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Masses and Devotions **

**(Suspended until further notice)

Saturday Mass        8:30 am   Saturday Vigil      5:15 pm

Sunday Masses      8:00 am     10:00 am     12:00 noon

Children's Liturgy  Sunday Mass 10:00 am (Sept - May)

Weekday Mass       8:30 am Daily

Holy Day of Obligation Masses      8:30 am and 7:30 pm

Reconciliation:   Saturday     4:00 pm to  4:45 pm (other times by appointment with Priest)

Rosary and Chaplet of the Divine Mercy - Monday thru Saturday after the 8:30 am Mass

Holy Hour and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - Every Wednesday 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Mother of Perpetual Help:  Every Thursday after the 8:30 am Mass

Hispanic Prayer Group - Every First and Third Thursday  7:00 pm

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - Every First Friday  9:00 am - 3:00 pm Benediction 3:00 pm

Click here for

Bishops Letter May 13, 2020 (English)

Click here for

Bishops Letter May 13, 2020 (Espanol)

PREVIOUS READINGS and MESSAGES

Sunday September 13th Reflection:

One of Nelson Mandela’s notable traits was his being a forgiving person. Early accounts about him however say that before he was arrested sometime in 1962, he was filled with so much anger. But when he was released, everyone was surprised because he was talking about reconciliation and forgiveness and never about revenge.

The readings today talk about forgiveness. In the gospel, the response of Jesus to Peter who was clarifying: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must i forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” In other words, forgiving and being forgiven have no limits.

 

What does forgiveness mean? To forgive does not mean that it did not happen ( yes it happened). To forgive does not mean it did not hurt. ( yes, it hurt). To forgive means that i do not allow that which happened, and that which hurt to become a wall between you and me anymore.

 

Why forgive? First, because you too have been forgiven much. Second, because it is good for you. It is you who suffer as long as you do not forgive.

 

Remember: hatred is like wet cement. The longer you stay in it, the harder it will be for you to get out of it. So, be good to yourself. FORGIVE.

                      Fr. Dante

Sunday September 6th Reflection:

The culture we live in extols individual freedom. Rules and regulations, as well as discipline are not palatable to many. Today's readings are a warning against that mentality.

 

God sent Ezekiel as a prophet to the Israelite's. He sternly tells him of his grave responsibility to remind the people of God's laws, and warns him that he would be held accountable if he fails in admonishing violators. In the gospel Jesus too speaks about the importance of correcting an erring brother or sister.

 

While fraternal correction is a Christian duty, we need to keep a few things in mind in doing it. First, we need to be very careful that we do it only out GENUINE love for the other person. Again, we should not do it with an air of superiority, (an attitude of "I am holier than thou"); It should also be a time of soul searching for ourselves, a true awareness that I myself am a sinner; Another thing is that, before doing it, we should pray and ask God to give us the right words and attitude in doing it.

 

The readings also ask us to be obedient to the Church. It is God who has put bishops and priests in charge of us. God expects that we listen to them and follow their guidance and directives.

 

                      Fr. Jimmy.

Sunday August 30th Reflection:

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” He further added: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

 

A German thinker, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote a book entitled ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ which spells out what he believes it means to follow Christ. In short, following Christ has a cost! And the cost is high. And because the cost is high, are we up to it?

 

Sad to say, some of us if not all are going through life at a very crazy pace and/or at a very fast speed without even knowing where are we going or heading. Many of us have taken the road to perdition and self destruction in our search for money, power and pleasure. Indeed, we ask: What for? At what cost? Why? The bottom line is that all the wealth and power, and all the pleasures of this world will not bring us lasting peace and happiness in this world and especially so, beyond! So slowdown, stay on course and pray that we do not self destruct. Let this pandemic serves as an opportunity to examine our life, our relationships to one another and above all, our relationship to the Divine.

 

While there is still time, let us go back to the road that leads to heaven, because there will come a time when there will be no more time. The best time to go back is NOW! Not tomorrow, not next week, not after you earned another million, not when you retire.

 

Prayer: Lord, if today i hear your voice, let me not harden my heart. Amen.

