This is Why I Love Our Faith

This is why I love our faith…Darkness and anguish are temporary and can lead to a good ~

In the world of College Basketball – Virginia last year was the 1st #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed…Humiliation indeed. With a purpose & great coach they accomplished something amazing.

… And Texas Tech has an excellent coach and he will teach these kids something from this disappointment…He has built something exceptional there and they will be successful as well. These kids overachieved, and they understand what dedication and work can bring about. In the world we might not all be #1, but #2 is still success.

I remember always being on teams where I didn’t get a trophy. Even played in a finals in a basketball league where we lost and only the winners got a trophy. I never got a trophy, but it taught me to push forward, persevere, and to work. Failure led me to not give up and I received the greatest trophy. Priesthood…I never dreamed this would be possible. This is like having a trophy.

Never lose faith because God always has a plan…Fr. Vic

Palm Sunday

-It’s dark…No Resurrection yet…Just dysfunction and sin.
-Look at problems in the world today…Seems to be much confusion & darkness.

-Each year we read Luke’s Passion narrative…
-What detail draws your attention?

-I’m reflecting on Jesus looking at Peter after his 3 denials…
-What was Peter thinking after his fall while he looked into the eyes of his Lord?

-Jesus will later offer Peter the grace, to offer his heart to Jesus… 3x.
-He gives Peter a Remedy…The Keys, Authority, Grace & Forgiveness.

-God gives us through our Jewish elders a remedy…Jesus Christ.
-When you see the cross…Your problems…Trials…Tribulations….
-Remember they are temporary & followed by grace & resurrection.
-2nd chances & forgiveness…Peters denials to confessions of love.

-If we are patient & faithful…What might Jesus give to you after your passion…your Storm…Amidst your confusion…Your Darkness.

-What does Jesus offer the world?…Purpose & clarity of who we are & where we are going.

For me, I am reminded of 2nd chances & remedies after a fall…Same as Peter.

The Lord be with You…Father Vic

Fifth Sunday In Lent

 (The Woman Caught in Adultery)

-We always talk about forgiving others as our Lord forgives us…But do we remember to forgive ourselves? How do we deal with past sins?…That one sin or memory of failure that we allow to haunt us.

On this final Sunday before Holy Week, Christ looks at us as he looks at the woman caught in adultery, for we need the forgiveness of our sins. The question is: How do we LOOK back at Christ? With the self-righteous, yet guilty eyes of the mob?…. Or like the woman who remains alone before Jesus, who accepts with humble confidence the sentence of Christ who says: “Neither do I condemn you”.

-Again I ask…How do we look back when Jesus looks upon us with compassion?
-Do we Run away & hide in Shame?…Or do we just ignore Jesus in our righteous anger & continue in our life of futility & frustration apart from forgiveness?

The woman gives us the answer…She takes Jesus at His word…She believes Him…She then moves forward with her life by listening to Jesus’ advice…To get out of her present mess (adultery) & then move forward knowing she is forgiven.

And we read the Psalm…”Jesus does great things for us.” What is a greater gift than to have the authority & power to forgive our sins.

In the second reading St. Paul gives us an important tool to finding true
forgiveness of self…For the Apostle says…
“…Forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead…”
-We cannot be held in the past by our previous sins & failures.

-Quit confessing sins you’ve already confessed.
-A sure sign that we have not forgiven ourselves for past transgressions is when we dredge up past acts that we have previously brought to confession.

-True forgiveness of self means we don’t deny history, but stop living in it…We don’t deny it exist, we don’t whitewash or alter it…Why, because it allows us to see where we’ve been…To learn from our mistakes & through the Power of Forgiveness…Leads us to a deeper appreciation of what the Lord Jesus has done for us…Leading to a deeper Joy & Love of God.

-The Sacrament of Confession reminds us that our past history is blotted out,
annihilated & We need this Sacramental Grace so we can LET GO OF THE PAST.
-Our Lord wants us to be a people not held captive by the past, but a people of HOPE BECAUSE WE LIVE WITH CHRIST IN THE PRESENT.

