Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete Sunday

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-12-09 00:00:00

Joy in God’s surprises

Dear Brothers and sister in Christ, today is the third Sunday of advent, which is also called Gaudete Sunday. We are exhorted to rejoice, for the Lord is near. In today’s gospel Jesus sent a word to John the Baptist, the prophesies of old are being fulfilled. The sick find healing, the dead were restored to life, the gospel is proclaimed to the poor. His word remains true even today. Do we find consolation and joy in our experiences of healing, restoration and salvation? Do we rejoiced when the poor are served or are we looking for other signs? Today we want to focus on what has met of joy, the joy that has come from the Lord? Usually it comes with God’s surprising ways. I know we do not want to be surprised. We want to control our lives. We plan every minute of our life. If surprise comes as disruption of our plans then we do not become joyful. Dear brothers and sisters, let us open the eyes of our faith. Sometimes even the surprises do not match our plans are probably the cause of real joy. In the first reading people are called, God’s people were undergoing exile of Babylonian captivity. They probably deserved it as many times they have been unfaithful to God, many times they chose other gods and they just forgot what God has done for them. This exile was a sign to them that they have abandoned their God and abandoned their identity as God’s people, but the prophecy of Isiah comes as a surprise: God will come to rescue his people, God will come to vindicate them, God will save them and God will lead them home. So from the so called desert of exile of shame, guilt, surprisingly God will come not to condemn, not to announce to them that they will remain abandoned. The surprise is that God continue to love them and God will lead them home. The images of the desert are becoming alive, flowers will bloom, and water will gushed forth. All of these point to the surprising act of salvation of God. This is a cause of joy because the salvation was undeserved. It is surprising. We would have expected judgment, condemnation and abandonment but God showed us love and mercy, which is undeserved. We have another image, how God will restore the poor. The blind will recover their sight, the dumb will speak the praises of God, and the lamb will walk. The joy comes from God’s action towards the poor, sinners even the guilty. God will restore them. All those judged by society and counted as nothing even dirty, God will show His might through them and in them. This is a singular, a unique cause of joy for the might God, which manifests God’s might in the poor. The surprise is that God comes to save and brings so much joy. God bless you!

Second Sunday of Advent: The Gift of Harmony 

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-12-03 00:00:00

Good Day! It is the second Sunday of Advent. In today’s Gospel we will hear about John the Baptist exhorting the people to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He goes around preaching with zeal and baptizing people with water for repentance, in the preparation for the One who is to come and who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Dear brothers and sister, at advent we are presented with same exhortation to repent and reform our lives. We are encouraged to imitate John the Baptist in preparing the way of the Lord by living a life of humility and prophetic boldness, so that God’s harmony may reign. Let us reflect together on the first reading from prophet Isiah. Who is Jesus? What does he bring to us? First reading from Isiah which scholars call “Book of Emanuel”. Who is this future king? Emanuel: God with us. According to Isaiah, this future king will come as a shoot that will sprout. Remember that the kingdom of David, for all its good characteristics and achievements was also quite weak and feeble kingdom. There were so many ups and downs, dark moments, some people even say, that the kingdom of David had moments of decertification, dryness. It was an experience of the desert without fruitfulness but in the midst of that desert a shoot will sprout from the stump of Jessie, and this almost impossible gift from God in the desert of existence, he will be filled with the Spirit of God. He will come from the life of Jessie but he is very different: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the lord, and justice. He will restore justice. He will be faithful to the gift of Spirit. The gift of Spirt is given to us but sometimes without fidelity to spirit, we might lose it. This future king will receive blessing from above and he will be faithful to it. He will inaugurate the reign of justice. This reign of justice that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that anoints this King will bring about harmony. Dear brothers and sisters, look at the images: wolf will be with lamb, calf with lion, the cow, the bear will be neighbors, and a child will lead them. Harmony, coming together of contrary and conflicting forces, they will find a way to be neighbors, and they will find new landscape, a landscape where each one could be with the others. If this happens because of this Emmanuel, then even the gentiles according to Isaiah will come to the holy mountain. They will seek the Lord, and the Jews and the gentiles will live in harmony. What a beautiful vision. How we pray that this is happening now, please come now, you Emmanuel, please come. We hopefully see in your spirit-filled person and reign this gift of harmony.

