We are midway through the season of Easter. We have heard about Jesus' miraculous resurrection; His appearances to His apostles, His encouragement to all believers to be witnesses of His ministry, words, and miracles; engaging others to follow Him; hear His voice as our true Shepherd; and to be open to the many blessings present and yet to come. This grace—filled season of Easter is a continuation of Lent, encouraging us to deepen our relationship with Christ, and not to be afraid to proclaim Him to others.
Today, we hear one more example of how we can draw strength from Christ. He reminds us that He is the true vine and we are His branches . He is encouraging us to bloom wherever we go with joy, hope, enthusiasm, and energy. Unfortunately, there are some branches that take time to bloom. This is because they are filled with negativity, chaos, and divisiveness. These kind of branches need to be watered specially and nurtured with strict care. We pray that their growth will eventually catch up and be able to be part of a beautiful vine, created by a loving God. We also begin the month in honor of the Blessed Mother. I encourage you to call upon her often and ask her to intercede for you. As a practice, over the course of your day, say at least three Hail Mary‘s, in honor of her. She will truly hear you and bless you.
Enjoy the rest of the season of Easter, and continue to thank Jesus for all He did, and continues to do, for you.
We continue to celebrate during this season of Easter. We remind ourselves of Christ’s resurrection from the grave and how He re-opened the gates of heaven for all believers. Our spiritual hymn remains: "Alleluia, Jesus Christ has risen!" May we return our gratitude and praise to Jesus for His love to, and for us.
Our celebration continues today for several of our young parishioners, as they receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion for the first time. Every time the Sacraments are celebrated, there is joy in heaven and within the Church. Like the two disciples on their way to Emmaus and eventually recognized Jesus at the breaking of the bread, may our First Communion students recognize Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, today and, every time they receive this spiritual gift. Join me in praying for our First Communion students.
The theme for today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Jesus reminds us that He is the Good Shepherd who leads all believers toward the Kingdom of God. Please remember in your prayers all our good shepherds; Pope Francis, Archbishop Chaput, all pastors, clergy, and me. Pray that God will bless all shepherds with wisdom, grace, truthfulness, honesty, and enthusiasm as they preach God's word and lead all believers on the journey to the eternal kingdom. Your prayers are important and greatly appreciated.
We are one month into the season of Spring. It is staying lighter outside, and the temperatures are slowly creeping up. The trees are beginning to bloom, and the flowers in the ground and popping up, getting ready to open up. The look and smell of Spring is demonstrating her new life for this season.. All of this is a reminder of new life, joy, and excitement.
The same holds true with the liturgical season of Easter. it is a reminder to us of new life, joy and excitement to us that Jesus Christ came into our lives to bring joy, excitement, and energy. Jesus died for us so that we may have eternal life. He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower us with energy and excitement to witness in His name.
Although we may experience the ups and downs of life, this season of grace, is a reminder to us to maintain our joy, excitement, and energy. We continue our hymn of praise with the Alleluia song; "Jesus Christ has risen today, Alleluia!”
Our readings today remind us that we are now witnesses for Christ. We are called to proclaim Jesus in our speech and actions. We are encouraged to demonstrate works of kindness, joy, and enthusiasm.
Meditate on this season of Easter and remember that Jesus journeys with us and He encourages us to be witness for Him.
We continue our celebration of Easter joy. I encourage you to not let this season of grace pass you by. This season of Easter is a reminder to us how much Jesus loved the Father and us. It is a reminder to us that his death and resurrection opened the gates of heaven to all believers. As people of faith we should be filled with gratitude and joy. Our daily prayer should be giving thanks to Jesus for all he did, and continue to do, for us.
Secondly, we have to share our joy and gratitude with others. Just as the apostles shared their joy with others, we must do the same. We can’t keep Jesus, ourjoy, to ourselves. When we share our joy, or witness to others what Jesus did for us, we are evangelizing. We now become Christ’s mouth piece, his feet and energy in bringing others to Him, and to our community. Be alight and voice for Christ.
Finally, we continue to welcome new members into our faith community. Today we witness two more people professing their faith in Christ, and asking to follow Christ as a member of the Catholic faith. Join me in welcoming them, and praying for them as they continue their spiritual journey with St. Cyprian family toward the kingdom of God.
