23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

– September 8, 2019

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching us a lesson about what true love means. Have you ever nursed a sick family member or a beloved animal through difficult days and nights? Had to administer medications, hold them, wash them, be with them right through their last breath? Are you raising a child with special needs? Or caring for a spouse with dementia? Then you have a better idea of what Jesus really means here. True love strips it all away. We find ourselves doing things we never imagined we could. Everything else that we used to think important just falls away, doesn’t it? We finally experience detachment from all unnecessary things.

This living for the essentials is the kind of detachment Jesus was calling for in this gospel: not that we become cold and distant, but that we love with such purity and total giving, that none of the non-essentials will hold us back. He calls us to focus on the essential purpose of life, and to detach from everything which prevents us from doing that. We all cling to certain relationships and things. Instead of love, we just have addictions to certain people and possessions.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, was one who took her whole life and made it completely open to the truth; she pondered things in her heart, instead of spouting opinions. Try entering into a conversation in a totally open way—without clinging to your opinions. That means you have to detach yourself from “group think.” Suddenly, you have to really listen to the ideas of the person opposite you. This is the stripping away of self that real love demands.

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….In 2015 Pope Francis,following the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Benedict VXI, visited the completed Ground Zero Monument in New York on September 25, 2015. Only the sound of flowing water could be heard as the Holy Father laid a white rose on the edge of the reflecting pool. At this symbolic location, Pope Francis held an interreligious meeting, and appealed for all religions to promote peace together. “This place of death became a place of life too” he said. It is “a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.”

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

– August 25, 2019

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Taking in Jesus and his gospel was never intended to be like taking an anti-depressant pill—more like taking up a cross.  The way of Jesus is not like a big comfortable pillow we settle back on for a snooze.  Yet, one of the hazards of reading the Scriptures regularly is that we tend to only go back to those parts of the Scripture that are comfortable to us.

You can imagine how penetrating the eyes of Jesus are into each of one of our souls.  There is “nowhere to run, nowhere to hide” if we are just going through the motions of a surface religion.  Jesus certainly knows if we use religion the way a drug addict uses drugs, to feel good about ourselves, to justify our lifestyle, to satisfy our craving for righteousness.

Some of us will not be strong enough to enter the narrow way because we haven’t made our lives into anything of strength.  We haven’t exercised any “spiritual muscles”:  haven’t built up virtue, or patience, haven’t practiced giving freely to others; we haven’t held our tempers, or forgiven those who don’t deserve to be forgiven.  Those who do not want to forgive, who hold on to anger, who do not want peace, will not be ready for an eternity full of reconciliation, and complete joy and oneness which Jesus Himself IS.

Jesus is not just asking for external observance, for keeping the rules as many Jews did, without a deeper purpose.  Jesus is asking us to put on his very life—to eat and drink of his body and blood, so that we live out of his very substance.  Only then will we have the inner guidance required to live life in the Spirit of Jesus.  Rules are fine—but it is the Spirit of the law which gives life to us, and everyone around us.

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Summer days are fading, it’s almost time to go back to school (sorry kids!), so enjoy these days of rest and relaxation.  Here’s a short but beautiful prayer to pray every day as you call to mind the Lord’s love for you:  Jesus, I love you.  Jesus, I praise you. Jesus, I adore you.  Jesus, I thank you for everything.  Jesus, I trust in 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

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

– July 21, 2019

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Frankly, wouldn’t it feel like a major relief to slow down our rush to the finish line that we call “a productive life”? While our companies don’t agree, Jesus says there is a better way to engage deeply with life, and we call it contemplation. In today’s Gospel we see Mary, Jesus’ dear friend in Bethany, simply content to sit at his feet and listen to his words. She is taking in Jesus’ whole presence…watching him, waiting upon his next thought…and not really thinking about the dinner.

Martha is not wrong in wanting to offer hospitality to her honored guest. But can’t you almost imagine Jesus saying something like, “Martha, quit jumping around, come and sit down with us. I’ve been eager to see you both. And stop fussing—just give me some wine; let’s eat later, so we can spend more time visiting.”

Jesus is calling us to live that deeper life by contemplating all that is around us. It means a prayerful, watchful, observing, and absorbing the beauty, sometimes struggling with the confusion or conflicts we encounter…but doing so from a peaceful center where we entrust and place everything we encounter into God’s hands.