-May we follow the example of the woman caught in adultery…ITS DONE… you’re forgiven…Seek to get out of your present situation, so you can MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE…FOR I HAVE A FUTURE FOR YOU.

Fourth Sunday In Lent

THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON

I love the depth and various layers of Sacred Scripture…From a literal reading to addressing the spiritual meaning of a text. Thus, for those of you who heard my simple homily on the Prodigal Son…I now offer, from a friend, (Dynamic Catholic’s, Dr. Allen Hunt’s) message for this same parable…Enjoy and be blessed…Fr. Vic

“I don’t know about you, but today’s reading—this is my favorite chapter of the Bible. The Gospel of Luke, chapter 15. First you get the parable of the lost sheep, where the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to go find the one that’s lost. Then you get the lost coin, where the woman goes in search of the one coin—she had ten, but there were only nine—and she goes to search high and low until she finds that one.

And then you get this powerful reading, which is our focus in the Gospel of the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The parable of the lost son. The parable of the prodigal son, who goes to his dad—you remember the story—the younger son goes to his dad and asks for his share of the inheritance. And he takes the money, takes the cash, and he runs away to some faraway place, maybe he goes to Vegas and he squanders it, and he gets a job—he’s so desperate—feeding pigs, which, for a first-century Jew, is the lowest imaginable job. And one day he comes to his senses and says, “I’m gonna go home.”

And you get these powerful words that Luke says in the reading today when he writes: “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

That’s the love of God. Reckless, unbelievable in the truest sense of the word—we overuse that word, unbelievable, but it’s true. The love of God is so rich, so boundless, and so reckless. Do you believe it? I mean, what kind of love is this?

I call this “the Sacred Heart chapter” because it describes the heart of God that’s just bursting for you. Longing for you. God pursues you. How’s he pursuing you right now? And is there anything keeping you from coming home? What’s preventing you from coming home to him?

I don’t know how you read this chapter, but when I look at the three men in this, the father, the older son, and the younger son, I have to admit that I see myself in each of them, particularly at different times in my life.

Take the prodigal son. There have certainly been times in my life when I ran as far away from God and from greatness and from sanity as you can possibly get. And, when I’m honest, I would admit I still do it now and then today.

The father—becoming a parent, becoming a mom or a dad or a grandparent—it changes you. The love just bursts through when your daughter or your grandson decides to come home—when they return from a place that you wish they had never gone in the first place, but when they come home, you are more than delighted to welcome them back into the family.

And then there’s the older son. This is the part of me that I really would like to resist, but when I’m honest, I know it’s there. I see somebody else who makes bad decisions or hurts family or disappoints friends, and yet they are welcomed home. They even experience forgiveness and mercy. And I want to go, “Whoa, can we slow down this mercy train just a little bit? I’m not so sure they deserve it.” That’s the part of me I’m really not that crazy about. I really like unconditional love when it applies to me, but sometimes I’m not so crazy about it when it applies to other people—as if somehow some of us really deserve it.

None of us really deserve to be welcomed home, but it’s not about us. It’s all about him—the father, who sees from a distance, who runs to us, embraces us, welcomes us, kisses us, and throws the party. It’s all about him—the father, whose heart bursts with love for you and for me. This parable, it’s all about him.”…Dr. Hunt

Third Sunday in Lent

I was praying on what to write about for the next Pastor’ Corner. I had three or so personal entries to choose from and then the Lord plopped this one right into my lap. It’s simple but powerful and comes from the 17th Day of the Dynamic Catholic online Lenten 3 minute video series. This video transcript from George Josten, an employee with Dynamic Catholic, offers a personal story that relates to Matthew Kelly’s message…”Tiny but Mighty.”

George Josten…
A few years ago, we had our priest over for dinner and I remember asking him, “What can we do to make the world a better place?”

There’s so much suffering, strife, and violence in the world. Quite honestly, my wife and I wrestle with it often. After all, what can we do to make the world a better place when we’re consumed as spouses and parents of four, nearly five, children?

