R.C.I.A. AND ADULT FAITH DEVELOPMENT

August 16th, 2021

Meetings in preparation for the R.C.I.A. (Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults) will begin in October. These meetings are for persons interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith. The exploration may lead the candidate to seek baptism, and become a member of the Catholic Christian community; or for Christians already baptized into another Christian denomination, the reception into the Catholic Church.

Adult Catholics who have not received the sacrament of Confirmation but who wish to do so are also encouraged to attend these sessions.

As well, these meetings may be an opportunity for “Born Catholics” to deepen their understanding of our faith. Very often, especially for those of us who received our religious instruction at an early age, we tend to grow physically, mentally, psychologically etc., but the understanding of our faith does not grow correspondingly. The RCIA may serve as a good opportunity for us to ask questions and to develop a more adult understanding of our faith.

Registration will continue until September 18th. If you are interested in joining the RCIA meetings or if you would like to have more information about it, please contact Sr. Maria Lucia by email at StGabrielParishRCIA@gmail.com or by phone at 416-221-8866.

Homily – August 15, 2021

August 14th, 2021

St. Paul describes Jesus in this way; He did not consider his equality with God as something to be clung to but he emptied himself becoming as we all are, though without sin and took to himself the form of a slave, the least of human beings, a slave obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Because of this diminishment God exalted him and gave him a name above all others, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The life of Mary parallels the life of Jesus. As a young girl Mary is invited to play a major part in the plan God had for humanity. She would conceive and bear a child by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and name him Jesus. Mary was promised her son would be great and the Lord God with give him the throne of his ancestor David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and his kingdom will have no end.

Mary must have remembered these promises as she stood by the cross of Jesus on Calvary. Saw her son robbed of all human dignity, robbed of his reputation as a good man. Jesus’ throne was his cross, his crown was woven thorns, his royal robe was his flesh ripped by whips, his banner the mock title nailed to his cross; Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews.

Jesus called out, my God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Mary sharing in that sense of abandonment must have questioned, what happened to all those promises? But Mary’s trust in the promises of God never faltered.

God the Father vindicated Jesus in Jesus’ resurrection. God the Father vindicated the faith of Mary in her assumption into heaven.

Like the Immaculate Conception the Assumption was not always a dogma of our Catholic faint until Pope Pius 12 rules it so in 1950. It is longstanding tradition in the Orthodox churches of the East. They celebrate the feast of the dormition, the slumbering of Mary.

In his dogmatic decree of 1950 Pope Pius made it a matter of our faith that Mary, having completed her earthly course was taken body and soul to heaven to share in the glory of her risen Son. The Father did not let his holy one see corruption.

This feast celebrates Mary’s un shakable trust in God’s promises.

Despite all odds Mary trusted God to be faithful to God’s promises. Mary’s example challenges us to question ourselves, how trusting are we to God’s promises to us? Jesus promised us; seek and you will find, ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be opened, and especially, when we fret over our past mistakes, there’s the promise, tho your sins be as red as scarlet they will be white as snow, tho they be red as crimson they shall be white as wool.

On this great feast of Mary’s Assumption into heaven we pray for ourselves and for each other for the gift to have share in Mary’s trust that the promises made to her by God would be fulfilled and trust so will God’s promises to us.

Homily – August 1, 2021

August 1st, 2021

Last Sunday’s gospel told of Jesus feeding a crowd of close to 5000 men, women and children with five barley loaves and two fish. The people were so impressed they want come by force and make Jesus king. Jesus left them and took the disciples with him and went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. But the people followed and found him. He chides them that they want more food. Then he introduces them to the reality we know as the Eucharist, Holy Communion.

Jesus cautions the people not labor for food that perishes but for the food that endures to eternal life which the son of man will give them.

Once again this dubious crowd demanded a sign – give us a sign so that we may believe. They remembered their ancestors were given Manna to eat in the desert, what does Jesus offer them. Jesus challenges their imagination and their faith by his claim; ‘I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Now that the restrictions on our social lives are being lifted we anxious to get together with family and friends. We are at ease having friends over for a meal or a drink. It lifts our spirits getting together with others to break bread. We nourish one another with companionship and conversation.

For the next couple of Sundays the gospel will be centered on Jesus Christ as our bread of life come down from heaven as did the Manna. He makes this promise, I am the bread of life, and whoever eats this bread will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty

Later on Jesus makes another promise. Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you cannot have life in you.t the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you cannot have life in you.

This virus has caused Havoc to our Sunday celebrations; only so many people can attend, they have to register beforehand, they have to wear masks, the way we share communion is so controlled, there is no greeting of peace, we can’t sing, we can’t spend any social time in our gathering space.

