Homily – July 16, 2017

July 16th, 2017

There’s a story told of a small farming community that was having a rough time dealing with a long drought. At the Sunday service the pastor announced that that afternoon at 3 o’clock he would be holding a prayer service to ask God for rain, lots of rain. At 3 o’clock the little church was full, standing room only. The pastor went into the pulpit and asked the congregation, ‘how many of you brought umbrellas’? Nobody did. The service never began.

God knows we don’t need more rain at this time, we had more than enough. Sowing crops has been held up because farmers can’t get their equipment into the water logged fields.

Farming has always been a precarious occupation. No matter how mechanized it has become it is always at the mercy of the weather. Drought, winds, an early or late frost, insects, all these things can wipe out a farmer’s crops.

Israel had it fertile plains but in the mountainous region of Galilee farming was especially precarious. Rocky soil made it difficult for seeds to take root.

Though Jesus was a carpenter he knew how hard the life of farmers could be.

In today’s parable he uses the example of the farmer at seeding time. The farmer just flings a hand full of seeds into the air and the wind carries the seed to different destinations – some fell on paths where they were visible to the birds that quickly ate them. Some fell on rocky soil where they could not take root and couldn’t survive the heat of the sun. Other seeds fell among stronger weeds that chocked their growth. Most of the seeds fell on good soil and with the help of sunshine and rain produced a harvest.

Jesus talks about a harvest as high as a hundred fold. His listeners would know he was exaggerating. His listeners knew that at best a harvest of tenfold was an outside possibility.

Jesus tells us this parable to teach us how generous, how lavish God is as he pictures God flinging with abandon the seeds of his love and mercy on us all.

Then Jesus proceeds to spell out an allegorical interpretation of his parable, that names what blocks full growth of the word; gross heart and ears and eyes that spiritually deaf and blind. Men and women uninterested or failing to understand the gifts sown in their hearts; people shallow in their response to God’s gift and therefore wilting in the face of persecution, and those people being distracted by worldly anxiety and desire for riches.

Listening to this gospel we are asked to reflect on how receptive we are to the love and mercy and blessings of God. It is a question only we can answer. What kind of a harvest do we provide?

Homily – July 9, 2017

July 9th, 2017

No one knows the Son except the Father and no one know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ That is what Jesus chooses to do. St. John teaches ‘God so loved the world he sent his son into the world, not to condemn the world but so that through him the world might be saved.’ Jesus made known to us that God was not some kind of cosmic force but a Father who so loved us he sent his son to bring us closer to himself. Jesus let us know God is a life-giving, life restoring, loving Father. St. Paul best summed it up by telling us that the crucified Christ is the love of God made visible.

Jesus is echoing our Father with his invitation, ‘come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.’

In the days of Jesus the peasants of the land were yoked as tenant farmers, their lives were governed by the will and whims of their wealthy land owners. These rustic, hardworking people whose subsistence existence allowed them to live only from day to day were controlled by religious and civil leaders who milked them for as much as they could.

In the village setting, Pharisees laid the yoke of their 613 commandments upon their followers and others who sought their advice about how to please God.

Today how many men and women are yoked, burdened by their addictions to drugs or booze or gambling, or pornography? How many are yoked, burdened by over-extended credit cards? How many are yoked to cell phones or the internet and so many other gadgets? How many are yoked to depression or debilitating illnesses? How many good men and women are yoked to under paid jobs?

Today we hear the compassionate and loving invitation of Jesus offering to yoke himself to us, a yoke that is neither burdensome nor oppressive but a yoke to support us and lessen our burdens. Jesus tells us ‘be yoked to me and I will walk with you and help you carry your burdens no matter what they may be.

This is a gracious invitation to all of us. Accepting it we will be yoked to Jesus, we will not walk alone; we will not bear our burdens alone, whatever they may be.

As we continue to celebrate our Mass we pray for ourselves and for each other that we be graced to accept Christ’s offer and face our struggles always supported by his presence and support.

Homily – July 2, 2017

July 2nd, 2017

As you know I begin each Mass asking you to recall the many blessings by which God has enriched all our lives. This is the first reason we are all here, to thank God for God’s many blessings. Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’. We may come with a list of our needs, but first and foremost we are here to say ‘thank you’. That’s why we call to mind the many blessings by which God has blessed our lives.

