DURING FEBRUARY 5-7, 1999
FRIDAY EVENING MASS HOMILY –FATHER RAY BOURQUE
Father Ray referred to the Letter to the Hebrews. He asked that we read it carefully. God's plan was that we were made in the image of God. When others see us, they should see something of God in us. God made us beautiful, but Adam and Eve sinned. After they sinned, they did not look like real men and real women anymore. Adam had a son who was born in Adam's image. That is not the same.
In Exodus, we see God's plan. I brought you here to myself. I want you to be my special possession – a kingdom of priests, a holy people. I want you to help Me to show the rest of the world what kind of people I want. Follow Me and be My priests. You will be My priests? Everybody in the families of Abraham and Moses were priestly people.
Jesus comes along and starts a new priesthood. All of us are called to be priestly people in the Catholic Church. Some are ordained priests, such as the pope, bishops, and priests, and there is the common priesthood. The Letter to the Hebrews is about the priesthood. Chapter 3 is about the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Apostle means "sent". Jesus was sent to be an apostle and high priest. What is the difference? In the Old Testament, the priests offered lambs, bulls, and rams as a sacrifice. In the New Testament, the sacrifice was the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus comes with a new priesthood.
Father also read from Psalm 110 of David which says: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, you are a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek". Abraham meets a priest whose name was Melchizedek who comes to offer a sacrifice of bread and wine. Jesus offers a sacrifice of bread and wine. What is our sacrifice – bread and wine. A lot of Catholic people do not understand that they are priestly people.
In Chapter 12 of the Letter to the Hebrews, it says that we have to keep going, and keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. Do not grow tired, do not quit, do not abandon the struggle. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Chapter 12 also speaks of discipline. If parents discipline their children for life on earth, it is much more important for God to discipline us for eternal life. Chapter 12 says to lift your drooping hands, strengthen your weak knees, make straight the path you walk on. If God disciplines you, He wants you to be true, to be real. He wants you to be real men and real women.
Jesus Christ is true God and true man. Jesus looked just like His Father. Jesus is a real man like us in everything except sin. He is a real man, not a sinful one. He comes to reshape the image of God in us. When we sin, we do not look like real men and real women.
So, if you want to be real, stop sinning. When we sin, we do not look like God. When we sin we need discipline. When we look at Jesus, we know what a real man looks like. When we look at Mary, we know what a real woman looks like. Mary is a real woman. What are you going to do?
Strive for peace with everybody; strive for holiness. No. 1 in your life – look for holiness.
We are not called to an untouchable mountain. We are not called to hear something scary. You are called to Mt. Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to join myriads of angels, assembly of the first born.
Jesus is on our side. Love always, because love is eternal; love has to grow beyond into eternity.
In speaking of the problems we have today, Father told us not to love money; be content with what we have. He also said that sex was a problem today.
Concerning the year 2000, do not be afraid. God is our Father. Keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on Jesus. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
In speaking on the Gospel, Father Ray said that when John the Baptist died, Jesus knew he was next. He went off by Himself to pray when he heard that John the Baptist was dead
SATURDAY MORNING MASS HOMILY –FATHER FRANCIS
Prepare now for Lent. What is the Lord going to ask you to do for Lent? He will give you an inspiration of what to do. Three things you can consider: penance, prayer, almsgiving. 1) Penance – In this materialistic world we need to give up something. 2) Prayer – Examine how we pray. Where does God fit into our prayer? Talk to God as your best friend. Walk with God. 3) Almsgiving – What are we doing with time and money?
SATURDAY MORNING INSTRUCTION – FATHER RAY BOURQUE
Who is the Father? Jesus said, "if you see me, you see the Father." If we know Jesus Christ, we should know a lot about the Father. We learn about the Father from Jesus, the Bible, the Church, the Catholic Catechism, and the Mass. The Mass is loaded with references to the Father. From the beginning of the Mass to the Holy, Holy, there are 144 things about the Father.
A missal is important during Mass so that we can see the words we are praying, and we are not distracted by those around us or events that happen around us.
In discussing the Father, Father Ray began by going through the Mass from the beginning using all options or alternative prayers. The Mass, of course, begins with the sign of the cross, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Next is the greeting, and using the various options we find: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. . .; [t]he grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. . .; [t]he Lord be with you."
In the penitential rite we find: "ask the Lord for pardon and strength" and "ask the Father's forgiveness". Further we find: "confess to almighty God, . . . to pray for me to the Lord our God; [m]ay almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life; Lord we have sinned against you . . .; Lord, show us your mercy and love; You were sent to heal the contrite; You came to call sinners; You plead for us at the right hand of the Father; you came to gather the nations into the peace of God's kingdom; You come in word and sacrament . . .; You come in glory . . .; you are mighty God and Prince of peace; you are Son of God and Son of Mary; you are Word made flesh and splendor of the Father; you came to reconcile us . . .; you heal the wounds of sin and division; you intercede for us with your Father; you raise the dead . . .; You bring pardon and peace to the sinner; You bring light to those in darkness; you raise us to new life; you forgive us our sins; you feed us with your body and blood; you have shown us the way to the Father; you have given us the consolation of the truth; you are the Good Shepherd; you healed the sick; and you give us yourself to heal us."