Happy Easter Season!
Today, we join with all Christian believers the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Scripture reminds us: "This is the day the Lord has made, we rejoice and are glad in it! Scripture also reminds us to sing, shout, rejoice, and proclaim that Christ has risen as He promised. We sing "Alleluia, Christ has risen!” If our faith is stayed, weak, challenged, or on the fence, reflect on what we celebrate today. Reflect on what Jesus Christ did for us. He died for many sins so all may inherit eternal life. He sacrificed Himself, out of love for the Father and us, so that we can have hope for a better tomorrow. This day is about sacrifice, love, hope, and a promise for eternal life. Take a moment and reflect how awesome all this is for us, then sing your praises in the name of Jesus: "Alleluia, Jesus Christ is risen today!
We also rejoice today as we welcome all those received into the Catholic faith. We pray their spiritual journey may continue to increase as they grow in faith.
Finally, I wish to thank all who journeyed with us, from our Parish Lenten Journey to our Parish Revival, to worshiping together as the parish family of St. Cyprian. I also thank everyone who made our liturgies spiritually uplifting. I am grateful, and proud.
May we continue to proclaim Christ's message of love, hope, and joy in our speech and actions.
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
A week's events in the life of Jesus are condensed into one hour today, from Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem to the Last Supper to His Passion, crucifixion and burial. I encourage you to attend the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. They are a reminder to us what Jesus did for us, and why we attend Mass. They are also a reminder to us of the deep love Jesus has for us. Although we have busy schedules, try to adjust them so you can also walk in the footsteps of Jesus and experience what he did, and continues to do, for us.
I also encourage you to participate in the spiritual events scheduled for Good Friday. These are several spiritual events scheduled for Good Friday. They are spiritually moving, uplifting, and powerful.
For the past several weeks, I have offered you "charges" to do and reflect on. My final “charge” is that you invite someone to our church and celebrate Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday liturgies with us.
We have heard our readings speak to us during Lent about the covenant Jesus made with us. He fulfilled his covenant in the events we will celebrate on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. May we in turn demonstrate our gratitude to Jesus by celebrating these liturgical events.
I want to thank everyone who participated in our Parish Revival. Once again, it was filled with joy, inspiration, and highly spirited. Each night Fr. Maurice Nutt left us with spiritual food and enthusiasm. Now that the revival is over, continue to be revived—read your bible, listen to spiritual music, acknowledge Christ daily, and attend Mass weekly. A special thank you to all the Choirs, Mitchell Thomas Praise Dancers, Ushers, those involved in the revival, and to the Hospitality and Planning Committees.
We now look forward to Holy week. This is a wonderful time for us to connect with Jesus and be reminded why we follow Him. Attend the services during the three days of Holy Week. I also encourage you to participate in our Parish Penance Service, to be held April 1st . You can fulfill your Easter Duty at that Penance Service.
We continue to hear the theme of covenant in our readings for Mass today. Just as Christ made a covenant with the Father to lead all believers to the Kingdom, may we continue our covenant with the Father and the Son. Open your mind and heart to God the Father and Son, allow them to dwell within you, live their message and assist them in drawing others to the Father and Son.
It is exciting to see the grass and sidewalks have made their natural appearance from the snow. Now that we have returned to day light saving time, it stays lighter longer and the temperature is slowly rising. The season of Spring is in the air. Mother Nature is re-establishing her natural beauty for us. Hopefully the cold winter days are behind us and beautiful sunny, pleasant days are a-head for us. Enjoy each day we are blessed with.
Once again, our parish is blessed to have Father Maurice Nutt for our annual Parish Revival. He brings with him enormous spiritual energy, and a way to help us develop a deeper relationship with God and community. I strongly encourage you to attend these three days of our revival. When it's over, you will be spiritually fulfilled and uplifted. I also encourage you to invite your family members, friends, and neighbors to our revival.
We are halfway through this season of Lent. Our readings continue to remind us of this special spiritual journey of conversion. Try not to allow the outside noises ofour troubled world and community loose your focus. Remain focused in this season of Lent. Remind yourselves of our parish theme for Lent... ”By His stripes, We Are Healed.” God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son so that we may be healed guided, restored, and renewed in Him. Continue to have a blessed Lent.