This weekend we will be celebrating the 150 anniversary of Confederation, an event that established us as a nation.

We know we have a lot for which to be thankful. When we look around the world we see our brothers and sisters victims of civil war and religious strife. Millions of displaced families are living in refugee camps, in Yemen thousands are dying from cholera. There is little of anything we can do about all this except that we protect ourselves from the global indifference toward our suffering brothers and sisters and keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

We have to admit our Canada has its own problems too. The living and health conditions of our First Nations people are a blight on our image as a land justice and equality. These good people still live with the effects the residential schools had on them. They still fight for rights guaranteed by the treaties they signed as nation to nation with the Crown. Our history books have ignored their histories as the first peoples of this land and their role in the building of Canada.

For all our openness and generosity toward refugees from countries of the Middle East we still have to face the racism and bigotry that periodically surfaces among us.

When we look south of the border we have to be thankful for our public health system and our welfare system that care for our seniors and infirm – there may be flaws but it helps so many good and needy people.

The gospel talks about giving a cup of cold water to a person in need.As a parish family you good people can be proud of your response to appeals such as Share Life, the Good Shepherd Refuge, St. Vincent de Paul, Justice and Peace and Rosalie Hall and your willingness to support our several refugee appeals. As the gospel tells us ‘you will not lose your reward.’ This has been your way of saying ‘thanks’ for living in a country like Canada.

We continue this Mass giving thanks to God for so many blessings, the blessing of our faith, the blessing of this Eucharist and the blessing of living in the beautiful land of Canada.

May we all be blessed with a wonderful Canada Day.

Homily – June 25, 2017

June 25th, 2017

There was a very disappointing article in the Star on Wednesday on a woman walking into a clinic in Mississauga demanding to see ‘a white doctor who doesn’t have brown teeth and speaks English’. I saw a video of the event on the website of the Huffington Post. It was really shocking. It looked like she expected to be seen before all the people of color who were waiting patiently for their appointments because she was white and should be seen immediately with her son who had a breathing problem. She was clueless as to how her demands dismissed and diminished the men and women waiting their turn to be seen.

A man waiting for his appointment filmed the whole thing. He said, ‘I could have just ignored it but some inner voice convinced me that it was totally wrong and there was no room for misinterpretation – I am a realist and I know these things exist but watching something like this in front of your own eyes, so openly and boldly just shocked me.’ He filmed the whole thing and it’s been seen by thousands of viewers.

I’m sure many of the people in that waiting room kept their heads down and wished the woman would go away but others in the room challenged her for being a racist and a bigot.

In today’s gospel Jesus is sending his twelve apostles out on the road to spread his message that God’s kingdom is in their midst. They are to speak this truth boldly – what Jesus said to them in private, they were to proclaim from the house tops. They were to be fearless; they were not to let themselves be intimidated by the authorities. “Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.’ Jesus warned them they might be driven out of synagogues and towns but they were to keep on with their tasks. They were to fear no one except the persons who would try to get them to water down their message, take the heart out of Christ’s teachings. They were the ones who could kill the soul.

The men and women who confronted the women in that clinic about her bigotry and racism were in fact acknowledging the teaching of Jesus that we are to love and respect other men and women regardless of the color of their skin or the land of their origin.

These good people are an example to us. Like them we are all called to stand up and speak up against men and women who put down and belittle men and women of other faiths, other races, other social class, and other life styles. Christ’s new and revolutionary commandment is ‘love one another as I have loved you’. It is not an easy commandment to follow. We all have our built in prejudices, attitudes toward other people that we’ve picked up by osmosis, within our own families. As Canadians we pride ourselves for being a multicultural society but often times we discover that this can be a thin veneer hiding our latent resistance to the other and the different.

Today’s gospel and that harmful, distasteful event in the clinic in Mississauga should make us all stop and think and make us honestly face the efforts we have to make in our daily exchange with men and women of a faith or a nationality or a life style different from our own. I read somewhere that to be a bearer of the word of God means to suffer, because that word inevitably encounters hostility and rejection.