It takes approximately 1 ½ minutes from the beginning of the Mass to the conclusion of the penitential rite. Study your missal carefully and read each word of each of the alternate prayers carefully. Your missal is important.
HEALING SERVICE – FATHER FRANCIS
From the second chapter of St. Mark, Father Francis read the gospel of Jesus healing the paralyzed man.
When we hear the gospel being read, use your imagination and put yourself there, where the gospel is taking place.
In reflecting on the gospel, Father Francis asks, who are you in this gospel?
Are you the paralyzed man who would allow others to help you, or are you too proud and have too much pride and would decline their help?
Are you one of the men carrying the paralyzed man on the mat who would not be stopped by the size of the crowd and found a way into the house through the roof, or would you give up before the crowd?
Are you one of the scribes sitting back, watching, critiquing what is happening and questioning Jesus' authority to forgive sin?
Are you one of the worriers in the crowd?
The crowd was awestruck. We must be careful, particularly in the 20th century, that we do not lose the sense of awe. We must strike a balance and not be struck with either extreme. Everything in the church is not awesome, nor the other extreme where nothing is awesome.
Use your imagination and place yourself in the times and place of the gospel.
FATHER RAY BOURQUE'S BIBLE STUDY
AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER? Yes, you are. That is the message of Pope John Paul II. However, Father Ray doubts if most people take seriously what John Paul says. The Holy Father started talking about the Jubilee on May 4, 1979. People really have not prepared themselves to celebrate the Jubilee.
Father Ray referred to the Papal document, Ecclesia in America (The Church in America), a copy of which was given to each of the 81 bishops in North and South America. The Pope hopes to change America from the North Pole to the South Pole. This process started on October 12, 1992, when the Pope was in America to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus discovering America and the beginning of the evangelization of the Church in the Americas. The plan is that Catholics become more deeply aware of Christ's desire. Christ wants everybody in the Americas, not just the Catholics, but everybody. Many will not make it, because we will not do what we are supposed to do. Maybe because we won't tell them about Jesus. Jesus wants all to be part of His Church.
Evangelization is a gift. You got it because somebody gave you the good news of Jesus Christ. At the same time it is a responsibility to spread the good news. You just tell people about Jesus. An evangelist is a good news messenger. It is an obligation of love to spread the good news. Do you love your neighbor enough to give them the good news of Jesus? We should be thankful we heard the good news. The Holy Father wants us to have a need to tell somebody about the good news of Jesus.
On October 12, 1992, Pope John Paul II had the idea of a synod of bishops of all the Americas to discuss and look at problems in the Americas relating to justice and solidarity. The Pope wants to discuss issues of justice and international economic relations. There is a large gap between North and South America. Bishops from the Americas met in Rome from November 16 to December 12, 1997. Bishops gave suggestions and the document Ecclesia in America is the result.
Briefly, the chapters in the document are:
I The Encounter with the Living Jesus
II Encountering Jesus Christ in America
III The Path of Conversion
IV The Path to Communion
V The Path to Solidarity
VI The Mission of the Church in America
A copy of the document is available at www.ewtn.com under "What's new".
This document was seven years in the making and in general calls on the Church in North and South America to act as one entity. Similar continental meetings were held in Africa and Asia and will be held in Europe this year. It seems the Pope is moving the Church to act on a continental basis. From these meetings we will look at the Church today. There must be a new evangelization and the problems associated with it. This new evangelization reaches all the way down to the family level. When we hear of problems: earthquakes, hurricanes, financial problems, etc., we should pray for the people affected. This new evangelization is a means to attack problems that exist in the world.
Let's look at Chapter I, The Encounter with the Living Jesus. How did Jesus meet people of His day. One thing is clear, when Jesus met somebody, they were changed. If we can bring people to meet Jesus, they can change and they can be converted. A few examples from the Bible: the Samaritan woman at the well, John 4; Zacchaeus, the tax collector, Luke 19; and Mary Magdalene, Mark 16.
But the Lord respects the free will of everybody. Some will close their heart to Jesus. Even in the time of Jesus, they saw Him, they heard Him, and some could care less. People must be given the opportunity to meet Jesus. Some encounters with Jesus were individual and some were communal.
The apostles were called to be good news people, called to carry out the mission of the Church. They received necessary powers (forgive sin) and were called to share with everybody what they received.
We need the Holy Spirit for us to be able to carry out the mission of the Church
SUNDAY MORNING MASS HOMILY – FATHER JOSEPH
The gospel is from St. Matthew, and in part stated: "'You are the salt of the earth. But what if salt goes flat? . . . You are the light of the world. . . . Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. . . . [Y]our light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father.'"
A Christian, a believer in Christ, must have an affect on those around him. Christians must stop the spread of corruption and stop it from growing. The Pope calls on the youth to be used by Christ.
As Christians, we are to enhance the word. We should have an influence on the world.