Third Sunday of Easter

Mistreatment and Love in Mission

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-05-05 00:00:00

Good Day! John in the Gospel narrates to us another appearance of the Risen Lord. This time, the apostles have returned to Galilee. They tried fishing whole night but caught nothing. Only when the Risen lord instructed them to lower their nets then their labors became fruitful. He invited them to eat with him some of the fish they had caught. Towards the end of the narrative John, the apostle recounts Peter’s confession of love for Jesus and Lord’s instruction to him to feed his lambs and tend his sheep. My dear brothers and sisters, the Risen Lord can look past Peter’s unfortunate denial of him and restored his dignity as the one who would shepherded his flock out of love for Jesus.

We continue to reflect on mark of Jesus’ life, person and ministry and also the mark of the church and all of us as missionaries and followers of Jesus Christ. In this beautiful 24th chapter of St. John’s gospel, we are back to the figure of Peter and other disciples. The first part is the fruitless labor of fishing. This could be an image of hardship early disciples and early church have experienced in the beginning of their mission. After all Jesus promised them, they will be fishermen of human beings. In those first years after the resurrection, there was no catch. They felt like their failure. They must have entertained the thoughts of giving up, must be thinking what are we doing here? And in that fatigue, may be even doubt, the Risen lord comes to them unnoticed and unrecognized. They followed his words that they cast the nets and there was a catch. After all the One who would really call to people to himself is Jesus Christ.

Holy Week 

Days of Holy Week 

Most Rev. Prime Bishop, Anthony A Mikovsky

2022-04-12 00:00:00

Palm Sunday, with the blessing of palms and procession, recalls the triumphal entry of our Jesus into Jerusalem.  We rejoice as we receive the palms but know how quickly the hymns and shouts of Hosanna change to crucify Him as this year the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Mark will be proclaimed during the Holy Mass of Palm Sunday

Holy Thursday begins the Paschal Triduum and celebrates the Last Supper during which our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist – giving us His presence in His Sacred Body and Precious Blood that we receive.   We also experience the Mandatum – with the solemn washing of feet reminding us that we are to follow the example of Jesus and are not here to be served but to serve.  The Liturgy concludes with a procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose, the vespers of Holy Thursday and the stripping of the Altars. 

On Good Friday the Church gathers to remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross on the hill of Calvary.  We read the passion according to St. John, adore the Cross upon which hung the Savior of the world and receive His presence in the Eucharist during the Liturgy of the Presanctified.  We are called to spend time in reverent prayer at the symbolic grave of our Lord and in the presence of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the blessed Sacrament. 
On Holy Saturday the Church blesses fire, water and the Paschal Candle (the symbol of the Risen Savior – Christ as the light of the world) – the exhortations are read instructing the faithful and an Easter Vigil Mass may be celebrated.  The is a beautiful moment for baptisms of people entering the Christian Faith.  Easter Food blessed by your pastor is a special way to share a meal with your family after Resurrection Mass on Easter Sunday.

We then gather on Easter morning for Resurrection Mass and procession – celebrating Christ’s glorious Resurrection from the dead. Proclaiming that Christ is Risen – He is risen indeed – Alleluia! Alleluia!

May we approach these sacred Liturgies of the Church with great reverence and solemnness.  We have a wonderful opportunity over these next days to share with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the events of salvation.  Commit yourself to take advantage of the opportunity we have and approach these beautiful Liturgies of the Church with reverence, respect and allow them to draw us closer to Jesus and our brothers and sisters in the faith.

Have a blessed Holy Week and with your families share with Christ during these sacred days so you may one day share in His Resurrection.  May God bless you; may our Lord bless us and may our Blessed Mother intercede for us.  Have a blessed day and be safe, careful, healthy and faithful!

