Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – -3.03.19

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, so in tribulation is the test of the just. The fruit of the tree shows the care it has had, so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind. Praise no one before he speaks for it is then that people are tested…a good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good.”

The scriptures use so many images to teach us, form us, and lead us. Consider for a moment…the potter shapes an object, maybe your coffee mug, a vase to hold a spring flower, or even ourselves (Abba, Father). Soon trees will begin to bud, and the care we give them now, pruning, trimming, fertilizing, will produce long awaited fruit. The words we use reflect how we feel, what we know and what we desire.

We need not limit ourselves to the image of a tree, but apply the teaching in our own way of life. How we walk the path of holiness according to the teaching of Pope Francis is found in the beatitudes. Our words, our thoughts, our good works are the steps we take on that path, accompanied by God’s grace and the support of one another.

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As we begin the season of a “change of heart” this Ash Wednesday, 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. “O God, who have mercy on us, take away my heart of stone, and give me a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and enjoy you.” (St. Ambrose).  God bless you in this coming Lenten season and keep you always in his Love!

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – 02.24.19

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful as your Father is merciful…Stop judging…stop condemning, forgive and you will be forgiven.”

If we wished to choose one word to describe the ministry of Pope Francis, it would be ‘mercy.’ His writings reflect this teaching of Jesus in the beatitudes. He proclaimed a holy year of mercy. He constantly is extending the compassionate hand of Jesus to the poor and marginalized.

Luke’s teaching asks us to consider what seems so difficult. Love enemies, give without expecting return, be concerned for the ungrateful and those so distant from the gospel.

When driving and someone cuts you off, pray for him or her. If you are offended by someone’s remark, chalk it up to a bad day and don’t brood over it. Don’t live the expression ‘I don’t get mad, I just get even.’ Spend a moment discerning who might be an ‘enemy’ and seek a way to open the door to friendship, by prayer, a smile, or another sign of peace.

Didn’t Jesus tell us to forgive so we may be forgiven?

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“The Mass is the loving encounter with God through his Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is the memorial of Christ’s Passover. It makes us participants in his victory over sin and death, and gives full meaning to our life. Taking part in the Mass, particularly on Sunday, means entering the victory of the Risen One, being illuminated by his light, warmed by his compassion. Through the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Spirit makes us participants in the divine life that is able to transfigure our whole mortal being” (Pope Francis). 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

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 02.17.19

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit… ‘And raising his eyes toward his disciples, he said…’”

We are familiar with today’s Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount, and the beatitudes of St. Matthew. They summarize the entire message of Jesus and provide the pattern for a healthy examination of conscience.

Today we meet St. Luke’s teaching, the Sermon on the Plain, addressed to the disciples and to us. Instead of eight positive directives, we are given four, and then four warnings to help us move from the now to the promised reward. How helpful for us to fix our eyes on what the Lord has in store for us, to make us less complacent, eager to ‘rejoice and leap for joy on that day!”

We know well the obstacles, barriers and challenges of the Christian life. St. Ignatius asks us to discern both the positive and negative to help us make good decisions.

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“Someone who believes is a recipient of that beatitude that runs through the whole gospel and resounds throughout history as expressed through the lips of Elizabeth: ‘Blessed is she who believed’ or directed to Thomas by Jesus Himself: ‘Blessed are those who have not seen but yet believe.’” 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

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 02.10.19

The Tonzola Children & Friends

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Listen to my homily today: (Below)

Well, today, in the second reading, St. Paul tells us about his weaknesses and his ugly past. He persecuted Christians, he refused God’s call to him, he did everything he could to stop the gospel of Jesus from being preached. But then, a major conversion happened.

Now Paul says, “I am not fit to preach, I am the last one who would be an apostle—but, by the grace of God, “I am what I am.” Paul knows who he is in the light of day, but he presses forward believing that God has his back now.

Simon Peter has a similar story in today’s Gospel. Peter “is who he is”, a rough guy and an expert fisherman. He knows the best time to fish, and he’s just spent all night at it, with no results. Now it’s morning, and Jesus tells him, “Go back and drop your nets again—put out into deep water.” No fisherman would agree to do this—it’s against all reason. Peter says, “We tried that. But because YOU tell me to, I will do it.” He is trusting something beyond his own experience of fishing, and beyond the evidence of his own eyes.

Do we have what Peter and Paul have? They look deeply at themselves and admit to God exactly who they are, in both their best and their worst qualities. Both of them trust God’s call and God’s directing their lives. They listen for God’s voice, then they step forward in faith. They don’t let the sin of fear or timidity hold them back from being who they are.

