Wheat or Weeds? – 07.23.17

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

In our Gospel today, we heard the parable of the wheat and the weeds. The slaves of the master wanted to try to pull up the weeds, but the master said ‘no’ to their request. During the darker parts of history, some nations and institutions thought they could tell the difference between good and evil people. So they persecuted many innocent men and women based only on outward appearance. How many people have been put to death by justice systems around the world because they were convicted of crimes they never committed? Judging some people as good and others as evil is a very dangerous and precarious business.

Peggy & Mike K.

This does not mean that there is no place for judgements. In our day to day life, we need to make judgments all the time. Don’t we make judgments every time we choose one person over another? You need to do this when you are choosing a marriage partner, hiring an employee, looking for a baby sitter and so on. We make certain decisions based on what we can discover about another person.

But when it comes down to proclaiming that another person is good or bad, and acting on that judgement, we need to exercise extreme caution. The parable teaches us that it is not always easy to distinguish the good from the bad. Sometimes the person I think is bad, turns out to be good, and the person I first thought to be good, turns out to be bad. The parable teaches us not to be quick in our judgments. This is the only sure way of protecting the good. In fact, don’t most of us struggle with the evil we find within ourselves? Sometimes the wheat and the weeds are growing together in the same person. If we only look at what we do wrong, we can soon end up in despair. God doesn’t just see us as sinners, but as beloved sons and daughters.
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“We help, we lead others to Jesus with our words and our lives, with our witness. I like to recall what St. Francis of Assisi used to say to his friars: ‘Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.’” (Pope Francis). Enjoy these days of summer….and a special welcome to all those visiting our parish. Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Listen to a reflective reading of today’s Gospel by Sr. Joyce : 

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

The Heart of Community – 07.16.17

Donohue Family

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

In the 1800’s, the Victorians had strict rules of etiquette around how and when people could be “received” for visits. There were only certain times of each day that a man or woman would be “receiving.” If the butler told you, “Madame is not receiving today,” you were politely asked to leave your card, and wait for a reply.

“Our Father…”

But today, with email, cell phones, and iPads, it seems we’re all “receiving” all the time, whether we want to or not! There is starting to be a backlash—many people report exhaustion and terrible pressure from too much contact and “TMI” (“too much information,” for those of you who don’t text).

According to Jesus, there’s no such thing as “TMI” from God! If we’re not “receivers” of the seeds God has planted in us, we’re not listening to God’s voice deep within us; we need help. The uncontrolled talking in our lives can become like background babbling. How quiet is your house? Or your day? We can listen without hearing, but that does not nourish our soul.

“Our Father” – Father and Son

Communication is the heart of the Christian community—and Jesus says we desperately need deep communication with God, to grow in love. You know, we are soil, made from the dust of the earth. At times, God’s word is the seed that falls on our hard hearts. We shut our ears, either from pride or anger with God, or simply laziness, so the seed can’t grow. Or we’re too busy and impatient to nurture the seed.

What would enable you to be more receptive to God’s presence? And what blocks do you need to remove from your life now, so that you can really hear God again? Listen to God’s answers to these questions—so that your seed can really take root.
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“Being a disciple means being constantly ready to bring the love of Jesus to others, and this can happen unexpectedly and in any place: on the street, in a city square, during work, on a journey” (Pope Francis, “The Joy of the Gospel”). May you enjoy these beautiful summer days with its gifts of rest, relaxation, and togetherness with family and friends. God bless you and keep you always in His love!

Listen to a reflective reading of today’s Gospel by Sr. Thérèse: 

Listen to my homily today: (Posted after Mass.)

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Hospitality – 07.02.17

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Whoever receives you receives me and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me…And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because this little one is a disciple, amen, I say to you he will surely not lose his reward.”

Send us a photo of your sign.

One of the gifts Pope Francis extols, is the gift of hospitality. In our families, in our church, we have the ability to open the door and make others feel welcome. A familiar Irish expression reads “A Hundred Thousand Welcome.”

In our first reading today from the Book of Kings, Elisha the prophet was offered hospitality by a wealthy woman, and she was rewarded for her gift. The person ready and willing to give ONLY a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus to a little one will not go without a reward.

