPS, they didn't Google it or Mapquest it.

They stopped and they asked "Where will the newborn King be found?"

It's interesting to contrast their experience--joy--with the experience as Herod gathered his political and religious leadership--fear and anxiety. Interesting isn't? Somehow they felt threatened by this Son--this Light. Sometimes this light requires something new of us; something different from us. It may require that you change. And sometimes that feels threatening or may create anxiety.

But there's no need to worry about that. We--as Magi--are invited to experience not just joy, but overjoy. And they came, they followed this star.

As I said it doesn't take much light. I was reminded a few weeks back during Hurricane Sandy, when we lost power in Olyphant. The wind had me awake, and I was watching the news and the power went out. (We continue to pray for those still dealing the the aftermath of the horrible storm.) This being church, we have candles. So it didn't take much light to feel comfortable pretty quickly--to be relaxed and not worried.

It doesn't take much light. In fact sometimes there is a lot of glaring light that distracts us, pulling us away from the light of the Lord. Because of the light the Magi followed, they had an experience of the presence of Jesus, this infant, in the most remarkable place to find such joy and peace.

We're invited to do the same. And not just to follow this light, but to be this light. Remembering that through our baptism--and next week we will come to celebrate the feast of Jesus' baptism and conclude the Christmas season--but when you were baptized you were called to receive and to carry and be light for one another. That's what this day is all about: This manifestation--this Epiphany--of the Love of God in Jesus who is a revealing light to the nations, and the glory of God's people. For you and for me, for all who know him through us, we're called to be that light for others.

So let's come and receive the Lord Jesus who is forever the light of the world, and choose to illuminate our world with the light of God's love.

Gospel and Homily: January 20, 2013; The Kind of Mother We Have

As we move into ordinary time, our scriptures reflect on something very basic: motherhood.

In St. John's Gospel, we have no infancy narrative. We have a beautiful hymn of Jesus divinity, and then we move right into the ministry of Jesus. And right there, at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, is his mother, Mary.

Here at the beginning, we have Mary, and she's concerned out of compassion, that this young couple just starting their life together will be embarrassed because they have no more wine for the feast. And she goes to the one person she knows can do something about it: her Son.

"They have no more wine."

And essentially Jesus says to her, "So what? It's not my concern. My hour has not yet come."

Now notice, Mary didn't say anything to Jesus verbally after that. But you gotta believe that something was communicated with her eyes. She looked at Him with that look, of a Jewish mother, that said, "Yes, your hour is here, you're going to take care of it, and I don't want any ifs, ands, or buts about it." And so in confidence she could say to the servers, "Do what he tells you, He'll take care of it" and went back on her way, visiting with the other guests.

And then, Jesus fulfills her wish. He saves the couple from embarrassment  and not only saves them but does it overwhelmingly. I mean if your dining room had six stone jars of thirty gallons filled with wine what are you going to do with all that? Even at the wedding feast it wasn't all going to be drunk.

Overabundance: that's what Jesus is. That's what he is for us. He will always provide over-abundantly if we but ask Him; if we but open ourselves to receive from Him. If we pay attention to His mother, as she tells us, "Do whatever He tells you." If we do as He tells us, we will be over-abundantly taken care of. A marvelous gift that we're talking about.

Now all through his ministry, Mary is going to be with Him, she's going to be encouraging Him all along the way, to keep developing and keep sharing all of these gifts that He has. So He will give the gift of forgiveness to those who are sinners. He will give the gift of healing to those who are ill. He will give the give of life to several people who would die and he would resuscitate them back to life; the son of the widow of Nain; Lazarus. He would give life.

He will keep giving the gifts at the behest of His mother, all along the way.

All these gifts that Paul talks about in the second reading, she's going to have her Son giving them out to people—give them out to you and me. Because God continues to give all these gifts: teaching, prophesy, interpreting, listening, healing. They're all among us.

Mary keeps after her Son to develop them and give them away, and she keeps after us—to keep developing the ones that God gave us. Live them out. Spread them out. Give them out. She's going to stay after us the way she stayed after her Son. It's the kind of mother she is.

How do we know? We know because in that final scene in St. John's Gospel, when Jesus is on the cross, "Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. " It's the moment St. John give us a very clear understanding that Jesus gave His mother to us as our mother. He gave His mother to his church; to His people.

To us.

And so she's going to mother us. She'll always be here. She'll always encourage. She'll always affirm. She'll always encourage us to recognize the gifts, raise them up, foster them, let them blossom in our lives so that we can be of service to her people—the church.