Today we enter the season of Spring. We have turned the corner from a challenging winter season. We look forward to warmer days, blooming trees, green grass, and beautiful flowers that decorate our lawns. We thank God for the seasons we experience and the beauty of nature. Enjoy this season of Spring.
As we enter this season of Spring, we continue our spiritual journey in this season of Lent. We continue our call to prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. I encourage you to deepen your relationship with Christ through spiritual readings, offering a half hour or more in prayer. I also encourage you to participate in the Rice Bowl Campaign. This is part of the call to almsgiving. Finally, try to offer up anything that hinders you from developing your relationship with Christ. If what we do goes against the Ten Commandments or the teachings of the church, pray for the grace and strength to do what God wants us to do.
In our Gospel story for today's Mass, we hear about Jesus cleansing the temple. What He is doing is cleaning out all the negative things that block us from coming closer to God and deepening our relationship with Him. By His cleansing, He offers us redemption and a new spiritual life.
May we adhere to what is asked of us, so we may truly experience God‘s love and mercy.
Unfortunately the east coast continues to experience the challenges of this freezing weather. We have to hold onto patience, for the season of spring is quickly approaching. As we pray for patience, we pray for the people in the New England areas who has it worse than us. We also pray for those without heat in their homes and those living in the streets. As the saying goes: We have to get through it, to get to it." Spring is coming.
I want to thank those parishioners who are inviting family and friends to worship with us. You are hearing the call and accepting our 2015 goal with enthusiasm and pride. I encourage all our parishioners to invite someone to worship with us.
I also want to encourage everyone to participate in our Parish Lenten Journey. Lent comes around once a year. We are encouraged to set aside some time in a special way to develop, increase our faith, and be reminded of what Jesus has done for us. Let us not take His love for granted, but thank Him for His love patience, mercy, and invitation to deepen our covenant with Him. This invitation to deepen our relationship with Christ is ongoing. We hear about this invitation from our readings for today's Sunday Mass. Whenever we come to Mass, we renew this covenant God has made with us. We are assured of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and we commit ourselves to loving and obeying Him. I pray we all have a wonderful and spirit-filled season of Lent. Be blessed, be uplifted, and grow in holiness.
This past week, Pope Francis declared Archbishop Oscar Romero from Salvador a martyr. Archbishop Romero was murdered while celebrating Mass. He spoke against the government regarding the injustice of their countrymen and their neglect of the poor. Archbishop Romero was a man of service even to his horrible death.
Today’s Gospel makes it clear: we are meant for service. As soon as Jesus heals Simon’s mother—in-law, she begins to serve. And Jesus, who would rather rest himself, works every day and all hours healing and preaching. How do we offer service to others? Do we help with our Helping Hands for the Hungry Program; or taking food to the homebound through our Aid for Friends Program; or make a meal for our Aid for Friends Program; or volunteer around the parish in some capacity; or do we check up on parishioners we do not see; or mentor to our young people? Are we like Job who complained and act miserable all the time? We are obligated to attend Mass every Sunday, but we are also obligated to be of service to others. If you are not volunteering in any way, think of a way you can be of service within our parish or around our community. All of us are meant for service.
We seem to be experiencing a roller coaster of winter weather. One week the weather is mild for this time of the year, the next is snowy and ice conditions , and the week after that is unpredictable. Whatever type of weather people appropriately, keep washing your hands, and try to stay healthy.
As we enter into this month of historical remembrance, take advantage of reading some black history facts, or share some black history event with others, especially with our young people. if you like the movies, go and see the movie "Selma". It is enlightening, educational, and inspiring.
Our readings today, especially our Gospel, l reminds us how inspired the people of that time were when listening to Jesus. Those gathered to hear Jesus are "astonished" by his teaching, but everyone didn’t follow what he preached. Some continued to do their own thing. When we hear the Gospel preached to us, do we respond to the Lord’s authority with the necessary conversion of heart that it demands? Jesus is only able to give us a new outlook on life when our openness transcends mere listening and moves toward real obedience.
As we listen to these stories of Jesus teaching with authority, what authority does Jesus have in our lives? How do we respond to his message?
