Third Sunday of Easter – 04.15.18

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

“Now I know brothers that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did. But God has thus brought to fulfillment what He had announced beforehand that through the mouth of all the prophets that His Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted that your sins may be wiped away… Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures… Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer, and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all the nations.”

Donald S., Leader of Song

The wonderful sermon of Saint Peter offers encouragement, not judgment, summoning his hearers to listen more closely. The scriptures they knew, the prophets and psalms, pointed to the events which had taken place in Jerusalem. As they listened, they were able to conclude ‘this makes sense, I’ll follow what he says and begin living as a witness.’

Twenty centuries have passed, the sermon of Peter is repeated for my benefit as he opens our minds and hearts. If these words changed the hearts of his listeners, what is happening in my heart at this moment? Am I, or am I not a witness?

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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 your souls” (St. John Paul II).

May you have a good week 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

Divine Mercy Sunday – 04.08.18

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

The Apostle Thomas in today’s gospel, like many of us, is a bottom-line realist: “Unless I see the wounds, I will not believe.” So, how dramatic it must have been for Jesus suddenly to appear in the locked room, and invite Thomas to touch his wounded hands and side. Jesus challenges him directly: “Do not doubt but believe.”

If I took a survey, I wonder how many of us would be willing to admit that we have doubts about God, Jesus, and our faith. Belief in God IS difficult, once we have suffered in life. After we have lived through deception, violence, war, deaths—isn’t our experience of God’s presence more often an experience of God’s absence? Certainly all of the great saints have said this was true for them.

Jesus’ first words are usually “Peace be with you!” because he totally understands our fears and doubts. Jesus doesn’t want fear and doubts about the future to destroy our belief in life itself. This seems to be happening, for example, in the case of abortion. It is often easier to think of ending a life for which we cannot see a future. But God has an eternal vision for each beloved life, which we cannot see. Remember the old saying, “Seeing is believing?” Not true for Jesus. He says, “Believing is seeing.”

Our faith shouts to the world that, thank God, there is a sacred beginning, a blessed middle, and a joyful end to every life! We should not let our doubts drag us into the mud of inaction. Through loving ourselves and one another, even in our doubts, we will move even deeper into relationship and unity with God. I’d call that an excellent prospect for our future, wouldn’t you?

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“His love endures forever” (Ps. 117/118:2). Truly, God’s mercy is forever; it never ends, it never runs out, it never gives up when faced with closed doors, and it never tires. In this ‘forever’ we find strength in moments of trial and weakness because we are sure that God does not abandon us. He remains with us forever. Let us give thanks for so great a love, which we find impossible to grasp; it is immense! Let us pray for the grace to never grow tired of drawing from the well of the Father’s mercy and bringing it to the world. Let us ask that we too be merciful, to spread the power of the Gospel everywhere, and to write those pages of the gospel which John the Apostle did not write” (Pope Francis, April 3, 2016).

As we conclude the Octave of Easter today and continue to celebrate Easter, may the love and mercy of the risen Lord bless you on this Divine Mercy Sunday and always! Pray constantly: Jesus I Trust in You! 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord 2018

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

“Peter proceeded to speak and said, ‘You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with them. We are witnesses of all that he did…they put him to death hanging him on a tree. This man God raised up on the third day and granted that he be visible not to all but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”

We can listen to many Easter sermons, telling of the events and appearances of Jesus. We visit the upper room with the apostles, meet Him with Mary in the garden, breakfast with Him on the shore of Tiberias, and share an evening meal in Emmaus. All are witness stories.

The Pentecost sermon of Peter quoted above summarizes the event of Easter and its meaning for the witnesses. He was anointed with the Holy Spirit, so we too have been confirmed. He was filled with power, so too we who live the life of grace. He went about doing good, the work of the church, so too we are missionary disciples today. We too are the chosen witnesses of the Risen One who eat at His Table, breaking the bread of life.

Easter faith tells us that He lives and is among us. Easter joy fills us with a special enthusiasm. Easter commissioning sends us to bring that joy to others. Where will you share it?

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“The faith we profess in the resurrection makes us men and women of hope, not despair, men and women of life, not death, for we are comforted by the promise of eternal life, grounded in our union with the Risen Christ” (Pope Francis).

May the peace, mercy, love and joy of the Risen Lord Jesus bless you and your family this Easter day and always! Enjoy your Easter celebrations today with family and friends and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Listen to my Homily this morning: 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Palm Sunday – 03.25.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

To listen to all of Christ’s Passion and Death as a whole today is so overwhelming, isn’t it? But, just before the drama of the Passion, a quiet figure appears: the woman who pours expensive oil on the head of Jesus, and is chastised by the Pharisees for the wastefulness of her gesture.

Jesus rebukes them. He reads their hearts, and slyly reminds them, “Besides, you always have the poor to do good works for”—knowing that, in fact, they do nothing for the poor. They are busy financing Jesus’ betrayal and condemnation. Jesus defends the woman: “Don’t bother her! She has done what she could: she’s anointed my body beforehand for its burial.” Jesus is about to enter into unimaginable suffering, yet he points us to that one woman who “did what she could.”

