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August 7th - Matthew 16: 24-28

For the readings of today's mass, go to https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/Aug_7_Pages_from_LWC_August2020-lowres-5.pdf By a quirk in our calendar, the gospel for today's mass immediately precedes the gospel of yesterday's mass for the feast of the Transfiguration. Yesterday we heard of the incredible transformation in the appearance of Jesus, and His conversing with Moses and Elijah. It's a wonderful story and a preview of the glory that is to come. In our gospel today, we hear a rather stark message from Jesus, especially for all those who will do anything to save their life (please note this does not apply to taking care of your health, whether physical or mental). For those who do so, their efforts will result in the ultimate failure - they will lose their God-given dignity and their eternal salvation will definitely be in peril. When I reflect on this passage, I can't help but think of those who we glorify in this world - like celebrities, whose image is polished by the work of their publicists.  Later though we learn of their failings and indiscretions.  Or else, those countless political leaders who will do anything to stay in power, most particularly, dictators.  They will persecute and kill and falsely accuse and jail all who pose a threat to their remaining in power. History is filled with such figures, including right now.  But in the vast majority of cases, their power comes to an end, and even if it doesn't, they will have to give a reckoning of their lives to the Ultimate Power - God. Perhaps it is time that they, and for that matter, all of us, should reflect on what Jesus has to say.

Fr. Michael Machacek

Aug 7, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

Sunday August 9th - 19th Sunday in ...

You are most welcome to attend Mass at Nativity; It's an exciting time but we know not everyone is able to join us at the Parish yet so we will continue to post our Sunday Mass online. Below you will find some links to help you keep this Sunday holy and draw close to Jesus.  If you are not coming to the Parish for Mass, you can live stream our 11:30am Sunday Mass here Youtube. Please Note: Turn up the volume on your computer and/or on Youtube if you need to. And, if you are watching the Mass later on Sunday, please note the first few minutes will be a welcome screen. If you want to fast forward to the start of the Mass, will need to place your mouse cursor on the line just above the play button, and then move the cursor forward where you will then see the beginning of the Mass.  If you are watching Mass online and want to sing along at home, you can find the lyrics here:  Opening Song: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/davidcrowderband/hereisourking.html Offertory: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hillsongunited/nonebutjesus.html Communion: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hillsongunited/oceanswherefeetmayfail.html Closing Song: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/philwickham/thisisamazinggrace.html You can read this Sunday's readings here Act of Spiritual Communion Prayer: (You are invited to pray this prayer at the time of Communion during Mass) My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Abigail Murree

Aug 7, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
heart

Transfiguration of Our Lord

for the readings of today's mass, go to  https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/Aug_6_Pages_from_LWC_August2020-lowres-4.pdf It is accepted by Biblical scholars that the scene of the Transfiguration took place on Mt. Tabor, which is 18 km west of the Sea of Galilee, at the east end of the Jezreel Valley, and rises from the 475 m from the town at its base. The mountain is a monadnock -  an isolated hill or small mountain rising abruptly from gently sloping or level surrounding land, and is not volcanic.  With its unique location, the mountain and the Catholic church on its top can be spotted from miles away.  It was here that Jesus miraculously was bathed in shining light, and engaged in conversation with Moses, the giver of the Law, and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, thus indicating Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament.  You will notice that only Peter, James and John are with Him, and they are told to say nothing of this until after His resurrection - for the three of them will also be with Jesus at the agony of the garden, just before He is arrested. The point is simple - his agony and his ecstasy are the 2 sides of the same coin - one goes with the other - just as one cannot separate His death from His resurrection.  Mt. Tabor is truly a holy place, one that we always have visited in our parish pilgrimages to the Holy Land.  With the challenges of travel to the Holy Land, and the complex political situation there, fewer and fewer pilgrims are able to travel there, especially now.  Let us pray for the Christians in the Holy Land and all those who are entrusted with caring for the countless Holy Sites there.  

