09.23.18 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

With Fr. Chris.

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

One of the translations of the Wisdom reading today says that believers in God are obnoxious. Yes, you read right. Believers make life inconvenient and uncomfortable for non-believers—by disturbing their consciences and opposing their actions.

And this is mostly because we God-believers set boundaries for ourselves. Boundaries define people and things, just as children cannot come to know who they are unless adults create appropriate boundaries for them. However, our boundaries should never be asserted with arrogance or violence—our goal is to extend the invitation of God’s love into every situation, especially in cases of controversy and conflict. Because even if provoked, Jesus gives us a deeper revelation about how to respond at all times. The greatest Christian, Jesus says, is a servant. And the first service that we are to render to others is hospitality.

Now, many people pride themselves on their hospitality. But when Jesus tells us to welcome the little child, he is referring not just to children, but to all the “little ones” who are so dear to God. Who are they? It is all those who have the needs and vulnerability of children—even though they may be adults with schizophrenia or any mental or physical disability. Whoever is forgotten in prisons, ignored by the wealthy and happy, struggling to survive with some scrap of dignity—whether it be native people, refugees, widows. 

Hard and controversial? Maybe. But isn’t the welcoming of God into our midst the whole purpose of our churches and prayers? We are to be the hosts and hostesses of the Reign of God. We will not be able to recognize God in our midst until we break bread with the littlest of God’s little ones.

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“What can we answer one who says there is no need to go to Mass, not even on Sunday, because what is important is to live well, to love one’s neighbor? It’s true that the quality of a Christian life is measured by the capacity to love, as Jesus said: ‘By this all men will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another’ (John 13:35); but how can we practice the Gospel without drawing the necessary energy to do so, Sunday after Sunday, from the inexhaustible source of the Eucharist? We don’t go to Mass to give God something, but to receive from Him what we truly need…the Sunday encounter with the Lord gives us strength to live today with trust and courage and to go on with hope.” (Pope Francis, General Audience, December 13, 2017).

Autumn has arrived with its crisp, cool nights, and Mother Nature’s display of stunning colors of foliage to remind us that all is a gift from God! Take time to enjoy this new season in all of its beauty. Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His love!

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

09.16.18 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

The late Billy Graham used to tell a story of a time during the early years of his preaching ministry. He was due to lead a crusade meeting in a town in South Carolina, and he needed to mail a letter. So he asked a little boy there, “How do I get to the post office?” Billy had to ask the boy to repeat the directions a time or two. Finally, Billy said, “Now, if you come over to the Central Baptist Church tonight, I’ll tell you how to get to heaven.” The boy frowned. “No thanks!” You don’t even know how to get to the post office!”

Here’s Bill who was trying to offer some vital information about salvation, and getting flat-out rejected. In the gospel today, Jesus got the same result when he tried to elaborate on his future. It must have been a brutal shock to the apostles when Jesus says, “Soon I’m going to suffer terribly, be rejected by church leaders, and killed. But I’ll rise again after three days.” Worse, “And if you want to come after me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”

No one ever followed Jesus because of promises of comfort, pleasure or money, right? But each of us HAS denied ourselves, given up money or time to do something good for another person. When we love someone, we often live lives of denial taking care of them—raising children, caring for elder parents. This is what Jesus speaks of when he asks us to say “yes” to God’s ways, and God’s will.

But we can’t “walk the walk” without the support of friendships and our community. Alone, we know we can’t do much—and it’s not as much fun either. In short, we need each other’s faith.

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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 of his disciples, contributing our gifts to the communion of faith, the Church. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

May you have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His love!

Listen to my homily today: (Posted after Mass)

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

09.02.18 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

In the early years, the Marx Brothers travelled a lot. Groucho recalled, “Since we were a kid act, we traveled at half-fare, despite the fact that we were all around twenty. But our mother, Minnie, insisted to everyone that we were thirteen.” One day the train conductor came up to Minnie, looking somber. “Ma’am, that kid of yours is in the dining car smoking a cigar. The other is in the washroom shaving.” Minnie tried to look sad as she sighed, “They grow up so fast!”

