Father Ken's Weekly Reflection


February 18, 2018 – 1st Sunday in Lent Year B

Call to repentance: Reform your lives, this is the time of fulfillment.

“This is the time of fulfillment.” The call to repentance, issued at the start of Lent, is a call to respond to something that has already happened. The promise of the covenant after the flood in the days of Noah has been fulfilled in the new and everlasting covenant of Christ.

God has cleansed us by the waters of baptism, and given us new, eternal life. This is the fulfillment which brings an obligation: reform your lives, so that they will correspond to the new life that has been poured into you!

Repentance, therefore, is not a matter of something imposed from the outside, but rather a matter of being consistent with a gift already given.

This gift, essentially, is life. By the new and eternal covenant, renewed in each Mass, we become, ever more deeply, a people of Life. The repentance we undertake is expressed in the self-giving that Christ shows us on the altar. We give ourselves away to foster life in our families, our communities, and the world.

Putting ourselves aside to welcome the gift of life in the person of the unborn child is a particularly urgent aspect of the repentance needed in our nation today. Lent gives us the opportunity to echo that call: Reform your lives, and put aside the doubt, fear, and selfishness that would destroy another human being in the name of “choice.”

Reform your lives, and repent of the silence that keeps you from defending the helpless in your midst. Reform your lives, and work for the reformation of the laws and policies of the nation, that they may protect the rights that God has already given to all, born and unborn. Reform your lives, reject the covenant of death, and live the Covenant of Life!

 

Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Ken



February 11, 2018 – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

“I do will it. Be made clean.” (Mark 1:40-45)

Jesus healed the lepers, who were outcasts to their community, as the first reading makes clear. The healing demonstrates two key lessons that relate to the Church’s stand on life.

First, Jesus is always on the side of human life. His healing of some represents his liberation of all from the power of sin and death. Ultimately, the healings described in the Gospels point to the overthrow of the entire kingdom of death, and the final triumph of life. Christ is life, and to stand with him is to stand with life and against whatever destroys it.

Second, the Lord always broke down false barriers between different classes of human beings. He saw their humanity, and the image of God inscribed on them from creation. This image is not obscured by the false distinctions people make by their prejudice or by the customs that deny the equal dignity of all people.

The Lord’s determination to eliminate false barriers is seen in many other ways in the Gospels. We see Him reach out to children despite the efforts of the apostles to keep them away (Matthew 19:13-15); to tax collectors and sinners despite the objections of the Scribes (Mark 2:16); to the blind despite the warnings of the crowd (Matthew 20:29-34); to a foreign woman despite the utter surprise of the disciples and of the woman herself (John 4:9, 27); to Gentiles despite the anger of the Jews (Matthew 21:41-46); and to the lepers, despite their isolation from the rest of society (Luke 17:11-19).

When it comes to human dignity, Christ erases distinctions. St. Paul declares, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

We can likewise say, "There is neither born nor unborn." Using this distinction as a basis for the value of life or the protection one deserves is meaningless and offensive to all that Scripture teaches. The unborn are the segment of our society who are most neglected and discriminated against. Christ Himself surely has a special love for them.


Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Ken



February 4, 2018 – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

All life belongs to God...

Jesus loved the poor, the weak, the sick, and the demon-possessed. These individuals, and those who cared for them, knew that they could come to Jesus to find what they needed. What they needed, however, was often much more than what they thought they needed, because Jesus indicated by his words in today’s Gospel passage, and by his actions, that it was his purpose to preach the Word of God. The healing, in other words, flowed from something more fundamental. People need to hear the truth of God. By accepting it and being formed in it, they can establish right relationships with God and one another. They can conquer sin. They can have integral salvation, in body and soul.

As Jesus was the one to whom the people brought the ill and those possessed by demons, so the Church today is the place that people should be inclined to go first. The Church preaches integral salvation, as the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church” so clearly explains. The feeding of the soul and the care given to temporal needs go hand in hand.

The Church, which teaches the truth that all life belongs to God, is reaching out each day to those who are tempted to take life by abortion. The thousands of pregnancy centers run by Christians across the nation bear witness to this fact. These centers provide medical help, financial assistance, legal advice, counseling, job and education opportunities, assistance to keep and raise the child or to make an adoption plan, and countless other needs. Some national hotlines, like the “Option Line” (1-800-712-HELP) and websites like www.pregnancycenters.org bring this concrete help to countless people daily. The members of each parish can extend the ministry of Jesus by referring people to this kind of help. It saves lives, spares people endless grief, and proclaims the Word of God about human life.


Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Ken 


January 28, 2018 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

 

Teaching the Word of God is teaching with authority.

The Gospel and First Reading for this Sunday raise the issue of the authority of those who speak the Word of God. Jesus taught with authority because he is the Word of God. The prophets taught with authority because God put his own words into their mouths.

The Church today teaches with authority because, as the Body of Christ, she continues his teaching mission or, to be more precise, Christ himself continues teaching through his Church. Each member of the Church, by virtue of baptism and confirmation, has a prophetic role, and echoes the Word of God himself, both by words and example. 

These themes are important in the battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death, because our opponents ask why we are “imposing our morality on everyone else.” In reality, however, we are not imposing anything.

We are speaking a truth which is not our own, and which simply reflects the reality of how we are made and what the moral law is. If anything is “imposed,” it has already been imposed by God. We are witnesses to him.

We have no authority of our own; we simply proclaim his Word. By that fact, moreover, we are equally bound by what we proclaim as are those to whom we proclaim it.  

This is why the proclamation of the pro-life message does not imply some kind of moral superiority on the part of those who proclaim it. Rather, it implies solidarity, and a common acknowledgement of the God of life, who is Lord of those who preach and those who hear.

Peace and Blessings,

Fr. Ken

Holy Spirit Catholic Church - 37588 Fremont Blvd. - Fremont - CA - 510-797-1660 - FAX 510-797-7080 - HSparish@gmail.com