Show Me~ The Rt. Rev. Michael Beckett, OPI

If you were going to be famous for one thing, what would it be?  I can think of a host of reasons for which I’d like to be famous.  Curing cancer.  Discovering how to teleport.  Ending world hunger.   I suppose the list goes on.  There are folks who are famous, or infamous, for doing that one thing that they prolly shouldn’t oughta have done.  Typhoid Mary.  Mrs. O’Leary and her cow.  Jim Jones.  Brutus.  Whoever designed the Ford Pinto.

And Doubting Thomas.  Thomas the Apostle—often referred to as “Doubting Thomas”—was one of the twelve main disciples of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, Thomas famously doubted Jesus’ resurrection, telling the other disciples, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

Jesus then appeared and offered to let him do just that.

So our boy, Thomas, is most noted for one thing, and one thing only.  He doubted that Jesus had been resurrected, and wanted proof.  He had to see it to believe it.  Just for the heck of it, I’m gonna share with you some “fun facts” about Thomas:  Thomas is mentioned a total of eight times between the four gospels and Acts. Most of what we learn about him comes from the Gospel of John—the only book of the New Testament that gives him any specific role.  And dig this:  In three of the times Thomas is mentioned, the Bible notes that he was called “didymos,” a Greek word meaning “twin,” which was often used as a name. Unless your name is Thomas, it may surprise you to learn that the modern name “Thomas” comes from the Aramaic word tĕʾomâ, which means . . . twin.

Yup. The Apostle Thomas doesn’t even have an actual name in the Bible. Poor guy!  Everyone literally just refers to him as “the twin.” Interestingly, tĕʾomâ is just a description in Aramaic—it doesn’t appear to be used as a name—but didymos was used as both a description and a name.  And The Bible never mentions who Thomas’ twin is. 

So there ya have it, St. Thomas the Apostle in a nutshell.  Now, let’s talk about this “doubting” thing he had goin’ on.  The bummer here, for Thomas anyway, is that, again, he’s known as the “doubter.”  But, y’all, he wasn’t the only one!  Remember when Mary Magdalene and company went to the tomb last week, found it empty, and ran back to tell the disciples that Jesus was risen?  Did they believe her.  Big ol’ nope.  The thing about Thomas though, is he got a “special appearance” by Jesus Himself:  Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’

Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’

Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” —John 20:24–29

So, where does that leave us?   There’s this:  Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.   And when I was in teacher training many years ago, it was hammered into our heads, “Show, don’t tell.” And “If you want a behavior, teach it.” 

Same thing goes for our lives and showing the world what and who Jesus is.  Jesus ain’t gonna pop up wherever we are and say, “Yo, look!  Here I am!”  We have to do that.  Us.  You’ve heard me say it at least a zillion and one times:  You are the only Jesus some folks will ever see and the only Bible some folks will ever read.  We spread the Good News by living as Jesus has commanded us to.  (Remember that “mandate” thing I talked about on Maundy Thursday?)  We love.  Regardless of sex.  Regardless of gender, or gender identity.  Regardless of sexual preference.  Regardless of politics.  Regardless of anything else that might separate us.  There is no one on this planet who God doesn’t love.  There is no one on this planet who Jesus didn’t die for.  Period.  Love.  One.  Another. 

During this Eastertide, let us all examine our hearts, our lives, our attitudes.  We, all of us, need to check ourselves, ask ourselves, “Is what I’m doing/saying/being something that Jesus would say/be proud of/want?”  If the answer is even a tiny little negative, then maybe/perhaps/probably we need to do a bit of changing of our ways.  Again, you are the only Jesus some folks will ever see, the only Bible some folks will ever read.  We gotta do better.  We have to show the world.

Let there be no doubt about that.

