FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER


    In today’s gospel passage Jesus draws upon imagery associated with sheep herding. His listeners were aware of the practice of herding the sheep into a protective corral during the night to protect them from wild animals and thieves. In the spiritual sense, there are times when we are the thieves who claim to be concerned about the sheep (other people) but deceive them by offering quick fixes, which promise salvation without the need of painful personal conversion. People wrongly think that if we go through certain external rituals or by certain special prayers, we will find salvation in spite of our attachment to sin and other selfish behaviors. Or that reaching an emotional pitch of fervor, which cannot be maintained, will guarantee our future happiness. Prayers and rituals and fervor are wonderful and necessary, but only when they lead to real conversion from selfish tendencies to genuine concern for others as Jesus taught. This means that it is only through the door of Jesus’ teachings that one can find true salvation for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life

Do you know the peace and security of the Good Shepherd who watches over his own? The Old Testament often speaks of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God's people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
Jesus made three promises to his followers. He promised them everlasting life. If they accept him and follow him, they will have the life of God in them. Jesus also promised them a life that would know no end. Death would not be the end but the beginning; they would know the glory of indestructible life. Jesus promised a life that was secure. Jesus said that nothing would snatch them out of his hand, not even sorrow and death, since he is everlasting life itself. Our lives are safe in his hands.
Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd who calls you to himself?
The words which Jesus spoke upset many of the Jewish leaders. How could he speak with the same authority which God spoke and claim to be equal with God? He must either be insane or divine. Unfortunately some thought he was mad even though he cured a man who was blind from birth. We are faced with the same choice. Either Jesus is who he claims to be - the Son of God and Savior of the world - or the world's greatest deluder! We cannot be indifferent to his claim. For those who accept him as Lord and Savior he offers the peace and security of unending life and joy with God. Do you know the peace and security of a life fully submitted to Christ?

Confirmation - April 23 is the speaker night for students, teachers, parents and sponsors. All are requested to be in the church by 7pm for Sister Helena's talk on social media.

April 30 - Fr. Damien is back for his second talk for the parents. Students will be downstairs in class and all parents and sponsors will be upstairs in the church.

First Holy Communion - Congratulations to all those who received their First Holy Communion today. Thanks also to Bev. O'Grady for taking the classes.

SPRING CONCERT - May 12 is our next concert with Coro San Marco. Tickets are $20.00 and are on sale at the back of the church today and from the office during the week. This is a parish fund-raiser so come out and enjoy the beautiful music from Coro San Marco.

I hope you have a great week...

Fr. Phil

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER




Aren't we like the apostles? We won’t believe unless we can see with our own eyes. The Gospel accounts attest to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Jesus goes to great lengths to assure his disciples that he is no mere ghost or illusion. He shows them the marks of his crucifixion and he explains how the Scriptures foretold his death and rising.

Jerome (347-420 AD), an early church bible scholar, comments:
"As he showed them real hands and a real side, he really ate with his disciples; really walked with Cleophas; conversed with men with a real tongue; really reclined at supper; with real hands took bread, blessed and broke it, and was offering it to them... Do not put the power of the Lord on the level with the tricks of magicians, so that he may appear to have been what he was not, and may be thought to have eaten without teeth, walked without feet, broken bread without hands, spoken without a tongue, and showed a side which had no ribs." (From a letter to Pammachius against John of Jerusalem 34)

The centrality of the Gospel message is the cross - but fortunately it does not stop there. Through the cross Jesus defeated our enemies - death and Satan and won pardon for our sins. His cross is the door to heaven and the key to paradise. The way to glory is through the cross. When the disciples saw the risen Lord they disbelieved for joy! How can death lead to life, the cross to victory? Jesus shows us the way and he gives us the power to overcome sin and despair, and everything else that would stand in the way of his love and truth. Just as the first disciples were commissioned to bring the good news of salvation to all the nations, so, we, too, are called to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to all who live on the face of the earth. Do you witness the joy of the Gospel to those around you?

"Lord Jesus, open our minds to understand the Scriptures that we may fully comprehend the truth of your word. Anoint us with your power and give us joy and boldness to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed."
(Servants of the word, 2018)

   DATES TO REMEMBER

April 21st and 22nd  First Holy Communion Masses
        5pm Saturday evening
        11:30 Sunday Morning
        2pm Sunday Afternoon

I hope you have a great week...


Fr. Phil

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER



I hope you enjoyed our Easter Liturgies and they were meaningful for you. Many people helped in the process and I would like to thank them. The Ministers of Welcome, Lectors, Ministers of Communion and the Altar Servers did a wonderful job. The palms on Palm Sunday and Good Friday added to the ceremonies and I would like to thank Jennifer Theile and Carmen Jansz for their generosity in making the palms. The flowers were contributed by The Applemarket and I would like to thank James Tiveron for his generosity once again. The flowers were arranged by Ellen Kolwich and Norma Dac and I thank them for their hard work in making the church look so nice for Easter. Thank you to our Youth Group for doing the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Our webmaster, Luis Gomes, is to be thanked too for keeping our website up to date. Thanks to Barbara-Anne Krampart and Silvio Fernandes for leading the RCIA candidates, Gary Grant, Shenese Gibson and Stevan Kraguljac, to the church.  Thanks to the Dream Team for preparing the reception after the Easter Vigil. The food was delicious.  I would like to thank our 2 choirs for their wonderful music over the last three days: The Senior Choir, directed by Anthony Bastianon and the Folk Choir, directed by Sean Bator. Your music was a great addition to our Easter Liturgies. Thanks to Fr. Roger for his help on Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. Finally, I would like to thank all the parishioners who came out to experience our Easter Liturgies and hope that they were very meaningful for you. Thanks to all who contributed to our Holy Week Schedule.

Thomas was the apostle who didn’t believe the woman that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Thomas loved the Lord but he lacked to courage to stand with him in his passion and crucifixion. He ran away and stayed by himself after Jesus died and preferred loneliness rather than fellowship with the others. When Thomas finally got the strength to join the other Apostles, he recognized Jesus and immediately said, “My Lord and My God”.

I hope you have a great week!

Fr. Phil