             Fr. Dante

Sunday August 23rd Reflection:

In today’s gospel, Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Not that He had a self-image problem, He just wanted to know from His very own disciples what they really thought about Him. In other words, He wanted to know the depth of their perception, understanding and commitment.

 

Every so often, we are called to make our personal stand on issues and personalities that divide us. Traditional media and social media should neither confuse nor control us. Our decisions and views must be borne not just out of emotions or ideologies or affiliations, but out of prayer and reflection. What the Master whispers to us in silence we must shout from the rooftops.

 

The big picture is that there is a spiritual warfare between good and evil in this world. We have to make our personal decision and commitment as to which side we are in. If we choose to follow our Master, we should be ready to face oppression, persecution, intimidation, and even death. We have a name for such people who lived for their faith and who did not die in vain—martyrs, we call them.

 

Prayer: Lord, help us to make a stand, and stand up for You, here and now. Amen.

             Fr. Dante

Sunday August 16th Reflection:

This Sunday’s gospel tells the story of a canaanite woman who held on to the Lord with a lot perseverance and faith. All that mattered to her was the healing of her daughter, by any means, and no matter what happened. It was precisely her humble and persevering faith that made Jesus noticed her, give in to her request, and even praised her. She braved the crowd, the apostles, and even the initial refusal of Jesus, just to get her request done. What a great faith, perseverance and humility!

The Canaanite woman teaches us, among other things, the value of persevering prayer. We must pray much, pray well, pray always, pray on. Someone said that “when God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers, don’t hang up. Hang on!” The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear us but that we will finally hear God or listen to God.

 

Sharing with you this inspiring text message: “ just keep praying, keep pleading, and someday your wish will come true. It may not be the exact package you wanted, but it will be according to what God thinks is best for you, all according to His time. Keep believing that God has a plan and that He is in command.”

 

             Fr. Dante

 

Message from Fr. Jimmy 8/8/20

Dear parishioners of St. Callistus,

 

We will take sign ups once again this Sunday after the live streamed Mass, until 12:45 pm. Those who could not sign up last Sunday please do it this time. I need your help to communicate with you faster, better and with less expense.

 

16 young people will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this coming Saturday, August 15 at 11:30 am here in front of our Mary's grotto. Our Bishop Michael Barber will be the celebrant. Unfortunately, because of the Corona situation I cannot invite you to come and participate in the celebration physically. But please be with them and their families, in your prayers and blessings. Please pray that they remain faithful to God and always follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the rest of their life. They are the future of the Church and of our parish.

 

Sister Anita resumes Bible Classes this coming Wednesday, August 12 onward. The classes will be by zoom. Please call her at her office and sign up and make the best of this opportunity  (Number:  (510) 222-0432). Classes are at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm.

 

Fr. Jimmy.

Your pastor. 

Sunday August 9th Reflection:

Are we able to see God, experience his presence, even in difficult situations, when in agony and anguish? Or, how can we find him in such moments?

 

The prophet Elijah in today's first reading tells us how. He is fleeing from the evil queen Jezebel who has vowed to kill him. He is afraid, exhausted, physically and emotionally drained out and he only wishes to die. In fear and trembling he takes shelter in a cave. Then there is a fierce wind, then an earthquake, and then fire. Elijah does not find God in any of them. But then there is a tiny whispering sound. There he hears God's voice.

 

God does not normally come to us in dramatic, portentous ways. He comes in the quiet, in the silence of our hearts. To meet him, especially in bad situations, we need to get into the innermost chambers of our being. He reveals himself there. 

 

This means we need to learn to listen to God within us. We need to sit back, relax, trust in God's love and care for us and ask for his help. We need to listen to his words in the Scriptures and pray. Then we will hear his loving, soothing, comforting and strengthening voice telling us: "Do not be afraid. I am here". Just like Elijah heard it in the cave and the disciples in the storm in the lake.