That's the kind of mother we have.

And so today we give thanks to God for Mary in our lives. What direction she gives, she gives the only direction she knows. There is only one thing Mary is interested in—in us. And that is to lead us to her Son. To constantly reintroduce us to Jesus, on deeper, more encouraging, more loving levels in our lives. Her role in our life is to bring us to closer union with the heart of Jesus.

So let's pay attention to that. And respond to her encouragement  and her care, and her concern for us in life. Respond to it by doing exactly what she wants: by drawing closer to the love, and the heart of Jesus in our lives.

Gospel and Homily: January 27, 2013; Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.

As we move into ordinary time, our scriptures reflect on something very basic: motherhood.

In St. John's Gospel, we have no infancy narrative. We have a beautiful hymn of Jesus divinity, and then we move right into the ministry of Jesus. And right there, at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, is his mother, Mary.

We have a lot of depictions of motherhood. Some of us may be old enough to remember Ozzie and Harriet, and Father knows best, and those depictions of motherhood. Then we have depictions such as Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck, or Sally Field in Steel Magnolias.

And of course none of them match our memories of our own mothers—whether they are still with us, or like my own mother, gone home to heaven for many years. I had a pretty typical mother. Later in life, when she was more home-bound  the last five years of her life pretty much, I would go home over New Years and spend three or four days with her. After the second day, she would start saying, "Why don't you stay longer?"

And I would say, "I have to go back; I have masses to do, talks to give, things to plan..." and like that.

Later she would say, "Are you sure you can't stay longer? It might snow." We lived in Buffalo. "It might snow, and if it snows you have to stay."

I said, "I'll be fine. I'll get back. You won't have to worry about me."

And then the next day she would say, "You know, I want you to call that monastery and I want to talk to the person in charge."

And I would say, "Mom, I'm in charge."

And she would say, "Well, you ought to know better! You should know you should be here longer than 5 days!"

But she was a typical mom. And I like to think Jesus was enjoying the same reality with Mary. St. John gives us a picture of Mary, not only at the Wedding feast of Cana. He has her walking with Jesus all through his ministry. He has her at the end of His ministry, when He accomplishes salvation, at the foot of the cross.

But here at the beginning, we have Mary, and she's concerned out of compassion, that this young couple just starting their life together will be embarrassed because they have no more wine for the feast. And she goes to the one person she knows can do something about it: her Son.

"They have no more wine."

And essentially Jesus says to her, "So what? It's not my concern. My hour has not yet come."

Now notice, Mary didn't say anything to Jesus verbally after that. But you gotta believe that something was communicated with her eyes. She looked at Him with that look, of a Jewish mother, that said, "Yes, your hour is here, you're going to take care of it, and I don't want any ifs, ands, or buts about it." And so in confidence she could say to the servers, "Do what he tells you, He'll take care of it" and went back on her way, visiting with the other guests.

She knew full well that that message that she gave to her Son, with her eyes, was going to be fulfilled. And Jesus, who is He to resist? I mean I was forty-five when my mother told me I should know better. Jesus was thirty, and He should know better. His mother is going to get what she wants. It's the kind of mother she was. Compassionate  concerned, always looking out for the needs of those around her; that's who she is. That's the kind of mother she is.

And then, Jesus fulfills her wish. He saves the couple from embarrassment  and not only saves them but does it overwhelmingly. I mean if your dining room had six stone jars of thirty gallons filled with wine what are you going to do with all that? Even at the wedding feast it wasn't all going to be drunk.

Overabundance: that's what Jesus is. That's what he is for us. He will always provide over-abundantly if we but ask Him; if we but open ourselves to receive from Him. If we pay attention to His mother, as she tells us, "Do whatever He tells you." If we do as He tells us, we will be over-abundantly taken care of. A marvelous gift that we're talking about.

Now all through his ministry, Mary is going to be with Him, she's going to be encouraging Him all along the way, to keep developing and keep sharing all of these gifts that He has. So He will give the gift of forgiveness to those who are sinners. He will give the gift of healing to those who are ill. He will give the give of life to several people who would die and he would resuscitate them back to life; the son of the widow of Nain; Lazarus. He would give life.

He will keep giving the gifts at the behest of His mother, all along the way.

All these gifts that Paul talks about in the second reading, she's going to have her Son giving them out to people—give them out to you and me. Because God continues to give all these gifts: teaching, prophesy, interpreting, listening, healing. They're all among us. Mary keeps after her Son to develop them and give them away, and she keeps after us—to keep developing the ones that God gave us. Live them out. Spread them out. Give them out. She's going to stay after us the way she stayed after her Son. It's the kind of mother she is.

