English Español Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

The Fruit of Faith

Fifth Sunday of Easter

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

In today’s Gospel, Jesus likens our relationship with him to a plant with many branches. We, the branches, are called to remain so close to Jesus that we bear fruit, loving one another as Christ loves us. Saul bore the fruit of his faith
through powerful witness that drew others to Christ. And the branches that grew into the early Church were extraordinarily fruitful. What is the fruit of your faith in Jesus Christ?

Vines, Branches, and Fruit

Few activities are as disappointing as cultivating garden plants, watering them, and ensuring that they receive sunlight and nutrients, only to receive one or two vegetables or flowers to show for all the effort. Jesus uses the metaphor of the vine and branches to describe how closely we are called to remain with him—so close that we bear the fruit of his life and love in the way we live. When we do this, Jesus says, we give glory to God the Father, which Jesus did perfectly through his life, passion, death, and resurrection. Like plants that rely on the sun and nutrients from the soil, we rely on the Lord Jesus through whom we can do all for which we are called. Without the Lord, we can do nothing.

Learn from the First Ones

The story of the early Church that we hear from the Acts of the Apostles during the Easter season is instructive and inspiring. We learn how the community grew in their understanding of what it means to remain close to Jesus in the most challenging of situations. They lived in word and deed as Christ had taught and bore the fruit of their faith in their daily decisions, in small ways and in dramatic moments. Faced with Saul who had persecuted Christians and who presented himself as a disciple, Barnabas risked believing Saul’s testimony. Through Barnabas, the community accepted Saul, with increasing numbers of people being led to belief in Christ as a result. We too are called to live in word and deed, taking to heart Christ’s command to love one another, even when it is challenging to do so. We may find inspiration in the way the early believers drew consolation from the Holy Spirit, finding wisdom and strength to keep the commandments and do what pleases God.

Readings for the Week

Monday: 1 Cor 15:1-8; Ps 19:2-5; Jn 14:6-14
Tuesday: Acts 14:19-28; Ps 145:10-13ab, 21; Jn 14:27-31a
Wednesday: Acts 15:1-6; Ps 122:1-5; Jn 15:1-8
Thursday: Acts 15:7-21; Ps 96:1-3, 10; Jn 15:9-11
Friday: Acts 15:22-31; Ps 57:8-10, 12; Jn 15:12-17
Saturday: Acts 16:1-10; Ps 100:1b-3, 5; Jn 15:18-21
Sunday: Acts 10:25-36, 34-35, 44-48; Ps 98:1-4; 1 Jn 4:7-10 or 1 Jn 4:11-16; Jn 15:9-17 or Jn 17:11b-19

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Fifthh Sunday of Easter
Monday: Ss. Philip and James
Wednesday: Cinco de Mayo
Thursday: National Day of Prayer
Friday: First Friday

News for April

Did You Know?

2021 Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Brochure

The Office of Safeguard the Children of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles annually publishes the 2021 Working Together to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse brochure, which provides an up-to-date listing of safe environment policies, programs, resources, contact numbers and other important information about how the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is working to prevent child sexual abuse. Copies of the brochures are available in the parish vestibule or online at: https://lacatholics.org/child-abuse-preventionmonth/.

Faith

Second Sunday of Easter

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.'” John 20:29

What a difference faith makes! The faith of the early community of believers led them to rise beyond the selfishness that so many of us struggle with as they grew in communion with Christ and one another. Their selflessness was a living sign of the impact of their faith in Jesus Christ. They did not find the commandments burdensome, but rather centered their lives on the love of God and neighbor that Jesus taught through his life, death, and resurrection. It is good for us to remember that faith is a gift. The journey of faith is not always straightforward and is often marked by doubt and moments of weakness. The apostles’ faith grew as they experienced the risen Jesus. Jesus surely knew they needed the peace he offered and the presence of the Holy Spirit, as do we who have not seen the Lord and yet have come to believe in him.

From Doubt to Belief

The apostle Thomas will forever be remembered as the one who doubted. It is good that his experience is recorded in the Gospel of John. We all doubt sometimes, and “Doubting Thomas” shows us how to move from doubt to belief, knowing that the risen Jesus will be with us through it all. Thomas did not keep his doubts to himself, but instead voiced them aloud to his trusted companions. We can only imagine the conversations that took place between Thomas and the other disciples as they described the peace that they felt following Jesus’ time with them. Thomas’ doubts were put to rest once and for all when Jesus offered him physical proof of the Resurrection. We do not have the sort of physical evidence that was shown to Thomas, but we can perceive Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, in the words of sacred scripture, and in the presence and actions of others.

Living Faith

The journey of faith often ebbs and flows, with times when our relationship with the Lord is the guiding force in our lives, and times when we are tempted to turn away from all we know to be true, good, and beautiful. In those moments when we find ourselves struggling with doubt or temptation, we can follow Thomas’ lead and turn to trusted companions, faithful and faith-filled family and friends, who will support us and show us the way from doubt to living faith. Like the disciples who were in the room when Jesus came among them, we too have received the Holy Spirit. Today, let us consider where we are on the journey of faith, turn to trusted companions and the Holy Spirit to strengthen us on the way, and know that the Lord is with us as we live and grow in relationship with Christ.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Acts 4:23-31; Ps 2:1-3, 4-9; Jn 3:1-8
Tuesday: Acts 4:32-37; Ps 93:1-2, 5; Jn 3:7b-15
Wednesday: Acts 5:17-26; Ps 34:2-9; Jn 3:16-21
Thursday: Acts 5:27-33; Ps 34:2, 9, 17-20; Jn 3:31-36
Friday: Acts 5:34-42; Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14; Jn 6:1-15
Saturday: Acts 6:1-7; Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; Jn 6:16-21
Sunday: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Ps 4:2, 4, 7-9; 1 Jn 2:1-5a; Lk 24:35-48

News for March

Did You Know?

Abusive behavior is nonconsensual
The term “consensual” implies that a person freely agrees to do something and understands what they are consenting to do. When it comes to child abuse, no child can give consent, or freely agree, to engage in inappropriate behavior with an older person – however children can be manipulated such that it appears they have consented in some way out of deference to the abuser’s authority. This is why abuse often involves misuse or abuse of power over a victim and can be accomplished through a range of inappropriate behaviors that give the abuser the upper hand. To read more from the VIRTUS ® article “Early Identification is Crucial,” visit https://lacatholics.org/did-you-know/.

