2017

All Families are Called to Be Holy

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The hectic activities of the Christmas celebra­tions are mostly gone, and now we deal with the memories of those days. Whenever fami­lies are gathered for the holidays it seems as if the best and worst of all its member's affects tend to appear. Now that mostly everyone is gone back to wherever they came from, we deal with the questions: Was it worth it? Can we not be like every other family and enjoy the celebrations in peace?

A good friend of mine, who happens to be a psychiatrist, once told me an as­sertion that made me wonder. She said: "All families are dysfunctional." She was not trying to tell me that all families are sick, but the simple fact that there are no perfect families. Every family has issues and they deal with them the best way they can.

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. What is the Church's liturgy trying to teach us through this celebration? Contrary to what some people believe, the Church is not trying to present to us a perfect family, but is showing us a more realistic option. It is showing us the option available to all families to be holy.

Contrary to what some people think, holiness is not perfection. Holiness is learn­ing how to fulfill God's will in our lives. It is living our lives in obedience to God's plan. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph also dealt with issues: Joseph's doubts, Jesus' decision to remain in Jerusalem when his parents left. We all know of insecurities and rebelliousness in our ovm families. There are no perfect families.

However, there is an option available to all our families, the option to become holy in the eyes of God: the option to live in obedience to God's will within our families; the option to realize God's plan within the small framework of our families.

Our family life may never be perfect, but holiness is always a possibility with God's grace and our commitment. May all our families become holy families!

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

The Birth of a Child

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

The birth of a child generates different responses. Parents make sure they have everything ready for when the baby comes. The mother experiences the pains during labor. The father goes through some anxiety and worry while he waits for the baby to be born. Grandparents, relatives, and friends make phone calls to see if the baby was born and if everything worked out well. Once the baby is born, safe and sound, all rejoice and there is a great sense of peace, beauty, and awe.

This Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Advent which also concludes the Advent season. Also, this Sunday we enter into the Christmas celebration. We celebrate the birth of the Son of God born in the midst of pain, anxieties, and expectation. It is the Word of God made flesh in Jesus that gives us a renewed sense of peace, beauty and awe. Jesus' peace is a reassurance that God is truly with us every moment, every step of our journey. The word made flesh is a reassurance of God's beauty that he shares with all creation. Jesus renews our sense of awe, Divine awe, because God surprises us all with the simplicity of a baby born in a manger.

During Christmas night, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are invited to enter into Jesus' peace, beauty, and awe. It is a time for us to allow the word to continue becoming flesh in our lives in very simple and surprising ways.

As we enter into this celebration, on behalf of the Dominican Friars of Holy Rosary and the San Martin de Porres Province, I wish you a merry Christmas! Please know that during this time of the year we keep you and your family in our prayers.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

The Inner Joy in the Heart of Jesus

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

In today's second reading Saint Paul exhorts us to rejoice. Why should he be reminding us of something that seems so unimportant? Should joy be an essential part of our Christian life? Joy should be at the heart of every Christian life. The joy that exists in our lives is but a reflection of the inner joy in the heart of Jesus who is constantly inviting us to follow him in the path of salvation. Joy is the natural response of the souls that discover that God loves us in the person of the Messiah with a love beyond commitment. Through the incarnation of the Eternal Word, God came into the life of the world to bring radical change, an empowerment to conquer sin and death. And in the face of this, we cannot remain without a proper response. And that response is joy; a joy that is not born out of simple human fulfillment but a joy that comes from the knowledge that God loves us in the person of Jesus, who came into our world to offer us a path to forgiveness and eternal life. We, the baptized, are therefore constantly reminded in Jesus of our dignity and condition.

We are no longer tied to the bonds of sin and death. We are children of God blessed and called to eternal life. No Christian can be on the path toward salvation without joy in their lives. Rejoice and be glad!

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P

How is God preparing me during this Advent?

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

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Advent is a time of anticipation. One of the meanings of anticipation refers to an action that takes into account a later action or event. For example, when planning a party one might decide to have some extra food in anticipation of a larger crowd than one expected to attend. In this sense, anticipation calls for preparation.