How do we know? We know because in that final scene in St. John's Gospel, when Jesus is on the cross, "Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother. " It's the moment St. John give us a very clear understanding that Jesus gave His mother to us as our mother. He gave His mother to his church; to His people.

To us.

And so she's going to mother us. She'll always be here. She'll always encourage. She'll always affirm. She'll always encourage us to recognize the gifts, raise them up, foster them, let them blossom in our lives so that we can be of service to her people—the church.

That's the kind of mother we have.

And so today we give thanks to God for Mary in our lives. What direction she gives, she gives the only direction she knows. There is only one thing Mary is interested in—in us. And that is to lead us to her Son. To constantly reintroduce us to Jesus, on deeper, more encouraging, more loving levels in our lives. Her role in our life is to bring us to closer union with the heart of Jesus.

So let's pay attention to that. And respond to her encouragement  and her care, and her concern for us in life. Respond to it by doing exactly what she wants: by drawing closer to the love, and the heart of Jesus in our lives.

Gospel and Homily: February 2, 2013; Isn't this the son of Joesph?

(Note in this video, I had almost no voice, so please be patient with the audio.)

These readings are real calls for us to recognize the grace of God in our midst. I we have ever acted dismissive or diminished someone we knew well, or in a particular set of circumstances or familiarity, we neglected to recognize the grace of God in our midst, then we can kind of understand what Jesus is experiencing. Here He is, coming to His home town. And He's having a hard time. Maybe you've had that experience. Maybe you've felt that way--dismissed. "This person is only Joseph's son." Perhaps you've started a new job. "Well they're new; what do they know."

Or perhaps its a particular set of circumstanced that are unique...someone may say "She's only a girl," or "They're only this" or "only that"...fill in the blank.

I once came to a new community and was siting down with the local pastor, because I was new there. And he said, "Well, unless you've been living in this town for twenty-five years or more, they think you don't understand. You're a newbie--not a native." Thankfully it wasn't my experience--they were very receptive to me. But I understood what the person was saying, and I was grateful for his insights and his counsel, because he did not want me to feel unappreciated.

Certainly, Jesus wasn't feeling appreciated. "Isn't this the son of Joseph? Who does he think he is?" If we're not very, very careful, we might find ourselves in similar circumstances. In the second reading we are reminded of the attributes of Love, none of which would lead us to be dismissive. We need to recognize the power of God and the presence of God in everyone we encounter. If we can do that, then our prayer is effective and the grace of God is being realized through you and through me, as we receive the goodness of God here. We need to take that in, recognize it in ourselves, and carry that into the community in such a way that we will make such a difference for our brothers and sisters.

So let us come and be fed with the goodness of God in Jesus at this Eucharistic banquet. Let us never look down on our brothers and sisters.

Or, let's never treat ourselves in such a way make ourselves seem less dignified, or holy, or sacred, than the children of God that God calls us to be. And that we are His children--such a loving Father! And let's have appreciation in a great sense of who we are as a family--as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Let's treat each other lovingly and accordingly.

The Women's Tea Series: Amore' February 10, 2013

On February 10th, Blessed Sacrament Parish presented Amore': A Valentine-themed Tea featuring vocalist Jim Cerminaro singing Italian love songs. An Italian dinner, salad and desserts were provided, as well as door prizes. Special thanks to everyone who made it happen!

Gospel and Homily: February 17, 2013; The Light Is On for You.

The Light is on for you.

We gather now in the parishes of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament on this first Sunday of Lent. As you come into the sanctuary it's easy to see that there is a lantern in the window, reminding us that this season is an opportunity to return to Jesus, our Light.

Each and every lent, we the baptized prepare for the celebration of the suffering, death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And as we take seriously this Lenten time, we turn to the Light once again. And we join with all the parishes of the Diocese of Scranton, as our Bishop, Bishop Bambera, has asked us to do. And we commit ourselves to finding our way to reconciliation.

Opportunities to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation are certainly presented to us this Lenten season. Each and every Monday from 5:30pm to 7:00pm there will be a priest here (Holy Cross) and at Blessed Sacrament, and at every Catholic Church throughout the Diocese of Scranton, ready to receive the members of our community, our parish, our neighbors, to come and celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Prior to the Saturday masses both here and in Throop we will celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation. Also, whenever you call, we can set up a time to celebrate the sacrament.