Passion Sunday

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-04-01 00:00:00

The Biblical Call to Charity

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ, The biblical call to charity, justice, and peace claims not only each believer, but also each community where believers gather for worship, formation, and pastoral care. Our faith is profoundly public and not private. We cannot be called truly “Catholic” unless we hear and heed the Church’s call to serve those in need and work for justice and peace. We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission of bringing “good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind” (Lk 4:18). We are the one who are called salt and light of this earth. We, who are baptized in Jesus Christ, receive the same mission from the Father to go to liberate people from their misery and suffering. Our parish community must be united in prayer, where we uncover the depths of God’s call to seek justice and pursue peace and especially at this moment in Ukraine, where the human rights are violated, the peace of citizens is threatened. In personal prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, and quiet reflection on the Christian vocation, we discover the social mission of every believer. In serving those in need, we serve the Lord. In seeking justice and peace, we witness to the reign of God in our midst. In prayer, we find the reasons, the strength, and the call to follow Jesus in the ways of charity, justice, and peace. Dear brothers and sisters we witness our catholic faith by living it in our daily life. The catholic teaching calls us to serve those in need and to change the structures that deny people their dignity and rights as children of God. Service and action, charity and justice are complementary components of parish community. A parish community serious about getting together, reaching out to our neighbor communities, and neighbor churches together and send our help to Ukraine in need and to advocate for justice and peace. These are not competing priorities, but two dimensions of the same fundamental mission to protect the life and dignity of the human person. If charity is to be realistic and effective, it demands that the Gospel of life be implemented also by means of certain forms of social activity and commitment to shaping society and developing culture of life and morals. We are called to contribute to the building of a society in which the dignity of each person is recognized and protected.

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-03-25 00:00:00

The Joy of Reconciliation with God

Good Day! Dear brothers and sisters, we are invited to rejoice. Rejoice and be glad because God’s mercy and love is true and we know it through Jesus’s selfless passion, death and glorification at his resurrection. Dear friends rejoice because the grace of God’s forgiveness restores our dignity as his children and our relationship with him as our Father. Such is the experience of the prodigal son in the gospel, who recognizing his way to return to his home and asks his father for forgiveness. We also see the Father rejoices in our return to his loving embrace. It is time to come home.

In the first reading from Joshua (Jos 5:9A, 10-12) we see a transition, God offers good news, the reproach of the past, “Today I have removed the reproach of the Egypt from you.” Humiliation of the past, the past that is associated with slavery, suffering, pain, that is over. Something new is coming, because God has done something for God’s people. This is the joy of the reconciliation, we carry within our hearts the burden of sin and shame, the pain called remorse, the lack of peace in our hearts, but when God enters, there is something new that gives us peace and joy. Now the people of Israel have entered the Promised Land, they will not eat Manna anymore. At first glance, we can think oh, what will they eat then? There is no Manna anymore because they can work the land now. They can harvest the fruit of their labor. Whereas before, they were wandering in the desert, depending when God will give them Manna as sign of God’s graciousness now they have set foot on the Promised Land, they can work and will experience God’s goodness in another way. The work of their hands, the goodness of the earth will now feed them. This is because God has done wonders for them. In the second reading from the second letter of St Paul to Corinthians (2 Cor 5:17-21), we have an answer. How is this new creation achieved for us? For the Israelites for this new creation achieved by God, leading God’s people, transforming the shame of the past into new experience of life of productiveness. St Paul adds, in Jesus Christ we are a new creation. The things of the past related to sinfulness which bring us lot of shame, guilt is now over. Jesus came in order to recreate us, “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” God has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation. This is the key to newness, “reconciliation.” Just like in the first reading St. Paul tells us that in Jesus’s reconciliation God does not use our sinfulness against us. How good our God is. Reconciliation is God’s act towards us. God who takes the initiative knows our trespasses, our abuses, our hardness of heart but instead of using all of that to destroy us, to punish us, God does something marvelous. He does not use our sinfulness against us. Instead, He sends his Son to be like us, to experience our brokenness and from that he can plead with the Father for us. He intercedes for us.  He becomes a bridge between God and us. In his body, there is reconciliation with God. And he who was pure, experienced our brokenness, temptations so that we who are sinful could become holy. This is reconciliation. This is the new creation. We are offered another state of life. The new creation is called holiness and that is achieved through Jesus Christ who reconciles us with the Father. Jesus is the Human expression of the Father’s understanding, compassion and love.


Third Sunday of Lent 

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-03-18 00:00:00

We Need the Savior and Conversion

Good Day! Dear brothers and sisters in today’s gospel Jesus instructs us on repentance and God’s patience. Some people interpret the massacre of the Galileans as God’s way punishing sinners. They connect suffering to sin and God’s harsh treatment of sinners but Jesus tell them that everyone is sinful before God and needs to repent of their sins or they will perish out of their own hardness of heart. Then he tells them a parable. A gardener begs the owner of the fruitless tree to give it more time as he patiently waits. God can punish us at once but Jesus will never get tired of begging the father to be patient with us. But we must bear fruit in due time.