As we continue to celebrate this Eucharist we pray for ourselves and for each other that we have the conviction to stand up and speak up against those who would belittle and diminish the worth and dignity of another person. Especially this weekend.

Bulletin – June 25, 2017

June 24th, 2017

Happy Summer!

This is the last bulletin until the Labour Day Weekend in September. We wish you all a happy and safe summer! Saturday, July 1st is Canada Day. There will be a 4:30 PM Mass.

The office will be closed on Monday, July 3rd for the holiday. There will be no 9:00 AM Mass on July 3rd.


Sunday, July 9th after the 12:30 Mass

The Parish BBQ Picnic will be held on Sunday, July 9th after the 12:30 Mass in the parking lot. There will be hot dogs, games, face painting, lucky draws, music and more…

Tickets are $2 each.

Please bring your families, friends and neighbours to enjoy a summer afternoon with your parishioners. We need volunteers to help and make this event happen. Please sign up by putting your name and phone number on the sheets at the back of church. For more information, you may call Linda Law at 416-918-8029.


The Building Maintenance Committee is currently working with a landscape designer on a new vision for our gardens. If you are interested in participating in the planting and maintenance of the new gardens as well as learning about the plants and their care, please call the Parish office at 416-221-8866.


St. Gabriel’s Volunteer Screening Committee is seeking two committee members. The Screening Committee interviews and screens parish volunteers. If interested, please visit the parish office and ask for a copy of the position description. To speak with a committee member, leave your name and phone number with the office staff. A committee member will call you. The Screening Committee has also been tasked to plan and deliver St. Gabriel’s 2018 Volunteer Recognition. To achieve committee gender balance, male applicants are encouraged.


Thank you to all parishioners who are recycling their clean milk bags at the church. Please remember to flatten them before putting them into the box. This would be a great help to the weavers,

The Milk Bag Workshops, led by Sharon Gusz this year were very successful. The week of March Break was especially productive due to the enthusiastic participation of the Youth Group. Thank you to Sharon and all the milk bag weavers for their excellent work.

Workshops will begin again in the fall. For further information about this program please visit www.milkbagsunlimited.ca or contact Sharon Gusz at sharongusz@gmail.com.


June 26th – July 1st, 2017

MONDAY – KENG OWYONG – Requested by Helen Owyong
TUESDAY – SUFFERING SOULS – Requested by Agnes Wong
WEDNESDAY – FR. DON SANVIDO – Requested by Jeanne Robinson
THURSDAY – CARM WHITE – Requested by Margaret Anne Leckie
FRIDAY – JOHN WOODCOCK – Requested by Kathi Leah, Molly McCormick & Judy Flynn


The Parish Family of St. Gabriel’s would like to welcome:

Hailey Ray Dalogdog
Journey Liwanag
Leah Catherine Matthews
Logan Rhys Bangi Ramiro
Olivia Ann Tuzi

These children received the Sacrament of Baptism on June 18h. Congratulations


Registration forms for the Children’s Faith Program are now available in the parish office. This program is for children of the Parish who attend other Catholic schools, public or private schools. Classes are held at St. Gabriel’s School every second Sunday beginning September 10th, 2017.

Please note that a separate Sacramental registration form is required if your child will receive the sacraments of First Communion, Reconciliation or Confirmation during the 2017/18 year. These forms are also available in the Parish Office.


Thank you to all who prepared casseroles for the Good Shepherd Centre for the month of June. Your prepared casseroles (frozen please) will be collected at the Masses on the weekend of July 29th/30th and August 26th/27th.

More volunteers are needed, especially during the summer months, to help feed the hungry in our city. We encourage you to pick up a copy of a casserole recipe and a pan and give it a try. Three recipes are available on St. Gabriel’s web site. Printed copies of the recipes are also available in the Parish Office. Please remember to mark the label on the pan lid with the name of the casserole. For more information, you may contact Irene Albrecht at 416-221-2791.


