32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11.11.18

Joanne F. & Jim S.

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Today, Jesus again penetrates beneath the surface realities. This time it’s the people giving contributions at the temple: the rich put in large sums, and a poor widow puts in about two pennies. Widows could not inherit their husbands’ money, and thus they were the poorest of the poor.

So it must have shocked the apostles to hear Jesus say that this widow “has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.” How could this pitifully poor widow be the “big spender”?

To look beyond appearances, we may need a “paradigm shift”—an entirely new way of looking at the same old information. Jesus says to look differently at the giving: Who is giving their all?—giving their heart, giving till it hurts, not merely surplus. That’s the one who is truly giving the most.

Does this mean that we all have to spend down to our last two cents before we give of our all? Of course not. Jesus said it was true for that widow; but he wants us to figure out what is true for us.

Learning how to imitate the gospel is a very personal creative process. At every age—5, 18, 25, 40, 70 and beyond—we will give differently. We have to keep asking, “How am I giving now?” Regardless of how our lives change, we have to keep taking stock to see how our giving imitates the sincerity and the generosity of the poor widow.

Another realization: everyone, regardless of their mental disabilities, their weaknesses, their flaws, has something valuable to give the Christian community. When we give from whatever we really are—weakness and all—we can begin to receive the abundance that Jesus came to reveal to the world!

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Fr. Louis Merton, O.C.S.O.

Lord, I have no idea where I’m going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself. And the fact t that I think I am doing your will, does not mean that I am actually doing it.

But I believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you, and I hope that I have this desire .I know that if I do this ,You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I trust you always. Though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death,

I will not fear, for you are with me, and you will never leave me face my perils alone.

 (–Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude)

November is the month we pray in a special way for all of our faithful departed and for the poor souls in Purgatory. They need and depend on our prayers so that someday they will see God face to face in the Kingdom of Heaven. May I suggest praying three “Hail Mary’s” every day for those in your family who have gone home to the Lord…keep their memory alive and holy in your thoughts and prayers. Someday we will all be together with those who have done before us in faith. In the meantime, remember the words St. Benedict wrote in his Rule for Monks, “Yearn for everlasting life with a holy desire.” And, as St. Paul wrote, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has prepared for those who love Him.”  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

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11.04.18

Carter and Colleen B.

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Wouldn’t it be so good to have something that we knew for sure was the greatest in the world? Well, folks, you and I do have something that is the greatest in the world. We have the greatest commandment in the world. In fact, we have two greatest commandments, love God and love our neighbor. Jesus says we must love God will all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Whenever we state that we believe in one God, we make a subversive statement, because we claim that no one, no thing, can have dominion over us. Only God is God.

We are filled with desires for beauty, closeness, moral righteousness, community; we want to live a life that is worth living—one that is filled with meaning. But as long as we don’t recognize that all of our desires are contained in our desire for God, we will continue to encounter dead ends and a feeling of frustration and incompleteness. This will happen when we think that we have finally found something that will bring total happiness and fulfillment to our lives, only to discover that loving God and one another is the only final answer.

The two commandments we heard today in the gospel are the absolute best directions that are available in this whole world. Follow these directions and your life will be fulfilled—it may not be easy but it will be worth living. Jesus has given us the greatest commandment, the one thing necessary for life, the heart and soul of what it means to be human—love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself. And do both with everything that is in you.

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PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS

God our Father, You made each of us to use our gifts in the Body of Christ. We ask that You inspire young people whom you call to priesthood and consecrated life to courageously follow your will.

Send workers into Your great harvest so that the Gospel is preached, the poor are served with love, the suffering are comforted, and your people are strengthened by the sacraments.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

“In the first place it should be known that if a person is seeking God, His Beloved is seeking him much more” (St. John of the Cross). November is here….the year is quickly passing….enjoy these beautiful Autumn days, each one is a gift from God! 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

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10.28.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks tells the story of Virgil, a man blind since childhood, whose sight was restored at age 50. Virgil could finally see colors and movements, but had great difficulty organizing them into recognizable objects. His habits and behaviors were still those of a blind man. Dr. Sacks concludes that having physical sight is not the same as actually seeing.

Today we see a vivid illustration of this truth. To truly see Jesus and his truth requires more from us than simply looking at Jesus, or hearing his teachings. It is going to require a change of direction, a change of life, and a transformation of our identity.

Bartimaeus, the blind man in today’s gospel, was ready to be changed. He was not ashamed to cry out for help. He promptly threw off everything that was holding him back and jumped up to respond to Jesus’ offer of healing. But Jesus puts the responsibility for healing back on Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus engages Jesus humbly yet with faith: “Teacher, let me see again.” His vision returned. Jesus’ response both heals and invites:  “Go; your faith has made you well.” Go where? Bartimaeus chooses to follow Jesus in his ministry.

Like Bartimaeus, we should not just be consumers of God’s grace, but allow our healings to send us out to join Jesus in ministry. But, do we really want to be healed of our spiritual or emotional wounds?

It can be difficult to “throw off our cloaks” of pride, envy, dishonesty, grudge-bearing. We need the community of faith to hold us up in our efforts. Let us form a true family by offering each other the tender love of Jesus, until we all feel the strength to throw off what binds us, and follow our Healer with new hope.

