Power Within — 09.17.17

Praise be Jesus Christ. Now and Forever.

“Forgive your neighbor’s injustices, then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord? Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself, can he seek pardon for his own sins?…. Remember your last days, set enmity aside, remember death and decay, and cease from sin. Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor, remember the Most High’s covenant and overlook faults.”

When we consider the word power, we might think of electricity, strength, brute force, like the recent hurricanes that have devastated lands and populations. The greatest power available is not physical or even emotional. The greatest power resides in every person, yet often goes unused.

Melinda M. & Rudy M.

The scriptures today reflect that power and is found in the word forgiveness. Every person has the power to forgive. In our world beset with hatred, war, discrimination, rarely do we resort to the use of this power. We are set on dominating, getting even, putting others in their place. We judge, presume intentions and motivation, yet fail to see the splinter in our own eye. The power to forgive is a gift to use, for my own well being and for others.

I recall a wise priest who directed others to ‘look the other way.’

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Mary C.

Let us continue to pray for those in our country and around the world affected by recent natural disasters (Texas, Louisiana, Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico); may the support of relief agencies, neighbors and loved ones who come to their aid prove them the care and hope needed to recover and rebuild from the devastation they have experienced. You and I have seen the pictures in the newspapers, television, and the internet…. and we are reminded of Sandy in 2012; this is even worse. Please lift up to the Lord these people who are suffering in so many ways, that they will never lose hope. May you have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

PRAYER FOR CATECHISTS

O God, our Heavenly Father, you have given us the gift of our catechists to be heralds of the Gospel to our parish family. We lift them up to you in thanksgiving and intercede for them concerning their hopes and needs.

May we be attentive to the presence of your Word in them, a Word that lifts up and affirms, calls forth and challenges, is compassionate and consoles.

We pray that our parish family will always be blessed with those who have responded to the call to share in Christ’s prophetic mission as catechists. May we too be open to the universal call to service that Christ addresses to all his disciples, contributing our gifts to the communion of faith, the Church.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

Listen to my homily today. 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Love one another — 09.10.17

Cohort 19 Mass at Belmar Gazebo

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Mrs. Jones thought she’d lived a perfect life because “I’ve never bothered anybody.” So when she went to hell, she complained bitterly. St. Peter said, “The only time that selfish woman ever helped anyone was the day she gave a poor man an onion.” So they agreed to lower the onion down to hell, and if the lady grabbed on, she could be pulled up to heaven.

She was overjoyed! But as she grabbed the onion, some of her companions grabbed on, to get out, too. She began kicking them off, screaming, “Let go, let go—that’s MY onion!” Instantly the line snapped and she fell back into Satan’s waiting arms. He only smiled: “Too bad! The rope was strong enough to save all of you…but not you by yourself.” (J. Feehan)

Kevin & Luke D.

True, she didn’t owe anything to anyone—but that’s what put her into hell! St. Paul says today in the second reading from his letter to the Romans, “Owe nothing to anyone, EXCEPT to love one another;” that is how to fulfill the law. Have you ever thought of the Great Commandment that way? That we actually owe it to each other to “love one another?” We don’t think that way about strangers do we? But every one of us is connected by our spiritual “gene pool” to every other creature…because we have been loved into existence from the heart of God.

Like “The Butterfly Effect,” one small kindness by us—an unexpected smile, kind word, polite action—can start a subtle chain reaction that increases the atmosphere of care and respect within the Body of Christ. Even if we don’t “feel loving” toward strangers, we can form the habit of “doing love” in many small ways. Each of us has to look at every situation in our lives, to see if we are truly whole-heartedly loving one another. Or are we kicking people off, trying to hang on to our onion?

PRAYER FOR PEACE

O God of love and tender mercy, your people cry out to you in time of strife.
We fear for the safety of those we love, and the miles that separate family members
cause us to worry.
Comfort us in our time of need.
We suffer with those whose lives are destroyed by war. May they be helped by our efforts.
We long for the reign of peace promised by your Son.
Bring that peace to earth again.

May we never grow complacent, O God; may we never see the world’s wars as events that do not affect us, for we know that we are all your children,
entrusted with this fragile earth
to be a place of harmony, peace, and justice.
Hear our prayer, which we voice in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.

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

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Renewal of Life — 09.04.17

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Did you notice Jesus saying something pretty unusual in the gospel today? Jesus actually calls Peter “Satan.” In our house, we weren’t allowed to call each other names. If Jesus’ mother was anything like mine, she wouldn’t have been thrilled to have this moment recorded in the family archives!

