CACINA

Homily at Holy Trinity Parish September 4, 2016 the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Communion, ecclesiology, homily, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on September 4, 2016

Homily August 28, 2016 the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Faith, forgiveness, homily, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 23, 2016

22 sunToday’s gospel talks of places of honor and of humility. In Jesus’ time people and especially the priests, pharisees and higher-ups of the society were very concerned with their places of honor and position. In that time, being invited and sharing meals was a big thing. Everyone was very much concerned with their place, and of course sought out the prominent position. Jesus, as we know was being watched carefully to see how he would react and what He would do. His reaction was to tell a parable and stress that those who were prominent should in effect practice humility and not just take the prominent seat lest they be 22 sun 2embarrassed and forced to move to a different spot. In effect, he was telling them that self enhancement and importance were really irrelevant in the way that God looked at things. God wasn’t looking at how you took care of yourself and retained self-importance, but in how you learned to look out for everybody, especially those who were less capable of taking care of themselves. God notices all people from the poorest to the richest, from the most prominent to the most outcast of society. God created everyone, the whole universe in fact, and he is aware of each of us and of all that we do. He is aware of motivation and of concerns. He knows intentions, aspirations, and isn’t concerned with positions of honor(a human concern), but more in how we relate with one another. In Jesus time, an invitation meant an invitation to return the favor. Jesus said what was the good of that when the 22 sun 3poor and hungry were not served. It is interesting also that Jesus did not put down position or power, but pointed out how it could and was abused. At times, there is reason to honor position and power, but at the same time those in such positions must learn to look out and honor all that their positions call them to serve. Each of us is responsible to look out and care for those that we meet and can do something for. Few of us will ever be in a position to reach out to large or vast numbers, but look around, no matter where you go, there is a call for action that sometimes we can respond and others not, but are we aware that these moments exist, or do we simply keep going and pass them by? True humility is knowing who we are, what we are, and what we can and can not do.

June 10, 2016 Homily at Holy Trinity Parish for the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homily for June 5th, 2016 The 10th Sunday in ordinary Time

10 sunIn today’s readings, we meet two widows who have lost their sons. In biblical times among the Jews, it was very much a male dominated society. A widow would have very little standing in that society except for perhaps having a son to represent her household and give her a place in that society. If not, generally, the widow was expected to return to the house of her parents so she would be looked after. The prophet Elijah and Jesus act similarly and differently in the two accounts. 10 sun1First to notice is that each of them acted on their own initiative. Each seeing the distress and sorrow of the widow acted to help the widow. Elijah took the boy to his guest room and laid on him and prayed. When the child revived he returned him to his mother. Jesus, however, simply stopped the funeral procession and issued the 10 sun 2command for the young man to arise. The obvious point in the gospel was to point to the difference of authority that Jesus had over Elijah. Jesus also returned the Son to his Mother. Jesus was the more powerful prophet, he was the one who they were all waiting for. Certainly, the two stories today points to God’s love and the compassion he feels for all of us. His care of the two widows points out that he is aware and is always there for all of us at all times. Not only is he there at extreme times of sorrow and distress, but at all times.
But today as we think of the two sons, we have reason to celebrate on of our own sons, euch1Jordan, who today will receive the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time. Jordan, today is a special day for you, a day to remember for all your life to receive Christ’s Body and Blood for the first time. It is the next step in a journey you began with your Baptism and now you begin a new and stronger lifetime relationship with the Lord as you partake and share the Eucharist with all your family and the Holy Trinity parishioners. We all congratulate and celebrate with you and your family today.

May 29, 2016 Homily at Holy Trinity for the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Homily May 29, 2016 The Body and Blood of Christ

euch5Growing up in the United States, one thing we all can say for the most part is that food is plentiful and gotten by most of us. Sure there are those among us who because of circumstances do not receive or get what they need, but food is plentiful because of our work ethic and technology. We do import food but at the same time we export it also. But, my point today, is that no matter where we go, every human being has one basic need if he or she is going to survive, and that is food. Since the beginning of time, we humans have come together and sought out food to sustain our lives. Generally families would share their food together as they share their daily lives. In modern times, families coming together for a common meal has become less frequent as schedules have become complicated and times to be together seem to be harder to arrange. Yet, there remains in our culture the desire to be family and share time and conversation and food together. euch1At important times and events, it seems we always arrange to gather around food. It is one thing that seems to bring a certain ease for conversation and interaction.