Fear Not!~Br Milan Komadina

I would like to start this sermon with a very beautiful orthodox prayer that Christians in eastern traditional churches sing on the occasion of Ester and it goes:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life! (Greek: Christos anesti ek nekron, thanato thanaton patisas, ke tis en tis mnimasin, zoin charisamenos)

I remember the time when I was living in an orthodox monastery as a novice. We had a special time of joyfulness during the Easter season since Easter is the most joyful Christian holiday and it brings the purpose to each human since we know that through Easter Jesus had given us everlasting forgiveness and everlasting life. When I was just a kid I used to live in one building where there were around 20 or 25 apartments. On a daily basis I was meeting neighbors greeting them on my way to school and back home. Then I remember the period of life when a few very old neighbors passed away. It was shock for me. I asked parents where did they go and they told me that they went to heaven. When I further asked if they could ever come back home from heaven the answer was no. I remember the biggest shock when one day I heard that an 18-year old beautiful girl from my building suddenly died. This very early period of time was the time when I as a kid raised awareness of death and gained knowledge that we are not eternal and we will all die sooner or later. What is interesting I didn’t have a fear of death at that time. I remember I was even curious about it. I even tried with a few friends to do a (I must emphasize NON-Christian) ritual of inviting ghosts of neighbors who passed away in order to ask them about their death experiences and find out more about what comes after. I did that because at that time as a very young curious kid I didn’t know that all those answers I could find in the Bible. As we grow we become more connected to this world and materialism. And even though it sounds a bit ironic the older we grow the bigger fear of death we raise.

Fear of death! Should Christians have that fear? I remember that somewhere I read when I was studying about phobia that the fear of death thanatophobia is one of the biggest fears which people have. There is a definition of it stating that thanatophobia is an extreme fear of death or the dying process. You might be scared of your own death or the death of a loved one. Psychotherapy can help most people overcome this disorder but I would like to add here that the biggest psychotherapy for thanatophobia is faith in what Jesus has promised us – we who believe will never die.

Jesus Has Risen (Matthew 28:1-10)

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Every person someone questions what is the meaning of life. Especially when we lose someone who we love. Christians believe that the death is just a temporal separation and we are sure that we are already saved by grace and that we already live in Jesus and Jesus in us. And though He is Eternal and he destroyed death we are also eternal in Christ through faith. That is the beauty of our faith and that is why it is so special and full of hope. When I was younger I was occasionally investigating about other religions and teachings but I found that our let us call it religion is the most optimistic, the most secure and the fullest with eternal and perfect love.

Let us rejoice because the Death is beaten. The everlasting life is gifted and our Jesus is alive and he will come again in His Glory. Happy Easter! I am greeting you all with eastern Christian greeting – Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed.

Silence. Stillness~ The Very Rev Lady Sherwood

Many people tend to ignore and skip the Church’s remembrance of Holy Saturday. No one, however, gets to ignore and skip the reality of Holy Saturday within life. Holy Saturday is that time like no man’s land which lies between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The tragedy of the sacrifice for us all by Our Lord’s crucifixion is past but the glories of our Lord’s resurrection are not yet here. We are neither here nor there. We are stuck in the middle. What was is no more and what will be is not yet clear or known to us. It may well feel as if there is no where to go and nothing to do.

Holy Saturday comes to us in many different ways but it always seems to involve death; the death of our Lord Jesus, the death of a loved one, the death of a relationship, the death of hopes and dreams. In the church calendar Holy Saturday is one day which we observe once per year. But this is often not so in life. Those of you who have suffered the death of a loved one know that you do not move from Good Friday to Easter Sunday in just one day. Holy Saturday can last months, years, or even an entire lifetime. Holy Saturday calls us to the tomb. Where else is there to go?

That’s where Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are today. Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, laid it in the tomb, rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and went away. He left. Some will do that in the Holy Saturday of life. They will close up the tomb and walk away as if there is nothing there, no possibilities for anything new. The two women, however, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, are sitting opposite the tomb. They are silent. There is not much to say on Holy Saturday. What can be said? There are no easy or satisfactory answers.

Holy Saturday is a day of silence and stillness, waiting and wondering, remembering and hoping. Perhaps that is what faithfulness looks like on Holy Saturday. There is not much to do except be present to the reality of what is, to sit opposite the tomb.

Where is Our dear Lord Christ on Holy Saturday? Reread the Apostles’ Creed. Remind yourself that on this day “He descended to the dead” or as another translation says, “He descended into hell.” Holy Saturday is when Christ descends into the hell of our life, breaking the bonds of death, and setting the captives free.

Holy Saturday is a difficult day. We so much want joy to replace sorrow. That’s not what Jesus does. Instead, sorrow is transformed into joy, the tomb becomes a womb, and death gives birth to new life. Christ’s triumph is not apart from death but is within death. Christ is trampling down death by death and giving life to those in the tombs.