Parish Picnic 2018

We all get a kick out of a simple deception like that, don’t we? But in today’s gospel Jesus is troubled by a deeper deception he finds in the Pharisees—they were in self-deception, which is a real game-ender in the spiritual life. Today, children are taught to say, “I have a right to my opinion.” And people think their opinions are right. Talk shows glorify the opinions of people who may have no knowledge of a subject—just loud opinions. The problem is that, in a culture where opinion is baptized as truth, it is very easy to deceive ourselves simply by believing our opinions. One man convinced himself he was worshipping God properly by going diving every Sunday. He pulled away from his church community, and was receiving no nourishment to feed his soul—but he would stubbornly fight anyone who suggested to come back to church.

We can spiral into unhealthy or sinful ways when we think we can commune with God all on our own terms. Notice how people avoid talking to someone they think might try to correct them…even if that is exactly what they really need. Keep connected to your roots: your church tradition is a lifeline of faith and spiritual food!
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As we celebrate Labor Day and give thanks for the work we do—whatever it is—let us remember in our prayer all those who are unemployed and searching for work. We pray “Lord, give success to the work of our hands.” I encourage you to attend either the 6:45 or 9:00 Mass on Labor Day….Enjoy this last weekend of what was a good (but quick) summer…and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

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

08.26.18 -21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Happy Birthday, Fr. Chris!

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Joshua addressed all the people, ‘If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’…But the people answered ‘Far be it from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods..He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey…Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’”

Not a day goes by when we fail to make decisions.  Some are important, others of little value.  Many we do not ‘give a second thought to.’  As I read the instruction of Joshua, the chosen successor of Moses, I find him challenging the people—decide, and decide today.  Like the people he spoke to, I probably can affirm the choice I have already made to follow and serve the Lord.  But let’s take it a step further.  Do I only pay lip service or do I act? Do I try to make a difference in the lives of others? What is the quality of my service?

Joshua said ‘decide today.’  Are you ready?

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 A DAILY PRAYER:  Jesus, I love you.  Jesus, I praise you.  Jesus, I adore you.  Jesus, I thank you. Jesus, I thank you for everything. Jesus, I trust in you.

Happy and Blessed Birthday to Father Chris who celebrates his birthday tomorrow, August 27th!  May the Lord continue to bless him with health, happiness and holiness. Ad multos annos!   

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

08.19.18 – Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Loving Embrace

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Notice how supermarkets have started cooking food in the aisles, giving us tasty bites in hopes of making us hungry for more? Today the Responsorial Psalm urges us, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” God has issued a universal invitation to come closer, first to taste the Divine Mystery through Jesus, to become more conscious of God, and then to find yourself falling more deeply in love with Love. According to the great mystics, that is the spiritual life in a nutshell!

Jesus himself wants us to taste true awareness of him. He wants our hunger for God to be constantly awakened. So he says in today’s Gospel, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

When we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it is not “just a symbol.” We ACTUALLY (not just “symbolically”) receive a deeper consciousness of the reality of the life of God. St. Augustine said it this way: “Receive who you are; become what you receive.” It means that we have already been baptized into the Body and Blood of Jesus. So when we take the Host, we are receiving the very One of whom we are already a part. We “receive who we are.”

But in taking the Eucharist, we are not merely chewing and swallowing food; we are making a risky commitment to live and act as Jesus did. It means we dare not go to Communion unless we are ready to take on more and more of the consciousness of Jesus himself.

The “real presence” of Jesus is not only in the bread—WE are to be real presence to the poor, the confused, the needy, and the stranger. This is what eating Christ’s body means—to share “spiritual communion” with all we meet.

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May you have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love! St. Rose of Lima, 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

08.12.18 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Elijah prayed for death, saying: This is enough, O Lord. Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers. He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat…for the angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him and ordered ‘Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you.’ He got up, ate and drank…he walked for forty days and nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.”

We return to Capernaum and find Jesus telling us: ‘I AM the bread of life.’ It is in the Eucharist we find Jesus present to accompany us on our journey. Elijah was awakened twice and was ordered to brace himself for the journey. Jesus is the bread of life for us. We often overlook how great, how important, how necessary is this gift for our spiritual survival.