The word satan is Hebrew for “the adversary,” or “the one who obstructs.” But how is Peter obstructing Jesus? Jesus just told the apostles that he will soon suffer and die. Isn’t Peter just trying to be a sympathetic friend, by saying, “No, way! God forbid that happening!!”? No, Jesus is trying to gently break it to the apostles that he is not the “Terminator-type” Savior they were expecting. God’s larger plan includes sufferings the Messiah will have to endure.

And here Peter is suggesting, “Back off—don’t go with God’s plan!” Let’s think of the times we, too, are tempted to obstruct God’s plans for someone we love—our kids, maybe. Sometimes we shield them from the consequences of their bad choices, or make life too easy for them. But Jesus’ parenting advice is, “Whoever wants to be my follower has to deny themselves, take up your cross, and follow me.”

Congratulations to those who are helping their children take up crosses on the high road of strong and loving discipline with their children. It is hard, and others criticize you—but that’s the very nature of a cross. Parents have to die to their own comfort, reputation, or to the temptation to be a “best friend” instead of a parent. It is never easy, but it is the building of God’s pathway that you are engaged in. St. Paul helps us to take up our crosses: “Do not conform yourselves to this age.” Let us renew our minds towards true life in Christ.

As we celebrate Labor Day and give thanks for the work we do—whatever it is—let us remember in our prayers all those who are unemployed and searching for work. We pray: “Lord, give success to the work of our hands.”….Enjoy this last weekend of what was a great and beautiful summer…and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

​​​​Joyfully in the Lord,

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

As we celebrate Labor Day and give thanks for the work we do—whatever it is—let us remember in our prayers all those who are unemployed and searching for work. We pray: “Lord, give success to the work of our hands.”….Enjoy this last weekend of what was a great and beautiful summer…and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

​​​​Joyfully in the Lord,



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

08.27.17

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Rock and gates—these are two images that spring out of today’s Gospel reading. The rock is an image of the Church and the gates are an image of all that is wrong with the world. The rock is not meant to be an image of a static, non-energetic force, just sitting there in a self-complacent pose. The rock is a symbol of strength and power. In primitive kinds of building, people used rocks as a foundation for their buildings—in fact, some people built their whole houses out of stone.

Our true purpose as a Church is not to defend who we are. It is to go out with energy and take the conviction of faith to places and situations of evil. There are basically two kinds of evil—moral evil and physical evil. It’s not always easy to distinguish between the two of them, but basically moral evil is that evil caused by human persons. Greed, injustice, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, murder, physical and mental abuse—these are examples of moral evil. Poverty, illness, death, natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, accident—these are examples of physical evil. It is true that some physical evils are the result of moral evils, but that is certainly not the case at all times. Poverty may be the result of greed on the part of others, or it may have other causes which are not morally evil.

But both of these evils need to be addressed by the Church. As a rock, we need to look at fighting against moral and physical evils. Our danger is that we will trade places with the gates of Hades. Instead of being the aggressor against all kinds of evil, we are in danger of erecting all kinds of gates around ourselves to keep the world out. If we end up in a purely defensive position, then we will have abandoned our call to be the rock, which fights against evil in our world.
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The recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain as well as the horrible events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month calls us once again to fervent prayer to our Lord and Our Blessed Mother Mary for peace in the world and an end to all violence especially in our country. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops issued a statement on August 16th the day after the violence that occurred in Charlottesbville: “….We see it as an attack on the unity of our nation, as a massive evil thing. Racism, white supremacy, neo-Nazism and similar evils have raised their voices in acts of deplorable violence. And we want to raise our voices against them. Catholics also want to pray for the victims of violence…to call on Catholic and all peoples of good will, to pray for healing, and then to start working anew for unity and peace at this time of tension and division.”

May God bless you and keep you always in His love! Mary, Queen of peace, pray for us!

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

 

Listen to my homily today:

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Pray Always — 08.20.17

Cohort 19 Mass at Belmar Gazebo

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

There is someone in every family who never seems to be satisfied—they send back food in restaurants and take a stand with managers. To some of us, assertiveness can seem pushy and arrogant, but what seems like arrogance to one person can be an important issue of justice to another.

Kevin & Luke D.

The Canaanite woman in Matthew’s gospel today would probably beat out your relatives for “Most Assertive Behavior in a Public Place.” She doesn’t give up her demands that Jesus heal her daughter of what may have been epilepsy or a violent mental illness. But Jews do not associate with Canaanites—their religion is detestable and repulsive to Jews. So when Jesus first says, “It isn’t fair to give the children’s food to the dogs!”, the Jewish readers of Matthew’s gospel must have felt “It’s only fair—she’s not worthy of a miracle.”

Photo by Paul Spennrath

But this woman had the boldness of desperate love for her daughter, so she fires back, “Come on—even the dogs get the scraps that fall from the table!” And Jesus is amazed at her bold faith. “Let it be done for you as you wish.” Mission accomplished!