Suffering and Intimacy

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

“When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'” Mark 15:39

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and previews its themes and events. Today’s liturgy begins with the commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. The Roman Missal gives three options for how this can be done, the most elaborate of which begins with the priest, ministers, and the entire assembly outside. The Gospel account of the entry is read, after which palms are blessed and distributed. Then everyone enters the church in procession, singing songs or psalms. However, the joy is temporary; the Passion narrative recounts how, after an intimate meal with his disciples a few days later, Jesus is arrested, tortured, crucified, and buried. The reading from Isaiah is one of four Suffering Servant songs, while the psalm likewise gives voice to the suffering of the innocent, The reading from Philippians affirms the Incarnation as God’s embrace of the entire human situation, including suffering and death.

It may be Palm Sunday, but the Passion is far more prominent in today’s liturgy, which invites us to follow Jesus from his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem to his crucifixion and burial. It simply overflows with the sorrow and intimacy that will be dominant themes in Holy Week.

The first reading from the book of Isaiah gives voice to the suffering of an innocent person—perhaps a prophet—or the people as a whole. The refrain for the Psalm is Jesus’ cry from the cross (Mark 13:14), a cry of absolute, existential loneliness. The great kenotic (emptying) hymn in Philippians provides a stunning portrait of Jesus’ ultimate emptying, simultaneously intimate and cosmological.

All four Gospels have a Passion narrative. While there is agreement on the main events—an intimate meal shared by Jesus and the disciples, betrayal by Judas, prayer in Gethsemane followed by Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion—each Gospel has unique variations that give it a particular meaning or tone. In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus is
anointed by an unnamed woman in the house of Simon the leper. All the Gospels have Jesus being anointed by a woman, but only Mark puts this scene just before the Last Supper. Jesus says the anointing is preparation for his burial: it is as if the woman could see a prophet’s suffering in Jesus’ life and feel it in his presence. Moved by compassion, she empties her jar of expensive nard on his head, pouring out her love in a profoundly intimate act. Perhaps she will also join the women who witness the crucifixion from afar (Mark 15:40-41), after the Twelve seem to be long gone. Palm Sunday invites us to follow Jesus through the rest of Holy Week. By moving us to feel the injustice and the suffering endured by Jesus, this week’s liturgiesand devotions present us with those same choices. Perhaps, like the unnamed woman, we can open ourselves to others’ suffering and respond with love and compassion. Or perhaps, like the Twelve, we will be conspicuous by our absence.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Is 42:1-7; Ps 27:1-3, 13-14; Jn 12:1-11
Tuesday: Is 49:1-6; Ps 71:1-6, 15, 17; Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
Wednesday: Is 50:4-9a; Ps 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34; Mt 26:14-25
Thursday:
Chrism Mass: Is 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9; Ps 89:21-22, 25, 27; Rv 1:5-8; Lk 4:16-21
Lord’s Supper: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14; Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-15
Friday: Is 52:13 — 53:12; Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25; Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9; Jn 18:1 — 19:42
Saturday:
a) Gn 1:1 — 2:2 [1:1, 26-31a]; Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35; or Ps 33:4-7, 12-13, 20-22;
b) Gn 22:1-18 [1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18]; Ps 16: 5, 8-11;
c) Ex 14:15 — 15:1; Ex 15:1-6, 17-18;
d) Is 54:5-14; Ps 30:2, 4-6, 11-13;
e) Is 55:1-11; Is 12:2-6;
f) Bar 3:9-15, 32 — 4:4; Ps 19:8-11;
g) Ez 36:16-17a, 18-28; Ps 42:3, 5; 43:3-4 or Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6 or Ps 51:12-15, 18-19;
h) Rom 6:3-11; i) Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Mk 16:1-7
Sunday: Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6b-8; Jn 20:1-9 or Mk 16:1-7 or (at an afternoon or evening Mass) Lk 24:13-35

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord; Passover begins at sunset
Monday: Monday of Holy Week
Tuesday: Tuesday of Holy Week
Wednesday: Wednesday of Holy Week
Thursday: Holy Thursday; Paschal Triduum begins
Friday: Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion; Fast and Abstinence
Saturday: Holy Saturday; Vigil of Easter

Through Suffering

Fifth Sunday of Lent

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” John 12:24

Vigésimo Domingo en Tiempo Ordinario

The prophet Jeremiah, in today’s first reading, is looking beyond the often-messy history of Israel and Judah to a time when the people will no longer be disobedient to God, because God’s law will be “written on their hearts”—that is, their natural inclinations and desires will be oriented toward God’s will. The psalmist gives voice to the sorrow that Israe! and Judah experienced in their separation from God “Have mercy on me, 0 God . . . A clean heart create for me.” According to Saint Paul, the earthly Jesus, “son though he was,” like his ethnic ancestors, he “learned obedience from what he suffered.” The Gospel reading is part of Jesus’ discourses not long before the Last Supper. Instead of a social encounter with Philip’s friends who had come to see him, Jesus is grappling with his approaching death and its ultimate meaning for the world.

Jeremiah: Looking Beyond Exile and Suffering

The readings today remind us how close we are to Easter—only two weeks from now. They also remind us that the path to resurrection and Easter always includes suffering and death. The prophet Jeremiah spent his whole life proclaiming the word of God to kings who would not listen. As an old man, he saw Jerusalem defeated and the inhabitants taken into exile. Jeremiah himself suffered in being left behind, but in today’s reading, he is looking beyond those sufferings to a time when the previously disobedient people would be transformed and live in harmony with God’s law.

Looking for Jesus, Finding the Cross

In the Gospel reading, friends of Philip come to him and ask about meeting Jesus. When Philip and Andrew take the request to Jesus, he begins a cryptic discourse on discipleship, transformation, and divine judgment. We never hear whether Philip’s friends got to personally meet Jesus. Perhaps they simply blended in with the crowd. Jesus says, “[When | am lifted up from the earth, | will draw everyone to myself.” The narrator says that Jesus’ words indicate how he will die; the readers already know Jesus will be crucified. Jesus also speaks of divine judgment driving out the world’s rulers and of the need to be transformed, like a seed growing into a productive plant. He warns about loving our life and losing it. Unlike Jeremiah’s detailed vision, Jesus only hints at what kind of transformed life his death will bring.

What if we, like Philip’s friends, want to get close to Jesus? Does that mean that the discourse on death and judgment is addressed to us? If Jesus will draw everyone to himself as he is “lifted up,” does being closer to him mean joining him on his cross? (Do we want to be that close to Jesus?) Do we want to be transformed? If we say “yes,” the liturgy these next two weeks can show us the only way the Church knows to get closer to Jesus: to be willing to be “lifted up” with him in his suffering—and in our own.