The two women of Holy Saturday will become the first people Jesus greets on Easter Sunday. So we must trust in this silence and in this waiting. We must be still. Remembering, wondering, hoping and Praying.  It is Holy Saturday and Our Lord and Saviour who loves us all is at work.

Let us pray:

O Lord Jesus Christ, for our sins you endured the cross and the grave, and on the third day you rose again from the tomb.

Just as you have cleansed us from our sins by your blood, and as we are buried with you in baptism, so by your grace, let us share in your resurrection; through your mercy,

O our God, you are blessed and live and govern all things, now and forever. Amen.

What Now? ~ The Rt Rev Michael Beckett, OPI

Many of us wear a crucifix around our necks to proclaim our faith, as do many of our Catholic brothers and sisters.  Many of our Protestant brothers and sisters wear a cross.  Churches throughout the world are marked by a cross.  When we pray, we “cross” ourselves.  The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity.  What’s up with that?

Crucifixion was, at one time, one of the most common methods of capital punishment used.  Lots and lots and lots of unfortunate men and women were crucified. We believe that Jesus was totally innocent of the crimes for which he was executed.  Of course, there are many men and women who have been executed for crimes which they did not commit.   Some view Jesus’ crucifixion as an honorable sacrifice made by gifted teacher. Others would point to the cross as a failure of Jesus to demonstrate His power. Like the thief who mocked Jesus saying, “If you are the Messiah then get us down from here,” critics view the cross as an insignificant death. They see Jesus as one of many who rebelled against the Roman Empire and suffered the consequences.

So what makes Jesus crucifixion so different?  Why does a world religion focus so much on the cross?  Is it that important?  Volumes and volumes of books have been written on that subject.  Wars have been fought over the cross.  The hymnist wrote: “In the cross of Christ I glory,” and we, as Christians, are called to proclaim the cross, right???

Ummm….not so much.

Proclaiming the cross means nothing……(Yes, I can hear you gasp and I can see your blood pressure rising.  Let me finish the sentence.)…..without proclaiming the resurrection.

Many contemporary Christians assume the cross has always been the focal point of Christian faith. They view the cross as the touchdown and the resurrection as the extra point. Certainly, the cross is vital to our faith, for it was the means through which Jesus atoned for our sins. But listen to Paul’s words: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith . . . if Christ has not been raised then you are still in you sins” (1 Cor. 15:14, 17).  If Christ had not been raised, then he would have been no better than Dismas (the “good” thief) or anyone else who has ever been executed.

On Easter we turn our attention to the resurrection. While every Sunday worship service is a testimony that Jesus rose from the dead, Easter provides a wonderful opportunity to consider the significance of the resurrection to our faith. An interesting aspect of early Christian history is that the resurrection, not the cross, was the central theme of Christian preaching.

The early believers saw themselves as “witnesses to the resurrection” (Acts 1:15-16). Peter and John created an uproar because they were preaching about Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 4:1-2). The Bible says with great power the apostles testified to the resurrection (Acts 4:33). Several years after the crucifixion while preaching in Athens, Paul preached the “good news about Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18).

The resurrection proclaims the deity of Christ. His death on the cross may have accomplished our redemption as He paid for the sins of the world, but it did not prove to the world that Christ was God in the flesh.  Saint Paul declared that the resurrection proved that Jesus was the Son of God (Rom. 1:4). In this text of First Corinthians 15, we read that Christ conquers all enemies and destroys all dominion, and hands the kingdom over to God the Father (vv. 24-27). Everything is under the authority of Christ because of the resurrection.

But the tomb is empty, and Jesus is alive. He is the Holy Son of God who is worthy to receive glory, honor, and praise!  Jesus died for your sins and rose again to prove His sacrifice was not in vain. He is alive to declare to you and to the world that you are a unique creation of God with significant role to play in His kingdom. You are one of those precious souls who are too many to name, but considered to be the fruit or blessing of the resurrection.  The resurrection is an invitation to receive what Christ has prepared for you. His offer of eternal life is a gift that must be received. What have you done with your invitation? Jesus is alive and calling for you to receive Him today. Will you be made alive to spend eternity with the risen Savior?

Will you proclaim the cross?  Sure.  But let us even more loudly proclaim the resurrection.  Let all that we do, all that we say, proclaim that JESUS IS ALIVE!!!