If we look back at the early church, in the earliest times they met in the homes of believers which were large enough to bring everyone together. Their sharing of the faith always started with a meal and then a celebration of the Eucharist, a sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ. It was the same context and setting that Christ set when he gave us the Eucharist at His Last Supper on that night He knew would be his last with His disciples before he died. What He gave, was His very self, a food with a visible form of bread and wine, but actually His very Body and 5 easterBlood, a food to feed us spiritually and keep us strong and robust for a long and tedious journey to His Father. Certainly, he sent his Spirit to assist us, but as God gave us family, Jesus gave us each other in the church and calls us to his special meal that draws us together in his love and provides the nourishment and strength to continue on in all the struggles we encounter. A human is not meant to be alone, even as God himself, we are meant to love, to relate and reach out and grow together as one. Our Food and Drink for our spiritual journey is unlike any ever given. While worshipers of the past partook of the sacrifices they offered, what they ate was not fulfilling spiritually. Our food is living flesh and blood, the living Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. So, as we reach out and hit the refrigerator or call for delivery or seek out some place to eat, Let us not forget that there is a more basic and desirable food that brings us here.

Homily August 30, 2015 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Communion, Eucharist, Faith, homily, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 25, 2015

22sunAs we listen to today’s gospel, we get almost a picture of some kind of lesson in hygiene. Through the centuries, the rabbis and the pharisees had developed many types of rituals for the purpose of being cleansed and to properly present themselves in the temple. Many of these rituals they had passed on to the people as laws to live their lives. One of these numerous laws was the notion 22suof washing hands and anything that they were going to eat. In actuality, none of these prescriptions were a part of the mosaic law, and were actually added on by men and were far from the authentic law. Christ was harsh with the Pharisee’s criticism, for they were more concerned by what was the traditions of human origin than what was the actual law and revelation of God.

As an example growing up, I can remember back many years to first communion and the perception and teachings of my youth. I remember going to Mass when maybe twenty or thirty people went to communion out of a congregation of several hundred. People going to communion was so infrequent, that everyone had to be reminded of their Easter duty, which meant that everyone was obligated to receive communion at least once a year which was called their Easter Duty. . If we recall the last several weeks of John’s theology of the Eucharist, and the need for nourishment and food both physically and spiritually for our journey and for eternal life, Some where the authentic message of Jesus came to be seen differently over some centuries, and the real presence of Christ in the 22sundEucharist led people to conclude that they were not worth to receive it, when Christ’s message was that the Eucharist is what would make us worthy. It was clearly a case where human perception and human tradition lost the authentic teaching or at least a better understanding of it.

What this tells us is that we must closely look and pray and search out the Spirit to know that what is authentic comes ultimately from Christ and his Spirit who dwells within us. It is important always to avoid putting the human things before the Word and Spirit. Human laws and interpretations, while perhaps necessary, are human and finite. Christ calls for openness to the Spirit knowing truly what calls for our love and 22sundayattention. Human things, thoughts, desires and other distractions can deprive us of a truly spiritual and fulfilling life. Human refinements and institutions and laws, while convenient for some reasons, are not always faithful to the Law of Christ’s love, nor quick to resolve issues with his forgiveness. History proves that following Christ can be easy, but at the same time it is challenging because it means giving up ourselves to love as he did. Life in the Spirit is hopefully what we do.