The Lenten season is about turning back to the Light and finding our way home; finding our way back; being able to be dedicated and recommitted. This first Sunday of Lent after we have begun our journey together, this forty day season of grace, we've been reflecting on the nature of Lenten discipline: fasting and praying and giving alms. And we come together to begin this hard work of that now. As we see Jesus enter into a 40 day period of purification, and encounters temptation in the desert. We see in His experience the reality and the truth of our lives, as we deal with daily temptations. Each and every day are calls to consciously and deliberately choose the Light, and it's God's love in our lives.

Sometimes, cooperating with God's grace, we do that well. It's wonderful. And sometimes, because we're not paying attention perhaps, we're feeling selfish perhaps, we're feeling weighed down with life, there are those moments that we are not doing as well as we would like to admit.

But then, this Lenten season is for us.

In our community, there are six members of our parishes here and in Throop that are preparing for the sacrament of Reconciliation This afternoon they are meeting with Bishop Bambera, who will receive them after a period of instruction and preparation, after they've made a commitment saying, "We are inquiring and investigating the Roman Catholic Christian Community." Today Bishop Bambera chooses them and tells them that the are no longer called 'candidates' or 'catechumens.' Now they're called the 'Chosen;' the elect. And they begin this last leg of their preparation, to come to Easter Vigil to celebrate the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist. v We who have been versed, initiated, and live in the love of the Lord, are using this time to see in them in their desire and zeal to join us in our Catholic Community, an opportunity to consider carefully who we are. To take stock and consider carefully how we're invited to move beyond darkness, and to turn to the light of the Lord again.

This is our season. And the hard work of lent requires us consider carefully not simply the external gestures which are beautiful and lovely--handing over something, giving up something for lent, creating an empty space for the interior purification. But to think about all of our relationships where we are called to do the hard work and heavy lifting of forgiving, of letting go of resentments. Where is it that we have been called to server, but perhaps where we have been negligent How is it that the Lord is inviting us to deeper prayer life, and encounter in the Lord and with the Lord in prayer? How is it that we move forward, moving and progressing in the spiritual life. How is it that perhaps we are being called to change: people, places, things, that are interfering and become obstacles in our living out of discipleship.

This Lenten season is not an easy thing. The journey through the desert sometimes feels arid or dry. That's why we're here together to stand with one another to support one another. The good news is we're doing this together. A humble recognition and acknowledgement of our need for transformation and conversion. We really need to do this with vigilance and transparency and to be able to look forward to the love of the Lord.

Let's continue to be supportive of one another in our Lenten task; to come to Easter after 40 days of preparation to be able to celebrate for 50 days. One of the things I love about the Catholic Church, we prepare for forty days, we party for fifty. Isn't that great? So let's prepare to come to the sacred triduum, the feast of Easter, refreshed in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel and Homily: February 24, 2013; Lent

In the Gospel, Jesus tells the three of them, be quiet. Don't say anything about what you saw and experienced until later on. The reason for that, without going into great detail, was that Jesus had to ween away some of the Jews in that some--not all--but some had a false notion of the Messiah. That He would be a Political Messiah; Freedom from Roman Domination. That's now what Jesus was about. It turns out he was a suffering Messiah who lives for us and dies for us and rises up again. Until He made it pretty clear, even the apostles had a hard time grasping that this was a Messiah that was going to die on the cross--what a horrible way to go.

Further on in the gospel he tells them to be quiet and not say anything about what you just witnessed--not now, later on you can but not now.

Here it is, Lent, the second Sunday of Lent. When I'm talking I try to listen to what I'm saying, as its a challenge to both the congregation and myself. My ministry is on the road; My name is Vincent, I'm Father Vincent from St. Ann's. And we have a home staff and a road staff--I'm on the road staff. When I'm home I help out on the local scene.

The fact is this. During lent, you can abstain from certain things; we always abstain from gossip or putting people down or negativity. But when we abstain from something we also live for something. We don't just die to selfishness. Hopefully we live to generosity. Die to greed, live to generosity. We can die to arrogance, and be honest and true.

You see arrogance, pride, sinful pride--I'm not talking about about the satisfaction you and I have if something goes well. We feel great about it if something goes nicely. Sinful pride--the pride that Jesus talks about that we have to die to--is when we act we're the big shots, we did it all ourselves, God didn't enter into it, and we don't give credit where credit is due. It's a lie.

