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This Sunday and Beyond    Weekly Reflections:

Unattainable Goals?

This Sunday and Beyond - February 16, 2020
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When we read the excepts from the Sermon on the Mount that the Lectionary brings us for this Sunday, we may get the impression that what Jesus is asking His followers is simply unattainable. Let us be honest. Who has not been angry with brothers or sisters? Who has not called them bad names now and them? Who has not lusted with an attractive person in their mind?

The very idea of plucking out an eye or cutting off a hand if these parts of our body cause us to sin is too extreme to even consider it seriously.

So why is Jesus using this extreme language? Is He perhaps discouraging everyone from trying to follow Him? Or just warning us how inadequate we all are for God’s kingdom?

Let us consider the different sayings carefully and then maybe we can get a better idea of His real intention.

In the first part He refers to anger, resentment, and insults among members of a family or community. All of these are attitudes and actions that disrupt the community; they kill the community, they dissolve it, so their effect is in some way comparable to the physical act of taking a life. He then talks about the inefficacy of carrying out ritual offerings if these disruptive attitudes and actions are not mended. He insists on reconciliation as the only acceptable form of offering to God to atone for these acts.

Next He talks about the real impact of our thoughts in our lives. Thoughts are the seeds of our actions, so if our thoughts are opposed to what keeps the community together--thinking of a person as a means of satisfying our sexual desires only, without considering their real value or that person’s attachment to another person. For instance, that can also destroy the community. All that could be done to prevent us from inclining to such destructive thoughts is worthwhile doing. The plucking out of eyes and cutting off of hands is an extreme image, of course, but such images were often used by Jesus to make His point unmistakably.

Finally He makes reference to the practice of oaths. After all, why do we need oaths? Is it not because our ordinary statements are not always true? The need of oaths is an indication of our lack of consistent truth in our words, in our everyday speech. If we normally always spoke the truth, swearing would make no sense at all. No real community can be formed on the basis of untruth. A loving community, the one that Jesus is trying to make His followers conform to, is based on truth. ‘Truth will make you free’, He said.

The goals of God’s kingdom are certainly high and hard to attain. Jesus wants us to understand that we are a long way from being the ideal members of a community based on God’s all-inclusive and unconditional love. When we understand this, we are more willing to depend on His grace and the Holy Spirit than on our own achievements. And we are always given the opportunity to be reconciled, to be forgiven and to start anew. So there is no reason to despair or give up. There is always hope and blessing in Jesus’ way, the excellent way, the Way of Love.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


Do We Flavor the Earth?

This Sunday and Beyond - February 9, 2020
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If asked who we are, most of us would refer to our names, parents, perhaps local or national origin or even occupation. Probably no one would say, “I am the salt and light of the earth”. However, that is precisely what we are, according to Jesus.

After Jesus mentions the beatitudes or blessings for the heirs of God’s kingdom, he clearly states the mission of those belonging to this reign.

The first one is to be the salt of the earth. Salt in Jesus’ time was extremely valuable. It was not only used to give flavor to food, but also to preserve it from corruption, from decay. But salt at that time was sometimes contaminated with other minerals, and then it became useless. It would lose the capacity to flavor and preserve.

When Jesus used this image He was probably referring to both uses of salt. If we are to bear witness of God’s loving reign on this earth, then we must clearly show the signs of this reign in our lives. These signs give the world a very distinct flavor, the flavor of compassion, forgiveness and acceptance in opposition to the dull and bitter flavor of indifference, spite and intolerance that is so common on this earth; the flavor of concrete and effective self-giving love instead of the pungent widespread flavor of selfish ambition. The earth desperately needs this change in flavors. And we have been appointed by Jesus Himself to be the agents of this change.

We are also called to be preservers of the good flavors. We should not let them be corrupted or contaminated in such a way that they are no longer tasted. Just as a pure grain of salt is clear and transparent, so must our lives be in showing Christ’s Love for all in this world.

