Ask, Seek, Knock

07-28-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Let's welcome Fr. Emmanuel Bekoe to our parishes this weekend, as he is doing Mission appeal in our parishes, I will be doing the weekend masses of St. Patrick parish Onalaska. After that I will be making my pilgrimage of Camino de Santiago in Spain, as we celebrated the feast day of St. James the Apostle on July 25, I will keep you all in my prayers during my pilgrimage in Spain and France. I really appreciate and thank Fr. Kyle & Fr. Biju who will be filling in for me during the four weekends, thanks to our Deacon Edward Wendt who will do communion service during weekdays.

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Generosity given in Hospitality

07-21-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Serving those in need and providing hospitality is considered an important Christian virtue. The readings of today reveal the unique insight of generosity given in hospitality that finds its fulfillment. Hence the central theme of today's Mass is hospitality where a person seeks to discover the divine presence in the other. In general, welcoming a guest was and still is an extremely important obligation of people living in the world. In the Gospel we have Martha, Mary and Lazarus welcoming Jesus to their house and show their hospitality. However, the Lord indicates that such hospitality should be without any anxiety but filled with service and love. The first and the third readings of today are set within the context of ancient near eastern customs of hospitality.

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The Parable of the Good Samaritan

07-14-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

There are many parables that are unique to the Gospel of Luke. The parable of the lost son (Lk 15:11-32), the parable of Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31), the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Lk 18:10-14) are among those that are unique to the gospel of Luke. The parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear read in the gospel text of today, is also one of them. To get the real message of Jesus in the unique parables of Luke we need to pay attention to the final twist to the story.

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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07-07-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

The Church, as explained by the Second Vatican Council, is by her very nature missionary, since according to the plan of the Father, she has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of today tells us that Jesus summoned his seventy committed people and sent them two by two to communicate God’s love, to bind up wounds and to be peace makers in a troubled world. The gospel passage describes Jesus sending seventy men for a mission, a wider mission. The number seventy was to the Jews symbolic:

First, it was the number of the elders who were chosen to help Moses with the task of leading and directing the people in the wilderness (Num 11:16-17, 24, 25).

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Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

06-30-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart and the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is centered on the heart of Jesus as the emblem of Divine love. This Feast has been a Solemnity in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar since 1856, and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. Even though there has been the devotion to the sacred Heart from the early days of the church we have from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the first unmistakable indications of devotions to the Sacred Heart in the Benedictine or Cistercian monasteries. The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart is from the revelation to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690), who claimed to have received visions of Jesus Christ. The revelations were numerous, and the church has accepted these to be real and deeply spiritual. In one of the apparitions, Jesus allowed Margaret Mary to rest her head upon His Heart during which time He revealed to her the wonders of His love, telling her that He desired to make them known to all mankind and to diffuse the treasures of His goodness, and that He had chosen her for this work.

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Corpus Christi: Precious body and blood of Our Lord

06-23-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This special Feast is celebrated inremembrance of Jesus who gave His life for our salvation and commanded us to celebrate the Sacrament of theHoly Eucharist in his memory. There are two feasts in the liturgical calendar that invite us to meditate on the mystery of the Eucharist: Maundy Thursday and the Feast of the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus, that is, today. The Feast owes its existence to Blessed Juliana of Liege, who began devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in around 1230. Largely through her insistence, in 1264 Pope Urban 1V commanded its observance by theuniversal church. The Feast sums up three important confessions about our Faith. First is that God becamephysically present in the person of Christ, True God and True Man. Secondly, God continues to be present inHis people as they form the Mystical Body of Christ in his church. And thirdly, the presence of God under theform of bread and wine is made available to us on the altar at Mass and preserved there for our nourishment andworship. Our liturgy today recalls the scriptural origins of this devotion.