Mary is quoted in Luke's Gospel as saying, "Generations are going to call me blessed." Wow. That's a pretty nice thing to say about yourself. But the next verse she says "Because He is mighty and done great things for me, and holy is his name." Mary has true humility It's the truth. Generations are going to call her blessed. Not because of her by herself--or you by yourself or me by myself--but because of God who thought and loved you into existence initially.

uh oh, I've got another side issue here but it's an important one: we do it. My parents, God bless them, your parents, God bless them, were instrumental in the genetic package. But the unique person -the soul that is you--God created that. As he said to Jeremiah, "Jeremiah, before I formed you in the womb I knew you." You bet He did. He knew you. He knew me. He thought and loved you into existence initially, and our parents didn't have that capacity. Not their fault; if I were a parent I wouldn't have it either. But I'm grateful for my parents. I'm bald like my dad. The genetic package is right there. But the soul that is me, the person that is you, ah! A creative act of God. "Before I formed you in the womb, Jeremiah I knew you."

God has not only thought/loved you into existence and me too. He sustains you in existence for if he stopped thinking of you and loving you in the eternal now, if he stopped thinking of me and loving me in the eternal now poof, we go back to nothingness. Just like that. But God has assured you and me that that is not going to happen. We're in it forever.

So He thought/loved you into existence He sustains you in existence and He's transforming you in existence as we say "Yes" and enter into the process. This is not during lent only--everyday!! 365 days a year.

The heart of your spiritual life, the heart of my spiritual life, is relationship--there's no getting around it. All we have to do is go back to Deuteronomy. The old testament. Listen O Israel--and the Jews prayed this twice a day--Deuteronomy chapter 6 vs 4-9: Listen O Israel, there is one God. Love that God with your whole mind, your whole heart and your whole strength your whole being. And then Leviticus, the second great commandment is: Love your neighbor as yourself. Two great commandments form a big umbrella.

Now the Ten Commandments, if someone tells you "Oh you Christians, you Jews and Christians, the Ten Commandments are so negative. You can't do this you can't do that." Nonsense! If I love you and care about your well being I will not take your reputation falsely. I will not take what is yours. I will not steal and lie against you. You have a right to the truth. And I won't chase your spouse either because that isn't caring.

This Gospel ends up with God saying, "Listen to Him." Meaning Jesus, His only Son. God never gives up. Not on you, not on me. Thanks be to God. He always calls us to listen. There are two teachings of Jesus I want to cover really quickly, as examples of how we can listen. The first is "Turn the other cheek." He turned the other cheek when he knocked over the cash boxes with whips, and drove out the money changers How? Because it doesn't mean you can't get annoyed and handle a negative situation. It doesn't mean you let people walk all over you. It means you don't hold willful grudges against people. You may feel something, but you don't embrace a grudge. Jesus never turned his back on the money changers He never shut them out. He stopped what they were doing.

The second teaching is this: Love your enemy. What does that mean? Especially if you've lost a daughter or a son or a brother in Iraq or Afghanistan or the Twin Towers. What does that mean? Jesus is very grounded when it comes to caring for the enemy. Think of it. At the crucifiction He's got nails through His wrists and feet. His head is crowned with thorns, His back torn to shreds by the whips. The Romans stripped Him, spat upon Him ridiculed Him.

What does He do? He says "Father! Father forgive them! They don't know what they're doing! They really don't know!" I'd be tempted to say something else. But I can go beyond that temptation through the power of God! Go beyond it. Jesus prayed for His enemies, their salvation and well being. Wow. So when it comes to dealing with caring for an enemy, do not, do not, go down the road of emotions or feelings. We have to deal with them, don't act like they're not there. But in the heart--the will--that is where caring for the enemy comes from, where I pray for the enemy's well being and salvation. Only the power of God can make that happen in us.

You can detest the enemies actions and still care for their well being and salvation. You can't judge their actions--perhaps they're manipulated religious fanatics operating in good faith, they may be insane, or guilty as anything. Only God can judge the heart subjectively.

Listen to Him. Lent is a time to die to selfishness live for the Lord. But not just Lent, it's 365 days a year. And it's not negative. Dying to selfishness when you're living through lawfulness and care for God and others and yourself in his beautiful creation? It's good news.

Gospel and Homily March 2, 2013: Sede Vacante and the Fig Tree

It's been a remarkable week for us as a Universal Church, and in this time of transition as we have prayed and said farewell in a manner of speaking to our Holy Father, as his pontificate has come to a conclusion. We now pray for our church leadership as we move forward into this next phase of preparation, prayer, retreat, consideration and reflection upon the needs of the Universal Church. And as our church leadership, upon great and profound prayer will find a leader for our church, a Shepard for us people, a successor to the apostle Peter. As our church is in this time of change and transformation, a time of transition, we know that that invitation to a time of transition is essential to us in this Lenten time.