The Entrance of our LORD Jesus Christ in Jerusalem ~Palm Sunday~The RevDcn Igor Kalinski, OPI

Today we remind ourselves of the solemn entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem as we read in Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44 and John 12:12-19

Yeah, truly solemn entrance!  Seated on a donkey like the ancient kings as we read in 1 Kings 1:38, to fulfill the prophecy of the prophet  in Zacharias 9:9. Our Lord travels from Vitfagia through the Mount of Olives  headed for Jerusalem,  while the crowd of people with joy and excitement are welcoming our Lord shouting Hosanna to the son of David, Hosanna in the Highest.

But something happened that does not match with the magnificence of the entrance of our LORD, as Saint Luke the evangelist is saying that when he came close to the city, Jesus wept. (Luke 19:41)

Listen brethren, the LORD is weeping, our Lord Jesus  has  falling tears. Him who  comforted so many crying souls, like the widow of Nain with her only son, Jesus is telling her, don’t cry Luke 7:13, and now himself weeping.

That view is so horrifying that I can’t describe it. Only the soul can somehow feel and sense what will survive Jesus can join to cry for him like a little child who cry for his mother, without understanding those mother’s tears that are falling.

The tears as saint Augustine  says is the blood of the soul. They speak for enormous  spiritual survival, there are tears also of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of repentance…

What kind of tears did Jesus have that he was so sorrowful for Jerusalem? Saint Luke evangelist is telling us in chapter 19:41-44.

It’s obvious that this kind of tears of our Lord Jesus are tears of deep sorrow for the unhappy destiny of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

In front of God’s view who sees everything appeared those horrible days when the enemies will encircle the city, will destroy and kill their children and inhabitants, which been fulfilled in every detail as have been recorder from the historian of that age, the Jewish historian Joseph Flavian.

Our Lord wept not only for Jerusalem , but for all people throughout the history, he saw the failing of Adam, the killing of Abel, he saw the betrayal of Judas, he saw all the sins and failing of the humanity til the end of the times.

How could He not weep? He wept for us, for our sins and transgressions, for our bad and unchristian lifestyle.

The tears of our Lord Jesus Christ remind us and calls us to repentance and sanctification of the new life and new beginning, to come back to ourselves, to crucify our body with the fallen nature (Glatians5:24) to remove from us the old man and to renew and clothe with new human made according God with justice and sanctity of truthfulness (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Holy Mother the Church have prepared during the liturgical year , several weeks, the weeks of the great lent for meditation and preparation for spiritual uplifting and spiritual salvation.

We ourselves let weep for our sins, with repentant tears to wash the sinful dots and marks from our heart.

To those who weep for their own sins and who repent, the Saviour has promised them great comfort in Matthew 5:4

That comfort is truly sure, because it is the comfort of the Holy Ghost (Acts9:31) Amen

Rev. Deacon Igor Kalinski OPI

Sharing Your Gifts~Br. Christian Ventura, Novice

In the Name of Almighty God: ✠ Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 


There is an old monastic joke that goes as follows–: 

“There are only three things that God doesn’t know: 

1. How many Franciscan Friars there are;

2. What in the world the Jesuits are doing; 

And 3. What a Dominican Friar is saying when they’re preaching”.

And as for most Dominicans on the day of the Annunciation, (or the day after, in this case) it is hard to not fall into this stereotype, as we are often quick to get excited whenever we have an opportunity to preach on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Afterall, our habits are white to represent our protection under the mantle of our Blessed Mother, (and also because it was the cheapest material at the time), but we don’t lead with that. 

We also carry a 15-decade rosary on the left side of our cincture to remind us to take up prayer instead of a sword. And if you didn’t already know, the modern rosary prayed by many today is believed to come from a Marian visitation to St. Dominic in his petition for peace during a time of death and despair. This 5-decade rosary is an abbreviated version inspired by the original 150 beaded Marian psalter given to St. Dominic. 

But we aren’t the only monastics to wear a rosary as part of our habit. The Franciscans share this practice, as do many nuns, brothers, and monks of various other orders as well. Although this is usually due to a shared desire to represent our cinctured obedience to almighty God in our vocation(s). 

Likewise, you’ll note that the Canticle of Mary or the Magnificat also has its roots in early monasticism. When we pray “my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior” during evening prayer, we join the voices of the benedictine monks in the monastery who have chanted it during evening vespers since the 6th century.