Then the second mission follows. When we are effective agents of these new flavors for the world, God’s Light shines in us. It inevitably irradiates from us to all. There is no way we should or could hide it. But it does not shine to glorify ourselves. Jesus makes that clear. It shines only for God’s glory, so that others can see God’s wonderful love reflected in our good works towards humankind and creation.
When we read these things, we might think Jesus is referring to some ideal goal that we are to pursue. But no, He clearly says, “You are the salt of the earth” “You are the light of the world”. There is no becoming here. There is being. This is what we already are. Being aware of this affirmation can help us to act in the world according to who we really are.
If asked about our beliefs, our convictions, our conception of life, most of us would readily say, “I am a follower of Jesus” “I am Christian” “I believe in Christ’s redemption”. If this is the case, there should be no hesitation in answering, “I am the salt and the light of this world”.

Let us be this salt and this light. Let us flavor the earth and dispel the darkness of this world. The earth is in dire need of it. Let us not delay.

Then our righteousness will certainly exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time, and the kingdom of heaven will definitely be ours to share.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


The Cost of Bearing the Light

This Sunday and Beyond - February 2, 2020
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Candlemas is the feast of the presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the temple, and is observed on February 2nd, forty days after Christmas, to conform to the tradition as it is narrated in Luke’s Gospel. Placed in the midst of the Season after the Epiphany, it has been linked to the manifestation of God’s Light to the whole world thanks to the words of Simeon, the old man who took the baby Jesus in his arms and said, referring to Him: “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” So the church uses blessed candles in procession as part of this day’s liturgy, to underscore that we, His followers, are now the bearers of this Light as well.

The encounter between the Holy Family, and both Simeon and Anna the prophetess, was full of joy and blessing. Simeon had been waiting for this glorious moment all his life and even declared that he might now depart from this world in peace after witnessing the Lord’s salvation. Anna, an old prophetess that worshiped with fasting and prayer at the temple night and day, gave thanks to God for the Savior that she had been able to see. Both Joseph and Mary were marveled at these auspicious words about Jesus, but there are some other words coming from Simeon that we should never overlook.

After he blessed Jesus’ parents he said to Mary:

“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”

Children grow, and Jesus would be no exception. As full of tenderness and peace Christmas may look, there is always the fact that God’s incarnation has a very definite purpose. This child, the Christ, the Messiah, had a mission to fulfill. He was to show in words and deeds what God’s will is for His people, and this would bring about clashes with the religious and civil authorities, and with those in the high positions of society. His unlimited love for the destitute and the despised of society was not well received by those in power. His breach of the tradition in favor of God’s mercy and love when it came to healing and giving life was not well received by the scribes and law interpreters either. They hated Him. They were conscious or perhaps unconscious agents of the forces of evil, the dark forces. He was a threat to the status quo. They put Him to death. But death could not restrain Him. He conquered death and all evil forces and opened the way for us to do the same. After all, He is the Light, and as John the Evangelist put it, darkness cannot overcome it.

Even so, Mary was then warned by Simeon how much she would suffer as the mother of the Messiah. “And a sword shall pierce through your own soul also”, he said to her.

Our blessed Virgin Mother Mary went through a lot of suffering. She suffered rejection and harsh conditions before Jesus was born and she went through intense suffering when He was rejected by those who opposed His mission and was even crucified for fulfilling it. But there she stood by Him, as the first follower and promoter, and was faithful to His mission to the end of her earthly life. She is definitely worthy of our veneration and deep respect, and she is the most dignified bearer of Christ’s Light.

Bearing this Light, as we will do in procession this Sunday, is a privilege and a blessing. But Light bearers, when their light is genuine, will always find opposition from those that belong to the dark side. These may be very real people with powerful positions and they may also be invisible powers siding with the evil forces of darkness. Genuine Light bearers will find suffering and obstacles along the way, but as Jesus said in the Sermon of the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”. Purity in heart means, above all, singleness of intention, and honest commitment to that intention. When bearing God’s Light for the world becomes our intention and commitment, no matter how much we may suffer, we are the most blessed of creatures indeed!

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


Casting Our Nets Elsewhere

This Sunday and Beyond - January 26, 2020
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In Matthew’s Gospel the first four disciples that Jesus calls were two pairs of brothers. They used nets to catch fish in the Sea of Galilee and they made their livelihood out of that occupation. When Jesus calls the first two he makes the following invitation: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. As strange as that invitation may have sounded, they did not hesitate to leave their nets and follow Jesus. We may wonder what made them leave their subsistence means behind to follow this stranger. Some have suggested they may have already heard about Jesus or even met Him before. Some have stressed the persuasive power of the Holy Spirit that filled Jesus as responsible for these men’s prompt response. We do not know for certain, but we do know that this moment totally changed their lives.