Fr. Michael Machacek

Aug 6, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
1heart

August 5 - A church and a man

for the readings of today's mass, go to: https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/Aug_5_Pages_from_LWC_August2020-lowres-3.pdf On August 5th the church celebrates one of the 4 major or great basilic churches of the world, St. Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore in Italian) in Rome.  FYI, the other 3, St. Peter's, St. John Lateran, and St. Paul's outside the Walls, are also in Rome This basilica church was named after the decision of the Council of Ephesus in 435 AD, in which Mary was named as Theotokos, the Mother of God.  It is the oldest and largest church in Rome that is dedicated to our Blessed Mother.   For any Catholic going to Rome, it is essential that one visits this church.  On this feast day of the Basilica church, flower petals are dropped from its ceiling to recall the legend of Our Lady of the Snow. The Basilica of St. Mary Major is also the site of an important commemoration of Christmas in Rome because of its famous nativity scene, which contains a relic from the manger of Bethlehem. On this day in Canada, we also honour a Franciscan priest named Blessed Frederic Janssoone, who was born in France in 1838.  After being forced to leave the seminary due to the financial difficulties of his family, he became a successful travelling salesman of textiles.  After his mother's death, he re-entered the seminary and was ordained in 1870. After his ordination, this remarkable man had many fascinating tasks, including serving as a military chaplain during the Franco-Prussian War, and later in the Holy Land where he negotiated custodial rights in Jerusalem and Bethlehem between the Franciscans, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox.  He also helped to re-establish the practice of the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem.  His preaching skills eventually brought him to Quebec, where he also helped to develop the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary, better know as Notre-Dame-du-Cap, near Trois Rivieres.  He died in Montreal in 1916 and was beatified in 1988. The story of the church is a fascinating one, including the building of churches and the stories of men and women of faith.   Today we honour a great church and a great man.  

Fr. Michael Machacek

Aug 5, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
1heart

Homily - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

For the readings of today's mass, go to https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/Aug_2_Pages_from_LWC_August2020-lowres-2.pdf You have enough – for you have been blessed.  We have enough – for we have been blessed.  In today’s gospel we hear of a problem – thousands and thousands of hungry people.  What to do?  An easy solution, which the Jesus’ disciples put forward, is to say, “Hey, that’s their problem, not ours.  They can take care of themselves – they should have thought about bringing food along with them.”  But Jesus says, “You do have enough – for you have been blessed”.  “But we’ve only got five loaves and two fish!”  “You have enough”.  So, the loaves and the fish are first blessed, and then shared - and there was more than enough.  One thing I have always found fascinating about the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes is that we never really get the details as to how the bread is multiplied.  Did the bread keep on replicating itself as it was passed?  Did some people see what was happening and begin to share some of their bread that they had secretly stashed away?  No one knows – for none of the evangelists ever gives us the details.  But one thing for sure – it turned out that there was more than enough – for they had been blessed by God.  In my 8 plus years at Nativity you have heard me say more than a few times how blessed we are by God.    In our lives, everything we need comes from God, even the gift of life itself, and in turn, we are asked to make good use of all of what God has entrusted to us.  Truly, we do not own or control the time, talent, or treasures with which God has blessed us in our own short time on this earth - we are simply stewards of those gifts.  They are given to us by God – and at some point in the future they will be given back to God – as we cannot take them with us when we die.  Again - God has blessed each one of us with all that we are, all that we have. Everything is gift.   Now some may ask where does this teaching come from?  Well, it certainly a constant teaching in the Bible, especially in the parables of Jesus.  Just read Matthew 25, for example.  However, this teaching is first outlined in the Bible at the beginning of the Book of Genesis.  We read that the original Man and Woman, Adam and Eve, are entrusted with God’s Garden.  They are told that they may enjoy it, and they are given responsibility for it. But they do not own it.  However, they were deceived by the Serpent with the illusion of self sufficiency, and so they desired to control everything in the Garden.  By forgetting that God has told them that they are stewards of God’s garden, they end up being banished.  What a sad story.  But just like Adam and Eve, we too can easily be deceived by our ideas of self grandeur and self sufficiency.  Let me give an example.  Have you ever noticed that in some segments of the media and the business world we are called “consumers”?  Not people, but “consumers”.  And when you think about it, isn’t it awful that we can be considered as just merely “consumers”, consumers who devour the goods of the earth.  And if all that we are is simply “consumers”, then inevitably we will fall into lives of greed.  For tragically, we will end up being consumed and possessed by the very same goods we are enticed to consume and possess.  But the good and faithful Christian, faithful in word and action to the teachings of Jesus Christ, correctly understands who we are.  We are not “consumers” – we are servants of God.  And those things that the consumer craves to possess – things like material goods and treasure – you know how the faithful servant of God sees them? Gifts from God that we briefly enjoy on this earth - gifts from God to be accepted with gratitude, then nurtured, and used and shared generously.  For the faithful servant of God realizes how we have been blessed.  I have seen so many parishioners put those blessings into action, which would have made our Lord so proud. Let me give two examples – one that involves families from afar – and one that is local.  Many of our parishioners either come from the Philippines or have roots there.  A wonderful tradition of material support for family members back in the Philippines is the use of what is known as the Balikbayan box.  These Balikbayan boxes are in fact crates, which Filipino- Canadian families here fill with things such as clothing, canned goods, even sacks of rice.  These crates are shipped back to their extended families in the Philippines.  For those members of our parish who have been generously and gratefully sharing of your time and treasure in sending Balikbayan boxes back home, do you realize that you have been good and faithful servants of God?  For you have lived out the teachings of Jesus by sharing what you have with your family members back home.   Example #2 – our parish St. Vincent de Paul Society boxes. Our St. Vincent de Paul Society, which has 30 active members serves the needs of the poor in this area – through food vouchers, clothing vouchers, Christmas hampers, registering children for soccer and basketball and baseball, and visits to the Etobicoke South detention Centre.  Whether it is through your personal involvement as a Vincentian, or in your donations to support our Nativity St. Vincent de Paul, you have lived out that teaching of Jesus from Matthew 25, “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me”.   We have enough – for we have been blessed.  How good is God to all of us!  But the question that each one of us is continually called to answer is:  How have you been sharing those blessings with others?  Remember, God has a very long memory – and God never forgets the good things we do for others.