It’s all so controlled, contrived, so not Holy Communion.

Hopefully when people are more comfortable with crowds and come again to our Sunday Masses we can again be nourished by the body and blood of Christ. We are hungry, not just for Holy Communion but also for company of our fellow parishioners. We need their presence, we need their faith.

Our common faith tells us that the Word made flesh; the incarnate Christ is present as our bread of life. The crucified Christ gives his flesh and blood as food to all of us

At this Mass, at every Mass we are nourish, strengthened, supported and encouraged by the scriptures we hear, sometimes by the sermon we hear but always the bread of life we receive in communion, in oneness with all those around us.

Bread is more than bread, it is the body of Christ, wine is more than wine, and it is the blood of Christ. Take and eat, take and drink, never be hungry.

Homily – July 25, 2021

July 25th, 2021

Pope Francis has asked that this Sunday be celebrated as Grandparents day. Tomorrow is the feast day of Sts Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary, the grandparents of Jesus. We have no scriptural knowledge of them. Their names appear in non-scriptural writings in the second century. Their feasts have been celebrated since 1584.

But Pope Francis, who was close to his own grandparents, wants us to honor and celebrate our grandparents and the contributions they made to our lives. So today we honor and thank our Grandparents for the ways they influenced our lives. Speaking to today’s Grandparents Pope Francis says, ‘This is your vocation at your age- to preserve our roots, to pass on the faith to the youth and to care for the little ones, a great task.

I never knew my grandparents. They all died before I was born. But grandparents pass on to us family stories, grandmother pass on families recipes, grandfather pass on the family histories. They pass on to us family memories.

As Canadians we are or should be shocked and embarrassed by the history of the residential schools and the impact they had on future generations of indigenous men and women and their children. These children were robbed of their past. Separated from parents and grandparents these children were robbed of the wisdom and life skills of their parents and grandparents. These children, who now lie in unmarked graves, were robbed of age old skills of hunting and trapping and fishing, and how to survive in the wilderness they never experienced living in the wild, under the stars. They never heard family stories, family history or tribal history. They were never exposed to their native spirituality. They were robbed.

Indigenous girls never were taught family meals, never learned how to tan a deer hide, never learned how to make moccasins or do bead and quill decorations. They were robbed.

The lasting effects of all this is that in their own parenting they had nothing to pass on to their children, they lacked parenting skills.

I watch a program on TVO about indigenous men and women who became architects and designed community and cultural centers on the reserves. In planning their projects every one of them said,’ first of all I listened to our Elders, listened to our Elders. Listened. They knew that years have wisdom the days know nothing of.

Preparing to celebrate the lives and example of the grandparents of Jesus we thank and honor the influence and wisdom of our grandparent, living and dead.

Homily – July 18, 2021

July 18th, 2021

In our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian were recent converts to the faith but by accepting Christ this brought into the long history of the Jewish people’s relationship with God. He tells these new Christians that they are part of something very ancient. They were strangers to the covenant between God and the Jewish people; they had no hope without God in this world. But now in Christ Jesus they who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Christ is their peace, in his flesh he has made the circumcised – the Jews and the uncircumcised the Gentiles -into one and has broken down the dividing wall, the hostility between us. Through his passion and death Christ has created in himself one new humanity in place of two, making peace and reconciling both groups, Jews and Gentiles, to God, thru the cross.

This unity of Jews and Gentiles meant so much to Paul and his greatest grief was the inability of Jews to accept Jesus as the Christ, their longed for Messiah.

Paul was blessed with a deep and personal relationship with Christ. He would say, for me to live is Christ, Christ lives in me, the life I live I live it trusting in the son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. Yet Paul was willing to forgo that intense relationship if only his Jewish brothers and sisters would accept Jesus as the Messiah,

In his letter to the Romans he writes; I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own Jewish people, for to them belong the glory, the adoption,the covenant, the giving of the Law and from them comes the Messiah.

It is sad to read in our papers about acts of anti-Semitism here in our city, anti-Semitic slogans, swastikas’, painted on Jewish home and places of worship. These mindless acts of hurt are also hurled against our Moslem neighbours and friends. Dark deeds done in the darkness of night.

These are un-Christian acts done by people ignorant of our Jewish – Christian legacy. We are all spiritual Semites, all descendants of Abraham, our father in faith.

We do well to remember the words, the warning of Christ..Whatever you do to these brothers and sisters of mine, Jews, Moslems, you do to me.

It is a daily challenge to keep the great commandment, love one another, respect one another, accept one another, as I you.