The veneration of Mary the God bearer as influenced by early monasticism is an integral part of our history as Christians, and we know it to begin as early as the story of the Annunciation. Where, an Angel of God visits our mother and says “hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women”. 

But aside from the angelic imagery of this breathtaking event, what personally strikes me the most is Mary’s faithful consent to God in her special vocation. She says “behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word”.

Imagine a world where we all said yes to our callings from God. And even better yet, imagine a world where we supported everyone and their special calls. And no, not necessarily a call to be a monk or a nun, but rather our call to be a brother, a sister, a friend, mother, a beloved child of God. Our call to take up our cross, our call to be imitators of the Word made flesh that dwelt among us. 

I urge you to take a moment to think about: what is God calling you to? What experiences, both good and bad, have placed you here– right where you need to be? 

And, how can you say “yes!”? Lent is a phenomenal time to discern our own special vocations and deepen our relationship with God: where we fast from our own will to make room for God’s. 

How are you called to share your special gifts and talents to help make it on earth as it is in heaven? Are you called to be a teacher, a healer, or a musician? Has God asked you to leverage your career in healthcare, law, hospitality, or leadership to help love your neighbors? Are you an artist? Do you cook? What are you really good at doing, and how can you use it to help bring peace, comfort, or joy to others? 

Lent is a time to embrace our callings from God not in spite of our flaws, but partly because of them. Whatever God is calling you to, know that he is calling you in the fullness of who you are now, with the vision of who you will become. 

Through the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mary , Mother of God, may you come to hear your call and find confidence to say “yes”, and may our Loving Father help you bring it to fruition.

The Annunciation~Br Milan Komadina

The Annunciation (from Latin annuntiatio), also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of Our Lady, or the Annunciation of the Lord, is the announcement by the archangel Gabriel to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son through a virgin birth and become the mother of Jesus Christ, the Christian Messiah and Son of God, marking the Incarnation. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Immanuel, meaning “God is with us”. In the Old Testament we could read the prophecy in Isaiah 7/13,14 saying: The moment that will change World’s history was announced in the Old Testament. Today we remember this moment by reading the New Testament and the fulfilment of this prophecy in Luke 1/26,38:

“Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.“

The moment that will change the World’s history was announced in the Old Testament. This prophecy was fulfilled in the coming centuries as we remember this moment by reading the New Testament Luke 1/26,38:

”In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. ”

The time of lent is the time when we abstain from meat and delicious food. But it is also a good time for practice of humility. As we read in the chapter above, Mary was full of humility. She carefully accepted angel’s words and she was ready to serve God. When we talk about Mary we may talk also about humility because she was a great example of it. I found tree tips for practicing humility and I hope that those will be very useful to all of us as we try our best to practice it.

  • Do not interrupt when someone is voicing a concern. Instead of formulating a defense in your mind when confronted about a situation and jumping in with an excuse, simply apologize and move forward to mend the relationship. Give the other person their due apology without excuses.
  • Be more aware of the needs of others. It is human nature to firstly look after our own physical, spiritual, or emotional needs. Self-preservation is a human instinct that must be tamed lest we act to the detriment of others.
  • Be ready to put the needs of others ahead of your own and act with charity. Practice voluntary patience. Stand at the end of the line. Let other drivers go ahead of you at an intersection. Take the smallest piece or the last piece of the pie. Delayed satisfaction will help us train ourselves in patience, self-denial, and humility.

Lent is about connecting with Jesus in a deeper way and experiencing spiritual growth, you can try something new this year by forming a new habit rather than giving up an old one. Here are additional five ways you could participate in the Lenten season this year: 1. Read the Bible daily 2. Pray throughout the day. 3. Give money to a cause or local organization. 4. Do random acts of kindness. 5. Find your place to serve at church or with a local organization. My prayer for today is that we all may serve God in a perfect way as Mary did and to let the Holy Spirit come in our hearts.

Do Flowers Sin?

Ermitage de Saint Dominic San Souci

Do Flowers Sin?

I grow a lot of flowers; I love the shapes, colors and all the critters they attract, especially the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. One of my favorites to grow is Celosia, more commonly called Prince feather because of its colorful, feather-like plumage. Now the ones I grow are red to purple, produce a plethora of tiny seeds (about the size of this period “.”) and reseed themselves year after year. Yet unlike those varieties one might buy at the market, mine are deformed and produce blooms that range from the normal feather-like plums to large flat crests reminiscent of rooster’s comb (giving rise to another common name of Coxcomb flowers) or equally large dome-shaped clusters which look very much like some alien’s brain!