Homily August 23, 2015 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Communion, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 19, 2015

Jesus Commanding his Disciples to RestIn many ways, if we look at Christian art and how it depicts Jesus, we see a very idealistic and westernized Jesus in most of the art. What we forget is that he didn’t have his own home and he traveled from town to town making Copernican a place He went most often. Sleeping out under the stars was probably not uncommon for he and the twelve. As a group of men, they probably were rough looking and a group that could take care of themselves. Jesus became known for being outspoken and for performing signs. His preaching and message 21 sundawere different and presented differently than by the teachers of the law. He taught with authority that was hard to fathom for the average person. He appeared and spoke in a prophet like way, but he left the choice of following and belief up to the individual. So as we finish the bread of life section today, we find the crowd and at the same time the people of John’s time of writing the gospel perplexed and questioning the whole idea of the bread from heaven and the eating and drinking the flesh and blood in the sacrificial offering of the cross. How can we eat his flesh?
The question or belief in the Eucharist is a faith question that all deal with one time or another. Clearly Christ said this is my body and blood, The how and the why is simply that it is for us for our journey here and for life to come. In life, we do not question love and someone’s looking out for us, so why should we question or doubt what he has done and continues to do.21 sunday
Yet, in today’s gospel, we see that many walked away, many who could not open their hearts to the word and the embrace of God’s love, either through selfishness, or because they shut themselves within themselves, In his love, Jesus let them go, free to choose, free to believe, free to go where their choices took them. No harsh words or condemnation, but simply he let them go, always ready to welcome them again.
And so it is our bread of life, our bread for now and the future is here for us to share and to live out in our world today and to prepare for the time to come. Like Peter we say, “Lord to whom can we go?”

Reflection for Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (Year 1)

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 18, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts

Readings- Judges – Chapter 6 verses 11-24 / Psalm 85 verses 8 & 10-13 /
Matthew – Chapter 19 verses 23-30

Dear friends, God speaks to us over and over again through people or situations. God wishes to give us God’s peace. God’s peace surpasses all understanding beyond our own knowledge. Peace comes with letting go of our idea of what true peace is. It is within. When we let all the walls down and listen to the small voice within, peace gently enters our heart.
If we are truly poor in spirit, worldly possessions will not faze us. We will be able to share everything we have without feeling we need those things. If we place all our hope in material things then we will never understand about the kingdom of heaven. It is easy to say, but letting go of our possessions is difficult for most people because it is a false security. Holding on to things, people, places, ideas etc, prevent us from truly being poor in spirit. When Jesus was talking about the rich person’s difficulty attaining heaven, he was not saying we couldn’t have things, he was saying that if we let those possessions rule our life; they would block us from having true peace. So let us open our hearts and free ourselves of all that prevents us from loving and sharing.

rev. Michael Theogene

Reflection for the Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Cycle B) August 16, 2015

Inclusive Lectionary Texts

Readings- Proverbs – Chapter 9 verses 1-6 / Psalm 34 /
Ephesians – Chapter 5 verses 15-20 / John – Chapter 6 verses 48-58

Sisters and brothers wisdom in this passage is referred to as a woman who has built her house, prepared food and drink and set a royal table. She sends out an invitation to those who are simple to come and share her food and drink and discuss how to walk the path of understanding Gods ways. The discussion continues with Paul’s guidance about how to conduct oneself by using your time well, allowing yourself to be open to the Holy Spirit, meditating on psalms, hymns spiritual songs, being joyful in your heart. He goes on to say always give thanks to God for everything. It concludes with Jesus saying He is the bread of life and we must eat his body and drink his blood in order to have life. What controversy this caused. What does it mean? I believe Jesus was trying to tell us that we must feast on the example of Jesus life. He lived every second of his life serving God. It was never about bringing attention to him. It was about how much God loves us unconditionally. Jesus wanted us to feed on his life so that we were nourished in God and in turn others can feed on our lives and experience Gods love and pass it on. So let us feast on the richness of God’s beauty and love found in others and in ourselves. We are the body and blood of Christ.

rev. Michael Theogene

Today’s Homily at Holy Trinity Parish August 16, 2015 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, Communion, Eucharist, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit by Fr Joe R on August 16, 2015