How many people in the world die each day of starvation? Too many, and we are called to assist them. How many people in the church take the gift of the Eucharist for granted? We speak of a priest shortage, while we should focus on the lack of appreciation for the gift of the Eucharist. Where in our world are people deprived of what is so essential, yet we sometimes take the priesthood, the Mass and Eucharist for granted.

If Jesus is the bread of life, I need to go to Him with renewed fervor and gratitude. ‘Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you.’

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“Precisely because Mary is with God and in God, she is very close to each one of us. While she lived on this earth she could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is actually within all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Our Lady knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness. She always listens to us and, being Mother of the Son, participates in the power of the Son and in his goodness. We can always entrust the whole of our lives to this Mother” (Pope Benedict XVI).

A special welcome to all those visiting St. Rose Parish this weekend and thank you for joining us in the celebration of the Eucharist. Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love! Mary, Queen of the Assumption, pray for us!

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

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 07.22.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her Second Grade class memorize Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” Bobby was excited, but he wasn’t very good at memorizing. After much practice, his turn came to recite Psalm 23 before the congregation. The teacher was nervous. He stepped up to the microphone and proudly announced, “The Lord is my Shepherd—and…and…–and that’s all I need to know!”

In one phrase, Bobby captured the whole meaning: “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I lack.” These words touch so many of us deeply. If we have trouble or fear, darkness and death and sickness, Jesus has our back—Jesus restores our strength, anoints my head with oil. To sum it up, the genuine meaning of Psalm 23 means, “God’s companionship transforms every situation.”

What does “God’s companionship” mean? Rappers have their peeps, sports stars have their crowds…but the companionship of God must be something different. The apostles were busy with “people coming and going” so Jesus calls them to rest in God’s companionship when he says, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

We all need a time of quiet listening, away from the noise and the crowds, in order to feel God comforting us as a companion and a shepherd. Have you felt God’s care lately? Or do you take your work with you, work too late at night, and fall exhausted into bed? If so—you do indeed need the Shepherd to help you set priorities. Taking time to really LIVE your life will make you and everyone you love healthier and happier.

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Thursday, July 26, is the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, Grandparents of Jesus. Joachim and Anne serve as great examples of faith for all married couples, parents, and grandparents. Like several Biblical couples, they had difficulty conceiving a child. As time was running out, they desperately prayed to God to grant them a child. By strong faith and patience, God granted them their daughter Mary. St. Anne and St. Joachim are the patron saints of grandparents and infertile couples……Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!

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

Joyfully in the Lord,

A Prayer to St. Joachim and St. Anne

Dear parents of the Virgin Mary, grandparents of our Savior Jesus Christ, bless all parents and grandparents and help them teach their children Christian values of faith and compassion. Bestow courage and hope upon couples who struggle to start their families. Guide new parents and bless parents of growing children with strength and understanding. And bless grandparents with wisdom and kindness.

We thank you for the example you set for us with your daughter Mary and grandson Jesus, and we strive to show the same love to our children and grandchildren.

May the strong foundation of faith you laid for Mary and her son Jesus always inspire us to guide our children and all future generations in their faith journeys with love and support. In God’s name we pray. Amen.



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

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 07.15.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

St. Paul tells us in today’s second reading that, “…In all wisdom and insight, [God] has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.” And our psalm proclaims that peace is God’s wish for us.

The picture that emerges from these Scripture readings is a world moving towards oneness.  God will eventually bring everything into unity.  It is clearly obvious that that time has not yet arrived.  We still struggle to understand each other.  Peace seems elusive in many parts of the world.  But God’s plan is still God’s plan. God wants us to move towards ever greater unity.  God wants all of creation to live in a marvelous harmony.

God is calling us to oneness.  That is the grand plan.  Part of seeing this bigger picture is to realize that our choices over time can lead either to greater unity or greater disunity.  The husband or wife who continually chooses to ignore the genuine needs of their spouse is slowly destroying the marriage relationship.  Marriages don’t fall apart in a month.  It takes many hundreds of selfish choices over a long period of time, which eventually breaks down that sacred union.  Every time you make a choice which pushes your partner further away from you, you are making a choice for separation, rather than for union.  The same process takes place with all our decisions.  

God’s plan for oneness and harmony must become our plan. As we live our lives, the vision of one harmonious creation must take root in our very character.  We are asked to be people who show by our very personalities that our wish is for people to come together as members of God’s one family.