We might think that in anticipation to God's full revelation, preparation is our responsibility and that somehow we should determine and decide how that preparation should be or go. Nevertheless, according to the Scriptures, it seems that God himself prepares his people. We hear of this preparation when God sent his prophet to offer comfort and to speak tenderly to the hearts of the Israelites. This is an attempt from God to convince his people that he is concerned about them. Also, through the prophet, God proclaims the completion of the process of purification process of sorrow for the people of Israel. In this way God reveals himself as comforting and purifying his people in the midst of suffering and sorrow.

In a similar way, in the second letter of Peter we hear that "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard 'delay,' but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." It is clear then that when God delays his revelation it is because He patiently waits for our repentance and conversion since He wants the salvation of all. As God patiently waits for us to repent, we are called to patiently wait for Him.

As we enter into the Second week of Advent, let us ponder the ways that the Lord is preparing us for his coming. Is the Lord comforting me at this time? Am I going through moments of purification and sorrow? Is there any person or circumstance that requires me to be patient? How are these moments preparing me to encounter the Lord when the time comes?

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

Advent - The Season of Realignment

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Every owner of a car is aware of the need for the proper alignment of the tires. Without proper alignment the possibility of controlling the direction of our driving is severely diminished; and the chances of greater wear and tear of the tires are proportionally increased. Proper alignment allows us to reach our destination safely and promptly no matter what kind of weather we encounter on the roads.

As we begin the new liturgical year today, this First Sunday of Advent, we are all given a chance to look into our lives, at all levels, and realize our need of realignment. Advent is the time of the liturgical year when we are all invited to look and focus on the direction and purpose of our lives. Contrary to some peoples' misconceptions, Advent is much more than a simple preparation of the Christmas season. During the Advent season we are invited not only to prepare for the commemoration of the Lord who came, but also to prepare for the Lord who will come again at the end of time. Moreover, beyond the first and last coming of the Lord, in Advent we prepare for the daily encounters with the Lord who constantly is meeting with us throughout our lives.

Advent is a season of realignment. A time of the year to question ourselves on our fidelity to the Lord who came and taught us how to live. A time of the year to question ourselves about our ability to recognize the Lord when he arrives at his last coming and be accountable for our lives. A time of year to question ourselves about our ability to recognize the Lord in the daily encounters of our lives, when he approaches us in the persons of our brothers and sisters.

Let us make this Advent season a time of realignment in our lives. Let us come ready to cry out with the whole Church: "Marantha! Come, Lord Jesus, come!"

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P

Responding to the Call of the Lord

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Two weeks ago we held the yearly Ministry Fair for the parish. After we were done and the volunteers left, one unanswered question remained in my mind. I knew the volunteers had put in long hours and had done their best to invite parishioners to join one of the many parish ministries. I realized it was not because of their lack of enthusiasm, but could we call the Ministry Fair a success?

Every Christian community rests on the shoulders of a few, most of them volunteers, who are willing to provide for the needs of many. Their efforts are at the heart of every parochial activity. Their generosity in sharing their time and talent proclaim to all of us their liberality and their love for the Lord and this community.

This Sunday's Gospel reading reminds all of us of the many gifts bestowed upon us by the Lord. Nobody can claim that they have not been gifted. Certainly not all have been gifted in an equal manner; but all of us, without exception have been gifted in one way or another. The Lord is always splendid with those who love Him.

The Gospel this Sunday challenges us to think about how we can administer the gifts we have received. Do we make them profitable or do we, like the insecure man in the Gospel, bury them; afraid of not knowing what to do with them?

Christ Jesus became the servant of all, so that we would know how to become servants. Ministries within a Christian community become the measure of our love and commitment to the Lord. The imitation of Christ is always an imitation of his service. True devotion is always reflected in the love and service we share with others.

Let us not be timid in responding to the call of the Lord. Do we listen to the call or do we run away from it? We have all been gifted; let us share the treasure of those gifts with our brothers and sisters, knowing that whatever we do for them, we are doing for the Lord.

-fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

Coming to an End

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Everything comes to an end. While we walk on this earth nothing lasts forever: a building falls either because of an earthquake or demolition, a relationship ends either because those in the relationship decide to do so or because one leaves or dies, and so on. Normally, when something ends we all grieve. In grieving we see our pain and try to embrace it. But even grief comes to an end, otherwise our lives would be paralyzed by the loss and the pain.

We are also coming to an end of the second part of ordinary time and with it also the end of our liturgical year. For this reason, we hear in the Scriptures a constant call to be prepared for that final moment; for instance, we hear in the gospel today "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Jesus constantly insists in the need to be prepared to face those ending moments, those final moments where the will not be more time and in which our preparedness is crucial to enter into a new moment. Of course the one definitive ending of our existence on this earth is death, a moment that requires preparation to enter into the reality of the resurrection, the moment we enter into God's presence in all fullness.

In the parable of the ten virgins in which he depicts five who were foolish (unprepared) and five who were wise (prepared), Jesus teaches not only about the need to be prepared but also about what is needed for that preparation to take place. In the parable, there are two main elements needed for one to be prepared: awareness and wisdom. Awareness of our realities is necessary not to take for granted that something or someone form this world will last forever. Awareness of our own limitations, failures and successes. This kind of awareness leaves us always with the sense that there is something and someone greater than us which instill in us hope.

Wisdom is also necessary to be able to be prepared the best way possible. It is precisely wisdom that helps us to see the will of God in the midst of all situations. Wisdom helps us to see what is in our hands and what is in the hands of others and God. Wisdom allows us to identify and to do the work we need to do to be ready for that final moment which is in itself an end but also a new beginning.

As we approach the end of the liturgical year, we are invited by the word of God to look back and see in which ways the Lord is inviting us to be prepared for that final moment in which we will meet him face to face, to give thanks to him for his work in us and to recommit ourselves to work on those things we need to work on to have enough oil for our lamps to remain lit until he comes.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

 

Signs of a Vocation

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

  The Beatitudes Sermon                                          James Tissot - 1890

 The Beatitudes Sermon                                         James Tissot - 1890

Today is the beginning of the National Vocation Awareness Week (November 5-11, 2017). This week is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, and is designed to help promote vocation awareness and to encourage young people to ask the question: "To what vocation in life is God calling me?"

Sometimes, to talk about vocation and to work on it might become quite complex. In trying to respond to the question about what is God calling me in life, we can experience a lot of uncertainty and sometimes confusion. It is important then to put the question in the framework of the three primary vocations all human beings have: life, love and service.

he vocation to life is the invitation God makes concrete in his covenant: "My covenant with him was the life and The Beatitudes Sermon peace which I gave him, and the fear he had for me, standing in awe of my name." (Malachi 2:5). It is the vocation to live our lives as a conscious decision of embracing the reality of who we are and with it, God's goodness and peace.

The vocation to love according to the love of Christ, means our willingness to care for the other. For St. Paul the vocation to love was fundamental for the life of the community: "We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us." 11 (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)

The vocation to serve is constantly recalled by Jesus in his message of the Gospel: "The greatest among you must be your servant." (Matthew 23:11) It is our vocation to serve that helps us go out of ourselves avoiding the danger of remaining self-centered. It is our vocation to serve that enables us to share the file and the love we have received from Christ, the Lord.

When we are able to live our lives, to love and to serve others according to the will of God we enjoy a profound peace and we can sing with the psalmist: "In you, Lord, I have found my peace" (Psalm 131). Peace itself is one of the greatest signs of our vocations.

During this National Vocation Awareness Week, I invite all parishioners and visitors, to please pray for those who are seeking their vocations as religious, priests, deacons and lay ministers in the Church. That they may be able to see the signs of their vocation and to follow them by saying YES! to the mission of preaching the Gospel in our times.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

Then the King Will Say ... (Matthew 25:34)

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Today we celebrate with the Church the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Pope Pius XI instituted this solemnity on December 11, 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas. The institution of this feast day to celebrate the kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ was the fruit of the Jubilee year in which Pope Pius XI asked the faithful to pray for peace among peoples. This request from the Pope came at a time of political and social unrest among nations. During that year, the faithful had more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the Kingdom of Christ. - Quas primas, 6

In his encyclical, pope Pius XI begins with the scriptural foundation of this celebration:

"Do we not read throughout the Scriptures that Christ is the King? He it is that shall come out of Jacob to rule, (Numbers 24:19) who has been set by the Father as king over Sion, his holy mount, and shall have the Gentiles for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession. (Psalm 2) In the nuptial hymn, where the future King of Israel is hailed as a most rich and powerful monarch, we read: 'Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever; the scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter of righteousness.' (Psalm 44) There are many similar passages, but there is one in which Christ is even more clearly indicated. Here it is foretold that his kingdom will have no limits, and will be enriched with justice and peace: 'in his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace ... And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth."' (Psalm 71)

- Quas Primas, 8

The constant affirmation through the Scriptures is that only when Christ has full authority in our lives, true peace flourishes. It is the peace that comes precisely from obeying the voice of Christ in the Gospel:

"Then the King will say ... 
Come, you who are blessed by my Father. 
lnherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, 
I was thirsty and you gave me drink, 
a stranger and you welcomed me, 
naked and you clothed me, 
ill and you cared for me, 
in prison and you visited me."

- Matthew 25: 34-36

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

Digital orphans " ... and your neighbor as yourself"

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Many of us might be familiar ·with the expression "digital orphan." There are several understandings of this expression. One of them refers to children whose parents allow them to use their electronic devices and internet without any supervision. These children are considered "digital orphans" also because the electronic device becomes the main mean to establish human relationships and parents are somehow absent from their children. It is this lack of relationship with their parents that makes the children orphans. They live with their parents but there is no relationship or the relationship is really poor.

In today's first reading from the book of Exodus, the Lord is calling his people to live in right relationship with the alien, the orphan, the widow, and those in need of the basics of life: water, food, shelter and clothing. The Lord warns his people not to ignore, to oppress or to abuse those who are vulnerable. The Lord himself hears their cry!

Establishing right relationships is key in our Catholic faith. It is in community that salvation takes place. It is in our relationships where the greatest commandment to
"Love the Lord your God, ... and your neighbor as yourself" takes place in a very real
way. The most concrete actions of love are those we do when we care for someone. Actions of care that will offer new possibilities of life.

The word invites us to pause for a moment and take a look at our relationships. Are they rooted in care for the other? Who is the alien around my life? Maybe it is one of my coworkers who has been mistreated because her culture is different from mine. Who is the widow or the widower? Maybe my grandparents living in loneliness because they cannot go out as they used to. Who is the orphan? Maybe the adult children who have not spoken to their parents for a long time because they were upset with each other. Is there something I could do to help them enter a place of right relationship to enjoy the gift of Christ?

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

Setting a Trap for Jesus

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Sometimes we are put in situations where we are asked to choose between two options that will respond to a particular need or reality. Our decision will make some happy and others really disappointed. It is really a difficult position to be in, especially when we know our decision will impact the people we care for.

In today's gospel something similar is happening to Jesus. He is put to the test by some of the Pharisees whose intentions now are to find one more reason to put Jesus to death. After the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus, giving the impression that they thought well of him, they asked him if it was lawful to pay the census tax to Cesar or not?" In other words, asking if paying taxes to Cesar was an action that fits with the Law of God. This was a tough situation for Jesus. If he were to say no, then the Roman authorities would go after him for opposing their authority and power. If Jesus were to say yes, the Pharisees and other believers would be disappointed because they saw paying taxes to Cesar as an acknowledgment of a pagan's nation and power over Israel.

No matter what answer Jesus gave, it would have grave consequences for him. Nevertheless, after Jesus questioned them about the image on the coin, he gave an unexpected answer: "Then repay to Cesar what belongs to Cesar and to God what belongs to God." By including both possibilities, Jesus gets out of the trap set for him in terms of either or. He also led his listeners to see that both were possible when done in good conscience. In this way, Jesus directed them to a greater good, something that some of the Pharisees lacked.

