Monthly Archives: September 2018

26th Week of the Year: b





Nm 11:25-29/Jas 5:1-6/Mk 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 (137)

1 October Monday Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Jb 1:6-22/Lk 9:46-50 (455)

2 Tuesday The Holy Guardian Angels
Jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23 (456)/Mt 18:1-5, 10 (650)

3 Wednesday
Jb 9:1-12, 14-16/Lk 9:57-62 (457) 37

4 Thursday Saint Francis of Assisi
Jb 19:21-27/Lk 10:1-12 (458)

5 Friday
[USA: Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Priest]
Jb 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5/Lk 10:13-16 (459)

6 Saturday
[Saint Bruno, Priest; USA: Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, Virgin; BVM]
Jb 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17/Lk 10:17-24 (460)

Saints like St.Thérèse of the Child Jesus and St Francis of Assisi are saints who define our church as a whole and so the universal church celebrates their feasts to learn how the Spirit forms the church. They have a universal meaning.
Saints and blesseds like Blessed Francis Seelos and Blessed Marie Rose Durocher, who are recalled this week, are important figures in the church of North America. We remember them as guides to the history of our local church.

The Son of Man

Orlando Hernandez

Dear Brethren. Once again I find myself writing for this blog and asking myself why I do it. I think the main reason is that I love Fr. Victor and I just can’t say “no” when he invites me to share my little reflections. What helps me the most is that , even though I am painfully challenged by the readings, sooner or later they drop me softly into a state of prayer and I am touched by the delightful, mysterious Love of God. I realize that I also write this because I love you too, everyone who reads this, and hope that even a small ray of this Divine Love I feel might get past these words and touch your hearts.
In this Friday’s Gospel (Lk 9: 18-22), “ Jesus was praying in solitude and the disciples were with Him.” He asks them who do they think He is. Peter tells Him, “The Christ of God.”
I try to be there in this scene and look at Jesus, accompanied by those He loves and yet in “solitude.” Holiness is sometimes defined as “being set apart.” Jesus, of course, was and is so different from everyone of us, His brothers and sisters. Did He ever feel loneliness? Or was he in such intimate contact with His “Abba” that He never felt alone?
Last weekend I worked with my Emmaus Brothers in a retreat in Miami, FL. I live in New York and I had not seen them in half a year. I felt such joy in serving among them, whom I admire so much. But I also felt alone many times, much welcomed, but still an outsider after so many months away. And yet, I was never lonely. To my eyes, the light of God’s Holy Spirit glowed everywhere around me, in the eyes of everyone, even inside of me. Things tend to fluctuate in the spiritual life; it’s all in God’s will, but lately I feel so accompanied, so loved by my Heavenly “Papa”, held so tightly by my Divine Brother, in the splendor of Their Spirit, that sometimes I just have to sit down and shake my head, and my tears, because it is too much for me.
Friday’s Psalm (144) begins to express this feeling:
“Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
my mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I trust.
Lord, what is man, that You notice him;
the Son of Man, that You take thought of him?”
I ask Him the same question that He invites the disciples to ask: “Who are You?” Lord why do You love us so much? Why do You give us Your very Self when we reach out to You in prayer? And my mind goes back to the last part of the Gospel reading. Yes, intimate prayer can be a blissful experience, but sometimes it pierces our hearts like a spear. It is painful and scary. Would Jesus feel fear and sorrow when His Heavenly Father would tell Him that He actually was the Suffering Servant, a martyr for all of humanity? He tells the disciples who He really is: “ The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (v 22)
Peter might have thought: “That’s not what I was imagining when I called Him ‘the Anointed One of God.’ I think I meant a mighty, victorious warrior-king, no?” The great apostle must have been very distressed. I myself, have been, many times, before the hundreds of crucifixes I have knelt in front of, asking Him, “Why did it have to be like this? I hate to see You suffer like this! Why this horrible ritual?” And so on… My Lord has been slowly curing me of this whining. I don’t completely understand, but He has led me to accept this “horrible ritual” as the source of the Power that enables me to “dare approach the Throne of Grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” (Heb 4 : 16), and not be afraid to be loved by this great Love.
There is a catch though. In this same Gospel, our Lord goes on to say: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Lk 9:23-24)
Wow! Again I am reminded of the beautiful Peter and his three denials. Am I ready to die for the One who gives me every breath of life? I certainly hope so, to strive for not just “spiritual death,” but to go out into harm’s way, up to Calvary, into the heart of suffering, carry the cross with the crucified of this world, bring some relief, some companionship, some empathy to every Child of God I meet.
Help me Lord! Give the strength to love, and die, like you!

Orlando Hernandez

25th Week of the Year

Wis 2:12, 17-20/Jas 3:16—4:3/Mk 9:30-37 (134)

24 Monday
Prv 3:27-34/Lk 8:16-18 (449)

25 Tuesday
Prv 21:1-6, 10-13/Lk 8:19-21 (450)

26 Wednesday
[Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs]
Prv 30:5-9/Lk 9:1-6 (451)

27 Thursday Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Eccl 1:2-11/Lk 9:7-9 (452)

28 Friday
[Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr; Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs]
Eccl 3:1-11/Lk 9:18-22 (453)

29 Saturday Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
Dn 7:9-10, 13-14 or Rv 12:7-12a/Jn 1:47-51 (647)

A Garden For Mary


Come join us,
This Sunday, September 23rd,
after the I PM Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Jamaica, New York
for the blessing of our Mary Garden.