We are continuing to collect eyeglasses for the Lions Club. Recycled glasses are distributed to people in need in low and middle income communities where they will have the greatest impact. Please place them in the baskets provided outside the office


Living the Gospel by helping youth to rebuild their lives…

Seventeen-year-old Emily arrived at Sancta Maria earlier this year having previously spent time at Whitby Shores. Her biggest surprise is the warmth and calm acceptance she feels here at her new “home”. Having grown up in a home with no father, Emily spent a great deal of time in conflict with her mom, which caused a great deal of anxiety. She eventually ended up in a Toronto clinic at sixteen, and soon discovered that the lack of acceptance did nothing to build up her self-esteem. At Sancta Maria House, Emily has gained her independence and improved her confidence in cooking skills. As well, she has developed her job search skills, having applied for several positions with hopes to start a job soon. ShareLife-supported Sancta Maria House has provided life-transforming services for young women in need for over 40 years in the Greater Toronto Area.

As you may know, the 2017 ShareLife campaign year ends on July 31. Our parish goal for this year’s campaign is $194,200.

As of June 20th, the parish’s ShareLife donations of $135,659 received directly at the parish, together with donations sent directly to the ShareLife office, total $188,366. Any contributions you can make to help us reach our goal would be welcome.


The Archdiocese of Toronto joins the CCCB and faith communities across Canada in launching a joint appeal, entitled Pray-Give-Speak Out, in response to the desperate food crisis in South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia.

The United Nations has confirmed that South Sudan has 100,000 people living in famine conditions. Reports suggest a total of 20 million people are on the brink of starvation in the region. A declaration of famine has not been made by UN agencies since July 2011 when some 260,000 people died in Somalia – half of them children under the age of five. The world must not let those horrors be repeated.

The joint appeal aims to engage the faithful in three ways:
Pray: Keeping the people of South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen in our prayers.
Give: Making a financial contribution to support those affected by the crisis.
Speak Out: Becoming better informed and to speak about the crisis with family, friends and neighbours. Contacting their local Members of Parliament about their concerns.

The CCCB has identified three Canadian Catholic agencies – Aid to the Church in Need, Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, and the Canadian Jesuits International – as recipients of donations from the Catholic faithful.

The Government of Canada has created a “Famine Relief Fund.” The federal government will match every donation made between March 17th and June 30th, 2017, by individuals to registered Canadian charities participating in this campaign.

Those wishing to help may do so in the following ways:

Online through the Archdiocese of Toronto website: https://community.archtoronto.org
By phone through the Development Office at 416-934-3411
Through the parish, making cheques payable to: St. Gabriel’s Passionist Parish – African Famine – Humanitarian Relief


Each month the food we collect is sent to Rosalie Hall and the Good Shepherd Centre. We encourage you to continue bringing non perishable foods during the summer months. During July and August, food donations tend to drop off. Your donations of canned foods, cereal rice and other non perishables are more important than ever as families struggle to make ends meet.

Please check the expiry dates before donating since we cannot pass on food that has expired. Thank you for your generous support.


Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Services, Archdiocese of Toronto wishes to invite all families within the Archdiocese of Toronto to participate in the Annual Mass for the Faithful Departed on Wednesday, August 16th, at 7:00 PM.

Mass at Mount Hope Cemetery will be celebrated by Rev. Monseigneur Robert Nusca. In the event of rain, Mass will be celebrated at St. Monica’s Church, 44 Broadway Avenue.

Mass will be celebrated by His Eminence, Cardinal Thomas Collins at Holy Cross Cemetery in Thornhill. In the event of rain, Mass will be celebrated in the Mausoleum.


September 17th from 2:00 PM

Veneto Centre
7465 Kipling Avenue, Woodbridge, ON L4L 1Y5

The 51st annual celebration in honour of St. Gabriel, under the direction of the Passionist Community will be held on Sunday, September 17th from 2:00 PM at the Veneto Centre in Woodbridge. All are welcome! Bring your own folding chair.


Saturday August 12th, 2017

The pilgrimage leaves from Blessed Trinity Church at 7:00 AM with pick up at St. Gabriel’s Church
The Chaplain will be Fr. John Muthengi CP
For more information call Mary at 416-497-7059.


Liturgical Publications will be setting up the advertisements for our church bulletin. The advertising will begin in September 2017 and supports the bulletin service. Please support the bulletin and advertise your product or service. Call Liturgical Publications at 905-624-4422.