That word “could” is full of possibilities. The Pharisees “could” serve the poor, the chief priests “could” refuse to condemn Jesus—but they don’t.

Are there “could’s” that would bring light into our world? Quiet our noisy lives, take 10 minutes for prayer, stop the gossip or anger? The greatest “could” of all is the one thing only your heart knows you really need to do. Jesus tenderly accepts and cherishes even our smallest and most hidden efforts. Ask him to show you what you “could” do, and who you “could” become, starting today.

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May you have a blessed Holy Week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Listen to my homily today:

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Third Sunday of Lent – March 4

Sue & Ron D.

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Malls have become social hubs, busy beehives of shopping and eating for millions of us. That was the case, too, when Jews flowed into Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Jesus finds the animal sellers and money-changers doing a brisk business, selling sacrificial animals and changing currency for travelers. It was a real mall atmosphere.

But the noise was not the real problem. The Temple was a magnificent structure built on the highest mound overlooking the Holy City. God’s presence was enshrined here. It was a place of such extreme holiness that even today, Jews turn toward this site in prayer. So we can see why Jesus, the Son of God, would explode with rage at these men who were just doing “business as usual.” Not only a lack of reverence for the dwelling place of his Father, Jesus was angry and taking a stand against what we might call “the mall mentality.”

Jesus saw that deepest religious tradition being cheapened and trivialized by greedy, exploitative practices. Is this close to the irreverence and greed of our own culture? When the sacred reality of our God is pushed out of the center of our lives, what becomes our center? The “mall mindset” Jesus condemns today also describes our obsession with competition, money, eating, shopping and accumulating “things.”

The Commandments are like markers placed in a river to tell us where to steer to avoid death by drowning. But, let us keep asking ourselves, do we live a faithful life with God’s holy commands as the backbone of our behavior?
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“Being Church means being God’s people…This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strengthened on the way” (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel).

Enjoy the St. Patrick’s Parade today here in Belmar! Hope to see many of you out and about…I will be parading down Main Street with our students from the grammar and high school….Have a good week, continue on this Lenten journey to conversion with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, 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

Second Sunday of Lent – 02.25.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Death, and taxes, and many things in between terrify us every day of our lives. All of us live with some degree of anxiety, fatigue, or depression. This makes trusting God very difficult—too much can go wrong! But even those closest to Jesus weren’t quick to trust.

In the gospel today, Jesus frightens the apostles with quite an other-worldly experience. First, they see Jesus blindingly transformed by light. Then they see Jesus talking with two ancient prophets, who had been dead for over 1000 years! Peter was speechless, and it says, “They were terrified.”

But Jesus doesn’t rush to comfort or reassure them, because he knows that they don’t yet see the whole picture—they are terrified only because they do not yet believe they can trust the unknown to God. The answer to all of our stress and worry lies in God’s own words today: “This is My Beloved Son—listen to him!”

First, we might have to add “Stop” and “Look.” Stop the inner chatter, and the outer noise, just for a while. Look, really look with time and focus and attention, at the person talking to you, the task at hand, the cat in your lap. Now you can Listen: Listening is a decision to receive with open hands whatever God is giving you .

Jesus did not explain every detail to the apostles, because he knew that the God of all life was trustworthy—and that is enough, for them, and for us. Yes, we will have fears, because there is evil in the world (the most recent being the horrific shooting of the high schools students in Parkland, Florida). But Jesus trusted God with the deepest and the most vulnerable places of his heart. If we listen, Jesus will teach us how to trust that way. Jesus, I Trust in You.

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Lenten Prayer: “Lord, Holy Father, show us what kind of man it is who is hanging for our sakes on the cross, whose suffering causes the rocks themselves to crack and crumble with compassion, whose death bring the dead back to life. Let my heart crack and crumble at the sight of him. Let my soul break apart with compassion for his suffering. Let it be shattered with grief at my sins for which he dies. And finally let it be softened with devoted love for him. Amen. (St. Bonaventure). Let us pray for one another and our parish family as we continue on our Lenten journey to conversion of heart. 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

First Sunday of Lent – 02.18.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Beloved, Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit…This prefigured baptism, which saves you now… ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.’”

Lent, often described as a journey, is the opportunity for all to come closer to the Lord. In a baptismal sermon, Peter tells us that the suffering of Christ, which we recall during these days of prayer, has but one purpose: to lead us to God. It is not what I do, but the work of the Lord bringing me on my desert journey. The gospel tells us Jesus was led by the Spirit for His desert experience to announce that the kingdom is at hand.

Sue & Ron D. with Himself

God’s word spoke of a special moment in time, a moment which speaks to me today. Lent is that special time for me to meet the Lord in a new and different way. Through the threefold steps of prayer, sacrifice and good works, the kingdom becomes more present for me.