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“We need a spirit of holiness capable of filling both our solitude and our service, our personal life and our evangelization efforts, so that every moment can be an expression of self-sacrificing love in the Lord’s eyes.  In this way, every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to growth in holiness” (Pope Francis, “On the Call to Holiness”, 31).

Welcome to all those visiting our parish this weekend and thank you for joining us in the celebration of the Eucharist and supporting our parish!  Enjoy these lazy, hazy, days of summer while they last. May you 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: 

Listen to my homily today: 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 07.08.18

Welcome, Fr. Chris!

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Three times I begged the Lord about this. That it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. For power is made perfect in weakness.’ I would rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses…”

Are we not all plagued by difficulties and problems? Do we have the courage to turn to the Lord as Paul did especially in moments of crisis? The litany of his hardships, and those of most people far exceed the troubles which come my way. The source of Paul’s contentment is the remedy for our difficulties as well.

Fr. Christopher Dayton

His grace, His life, His power is available to us, especially in time of need. I only need to turn and express my dependence upon Him, to face whatever comes my way, the good and the bad. Weakness is certainly not the so called American way. Yet the secret is found in the Lord’s hidden presence if we but seek it and use it. May I repeat Paul’s mantra ‘I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.’ Paul did not give up and asked three times. Do I persevere?

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“To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.

“Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by laboring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation “on the call to holiness” Gaudete et Exsultate 14, Latin for “rejoice and be glad”).

Welcome to all those visiting our parish this weekend as well as faithful “regulars!” Thank you joining us in the celebration of the Eucharist and for your support of our parish and schools. 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: 

Listen to my homily today: 

Joyfully in the Lord,

 

 



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

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 07.01.18

Coming soon to St. Rose!
Fr. Christopher Dayton

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Have you ever heard these words at a funeral? “Well, it was just his (or her) time. God had wanted him (or her) up in heaven.” We might say this in an effort to comfort the suffering, or to make sense of an untimely death which simply seems unfair, inappropriate, or wrong.

The reason we think this is—death is all of these things! But to comfort someone, why not proclaim boldly as the first reading from Wisdom does today: “God did not make death.” And “God does not delight in the death of the living.”

Death was never part of God’s perfect plan for the creation. We were made in God’s image never to die. But “…Through the devil’s envy, death entered the world.” So death belongs to the devil, not to God. Death is evil, and it came through sin.

In the gospel today, Jesus tries to show us the far bigger picture. Yes, the individual healings are Jesus showing us God’s will and power to heal and bring new life; but that is the smaller picture because even those Jesus heals must still die. The bigger picture is to have faith in Jesus Himself, because The purpose of his life, death and rising is to reconnect the universe to God. “Your faith has saved you!”

Jesus’ miracles only point to the deeper healing by which Jesus overcomes the devil’s envy and the devil’s puny power in the world. Jesus, and only Jesus, can reinstate the perfect will of the Creator for the eternal life and wholeness of all creatures.

The Hospice Movement shows us how to grieve our losses—by witnessing to both life and death—sitting, listening, crying, laughing. And let us keep holding on to Jesus’ words “Do not fear, only believe.”

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Fr. Christopher Dayton

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. Enjoy the Fourth of July holiday this Wednesday with your family and friends…please join us for Mass either at 6:45 or 9:00 a.m. as we thank God for the freedoms we enjoy as a nation and as we pray for our country. May God bless you and keep you always in His Love, and may God bless America!

Joyfully in the Lord,

A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION

Gracious and loving God, we come to you in humble prayer for the United States of America.

Bless our President. Give him wisdom and strength to serve the American people and lead our country in ways that are pleasing to you.

Bless our Congress. Instill in them knowledge and understanding to enact laws that protect the sanctity of life—from the unborn to the elderly; and promote the good of all people.

Bless the people of the United States. Make us aware of our responsibility as citizens to uphold the principles of life, liberty, justice, and equality.

Send your Holy Spirit upon our beloved country. Make us people of faith in time of uncertainty. Make us people of hope in times of trouble. Make us people of compassion with those who are less fortunate. Make us people of peace in our homes, our communities, our country, and our world.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.



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