How can we face the evil and want in our world with this kind of boldness? First, have bulldog tenacity in prayer, as this woman had. “Pray always.” Then, notice how Jesus dealt with sinners—boldness isn’t rudeness. He conversed with them, ate meals with them—and simply told the truth. So, when you see dishonesty, violence, or wrong behavior in the people you live and work with, don’t attack.

Blessing the Waters…

Stand firmly in peace—listen in peace—and then “speak your peace” (not “give them a piece of your mind”)! Instead, give them the peace of Jesus. As you speak your peace calmly, sharing your own life and experiences, trust with a bold conviction that the fire and passion of your baptism in Jesus will be hidden within your words.
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We need to heed our Blessed Mother’s plea to pray for peace in the world and for the conversion of sinners in these critical and difficult times. Join us for the Rosary if you can at 8:35 every morning (Monday through Friday), or come to the Holy Hour on Monday at 7:00 p.m. Pray the Rosary with the family. Thomas Merton wrote these words: “Christ our Lord did not come to bring peace to the world as a kind of spiritual tranquilizer. He brought to his disciples a vocation and a task, to struggle in the world of violence to establish His peace not only in their own hearts but in society itself.” Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His peace and love.

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

Listen to my homily at Mass today:

 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

“Lord, I believe…” – 08.13.17

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Somehow we have come to think that believing in God means the same thing as feeling the presence and the love of God in our lives. And so when the feelings aren’t there, we judge that faith is not there. Nothing could be further from the truth. Having faith in God is not primarily an emotional experience. Throwing your arms up in the air and shouting “Alleluia” doesn’t mean that you have more faith than the man or woman who sits quietly, praying, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

In the area of spirituality; we are often the victims of our own assumptions. We assume that all priests and sisters, all members of prayer meetings, all those who are in charismatic groups, are feeling God’s love and presence in their lives. It’s not just so, and the sooner we accept that fact, the better it will be for us. There is no need for us to go on criticizing and blaming ourselves for lack of religious feelings.

Kathy & John W.

Most of us need to make the decision over and over again to trust that God is loving us and taking care of us. When life’s difficulties threaten to overwhelm us and drown us, we need to cry out, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” Faith is not being able to walk on water as Peter wanted to do in today’s Gospel, but daring to believe that God is with us in the boat, even when the seas threaten to overwhelm us.

Our faith is evident in the way we take care of each other, in the way we defend the weak ones among us, in the way we honor the aged and the sick. There are so many ways in which our faith shines through our lives.
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“Baptism is the mystery of solid hope that never disappoints, because it enters into the Love of God, makes us an ‘Altar’ of the Holy Spirit, children of the Kingdom of God and members of the Mystical Body of Christ, that is, the Church. Let us remember the day of our Baptism and celebrate it because it is the day of our new birth” (Pope Francis, Angelus Address, August 2, 2017). Welcome to all those visiting St. Rose Parish this weekend, and of course all of our regular parishioners and friends! Thank you for joining us in the celebration of the Eucharist at St. Rose. 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 for today:


Joyfully in the Lord,



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

The Transfiguration of the Lord – 08.06.17

The Wawer Family

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

On this first Sunday in August, we celebrate in our Liturgy today the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. From the Gospel account, it seemed that the Transfiguration lasted only a short time, and yet St. Peter encourages us to be attentive to it because it is like a lamp shining in a dark place. In our own lives, we also experience moments of transfiguration, and we must learn not only to trust those moments, but also to treasure them.

“Our Father” – Father and Son

Have you ever had the experience of looking at some old photographs which recounted an especially good time in your life, and while you are gazing at those pictures, the feeling connected to those times once again make themselves felt within you? Those moments of happiness and joy from our past are really part of who we are today. We carry them with us. When we make the effort to remember them, then we allow their power to affect us in our present life.

Whenever we recall genuinely happy, joyful and peaceful times, we are recalling times when we experienced the presence of God in a special way. Even if those memories were not explicitly religious, God was still in them because God is the true and deep source of all that is loving, peaceful, joyful. The Scriptures tell us that Mary treasured her memories of Jesus’ birth and all that surrounded it. Perhaps, these memories were sources of strength and consolation for her as she saw her son go through his passion and death.

Whenever and wherever we experience the glory and divinity of God—whether it is in our human relationships, or relationship with nature or in our life of prayer—may we carry those treasures in our heart and call upon them when we find ourselves struggling with the darkness.
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“Always have the courage and pride of your faith. Deepen it. Get close to Christ, ceaselessly, as living stones in the cornerstone, sure of reaching the goal of your faith, the salvation of souls” (St. John Paul II). Summer is waning….enjoy these August summer days…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. Thérèse:


Joyfully in the Lord,



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

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