We need the Savior and the conversion, we need both. We want to reflect on this based on the treading this Sunday liturgy. The first reading is from the book of Exodus, the calling of Moses, one chosen by God to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt. It is very clear that it is not Moses who will save the people; Moses will accomplish God’s saving action. It is God who saves. Moses himself fled from Egypt, he saw the dangers, he could not have saved his people. He himself was almost a victim. It is clear that God appears to Moses with a message. God has heard the cries of his people. God has seen their afflictions, and God unites himself with the suffering people. I know their sufferings. I know their afflictions. Knowing does not mean intellectual knowing. It means God has empathy towards God’s people. What they are undergoing, God makes sure that he is with them. He unites Himself with them. This is the type of knowing. God decided to go and save his people, “Therefore I have come down to rescue them before the hands of the Egyptians and lead them out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Israel could not save themselves, the people could not change their lives filled with afflictions and sufferings. No one could change the feral even Moses could not save the people nor himself. They all needed God, the Savior. Who is this God? God who is faithful to his people, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. The God who is active in living. This salvation from slavery requires our response to God as the second reading affirms. St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that, “Our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea and baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” They left the land which brought them misery and humiliation. They all drank from the same water came out from the rock. St. Paul was relating the experience of Israel, their experience of God’s saving action to baptism. The Exodus, the water in the desert, they were all prefiguration of baptism, the sacrament of salvation in Jesus Christ. St. Paul also tells to the Corinthians, look what happened to Israel, they were saved by God yet God got angry with Israel. Why? Israel grumbled, they complained and complained and forgot what God has done to save them. They started looking for convenience in life, so they turned to their wicked ways. Having left Egypt, they found new form of slavery. They have forgotten God as their savior and turned to false gods, and God just abandoned them. St Paul tells them, Israel is warning to us, yes God saves but we have a share. We need to undergo the process of conversion to God all the time. The world will tempt us all the time, we will be tempted with ingratitude, with forgetfulness of God, we will be tempted with self-sufficiency but we need to be vigilant, otherwise we will fall back to slavery. Dear brothers and sisters as we affirm that we need God to save us. We also affirm that we need to respond to our savior by vigilance and a life of conversion. God bless you!

Second Sunday of Lent
Light in Obscurity, Light  Darkness

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-03-11 00:00:00

Good Day!

We are on the second Sunday of Lent. Today we are going to hear from Luke’s account of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ. While Jesus is praying, his face and clothing are transfigured, becoming dazzling with light, then Moses and Elijah appeared speaking with him about the exodus, he would be accomplishing in Jerusalem. This event points not only to the glory of Jesus at his resurrection but also to how he continues and completes the law and the prophets. Israel’s exodus from slavery in Egypt finds fulfillment in the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.

In the first reading from Genesis, the figure of Abraham is at the center. Abraham was going through a moment of darkness, not only Abraham but also his wife Sarah and probably his whole clan. One specific cause of darkness was his lack of a child, especially a son. In their cultural and spiritual tradition, the presence of a son guarantees life and immortality. It was a badge of honor and not having a son wais considered a curse.

We can imagine how hard it would be for Abraham and Sarah, how embarrassing and shameful it would be for them to go through this dark moment. But in the midst of darkness God speaks to Abraham that he would have many children as the stars in the sky and Abraham believed. Faith was the light in the darkness even if he did not fully understand. Then came an act to confirm the Word of God, an act of covenant involving animals divided into two. Which says, I will keep the covenant and if I do not keep my share, let me end up like these animals, dead, divided. And after preparing the animals for the covenant rituals, Abraham was brought into a terrible darkness but in that darkness came a relationship with God and a promise that not only descendants be given to Abraham but to him, and to his descendants God gave this land from the valley of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.

My dear brothers and sisters Abraham’s darkness is a common experience in many people who have good desires but could not humanly accomplish those desires in those moments of darkness. Your faith could be the light, but faith is also dark because we do not fully understand everything. But with the darkness of faith, there will be no light; and when you believe in God, you maintain also a covenant relationship with him. Faith in God and in God’s promises gives light in the darkness.