We spend most of our lives trying to catch different things or even people. We try to catch the things that make our lives pleasant and comfortable. We try to catch positions that make us feel appreciated and “important”. We try to have with us the people that will solve our problems, ease our minds, and stand by us when in trouble. In that sense, we are like fishermen casting nets all the time. Sometimes we get the “fish” we want. Other times we don’t, and cast them again and again. The main purpose of those net castings is to satisfy our needs. It is a self-centered casting of nets. And no matter how full the net is, it never satisfies us.

Matthew’s Gospel, on the other hand, points out to a different kind of net casting. It tells us to become fishers of people. The idea is to get people out of their ordinary lives of self-centered, useless net casting, and take them to a different realm. When fish are taken from their aquatic medium to a terrestrial one, they simply die because they cannot make use of the oxygen in the air; they can only take it from the water. However, when people are “fished” in the sense that Jesus implies here, they are taken from a stifling form of self-centered life that cuts them off from the real source of abundant life--God’s self-giving life--into a form of life that is centered in others, and is therefore much more like God’s life itself.

It may seem paradoxical, but when we move away from ourselves and toward the rest of our fellow human beings and all creatures in general, we start to be connected to the Creator’s intention, which is always loving and self-giving. Then we begin to feel the satisfaction that comes from the source, and the Kingdom of Heaven becomes a real possibility.

Matthew’s Gospel is clear in this sense. Jesus’ call to the first disciples starts with a radical change in net casting, and the last words in this Gospel, which have come to be known as The Great Commission, tell us to go and make disciples. It is not an easy task. People resist being taken out of what they think is their true life and onto the unknown. But Jesus has also given us a promise: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”. With His assurance, we can start to cast our nets elsewhere.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


Beholding and Pointing to Christ

This Sunday and Beyond - January 19, 2020
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This morning, as my wife and I were taking the elevator in our building, someone was hurriedly carrying some bags and we held the elevator door for this person to come in. We have seen this person, who usually seems to be in a hurry and never seems to notice anything or anyone, several times before. This person’s focus seems to be the workplace and how to get there on time.

But are most of us any different? Do we ever stop and behold the person who is in front of us, beside us, near us?

John the Baptist told his disciples to behold the Lamb of God, the Messiah, the Christ. Not just to have a glimpse in passing, but to stop, to focus, to be present to the moment, to perceive with their whole beings. This man was probably a total stranger to them, but John knew that He was the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, not himself, who had been baptizing in the River Jordan, calling people to repentance, and now had some disciples who were willing to follow his call.
But John is not jealous. He knows what his mission is and sees it accomplished now. He even prompts his disciples to go after the true Messiah. And so do some of them.

The disciples go after Jesus and He invites them to “come and see”. And they spend the night with Him. They need to behold, to be totally aware of who this unknown Messiah is, what He does, and the way He lives.

As Jesus’ present-day disciples, do we behold Him or do we simply take Him for granted? Do we pause to ponder on His love, His message, and His deeds? Do we feel His continuous presence in our lives? Are we aware of how He feeds us with His real presence when we partake of the bread and wine in the Eucharist? Do we feel how He upholds us through every hardship in our lives?
But even though He is the Christ, the true Son of God, He does not point to Himself, but to the Father, and to “the little ones”. That is the way He calls each and every person in this world, because we all need to be nurtured in God’s love, just like children need to be nurtured by their parents. So if we are to follow Jesus’ Way of Love, we should behold the Creator and His creatures, especially our fellow human beings, who need to be nurtured in love, just as much as we do.
And we should not feel jealous because we are not the focus of attention. The proclamation of the Good News is not about any one of us being in the spotlight, but about the Lamb of God, and this Lamb offered Himself in sacrifice so that all, without exception, may have life and have it abundantly.

