The real presence in the Eucharist

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 23, 2021

In today’s gospel the Jewish hearers of Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life were appalled at his statement that he was going to give them his Flesh to eat. How could he give them his flesh to eat? They wanted to know how eating His flesh Jesus would be a means to gain Eternal Life.  

Jesus asserted that it was a must for them to eat his Body and drink his Blood if they were to receive Divine Life, Eternal Life, and resurrection from the dead. There is no way to interpret Jesus’ words as “simply symbolic. That would mean that receiving Communion is only a metaphor, and not really eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ.

Jesus stresses very forcefully that it is necessary for us to receive him in the Blessed Eucharist in order to share in Divine Life and to develop the life of grace we have received in Baptism. We receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion to nourish our souls and to give us an increase of grace and the gift of eternal life. Really sharing in the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with him and with one another.

Communion with Jesus enables us to start enjoying Eternal Life with God here on earth, while resurrection gives us eternal life with God forever. We need to receive Holy Communion with the full awareness that we are abiding with Jesus, carrying him wherever we go. Because we are one with Jesus we are expected to radiate to all around us the love, the mercy, the spirit of service, and the forgiveness of Jesus.

In Jesus we have eternal life

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 22, 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaking to the jews, shares his unique relationship with the Father and is the only one who has seen Him. He says they have to learn to see the Father in Jesus. They have to learn that it is in Jesus that they have eternal life and that he is the Bread of Life.

Jesus makes a contrast between the manna that they ate and the bread of life that he gives. The manna their ancestors consumed could not result in saving them from death, but the bread that Jesus gives results in a person living forever. This is because the bread that Jesus gives is living bread, a life giving bread. The bread that he gives for the life of the world is his flesh.

This can mean, on one hand, the incarnation, where the Word became flesh, but on the other, can refer to his death on the cross, when he will give his life for the life of the world.

The purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world was to reveal the Father God who wanted to save all people. God took the initiative in the tangible way of sending his son to become flesh for all. Even as God takes the initiative, he leaves us free to respond to his act of love. We always have a choice when it comes to the gifts that God gives. We can accept them or reject them. Acceptance means life, rejection means death. There is no middle way.

This my body that will be given up for you

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 21, 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues to his claim that he is “the Bread of Life.” Just as God sent manna from heaven to sustain the physical life of his people in the desert, so He has sent His Son Jesus to sustain the spiritual lives of His people. The spiritual life is actually our relationship with God the Father, through His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells that He is our spiritual Food and offering himself in order to produce God’s life within us.  He promises to those who believe in him unbroken friendship with God.  Jesus also promises to those who believe in him a share in his own Resurrection at the end of this world and share of Eternal Life with him in Heaven.

We need to live dynamic spiritual lives, sharing in God’s Life, through the Holy Eucharist. We can keep the friendship of Jesus only by leading holy lives free from sin. We can enjoy and share the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection only by realizing and appreciating his presence within us and all around us.

All are welcome

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 20, 2021

Part of my ordination vows: “To take the hand of the outcast, the stranger, and those who have been told that they are unworthy, and to let them know that the God I serve loves them unconditionally.” My church welcomes all to share in the Sacraments without reservation.
Saint John of God Parish

Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)
Schenectady NY

Jesus kept his promise, and he continues to feed us in the Holy Eucharist.

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 20, 2021

In today’s GospelJesus’ implied claim that he was the Messiah sent from Heaven to give Eternal Life to those who believed in him, causes the Jews to demand a sign from Heaven. They said Moses, gave a Heavenly sign to our ancestors in the form of manna, rained down on them from Heaven. The Jewish rabbis taught that the promised Messiah would repeat the miracle as a Messianic sign.

Jesus explained to the Jews that it was not Moses but God, his Heavenly Father, who gave them manna from Heaven. He then claimed that he was more than a provider of bread like Moses because he was himself the bread that the Father was providing. 

In other words, Jesus is the Heavenly manna that the Father sent to the world as the Bread of Life. Jesus explains that the manna given to Moses and the people was not the real bread from Heaven, but only a symbol of the Bread to come. Jesus also demands from them a Faith in himself as the Son of God and the Bread of Life if they do not want to hunger and thirst again. Jesus uses the metaphor of food and drink to show that He is the One Who really meets all man’s essential needs and noblest aspirations.

Jesus kept his promise, and he continues to feed us with his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. So, let us nourish our souls with this Heavenly manna.