 

             Fr. Jimmy

Sunday August 2nd Reflection:

In today’s gospel, Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 men, after which they had lots of leftover food. In the beginning, there were only five loaves of bread and two fishes. After Jesus blessed the bread and the fish, there was more than enough food for everyone. A miracle? Yes, but it was more than a miracle. Jesus showed that the real miracle in that gathering was the miracle of sharing, that if people share, there will be enough for everyone. Wonder why a big number of people in the world live below the poverty line? That’s because a very select few have not really learned to share or give.

 

Why is it that some people have too much and some have not enough? Greed. Some people are never satisfied. How much money do you need in life to be happy? When does the raking in stop? When does one say, “enough!” The bottom line is that we take nothing with us when we leave this world except the love that we have shared and the goodness we have done.

 

Someone said that the real test of love is to give not only when it is comfortable and convenient. Do I give till it hurts? Do I allow my compassionate heart to be crushed by my rationalizations and procrastination? How often do I shut out the presence of the suffering around me? Do I give up sharing just because it is uncomfortable or inconvenient?

 

Prayer: Lord help me to share or give till it hurts and even when it makes me uncomfortable or inconvenient. Amen

 

       Fr. Dante

Sunday July 26th Reflection:

I don't think anyone likes rules and regulations. We want to be free, able to do what we want. If anyone has doubts about it, just look at the many people out in public in this severe corona virus situation, without even wearing a mask, in spite of the directives by the state/county!

 

Against this background today's responsorial psalm says, "Lord, I love your commands". Why? Because "the revelation of your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple".

 

Read along with the above words, we can easily see why the young king Solomon prayed for wisdom. He could have asked for more wealth, more power, or a very vast kingdom. But he seeks only "an understanding heart .... to distinguish right from wrong". God is very pleased with his request and grants in abundance what he wanted. No wonder Solomon was such a wise ruler.

 

We need to learn to love God's commands and live by them, because they are "the pearls of great price". When we go our way we meet disaster and misery. But when we walk by God's laws, we find peace and joy in this world and eternal life in the next.

 

       Fr. Jimmy.

Sunday July 19th Reflection:

Someone once said that people who keep saying “Shoot” and “Darn” will eventually go to “Heck.”

 

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus tells us in the Parable of the Sower that the good seed and the weeds are often intertwined, and it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. But Jesus assures us that in due time, there will be a final selection and definition. He further tells us that goodness will triumph over evil.

 

When we look at the evil going on around us, we can’t help but echo the age-old question: “Why does evil seem to prosper and the good seem to suffer?” Yes, the parable assures us that God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows and sees everything, and He is in control. Let us not lose patience or hope. There is a time for reckoning. All in His time.

 

One time someone texted me: “Fr Dante, I pray that you have a long, quality and happy life!” I thought about it and prayed over it. I responded: “Thank you for your prayers. Quality and happy life are good enough for me. Long life? That is for God to say.” More than quantity, let us go for quality. Life is short, death is certain. Let us persevere in prayer, patience and good deeds till the very end, wherever the end.

 

Question: Are we weeds or wheat for God? Are we weeds or wheat for others?

 

Prayer: Lord, may I never forget to be patient, to be prayerful and to be persevering in doing good deeds as I go on with my life till the end. Amen.

 

             Fr. Dante

Sunday July 12th Reflection:

Today and the next two Sundays we hear some of the parables Jesus said about the Kingdom of God. "Parable" comes from  the Greek word 'parabole' and is a figurative speech. Its meaning can be understood only with serious reflection.

 

Today we have the parable of a sower sowing seeds: a very simple thing of ordinary life, but its meaning is profound. The seeds are all the same, of the same good quality. But what it produces, or does not produce, depends on the quality of soil:  well prepared, barren, hard, ...,  etc.

 

Jesus was immediately referring to his own preaching, the word, its productivity or otherwise. Some were enthusiastic and eager and they received his message and followed him, some were indifferent and they couldn't care less, some were outright hostile and they wanted only to do away with him. The word was the same, but the result very different.

 

This parable is often presented as referring to our own receptivity to the words of the Scriptures: open and attentive, indifferent, just casual, etc.  But God speaks to us not only in the Scriptures, but through everything that happens to us, even the very ordinary matters of daily life:  every new day is a gift of God, take it with gratitude and enjoy it properly; the beautiful sun rise, the flowers in the garden, the blue sky, the smile of a baby, the love of friends, the help we give to others, ..., are all God's gifts and speaks to us of his love and goodness to us. As Jesus said, we need to thank God that 'our eyes see what many did not/ does not see. what many wished to hear but did not hear'.