In the past it was not common to see people carrying a water bottle in public. Sometimes we looked for a fountain to drink. Maybe the gift of water and hospitality for us can be welcoming a stranger, assisting someone in need, listening to a person who has suffered a loss or suffering a sickness. Whatever gesture I offer can be the Elisha gesture and the water offering which might seem small, but does not go unrewarded.
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WELCOME  to all those visiting our parish this weekend and thank you for joining us in the celebration of the Eucharist at St. Rose Church. Happy Fourth of July and may God Bless America! Enjoy Independence Day this Tuesday with your family and friends…please join us for Mass on July 4th either at 6:45 or 9:00 a.m.

A Prayer for the United States of America

God our Father, Giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care.
You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your people.
Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders.

Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing Your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Listen to a reflective reading of today’s Gospel by Sr. Thérèse: 

Listen to my homily here: (Posted after morning Mass.)

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

With open hands and hearts — 06.25.17

Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one, many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the man.” …”For to you I have entrusted my cause. Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord for he has rescued the life of the poor.”

We receive many gifts, and in our own day use the word ‘regift’ to pass on to someone else a gift we have received because we do not need it or like it. Some of our greatest gifts we take for granted. Consider for a moment the gift of life, of health, of family, of friends. All are important and treasured and are not for giving away.

Cathy S.

St. Paul told the Romans of the gift of Jesus, rescuing us with the gift of grace which overflows, the gift of life in abundance. Remember the floods which hit the rivers in California and Texas last winter. Remember the devastation of hurricane Matthew in Haiti last fall. The overflow was devastating. The grace of God, offering us the abundant life, has been poured out into our hearts. He sends and we receive, but like any gift we have to reach out, open our hands and hearts to receive it. Yes, Lord, to you I have entrusted my cause.

“Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe” (St. Augustine).  Enjoy this first full week of summer, and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Listen to a reflective reading of today’s Gospel by Sr. Joyce:

Listen to my Homily at Mass today:

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

One Bread, One Body — 06.18.17

Praised be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Brothers and sisters: The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf?”

The simple questions St. Paul asks his Christian community at Corinth are directed to us on this great day for our Catholic community. The danger of routinely approaching the altar and receiving the Eucharist is shaken as we read his important questions.

People wait hours to catch a glimpse of a hero, a star or idol. Many thousands gather in St. Peter’s square weekly to see the Holy Father, hear his message and receive his blessing. But every time we meet for Mass, Jesus is present in the gift of the Eucharist.  He is present for adoration in the tabernacle, waiting for our praise and thanksgiving.  Jesus is truly present in this sacrament for He wanted to remain with us, and this is the way He chose to be here.

May we be reminded of this great gift of His presence as we enter our church. May we teach our children the need for respect and reverence as we celebrate each Mass.
                    _____________________________

Welcome, Father Michael Kennedy! This morning we welcome back Father Michael Kennedy who was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Trenton on June 3rd at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Bishop David O’Connell, CM. Father Mike was with us as a seminarian during the summer of 2015, and we are so happy to welcome him back to celebrate the 11:30 Mass as a Mass  of Thanksgiving on this beautiful feast of Corpus Christi. After Mass, please join us for a delicious Brunch downstairs in the parish center (hospitality Sunday), and receive a personal priestly blessing from Father Michael Kennedy. Ad multos annos, Fr. Mike, ….may you be blessed with many happy and holy years of priesthood!

Summer officially begins June 21! Two important reminders: First, Church etiquette concerning dress: Out of respect for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in our (and every) Catholic Church, and out of respect for the presence of Christ in each member of the Body of Christ, please dress appropriately and modestly for Mass. Let us give God our very best and that means the way we are attired when we come to participate in the Eucharistic Liturgy. Second, while you may be away for a well-deserved vacation, please remember that your parish has bills to pay and upkeep and repairs to tend to on our campus. If you are away, please make up your Sunday offering when you return. Thank you and have a restful and refreshing summer!… Enjoy this Father’ Day, have a wonderful week, and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Listen to a reflective reading of today’s Gospel by Sr. Thérèse: 

Listen to my homily at today:

 

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Feast of the Holy Trinity – 06.11.17

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Have you ever gotten up in the morning with a stiff neck? It’s miserable—you have to walk like a robot, and even your shoulders and arms don’t work right. In the first reading today from the Book of Exodus, Moses called the people “stiff necked” because of their pride and arrogance. They weren’t looking to right or left, just at their own desires. Moses cannot lead them to God if they only do what pleases THEM.

That greater perspective is at the very heart of our calling. Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. The word “Trinity” means that, when we were conceived, we were born into a community of holiness, the Trinity. We were “stamped” with that identity. Our God is One God—but that One God is the fullness of three Persons: the One who created us, the One who redeems us, and the One who comforts and inspires us.