Our mission is a reconciling one. We must feel the need to nurture every person in God’s overwhelming love, the only true life. But first we need to learn to behold Him that gives that life and to point others to Him through our daily words and deeds.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


We Are God's Beloved Ones

This Sunday and Beyond - January 12, 2020
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In an era where modern technology has made communication with others so easy, there is more isolation, neglect and lack of real love than ever. The fact is people do not really post in social media who they are, but they try to present a fake picture of themselves that is ‘attractive’ or at least ‘acceptable’ to others. People feel the need to be loved, but they have forgotten how to feel and share love.
The inability to show authentic love is closely connected to a feeling of not being loved. We have been made to believe that in order for others to love us, even the members of our own family, we need to make certain achievements that earn us that love. That leads us to compete with one another, to try to be the strongest, the ablest, the most popular and the most efficient. Then, and only then, we tend to believe, will we earn people’s ‘love’. So if someone is selected as the ‘loved’ one, it necessarily means that others are excluded from this ‘love’.

When it comes to our relationship with God, we tend to believe that the same rationale applies here. We believe that we have to accomplish certain tasks and conform ourselves to certain prescribed behaviors in order to be worthy of God’s love. And if it happens that someone is selected as God’s beloved one, it means that others are excluded from that category. So according to this, God must have declared Jesus as His beloved one after He accomplished His mission on earth. And then, again, all others who could not live up to His accomplishment were excluded from this category.

But is that the way things happened?

Not at all. What we read in Matthew’s Gospel is that God called Jesus His beloved one in whom He was highly pleased right before He actually started His redemptive mission on earth, at His baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. In fact, it must have been highly reassuring for Jesus to hear these words when we think about the magnitude and sacrificial mission He was to face. He had to pour out a tremendous love to all those surrounding Him, and He needed to be filled with this love from His father in order to be able to do so. We cannot give to others what we lack.

Jesus came so that we might get to know God’s love for us all. That was the core of His teaching in words and in deeds. He showed us how real love is not diminished when shared, but simply multiplies infinitely as did the bread and the fish. He showed us how God’s love for Him does not exclude but is intended to include us all. Not that we need to earn God’s love, but simply perceive it, accept it, rejoice in it, and multiply it by sharing it with as many others as we are able to.

And the words that Jesus heard at His baptism are meant for each and every one of us. Simply because God loves us in spite of our disbelief in His love. So next time you have any doubts about deserving love, about being filled with love to share and multiply, remember these words, say them once and again silently or out loud, with absolute certitude and deep faith, to yourself: N, you are my beloved one, in whom I am well pleased!

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


Can We See The Light?

This Sunday and Beyond - January 05, 2020
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For those who were born blind or have gone blind due to certain conditions, the question may sound inappropriate, almost sarcastic. However, throughout my life I have met physically blind people who can actually see more than some with a 20/20 vision range. These people are blessed by an inner light that enables them to shine in the darkness of this broken world and guide others through the apparently illuminated pathways of their lives. They do not let their physical darkness embitter them. Their faith and commitment to devote their lives to illuminate others surpasses all. I have always admired such people. They can be a real inspiration for those of us who have very good physical visions and are always complaining about the hardships of life.

But can we see the Light? The one that John the Evangelist describes as the Life of this world? The one that shone in the middle of the night for the shepherds keeping watch on their flock on Christmas Eve? The one that the wise men from the Orient followed so as to be guided to the presence of the child God? This is none other than the Light of Christ, God’s Light. This Light wants to shine for all. It really wants to shine, so that the darkness of ignorance, prejudice. Intolerance, selfishness and indifference can be dispelled from our lives, so that we can all be healed and have abundant light and life in us.

This is not the light reflected by lentils covering the garments of worldly celebrities. King Herod and his courtiers may have had that light, but they never saw the real Light. Some wise men had to come all the way from the Orient, from a foreign land, with a different religion (that of Zoroaster’s maybe) to point out to them that the Light of God was already shining in their land! And then Herod tried hard to put out the Light. But as John the Evangelist proclaims: the darkness cannot overcome it!

This Light shines on and will continue to do so. Dark forces have tried hard to put it out, or to confuse us with some alternative lights: the light of money power, the light of fame, the light of spiritual pride even—the most misleading of all. But these ‘alternatives’ will lead us nowhere. They will only take us down into a spiral of ever increasing darkness and loss of our true identity as sons and daughters of God. Beware of these false ‘lights’. They can appear so pretty, so shiny, so deceiving

May the true Light that guided the wise men be our guiding Light, so that just as they did, we can also be led to the divine presence, and offer there the most precious gift: the gift of our true inner lights, shining in unison with God’s Light. Then the whole of Creation will be illumined and all its creatures will rejoice in its awesome splendor!

