Second Sunday in OrdinaryTime (Jn 1:35-42)

Today, we can see Jesus coming by the banks of the river Jordan: it is Christ walking by! It was about four o'clock in the afternoon, when noticing two young men following him, He asks them «What are you looking for? And, surprised at the question, they answer «‘Rabbi (which means Master), where are you staying?’. ‘Come and see’. I am also following Jesus, but… what do I want? what am I seeking? He is who asks me: «Truly, what do you want?». O! if I would only be courageous enough to tell him: «I am seeking you, Jesus», most surely I would have already found him, «For the one who seeks, finds» (Mt 7:8). But I am such a coward and always reply with words not too engaging: «Where are you staying?». But Jesus does not simply put up with my answer; He knows but too well that I do not just need a lot of words, but a friend, The Friend: Him. This is why He tells me: «Come and see», «come and you will see it». John and Andrew, the two young fishermen, followed him and «saw where He stayed and spent the rest of that day with him». Overwhelmed by this encounter, John will be able to write: «Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ». And Andrew? He will run to meet his brother to tell him: «We have found the Messiah». «And he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon, son of John, but you shall be called Cephas’ (which means Rock)». A rock!, Simon, a rock? Not one of them is able to understand those words. They do not know Jesus has come to build his own Church with living stones. He has already chosen the first two bricks, John and Andrew, and he has decided that Simon will be the rock upon which the whole building will stand. And, before going to his Father, he will answer our question: «Rabbi, where are you staying?». While blessing his Church, He will answer: «And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age» (Mt 28,20).

Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time (Mk. 2:13-17)

Today’s Gospel episode, telling of Matthew’s call as Jesus’ Apostle, reminds us of God’s love and mercy for sinners and challenges us to practice this same love and mercy in our relations with others. Jesus went to the tax collector’s station to invite Matthew to become his disciple. Since tax collectors worked for a foreign power and extorted more tax money from the people than the area owed, they were hated and despised as traitors by the Jewish people and considered public sinners by the Pharisees. Jesus could see in Matthew a person who needed Divine love and grace. While everyone hated Matthew, Jesus was ready to offer him undeserved love, mercy, and forgiveness. Hence, Matthew abandoned his lucrative job, because for Matthew, Christ’s call to follow Him was a promise of salvation, fellowship, guidance, and protection. It was altogether natural for Matthew to celebrate his new calling by holding a feast for his friends. But Jesus’ dining with outcasts in the house of a traitor scandalized the Pharisees for whom ritual purity and table fellowship were important religious practices. Hence, they asked the disciples, “Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” In answer to their question, Jesus stressed his ministry as healer: “Those who are well do not need a physician; the sick do.” Then, in Matthew’s own account of his conversion, Jesus challenged the Pharisees, quoting Hosea, “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ (Hosea 6:6).” Finally, Jesus clarified his position, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus calls you and me for a purpose: Jesus has called us through our Baptism, forgiven our sins, and welcomed us as members of the Kingdom. In fact, He calls us daily through the Word and through His Church, to be His disciples, and to turn away from all the things that distract us and draw us away from God. Just as Jesus did for us and for Matthew, we are to reach out to the unwanted and the marginalized in society with God’s own love, mercy and compassion. (Fr. Tony)

Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time (Mk. 2:1-12)

This very dramatic scene of healing makes us praise the paralytic’s friends for their determination and creativity in taking risks to bring the man to Jesus. In fact, it is because of their faith and love for their sick friend that Jesus is moved to effect the miraculous cure. On the other hand, the scribes who are present are quick to charge Jesus with blasphemy for curing the paralytic by forgiving hi sins. Instead of appreciating and rejoicing over the cure they focus on the “grave sin” that for the Jesus has committed. And so Jesus declares to them, though indirectly, that he, the Son of Man, has authority to forgive sins. Jesus often inquires about the the person’s faith as a condition for the requested miracle. But faith here is shown by the companions of the paralytic. We are not even sure if the paralytic has faith in Jesus or has simply played along with his friends so as not to offend them by belittling their concern for his welfare. At any rate, Jesus takes int account not just the faith of the paralytic (if he had any) but also the faith of his friends. This tells us that the power of intercession is real and decisive.

Dear Friends,

We wish to thank all of you who have been mailing in and dropping off your donations to St. Paschal. You have made it possible for us to continue to pay our bills as usual in March so that we can keep our parish open. We ask that you will continue your donations so that we can continue to keep our parish operating in the coming months. We pray that this crisis will be over soon so that we can all gather together again in the House of Our Lord. We are here in the office for anything that you may need so please do not hesitate to call. Please call Donna at St. Catherine's at 434-374-8408 if you cannot reach anyone at St. Paschal's. We are praying for all of you and your families to be safe from this virus. May the Good Lord keep us all in His Tender Loving Care! God Bless You Always, Fr. Ongen and Fr. Richard

Oratio Imperata/Prayer

God our Father,

we come to You in need to ask for Your protection against the 2019 N-Corona Virus,

that has claimed lives and has affected many.

We pray for Your grace for the people tasked with studying the nature and cause

of this virus and its disease and of stemming the tide of its transmission.

Guide the hands and minds of medical experts that they may minister to the sick

with competence and compassion, and of those government and private agencies

that must find cure and solution to this epidemic.

We pray for those afflicted may they be restored to health soon.

Grant us the grace to work for the good of all and to help those in need.

Grant this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen

Mary help of all Christians, pray for us

St. Raphael the Archangel, pray for us

St. Roch, pray for us

St. Peter the Apostle, pray for us