Please think about this invitation God is giving to you to sink your line into deeper waters—to say, “I am what I am, and I am going to give whoever I am to this cause.” God wants us to come just as we are. So don’t let guilt over past sins or lack of self-confidence ruin your trust in God’s power and love for you. Have faith, as Peter did, that God knows just who you are, and can work with that.

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“Never Reach out your hand unless you are willing to extend an arm” (Pope St. Paul VI). In his message this year, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., remarked, “During his time of shepherding the Church, Pope St. Paul VI called all to holiness and a response in faith to meet the spiritual and material needs of others. ‘Never reach out your hand unless you are willing to extend an arm,’ the Pope once said, challenging us to do all we can to build up the Body of Christ, and urging us to offer our help with free hearts and a generous spirit withholding nothing in our lives. With your support, the Diocese of Trenton has been able to embrace that challenge to reach out a hand, to extend an arm, and provide the essential ministries, programs and services that make a critical difference in the lives of so many.”

Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love! Happy Valentine’s Day !

Listen to my homily today: 

Joyfully in the Lord

THIS IS MY PARISH

It is composed of people like me. We make it what it is. It will be friendly if I am. Its pews will be filled, if I help to fill them.

It will make generous gifts to many causes, if I am a generous giver.

It will bring other people to worship and fellowship, if I bring them.

If will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, and a church with a noble spirit, if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these qualities. Therefore, with the help of God I shall dedicate myself to the task of being all things that I want my parish to be.

 



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

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – 02.03.19

The Robinson Family

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

About 60 years ago, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a backyard summer sports camp that her sister, who was intellectually challenged, would have fun with other kids. None of the other sports camps were open to children like Rosemary. It was never Eunice’s intention to do anything big—she just loved her sister and wanted to make life sweeter for her. But that backyard play-time evolved into what we now call “Special Olympics.”

Eunice gave the “highest gift” that St. Paul describes in today’s second reading—simple, selfless love. But we learn in the gospel that Jesus’ hometown was not interested in loving Jesus this way. Though they knew him from childhood, they did not love him unconditionally—they asked for signs and miracles, and when Jesus revealed their true hearts, they tried to throw him off a cliff! What a homecoming!

Kwiatkowskis and Addison

Today, Jesus is asking for the kind of open-hearted love from us that he hopes for from the people of his time and place. Love isn’t repeating “Lord, Lord” while feeling warm and fuzzy. Our Catechism reminds us that we can even sin by being ungrateful, indeed, or lukewarm toward God’s love (Sec. 2094).

We are “to love all creatures for God and because of God.” So we might use St. Paul’s list to ask: Are we kind when talking to someone who’s driving us crazy—especially family members? Are we patient and caring when interacting with animals? Do we show gratitude and wonder when caring for lawns, plants, and trees?

Don’t be discouraged if your love isn’t returned—remember the Special Olympics motto: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Let our small, brave attempts make a start toward transforming the world.

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“If we live as Jesus taught us, and in harmony with what we proclaim, our witness will bear fruit” (Pope Francis tweet on January 3, 2018). 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

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – 01.27.19

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eye witnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.”

 Week after week we hear the gospel proclaimed, we spend time reading the daily meditations, and today we are reminded where the good news originates.

St. Luke addressed a Lover of God, (Theophilus) as his name is translated and he writes to him and for us. He informs us with the what and why, what he intends to do and why. The church then jumps to chapter four introducing us to the mission of Jesus as He proclaimed it in His own town of Nazareth.

Donohue Family

As He unrolls the prophet Isaiah telling of liberty for captives, recovery from blindness, freeing the oppressed and announcing the good news, He says in our words ‘this is happening today.’ The mission of Jesus is the mission of the church today, calling all to carry out what Pope St. John Paul II says ‘is still far from completion.’ As Jesus was sent, so are we as Missionary Disciples.

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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 to our youth. Have a good week and may 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

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – 01.20.19

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding…the mother of Jesus told him ‘they have no wine.’ His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you’…and his disciples began to believe in him.’”

It is easy to remember the first miracle as told by John. Like all weddings there was an invitation, and they were present. A near crisis caused Mary to intervene. She directed the difficult moment to be converted into a miracle, instructing the waiters what to do. Using what was at hand, water and jars enabled Jesus to transform the situation. The result was a newfound belief for those who accompanied Him to the wedding.

We too are invited to be with Jesus at the Eucharistic banquet. Jesus directs us ‘do this in memory of me’ and our own faith is strengthened and renewed by His presence. Mary knows the crises in our lives, of family, injustice, illness. Although the words spoken in the scriptures are the last we read, she too speaks to us ‘do whatever he tells you.’ Her presence and intervention or intercession in our behalf still has meaning ‘pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.’

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“Among the vulnerable for whom the church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this….Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the church cannot be expected to change her position on this question…It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating human life…” (Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium #213-214).