 

             Fr. Jimmy

Sunday July 5th Reflection:

During my short vacation last week, I visited a former parishioner who was very sick. It was a very touching experience not only for the patient but for his family as well, especially when I asked them to be humble and ask for forgiveness from one another. Amid hugs and tears, the walls that separated them all these years just crumbled and melted away in that one moment of peace and reconciliation. Praise God who made it all possible.

 

Why do we have to wait for the last “minute” before we break the walls that divide us and really reach out in humility and love? Please don’t wait for sickness or death to come before we visit or reach out.

 

In today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us to be childlike, to be meek and humble of heart. Those who claim or think they are wise and learned would do well to listen to this. Look at our lives, and the decisions we make. If only we were less proud and more humble, if only we were less complicated and simpler, we would have more meaningful and joyful lives.

 

Right now, is there any burden that is pressing on you? Is there any problem, any person, any situation that is bothering you? You have tried everything, right? Try humility. It is the key. You’ll be amazed how things fall into place, and how you yourself fall into your proper place if you have humility.

 

Prayer: Lord, remind me that I am your child. Help me remain humble, meek and mild. Amen

Fr. Dante

Sunday June 28th Reflection:

There are  two central  themes in the readings of this Sunday: the supreme need of our dying to ourselves and living for Jesus and of eagerly receiving  God's messages and messengers. Both the themes are interrelated.

 

The prophet Elisha lived about 800 years before Christ. He used to go often to Mount Carel to pray. Those were days when there were no hotels or motels. So travelers often had to depend upon the hospitality of the people along the way. Thus Elisha would often stay at the home of an elderly couple who lived near Mount Carmel on his way there. The couple were extremely gracious to him. The first reading speaks of how they were richly rewarded for their kindness to him.

 

Paul reminds us that through baptism we were buried with Jesus and so we must live in the newness of that life. The meaning of Jesus saying that we should not love anyone or anything more than him is the same. Todays' gospel passage is part of the instructions Jesus gave the apostles before sending them to preach in his name. He says: "whoever receives you receives me." It is extremely important that we welcome God's messengers - the Pope, the Bishops and the priests - and listen to their messages and humbly live according to them.

 

           Fr. Jimmy. 

Wednesday July 1st, we celebrate the feast of St. Junipero Serra.

 

Statues honoring him have become a point of tension in recent days. I encourage all to read this profound letter to the faithful by Archbishop José H. Gomez.

 

Español:

https://angelusnews.com/archbishops-esp/carta-a-los-fieles-para-el-memorial-de-san-junipero-serra/

English: 

https://angelusnews.com/voices/letter-to-the-faithful-for-the-memorial-of-st-junipero-serra/

With the assurance of my continued prayers,

 

The Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, S.J.

Bishop of Oakland

Sunday June 21st Reflection 

“Do not be afraid”

 

Surgeon: “Just relax, Michael. Do not be afraid. It’s just a simple surgery.”

 

Patient: “My name isn’t Michael.”

 

Surgeon: “I know, my name is Michael.”

 

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to be afraid because “nothing is concealed that will not be revealed.” Jesus goes on to assure His disciples not to be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Indeed, fear can cripple or even silence us. The bottom line is that we have a Father who loves us, provides for us, and protects us.

 

Have we kept quiet or kept our distance because of fear? Have we taken the safe way in the face of danger, inconvenience, or intimidation? Let us look into our hearts today if we have denied the Lord and His Gospel truths in any way whatsoever. The Lord’s encouragement is clear: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.” The Lord’s warning is equally clear: “But whoever denies me before others I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

 

The best way to overcome our fears is to surrender everything to the Father with trust. We all have fears, real or imagined. A strong relationship with God can help us face and overcome our fears, and it is in prayer that we begin to see the light and gain courage.

