Father’s Letter: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

The familiar phrase “behold the Lamb of God”, which is uttered by St. John the Baptist in today’s Gospel and is said by the priest at every Mass, has a long and rich backstory. It is mentioned in Mass because of the Sacrifice of Christ which is made present at the Mass – a sacrifice foreshadowed by the willingness of Abraham to offer his only son Isaac. When Abraham and Isaac proceed up Mount Moriah (the future Temple Mount in Jerusalem), Isaac asked where the victim of the sacrifice is, to which his father responds “God Himself will provide the lamb for the sacrifice.” A millennium later, the moment finally arrives: John the Baptist, the great prophet who was to precede the Messiah, announces that the promise has finally been fulfilled and God has finally provided the Lamb for the perfect Sacrifice, so he announces: “Behold! The Lamb of God!”

Never forget that this promise is fulfilled at every Mass, and never cease to thank God for the gift of His Son which takes away our sins!

In Christ,

Fr Marotti

 

Father’s Letter: The Epiphany of the Lord

Dear Friends,

As the Christmas season comes to a close, I would like to thank everyone who helped make the church and the music so beautiful! Any attempt at a thorough thank you would fill the whole bulletin, but a special thanks to Deacon Mike for his constant help both in the liturgy and around the parish; to Martha Reid and all the musicians for their beautiful sacred music; to Sherry Gesmundo for coordinating the efforts of so many in making the church look so gorgeous; to Kathleen Foldenauer for the stunning altar frontal; and to Ryan Anthony for all of the time and labor he puts in during these winter months.

We celebrate the Epiphany this weekend, which is a commemoration of our Lord’s first manifestation of His Lordship to the whole world. Traditionally, this feast is associated with the Wise Men/Magi/Kings from the East, who represent the pagans coming to recognize the Lordship of the one God. Their fine gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh also symbolize the mission of the Newborn King: Gold, to show His kingship; incense to represent His priesthood; and the strangest gift, myrrh, to represent and foreshadow His death.

It would be helpful for us on this feast to ask ourselves the question: “What is the finest gift that I could bring to the Christ child as we bring this Christmas season to a close?” I propose that the answer is found in the concluding verse of the beautiful Christmas hymn In The Bleak Midwinter:

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

In Christ,

Fr Marotti

 

Father’s Letter: The Holy Family of Jesus

Dear Friends,

In the Gospel this weekend, the Church places before us two great examples of patient, prayerful perseverance: Sts. Simeon and Anna.
Consider how long they had been waiting for the Messiah – they were both advanced in years and spent their lives praying and anticipating the fulfillment of God’s promise. Did they grumble or grow impatient or lash out at God? We don’t know. While it is likely that there were moments of doubt or confusion, we know one thing for sure: they persevered. What was the reward for their perseverance? They were among the first to see the Messiah, hidden in the small child presented in the Temple that wonderful day. May we never grow impatient or tired in prayer, for God will always reward a persevering heart.
In Christ,
Fr Marotti

Father’s Letter: 4th Sunday in Advent/Christmas

Dear Friends,

Before a Mystery as great as the Incarnation of the Son of God, which we celebrate during this Christmas season, it is proper to let a saint do the talking. Please read and meditate upon these beautiful words from St. Leo the Great on this great reality:

It was the devil’s boast that humanity had been deceived by his trickery and so had lost the gifts God had given it; and that it had been stripped of the endowment of immortality and so was subject to the harsh sentence of death. He also boasted that, sunk as he was in evil, he himself derived some consolation from having a partner in crime; and that God had been forced by the principle of justice to alter his verdict on humanity, which he had created in such an honourable state. All this called for the realisation of a secret plan whereby the unalterable God, whose will is indistinguishable from his goodness, might bring the original realisation of his kindness towards us to completion by means of a more hidden mystery, and whereby humanity, which had been led into a state of sin by the craftiness of the devil, might be prevented from perishing contrary to the purpose of God.

So without leaving his Father’s glory behind, the Son of God comes down from his heavenly throne and enters the depths of our world, born in an unprecedented order by an unprecedented kind of birth. In an unprecedented order, because one who is invisible at his own level was made visible at ours. The ungraspable willed to be grasped. Whilst remaining pre-existent, he begins to exist in time. The Lord of the universe veiled his measureless majesty and took on a servant’s form. The God who knew no suffering did not despise becoming a suffering man, and, deathless as he is, to be subject to the laws of death. By an unprecedented kind of birth, because it was inviolable virginity which supplied the material flesh without experiencing sexual desire. What was taken from the mother of the Lord was the nature without the guilt. And the fact that the birth was miraculous does not imply that in the lord Jesus Christ, born from the virgin’s womb, the nature is different from ours. The same one is true God and true man.

Father’s Letter: 3rd Sunday in Advent

Dear Friends,

This weekend we celebrate Gaudete Sunday – which means, “Rejoice”. We take a step back from the penitential character of Advent and remind ourselves of how close our Lord’s arrival is. We rejoice in seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel”, so to speak, and take comfort in the great hope that the arrival of the Messiah gives us. We rejoice because all of the sufferings and anticipation of the Israelites – whom we are imitating during Advent – will soon receive their final conclusion when the Lord comes to give them, and all of us, true freedom from slavery to sin and death.

We also should be contemplating that second theme of Advent – our Lord’s Second Coming – and be filled with joy at the prospect of heavenly bliss and beatitude, which is the definitive fulfillment of our lives. How often do we think about, contemplate, meditate on heaven and the joys that await us there? How often do we consider the ineffable joy that will fill us when we finally see our Lord and God face to face, no longer by Faith, but by true sight. May all of us think of this often!

In Christ,

Fr Marotti