The Eucharist life giving food

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 19, 2021

Todays Gospel text, begins immediately after the miracle of walking on the water. Since the crowd were not aware of the miracle of Jesus walking on the water, they wonder how he got to the other side. Jesus does not answer their question but draws attention to their reason for seeking him. Even though they saw the sign that Jesus gave at the miraculous feeding, they were not able to perceive it because their attention was directed to the earthly and temporary, not to the heavenly and permanent.

Even as they seek him for temporary food, Jesus invites them to a higher seeking. He asks them to seek for the food that only he can give, the food that endures forever. Jesus is competent to give this food because the Father himself has approved and set his seal on Jesus.

In response to Jesus’ statement to not work for food that perishes, the crowd interprets the word “work” to mean certain actions that they must perform to acquire this food. Jesus corrects this misunderstanding by explaining what is meant by “work”. They must believe in Jesus who has been sent by God.

Believing in Jesus does not only mean a verbal profession of faith. In the Gospel of John, the term believing is, most often, used to describe faith that shows itself in action. This is why believing is similar to work. Jesus does not provide merely physical nourishment, but also nourishment of the mind, heart, and spirit. To know and believe in Jesus is to be sated in every aspect of life. It is to never lack or want anything, because all things are provided in him.

Most of the time, we work for food which only nourishes the body. Jesus teaches that he is the Heavenly food, who nourishes the soul and gives us eternal life in union with God in Heaven. Therefore let us receive this Life-giving food both in the Holy Eucharist and in the Holy Scripture with proper preparation and reverence.

Are you ready to Christ’s witness

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 18, 2021

Today’s Gospel begins with the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus, gathered together with the Twelve telling them their experience.  Jesus again appears.  This time everyone recognizes Him, but thinks He is a ghost.  So Jesus showed them His hands and feet and told them to touch Him.  He even ate a piece of fish to prove that He was not a ghost. 

He explained the scriptures leading to this moment and said, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” We to are witnesses of these things.” He called His disciples to be witnesses.  He calls us to be His witnesses.

The world needs to hear our testimony.  The world needs to hear that there is so much more around us than the every day concerns of our lives. We listen to the news every day but, the only news that matters, the Good News, the Gospel.  Jesus Christ has saved the world.  He has given us eternal life.  We have to treasure this life, and lead others to His life.  We have to take a stand for all that is right and moral.

Who is there in this world who is going to stand up for what is right and true, just and moral? Who? We, that’s who. We are witnesses to Jesus Christ. We are witnesses to His Truth. It is our obligation to apply the Christian litmus test to the events of the world. This is what we have been called to do. We are His witnesses.

Pray and He will calm the storm

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 17, 2021

Today’s gospel reminds us of times in our lives when we are critically threatened, as we are now during our present Coronavirus emergency … this virus that threatens to engulf and sink us. But Jesus is always “Emmanuel, God with us”, able to save us from whatever threatens our life.

Back to the storm on the lake. Jesus had sent his disciples in their boat to cross the lake while he went into the hills to pray. But his prayer did not make him forget his friends. He knew they were struggling against the wind and worn out with rowing. If prayer is genuine, it sharpens our awareness of the needs of other people.

If our prayer opens us up to God, it leaves us more open to others who are struggling with the stress of life. When Jesus gets into the boat with his disciples the wind drops and they come into a calmer space. We too ask for the Lord’s calming presence during the Corona Virus storm. And by his grace, we hope to channel to others our trust in his saving presence.

We need to commit ourselves to share all we have and are, and to work with God in communicating His compassion to all.

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 16, 2021

Today’s gospel describes the scene of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. This is the only miracle performed by Jesus, that is told in all four Gospels, a fact that speaks of its importance to the early Church.

We may regard incident, as a miracle that addresses the Divine Providence and the Messianic sign. The lesson for every Christian was that, no matter how impossible his or her assignment may seem, with Divine help it can be done because “nothing is impossible with God.”

The starting point for the miraculous meal was a young boy’s generous gift of all the food he had, perhaps to remind us that love is the prime requirement for salvation. The early Christian community especially cherished this story because they saw this event as anticipating the Eucharist.

We need to commit ourselves to share all we have and are, and to work with God in communicating His compassion to all. That’s what the early Christians did, generously sharing what they had with the needy. Share what you for whatever you offer through Jesus will have a life-giving effect in those who receive it.

A Word of HOPE!

