St. Joseph's Parish

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First Sunday of Advent -B

  • Written by Fr. Emmanuel Famiyeh

(Isaiah 63: 16-19; 64: 2-7     1 Corinthians 1: 3-9     Mark 13: 33-37)

A new season of grace-filled preparation has dawned for us to intensify our readiness to be in a final union with God our Creator and Redeemer who shepherds us through the ups and downs of our earthly lives, making sure that by his promptings we may allow ourselves be led to a proper disposition to know, worship and love God here on earth, as we become good stewards of his created beauty. Each year we are given such opportunities but we unfortunately blow them up. In some ways, we act on hopes borne out of procrastination to live holy lives only to find ourselves caught up unguarded in the mess and misery of the failure to make good use of the gracious opportunity to focus on the glory of God which will be revealed at any place and time, and by any means.
Despite the many sins of our past and present lives, God always opens his gracious arms to welcome us to walk anew with us on our earthly journey. Would we not rather choose the holy path of life of God by reaching out to the outstretched hands of God, instead of relying on our weak unproductive sinful ways that lead to the destruction of our souls?

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Solemnity of Christ the King

  • Written by St. Joseph's Parish

(Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-17     1 Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28     Matthew 25: 31-46)

Jesus Christ came to our rescue, redeeming us from eternal damnation due our fallen nature. In him we have new light and life leading us to an everlasting bliss. This pilgrimage of ours in this valley of tears, uncertainties, and chaos clearly and strongly suggests the need for us to have an aim towards a better life which offers us certainty and perfection that wipe away every tear in paradise. Jesus has given us the answer: to be religious by leaning on God and his graces to have a successful pilgrimage from earth to the glory of God. But our destinies are in our very own hands by the way we choose or avoid the Good Shepherd and the King of the universe, Jesus Christ.
Each one of us has been given special favors or graces to help bring the light and life of Christ to the world and to our individual selves, as we strive each moment to evangelize and catechize the present and the future generations about the truth of the essence of Christ’s redemption until Christ comes again in his glory. This effort and mandate of ours will be crucial when we give the final account of our earthly stewardship before the tribunal of God.
Whether we believe it or not, the certainty of the end time is real as we experience it every day in our lives through the constant loss of friends and family members. The problem of death is always a wake-up call for us to reaffirm our hopes in the promise of Christ more than just plainly relying on our weak thoughts and strengths. We ought to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness’ by totally trusting in and relying on God. Surely, ‘it is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks to God who is Lord, Holy Father, creator of the world and source of all life’, as the various Prefaces of the Eucharistic Prayers reaffirm each day during the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world.

 

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Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time -A

  • Written by Fr. Emmanuel Famiyeh

(Proverbs 31: 10-13, 9-20, 30-31     1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6     Matthew 25: 14-30)

 

Next week, we shall celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King when we shall symbolically be asking ourselves if we would be worthy of the promises of Christ were our personal and individual judgments due. In a sense, now is the time for our consideration and reflection on how we have lived the faith in the Lord in responses to the various vocations as we exhibit it in the life of the Sacraments, and how we have trusted the Lord in producing the fruits of the graces we have received on account of our stewardship here on earth.
Though we all depend on each other as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church for both our corporal and spiritual journey, survival and wellbeing, we also have unique choices to make. It is the kind of choices we make that will determine our final union with our God. Those who choose to be trusting in God’s love and strive each day to do God’s will, despite all their weaknesses, who will triumph, because they have a profound respect for the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. But for those who do not care about the state of their souls and therefore do not trust in the graces given them will have themselves to be blamed. The universal salvation or redemption is for us all; but we also have to strive to achieve our particular salvation which in fact is deeply rooted in our total trust in the Lord by knowing why Christ came to sacrifice his life for us: for our salvation he came down from heaven, and for our sake he was crucified. If everything has been accomplished for us to be free from the corruption of sin and death by Christ, why are some of us still choosing to be in the same shackles that have been shattered by the passion, death and resurrection of Christ? Remember, every choice has its own consequence; so, let us choose wisely as we apply our free wills here on earth because one day we shall receive our rewards based on how we choose. Choose and live in the Lord at all times!