I will never forget the former Marine helicopter pilot, and now priest’s, response. He said, “George, your battle’s right here in this very house. If you want to make the world a better place, you got to win the war for your family.”

I was taken aback by that response. The way my wife and I can make the world a better place is by leading our children in the way of the Lord. Can you imagine what the world will look like if we each focus on making our families the-best-versions-of-themselves? It’s a big, transcendent cause, much bigger than ourselves. My wife and I believe it’s a game-changer.

So, how can you make the world a better place?

Now that message is simple, and a game changer…It starts with you and me. Take it each day at a time, and do the simple things, to the best of your ability, out of love for God. Do it one day at a time. That is what allowed St. Terese of Lisieux to become a Saint…

Pax Father Vic Gournas

You can watch both messages by going to this link…
https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-lent-ever/lenten-reflections-2019/tiny-but-mighty?utm_source=marketo&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=best%20lent%20ever&utm_content=0325%20day%2017%20video%20still&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWm1Ga01tUmlaVGd4WWpCaSIsInQiOiJBcSt4YTFCelhBSDJaM3N6d2hMWjZnVmE2SFwvazBrZ3BuUkQwb3kycjlPQlFsWFlNUXRMT1lXMFwvSTh6T3kxdnFnUW1LSnRcL1dza01YWmpXN25pWW5aTFplWVZNQWxqK0gweG95K2pDWmdFc25tTXNJQUVCdlExeWJKeTFoOTVNWiJ9

Ash Wednesday March 6, 2019

AshWed…WHY ARE WE HERE?

-Becoming most attended liturgy…Catholics, Non-Catholics receive…I have read about Drive thru Ashes…Ashes given In Airports…Ashes donned on TV.

-We crave the spiritual…Even as the west continues to move away from traditional Christianity…Ash Wed. reminds us that we are spiritual & desire to connect to someone greater than ourselves…

-This is what people crave…even amidst a world saying we’re not spiritual…If this were true…Ash Wed. would be just another day…People are frustrated because they find Seeking the material/visible is not enough…it leaves them longing for something more…

-Ashes remind us of our mortality, but we are reminded & connected to our eternal nature which has no end…Eternal as we are connected through penance to Almighty God…This is the truth that ultimately satisfies beyond just accumulating the stuff…

-& Fasting, Almsgiving, Prayer…helps us to connect to God’s Divine Grace…
REPENTANCE…Abstinence…& Rending our hearts open us to being filled by the Lord, the Word, who created us & gives meaning & purpose to our lives.

“St. Augustine was right: “Lord, you have made us for yourself; therefore, our heart is restless until it rests in thee.” We are all wired for God. There is a hunger in us that nothing in this world can possibly satisfy. Only Jesus can lead us to the heavenly banquet; and that’s why we must follow him.”

Blessings,
Fr. Vic

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

As we reflect on the readings from the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time…I would like to offer another reflection on the Gospel alone by Bishop Robert Barron.

There are many layers to Sacred Scripture, and while I focused on the image of our Lord’s Glory filling the temple, as Isaiah experiences at the moment of his call as a prophet of God.

I am reminded that through Mary, in the 4th Joyful Mystery of the rosary (Allows, in that moment )THE RETURN OF THE LORD’S GLORY TO AGAIN FILL THE TEMPLE, IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST, AS PROMISED BY THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS.

During the Babylonian captivity, the temple ritual, sacrifice, and daily worship were not possible. But behold! The presence of Jesus in the new Temple (The Church) with His Glory; so that all nations who offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the temple, can receive the superabundant spiritual grace, as signified with the amazing haul of fish from St. Simon Peter’s boat. Why? Because this boat is now directed by Christ Jesus, who is in the center.

With that said, I also love Bishop Barron’s reflection on the Gospel alone…
“Friends, today’s Gospel gives us the story of the miraculous draught of fishes. In many ways, the whole of the spiritual life can be read in this Gospel Reading.