Once again I call upon your patience and assistance. Every now and then it is posted in our parish bulletin asking everyone to pray for our Country, Community, Church and Family. I am encouraging you to keep up with this prayer. Let us not become callous every time we hear on the television or the radio about violence committed to another person. Lately it is a constant news feed. We have to take a moment and remember in our daily prayer these petitions. We need respect for human life and peace in our streets.
Next week we welcome seminarians from St. Charles Seminary who will come and worship with us. As always, it is a blessing to our parish when we welcome visitors who worship with us. I ask you to invite your friends and family members to come and worship with us as well.
Our gospel for today continues the theme of invitation, discipleship, and mission. Christ invites those special men to follow Him, then He commissions them to become His disciples so that His message can be proclaimed to all people. Christ calls us as well to be His followers, His disciples. May we never stop listening to Him. May we allow Him to Work and speak, and act through us. May what we say and do be about Jesus, and not about us. Come and follow Jesus, be His disciples in your life journey.
Today we begin the season of Ordinary Time. It is a time when nothing “special” is happening during this liturgical season. While nothing “special” is happening, we continue to remain focused with our eyes toward the kingdom of God. We remain focused listening to the Word of God and living it in our daily lives. During this Ordinary Time, we focus on how we proclaim God's word; how we can be disciples welcoming and inviting others to worship with us at St. Cyprian Church.
We also celebrate the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. His legacy is a testament to what a true disciple of Jesus Christ really is. Dr. King lived, breathed, preached, and practiced what Christ is calling all of us to do. Of course, we can honor Dr. King by doing what he did during his brief life time. May his holiday be more than a sleep-in, or bargain shopping. May it be an opportunity to demonstrate in our lives how we are called to disciple for Christ.
In our readings for today’s Mass, Christ issued an invitation to follow him, learn from Him, and then go forth from Him proclaiming His message. May we accept Christ invitation and truly live as disciples for Him.
Today we conclude the season of Christmas. It is now the time to put away our Christmas decorations until next year. While the business of the Christmas season is history, we look forward to more exciting events. This includes the celebration in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; Black History Month, events for World Meeting of Families, and yes, the season of Lent. We have a short time to rest before future parish, and outside parish events, begin. I look forward to celebrating these events with you.
Again, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all our parishioners who participated in our Christmas season liturgical events. Your presence at Mass, your contribution to the special Christmas collections, and the Giving Tree, and your on—going support to our parish is greatly appreciated. St. Cyprian Parish Community is wonderful to work with, pray with, and commune with. Thank you for who you are to me and to each other.
In today's Gospel we hear the voice of God calling Jesus His "beloved Son." All of you are God’s beloved sons and daughters, for you have accepted the way ofthe Gospel as your way of life. You try your best to live the Gospels by what you say and do. Because of this, you are called "God's Belovedl" What a wonderful title to be called by. Reflect on this title, and reflect what it really means to you. Hopefully you will feel proud to be called "God's Beloved!”
The Year 2014 brought many blessings, fulfillment, accomplishments, and hope. It also brought challenges, disappointments, and sadness. In any case, we were blessed to make it to another year.
We are in our fourth day of the New Year. We ask God's blessings and continued presence and promises to journey with us in the year of 2015. May he be with us in our good time and those possible challenging moments. Happy and Blessed 2015 to each of you.
I want to thank our visiting family members and friends, as you worship with us today. You grace us with your presence. We are embarking on a special time in the Archdiocese, especially with the World Meeting of Families. Your present today at Saint Cyprian is helping to move toward that "celebration of family" in September. Thank you for being here today and please return and worship with us again.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, the visit from the Three Wise Men to Jesus. The Wise Men were struck with awe and enthusiasm when they laid their eyes upon the Messiah. In their enthusiasm they presented to Jesus gifts and the promise to tell others about Him.
We visit with Jesus every Sunday. He offers to us many gifts, especially His gifts of Word and Eucharist. When we leave Mass, we are encouraged to share these gifts He offers us with that same enthusiasm and joy.
May we use our gifts, whatever they may be, to bring joy, hope, gladness, and excitement to others. And may we always proclaim Jesus Christ in our speech and actions.