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Holy Trinity Sunday

06-16-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

The Feast of the Holy Trinity is a mystery and humanly speaking difficult to comprehend. In our daily life we begin every one of our prayers, activities, programs or works with the sign of the cross and call upon God, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Even though we remember the Trinity several times a day, it is difficult to understand the full meaning because the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we invoke constitute a unity and yet separate. The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity consists of this: the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods, but only one God with three attributes. We have Father who is the creator, Son, the redeemer and Holy Spirit the sanctifier and the counselor. This is the Mystery of the Trinity of Persons in the one God.

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Pentecost

06-09-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Today we celebrate the birthday of the universal church. We celebrate the presence of the Spirit in this believing community today, just as it was present among the community in Jerusalem. In some countries this day is celebrated as the feast of the laity. It is the feast of every believer. The liturgy of the Word on this day suggests the theme of unity of the Church.

I would like to develop this reflection focusing on three possible meanings of this feast, exploring also what the Spirit – the Holy Spirit – and his presence can mean for us today.

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Ascension of Our Lord

06-02-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

The feast of the Ascension of Our Lord is a Mystery. Scriptures tell us that Jesus left his disciples to go back to the heavenly Father and promised to return at the end time. He concluded his earthly ministry and with this began the mission of the church. In today's gospel the disciples were saying goodbye to Jesus and we heard the intimate moment of farewell between friends. As he prepared to depart from the earth he offered them his parting gifts: the gift of understanding so that they were able to comprehend the meaning of the Scriptures. He did promise that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit and gave them his final loving blessing and told them that he would not abandon them but remain with them till the end of times. The reaction of the disciples shows a striking transformation. Luke tells us that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, praising and worshiping God. They were now certainly different from the frightened little band that had gone into hiding, run away from all authorities in Jerusalem particularly after the crucifixion.

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Moments of Absence of God

05-26-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

We are fast moving towards the end of the Eastertide. Next Sunday will be the feast of Ascension. The liturgy of the word is preparing us for the farewell of Jesus. The gospel text for this Sunday comes from the farewell discourse of Jesus after the last supper (John 14:23-29). Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me say: I am going away and shall return." Though the going away of Jesus is a preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the absence of Jesus could be agonizing. We might all go through moments of absence of God/Jesus, just as St John of the Cross, a Carmelite mystic who lived in the 16 century in Spain, is known for his mystical poems. His famous "Spiritual Canticle" (written in 1678) opens with these lines: Where have you hidden Yourself, and abandoned me to my sorrow, O my Beloved! You have fled like the hart, having wounded me. I ran after you, crying; but you were gone.

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Love and Service

05-19-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

During the Easter season the liturgy brings us closer to the resurrected Jesus and makes us realize that we are always united to him and he is united to us. He gives the invitation to all of us to enter into the true discipleship but in the context of the community. On his mission he sends his disciples two by two and teaches them to proclaim his kingdom as a community.

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Good Shepherd Sunday

05-12-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Sunday of Easter is celebrated as the Good Shepherd Sunday. Happy Mother's day. We think of the 'pastoral' love of God, as we also pray for vocations to priesthood; priests are the 'pastors' of the church. Each year, for the gospel reading, we hear one part of John 10. This year, being Year C, we listen to the third part of that chapter. Today, Jesus says, "I know them and they know me; and I give them eternal life." These two themes form the two parts of my reflection today.

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Peter’s Mentor: The Beloved Disciple

05-05-2019Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

In the liturgy, since the beginning of the Easter Triduum (the three days before Easter), through the Eastertide we hear so much from the Gospel of John. In the passion narrative and in the resurrection accounts of the Gospel of John, suddenly we have a new disciple who is introduced as: "the one whom Jesus loved" (Jn 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He is unique to the Gospel of John, and he is unnamed. Being anonymous there is something mysterious about him; there is something mythical about him; and in fact, there is something divine about him. Interpreting this figure within the general style of the Gospel of John – that this Gospel is highly symbolic – I have always looked at this 'Beloved Disciple' as a symbolic person. In this way, I find it possible to identify myself with that disciple, and to seek the intimacy granted to him by Jesus.

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