During this time of the sede vacante--the empty chair--that we come together in participating with the experience of emptiness for ourselves. All the fasting, alms-giving and praying that are part and parcel of this Lenten time, all this Lenten discipline, is to make a space. It's to put a void within us that can be filled once again with the love of God. So a helpful symbol and a profound sign that is part of this Lenten journey that we share: that which is happening in the Universal Church.

It's March, can you believe it? It's time for March Madness. For those of you who like college basketball, you're getting your brackets ready for the "sweet sixteen"--the 16 top college basketball teams that will play one against the other. And if you go online now, actually in our religious youth service, you can get your "Sweet Sisteen" the top Cardinals who may be vying for Pope. And you can vote yourself! How crazy is that? (I voted the other day.) These are the kind of things that are surfacing that are part and parcel of this experience--things that are catching our attention that calling us to be prayerful people celebrating Catholicism, not just as believers here in Throop and in Olyphant, but seeing ourselves and connecting ourselves to the Body of Christ. Some 1 Billion, 200 million members; amazing isn't it? And as we pull together once again this Lenten season to recognize the connection with the baptized in our midst as we pray with our Christian brothers and sisters from the various Christian churches in the Mid Valley. This wonderful sense of unity; this wonderful sense of seeing ourselves, a vision of ourselves as participating in something so much larger than that what we experience in the backyard.

But as we see ourselves as part of the universal church and we experience ourselves as the Body of Christ we know that this Lenten season is a challenge for us as individuals. And Jesus tells a story. He tells a story about a fig tree, which is always told to get our attention so that we can use the particular story he is telling, and see the truth of our lives in a manner that will challenge. He uses the fig tree as a sign of the truth of our lives we have this tree; it's been seeing here in the yard for all this time and it hasn't produced any fruit at all. Let's cut it down and get rid of it to make room for something that will be more productive.

But we're told someone chimes in--the gardener steps forward. Let it alone, let it be. I'll do the work. I'll cultivate it. Maybe it will produce some more fruit. A wonderful, wonderful image of the Lenten season, of how we get another opportunity at a second chance. We need a second chance: God. The God who gives us another opportunity and another chance over and over again. The God who calls us back to the garden. A God who calls us to realized that we are formed in the image and likeness of God, and that we are called to right relationships with God and one another. We are called to see that relationship in those moments when we perhaps haven't produced fruit. Perhaps we've been dry, barren; perhaps we've been exhausted and tired; that we haven't lived our Catholicism model, that we have fallen away from the life that God has chosen for us to follow and serve Him.

This Lenten time is our chance for us to begin again. The time for us to remember that God is giving us another opportunity, another chance. We believe in the second chance God. And we come to find that this sacrament strengthens us, feeds us nourishes us so that we will produce an abundant harvest. This God who calls us to life and invites us to discipleship, this God is calling you and me today to His church to be his holy people, to see ourselves as united in the Holy Spirit and a force for holiness in our community.

But it begins with that humble recognition of our need for ongoing conversion and deep transformation. As we have admitted that as we began our prayer, let us come empty, come to the table of the Lord to be filled with the strength of the sacrament; so that we will produce an abundant harvest. Of love and forgiveness and compassion and justice for God's people.

It is the midst, the heart, of the Lenten time. We move into this season with a seriousness and earnestness, and desire to change our lives to cooperate with God's grace to be a reflection of the experience of God's Love for others.

Gospel and Homily, March 24, 2013: Palm Sunday

This past week, President Obama went to Jerusalem, and in his visit to Israel he immediately encountered a tough predicament. They're trying to move into a discussion between the people of Israel and the Palestinian community. They're trying to do something to bring a message of hope and peace to people who continue to encounter such remarkable violence. And he said at a university, with the students gathered before him--with a mix of support and heckling -he said this is not going to be an easy dialogue. Even while being rejected, he stayed with it.

Two of the things that he said caught my attention. 1) Peace is necessary And he went on to explain the necessity of peace in order for people to be in right relationship with one another, and to be able to move beyond the difficulties and obstacles These obstacles are no longer permissible. This is important not only to the people of Israel and Palestine, but for people throughout the world. Peace is necessary.