Readings of the Week

Monday: Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 [41c-62]; Ps 23:1-6; Jn 8:1-11
Tuesday: Nm 21:4-9; Ps 102:2-3, 16-21; Jn 8:21-30
Wednesday: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; Dn 3:52-56; Jn 8:31-42
Thursday: Is 7:10-14; 8:10; Ps 40:7-11; Heb 10:4-10; Lk 1:26-38
Friday: Jer 20:10-13; Ps 18:2-7; Jn 10:31-42
Saturday: Ez 37:21-28; Jer 31:10, 11-13; Jn 11:45-56
Sunday: Mk 11:1-10 or Jn 12:12-16 (procession); Is 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24; Phil 2:6-11; Mk 14:1 — 15:47 [15:1-39]

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Fifth Sunday of Lent; Third Scrutiny
Tuesday: St. Turibius of Mogrovejo
Thursday: The Annunciation of the Lord
Friday: Abstinence

Jesus, the Law, the Jews—and Us

Third Sunday of Lent

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.'” John 2:19

For pious Jews in first-century Palestine, the Mosaic Law prescribed the way every action in life is dedicated to God. Today’s reading from Exodus tells how the Ten Commandments, the reintroduction to this larger legal code, is given to Israel as a gift from God.

In the Gospels Jesus is portrayed as a rabbi, or someone learned in the Law. A rabbi’s learning ideally included both the precepts of the Law and its reverent contemplation as a divine gift, — within which one could hear God’s own voice.

This was the way rabbis through the centuries used the Law to adapt to changing circumstances. This seems to be what Jesus was doing with the moneychangers in the temple.

When Jesus accused the moneychangers of sacrilege and cleared them out of the temple, the onlookers asked for a sign of his authority to do such a thing. After all, wasn’t it a sacrilege to purchase animals for sacrifice with pagan coins? Wasn’t this how the Jews adapted to Roman rule? Jesus says nothing about that; he only knows that this commercial activity inside the temple was a sacrilege. Elsewhere in the Gospels Jesus is criticized for not being strict enough with the Law, as when he ate with prostitutes and tax collectors, but here he is prescribing something stricter, something “more.”

Jesus is doing something extraordinary, contrary to ordinary practice, prompting the onlookers to request a sign, evidence that God is acting here through Jesus. His insistence that the moneychangers depart, his clear vision regarding “my Father’s house,” and his cryptic reference to himself as a temple, are signs of his contemplative intimacy with his Father that is the source of his authority about the Law.

Catholics, like first-century Jews, have our regular means for living in God’s presence. We have the liturgy, sacraments, devolions, and personal prayer. During Lent, we are asked to be a little stricter with ourselves, listening for God’s own voice. If we do, we might discover that we, too, are being called to something “more.”

Readings of the Week

Monday: 2 Kgs 5:1-15b; Ps 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4; Lk 4:24-30
Tuesday: Dn 3:25, 34-43; Ps 25:4-5ab, 6-7bc, 8-9; Mt. 18:21-35
Wednesday: Dt 4:1, 5-9; Ps 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20; Mt 5:17-19
Thursday: Jer 7:23-28; Ps 95:1-2, 6-9; Lk 11:14-23
Friday: Hos 14:2-10; Ps 81:6c-11ab, 14, 17; Mk 12:28-34
Saturday: Hos 6:1-6; Ps 51:3-4, 18-21ab; Lk 18:9-14
Sunday: 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23; Ps 137:1-6; Eph 2:4-10; Jn 3:14-21

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Third Sunday of Lent; First Scrutiny
Monday: St. John of God
Tuesday: St. Frances of Rome
Friday: Abstinence

The Beloved Son

Second Sunday of Lent

“And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white.” Mark 9:2-3

Today’s first reading, known as “the Binding of Isaac,” refers to the way Isaac is bound and laid upon the wood of the altar of sacrifice. God directs Abraham to offer his son in sacrifice, killing the beloved son that had been a special gift to him and Sarah in their old age. How could God ask Abraham to do such a thing? Abraham offers no resistance, but in preparing for the sacrifice, Abraham may have agreed with the psalmist that he was “greatly afflicted.” Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans refers to Jesus as God’s beloved Son, which is also how God identifies Jesus to Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration. Afterward, Jesus tells those disciples not to mention the event to anyone until after his resurrection from the dead. The event, together with Jesus’ comments, leaves the disciples thoroughly confused.

How Could God Ask Abraham to Do That?

Through the centuries, Christians and Jews alike have found the Binding of Isaac one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. Even though God intervenes to save Isaac, the whole episode strikes some readers as cruel. However, Abraham, the ultimate man of faith, raises no objection, offers no resistance as he simply goes about preparing for the trip and the sacrifice.

Today’s other readings might help us see that text differently. In Mark’s description of the Transfiguration, Jesus’ clothes become white and shining, and Moses and Elijah appear with him. Moses was the great liberator and lawgiver who led the Jews out of bondage in Egypt and into the wildemess, forming them into the people of Israel by giving them the Law he received from God. Elijah was among Israel’s greatest prophets, so close to God that, at the end of his life, he was taken up into heaven by a fiery chariot. Together, Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets,
the ultimate authority for the Jews in the conduct of their daily lives.

Love and Generosity

The Law, the Prophets—and Jesus. For Paul, Jesus is someone quite different from the other two. The reading from his letter to the Romans is short, but rich in meaning. When Paul declares that God “did not spare his own Son,” and when God praises Abraham “who did not withhold from me your own beloved son,” it is the same Greek word for “spare” and “withhold.” God’s voice at the Transfiguration identifies Jesus as his “beloved Son”—the same way God refers to Isaac as Abraham’s beloved son. Ultimately, God spares Isaac but not his own Son, whom he “handed over for us.” Even if we are disturbed that God tested Abraham like this, Paul says we should be overwhelmingly grateful that God did for us what, in the end, he did not require of Abraham. Jesus, God’s Son “handed over to us” in love and generosity, is already a sacrificial gift, signifying that God wants to give us “everything else along with him.”