Fr. Michael Machacek

Aug 2, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
1heart

Sunday August 2nd - 18th Sunday in ...

You are most welcome to attend Mass at Nativity; It's an exciting time but we know not everyone is able to join us at the Parish yet so we will continue to post our Sunday Mass online. Below you will find some links to help you keep this Sunday holy and draw close to Jesus.  If you are not coming to the Parish for Mass, you can live stream our 11:30am Sunday Mass here Youtube. Please Note: Turn up the volume on your computer and/or on Youtube if you need to. And, if you are watching the Mass later on Sunday, please note the first few minutes will be a welcome screen. If you want to fast forward to the start of the Mass, will need to place your mouse cursor on the line just above the play button, and then move the cursor forward where you will then see the beginning of the Mass.  If you are watching Mass online and want to sing along at home, you can find the lyrics here:  Opening Song: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hillsongunited/hosanna.html Offertory: : https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/mattmaher/cometothewater.html Communion: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/karijobe/revelationsong.html Closing Song: https://wordtoworship.com/song/14526 You can read this Sunday's readings here Act of Spiritual Communion Prayer: (You are invited to pray this prayer at the time of Communion during Mass) My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Abigail Murree

Jul 31, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
1heart

July 30th - Jeremiah 18: 1-6

for the readings of today's mass, go to https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/July_30_Pages_from_LWC_July2020-lowres-4.pdf The prophet Jeremiah's visit to the potter house is a story that is much celebrated, in both word and song, and rightly so. Jeremiah watches the potter at work.  One creation is not satisfactory, and requires a restart.  Then, the potter is satisfied with what he sees.  We then hear the Lord's explanation as to what Jeremiah as witnessed.  This story reminds me of the basic reality of who we are as human beings and our work in helping to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.   As many of you have heard me say frequently, you and I are works in progress. Our growth as human beings, as we strive to become the man and woman that God calls us to be, is never a straight-forward, smooth path.  There many obstacles that need to be overcome, and many times that our efforts fail.  But we still dust ourselves off, and keep going forward.  Sometimes our efforts need a restart as well.  But eventually we keep on trying to grow and improve.   This process also requires patience, and maybe even some help from others, including some badly needed help from above.  Isaiah, has it right:   "But now, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand."  (Isaiah 64: 7)

Fr. Michael Machacek

Jul 30, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
1heart

July 29 - St. Martha

For the readings of today's mass, go to https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/July_29_Pages_from_LWC_July2020-lowres-3.pdf How frank are you in your relationship with Jesus?  Do you listen to Him when you pray, like you would do when you pray with His teachings or His parables?  Are you then able to share with Him your concerns, fears, doubts, joys and happiness? The saint we honour today, Martha, provides a wonderful example of a person who had a very solid relationship with Jesus.  Not only did she host Jesus at various times in the gospel, her conversations with Him indicate someone who was truly comfortable in being with Him.  I deeply admire Martha for having this level of comfort with Jesus. The two gospels that are offered to us today indicate this.  In the first, Martha in her grief, confronts Jesus about His late arrival, long after her brother Lazarus has died.  In the conversation that follows, despite her disappointment, she still manages to display her deep faith in Him, as they discuss the reality of the resurrection and his role in that reality. In the other gospel, we hear of how her concerns are expressed  to Him about the fact that her sister Mary is doing nothing to help her prepare the food.  This is obviously a person who can be quite honest with Jesus. And when one considers Jesus' answer to Martha's complaint, one still can't help but wonder if He received any dinner at all after that response.  :)  Today, let us ask for the intercessions of St. Martha to enable our faith and comfort in the person of Jesus Christ continue to grow and flourish.