Homily August 16, 2015 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, Christianity, Eucharist, Faith, inspirational, religion, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 13, 2015

20 sunThe last few weeks we have been listening to the Bread of life discourse in the Gospel of John. As we know, John was written after the other gospels and has some different characteristics than the 3 Synoptic gospels. John, for instance, spends several chapters on the last supper and Jesus’ washing of feet and various discourses, but he does not include the institution of the Eucharist. The discourse we have been listening to is placed at Passover, and thee bread of life discourse is John’s introduction and theology of Christ’s body and blood. It is his way of teaching and bringing about a better understanding of the Eucharist.20 sunda So far we have seen the body and blood as food and nourishment for the body and as spiritual food for our journey to eternal life,

Today, Jesus emphasizes that the body and blood he is giving is actually his very flesh and his very blood. This flesh and blood is really and actually his body and blood. As bread is made of grain crushed and mixed with water and then baked at high temperature, so has the wine been made of crushed grapes and fermented to make his blood Bread as we know is a staple and nutritious for every day life and in such a way is Christ’s body crushed and life giving to us now and for our daily life and for future life to come. Wine is true drink, but actually in a way more festive and joyful for the sharing of nutritious and happy times. Together we come together and share his body and blood and together achieve a unity of mind and heart and prepare ourselves to go out and face the world as loving Christians and bring ourselves to a table and place Body_of_Christ_by_ssejllenradprepared for us when we have reached the end of our time. Real food, real drink for us for now physically and spiritually , a way to face daily life. How can this be, how can it be his flesh and blood? It was asked in Christ’s time and obviously in John’s time. And even today it is asked. Faith tells us it is what Christ said it was and there has been throughout the centuries no greater gift to us. His body, his blood has been given and has been a constant from the very earliest church. It is true even to today, whoever eats his body and drinks his blood will have life and will never die.

August 9, 2015 Homily at Holy Trinity Parish

Posted in Called, Communion, Eucharist, Faith, homily, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 9, 2015

Homily for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B 2015 (Aug 16)

Posted in christian, Communion, Eucharist, homily, inspirational by Fr. Ron Stephens on August 9, 2015

Homily for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B 2015 (Aug 16)

Once again this week we are invited to look at the continuing teaching on the Eucharist as presented by Jesus in John’s Gospel. And once again, we have an Old Testament reading that looks forward to the eucharistic event. Proverbs says: “”You that are simple, turn in here!” To those without sense [Wisdom] says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity and live…””

And again we sing in the Psalm: Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Even so, Paul, or pseudo Paul” in a voice that is censuring excess at Eucharistic meals, says don’t taste too much: Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit”…and that will lead you “to sing and make music to the Lord”.

So today is all about celebration of the fact that the Eucharist is a wonderful, miraculous, freeing, forgiving thing!

The Gospel repeats and then picks up what we heard last week, re-iterating that the bread from heaven, the flesh of our Savior will give us life now, and eternal life after. Because Jesus has been raised and we are “in Jesus” we too shall live because of him. Hopefully, you found time last week to think about some of these things that we often take for granted.

Because today is so celebratory about the Eucharist I would like to take a few minutes to remind you how many times this ‘bread of heaven” comes up in our Sunday Mass.

We start most Sundays by my saying “As we prepare to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s love, let us acknowledge our failures.”  The mystery of Christ’s love is another way for saying eucharist. Christ’s love for us allows him to give himself up for us, and he does this by giving up his body. Each week at Mass we re-enact that great mystery.

When we get to the Offertory of the Mass after we have finished the readings and said our Creed, the people bring the gifts to the altar, the priest takes them and prays over them. Since I am concentrating on “bread from heaven” today I will only talk about the first one. The priest says..”Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.” The bread of life! Jesus has taken something from the earth, it is refashioned by our hands and the refashioned again into Christ’s body. A threefold mystery.

In the Canon of the Mass, just before the consecration, the priest asks that this bread and wine “become the body and blood of Jesus Christ your only son our Lord.” Immediately following we hear the words from the Last Supper repeated: Take this [bread], all of you and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.” This is the moment in the Mass when we most clearly know what is happening and what sacrifice Jesus was going to make for us.