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


Christmas Is a Gift Exchange

This Sunday and Beyond - December 29, 2019
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Gift exchange has become very popular for Christmas and other celebrations, especially in work places, schools or other institutions with a great number of people, where it is practically impossible to buy gifts for each person. So the solution is that each person buys a valuable gift for a specific person, who is kept a secret. It is usually known as Secret Santa, and the good thing is that every person is assured a gift. It was a well devised solution, perhaps even a commendable one, but God knows better.

No matter how valuable a gift we receive from someone may be—and some gifts are really valuable, not only for their material worth but for what they mean in terms of human relationships—none of them can equal the gifts that God is constantly pouring abundantly upon our lives: the gift of life itself, the gift of wisdom, the gift of His unconditional love manifested to us in the love of our fellow human beings and even other creatures of the animal kingdom.

But there is one special gift that God has given us that is unrivaled: the gift of Himself. How did God manage to give Himself to us? He devised a special plan. He made himself man. He was incarnated by the power of His Spirit in a very special human womb, that of the blessed Virgin Mary, and left the realm of timelessness and omnipresence in order to live a human life, in a given time, at a given place. This gift is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is perfect man and perfect God in one person, the eternal Son of God.

During Christmas we celebrate this unique gift. But though we may believe that gift exchange is a recent invention, it turns out that God Himself had thought of this a long time ago. Not that He actually needs something in exchange for His most precious gift, but we need to take part in His gift exchange if we are to take part in His salvific plan.

So we received the undeserved blessing of His presence with us, in human shape, so we could get to know God’s unconditional love as something close to us, something really human and tangible. But if the Christmas gift remains only as a wonderful memory in the distant past, what are we to gain from it?

This is where we, as followers of Jesus Christ, enter the scene. If Mary offered the gift of her human womb then in exchange for the great blessing of incarnating God, today we need to offer our humanity to keep on incarnating Christ in our lives. So the gift we offer God is the gift of ourselves. He needs each and every one of us. He needs our uniqueness to carry on His plan of salvation for the whole world. Each of us has a mission to accomplish, no matter how small we may perceive it, but it becomes indispensable in the big plan.

So let us not refuse to take part in this gift exchange. It is devised by our Creator and He will never disappoint us. He will return the gift of ourselves multiplied to us, by such a figure as no one could even think of. It is certainly the best gift exchange ever. The Christmas exchange.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


God With Us

This Sunday and Beyond - December 22, 2019
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As the Advent Season comes to an end, the readings for this Sunday focus on the coming of the one who is to bring new hope to God’s people, to restore their lives and bring back the joy, to save them from the slavery of sin and death, to reconcile them with their Creator, with all of creation, with one another and with themselves.

This is the promised Emmanuel (God with Us). God will no longer be just up there, in an unreachable realm, having compassion of his creatures and doing remarkable things to save them from time to time. God will now dwell among His people, and His people will get to know Him, because He has chosen to reveal Himself to them in human shape.

But what leads God to do this? Is it because He wants to feel what it would be like to be a human being? That would be simplistic. If we believe in an Almighty God, then He does not need to become human to know exactly what it feels like to be human. God must have a very definite purpose.

He does. His infinite love and his willingness to save us in spite of ourselves leads Him to do this. By emptying Himself of his divine features He uplifts our humanity to Himself. This is not just a downward movement. It is a two-way movement. God the Son is fully human but He is also fully divine. This is the wonderful mystery of incarnation. But the ultimate purpose of incarnation is to take us all up back to God, to our true home, to where we have actually always belonged.

So God sends His Holy Spirit to impregnate Mary, the chosen human vessel, and God the Son starts to be humanly conceived in her womb. From the very start, as soon as Mary’s pregnancy is visible, human pain affects both Mary and her betrothed, Joseph. Anguish fills this betrothed couple. Joseph feels betrayed and at the same time his goodness and love make him decide to leave Mary secretly in order to preserve her reputation. Then God’s angel assures him of the divine origin of her pregnancy and instructs him to name the child Jesus (God saves). Now he learns about the saving mission of the child he is responsible for. It is so easy to disregard what Joseph (and not only Mary) had to go through…

At the same time, this chosen couple has the greatest of all blessings. The blessing of raising God’s incarnation. The most sacred of missions. The highest duty to God.