Reading of the Week

Monday: Dn 9:4b-10; Ps 79:8, 9, 11, 13; Lk 6:36-38
Tuesday: Is 1:10, 16-20; Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23; Mt 23:1-12
Wednesday: Jer 18:18-20; Ps 31:5-6, 14-16; Mt 20:17-28
Thursday: Jer 17:5-10; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Lk 16:19-31
Friday: Gn 37:3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a; Ps 105:16-21; Mt 21:33-43, 45-46
Saturday: Mi 7:14-15, 18-20; Ps 103:1-4, 9-12; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
Sunday: Ex 20:1-17 [1-3, 7-8, 12-17]; Ps 19:8-11; 1 Cor 1:22-25; Jn 2:13-25
Alternate readings (Year A): Ex 17:3-7; Ps 95:1-2, 6-9; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; Jn 4:5-42 [5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42]

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Second Sunday of Lent; Penitential Rite for Candidates for Full Communion
Wednesday: St. Katharine Drexel
Thursday: St. Casimir
Friday: First Friday; World Day of Prayer; Abstinence
Saturday: First Saturday

Baptism

First Sunday of Lent

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.” Mark 1:12-13

Today’s readings suggest two different meanings and experiences of baptism. The second reading (from 1 Peter) makes an analogy between Noah’s ark and Christian baptism: just as Noah and his family were saved from death by going through the waters of the flood in the ark, Christians are saved from sin and death by going through the waters of baptism. The first reading, from Genesis, portrays the world after the flood: washed clean of its prior wickedness, embraced by God’s promises that the world will never again be destroyed by water. The psalmist expresses a desire to follow the ways of God, as if re-establishing the harmony between God and humanity destroyed by sin. This peaceful scene is very different from the drama and urgency in Mark’s description of Jesus after his baptism. Jesus battles demons, receives sustenance from angels, and begins preaching: “Repent. The kingdom of God is at hand.”

Good Morning! Welcome to Lent!

You probably did not get that greeting from your priest today, and you probably did not expect it. Isn’t Lent a time of reflection and repentance? Somber purple, no “Alleluias”? Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; attending to one’s relationship with God? True enough; however, there are Lenten practices that have a festive air woven into these penitential elements. One example is in the Church’s retrieval of ancient Lenten practices that made up the final preparation of persons elected to receive the Easter sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist. Jesus’ urgent preaching in today’s passage from Mark comes soon after his own baptism and reminds us that these sacraments still signal a dramatic change in a person’s life: they have responded to Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom and are now publicly professing themselves to be disciples of the Lord and fully initiated members of his visible church. The prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent were part of that preparation. Repentance was then, and remains today, important also for those already fully initiated; the work of repentance, of prayerfully examining our lives and making changes in anticipation of God’s reign, is an ongoing aspect of our life in Christ.

A Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Other changes with baptism are more subtle and personal. When Noah and his family emerged from the ark, they saw that the floodwaters had receded after cleansing the world of human sinfulness. Everything was clean and fresh—a new creation, with a rainbow to guarantee God’s promise to never again destroy the world with water. So, too, will the newly baptized emerge from the font and be anointed with chrism. Like the earth after the great flood, they area
new creation. Washed clean of sin and anointed with chrism, they are renewed in the embrace of the God of covenant love. This is why Lent is always a festive anticipation of Easter and always about baptism, just as it is always about the repentance that draws us more deeply into God’s kinqdom.

Readings for the Week

Monday: 1 Pt 5:1-4; Ps 23:1-3a, 4-6; Mt 16:13-19
Tuesday: Is 55:10-11; Ps 34:4-7, 16-19; Mt 6:7-15
Wednesday: Jon 3:1-10; Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19; Lk 11:29-32
Thursday: Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8; Mt 7:7-12
Friday: Ez 18:21-28; Ps 130:1-8; Mt 5:20-26
Saturday: Dt 26:16-19; Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8; Mt 5:43-48
Sunday: Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Ps 116:10, 15-19; Rom 8:31b-34; Mk 9:2-10

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: First Sunday of Lent; Rite of Election; Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion; Rite of Sending
Monday: Washington’s Birthday; Julian Calendar Lent begins
Tuesday: St. Polycarp
Thursday: Purim (Jewish observance) begins at sunset
Friday: Abstinence
Saturday: St. Gregory of Narek

Reflect. Repent. Restore.

Lent is a 40 day season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It’s a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter. During Lent, we seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; we serve by giving alms; and we practice self-control through fasting. We are called not only to abstain from luxuries during Lent, but to a true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ’s will more faithfully. We recall the waters of baptism in which we were also baptized into Christ’s death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.

Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God’s gifts—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2446).

In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.

Healing and Hope

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

“I do will it. Be made clean.” Mark 1:41

The readings from Leviticus and from the Gospel of Mark today speak of healing and hope. Leviticus outlines procedures to prevent the spread of leprosy, a skin disease understood to be a great danger to the community. Those with the disease were isolated and ritually impure. Absent some cure from God, they were considered beyond hope. Their lives were like a living death, and likely they saw no future hope in their lives. Jesus’ healing of a leper was thus a profound sign of the promised reign of God, which Jesus had earlier announced. The healing was like raising the leper up from death, and thus a hint of Jesus’ resurrection. Where are there “lepers” today, those isolated or outcast from our communities? Who are those our society considers beyond hope, or deems not worth the trouble to offer hope? How can we imitate Jesus in offering a healing touch to them?

Surrending Control

The Gospel today concludes the first chapter of Mark, which traces the rapid expansion of Jesus’ ministry. Excitement about Jesus grows so much that he can’t enter a town without being besieged. His healing of a leper results in a reversal: the leper, who had been isolated from the community, is now free to speak with everyone. Jesus, who before could speak freely, now must isolate himself from the crowds. By serving others, Jesus lost some control over his ministry. This is the first hint of what happens later in Mark. Jesus’ displays of power—over illness, over evil spirits, over nature— eventually lead him to the “powerlessness” of the cross. The experience of Jesus guides us in our own efforts to be of service. Surrendering control is often very difficult. To be a servant is to engage with others, where frequently we lose some control over our freedoms, time, and energies. Often there is a cross or two to bear. As Jesus let go of control in his life, he also placed his trust in his Father. He invites us to do the same.

For the Glory of God

In today’s passage from First Corinthians, Paul concludes his extensive reflections on a variety of issues in Christian life, summarizing with “whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Beyond the specific problems he addresses, Paul invites his listeners deeper, to consider the primary orientation of life in Christ. We live “for the glory of God” when we organize our lives around God’s values and purposes. We find our identity within Goa’s story as described in the scriptures. We are called to join God’s work in care for others. Just like Paul, we wrestle with many difficult problems emerging from the messiness of daily living. As Lent approaches, we might claim some time to reflect upon how life’s messiness connects with our identity and calling.