Posted in homily by frvictorray on April 15, 2021

SCRIPTURE1 Corinthians 3.6

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

A WORD OF HOPE Guts are such an incredible thing, aren’t they? Deep in our physical guts are our intestines which contains the recipe for about 70% of our immune system, digesting our food, and oddly, among other things, to somehow give us a response helping us make quicker decisions often faster than our brains can keep up with. According to “Your gut may not be a literal voice, but its functions communicate in a form of code.”
We’ve all heard the phrase “go with your gut!” or “gut feeling” and oddly enough, the last few days have proven to me in different circumstances that my own gut feelings were more often than not, correct. I wished I had listened to them in every occurrence, because I wasted precious time second guessing my instinct. What about you? How many times have you kicked yourself for having dismissed your first, best gut feeling? You probably did that an hour ago.

In the popular Star Wars movie series, various characters have been known to say “I have a bad feeling about this.” I’m no stranger to the Force. To me, it’s just another designation of that person of the Trinity we call the Holy Spirit, the internal Eternal who comforts and guides us. But even with that knowledge, I’m second-guessing myself on why it is so difficult to listen to my overriding gut instincts.

Going back to something I said earlier, I don’t think it’s really true that our emotional “gut feeling” is something happening outside of our thinking. I believe our brains are wired with so many millions upon millions of learned behavior that our spirit and our brains are working together to quietly inform us about situations which may be eluding us at the moment. Our brains and spirituality, reason and emotion, all work hand in hand. One is never working without the other.

I invite you today to stop for a minute or two and reflect on some past situations in which your gut feeling was instructing you, particularly those times when you ignored it. What can you learn from these choices? Once again, we are faced with the conundrum of deciding whether we are physical bodies with a spirit or spiritual bodies living inside of matter. I’m not denying that there is safety within reason; safety does matter. We must learn why those strong, instinctive gut feelings are there to begin with.

Are they a force of habit which we have conditioned ourselves to ignore first? Perhaps that gut Force is informing us to live a better life; taking into account everything we have learned up to that very moment. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to form a better habit of listening intently, replacing the negative with the positive.
I’ll start by saying, I’ve got a very good feeling about this. What is your still, small voice telling you?

PRAYER: Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

DEVOTION AUTHOR: Charlie Rose Order of St. Francis and St. Clare

St Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Community, a CACINA parish, St Petersburg, FL

We are called to spread the good news

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 15, 2021

Today’s Gospel verses can be confusing some think they are John’s final witness to Jesus. Others believe they are the words of Jesus. If the words are regarded as that of John, then the “one from above” refers to Jesus and “the one from the earth”, to John. If they are interpreted as the words of Jesus, then the same refer to Jesus and the Jewish leaders.

In either case, it is clear that Jesus is the one from above. The testimony of both John and Jesus was rejected by some who witnessed it. To accept the testimony of John and Jesus is to trust God, since it is God himself who sent both. While John was sent to bear witness to the light, Jesus was the light to whom John bore witness.

Jesus, having been sent by the Father, speaks what he has been commanded to by the Father. He has received the gift of the Spirit and so is able to gift the Spirit to others. The relationship between the Father and the Son is one of unconditional love. This love results in the Father handing over all things to, to believe in the Son means to have life, to reject the Son means to call death on oneself.

Whether we regard the words as those of Jesus or of John, what is striking is that each witness to the one he has been called to witness to.  John was called to witness to Jesus, and he does this perfectly. Jesus was called to witness to the Father, and he does this like no one before him could ever do. The lives of both John and Jesus resulted in many being drawn to Jesus and to his Father.

Today, as Christians we are called to bring the Good News of God, His love and presence to those who do not know God and are still in darkness and in ignorance of God’s truth. We are all called to be faithful witnesses of our Christian faith and we should not just be idle or be Christians in name only.

God so loved the world

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 14, 2021

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life, speaks of the unconditional love of God that was made visible by sending his Son into the world. This gift of God was accepted by some but rejected by others. The primary purpose of sending the Son was not to condemn, but to save. Yet, every person is free to decide whether he or she wants this free gift. Acceptance of the Son of God results in salvation, rejection means that one condemns oneself.

Though the light has come, and people should normally have opted for it, some preferred the dark. The reason why they did is because they did not want either their deeds or their person to be exposed. Fear ruled their hearts. Those who opted for the light opted for freedom and love.

in the past, god sent messenger after messenger to show his people the route to salvation and they did not listen. The Lord could have sent sent yet another messenger, rather He opted for the most extreme of measure when he sent a part of himself. It is even more stunning that this son was sent, not to judge, but to draw people to God through love and forgiveness. The primary task of Jesus, as his name suggests, was to be salvation to all. The all inclusive nature of this salvation, and its availability to the whole human race, is something that is possible only for God.