Pre Lent 2 Sunday 

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-02-18 00:00:00

Love as God loves

Good Day! Today’s Gospel reading is the continuation of last week where Jesus taught his disciples the beatitudes. This time Jesus instructs them on mercy. It is a trait of God and should be a mark of his disciples too. Be merciful as your Father is merciful, he tells them. Our theme for the seventh Sunday is Love as God loves. In the first reading from the book of Samuel, we hear how King Saul David has developed negative attitude towards David. It was really jealousy for he who already possesses authority and control over the people now seems getting lost being transferred to David. Since this authority and power was going to David, king Saul decided to kill David. Our first reading is about that moment when Saul with three thousands soldiers, imagine they were looking for one person with three thousand soldiers. The anger is immense in search of David. But those soldiers being tired they felt asleep. David and Abishai were able to penetrate and they found Saul. Abishai said, David, this is your opportunity to take revenge, you can kill the king now, or I can do it for you and you will win but David did what humanely is impossible. Someone who is running for his life, someone who is being treated unjustly, someone who has shown faithfulness and does not deserve any of the negativity, what did he decide to do? He said no, I will not do that. “Do not harm him, for who can lay hands on the Lord’s anointed and remain unpunished?”  If I rephrase this: this person is full of iron, hatred towards me, I see something in him. Not just angry and jealous person but God’s anointed. And I will not hurt him. Instead of taking advantage of that moment to get even and for him to be declared king, he showed mercy, he spared the life of helpless, vulnerable Saul. Many people will say, you are a fool David. Yes, this is what we call the foolishness of those who follow the Lord. This is foolishness for the world but it is wisdom from above. St. Paul in the second reading invites us to be like second Adam (Jesus Christ) and learn to love as Jesus has loved. We know the first adam was created good but he missuses his freedom from God. He used the freedom to rebel against God and not to love as God loves but to love that way I want and it is self-love. I do not care about God’s will; I do not care about God’s commandments. I will insist what I want. This attitude and negativity lead adam to brokenness and loneliness. St. Paul tells us there is hope: the new Adam, Jesus Christ. This new Adam is formed in the Holy Spirit who restores our brokenness and heals us. We are invited to love the way Jesus loves.  Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate; be merciful as your Father is merciful. God loves everyone; God loves the wicked, ungrateful, and the good. It is love that does not see any color; it is love that embraces everyone in spite of what you are and what you have done to God. This is how God loves and this is how we should love.

God bless you!

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

Pre Lent 1 / Septuagesima 

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-02-11 00:00:00

Finding the True Foundation of Life

Good Day! Today is the sixth Sunday in the ordinary time. In the gospel we will hear the sermon on the plane which is Luke’s version of beatitudes. Jesus reveals to his disciples that the poor, hungry, weeping, and persecuted on earth will be rewarded in heaven and that is true blessedness. The Gospel reminds us to seek the justice of the Lord rather than that of the world. Our goal is to find happiness which is possible only in God alone. He is the foundation of our human life. How do we construct a house of happiness? How do we construct life that will bear the fruit of what we call happiness? In the first reading prophet Jeremiah gives us two possible foundations of life. One leads to blessedness: true happiness but the other one leads to a curse: a cursed life, that is what we do not want. But he warns us we might be looking for blessedness, happiness but in a process, we might be building a foundation leading to a cursed life. What is the foundation of a cursed life? It is that you trust human beings. You trust in what we call the world and flesh. Prophet Jeremiah said, they live a cursed life who seek their strength in flesh, whose hearts turns away from the Lord. They become dry bush in the desert. They do not have life at all. they are lifeless and do not bear fruits. It is the wrong foundation. Whereas the truly blessed life is founded on trust in the Lord, hoping in him, clinging to him as the source of life. This is the same message given by St. Paul to the Corinthians. How come many are denying the resurrection of the dead and if we deny the resurrection of the dead then we are also claiming that Jesus himself is not raised from the dead but that is the very foundation of our faith in believing that God has triumphed over sin and death in Jesus’ resurrection. Now we are being invited by St. Paul in the same way as he has invited the Corinthians that provide you with sure hope not only in this life but also in eternal life. Let that be the foundation of your life.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-01-20 00:00:00

Faith Becoming Flesh
Good Day! Today’s Gospel is composed of two parts: First, St. Luke established the purpose of his account of the life of Jesus. He wrote down so that his readers may realize the certainty of the teachings they have received. It is a form of witnessing to Jesus. A real person and event in history. The second part narrates Jesus’s proclamation of the fulfillment of the scriptures in his person: the longed for year acceptable to the Lord has come. The Good News will be announced to the poor, captives would be set free, the sick would find healing and the oppressed would have healing. It is going to happen in Jesus’s ministry.