Then he went on to say 2) Peace is possible. And he wasn't saying that in some naive way--something that he would be able to walk away, and say "I had my say. That's that." He recognized and named the fact that the possibility of peace exists for people who have a desire and a yearning for peace. And that this yearning and desire as we know is something that's God given and a gift from God. And God blesses our desire to be about peace making--a people of peace.

I mention President Obama's visit to Jerusalem because as we began our prayer we began at the back of our church recalling Jesus triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. "Jeru-shalom" - the city of peace. And we began by praying to give Glory to God in High Heaven and Peace to His People on Earth--prayed at the beginning of Luke's Gospel at Jesus birth by the Angels. We hear the same message in the Gospel of Luke as Jesus moves into His suffering, death, and Resurrection -at this moment; his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem.

And what do we see? As we're carrying palm branches in the Gospel of Luke something different. We don't see that they're placing their branches on the road. In humility and adoration they take off their cloaks and place them on the road to prevent the dust from coming up. This allows the Prince of Peace to come into Jerusalem in such a way that's not going to kick up a lot of dust.

When you're trying to be people of peace, and your'e trying to be about making peace, sometimes you kick up a lot of dust. And we see that in the history of the people of Israel and the middle east. And as we continue to pray for our concern about a lack of peace or the inability to be able to move forward each day. We commit ourselves, as we begin this holy week as the scriptures of our prayers require us, to think about these things--to think about how we're being called to follow Jesus the Prince of Peace.

What we see Jesus doing at the beginning of the Passion as He's having a conversation with His disciples the night before He dies, He talks to them about service, doesn't He? And as He's having this conversation about Service He's telling them "I'm among you as one who serves." The message of being peacemaker--of being servant--of being a servant church is placed before us as we move into Holy Week.

Isn't it amazing as we celebrate our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, that in small and in large ways already, after a little over a week, he continues to inspire us and give us examples of what that might mean--in some ways that are really rather profound. You've seen the installation just as I have, and have probably read how they were making preparations for the installation mass, a week ago this past Tuesday. They handed him a miter -you know the pointy hat that the bishop wears, that our Holy Father would wear, and it was a large one. And our Holy Father, Pope Francis, said no, I would really rather wear this smaller hat--I'm sure he didn't say "less showy" but that's exactly what he meant. He didn't want to be overly ostentatious he just wanted to keep it simple. You know the KISS principle? Keep It Simple, Silly?

And he was told, well we don't have anything that matches that miter So what does he do? He calls Argentina. And he tells them to bring some vestments that match the miter. A simple gesture: but a profound statement. Let's keep it simple.

Our Holy Father, this Thursday, rather than gather with the throngs of people at the Basilica of St Peter, has made a choice that he is going to be with young people who are in trouble. He's going to go to a youth detention center and pray the Holy Thursday services there. Where he will wash the feet of young people who have been caught in mistakes that they've made, and are now paying the consequences for those mistakes. To be with them in their need--what a remarkable statement of humility. "Am I not among you as one who serves?" Jesus tells us. In the Gospels, as we hear Jesus passion of the Gospel of Luke. And as we hear Jesus saying this, it's never enough that He just says it. Then He shows us what that means.

And we hear about what that means, when we hear that fantastic reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians This beautiful hymn about what our attitude and what our activity as Christians must be. I'm going to ask you to open up your Missalette and turn to page 101. Because as we enter in this holiest of weeks, this prayer is our prayer. And as we hear it in proclamation we are invited to live into it. The Greek word is kenosis--it's about self emptying. It's about creating a space so that we can be filled with the love and the goodness of God. And that is to be our prayer this holy week. That's exactly what with God's grace we will accomplish.

And so I ask you to pray with me on page 101, this beautiful canticle from St. Paul: "Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied himself,taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled himself,becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,to the glory of God the Father. Amen."

Jesus emptied Himself. As we're invited to be a servant church, which we're called this week to keep it simple and focus, and stay attentive to those things that are most important and most significant, we come and we gather to commemorate and remember His suffering and death, and celebrate His glorious Resurrection May God bless our parish community as we move into these very sacred and holy days.

Gospel and Homily, March 31, 2013: Easter Sunday

Happy Easter, Everybody!!!

We're coming together today after forty days of preparation, lifting up our faith in Jesus; our belief that He is risen from the dead. And not simply that He has risen from the dead, but you and I have died with Him and that we have risen with Him in our baptism We will renew our baptismal commitment and our covenant. Last night at the Easter vigil we brought five people through the sacraments of initiation: one man was baptized and five were confirmed. It was a wonderful experience of the Resurrection alive, the life of the Lord Jesus real in our presence, incarnate in our midst.