No matter the shape or color, I enjoy watching them grow and blossom through the summer and fall.  I do, however, wonder what sin…

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St Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary~The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Mother Sherwood, OPI

Today, we come together as the Church to commemorate St. Joseph, the Spouse of The Blessed Virgin Mary, and the foster Father of our Lord and Saviour,Jesus, when he became one of us here upon the Earth.

In the same way in which God, our Heavenly Father, who gives each of us as his children, unconditional love, care, stability and who sets us the standard with which we should strive to live our lives with his holy word in the scriptures, a true Father to each and every single one of us, who only ever wants the very best for all his children.  St. Joseph follows our Father’s example, as both husband and foster father.  He gives us examples which men should follow in their lives. Joseph cared for and provided for the Holy Household. There are many qualities that Joseph had which we could use to be the role model for Christian husbands and fathers. Joseph was a very compassionate man.  We can see an example of this when he suspected his wife of infidelity; he planned to divorce her quietly rather than denounce her publicly and expose her to public shame and penalty.

Joseph was always obedient to God and did what he knew was God’s will without thought or hesitation.  Examples of this are that he kept Mary as his wife; he protected and provided for his family when they had to flee to foreign lands to protect them from danger.

Joseph led a life of deep prayer and was in communion with God, and would always seek out that which was God’s will. God often told Joseph his will using dreams.

Joseph was a provider of care, When Jesus’s life was threatened, Joseph would take them out of danger. He took his family to Egypt and only returned when it was safe to do so, and when Jesus went missing at aged twelve, Joseph went searching for him because obviously, both parents were obviously extremely worried about Jesus’s safety.

Joseph also brought much more to Jesus’s life, he taught him his trade which Jesus worked in for about twenty years, he gave Jesus the love and stability he as any child needs, and was his earthly male role model, which was and still is vitally important for a good father to give any child.

He was a man with a firm faith in God coupled with a resilient personality, who did not complain and was not appalled nor distressed in the midst of trials and tribulations, St. Joseph knew how to face, carry and solve the burden of his vocation, of life’s difficulties and responsibilities with serenity, with complete faith and love, entrusting himself totally and unconditionally to God’s plans.

Sadly not all children are brought up in such a way today, but husbands and fathers truly should seek to follow this sincere man of God in the way they run their lives. Are you married? Do you give all the love, trust and respect to your spouse? Or with stresses and strains do you always argue or not truly make time for each other? If you have children, do you know where they are and if they are safe, or who they might be talking to online? Do you give emotional stability, patience and unconditional love? Do your children see you as the role model they need in a Father?  We should always strive to be as our heavenly Father is to each of us, whether that be to our spouses, to our children, and in fact to all as our brothers and sisters.

While the Gospels do not shed much light on St. Joseph’s life, it is believed that he died before Jesus’ public ministry.

St. Joseph is the patron of fathers, spouses, priests and seminarians. But also, St. Joseph teaches  us so much by his silent example of his life, and just how we should love God faithfully and obediently.

Let us pray:

Blessed St. Joseph, husband of Mary,

be with us this day.

You protected and cherished the Virgin;

loving the Child Jesus as your Son,

you rescued Him from the danger of death.

Defend the Church,

the household of God,

purchased by the Blood of Christ.

Guardian of the Holy Family,

be with us in our trials.

May your prayers obtain for us

the strength to flee from error

and wrestle with the powers of corruption

so that in life we may grow in holiness

and in death rejoice in the crown of victory.


Are You Blind?~The Rt.Rev. Michael Beckett, OPI

Y’all, I only have one more pair of contacts before I have to get new ones.  That means, eye exam, new prescription, and hassle.  Of course, I’m really thankful that contacts and glasses exist, because I am blind as a bat without my glasses or contacts.  Without my glasses, I really am legally blind.  Ugh. 

In the Gospel for today, we read of Jesus and a blind man.  Picture it:  Jerusalem in A.D. 32 or so;  Jesus is bee-bopping along  with his disciples, and they see a blind dude and the disciples say, “What is up with this?  Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

And Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”  And what did Jesus do, you ask?  He made a bit of mud with spit and dirt and applied it to the blind dude’s eyes, told him to go wash it off, and BOOM, the guy could see!  Pretty kewl, huh?