In the first reading (NE 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10) we see the Word of God, the law of Moses was being proclaimed to a large assembly including children by the priest Ezra. The Word of God which is supposed to evoke faith is now proclaimed to those who can understand it. And the whole gathering is heled with the assistance of the lay leader Nehemiah. The Word of God was proclaimed, interpreted or explained by Ezra. And people said, amen, amen. They gave their verbal assent. They accompanied their verbal agreement with what they have heard with their gesture. They went down on their knees. They prostrated themselves before God. They adored God. We see how the flesh; the body was embodied, the response which was given by the lips. Later on they started weeping, the word of God penetrated their hearts. It was manifested in bodily form: tears. Tears may be out of remorse, joy or may be nostalgia for the Word of God. Since these people has been exile for a long time. From the priest says: do not be sad and do not weep, rejoice, go and have a feast. The faith must be celebrated. Everything about the faith must be reflected in our bodies. This is affirmed in the second reading (1Cor. 12:12-30), St. Paul called the church the body of Christ. Some theologians say, that the Christian community called the church is the social form, the communitarian form of the faith. The faith is deeply personal. As we see in the first reading, moving us to joy and tears, to rejoicing, to worship but faith also takes a social enfleshment in the church. What are the characteristic of the community that expresses faith: Faith in Jesus Christ, Faith in the One Lord, one baptism in Holy Spirit, unity in diversity, respect for the diversity? We all believe that Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh, born at a particular moment, who walked on the earth and did good works. When he went to Nazareth he was given the scroll to read, which was the prophecy of prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” This Word of God they hear always. But here Jesus added something new, which was new for the people, “today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” This is not just set of words. Now it is true that this prophecy is coming true in him, in the flesh, in humble boy of Nazareth the Word is becoming flesh. He is the Good News to the poor, the sight to the blind, he is the freedom to those imprisoned and the mercy of God. Dear brothers and sisters, what Jesus started, we must also do.
Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob PNCC

Spirit filled Ministry of Jesus
The Baptism of our Lord

Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

2022-01-08 00:00:00

Good Day! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us behold Jesus the Word Incarnate, revealing Himself to us in the Sunday readings. Today we commemorate the baptism of our Lord which is another Epiphany, the manifestation. Of God in Jesus and in his ministry. This is an important event where we see the conclusion of the ministry of John the Baptist and inauguration of the ministry of Jesus. If John baptized people with water, Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. The very Spirit descended upon him at his baptism and God affirming his identity that you are my beloved Son with you I am well pleased.

The One who born in the manger is about to start his public ministry. It is the Holy Spirit that inspire the ministry of Jesus. In the first reading from prophet Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen One with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my Spirit.” He received the anointing spirit, God gave him his divine spirit, not any type of spirit. We know in the world many types of spirit inspire us to do something and some of them are not good spirits always: greed, hate, ambitious, corruption and many more and these spirits are working in us. These spirits are prompting us to act. Here in prophet Isaiah vision, God is giving anointing this messenger with the Holy Spirit. What will happen? What ministry, what action will be under taken inspired by the Divine Spirit. He will open the eyes of the blinds, he will bring out prisoners for confinement, those who are living in darkness so that they will be freed so they may see light. look at the other centered, of the ministry of this servant, anointed by the Spirit and not only other centeredness, he goes to the least, those in prison sitting in darkness, the blind. He will do all this with tenderness. Bearing the gentleness of God, he will not even break a reed, he will be the gentle breeze, effecting much needed change but only possible if the Holy Spirit works. Second reading from the Act confirms the presence of the Holy Spirit which makes the ministry of Jesus fruitful and loving ministry which heals and reconciles human being with God the Father. According to Peter, this Jesus was filled with Spirit of God, and he did many good things because God was with him. It could be a short description, but it tells us what true ministry is. What the service of Jesus really was? The answer is doing good deeds and doing good deeds because God was with him, God was always with him. My dear brothers and sisters, the baptism of Jesus is the inauguration and public ministry of Jesus. It is an invitation to us especially the baptized: we have received the Holy Spirit at our baptism. Let us make sure that it is the Holy Spirit that will inspire our actions, choices, and service.  Fr. Nadeem Yaqoob