The Passionists honor Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She greets you when you come into our church. Church windows sing her praises. A beautiful grotto in our garden recalls her appearance at Lourdes.

Now, next to the Lourdes grotto we’ve planted a Mary Garden. Mary Gardens originated in Europe following the Black Death, a pandemic that caused millions to die in the 14th century. Mary gardens, begun in monasteries and churches, reminded people that God brings life to us from the earth.

Recalling the Garden of Eden, the Mary Garden with its flowers, medicinal and edible plants reminds us of the beauty, life and healing we have from God through the earth. Mary, creation’s great gift, stands in the midst of the garden, as “our life, our sweetness and our hope.” We look to her prayers to “make us worthy of the promises of Christ. “

In a world where the earth is threatened and our church is battered by scandals, we’re planting a garden of hope, a Mary Garden.


Come join us, Sunday, September 23rd.
The Passionists
Immaculate Conception Monastery
86-45 Edgerton Boulevard
Jamaica, New York

The Body of Christ

I Cor. 12. 12-14, 27-31 In writing to the Christians of Corinth, Paul says they have divided loyalties. Some say they belong to Paul, some to Apollos, some to Cephas– all high profile personalities–and by their divided loyalties they divide the church. In our reading today at Mass Paul uses the image of the human body to remind the Corinthians that high profile personalities aren’t the only ones who count. Like the human body, the church is made up of many parts and they all count. The image of the human body Paul uses is not unique to him. Many writers and speakers of his time– Greeks, Romans, Jews– explained  the unity and complexity of the empire, the community, the family and individuals through this image. The body has many parts and they’re all needed to form one body. Our lectionary today leaves out much of Paul’s use of this image, perhaps too much, because you see the concrete way the apostle must have taught the people of his day.

“Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be?

If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.”(1 Corinthians 12, 15-29) What a simple, effective way to speak of the unity and diversity in society and ourselves. Through the images of the body, Paul goes on to speak of the different gifts there are in the church, apostles, prophets; teachers; some have the gifts of healing, assistance, administration…but not everybody has the same gifts. What’s unique in Paul’s use of the image of the body is where he sees the body come from and what it is now. The body comes from the one Spirit, he says. We drink from the one Spirit; we’re all baptized into the one Body, which is Christ’s Body. We’ve been given different gifts from the Spirit, we don’t all have the same gifts, but what we have are meant to build up the Body of Christ.

It’s interesting  when we receive the Bread of the Eucharist, the priest says simply  “Body of Christ.” We receive Christ; we also receive his Body, the church, with its gifts, its strength and its weaknesses, but it’s Christ’s Body, and so we say “Amen.” “Yes.”

“Wait for One Another”

In today’s reading at Mass from 1 Corinthians ( 11, 17-26.33) we have the earliest written account of the institution of the Last Supper in the New Testament:
“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my Body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my Blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”

The simple account stresses that Jesus, taking bread and wine, gave himself, Body and Blood, “for you.” He gave himself for all. When we do this “in remembrance of me” we are called to be like him, to give ourselves for all.

Paul warns the Corinthians that by what he hears of their divisions and factions they’re failing to do what the Lord commands. Instead of imitating what Jesus d, they’re driving others away in their celebrations and thus bringing judgment on themselves.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

A beautiful phrase Paul uses, “wait for one another.” A phrase that comes from the family meal in Paul’s time, when someone might miss the meal if the family did not wait for them. “We have to wait for them.”

So we wait for the grace Jesus offers at the Eucharist, to see all at the table of the Lord, loved by God who loves all.

24th Week of the Year b

Is 50:5-9a/Jas 2:14-18/Mk 8:27-35 (131)

17 Monday
[Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church]
1 Cor 11:17-26, 33/Lk 7:1-10 (443)

18 Tuesday
1 Cor 12:12-14, 27-31a/Lk 7:11-17 (444)

19 Wednesday
[Saint Januarius, Bishop and Martyr]
1 Cor 12:31—13:13/Lk 7:31-35 (445)

20 Thursday Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
1 Cor 15:1-11/Lk 7:36-50 (446)

21 Friday Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Eph 4:1-7, 11-13/Mt 9:9-13 (643)

22 Saturday
1 Cor 15:35-37, 42-49/Lk 8:4-15 (448)

Thursday, celebrating the Korean martyrs, is an opportunity to recognize the church in that part of the world:;_ylt=AwrEwSjPiJ1b0egACII2nIlQ?p=Korean+martyrs&hsimp=yhs-perfecttab&hspart=flowsurf&fr=yhs-flowsurf-perfecttab&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Ai%2Cm%3Apivot#id=15&vid=b50cfb7027bfd5c182f70f23ea654f6d&action=view