 

Today we pray: “Lord, help us to trust more and fear less, to hope more and despair less, to believe more and doubt less, to pray more and talk less, to praise more and criticize less.” amen.

 

Fr. Dante

Sunday June 14th Reflection:

Unless we eat we die. This is true not only of our body but also of our soul. Jesus gives us the food we need for our souls. That is what we celebrate this weekend: the Feast of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

 

The people of Israel had a long journey of 40 years before they could reach the Promised Land. Along the way they faced all kinds of afflictions:  hunger, thirst, heat, exhaustion, disease, serpents, and so on. But God took care of them in spite of all that, especially with the Manna. Now that their journey is about to be over and they would soon take possession of the land God had promised to give them, Moses is concerned that the new found prosperity and comfort of that land might make them forget the Lord's mercies and goodness to them. So he reminds them of the various dangers and difficulties they had along the way, but how God protected them, especially of His feeding them with the manna. 

 

We too are on a long journey, a life-long journey until we reach our Promised Land, heaven. We too face difficulties and 'afflictions' along the way. We too need help and strength in this perilous and hard journey. Just as for the Israelites, for us too, the Lord is the one who provides what we need. That help and food is the Eucharist. Jesus who gave his life for our sake on Calvary also gives us his own Body and Blood as our nourishment along the way. He assures us that His Body and Blood guarantees our eternal life. "The one who feeds on me will have life because of me.  .... whoever eats this bread will live forever". The Eucharist is our life and salvation. Let us have a deep love and devotion to the Holy Eucharist.

 

                   Fr. Jimmy. 

Sunday June 7th

1st: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9

Response: Glory and praise for ever!

2nd: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Gospel: John 3:16-18

Reflection:

 

Holy Trinity

 

Today is Trinity Sunday. In today’s gospel, we hear the most important verse in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” What a consolation, what a joy, to know that we are loved, and that we are called to share in the life and love of the Trinity- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 

The good news also is that we are all welcome into the Trinitarian circle of love. We are all unworthy servants, but we all have been invited to God’s very heart. What a blessing, what a privilege!

 

It is a privilege to be connected with the Trinity. We have not only instant but also unlimited access. And not only that, we have an interactive access within our reach. With the Trinity, a network is always available, unlimited and toll-free.

 

Please remember that life is a journey. The journey can be difficult filled with tears and fears, and it can also be a very lonely journey. The biggest assurance and consolation in our journey through life is that we are journeying with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit are always with us.

 

Our journey then is a journey with the Trinity and to the Trinity. Our life has a direction. We have a final destination, Heaven, where we will be fully united with the Trinity. So may the Holy Triune God live in our hearts now and in eternity. On the road WITH the Trinity, TO the Trinity.

 

Fr. Dante

Hi, St. Callistus parishioners,

 

Once again, let me remind you that today is Pentecost which is the third most important feast in the Liturgical calendar of the Church. We remember the Holy Spirit coming upon the apostles transforming them entirely and once for all into solid, committed disciples on fire for their Master, ready to lay down their life for Him and for His gospel. I ask you to pray to the Holy Spirit fervently to change us also into disciple of Jesus who love him more than anything and anyone else and Jesus becomes all in all for us.

 

Today is also the last day of May, and May is the month specifically dedicated to devotion to our Blessed Mother. Mary's role in the salvation history is unique; she is the one God, the Father, designated as the Mother of all believers in Jesus and she has been fulfilling that role so well ever since. During the last several years we used to pray the rosary in front of our grotto here for her, remembering her apparitions and message at Fatima. Due to corona we could not do that this year. But on this final day of May I would ask and hope that you will pray the rosary in her honor in your homes and pray for her intercessions for you and for the parish and for me and for Fr. Dante.

 

I hope to see many of you today here at the Church to receive Holy Communion. Remember also to pass the info to your friends and family that we are giving Communion outside the Church until we are able to open our Church and celebrate Mass there. Please also pray that the day when we can worship God inside our Church comes sooner than later.

 

With all the grace and blessings of the feast of Pentecost,

 

Fr. Jimmy

Your Pastor.

 

©2014 Saint Callistus El Sobrante

3580 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante, CA 94803 

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