Holy Name of Jesus 

By Bishop John Mack

2022-01-04 00:00:00

My friends, what a beautiful Feast we are celebrating today! It is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Did you know that the Holy Name of Jesus is so great that it is repeated 977 times in one version of the bible. Today' special celebration, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, is associated with the Feast of the Circumcision. For in accordance to the Jewish culture of the days when Jesus dwelled on earth, a child became a full member of his family when he was circumcised, at which time he received his name.
According to the Catechism, "the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: the name – JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: "Jesus," "YHWH saves." The name "Jesus" contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray "Jesus" is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave Himself up for him."
"The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases, but holds fast to the word and "brings forth fruit with patience." This prayer is possible "at all times" because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus."
On the matter of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Saint Bernard expressed: "The sweet Name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, begets good works, and nourishes pure affections. Jesus is honey in our mouth, light in our eyes, a flame in our heart. This name is the cure for all diseases of the soul. Are you troubled? think but of Jesus, speak but the Name of Jesus, the clouds disperse, and peace descends anew from heaven. Have you fallen into sin? so that you fear death? invoke the Name of Jesus, and you will soon feel life returning. No coldness of heart can resist this holy Name; there is no heart which will not soften and open in tears at this holy name. Are you surrounded by sorrow and danger? invoke the Name of Jesus, and your fears will vanish."

"Never yet was there a human being in urgent need, and on the point of perishing, who invoked this help-giving Name, and was not powerfully sustained. It was given us for the cure of all our ills; to soften the impetuosity of anger, to conquer pride, to mitigate the pain of our wounds, to overcome the thirst of avarice, to quiet sensual passions, and the desires of low pleasures. If we call to our minds the Name of Jesus, it brings before us His most meek and humble heart, and gives us a new knowledge of His most loving and tender compassion. The Name of Jesus is the purest, and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of names, the Name of all blessings and of all virtues; it is the Name of the God-Man, of sanctity itself. To think of Jesus is to think of the great, infinite God Who, having given us His life as an example, has also bestowed the necessary understanding, energy and assistance to enable us to follow and imitate Him, in our thoughts, inclinations, words and actions. If the Name of Jesus reaches the depths of our heart, it leaves heavenly virtue there. We say therefore, with our great master, St. Paul the Apostle, 'If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be condemned'"

Around the Most Holy Name of Jesus is found the nucleus of all creation. It includes the Divinity of God. It is the Name of the fullness of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For Jesus revealed to us the Name of the Father when He said, "Holy Father, protect them in Your Name that You have given Me..." The Most Holy Name of Jesus includes all the mysteries of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that is found in its liturgy. It is the central point of all the Sacraments. It embraces the Christian life. The believer begins his journey through faith in Jesus. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, he dies with Jesus, is buried with Jesus and is raised as a new creation with Jesus. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to the believer for the growth of the Church that was instituted by Jesus on earth. The believers live their faith in Jesus by manifesting love towards their brothers and sisters in Christ. Individual salvation depends entirely on the final judgment of Jesus.

As the central Feast of all the mysteries of Christ, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus unites all the other Feasts of the Lord. If there was no Jesus, there would be no birth of Jesus, no celebration of Christmas, nor the celebration of the glorious resurrection of Jesus, no Easter. There would be no Sacraments, no being reborn again, no resurrection and no salvation. A world without Jesus would be a world without faith, without hope and without charity.

As the name of each individual person embraces the totality of the person, the Most Holy Name of Jesus also embraces the totality of the Divinity. When we think of a person, we remember the name and we visualize their image. Equally, when we think of Jesus, we remember His Name and we visualize the image of God in Jesus. "For in Jesus the whole fullness of deity dwelled bodily."

So great is the Most Holy Name of Jesus that "God highly exalted Him and gave Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bend; in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Finally, the Most Holy Name of Jesus was not given to our Lord by man; it was given to the Incarnate Word by God Himself. Because the Name of Jesus is synonym to love and righteousness, many will be hated because of this Name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Never be afraid to speak the name of Jesus before others. Never be afraid to live the name of Jesus in front of others. By doing so – His name will be known to the four corners of the earth.