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 Diving 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
1. Ezekiel 37: 12-14
Response: "With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption"
2. Rom. 8: 8-11
Gos: Jn. 11: 1-45
The message of today's readings is that the Lord will bring us to new life, to resurrection and new life through death.
The people of Israel were in exile in Egypt. They were very sad and depressed, with little hope of returning to their homeland. But through the prophet God is reassuring them that he would soon lead them back to their home. The people were so to say in graves, but the Lord says, " O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them". I am the Lord, ... I have promised, and I will do it". Some years later he did exactly what he said he would do.
In the second reading St. Paul also gives the message: "the One who raided Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also".
The raising of Lazarus takes place when Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. That was the last time Jesus was going to the big city and he knew that there he would be put to death on a cross. But that would not be the end, because he would rise from the dead to the glory of the resurrection. For, "I am the resurrection and the life". Not only he would rise to new life, after death, but to all who believe in him will never die for ever.
Jesus asked Martha and Mary: "do you believe in this", that "everyone who lives and believes in me will never die". He asks the same question to us too: 'Do you believe that I am the resurrection and the life, that I will raise everyone who believes in me to the new life of the resurrection and eternal life in heaven'.
We believe exactly that,and that is why we follow him. Lent is a preparation to deepen our faith and commitment to Jesus. Let us do that in a very special way and more intensely today.
Jesus commanded Lazarus: "Lazarus, come out" and the dead man came out his grave. We too are in graves, in fact several graves: the graves of our fear (especially these when all are truly worried and anxious due to the corona virus)' the graves of our sins, the graves of all our evil habits such as hatred, jealousy, pride, uncontrollable anger, bias, sexual perversions, alcoholism, drugs, selfishness, ..... Jesus commands us too to come out of all such graves and to live the new life of trust in God, obedience to Him, love for Him and for others for His sake. Let us try to live this kind of life in Christ.
1. Jeremiah 11: 18-20
Resp. "O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge"
Gos. Jn. 7: 40-53
Both the prophet Jeremiah and Jesus knew the plots of evildoers against them. But they fully trusted in God. In the midst of the crisis we are in, even though it is not the result of anyone plotting against us, we too are like the prophet and Jesus, and we too place our trust and confidence in God. Before his passion our Lord prayed in the garden in tears asking the Father to strengthen him and be with him. Let us do the same. Like Jeremiah let us also pray: "O Lord, my God in you I take refuge".
The gospel shows us how people were divided among themselves because of Jesus. But Jesus wanted his followers to have strong faith and trust in him. He asks the same from us too. Let us cling to him, more than ever at this time, giving ourselves fully into his loving embrace. He is loving Savior and he will never desert us.
1. Wis. 2: 1a, 12-22
Resp. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted"
Gos. Jn. 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30
What we see in the first reading is some people who did not believe in survival after death plotting the destruction of a righteous person because his life was a constant rebuke to their evil ways. But God vindicates the righteous, as verse 23 of this chapter says, "God formed us to be imperishable, the image of his own nature he made us".
Jesus knew full well that he would be put to death on a cross. But he valiantly and fully sticks to the mission his Father gave him, because he too was certain that the Father would ultimately bring him to glory. We too suffer in life, suffer a lot. A time like what we are going through now most especially shows this. But, just like in the case of Jesus, God will bring us also to glory. That is what gives us strength and confidence. As Paul says, 'We know in whom we trust'.
The Jewish leaders wanted to put Jesus to death essentially for the same reason as the opponents of the righteous one in the first reading, namely his message challenged them. The message of Jesus is always challenging; the Lord does not accept mediocrity or indifference. He wants us to be with him. we cannot pick and choose, but to follow him totally, with all that it implies. The only other option is to reject him and his message and court eternal condemnation.
1. Ex. 32: 7-14
Response: "Remember us O Lord, as you favor your people".
Gospel: Jn. 5: 31-47
The first reading tells us of how Moses intervenes with God not to punish the people in spite of their grave offense and God relents. We need to do the same: plead with God for the forgiveness of our own sins and the sins of all people everywhere. Lent is a very special time, a time of great graces given by God for us to be more truly conscious of our offences again him and to plead for forgiveness and to do penance.
The gospel tells us that many of the Jewish people did not accept Jesus and his message because of their obstinacy and spiritual blindness. It can happen to us also; we too can be blind to our sinfulness and our need of forgiveness. God offers forgiveness, but unless we seek it in humility and sorrow, his desire to forgive us cannot and will not get into our souls.
Readings of the Mass:
1st. Isaiah 7: 10-14
Resp. "Here I am Lord; I come to do your will"
2nd. Hebrews 10: 4-10
Gospel Luke 1: 26-38
It is God who comes to save humanity. It is God who takes the needed action for our salvation. It is He who sends the angel to announce to Mary of the coming of the Savior.
At least in practical terms, we often behave as if we take care of ourselves. We rely on our skills, our expertise, our health, our money, our savings in the bank, our investments, etc. We forget what the Psalmist says in Psalm 27: "unless the Lord builds the city in vain is the work of the laborers". The corona situation reminds us of how precarious human life is and how much we need God.
2. Many things in life frighten us. Right now we are scared of the Corona virus! But the Lord tells us again and again not to be afraid, that he is still with us; just the same thing which the angel told Mary who was very disturbed at the Annunciation. What the Lord tells her through Gabriel, He tells us also: "Do not be afraid; I am with you, still with you; in the midst of whatever happens, no matter what.
3. Trusting in God is often very hard, especially at a time like this. If God is with us why all this! Mary too did not understand much of the meaning of the Annunciation. How could she understand the implications of what she heard! How could she ever think of having one day to stand beneath the cross of her dying son! Yet she trusted God and obeyed.
So, in the midst of all this fear and anxiety too, let us also say with the Psalmist: "Here I am Lord, I come to do your will". LET US ALSO ASK THE GOOD LORD TO STRENGTHEN OUR TRUST AND OUR OBEDIENCE, because we know how weak our faith and trust are.
1. Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12
Response: The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Gospel: John 5: 1- 16
The prophet Ezekiel is speaking to the people of Israel who are in exile. He is assuring them that their redemption is not far. That is the meaning of the water flowing from under the Temple. We too are in exile: that in more than one way. As long as we are on this earth we are away from our homeland, which is heaven.
At this time we are in exile in another very serious and painful way as well, namely we cannot have our church open and have our common worship of the Lord; how badly we miss our masses together! And, we don't know how long this situation is going to last. The Lord promises that he will be with us and lead us safely through this as well. Let us put our trust in him.
In the gospel Jesus cures a helpless man who had been ill for 38 long years. Nothing is impossible to the Lord whom we follow. The man acknowledges his helplessness and the Lord immediately gives him what he needs. Let us also bring our helplessness to him, especially at this very critical and frightening time and he will surely hear us. As the Psalmist says: "The Lord of hosts is with us". He is our stronghold. Let us together bring to him our need of the ending of the corona virus.
Hi my people of St. Callistus,
Here are some very supportive, comforting and strengthening Bible verses for you to read and think about in these very scary times:
Psalms: 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd); 91 (You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High);
121 (I raise my eyes to the mountains)
Gospels: Mathew 7: 25-34; Mt. 28: 20; Lk.12: 22-32
God be with all of us, watch over us and protect us. And all people everywhere.