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.

St Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Community Parking Lot Gang – PLG

Posted in homily by frvictorray on April 10, 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. Sharing the spirit of St Mother Teresa of Calcutta……

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


We all have a mission to spread the Good News

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 10, 2021

Today’s Gospel mentions the three appearances of the risen Lord. Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. But the apostles did not believe her.

Later, he appeared to two disciples during their trip to Emmaus. When they had returned to Jerusalem and while they were explaining their experience, Jesus appeared to the eleven apostles gathered there.

After gently scolding them for their unbelief and hard-heartedness, Jesus gave them his preaching mission or the “universal Apostolic mandate.” Their mission to preach his Good News:  “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”

The preaching and witnessing mission of Jesus applies especially to the successors of the Twelve Apostles, namely, the Bishops, Peter’s successors

However, the whole “Church was founded to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth for the glory of God the Father, to make all people partakers in Redemption and Salvation”

All of us, have an obligation to work to ensure that all people throughout the whole world hear and accept the Divine message of salvation”

Each us must carry out the mission Christ entrusted to us

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 9, 2021

In today’s Gospel, we see the Lord Jesus appearing to the disciples just as they were fishing in the lake of Galilee, having followed His instructions to go to Galilee where they would meet Him. They went to fish and did not catch anything the entire night. Then, from the shore, Jesus told them to cast their nets and immediately they caught so many fishes that the boats were almost swamped. It was then that they recognised the Lord.

In this story, there is a very symbolic representation of what the Lord called His disciples to do. It was at that same place that the Lord Himself called the disciples, to be the fishers of men. It was here that the Lord reiterated the mission, He entrusted to all of His disciples and followers, sending them all to reach out into the deep waters, and to cast their nets so that more and more people may come to know the Lord and be saved. This is the same mission that He has entrusted to all of us as Christians, as parts and members of the Church to do.

Let us all be courageous in faith and in carrying out the ministry entrusted to each and every one of us as parts of God’s living Church. Let us all turn towards God with faith and commit ourselves to Him with renewed zeal. Let us live our lives from now on with sincere desire to serve Him in our respective communities, reaching out to those who are in need and showing them the love of God, that they too may come to believe in Him.

He has risen alleluia

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 8, 2021

Today’s Gospel picks where yesterday’s ended.  The two disciples from Emmaus finish speaking about their encounter with Christ, and their recognizing Him in the breaking of the bread, Jesus appears to all the faithful gathered together on that first Easter Sunday evening.  Jesus speaks the Easter proclamation in one word:  Shalom!  He shows them that He is not a ghost by showing His marks of crucifixion and eating food.  He then continues His ministry by explaining that everything has happened according to God’s plan.  

St. Peter and the other Apostles, with the early Christian communities proclaimed the truth of what they had witnessed and known before all the people. They did not have it easy as they often encountered a lot of opposition and challenges, and yet, they continued to persevere and reached out to others because they themselves had seen the Lord as we heard in our Gospel today, of the moment when the Risen Lord Himself appeared in the flesh before them.

Had the Resurrection been false, those Apostles and disciples of the Lord would not have wanted to do so much for a lost cause, and they would have disbanded and scattered, just as what happened to the other false Messiahs that had come up at that time. Instead, the early Christian Church grew and grew even stronger despite the challenges and persecutions it received. And with the many martyrs, more and more became inspired to follow the Lord rather than to abandon Him.

We, too, are called to bear witness for all around us to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, just as the first apostles were commissioned by Jesus to bring the Good News of salvation to all the nations. What is essential for the success of our preaching and witnessing mission is our firm and lively awareness of the presence and support of the Risen Lord in our lives.

He broke the bread

Posted in homily by frtonys on April 7, 2021

Today’s Gospel, describes how Jesus shared the sorrow and frustration of the disciples at the sad and shameful death of their Master. Their hopes of Jesus’ conquest of the Romans and the establishment with his Divine power had been shattered. Unrecognized, Jesus joins them as they walked along. He explained the Scriptures and reminded them of the prophecies about the Messiah’s death and Resurrection in order to show them how the events that had happened were the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies.

Later at supper, when Jesus blessed and broke the bread and gave it to them, that they recognized him, who quickly disappeared. The phrase, “the Breaking of the Bread”, is used repeatedly in the Acts of the Apostles to refer to the ritual meal of the Christian community, the Eucharist. For centuries we have continued to recognize Jesus in “the Breaking of the Bread.”

The risen Lord is with us in both the joyful and the sad moments of our lives. Too often, we have our hopes and dreams shattered by the untimely deaths of our dear ones, by a split in family relationships, by the worsening of our illnesses, or by the loss of jobs.

On such occasions, we have to learn to experience the risen Lord’s consoling and supporting presence in our lives. We must recognize and appreciate his presence in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus is still beside his followers. Often, he is only dimly recognized and only by few. Let us learn to talk to Jesus whenever we are alone and listen to him.