Something similar can happen in our daily lives when we put our .relationship with the Lo.rd and others in terms of "either ... or." Jesus teaches us that "both" is also an option that can lead us to something greater.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

 

The Wedding Feast and the Kingdom of Heaven

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors, 

It is hard to believe that someone would reject, ignore or annihilate an invitation from a King to his son's wedding. For many, that kind of invitation would be a great honor. For others, it would be just impossible that a King would extend such an invitation to them. Those who were supposed to be the guests of the king blatantly refused the invitation. As a response, the king opens the invitation to anyone in the streets. Still, one of them showed up without the proper garments to celebrate the wedding ignoring how important the event is for the King. What does this have to do with the Kingdom of Heaven?

It seems that by the refusal to attend the banquet, the guests were trying to control the King. The Kingdom of heaven is like a wedding feast. The king himself is the one who chooses the guests. Still there is a constant rejection to accept the invitation. Nevertheless, the king insists in his invitation. Some guests decide to ignore the invitation. Other guests that were invited took more radical measure, they mistreated and killed the emissaries from the King.

In a similar way, God is the one who takes the initiative to invite all peoples to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He constantly insists in his invitation. If there is no positive answer from those invited, he opens the invitation to anyone who wants to enter, as the parable says ''bad and good alike." 

Accepting the invitation requires from the guests that they do some preparation and wear the appropriate garments indicating the honor, respect and gratitude for the hosts as well as for the occasion. This preparation demonstrates how important the Kingdom of heaven is for us. This preparation also indicates what is the place of God in our lives. 

This Sunday's Liturgy of the Word invites all to take a closer look the moments when God is inviting us to enter more fully and deeply into his Kingdom. What is my response to his invitation? Am I willing to change my garments and be clothed with the garments of Christ to enter the banquet?

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

 

The Mission of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

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"Brothers and sisters: 
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding vvill guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 
- Philippians 4:6-7

 

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is the patroness of our Parish. This feast day was instituted by Saint Pius V in 1573 as a thanksgiving to God after Christians had a victory over the Turks at Lepanto. Their victory was attributed to the praying of the rosary. In 1716, Clement XI extended the Feast to the Universal Church.

It has been known that Mary gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic to help the people of the time to pray since at the time they did not have access to printed books or Bible. For this reason, the devotion of the Holy Rosary is a prayer centered in the mysteries of the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The Rosary took its present form in the XVI century and in 2002, Pope St. John Paul II introduced the five mysteries of light to this devotion adding the mysteries of the ministry life of Jesus through which healing, forgiveness and reconciliation took place in the midst of the realities and suffering of the people of Jesus' time.

Looking into this devotion, one can appreciate that since it is centered in the mystery of Christ, this prayer can lead us to encounter, love, serve and adore the Lord Jesus personally, and by doing that to extend the message of Jesus Christ to other people. In encountering the Lord Jesus, healing, forgiveness and reconciliation takes place over and over again. This is why when we pray the Rosary we are left with a great sense of peace. This is how today, our Blessed Mother and the Rosary continue serving the Mission of God.

As we celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, we as a Parish are invited to give thanks to the Lord for allowing us to participate in this mission and to ask the Lord to give us the wisdom, the courage, the freedom, and the generosity needed to continue participating in it.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.

The Questions of Jesus

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Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

In the Gospel accounts we constantly find questions from those who ]listened to Jesus and from Jesus himself. Jesus knew that questions can lead us to a greater understanding of who we are and what we do. Most importantly, questions can lead us to face truth.

Right before Jesus asked the chief priests and the elders of the people about their opinion in reference to the parable of the two sons, they were questioning his authority saying, "by what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?" Initially, Jesus responded to them by asking them another question relating to the origin of John the Baptist. To this, the chief priests and the elders of the people, after considering the consequences of their responses, decided to tell Jesus that they did not know. Because of their response Jesus replied, "Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things."

Still, Jesus offers a parable for them to think about the authority of Jesus. To introduce it, Jesus asked them, ''What is your opinion?'' After expounding upon the parable he posed another question: "Which of the two did his Father's will?" To which they responded "The First." In this way, Jesus led them to recognize by whose authority he is doing these things. The origin of his authority is God, the Father whom Jesus is obeying and from whom He comes. Now they have an answer to understand better who Jesus is and why his actions are thus. Some of his listeners will resist this truth, others will start to follow him.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.