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“If the soul longs for nothing else than to love its God, then don’t worry and be quite sure that this soul possesses everything, that it possesses God himself” (St. Pio of Pietrelcina)… The Feast of All Saints on November 1 and All Souls on November 2 certainly are occasions in our Catholic faith to reflect on the virtue of Christian Hope..our call to live each day in holiness of life and the promise of eternal life when our earthly pilgrimage comes to an end. 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

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10.21.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, for he has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

When the Father sent the Son as our redeemer, Jesus assumed every part of our humanity, except sin. For this reason He knows and understands us, with our strengths and weaknesses, our cares and our concerns. Because of His identity with us, I am able to seek Him out in my every need.

He knows my deep desire to live as a faithful disciple. He knows that when I fail, He is awaiting me with open arms. Because of His closeness to me, I go to Him without fear, as He gives me the gift of his mercy and grace.

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Tomorrow, October 22 is the Feast of St. John Paul II. He served as Pope from 1978 to 2005. He was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Wadowica, Poland and died April 2, 2005, the Vigil of the Feast of Divine Mercy. “The Eucharist is the secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and to the whole world…Let Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament speak to your hearts. It is he who is the true answer of life that you seek. He stays were with us: he is God with us. Seek him without tiring, welcome him without reserve, love him without interruption: today, tomorrow, forever” (St. John Paul II, Pastoral visit to Young People of Bologna, 1997)….. 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

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10.14.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Brothers and sisters: Indeed, the Word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart…. ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’…Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘you are lacking in one thing.’”

How important it is that we listen carefully to the proclamation of the Word at Mass each week. It is read for our instruction, formation and growth in the Christian life. Try to identify with the people who meet Jesus in the gospels. I pose the same question about my responsibility as I seek eternal life.

The teaching of Jesus of observing the commandments are quite clear and we surely try to keep them. As Jesus informed him that he was lacking one thing, I ask myself what is lacking in what the Lord asks of me. Is it a deeper prayer life? Is it how I can better my family life? Is it how I show my concern for others, for the poor, for those in need? These are penetrating question as I reflect on His Word today.

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“Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks with compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world” (St. Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582), whose feast is celebrated on October 15). Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His love!

Listen to the prayer sung here by Rev. Patrick McGuigan, O.Carm.

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 10.07.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

This weekend, Catholics nationwide celebrate Respect Life Sunday with the theme of “Every Life: Cherished, Chosen, Sent.” 

In 1531, when the indigenous peoples of Mexico were subjugated and the practice of human sacrifice was still a recent memory, the Mother of God appeared to St. Juan Diego as a pregnant native woman, now known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.

She sent him with miraculous flowers in his cloak to tell the bishop to build a church where people could receive her loving, tender care. When St. Juan Diego opened the cloak before the bishop, an image of Our Lady was revealed that remains to this day. The chapel was quickly built, millions embraced Christianity, and the Church increased its protection of the indigenous peoples.

By embracing the mission entrusted to him, St. Juan Diego helped bring Christ’s transforming love to cultures ripped by oppression and death.

Today, we again see the dignity of human life disregarded. Unborn children are destroyed through abortion, and ill people are encouraged and assisted to take their own lives. How do we respond?

The essence of our identity is that we are created in God’s image and likeness and loved by Him. Nothing can diminish the priceless worth of any human life. Every person is cherished.

God creates every person for eternal union with Himself and continually invites us to embrace a loving relationship with Him. Every person is chosen.

We are called to be messengers of God’s love, treating one another as cherished and chosen by Him. In doing so, we help build a culture that respects all human life. Every person is sent.

Like St. Juan Diego, let us embrace our daily mission to help others encounter God’s transforming, life-giving love. (Copyright, 2018, USCCB, Washington, DC)

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Pope Francis has invited all the faithful—of all the world—to pray a Holy Rosary daily the entire Marian month of October. According to the Vatican Press Office, “the Holy Father wants to join in communion and in penitence, as the people of God, in asking the Holy Mother of God and Saint Michael the Archangel to protect us from the devil, who always seeks to separate us from God and from each other.” The Holy Father has asked that the recitation of the Holy Rosary conclude with the prayer written by Pope Leo XIII: “Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”

May God bless you and keep you always in His Love. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us!

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

09.30.18 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses: Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the Lord bestowed it on the seventy elders, as the spirit came upon them as they prophesied… ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets!  Would that the Lord would bestow his spirit on them all. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.’”

 On the day of our baptism, when we were anointed with the Holy Chrism we were told that we participate with Jesus as—priest, prophet and king. A prophet is a spokesperson for God.  We read from the Major Prophets in the Old Testament, and know the teaching of the minor ones, as Micah, Amos, Hosea and others. Some say the age of prophets ended at the close of the first testament.

No, that is not true. Because we too are called to witness to Christ, we too are spokespersons for the Lord, His prophets today. We speak as witnesses by our actions. We speak as teachers of His word. We bring the call to conversion to a needy world. We find the witness of prophets in Saint Archbishop Oscar Romero, Blessed Stanley Rother and the religious martyrs of El Salvador. They are prophetic voices, calling out for justice, an end to oppression, as agents for peace.

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“Remember that when you leave this earth you can take with you nothing that you have received—only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, courage.” (St. Francis of Assisi). Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His love! St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

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