We are so blessed! God is no longer only in our favor; not only is it God for us, but God with us. He has shown us His infinite love in Jesus Christ’s human life: a life lived for us all, a life of unconditional self-giving love.

We have now learned that incarnation brings the greatest joy but also entails human suffering. It is not easy for the divine to become human and it is not easy for the human to become divine. But the two-way movement that started in Mary’s womb has never ceased. It will never cease because it is God’s wish to uplift us to Himself. So we are to incarnate His beloved Son in our lives. We are to be His eyes, lips, arms and legs in this broken world. We are called to bring reconciliation, hope, healing, and joy. It will not be easy. We may suffer. But the blessing and joy of being part of God’s incarnation surpasses it all. Merry Christmas!

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


The True Joy of Our Lives

This Sunday and Beyond - December 15, 2019
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This Third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday” or “Rose Sunday”. The reason for the former name is that the Introit of this day’s mass starts with the word “Rejoice” (Gaudete in Latin). The latter refers to the use of rose as the liturgical color for this day. So essentially the theme of this day is to rejoice. But what is there to rejoice about?

The Gospel reading for this day presents a different John the Baptist. This is not the one shouting out in the wilderness, but the imprisoned one doubting, asking about the Messiah’s identity. “Are you he who is to come or shall we wait for another?” He sends out his followers to ask Jesus himself, but instead of giving a straightforward ‘yes’, Jesus simply tells them about the signs of the Kingdom he and his followers have been giving: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

We may wonder what made John the Baptist doubt. Was it because he was imprisoned and therefore depressed? Knowing his character and his integrity one can hardly think so. But maybe there was more than physical imprisonment here. We can be imprisoned by our own preconceptions. The Messiah John the Baptist was expecting had a clear-cut mission: to establish a new Kingdom for those who had repented, in which all evil would be excluded. This would be a definitive establishment. And John did not see that happening. For one thing, he was still unjustly held in prison and the ones who did him injustice were free. So maybe he was wrong about Jesus being the Messiah.

When we see the world around us we may have the same doubts. We tend to think that the only way this can be God’s world is when all evil doers are banished, when only good things happen to us all the time. We see ourselves as the passive receivers of the circumstances of this world. If they happen to be favorable, then we are ‘happy’. If they are adverse, we are the unhappy victims. And what is God waiting for to make everything bright and clear for us, the ‘good guys’? It turns out that we are always the ones deserving happiness and many others are seen as the ones making us unhappy. This is an immature and unrealistic view of the world.
What we call happiness is always dependent on circumstances. So where is the real joy of life?

Jesus did not tell John the Baptist’s followers: Look, my followers and I all live in wonderful palaces and we spend our days in blissful leisure, enjoying every moment of our lives because we never experience any adversity or sorrow. He told them what he and his followers had done, through hard and constant work, to alleviate the suffering of the world around them, to mend broken lives, to give new life, to give hope to the poor. And that was how God’s Kingdom was being brought into the world.

Is it easy to give hope to the suffering ones, to heal broken lives, to become good news for the hopeless? It is not. It calls for self-giving sacrifice, of our time, of our favorite activities, of our money, of our energy, and what not. But this is what Jesus is calling us to do. This is how we become agents of joy. And this is how we can experience the most authentic joy in our life.

Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


End and Beginning

This Sunday and Beyond - December 01, 2019
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It seems a bit frightening to start the new Christian year with a Gospel reading that tells us about the end of times, the end of the world, the end of everything we know. And the signs that Jesus tells his disciples are uncertain. There is no way to know the time. So hard for us who are so used to have everything under control.

The fact is that there can be no new beginning without an end. The old things, the well-known cherished things, must come to an end so that something new can start taking place. And it is certainly hard to let go and move on.

Most of us look back to the years of our childhood, adolescence or youth as “the good old days”. In many cases we have idealized these days, and forgotten the hard times we went through even at those ages. We tend to forget that those times that we think of as better compared to the present were also shared with an older generation that looked back at an even older time as their “good old days”. And so will it be in every different generation.

Our church is now experiencing a transition. Father Eaton has just ended his abundantly fruitful interim period and this new priest has just started ministering here. It is a wonderful coincidence that my start here happens right at the beginning of the new Christian year, and probably as frightening as the Gospel reading! I do hope that this END-BEGINNING takes place a little more smoothly than what the Gospel depicts. But there will be uncertainty. And some degree of confusion too. With God’s, help, a lot of prayer from both you and me, and with your graceful cooperation, things will eventually start to fall back in place. And there will be new beginnings too. After all, isn’t this what life is all about? We live in an everlasting Advent. We are always a bit weary of changes, but hoping and expecting new things and times to come. Always a little like the preceding ones, and different and new too.

