Happy Easter!!!

Posted by on Apr 15, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized | 0 comments

In the name of St. Joseph’s Parish, we would like to wish you all a happy Easter. This is time to appreciate the sacrifice of Christ, the Lord of Lords. May you feel the hope of new beginnings, love and happiness during this joyful holiday. Easter brings us God’s favour and blessings to remind us that His love endures forever. God bless you all.

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Sunday Homily – Sixth Sunday of Easter

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Homily for May 1, 2016 Sixth Sunday of Easter Each year during Easter, we hear large sections of the Acts of the Apostles – part of the story of the early community. While we are presented with a rather idealized picture of that community for the most part, every now and then we see the humanity of those early Christians peeking through in the story. Today is one of those moments. Great discussion developed, and no little controversy, because of the insistence of some of the Christians of Jewish origin that Gentile Christians must be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses in order to be part of the community. We see that the community dealt with difficult issues by talking things through, in faith, under the guidance of the Spirit. They trusted in the promise made by Jesus in today’s Gospel that the Spirit would be with them as guide, teacher, comforter, advocate, lawyer, friend. That trust is identified in the announcement to the communities: “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and ourselves” – the apostles and elders discussed and debated, but trusted in the guidance of the Holy Spirit in making their decision. We may not have such weighty matters to decide in our local community, but we are constantly challenged to reflect on our life in community, on our attitudes and actions. During the week, I received an email with this short story, which I believe is a parable for our times and our community: A little boy wanted to meet God.  He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.  When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man.  He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons.  The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase.  He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips.  He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer.  Again, he smiled at him.  The boy was delighted!  They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.  As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug.  He gave him his biggest smile ever. When the boy...

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Sunday Homily – 4th Sunday of Lent

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Fourth Sunday of Lent March 5th, 2016 When we hear Scripture passages often, we sometimes fall prey to the temptation to tune out – we’ve heard it before, we know what the parable is, and we start working on our grocery list for the trip to the store after Mass or our to-do list for the coming week. However, we must remember that the Word of God is living and active, that it speaks to us in a new and different way each time we encounter the Word. So we might ask ourselves, what does the Parable of the Prodigal Son say to us today, as individuals and as community, in St. Joseph’s Parish in Ottawa. Luke uses a phrase in his story of the younger son that is informative for us today. He says “he came to himself” when he was at his lowest and saw no future for him feeding the pigs in the field. We can use this phrase to reflect on who God made us to be and continues to call us to be each day of our lives. What is this journey to which we have been called, and where are we on the journey? Let’s look at each character in the parable and reflect on those questions. As we look at the two sons, we can also look at the father in relation to the sons, as well as looking at him on his own. First, we have the younger son. The younger son cannot wait to be away from his father. He makes a choice that is almost incomprehensible. He tells his father that he cannot wait for the father to die in order that he can receive his inheritance. In effect, he is telling the father that he is already dead in his own mind, and he wants his inheritance now! His greatest desire is to be away from the father and to live life in the way he chooses, without reference or restraint. The father gives his son the freedom to make his own choices – for good or for bad. He respects his son’s freedom, no matter how much the choices the son makes might grieve his heart. He lets the son go. As we look at the son, we realize that his motivations stem from self-centeredness, greed, lack of respect and love for his father and family and heritage and a stubborn unwillingness to respond to the wisdom offered by the father and community. To what extent do I give in to those same inclinations? What are the areas where I need healing, forgiveness and continued growth. Finally, Luke says, the younger son “came to himself”. He determined...

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Sunday Homily – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by on Feb 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time February 7th, 2016 Many years ago, while hearing confessions on a Saturday afternoon, I gave a penitent a simple penance: When you attend Mass tomorrow, you are to receive communion. I don’t know where the idea came from, as there had not really been anything in the confession that would point in that direction, but there it was! Immediately, with a shocked look on her face, the woman asked: “Father, do you know what you are asking?” My reply was that I didn’t really know what I was asking or why I was giving this particular penance, as I had never done that before, but I still wanted her to do that as her penance. The next day after Mass, the woman came to me in tears, asking if she could speak with me. In the conversation, she shared that for many years she had not received  communion because she felt she was unworthy, even though she celebrated Reconciliation on a very regular basis. As she received that day, for the first time in about 20 years, she experienced a tremendous peace and joy, and knew in her heart that God loved her and that she was worthy of receiving this gift. We see somewhat the same situation in the readings today. Isaiah is called to be a prophet and Peter is called to be a disciple. Both have great reasons why this cannot be. They, in their own way are asking God: do you know what you are asking? Isaiah’s excuse is that he is a man of unclean lips and lives among a people of unclean lips. In other words, he is not worthy to speak God’s Word to Israel. How could God be possibly asking him to speak the Word Before Peter has an inkling of who Jesus might be, he protests Jesus’ instruction to put out their nets – it is daytime, they normally fish only at night, and although they fished all night, there were no fish to be found! But Peter humours Jesus and puts down the nets. As realization dawns, Peter uses much the same argument as Isaiah did: Go away from me, for I am a sinful man! Jesus calls us to be disciples, apostles, to continue his mission of proclaiming the Good News and building God’s Kingdom in our world. Jesus reminds us over and over again that we are loved unconditionally by God, and that nothing we do will ever cause God to withhold that love. And yet how often are we like the penitent, like Isaiah and Peter? How often do we say to God: “Do you know what you are asking? Can...

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Sunday Homily – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time January 17th, 2016   World Day of Migrants and Refugees As we celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, God’s Word calls us to reflect on the needs of migrants and refugees and our response to their need. As we look at the Word, we find  references to gifts and to being blessed, renewed and encouraged. Israel is encouraged through the words of Isaiah to trust in God’s love for them, a love that will renew and bless them. Their shame and humiliation will be taken away and God will embrace them in love and give them a new name. Just as Jesus was proclaimed as God’s Son, the Beloved, in the Gospel last week, so Israel is proclaimed as God’s Delight. No longer is there any separation or alienation, but God and Israel are united once again in a loving, covenant relationship. John, in the Cana story focuses on the blessing that Jesus gives the young couple, their families and all those gathered. In the gift of the water turned to wine, Jesus renews the spirit of those gathered and enables the couple and their families the means to celebrate the gift of the marriage relationship and of community. St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians has two centres of focus: the diversity of gifts found in the community, and God whose love and creativity are manifested through those gifts, just as the wine at Cana is a symbol of that love and creativity. The Corinithian community was a very diverse community, made up of members from all classes of society. In the  world of that community, many people depended on the generosity of benefactors to provide for many of their needs. In that context, gifts could have many different meanings: they could be a reward or a sign of favour; they could be a symbol of love or friendship; they could be a bribe or an incentive to co-operate in some project or they could be an expression of gratitude, sorrow or joy. In this context, gifts could be very divisive in a community, setting up different classes of people and causing anger, hurt and isolation. These same gifts could also bring out very different reactions, depending on whether one received a gift or not. Paul’s other focus flows from the insight that all gifts come from God and thus everyone is equally gifted, although the gifts vary. The question now is not who is more or less gifted but what God intends for us to do with what we have received. Paul is quite clear that all the gifts are given by God and God activates all of them through the Holy...

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