Readings of the Week

Monday: Gn 4:1-15, 25; Ps 50:1, 8, 16bc-17, 20-21; Mk 8:11-13
Tuesday: Gn 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10; Ps 29:1a, 2, 3ac-4, 3b, 9c-10; Mk 8:14-21
Wednesday: Jl 2:12-18; Ps 51:3-6ab, 12-14, 17; 2 Cor 5:20 — 6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Thursday: Dt 30:15-20; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Lk 9:22-25
Friday: Is 58:1-9a; Ps 51:3-6ab, 18-19; Mt 9:14-15
Saturday: Is 58:9b-14; Ps 86:1-6; Lk 5:27-32
Sunday: Gn 9:8-15; Ps 25:4-9; 1 Pt 3:18-22; Mk 1:12-15

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time; World Marriage Day; Valentine’s Day
Monday: Presidents’ Day
Tuesday: Mardi Gras; Shrove Tuesday
Wednesday: Ash Wednesday; Fast and Abstinence; Almsgiving
Friday: Abstinence

Joining in God’s Healing of the World

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons.” Mark 1:34

Our readings today summon the Church to embrace its calling, to join in God’s healing of the world. As we hear of Job’s anguish, in which all hope and purpose have disappeared, we are reminded of the depth of suffering in the world around us, and perhaps also within our own hearts. We hear of Jesus bringing healing and hope to Simon’s mother-in-law and to the community around Capernaum. And we hear of Paul’s commitment to “become all things to all’, that is, to walk alongside all kinds of people, offering good news of the love of God. We need to be a people who do not hide from broken hearts, including our own. We are to share in the suffering of our world, but also to live as those who can tell the world of a God who brings hope. At our best, we the Church embody God’s great desire to heal the brokenhearted.

A Time to Lament

The poignant description of human suffering in our reading from the book of Job echoes the cries we have heard throughout the world with the coming of the coronavirus. We grieve many losses: of life and health, of jobs and security, of freedom to be with those we love. We are reminded that many of the psalms are prayers lamenting that the world is often not what it ought to be. In these coronavirus times, we the Church are first called to prayerfully lament: to weep with those who are weeping and to ache for a better world. Our prayer can remind us that, as Paul described
in Romans 8, all creation is groaning, and the Holy Spirit is groaning in wordless, shared suffering.

We also live in God’s promise to transform our tears into joy. God is eager to bring healing to the world, and we are God’s instruments in doing so. We bring God’s gifts of creativity, resourcefulness, and perseverance to the task. Our prayerful lamentation reminds us of the urgency of God’s work through us.

Freed to Serve

The first chapter of Mark’s Gospel is very fast-paced, as Jesus begins his ministry on the move. The first scene in today’s passage happens so quickly that it’s easy to miss: Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, and she promptly begins to serve Jesus and the disciples. This woman is never named, and only noted by her relationship with Simon. But she is the first person in Mark, once healed by Jesus, to clearly respond as a disciple. Her healing frees her to serve Jesus and others, and sparks the healing of many others.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus’ healings restore health, dignity, and a place in the community. They are also a summons to service. Mark’s brief story highlights that God is always raising up persons and communities, healed of illness or sin or sadness, to join in God’s healing work for others.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Gn 1:1-19; Ps 104:1-2a, 5-6, 10, 12, 24, 35c; Mk 6:53-56
Tuesday: Gn 1:20 — 2:4a; Ps 8:4-9; Mk 7:1-13
Wednesday: Gn 2:4b-9, 15-17; Ps 104:1-2a, 27-28, 29bc-30; Mk 7:14-23
Thursday: Gn 2:18-25; Ps 128:1-5; Mk 7:24-30
Friday: Gn 3:1-8; Ps 32:1-2, 5-7; Mk 7:31-37
Saturday: Gn 3:9-24; Ps 90:2-6, 12-13; Mk 8:1-10
Sunday: Lv 13:1-2, 44-46; Ps 32:1-2, 5, 11; 1 Cor 10:31 — 11:1; Mk 1:40-45

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time; World Day for Consecrated Life; Scout Sunday
Monday: St. Jerome Emiliani; St. Josephine Bakhita; International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking
Wednesday: St. Scholastica
Thursday: Our Lady of Lourdes; World Day of the Sick
Friday: Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday; Lunar New Year 4719
Saturday: Blessed Virgin Mary

News for February 2021

RCIA

The Rite of Election marks the final, more intense period of preparation of catechumens for the sacraments of initiation, known as the Purification and Enlightenment. Acknowledging God’s choice of the catechumens, the Church accepts their readiness for the sacraments (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) nos. 118-119. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez delegated the Pastors and Administrators to preside the Rite of Election on Sunday , February 21, 2021.

Baptisms

At this time we are not providing in person classes, but if you want to baptize here at Mary Immaculate church call the parish office for requirements at 818-899-0278. We are accepting the Archdiocese infant baptism course that has been developed by the Office of Worship. Visit the link below : https://lacatholics.org/baptism/

Did You Know?

Identifying risky behaviors online

As virtual learning continues, children are spending most of their days online. With their own jobs and responsibilities, parents likely cannot stand behind them and supervise their every move. So, it is more important than ever to assess your child’s online activities periodically. Make sure you know which sites they are visiting, and who they are talking to on social media sites. Discuss risky behaviors with your children, like posting personal information (full name, age, location, school information, and more) using inappropriate language, or accessing sites with questionable content. For more information, get a copy of the VIRTUS article “Risky Online Behaviors and Young People” from https://lacatholics.org/did-youknow/.

Prophets in Daily Life

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22

Jesus Preaching in the Synagogue

Uniquely in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ public eye ministry begins with a direct confrontation with an unclean spirit. Today’s Gospel passage reflects a recurring theme in Mark, that Jesus’ coming is part of a cosmic battle between God and evil forces. It was commonly believed that many spirits were present in the world, and some sought to control human beings. Mark asserts that in Jesus, God has come to rescue humanity, to free us from every form of bondage.

In today’s passage, the unclean spirit does not surrender power quietly. After complaints, convulsions, and screams, the spirit finally departs. As we may witness in own experience, that which binds us—fear, injustice, resentment—often departs only after a mighty struggle. Confronting anything “unclean” in our hearts, our institutions, or our society often involves a long journey toward freedom. May we sustain our efforts and our trust in God, during these long struggles.

Moses assures Israel of God’s continued presence by promising a new prophet. Like Moses, the prophet will be raised up directly by God. But how to distinguish a true prophet from a false one? Many claim to speak for God. The task is complicated by the fact that often, true prophets make waves, cause trouble, and disturb how things are normally done. Many simply don’t want to hear what God is saying, because it threatens their privilege, comfort, or sense of identity.