Let us pray fervently especially this week for an end to the culture of death and the protection of all human life from conception to natural death. 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

The Baptism of the Lord – 01.13.19

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

“The grace of God has appeared, saving all, and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age, and to await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people of his own, eager to do what is good.”

How fortunate for Titus to receive an encouraging letter from Saint Paul (today’s second reading). As we bring the Christmas season to a close as Jesus’ baptism takes place, we too are encouraged to make the instruction our own. Yes, Jesus has come and still lives among us. We are challenged each day to abandon godless ways and focus on keeping our eyes on Jesus.

If life was difficult for Paul’s friends, how much more challenging it is for us, surrounded by the internet, porn, material and consumer attractions, drawing us in a different direction. How clear are Paul’s words asking us to live temperately, when so many have nothing, to live justly, in a society which wishes to get ahead and put others down, and devoutly, when many look down on people with religious devotion, customs and traditions.

Paul knew his society and we are so aware of ours. Why not take the virtues Paul recommends and meditate on one each day. May this help us to become eager to do what is right.

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 “We must reawaken the memory of our Baptism. We are called to live out our Baptism every day as the present reality of our lives. If we manage to follow Jesus and to remain in the Church, despite our limitations and with our weaknesses and sins, it is precisely in the Sacrament whereby we have become new creatures and have been clothed in Christ. It is by the power of Baptism, in fact, that, freed of original sin, we are inserted into Jesus’ relation to God the Father; that we are bearers of a new hope, for Baptism gives us this new hope: the hope of going on the path of salvation our whole life long. And this hope nothing and no one can extinguish, for it is a hope that does not disappoint. Remember, hope never disappoints. Thanks to Baptism, we are capable of forgiving and of loving even those who offend us and do evil to us. By our Baptism, we recognize in the least and in the poor the face of the Lord who visits us and makes himself close. Baptism helps us to recognize in the face of the needy, the suffering, and also of our neighbor, the face of Christ. All this is possible thanks to the power of Baptism!” (Pope Francis, General Audience, January 8, 2014).

Listen to my homily today: 

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

Feast of the Epiphany – 01.06.19

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

“Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart will throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you…all from Sheba shall come, bringing gold, frankincense, and proclaiming the praise of the Lord…Then they spread their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

The season of holiday visiting is drawing to a close. Lights still shine, the manger scene is special today, and unwrapped gifts are still to be seen. The memories of visits, carols, and delicious traditional foods are still fresh and happy. But what happens now?

“In the name of the Father…”

Like the magi we have waited, searched and found the Christ. It’s our turn to bring gifts, not the three mentioned in today’s readings from Isaiah and Matthew, but a more precious gift, a more valuable gift, the one that the Lord Jesus is waiting to receive from us. It is the gift of ourselves.

We bring joy, hope and happiness. Joy – because we have a Savior, hope – because our world can become better, happiness – because He has chosen me to bring Him to others. We bring an awareness that this Jesus comes again and wishes to accompany us in this new year. He can’t wait for us to get started. We can choose this route, or just simply take the decorations and put them away to gather dust for another year. The choice is quite clear. “They departed for their own country by another way.”

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“When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the shepherds are back from their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: To feed the hungry, To release the prisoners, To rebuild the nations, To bring peace among sisters and brothers, To make music with the heart.” 

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

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph – 12.30.18

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

“Because you are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect…Joseph went to the region in Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth.

We are still admiring the many gifts of Christmas. The packages have been opened and their contents displayed. There are gifts you still have to be shared with others. You did not deliver them yet. They are the virtues enumerated by St. Paul in his letter. Surely there is someone waiting to receive you gift of patience, humility and kindness. It is not too late to make sure they receive it. The gift of love is the gift wrap, bow or ribbon to bring everything together.

Can’t you see the Holy Family, settling down after their journey from Bethlehem to Egypt, happy to take a few minutes to relax and be glad that they have a home.  As this special family began to accustom themselves to a new experience, they surely must have been glad the infant Son was with them. As we settle, as we approach a new year, may we find the same Lord as the center of our attention with our family in our home.

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May God bless you and keep you always in His love today, tomorrow and every day of this New Year!

A Prayer for the new year

O god of new beginnings and wonderful surprises, thank you for the gift of a new year.

May it be a time of grace for me, a time to grow in faith and love, a time to renew my commitment to following your son, Jesus.

May it be a year of blessing for me, a time to cherish my family and friends, a time to renew my efforts at work, a time to embrace my faith more fully.

Walk with me, please, in every day and every hour of this new year, that the light of Christ might shine through me, in spite of my weaknesses and failings.

Above all, may I remember this year that I am a pilgrim on the sacred path to you. Amen. 

Listen to my homily today: 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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