New does not necessarily mean better, but when it comes to Jesus’ promise of a New Earth and a New Heaven, we can be absolutely assured that what is coming is so wonderfully beyond our human grasp that no words will ever do it any justice. Does it really matter if we do not know the time? Let us simply think and act in this world as if the time were always now.


Fr. Carlos Expósito, Rector


King of Kings, and Lord of Lords

This Sunday and Beyond - November 24, 2019
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Our Church Calendar year is complete with Sunday’s celebration of worship in this final season of Sundays after the Feast of Pentecost. It is also the completion of two years of being a “parish in transition”, as we have searched and prayed and discerned a new priest and pastor who will be the new All Saints rector. If you can join us, or if you are reading this and cannot be with us, the Gospel reading (the Good News of Jesus Christ reading) is about Jesus riding into Jerusalem in a grand entrance with shouts and cries of Jesus being the hoped-for Messiah. I suppose it would have been a grand way to usher in the ministry of our new Rector! We just would have avoided making use of the foal of a donkey for him to ride. That would be a bit too presumptuous, don’t you think?

But the new Rector will be leading his first set of Sunday masses NEXT Sunday which is the FIRST Sunday of the Church Calendar year, the beginning of the Advent season, as we set our focus and devotions on the coming of Jesus Christ, both in remembrance of his nativity through the “Mother” of God, Mary, and for that time in the future when Jesus the Christ will come again in judgement and usher in the NEW kingdom and the NEW earth.

“Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!” (from the end of the Revelation to John)

But what does that have to do with taking a Holy Week story of Jesus before His crucifixion and pasting it in to the Sunday before Advent?

Well, just think of this way: the story is the culmination of all of our work and prayers and hopes and dreams as disciples to be reminded that this man Jesus, who is in fact the Son of God, is on that donkey colt representing the entrance of the KING into the holy city Jerusalem. That story of course will have a quick narrative leading to Jesus’ scourging, crucifixion and death. Not what we want for our King! But it is the point of both Jesus coming into His Kingship, and what KIND of Kingdom He is ushering in.

So here we will be finishing up a calendar year of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and we will gather to culminate all that we have learned, shared, and also GIVEN to this King of kings, and Lord of lords. It is incredibly moving to come before THIS king and offer our lives to Him, and the substance of our lives. Besides a feast day of culmination, the feast day also sets Jesus immovably as that Great King who is faithful, and just, and cares, and nurtures, and best of all, SAVES. Yes, Jesus Saves. That’s the meaning of His Name. And this Great King is coming, therefore, let us not forget Who He Is, and let us continue through praise and thanksgiving and service to keep our eyes and hearts on Him.

When you come to Church on Sunday, or as you take a look at the image for this reflection, you will see what is the Great Window at the west end of the nave. Jesus sits enthroned, with symbols of the four Gospel evangelists surrounding Him, as well as other symbols of King, Priest and Prophet. But don’t overlook the colors. Immediately surrounding Jesus’ head are two colors, mostly blues, and then gold, as in His crown. Take a look at those blues, and then look at the new color behind the high altar at the east end of the church. You will see an attempt to match one of those lighter blues. If you were to look in the Mary chapel you would see the new gold painted wall behind the altar there, matching the gold in the Great Window.

The blue is found in many churches like ours. It represents the heavens, and specifically THE heaven, where Jesus sits enthroned, and from where He will preside in that coming day over the creation of a new heaven. The gold represents the glory of God as found in His Church where the Holy Spirit resides and makes holy, as well as empowers, the spread of God’s Kingdom. It is here in the church that heaven and earth are joined, in the remembrance of our Great King Jesus, in the consecration of earthly elements of bread and wine which become the very presence of our King in the Holy Sacrament of Communion, and thus the place where – while we wait – we can meet and be IN communion with our King Jesus. We come and offer our lives to the King; He comes having offered His life for us, and fills us with the benefits of His kingdom as His heirs. Alleluia!

Father Robert Eaton, Interim Rector