Like the Israelites in today’s reading, it can be hard for us to bear the voice of God. For God calls us out of all the ways we avoid opening our hearts to God and to others. And so, God raises up surprise prophets in daily life. These are all the people and events who summon us to fuller maturity in love and in faith. We are called upon to always be ready for the prophetic word that may emerge from God’s surprises.

Readings of the Week

Monday: Heb 11:32-40; Ps 31:20-24; Mk 5:1-20
Tuesday: Mal 3:1-4; Ps 24:7-10; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40 [22-32]
Wednesday: Heb 12:4-7, 11-15; Ps 103:1-2, 13-14, 17-18a; Mk 6:1-6
Thursday: Heb 12:18-19, 21-24; Ps 48:2-4, 9-11; Mk 6:7-13
Friday: Heb 13:1-8; Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9; Mk 6:14-29
Saturday: Heb 13:15-17, 20-21; Ps 23:1-6; Mk 6:30-34
Sunday: Jb 7:1-4, 6-7; Ps 147:1-6; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time; Catholic Schools Week
Tuesday: The Presentation of the Lord; Blessing of Candles; Groundhog Day
Wednesday: St. Blaise; St. Ansgar; Blessing of Throats;
Friday: St. Agatha; First Friday
Saturday: St. Paul Miki and companions; First Saturday

“KAIROS” Moments

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:18

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, by Raphael, 1515

Our readings today speak of “Kairos” times, of God proclaiming new moments of opportunity of encounter with the Divine. From Jonah, we hear of God’s summons to the people of Nineveh to turn from evil. We hear Paul tell the church in Corinth that those who live in Christ must avoid clinging to anything transient, as all is secondary to God. And we hear of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Mark, as Jesus proclaims a moment of both opportunity and crisis. In these passages, there are no delaying tactics, no getting caught up in life’s distractions. Just a simple moment of choice. Perhaps we have had “Kairos” moments like these, or we may be facing one now. Sometimes, amid the complexities and uncertainties of our lives, clear choices emerge, and God asks us to choose. And our always patient and merciful God will accompany us in our choices.

The Inauguration

Mark describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with his proclamation that the “kingdom of God is at hand.” The rest of Mark’s Gospel—all of Jesus’ preaching and healing, his death and resurrection—describes the inauguration of this kingdom of God. For Mark, the life of Jesus is the center point of history, where everything leads up to Jesus, and everything follows from Jesus. Mark then tells us that the first disciples follow Jesus immediately and wholeheartedly. They leave their work and family, all for Jesus. Because compared to Jesus and the life he offers, everything else is secondary. Perhaps our invitations from God do not entail such dramatic life changes. But all who follow Jesus are called to align our life and values with his ways of love. As we continue to mature in love and in faith, we might ask: What needs to be renewed, re-oriented, or discarded in light of our life in Christ?

Jonah and Nineveh

Jonah makes a rare appearance this week. The book of Jonah is a fascinating tale of God, stubborn Jonah, surprising Nineveh, and the famous fish (or whale). Please consider reading the whole book, just 48 verses, together with a good commentary. The book is read at Jewish services at Yom Kippur, as a profound reflection about God and about all of us. Today’s passage takes place shortly after Jonah’s time in the fish’s belly. Jonah finally performs the task that God asks of him, to call the people of Nineveh to repentance. (Nineveh was notorious for its brutality.) Their sudden repentance is bitterly accepted by Jonah, as he resents God’s mercy for Nineveh. God reminds Jonah that the people of Nineveh are God’s beloved too. Like the parable of the Prodigal Son, the story hints at the vastness of God’s mercy, especially forgiveness of those who seem least deserving. We are reminded that all of us are sinners, and we are all in
need of God’s mercy.

© J. S. Paluch, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Ps 117:1bc, 2; Mk 16:15-18
Tuesday: 2 Tm 1:1-8 or Ti 1:1-5; Ps 96:1-3, 7-8a, 10; Mk 3:31-35
Wednesday: Heb 10:11-18; Ps 110:1-4; Mk 4:1-20
Thursday: Heb 10:19-25; Ps 24:1-6; Mk 4:21-25
Friday: Heb 10:32-39; Ps 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40; Mk 4:26-34
Saturday: Heb 11:1-2, 8-19; Lk 1:69-75; Mk 4:35-41
Sunday: Dt 18:15-20; Ps 95:1-2, 6-9; 1 Cor 7:32-35; Mk1:21-28

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Monday: The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle
Tuesday: Ss. Timothy and Titus
Wednesday: St. Angela Merici; Tu B’Shvat (Jewish new year of trees) begins at sunset
Thursday: St. Thomas Aquinas

God’s Call

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

“John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.'” John 1:36

The stories of the call of Samuel and of the first disciples in John’s Gospel help us begin to understand the nature of God’s call. It is not a work order from a distant God to carry out a specific task, but an invitation to participate in what God is already doing. The journey begins with God’s intentions and activity. After the initial moment of call, God is shown to be actively leading these ordinary people to partner in God’s work. For ourselves, we might not experience a single or dramatic moment of call. God’s call can take many forms. But like Samuel, and like Jesus’ disciples, we are invited into a relationship of trust and friendship with God. We too are invited to employ the gifts God has given us, always in dialogue with our God, in our daily lives.

Our Deepest Desires

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ first spoken words in the Gospel of John: “What are you looking for?” This penetrating question reverberates throughout John’s Gospel. The disciples who form Jesus’ first community, and many others who meet Jesus during his life, are drawn to him, seeking something they can’t quite name. As Jesus called and formed his community of disciples, he probed their hearts and allowed them to probe his heart. They shared their deepest needs, hopes, and commitments. Jesus’ words might be directed to us, here and now. Sometimes we struggle to name what we really want. In our faith journey, in prayer and in lived experience, we learn to share our dreams and also to open our hearts to know God’s dreams. In time, with lots of practice, with many successes and failures, we learn to trust God to shape and to fulfill our deepest desires.

Your Servant is Listening

We hear of young Samuel today, dedicated to a life of service to God, under the guidance of Eli, a Temple priest. Twice, Samuel hears the call of God and says “Here | am” to Eli. At last Eli recognizes that it is God who is calling Samuel. When Samue! hears God a third time, Samuel does not say “Here | am,” but “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” We can see a subtle shift as Samuel moves away from announcing his intention to serve and more clearly opens himself to God’s voice. Samuel allows God to take the initiative, and attends first to God’s intentions rather than his own. Samuel’s story helps us to remember that accepting God’s call is not only about a new chapter in our personal story. Our acceptance is, more profoundly, a new moment in God’s story. Even in our smallest “yes,” God celebrates our partnership in God’s great work. Through our openness and acceptance, God has new opportunities to bring all of us into loving unity with God.

Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co. Inc.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Heb 5:1-10; Ps 110:1-4; Mk 2:18-22
Tuesday: Heb 6:10-20; Ps 111:1-2, 4-5, 9, 10c; Mk 2:23-28
Wednesday: Heb 7:1-3, 15-17; Ps 110:1-4; Mk 3:1-6
Thursday: Heb 7:25 — 8:6; Ps 40:7-10, 17; Mk 3:7-12
Friday: Heb 8:6-13; Ps 85:8, 10-14; Mk 3:13-19, or any of a number of readings for the Day of Prayer
Saturday: Heb 9:2-3, 11-14; Ps 47:2-3, 6-9; Mk 3:20-21
Sunday: Jon 3:1-5, 10; Ps 25:4-9; 1 Cor 7:29-31; Mk 1:14-20

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Monday: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins
Tuesday: Julian Calendar Theophany (Epiphany)
Wednesday: St. Fabian; St. Sebastian
Thursday: St. Agnes
Friday: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
Saturday: St. Vincent; St. Marianne Cope

In a Nutshell

The Epiphany of the Lord

Three kings presenting gifts to baby Jesus

“Behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.'” Matthew 2:1-2

When I tell a story, | have a friend who prefers the “nutshell version” first. After that she’ll listen to me ramble, but she wants to know the main point right off the bat. When reading and hearing Sunday scriptures one may often find the nutshell by looking at the responsorial psalm or the Gospel acclamation. From Psalm 72 we hear “Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.” The verse for the Gospel acclamation is Matthew 2:2 “We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” As a weary world, we need to see the light, to follow with our actions and our words. This
is the same hope that is echoed in Isaiah 60:2 “See, darkness covers the earth, / and thick clouds cover the peoples; / but upon you the Lorp shines, / and over you appears his glory.” Don’t give up, friends. You must shine!

Searching

In Matthew’s Gospel today we see two extremely different perspectives, two different reasons for searching for Jesus. In some ways, this resembles the polarization of our nation in today’s time. What one group sees as good for the nation, those with opposing views think will wreck the country. The Magi were astrologers who saw a vision in the sky and were trying to find a way to follow it and discover the new king of the Jews. Herod heard about this king, and his reaction was dark and negative. He saw the birth of such a king as a threat to his power as the Roman leader of the country and wanted the Magi to pass on to him what they knew about this Christ child. Similarly, on a more personal level, we can either feel threatened or excited by changes that may come, depending on our perspective.

Giving Homage

In our minds, it is easy to mix up bits and pieces from Luke’s account of the shepherds coming to see Jesus in the stable and the story of the magi. Clearly, it has taken the magi time to get here, and the reading speaks of them coming to the house where the star led them. Nevertheless, they “prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures . . .”

How do we do this? Do we continue looking for Jesus, even if takes a while and he is not where we expect to see him? Are we paying attention to the signs showing us the way? What gifts do we have with which to pay him homage? After seeing him, the Magi were warned in a dream not to go back the way they came. But if we have seen the Christ child, how can we go back to where we were? We must continue to respond to God’s call to move forward and grow in our lives. We must seek the right and just path and turn away from the “Herods” and inherent evils in our life.

Nutshell: Seek God. Pay homage. Amen.

Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co. Inc.

Readings for the Week

Monday: 1 Jn 3:22 — 4:6; Ps 2:7bc-8, 10-12a; Mt 4:12-17, 23-25
Tuesday: 1 Jn 4:7-10; Ps 72:1-4, 7-8; Mk 6:34-44
Wednesday: 1 Jn 4:11-18; Ps 72:1-2, 10, 12-13; Mk 6:45-52
Thursday: 1 Jn 4:19 — 5:4; Ps 72: 1-2, 14, 15bc, 17; Lk 4:14-22a
Friday: 1 Jn 5:5-13; Ps 147:12-15, 19-20; Lk 5:12-16
Saturday: 1 Jn 5:14-21; Ps 149:1-6a, 9b; Jn 3:22-30
Sunday: Is 42:1-4, 6-7 or Is 55:1-11; Ps 29:1-4, 3, 9-10 or Is 12:2-3, 4bcd-6; Acts 10:34-38 or 1 Jn 5:1-9; Mk 1:7-11

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: The Epiphany of the Lord; National Migration Week
Monday: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Tuesday: St. John Neumann
Wednesday: St. André Bessette
Thursday: St. Raymond of Penyafort; Julian Calendar Christmas

News for January

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. our office will be closed on Monday, January 18, 2020.

Baptisms

At this time we are not providing in person classes, but if you want to baptize here at Mary Immaculate church call the parish office for requirements at 818 899 0278. We are accepting the Archdiocese infant baptism course that has been developed by the Office of Worship.

RICA

Actualmente se extiende la invitación a todas las personas que son catequistas a participar como tales en el programa del RICA (Rito de Iniciación Cristiana para Adultos). Las personas que gusten participar como catequistas deberán tener los siguientes requisitos:

  1. Tener experiencia como catequista
  2. Tener sus huellas dactilares y VIRTUS vigentes
  3. Preferiblemente ser bilingúe (Si no es el caso, no hay ningún problema).

Si desea participar como catequista para el programa de RICA, favor de llamar a la oficina parroquial y dejar su nombre y número de teléfono con el Diácono Martin Orea para contactarles después.

Did You Know?

Building a strong parent-teen relationship

As pandemic lockdowns continue, parents and teenage children are spending more and more time together. It is not always easy to connect with teens, because they often feel their parents do not understand them and prefer to confide in their friends instead. Nevertheless, the time at home offers an opportunity for parent-teen relationships to evolve and for trust to grow in developmentally appropriate ways. Teens need the guidance and support of a parent as an important balance to the permissive understanding of a “friendship” relationship. As children become teenagers, parental authority does not diminish but may be better served by involving the teens in a dialogue about rules and limits. For more information on building relationships with your teenagers, visit https://lacatholics.org/did-you-know/.