My journey began on Ash Wednesday. Be honest, where is the Spirit leading you?
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“Above all, I urge the members of the Church to take up the Lenten journey with enthusiasm, sustained by almsgiving, fasting and prayer. If, at times, the flame of charity seems to die in our own hearts, know that this is never the case in the heart of God! He constantly gives us a chance to begin in loving anew” (Pope Francis’ Lenten Message, 2018)… Let us pray for one another and our parish during these Lenten days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, asking the Lord for a “conversion of heart, a new heart” like the heart of Jesus who in His great love and mercy suffered and died for us. May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

No Outsiders – 02.10.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Have you ever gone to a really scary horror movie? People say that they go to horror films because they love to shriek and get a thrill from seeing monsters and feeling their skin crawl. But you would feel real-time horror if you lived in Jesus’ time and saw a leper coming near.

Lepers were required to leave their homes, and be exiled to the hills or the caves, usually until their death. Jesus knew very well what healing would mean. The real miracle in today’s Gospel may have been that now the man would return from exile in the leper caves, and be reunited with his mother, his wife and children, his church community. Jesus always brings people back from isolation.

We see again how Jesus was not controlled by the religious laws which said “Do not touch lepers.” Jesus actually reached out and touched the leper; he tried always to “bring release to the captives…and to set free those who are oppressed.”

St. Paul says, “Never do anything offensive to anyone,” yet we know we treat insiders and outsiders differently. The simple question for us is, “How do we relate to the outsiders each day?” Do we offer any degree of charity or patience to the “different ones?” Do we glare, look forbidding, or refuse to have eye contact?

Joanne & John B.

If people seem like an annoyance in our lives, we need to picture Jesus touching us, as he touched the leper, freeing us from our disease of disgust…and setting us free to BE the healing of Christ to others. We should be the first example of love and inclusion that anyone meets!
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“A faith that does not trouble us is a troubled faith. A faith that does not make us grow is a faith that needs to grow” (Pope Francis tweet). We begin the season of a “change of heart” this Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. May the grace of this Lenten season lead us to encounter the Lord Jesus who suffered and died for love of humankind; may it lead all of us to grow in our faith. God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Listen to my homily today: 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

God’s love and concern – 02.04.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

I’m sure every one of us knows someone who says, “I don’t go to church on Sunday, because I don’t get anything out of it.” Today might be different, because the reading from Job in the Old Testament attempts the best answer I know to the burning question that every one of us has in life: “Why am I suffering?” Maybe your heart is aching because of a tragic loss or grief. If I said, “You must have done something pretty bad for God to punish you with all this suffering!”—would you agree? Hopefully not! But at the time of Job, the only explanation for suffering was “punishment for sin.”

Emma Grace

So often we put God in the witness stand exactly as Job did: “Where are you, God? I’ve prayed until I’m blue in the face…I’ve played by all your rules. And still you don’t answer. Where ARE you?” And God gives us and Job the same answer: “Where are YOU, when I laid the earth’s foundations?…Can you guide the morning star?…Does the eagle soar at your command?” Humbled at last, Job replies: “I am the man who obscured your designs with my empty-headed words.”

But to complete God’s answer to Job, we have to notice how Jesus enters into the suffering of people in the Scripture. Jesus feels pain, just as we do! Notice how he is constantly touching people before healing them—to show us that God does not stand helplessly at a distance, detached, watching without emotion as we suffer.

Jesus is filled with God’s love and concern for our lives. But you have to throw out the old idea of “an eye for an eye.” Our God lifts up the fallen, feeds the hungry with good things, and heals the brokenhearted.

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“Our Father…”

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like” (St. Augustine of Hippo). “What does Love look like?” is the theme of the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal in all the parishes of the Diocese of Trenton the weekend of February 17-18. St. Rose of Lima Parish has always been generous in supporting the Annual Catholic Appeal to further the many programs ministries of our Diocese, and in turn, benefit our parishes. I hope and pray that when you receive the Appeal Letter from our Bishop, you will make a pledge in ANY amount to help us reach our goal and, as we have done for the past several years, gone over goal! Thank you and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

What is this? – 01.28.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“And the Lord said to me: This was well said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among your kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him. Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it…All were amazed and asked one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority.’”

Maybe we are not accustomed to read the book of Deuteronomy, but we find Moses, the prophet the spokesperson for God, who requested others to speak and the assembly to listen. As we read the Old Testament, we meet many others who responded to God’s call, sometimes reluctantly, to speak in His behalf. Can you name some?

Prophetic voices continue to be heard today, as God calls leaders to teach and guide us. There are the well-known teachers as the Holy Father, and our local bishops, assumed the role of teacher. There are others who through baptism assume the role of catechists and teachers of the faith. But there are countless others too who speak through their actions, bringing the mercy and message of the Lord to others.

As we begin this New Year may we open our ears to hear the message, our hearts to carry it out, and discover ways the Lord wishes to use us to do His ministry

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“The parents’ love…[inspires and guides] the whole of the concrete work of education, and enriching it with those values of gentleness, constancy, goodness, service, and spirit of sacrifice, which are the most precious fruit of love” (St. John Paul II).  May we celebrate this National Catholic Schools Week with gratitude for the gift of our Catholic faith and our schools and religious education programs which help nurture that faith in our young. Have a good week 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