And we come on Easter Morning, and we gather and we ask Almighty God to help us to understand and to feel and to share that which we have been given. And this is a gift that we have been given. This faith that we share is a wonderful treasure that has been handed on from generation to generation.

There is a beautiful story--a Russian tale--that kind of makes that clear. Let me share it with you:

This tale from Russia is about the wonder of Easter and how it entered into the world. It's about Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She stood weeping at the foot of the cross on Good Friday, and Jesus looking at His mother wept as well, as He was dying. And every one of Mary's tears became a beautiful blue and yellow Easter egg as her tears touched the ground. And every one of the Lord's tears, touching the ground be came a deep red egg.

At the end of the day, Mary picked up all of these eggs, and she placed them in her apron. And as she was carrying them away she tripped, and the eggs spilled out of her apron and rolled down the hill of Golgotha--of Calvary. Into the streets of Jerusalem the rolled, and kept on rolling to the far corners of the Earth. And on Easter the children of the world found these eggs and the instantly knew about the tears, and the love, and the suffering, and the life within all of it.

From the hill of Calvary, rolling down the hill, the love of God in Jesus, shared with Mary and those at the tomb, and those who came to believe through them. They saw and they believed and through them others came to Faith. And this Faith has been passed on from generation to generation to this moment of grace we share here at Holy Cross Parish in Olyphant this morning.

Tony Kushner is a screenwriter and a playwright. Maybe recently you've seen his film "Lincoln"--great movie about the life of President Lincoln. He wrote the screenplay for the film and it was nominated for an academy award. He also wrote a beautiful piece called "Angels in America." He won a Pulitzer prize for Drama for that play. In that play, there is a scene that reflects the fable of the Russian tale. It's about a woman--not in the entire play but in this particular piece of the play--a rabbi is sharing this thoughts about a Jewish woman who has died. And at her funeral, talking about her journey from Russia through the Holocaust he says this: "She was not a whole person, but she was a whole kind of a person--the ones who crossed the ocean. She carried the old world on her back in a boat, and she put it down in Flatbush. And she worked that earth into your bones, and you pass it on to your children. Home. You can never make the crossing that she made, for such great voyages in this world do not exist. But every day of your lives the miles of that voyage between that place and this one you cross. Every day--you understand me? In you, that journey is."

In you, that journey is, and it continues. From Calvary, rolling down the hill, Mary leaving, Jesus rising, disciples coming to the tomb, coming to see and believe, coming to belief and sharing belief, proclaiming by the manner of their living their love of the Lord in Jesus Christ. From one generation to the next, to the next, until this moment of Grace. And you and I come together today to renew our baptismal promises and to proclaim our faith in the risen Christ and our life in the Lord's love. And as we lift that up and we are committed to that baptismal promise we ask Almighty God to bless this journey Because this journey which has been given to us is now ours as a responsibility and a cherished treasure. And we hand it out to our children, and we put it in their hearts, and in our children's children's hearts, and we permit this Faith to make a difference and this Love to be real.

We come together and we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Alleluia. The journey continues in you and in me.

Kind Reminder

In an effort to assist the money counters, please mark the amount of your donation on the front of your weekly offertory envelope. Please do not tape or staple the envelope or its contents. Use an elastic band to keep them together. Thank you!

Mother's Day Intention Envelopes

All parishioners are reminded that in your box of envelopes this year there are special Mother’s Day intention envelopes to remember living and deceased mothers, grandmothers, god-mothers, aunts and mother-like friends. The envelopes will be placed at the altar of Holy Cross and Blessed Sacrament Church during the month of May to remember the donor’s intentions.

Prayer For Vocations

Provident God, You bless us with the gift of Jesus who cares for us as a good shepherd. By our baptism we are anointed and sent to continue the mission of Jesus. Guide your people to prayerfully choose a way of life that best serves you with their gifts. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to live dedicated lives as married and single people, as deacons, priests and religious. United with Jesus, our shepherd, we are one with you, now and forever. Amen.

Seek the Face of God in Everything

We are called to be contemplatives in the heart of the world by seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, everywhere, all the time, and his hand in every happening.
- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Thanks from The Social Concerns Committee 2013

THE SOCIAL CONCERNS COMMITTEE would like to thank everyone for the generous gifts they donated to the Baby Shower for St. Joseph’s Center. All those that attended the shower enjoyed themselves with the games, basket raffle, 50/50 and the delicious food. A good time was had by all.