Without being invited, Jesus simply gets into the fisherman’s boat. This is to insinuate himself in the most direct way into Simon’s life. Again, without further ado, he begins to give orders,            first asking Simon to put out from the shore and then to go out into the deep. This represents the invasion of grace. The single most important decision that you will ever make is this: Will            you cooperate with Jesus once he decides to get into your boat?

In many ways, everything else in your life is secondary, is commentary. When the Lord Jesus Christ gets into your boat, he will always lead you to the depths. Duc in altum, as St. John Paul II      loved to quote. More dangerous? Yes. More exciting? Yes.

Now, mind you, the depths we’re talking about here are spiritual depths. The excitement we’re talking about is the true excitement that comes from spiritual transformation. The depths have        nothing to do with what the world considers important or exciting.”

The Lord be with You…Father Vic

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

As we continue to move into the New Year of 2019, and enter into February…I have 2 questions…1. Did you create New Years Resolutions…2. If you did…How are they going? … If you have failed already, here are some tips…

General New Years Resolutions like…(This year I will get in shape)…(Or this year I will grow closer to God) are doomed to failure.

New Years Resolutions have to be specific & Measurable to find success.
You actually have to join a gym & then, as a beginner, hire a personal trainer…You might start with 2 trips a week…This you can monitor to know if you are keeping up.

If you are interested in growing closer to God this year…Here is a short list to help you start…You can measure your progress and adjust to be successful…Any of these will change your life…

1.Go to an extra Daily Mass other than Sunday…Start with getting the Parish App, which has the Sacred Heart Mass Schedule, and also tools to find other Mass schedules while traveling. Start with one extra Mass per week.

2.Pray the Rosary…After the prayer of the Holy Mass…The Rosary is a most powerful prayer…Mary, at Fatima, told the children to pray the Rosary daily…Start out weekly & then move towards adding days…It will change your life…Look up the 15 promises offered to those who pray the Rosary daily.

3.Read Scripture Daily…Start with 1 chapter a day…Perhaps start with the Gospels…Before you know it, you will be through the 4 Gospels…Then move to the New Testament Letters…You choose…It is also measurable.

4.Attend Sacred Heart’s Wednesday and/or 1st Friday “Eucharistic Adoration”…Perhaps begin with once a month and then move towards a weekly Holy Hour…If you are not use to silence…Start with 10 to 15 minutes and move towards a Holy Hour. It will change your life.

5.Listen to Wilmington Catholic Radio…Is inspiring and will help you to grow spiritually. Start with a day per week…

6.Come to hear Dr. Allen Hunt, of Dynamic Catholic, speak on “Finding Your Greatness” at Sacred Heart on February 16.

Blessings…Father Vic

FROM THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD…TO ORDINARY TIME & HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY…

 

-I have been leading up to this…The Manifestation of God…
-From John stressing thru Jesus…The Invisible becoming Visible…

-This Visible King who will allow John the Baptist to baptize Him in the Jordan…Thus, this King anoints and makes Holy the “water”…He gives His followers a Visible Baptism where we pour this blessed Visible water over our bodies…& Filled with the Holy Spirit…We die and rise with Christ…With this Visible entrance Sacrament we enter into the Visible Holy Family of God…

-Upon entrance into this Visible Church & Sacraments instituted by Jesus…He gives us a Visible liturgy where we can use our bodies to worship him…We can bless ourselves with Holy Water, genuflect before the Real Presence of Christ hidden in a Visible Tabernacle…We use our bodies to kneel, stand, sing, & pray…Who needs a gym when we have the Holy Mass where, like the Magi we can prostrate ourselves before this Visible King…Where we see our prayers lifted up to the Father thru the Son via the Smoke of the Incense wafting up towards Heaven…We can taste and see as we receive the Holy Eucharist of the Body & Blood of our Lord Jesus…

-Thru Jesus we receive a God who is no longer an abstraction, but tangible…
-Just like the King Baby in the manger is real flesh…not an abstraction…