We need to respond to God’s love for us by loving and serving Him in others in whom He dwells. God’s love for us is unconditional, universal, forgiving and merciful. Let us make an earnest attempt to include these qualities in sharing our love with others not only during this Easter season but all the days of our life.

We do not know how the Holy Spirit comes to penetrate our heart.

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 13, 2021

Today’s Gospel is the continuation of the visit of Nicodemus with Jesus. He wanted to clarify whether the obeying of the Mosaic Law and the offering of prescribed sacrifices were enough for one’s eternal salvation.

But Jesus used the occasion to show Nicodemus the necessity for a spiritual rebirth through the action of the Holy Spirit by means of the water of Baptism as an essential condition for one’s salvation. Jesus teaches Nicodemus the effects the Holy Spirit produces in the souls of the baptized.

We do not know how the Holy Spirit comes to penetrate our heart. But He makes His presence felt by the change in the conduct of the person who receives Him.

Jesus further explains that he himself comes from Heaven. Then, by comparing how God saved the snake-bitten Israelites through the symbol of bronze serpent, Jesus tells Nicodemus that” the Son of Man” is going to save mankind by death on the cross.

We need to, recognize and make full use of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to begin every day by asking for His Divine strength and guidance and end every day by asking His pardon and forgiveness for the things we have done wrong.

Born again through Baptism

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 12, 2021

In today’s Gospel we see Nicodemus a rich Jewish rabbi and one of the seventy members of Sanhedrin, visiting Jesus at night. Nicodemus came to Jesus convinced that obeying the Mosaic Law and offering the prescribed sacrifices were enough for one’s eternal salvation.

Jesus plainly tells him that in order to be saved he has to be born again of water and the Holy Spirit (Baptism). Jesus further explains that his disciples have two lives, namely natural and supernatural, and two births, a physical birth from one’s mother and a supernatural birth from God through Baptism, as God’s child, a member of His family on earth and an heir of Heaven.

We need to remember that rebirth by water and the Holy Spirit is a continuous process. For that process of rebirth to take place, we need, every day, to repent of our sins and with the help of His grace, to renew our lives through prayer, accompanied by corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

A success story from Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Parking Lot Gang

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 11, 2021

When Glen woke up inside this morning, he was momentarily afraid he might be in jail. Then he realized he was in an apartment. HIS APARTMENT!!!

Glen is PLGs friend. He has been visiting us every 2nd Saturday since we’ve been popping up in the Celebrate Outreach parking lot . I hardly recognized him because he wasn’t wearing his trademark ball cap and backpack (which he no longer needs since he has a home.) His smile was bigger than his mask. Through tears of joy, he told us about his new bookcase, his shower curtain and where he fishes down the block. He showed us his keys and told us a about his job with as much pride as a new father.

Glen’s success story is exactly why we do what we do. One parking lot at a time.

#stoccc #NeighborsInNeed

To offer forgiveness is the mission given to all of us who have been baptized into the risen Jesus.

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 11, 2021

In today’s gospel we find the disciples dispirited and terrified after the death of Jesus. They have to confront their failure to be faithful to Jesus in the hour of his passion and death.

They fear has caused them to lock themselves away in a room. Suddenly Jesus stands among them and says to them, ‘Peace be with you’ and breathes the Holy Spirit upon them.

The risen Lord was reconciling with the disciples. As such they came to recognize they were forgiven, and, so their hearts were filled with joy.

Having experienced the gift of the Lord’s forgiveness, they are sent with the power of the Spirit to offer to others the gift of forgiveness. ‘Those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven’. That gift and mission is given to all of us who have been baptized into the risen Jesus.

Thomas had not been in the room when the risen Lord appeared to the other disciples. He had missed out on the Lord’s bestowal of the gifts of peace and forgiveness. He had gone off on his own to nurse his wounds, and so he missed out on the Lord’s presence shared by his brothers.

He is not unlike so many today who, for a variety of reasons, have cut themselves off from the church. When we cut ourselves off from the community of believers, we lose out greatly.

For all its flaws and failings, the church is the place where we encounter the risen Lord.

When we gather in worship and pray, when we gather to serve others in the Lord’s name. It is there that we hear the Lord say, ‘Peace be with you’. that we receive the Holy Spirit to empower us to be faithful to our mission.

We have seen the Lord’. Those first disciples remind us of our calling to keep reaching out in faith to all those who, for whatever reason, have drifted away from the community of believers and no longer gather with us.