Immediately after when we proclaim the mystery of our faith, one of the responses is that “we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus until you come in glory”. How we proclaim that is, of course, the Eucharist.

After the consecration we are again reminded that what we are doing at Mass is reenacting the perfect sacrifice. We are told “we offer to you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and cup of eternal salvation.” Both themes are proclaimed loudly in today’s Gospel – the life-giving effect of the Eucharist and the everlasting effect of it. Then we are reminded of three examples of offerings being given in the Old Testament. We are reminded of Abel who offered up the fruits of the land to God, of Abraham, who was willing to offer the body of his son, and Melchisedech, a Gentile King, who brought gifts of bread and wine to Abram. We see Melchisedech’s gifts as a forerunner of the gifts Jesus transformed.

At the end of the Canon we proclaim that these gifts are filled with life and goodness, and are blessed and holy.

In the Our Father when we say “give us this day our daily bread”, we can hear echoes of the Old Testament and the manna in the desert which was a daily bread and echoes of the Eucharist as well. In this we are asking for the eucharist’s life-giving qualities.

After the Lamb of God litany has reminded us of the fact that sins are forgiven again, the priest takes a piece of the consecrated bread and drops it into the chalice of blood and silently says: May this mingling of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it. So there it is again – the two prominent qualities of the eucharist – forgiveness of sin and eternal life. When the priest consumes the bread, you may not realize but he silently says: ‘May the body of Christ bring me to everlasting life’. In cleansing the vessels the prayer uttered is: May [these gifts] bring me healing and strength.

So you see that in each Mass we have structured our worship and praise of God around the idea of repeating the perfect sacrifice of the bread from heaven and the wine of the covenant.

Coming back to John’s Gospel today we might end by repeating Christ’s explanation to us: “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.

I ask you this week and going forward to watch for the mentioning of the bread of heaven at Mass in attempt to not let us take the Mass for granted, but to make it a real eucharistic meal binding us to Christ and to one another. Then we can echo the final prayer of the priest: Lord may i receive these gifts in purity of heart. May they bring me healing and strength, now and for ever.:

This is Good News, and it is news that bears repeating today.

(Please note that the Catholic Apostolic church still uses the post Vatican II translation of the Canon, which I have used today.)

Bishop Ron Stephens

Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

[You can purchase a complete Cycle A and Cycle B of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast, from amazon.com for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

Homily August 9, 2015 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, Communion, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 5, 2015

19sundaOur gospel today is again from John. It continues on from the last two weeks. Jesus if the bread that came down from heaven. His Father draws those who come to him. Whoever believes in him will have eternal life. He is the bread of life, and unlike the manna in the desert, those who eat this bread will never die. He addresses the deeper hunger in humanity as the divine food that satisfies a relationship with God revealed in the presence of Jesus. That bread containing the presence of Jesus provides us 19suddayaccess to eternal life now through Jesus. As Jesus lived and acted so too are we called to lay down our lives as Jesus to for the Good of others and for eternal life. As Jesus served with the towel and basin at his ,last supper, so are we called to serve others and even act in menial ways for the glory of God and service to others. His way is our way, his body, the food for a journey to keep us in his kingdom and before God his Father.

In the first reading. Elijah in faithfully carrying out God’s command, got depressed and discouraged and depressed. But we see God provided 19sundhim food for the journey he called him to make to Mount Sinai. Early on, we see God’s concern to nourish and help Elijah carry on. If our faith is good and constant, God watches over us even when we get discouraged. But even more so as Jesus was sent as a divine food to sustain and keep us far better the the early times of the scriptures. That divine food is present and waiting for us each week,each time we share his Eucharist. Jesus opens us up to Him, his Father, to those around us. Such a life will never end.

August 2, 2015 Today’s Homily at Holy Trinity Parish

Posted in Called, Christianity, church events, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 2, 2015