-In His 2 Natures (Human & Divine)…Is found Transcendence & Intimacy…How should we approach Jesus?…When I was young my mother was a rock, who was bigger than life…When she became sick, as an adult, I developed a deeper friendship with her…Yet in the end she was the one who gave me life…So above all things even in friendship…There was always a deeper respect because she gave me life…Helped me to realize this was no ordinary friendship…Our relationship with Jesus should be similar…We can come to Him as a friend, but at the end of the day we should also come to Him on our knees giving Him thanks for giving us life as our creator and Logos…

-I have put this into daily practice…I Begin each day in the chapel (Perhaps with a cup of coffee)…But I always End the day on my knees In Thanksgiving.

  • Please remember the church worship space… is Sacred Space…
    Fr. Doug in his wisdom built the church with a beautiful welcoming area.
  • After Mass please move to that area, so others may kneel or sit and pray in the church without distraction…I ask you to let the church worship space be a place of prayer & also one of intimacy…And may we do the latter in the welcoming area so the church proper may be a place for prayer…

Finally from our readings on Epiphany Sunday…Herod feared Jesus…Jesus as a Visible King was seen as a competitor…The World has never understood God…When asked: “What do Christians believe God is”…Atheism rarely gives a proper answer…

-God, as “Being” & “Existence” itself…isn’t a part of creation nor in competition with creation…The world, such as Herod, has never understood this…This worldview leads to fear…notice how people (like Herod) “Live In Fear.”

-Jesus simply came to bring us out of fear (into Light)…Abolish death…Give us a life based on the Hope of not ending…We share in God’s immortality…A Bodily Resurrection…
-When we fall prostrate before the Lord we learn not to Fear but to Hope…For thru God & His Creation – The invisible becomes visible…

Why matter isn’t all that matters…Darkness becomes Light…Light brings Hope…Hope leads to a life fulfilled in participating in the Divine Life of Almighty God…This is our gift of Hope as we enter the season of Ordinary Time…And the ministry of Jesus…

Blessings…Father Vic

AN ADVENT-CHRISTMAS REFLECTION

 

While hearing Advent Confessions – I know some people are hurting…
-Concerned with their church…

-I’m reminded that…From the beginning – Judas, and the apostles deny & reject Jesus’ cross – Other than St. John, Mary, and a few others, the apostles ran and hid during the crucifixion of their Lord… Yet, at Pentecost they were inspired by the Holy Spirit & then began to receive the Sacraments that changed their lives & help to renew their hearts.

-I’m reminded of the 4th century Arian Heresy, & the many early heresies that confused & weakened the early church & allowed other religions to grow in influence – Yet The Holy Spirit spoke through the 4th century councils to say that Jesus is Lord & God – Mary is His mother; Theotokos (The mother of God)…

-Mary is our model – She never left Jesus – She saw Judas give him up for silver – She saw the first Pope deny him and flee the trouble of the cross – But she stayed close to him – Stayed at the foot of the cross – She took her Son into her heart.

-When Jesus was crucified she didn’t leave the apostles – She stayed with St. John, & then stayed close to the church, her Son, Jesus founded.

-Jesus’ birth brings light – And the 7 Sacraments sustain that light within us.
-The hierarchy & people do not make the church Holy, but must be made Holy by the core & center of the church. What makes the church Holy? Jesus in His Word & Sacrament via the Holy Spirit – When we stop looking up – To God – We, for a time, may lose our way – But the 7 Sacraments, especially CONFESSION, THE EUCHARIST, & THE HOLY MASS, the Light of Jesus, will always be the core of the Church that He founded.

So, why do I stay close to the Church?
-Mary’s perpetual Virginity – Stays a virgin, yet still conceives – God has done impossible things before. He does them even today, turning hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, making ordinary bread & wine into the Body & Blood of Jesus Christ – Offering forgiveness for ‘unforgivable’ sins that are then forgotten & blotted out – God wants to do impossible things in our hearts & lives as well, using the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish these amazing wonders.

COME LORD JESUS THIS ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS – FATHER VIC