Well, WE think so, but the Pharisees?  Not so much.  They were pretty bummed because they thought, like many evangelicals today do, that bad stuff happens to bad people, or that bad stuff happens coz God punishes folks who don’t toe the line, and, they say, “It says so in the Bible.”

Ummmmmm…….no.   And not just ‘no,’ but NO.   First of all, God does not ‘give’ us the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things that happen in our lives.  Life happens.  Crap happens.  People make poor choices.  Natural disasters occur.  We get sick.  Nowhere does Holy Writ support the claim that any of these things is God’s doing.  What kind of God would we worship if he, indeed, sent us all the trials and tribulations and suffering and horror for which He is blamed?  When “bad” things happen to any of God’s children, God is grieved and suffers with us, and this was experienced most vividly in the hurt and suffering of Jesus Christ for all humanity. Any “bad” thing which happens is never the last word. Rather, God is the deepest and last word, and that word is love and eternal life with God.

The Bible clearly teaches that God does not cause us to suffer. For example, the Bible says that when we go through trials, it would be a mistake to say: “I am being tried by God.” Why? Because “with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.” (James 1:13) In other words, God never causes the trials we face or the suffering that follows. To do so would be wicked, but “God does not act wickedly.” (Job 34:12.)

If God does not cause us to suffer, then who or what does? Sadly, humans are often victimized by other imperfect humans. (Ecclesiastes 8:9) Additionally, we may face calamities because of “unexpected events”—that is, because of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) The Bible teaches that ultimately “the ruler of this world,” Satan the Devil, is responsible for human suffering, for “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19) It is Satan—not God—who causes people to suffer.

God is aware of our suffering. From the very start of human suffering, not a single teardrop has gone unnoticed by our loving Father, whose “watchful eyes” see everything. (Psalm 11:4; 56:8) For example, when his worshippers in ancient times were being oppressed, God said: “I have certainly seen the affliction of my people.” But was he only vaguely aware of their pain? No, for he added: “I well know the pains they suffer.” (Exodus 3:7) Many people have found comfort in that truth alone—the thought that God is aware of everything we suffer, even the trials that we or others may not be aware of or fully understand. (Psalm 31:7; Proverbs 14:10.)

God feels for us when we suffer. Our Heavenly Father is not only aware of human suffering but also deeply moved by it. For example, God was sincerely troubled when his ancient worshippers faced trials. “During all their distress it was distressing to him,” says the Bible. (Isaiah 63:9) Although God is vastly superior to humans, he feels empathy for those who suffer—as if their pain were in his heart! Indeed, “Our Heavenly Father is very compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:11) Additionally, Our Heavenly Father helps us to bear our suffering. (Philippians 4:12, 13.)

We must also remember that our Lord Jesus knows what it is to suffer, to mourn.  He wept at the grave of Lazarus, he wept over Jerusalem, and he suffered horrifically during His Passion.

God will end all human suffering. According to the Bible, God will bring an end to the suffering of every human on the planet. By means of His Heavenly Kingdom, God will drastically change the human condition—for the better. Regarding that time, the Bible promises that God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) What about those who have already died? God will bring them back to life here on earth so that they too can enjoy life free from suffering. (John 5:28, 29) Will anyone be plagued by painful memories of past suffering? No, for Our Heavenly Father promises: “The former things will not be called to mind, nor will they come up into the heart.” (Isaiah 65:17.)

So there’s that.  Now, Jesus said that God would be glorified through Blind Dude’s gift of sight.  It was a miracle!   Whilst Jesus isn’t around in the flesh these days to make mud and lay on hands, our God has granted us the miracles (yes plural) of modern medicine.  And I would imagine many of us have experienced a ‘miracle’ or two in our lives.  I know I have, more than once.  And for those blessings and miracles, we give thanks to God. 

But we have to ask, in what ways are WE blind, spiritually speaking?  What do we will ourselves not to see?  The homeless?  Inequality?  Inequity?  The poor?  People who are “other” than we ourselves?  I am reminded of a hymn by Clara H. Scott, “Open My Eyes That I May See.”

Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me. Place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.  Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.  Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!