Today we celebrate our life purpose, and our deepest calling—to call each other into unity with God, as the Persons of the Trinity are One. We are made in the image of a Unity, not just in the image of one of the Persons of the Trinity.

We experience that truth in those “peak moments” in life—those deep moments of harmony, feeling at one with everything—maybe similar to that moment when God looked at the creation and felt its goodness. Think of some rare, secret moment when you have felt such deep happiness that you knew in a flash that you were one with not just the world, but the whole universe. This is probably as close as we can experience in this life to who we really are in the fullness of the Divine Community.

Our church, ekklesia in Greek, means to be “called out” from alonenesss, into that unity which only the Trinity models for us. Let’s be busy encouraging everyone to feel this truth.
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“…Today’s solemnity (of the Holy Trinity), while it makes us contemplate the wonderful mystery from which we come from and where we go towards, renews in us the mission of living in communion with God and to live in communion among ourselves on the model of that communion of God. We are called to live not without each other, over or against the other, but WITH one another and IN one another. This means to receive and accordingly give witness to the beauty of the Gospel; to live in love mutually and towards all, sharing in joy and sufferings, learning to ask and to grant forgiveness, valuing the various charisms under the guidance of the Pastors. In one word: we are entrusted with the task of building ecclesial communities that is more and more a family, capable of reflecting the splendor of the Trinity and to evangelize not only with words, but with the strength of the love of God that lives is us” (Pope Francis Regina Caeli Address, May, 2015).

May you have a good week and may God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Pentecost Sunday — 06.04.17

“Come, Holy Spirit!”

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!  He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

 “Brothers and sisters ‘No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit. There are different forms of service, but the same Lord. There are different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”

The Poppert Family

On this great day we recall a new life given to the apostles and the church, we see the signs of tongues of fire, hear the noise and feel the wind which accompanied the Spirit.  That same Spirit has directed the church through twenty centuries with great blessings, trying difficulties, but always manifesting an abiding presence.  How true that is today.

The Zwiebels

I ask what are the gifts present and needed by the church today. I wonder what the service which the church can provide to our needy world. I look to observe the Spirit at work among us. Yes, the words of Paul are manifest today.

But I also must ask what am I doing to use the gifts I have received, or what service can I provide, or what work needs to be done, and if I don’t do it, it will always remain undone. I ask that the Spirit of Pentecost will awaken

A blessed and happy Feast of Pentecost to all—the birthday of the Church!  May the Holy Spirit breathe new life, new joy, and a renewed desire in us to evanagelize—to make the Lord Jesus, the On Savior of the world, known and loved to all we meet!

“Meet and Greet” Greg and Liz Ryan,  parishioners and authors of their newly published book by Paraclete Press, The ABC’s of Thomas Merton, A Monk at the Heart of the World, today after all the Masses  outside of Church (except the 5:00 Sunday Mass). Special discount price this weekend:  $15.00. Congratulations to Greg and Liz…. It’s a great book….so please stop by after Mass!

Rejoice in the gift of the Holy Spirit! May you know how precious you are and loved by God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit! May His Spirit dwell in you and give you abundant peace, and joy! May the prayer below become a favorite of yours as it is of mine. Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
 
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I may love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
(St. Augustine)

Joyfully in the Risen Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

The Hour Has Come — 05.28.17

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!
 
“Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father the hour has come. Give glory to your son so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God and the one you have sent, Jesus Christ…. I pray for them.”

Gifts are given. One considers who the receiver is and what that person might like or need. After deliberating a choice is made and the gift is offered.

Gifts are received. One opens his or her hands to receive them and gratefully accept what has been chosen.

The greatest gift ever is the gift of eternal life. By His dying and rising, Jesus wanted to give us this gift. We call it grace, the very life of God, communicated to us freely by Him and accepted. As I reflect upon this awesome care of God for me, at this very moment, I do not need to send a thank you note, but prayerfully take, protect and guard this incredible treasure.

My response can be my prayer of thanks to Him.

The Wawer Family

This is a busy time of year with school winding down, graduations on the horizon, the beginning of the summer season and, hopefully, a slower pace of life. But let us prepare our hearts for the Feast of Pentecost next Sunday, the birthday of the Church! How about wearing something RED to Church next weekend? Above all, pray fervently for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that our one desire may always be the Lord Jesus Christ and our call to holiness of life and discipleship!