 

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The Feast Of The Dedication Of The Lateran Basilica

  • Written by Fr. Emmanuel Famiyeh

(Ezekiel 47: 1-2, 8-9, 12     1st Corinthians 2: 9-11, 16-17     John 2: 13-22)

 

Last weekend, we celebrated our communion with the Saints in Heaven and the Saints in Purgatory as we emphasized the need to strengthen our unity through prayers that one day we might all behold the beatific vision of God in Heaven. Today, we celebrate the communion of all the Saints here on earth. We have been called by Christ to be one in him and Christ in us as we are built steadily into the full stature of Christ having the Holy Spirit dwelling in us at all times and places.
Symbolically, today’s feast shows the connectivity among all Christian church buildings all over the world in concert with the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome which is the Cathedral of the Holy Father. This Cathedral is both the mother and the mistress of all the churches in Rome and all over the world. We, though many and diverse in all manners, have one goal: to be under one shepherd so as to be led by the power and grace of God to be the beacon of hope to many who live in darkness to come and see the light and life of Christ. We do this by our witness to Christ in the world by word and deed which are Christ-centered.
Significantly, we the Baptized are to keep our holiness intact by allowing the Lord of hosts be with us always. By the gifts of the Sacraments, which are in actual fact Grace-filled Actions, we are aided by their efficacies to remain holy as we struggle daily to deal with our weakness and sinfulness. Therefore, we must strive and resolve to be in sync with each other in our struggles to remain faithful to our calling to be holy temples of God as we make God the core foundation of our beings through a serious life of grace and prayer. Indeed, we need each other’s support and prayer in this endeavor and pursuit of ours!

 

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The Commemoration of All Souls

  • Written by Fr. Emmanuel Famiyeh

(Isaiah 25: 6-9 Philippians 3: 20-21     John 17: 24-26)

As we celebrate our communion with the souls who have gone before us with the hope that one day we shall joyfully meet and enjoy our friendship with them again, we reignite the common cord that links us all together, prayer. Prayer does the wonders of keeping the redeemed, both living and dead, together in a close-knit communion. With prayers and supplications we receive the gracious mercy and forgiveness of God that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ to be in Paradise.
As Edward Caswall would remind us that “Days and moments quickly flying, blend the living with the dead; soon will you and I be lying each within our narrow bed”, we must seize every moment and live it to the fullest by pleasing God and allowing God’s will be done on earth as we strive to live in a state of grace that we may not be disappointed when we die. Preparing for our death may sound a bit crazy and scary, but it is worth doing it. We may shun the reality of death that stirs straight in our very eyes each day. But after considering how many good friends and relatives we have lost this year alone, and the manner through which they died, we shudder the denial and begin to prepare adequately for our own deaths to meet our Creator. The fear of death can only be conquered by a true life of grace. Maybe, the lyrics of Sister Mary Xavier’s hymn would help make things better: Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray; keep me, my God, from stain of sin, just for today.

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The Thirtieth Sunday In Ordinary Time -A

  • Written by Fr. Emmanuel Famiyeh
(Exodus 22: 20-26     1 Thessalonians 1: 5-10     Matthew 22: 34-40)
As the plants are losing their luster and the sunlight in the regions above the Tropic of Cancer is losing its potency, it is a reminder that everything has a season and that each of God’s creation ought to make good use of the seasons offered us before they slip by. But in making good use of the goodness of God we also ought to ask one question: do we recognize God as the giver of all the things we use for our own good and well-being? If we arrive at the answer that all that we have is made possible by the will and goodness of God, we are naturally moved to share with our neighbors the goodness we have received. We are made to love God and our surroundings since we recognize that our surroundings are created by the goodness of God for our survival and well-being.

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