Fr. Michael Machacek

Jul 29, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

For the readings and prayers of today's mass, go to https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/images/article_images/pdf/July_26_Pages_from_LWC_July2020-lowres-7.pdf “What I would give if I could …” How many dreams, hopes and aspirations have been introduced with these or similar words?  How many regrets and sorrows have been given similar expression? What I would give if I could have told my Mom or Dad how much I loved them before they died.  What I would give if could quit my job and retire early.  What I would give if could be a world class athlete, writer, singer, artist or dancer.  What I would give if I could win the lottery.  The list could go on and on.            What would you give if you could enter the Kingdom of heaven?   Now there’s something to truly desire.  Today’s readings speak of the importance of having that hope and desire.            In our first reading, King Solomon is gifted by God with a golden opportunity in a dream.  And he doesn’t even have to give anything!  God just simply says, “Ask, and it’s yours”.  If given the same opportunity, what would you have asked for? For someone like Solomon in that period of history, and with the position he held as King of Israel, it would have been only natural to have asked for riches for himself and his people, or for power, or for a great army so as to conquer his enemies and expand his kingdom.  But he doesn’t – he asks for an understanding mind – he asks for wisdom, so that he can be a good, wise, compassionate and faith-filled king – a true man of God.  Solomon recognized this was all that truly mattered.  Not riches, not power, but to be good, to be wise, to be a person of faith.            Wisdom is also featured in our gospel.  Jesus speaks first of a person who sold all he had to buy a field where he discovered buried treasure, and then of a merchant who similarly sold all he had to buy just one pearl. In these two scenarios, Jesus reminds us that the supreme value of entering into the Kingdom of Heaven is worth any risk or sacrifice.  The two persons featured in these parables were willing to readjust their values and priorities in their lives to make this happen.             What are the priorities and values in your life?  No doubt for you that many priorities have been examined and challenged since the onset of the COVID- 19 pandemic.  We have been confronted with the fragility of all that we have taken for granted.  This time has also forced us to consider a very basic reality of life – that we won’t be around here forever, as alluded to very strongly by Jesus in the second half of our gospel.  This reality is also expressed in a bit of down-home wisdom in the book, As I Lay Dying, written by the great American novelist, William Faulkner.  One of the characters of the book is Addie Bundren, a crusty old woman, who is about to die.  On her death-bed, Addie says, “The only reason for living is to get ready to stay dead for a long time”.  It’s true.  And I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend that long time in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And our readings today remind us to consider what should be the #1 priority in our lives – making sure that what we do and say in life enables us to spend eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven. But of course the Kingdom of heaven is not just up there – it’s also meant to be found here. The Scottish biblical scholar William Barclay said that the Kingdom of Heaven is a state of society on earth in which God’s will is as perfectly done as it is in heaven (just like we say in the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father).  Therefore, to enter the Kingdom is to accept and to do God’s will – like living out the teachings of Jesus in this life.  To do so, though may require that we give up certain hopes and desires that may be very near and dear to our hearts.  To do so will also mean that we need to come terms with the new realities we find ourselves in at this time of pandemic.  Entering into the Kingdom does mean taking up the various crosses that come our way throughout our lives, just as Jesus asked of us.               Despite the cost and struggle, we are assured by St. Paul in our second reading that “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him”.  St. Paul reminds us that the God who made us and sustains us and supports us desires that in the life that is come He will glorify us.  That is a lovely thought.  And as that crusty old lady named Addie Bundren says, that glory will last a long, long time. To that we say, "Amen."           

Fr. Michael Machacek

Jul 26, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
2heart

Sunday July 26 - 17th Sunday in Ord...

You are most welcome to attend Mass at Nativity; It's an exciting time but we know not everyone is able to join us at the Parish yet so we will continue to post our Sunday Mass online. Below you will find some links to help you keep this Sunday holy and draw close to Jesus.  If you are not coming to the Parish for Mass, you can live stream our 11:30am Sunday Mass here Youtube. Please Note: Turn up the volume on your computer and/or on Youtube if you need to. And, if you are watching the Mass later on Sunday, please note the first few minutes will be a welcome screen. If you want to fast forward to the start of the Mass, will need to place your mouse cursor on the line just above the play button, and then move the cursor forward where you will then see the beginning of the Mass.  If you are watching Mass online and want to sing along at home, you can find the lyrics here:  Opening Song: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hillsongunited/youllcome.html Offertory: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/mattmaher/cometothewater.html Communion: https://bethelmusic.com/chords-and-lyrics/reckless-love/ Closing Song: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/mattmaher/lovecomesdown.html You can read this Sunday's readings here Act of Spiritual Communion Prayer: (You are invited to pray this prayer at the time of Communion during Mass) My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Abigail Murree

Jul 24, 2020 • Nativity of Our Lord
1heart