“Let us ask ourselves: are we open to the Hole Spirit, do I pray to him to enlighten me, to make me more sensitive to the things of God? And this is a prayer we need to pray every day: Holy Spirit may my heart be open to the Word of God, may my heart be open to good, may my heart be open to the beauty of God, every day” (Pope Francis).

May you have a happy, safe, and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Listen to my homily today: (No recording this week)

Joyfully in the Risen Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Our Advocate – 05.21.17

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

Shortly after Charles Dickens wrote about Tiny Tim and Scrooge, almost 30,000 abandoned or orphaned children were living on the streets of New York City, immigrant children whose families hoped for more success in the U.S.

But unemployment, disease and death claimed many desperate parents. Babies and older children were being left on priests’ doorsteps and at charity hospitals. By 1929, almost 200,000 orphaned children were sent by The Orphan Trains to live new lives in 47 states and Canada. Today, over 400 actual Orphan Train Riders are still living!

Donohue Family

The stories of frightened, lonely orphans testify that fear of abandonment, of being left alone with no one to care for us, is a deep fear in every person. But today, Jesus says in the Gospel, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” And not only Jesus, but the Holy Spirit “remains with you, and will be in you.” Further, Jesus is teaching us the deep truth of life in the Trinity, when he says, “…you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” Even when Jesus leaves the apostles—or when he seems far from us—our destiny as Christians is to be drawn into the family of the Trinity.

But we are to see the Holy Spirit now not only as Comforter in times of trial, but as an Advocate. And now WE also must be the Advocate, the Comforter, and the Inspirer for the world, because, as Jesus says, the world does not know the Spirit, but we do! We are not orphaned, and we must live in such a way that others will not be orphaned, either. Will it be painful? Yes, but St. Peter says, “It is better to suffer for doing good…than for doing evil.” For now—we celebrate God’s goodness!

“Dear pilgrims, We have a Mother. Clinging to her like children, we live in the hope that rests on Jesus…. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he brought to the Heavenly Father our humanity, which he assumed in the womb of the Virgin Mary and will never forsake. Like an anchor, let us fix our hope on that humanity, seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father (cf. Eph. 2:5). May this hope guide our lives! It is a hope that sustains us always, to our dying breath” (Pope Francis, Homily at Canonization Mass for St. Jacinta & St. Francisco Marto in Fatima, May 13, 2017).

May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Sr. Thérèse

Listen to Sr. Thérese’s reflective reading of today’s Gospel:

 

Listen to my homily today:

Joyfully in the Risen Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ

Give Life – 05.14.17

Connor and Grandma

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!

Isn’t it annoying when someone tries to give you a 3-word solution to all your worries? Like Nike telling us to put on their $150 sneakers and “Just Do It” when we have a ton of homework, housework, or four kids to raise. That’s all we need, more pressure to meet someone else’s expectations.

Donohue Family

But when Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” it isn’t pressure, it’s realistic. Count up the number of hours you spend texting or calling friends about your fears and worries. Jesus has to repeatedly tell, urge, and instruct his own disciples to be at peace. “Have faith in God, and faith in me.”

Faith does not always mean only believing in doctrine and religious teachings. We will always have doubts and questions about beliefs, just as the apostles do today. Faith is also a wordless trust at a deep level in our hearts, because we know we are loved. Remember how your mother used to say, “I’ve got eyes in the back of my head”? One reason we can trust God is because, as Psalm 33 says, “the eyes of the Lord” are always upon us. You know how the eyes of moms and dads never leave their child at the park or beach.

This is the vigilant love we can trust, even when death breaks our hearts, even when we lose our health, our home, or our memories. These days, people seem short-tempered and hostile. But, Catholics should not simply tolerate chronic anger and fear in our daily lives. Instead, when we feel the least at peace ourselves might be the best time to use our will to bring peace to a clerk who is rude, a driver who cuts you off, a pessimistic friend. Instead of lashing back, act out in faith. Be the peace of Jesus to a shattered situation near you.

“Being a mother doesn’t only mean bringing a child to the world, but it is also a life choice. What does a mother choose, what is the life choice of a mother? The life choice of a mother is the choice to give life. And this is great, this is beautiful” (Pope Francis).  Enjoy this Mother’s Day and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

 

Listen to Sr. Joyce’s reflective reading of today’s Gospel:

Joyfully in the Lord,



Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish
Belmar, NJ