Family

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

“The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” Luke 2:40

Painting of The Presentation of the Lord

On this feast of the Holy Family, we want to offer all families blessings. “Family” may have a lot of different connotations these days. In the United States, the “father, mother, child” family is less common now, and large Catholic families are not as common as they once were. The concept of family is more fluid with many forms of blended families due to second marriages, multigenerational households, and other living arrangements. In a recent survey by the Pew research center, four in ten babies are born to single mothers. Other children are being raised by grandparents or foster parents. In today’s Genesis story, Abraham was ready to concede to another form of family, making the child of one of his servants his heir. The reading from Hebrews reiterates the story of Genesis, and “your descendants will be more numerous than the stars.” The Gospel relates the story of the presentation in the temple.

Power in Prescribed Rituals

Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple at eight days old, as was prescribed by Mosaic law. For many Catholic families, baptismal gowns were handed down through generations, and a baptism was a time of great celebration. Sadly, in our culture, baptisms continue to decline. There are many reasons for this: fewer practicing Catholics, more interfaith marriages, more secular weddings, fewer weddings by clergy, and problems or misunderstandings that turn people away. Many have left the church altogether because of the way they were treated. For some the parish is not a welcoming place. For others baptism has become just a ritual they go through for the sake of the grandparents.

Examples in Our Elders

When someone does present a child for baptism, it can become too easy for others to pass judgment because the parents don’t know the rubrics well, or aren’t dressed better, or “why is that single mother having her baby baptized during Mass?” Notice that the Gospel says nothing about the priests of the temple and how they received Jesus. Rather it talks about Simeon and Anna. They are worth a study in themselves. Simeon is a devout man who is there waiting for a particular sign, and it is fulfilled when he see the Christ Child. Anna is just in the temple praying, as is her custom. After the presentation of Jesus, she does what she does best—she goes back to praying in the temple. Perhaps these readings teach us how we as a faith community can see the sacredness in those families presenting their children for baptism, and welcome them as did Anna and Simeon. May we all learn from their wisdom!

Readings for the Week

Monday: 1 Jn 1:5 — 2:2; Ps 124:2-5, 7b-8: Mt:13-18
Tuesday: 1 Jn 2:3-11; Ps 96:1-3, 5b-6; Lk 2:22-35
Wednesday: 1 Jn 2:12-17; Ps 96:7-10; Lk 2:36-40
Thursday: 1 Jn 2:18-21; Ps 96:1-2, 11-13; Jn 1:1-18
Friday: Nm 6:22-27; Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
Saturday: 1 Jn 2:22-28; Ps 98:1-4; Jn 1:19-28
Sunday: Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12

News for December

Christmas Schedule

Christmas Eve Mass
Thursday, December 24: 8pm – Christmas Eve Mass

Christmas Mass
Friday, December 25: 10am – Christmas English Mass

Parish Holiday office Hours

Christmas Eve – December 24 – 10am – 2pm
Christmas Day – Office Closed

Did You Know?

Next Sunday, December 27, is the Feast Day of the Holy Family
We have been living in unprecedented times with COVID changing many aspects of our lives. These changes have caused many challenges to families, but they have also affirmed our commitment to safeguarding our children and young people. As the year comes to an end we are reminded of the resiliency exemplified by the Holy Family in their Advent journey – the love Mary and Joseph had for their son, Jesus Christ, and the many ways in which they nurtured His Spirit as a model for our families. Join the Holy Family’s call by taking time next Sunday on the Feast Day of the Holy Family to nourish your own family’s spirituality. Click link to download the Take-Home Resource for Families: The Holy Family – Nourishing your Spirituality and Well-Being.

Looking Again

Fourth Sunday of Advent

“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,and you shall name him Jesus.'” Luke 1:30-31

ANGELICO,_Fra_Annunciation,_1437-46_(2236990916)

When we think of today’s Gospel, the image of this meeting between the Angel Gabriel and Mary by Far Angelico (1440-1445) likely comes to mind. In this fresco, Gabriel and Mary are outside sitting among the columns, and Gabriel, with his big wings and hands crossed, gazes upon Mary and gestures towards her. She is well dressed in a traditional blue garment, and though her face shows shock, her folded hands model submission and humility. This work of art is so beautifully executed that we can miss some of its finer details. Similarly, because the Gospel scene is so familiar, we can forget to take in it’s small details. A few years ago, this author found a children’s book called “The Nativity” illustrated by Julie Vivas. Because her drawings were so fresh and charming and simple, she invited new perspective on the story.

Luke says that Mary “was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” She asks, “How can this be?” These questions don’t fit with how Fra Angelico positioned Gabriel and Mary. In the Vivas illustrations, the Angel Gabriel sits down with battered wings and a balding head and has a cup of coffee with Mary as the two of them try to figure it out together. The text is the same, but the message conveyed is different. There is a different degree of comfort and familiarity to these illustrations.

This “having a cup of coffee” is something we need to learn to do with the scriptures and with our lives. After this event, pregnant Mary traveled into the hill country to be with Elizabeth; an older, wiser, mentor—a mother figure. She spent three months there reflecting and preparing for the birth of her child. In this final week of Advent, take a few moments to find a Gabriel/Mary or an Elizabeth/Mary moment and read the Christmas readings again to see what you might have overlooked, and to find a new way for Christ to dwell in you.

Copyright 2020, J. S. Paluch Company, Inc. 3708 River Road, Suite 400, Franklin Park, IL 60131-2158, 1 800 621 5197

Readings for the Week

Monday: Sg 2:8-14 or Zep 3:14-18a; Ps 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21; Lk 1:39-45
Tuesday: 1 Sm 1:24-28; 1 Sm 2:1, 4-8abcd; Lk 1:46-56
Wednesday: Mal 3:1-4, 23-34; Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-10, 14;Lk 1:57-66
Thursday: 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Ps 89:2-5, 27, 29;Lk 1:67-79
Friday:
Vigil: Is 62:1-5; Ps 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Mt 1:1-25 [18-25]
Night: Is 9:1-6; Ps 96:1-3, 11-13; Ti 2:11-14; Lk 2:1-14
Dawn: Is 62:11-12; Ps 97:1, 6, 11-12; Ti 3:4-7; Lk 2:15-20
Day: Is 52:7-10; Ps 98:1-6; Heb 1:1-6 Jn 1:1-18 [1-5, 9-14]
Saturday: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59; Ps 31:3cd-4, 6, 8ab, 16bc, 17; Mt 10:17-22
Sunday: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 or Gn 15:1-6; 21:1-3; Ps 128:1-5 or Ps 105:1-6, 8-9; Col 3:12-21 [12-17] or Hb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19; Lk 2:22-40 [22, 39-40]

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