1935 - 2021
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Padre Serra Parish
Santa Clara Mortuary
2370 North H Street,
Oxnard, CA 93036
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Padre Serra Parish
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Padre Serra Parish
There is often a bridge between the first reading and the gospel at our liturgy. This weekend is no exception. In the reading from 1st Samuel we have the delightful story of the young and obedient Samuel and his wise and patient mentor, the priest Eli, whose mother gave him into Eli’s care at a young age, dedicating him to the Lord in thanksgiving for her prayer for a son being heard and granted.
The Lord calls Samuel three times, but he thinks it is Eli calling him. After the third time, Eli tells him to respond to the call by saying “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” The text goes on to say, “Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.”
Some of the gospel readings we heard during Advent precede the passage from John’s gospel in today’s liturgy. He calls himself a “voice crying out in the wilderness to make ready the way for the Lord.” He says he baptizes with water for repentance, but one we do not recognize is among us who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He denies being the Messiah, or Elijah, or the prophet. Today’s gospel takes place right around the same time. John tells two of his disciples upon seeing Jesus approaching “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” They (the two) heard and followed Jesus.
Jesus asks them “What are you looking for?” They answer with a question of their own “where are you staying?” Jesus says to them “Come, and you will see.” Andrew, one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus first went and found his brother Simon telling him “We have found the Messiah.” When Andrew brings Simon to Jesus, the Lord says, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
So there is a lot of calling happening in both these readings. God calls Samuel (who thinks it’s Eli calling him). John calls his disciples to recognize who Jesus is. Those two call on Jesus to tell them where he is staying, and Jesus calls them to come and see. Finally, Jesus calls Simon by the name Cephas which in Aramaic means the Rock.
Samuel was sleeping in the temple, in the presence of the ark of God when he was called. Can this be analogous to resting in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, or just in silent listening prayer. Might we hear God’s call then and there too? How will we respond?
Dear Parish Family,
On this day, we experience once again a Great Epiphany. Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. There are many levels to this Great Epiphany.
In our first epiphany, God gives us salvation, by sending his only son, who humbled himself and became human. He becomes the bridge for humanity to reach God. His Salvation is for all nations, especially those on the margins, the forgotten.
In this our second epiphany, the Holy Trinity is revealed to us, the Holy Spirit descending in the bodily form of a dove and God’s voice speaking, revealing Jesus as his son, both human and divine. The one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shows Himself in Christ, through Him, with Him and in Him.
At his Baptism, Jesus being divine and free of any sin, humbled himself and had John baptize him. Just as the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus then, every time someone is baptized, the Holy Spirit continues to descend over us, filling us with his Grace and making us new creations, free of sin. At Baptism we too are declared children of God, therefore making us all brothers and sisters.
In the Rite of Baptism, we are anointed with the Chrism oil, as priest, prophet and king. This should be a reminder of our mission, just like Jesus, after he was baptized he began his ministry; we too are given the power through the Holy Spirit to go out into the world and begin our ministry. With every sacrament, we continue to receive his Grace and strength to follow in Jesus’ path.
Everything’s Gonna Be OK
Dear friends on the journey,
Recently my mom shared with me that every night at dinner my dad recites his pandemic mantra: EGBOK, an acronym for Everything’s Gonna Be OK. My brother even gifted him a T-shirt with the mantra. I was intrigued so I did what any 21st century resident does...I googled it. EGBOK was the trademark phrase of the KABCAM morning radio show, The Ken and Bob Company. For nearly 20 years, day after day, hosts Ken Minyard and Bob Arthur encouraged their Southern California listeners with their motto: Don't worry, EGBOK. This became so popular that thousands of fans wore buttons as a reminder and a hostage of the 1985 TWA hijacking in Beirut credited his faith in God and EGBOK for his survival and release.
All during this Advent and Christmas, the theme of light and darkness kept coming up for me. Not just in scripture and homilies but in unexpected places. On December 21 we witnessed the “Christmas Star” better known as the Great Conjunction, the aligning of Jupiter and Saturn in the southwestern sky. This alignment of planets to form a single brighter “star” in the sky could very well be what the Magi followed in today’s gospel. They trusted this star to guide their long journey. They relied on its light in the night’s darkness. In fact, it was only in the darkness that the Magi could see the vibrant star better. They trusted this light would lead them to the newborn king of the Jews. And they arrived and found what was promised.
Even in our first reading from Isaiah we hear the great prophet talk about the light that symbolizes the promise of blessings for Jerusalem. He assures the people that no matter the darkness and thick clouds covering the earth the Lord will shine upon them. This radiant light will cause their hearts to throb and overflow, and so much goodness will come. And they experienced what was promised.
Today’s scripture, and really our faith, is all about light, God’s radiant light that is promised and given to us today, most especially in our earthly darkness. I dare say 2020 has been a year of darkness. The pandemic hovers over us like San Fernando Valley smog. It is ever-present, affecting our daily routines, mental health, employment, relationships, milestone celebrations, and holidays. It exacerbates the grief of a cancer diagnosis, a failed relationship, the death of a loved one, and so on. It fatigues us and blurs our vision of the good.
As it was for the Magi, the darkness is when we see Christ’s light best. In this pandemic darkness, Christ’s light assures us that this darkness of isolation and worry won’t last forever. It will be conquered. His light guides us, warms us, gives us hope that good will come, that everything’s going to be OK. Isn’t EGBOK basically our Christian faith? God’s promise is revealed in the Paschal Mystery. The darkness of Good Friday is conquered by the morning light of Easter and the hope of resurrection when we will enjoy the glorious light of heaven.
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