Like Mary, try to spend more minutes each day taking long, loving looks at life around you—adopt the slogan, “Look, Listen, and Love.” Without saying a word, we begin to feel almost one with all of life…and isn’t that the goal of all human existence? Contemplation widens everything: our spirituality, our awareness of God’s work in the world, our role….Keep looking, and listening…and don’t worry about dinner. Jesus has a way of feeding our every need.

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Friday, July 26th 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!

A Prayer to St. Joachim and 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.

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

– July 14, 2019

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said to him, what is written in the law? How do you read it?….You shall love…and your neighbor as yourself.’ He replied, ‘You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.’ And because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, ‘and who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied…a man…”

The story of the good Samaritan is one of the clearest teaching moments of Jesus, as He used the two first testament books to describe the only way one can love God is through love of neighbor. Perhaps I am like the scholar of the law, thinking that I am in pretty good shape, as I pray, honor God and try to do the right thing. But wait a minute. Do I dare ask ‘who is my neighbor’ without fearing the consequences?

Pope Francis has called us to see the face of Christ in those who ask our help, who need our assistance. He asks two things: that we recognize the Christ in people who come to us, and to reflect the face of Christ to those who approach us. The parable ends with the scholar, unable to describe the unnamed Samaritan, saying the neighbor was the one who treated him with compassion. He was told to go and do likewise. Think today of one person or group who are looking for the good Samaritan. Do they find him in you?

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“I put before you the one great love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament. There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth” (J.R.R. Tolkien).

Welcome to all those visiting our parish this weekend and thank you for joining us for 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!

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


– July 7, 2019

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them ‘the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.’”

Imagine being one of those sent. Who is your companion, as you go to bring the message of Jesus to someone else? Is your partner the talkative type, allowing you to remain present, but quiet? To whom will you go, either knocking on a door, stopping by a hospital bed, saying hello to someone in the laundromat? Isn’t it interesting to wrestle with the answers?

Well, you are one of the lucky ones, not among the seventy-two, but among all the baptized to work in bringing in the harvest. If someone doesn’t do his or her part, the harvest fails, dies, or simply rots. It is out there and the Lord needs people to follow His call as priests and deacons, as religious and committed lay workers, as missionary disciples. The good news is, we do not do it alone but the Lord accompanies you.

There is work to be done and I heard that He is asking you do it. Talk to someone about it today and fulfill your potential.

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Thursday, July 11 is the Feast of St. Benedict of Norcia. After founding twelve communities of monks at Subiaco, Italy, Benedict of Norcia (480- 547) traveled to Montecassino where he established a monastery and wrote ‘The Rule’. This simple set of guidelines for how the life of a monk should be lived has become one of the most influential works in all of Western Christendom. “Almighty God, give me wisdom to proclaim You, intelligence to understand You, diligence to seek You, patience to wait for You, eyes to behold You, a heart to meditate upon You and life to proclaim You, through the power of the Spirit of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen (Benedict of Norcia). St. Benedict, pray for us!

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

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

– June 30, 2019

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

In St. Paul’s colorful words in today’s second reading, he says don’t bite and devour one another, but use your freedom to “serve one another through love.” Think about how freeing that feels, when you decide to serve another person lovingly, especially when, in your opinion, they don’t deserve it.

Maybe you’re going through an unpleasant, argumentative situation with a neighbor or a family member, and the “biting and devouring” is getting pretty miserable. We all have that temptation, don’t we, to keep an argument going until we have the last word, or at least until we’ve made our point.

Maybe you have a hostile supervisor at work…a teacher who keeps criticizing you…or a spouse who bites first and asks questions later. It’s a huge challenge not to get “hooked into” their hostility with an angry response. But don’t look backwards. If Christ lives in us, we keep our hand steady on the plough. We focus our gaze on planting seeds of respect, kindness, gentleness, and the hospitality of Christ.

Next, the other person wants to defend themselves, so they say something they will probably live to regret! Then it’s back to us, so we stoke the fires of anger a little higher. In a sane moment, we would realize this is not “serving one another through love.”

Those who are dead to the way of Christ will have to plant their own seeds—but that’s not our business. Just don’t get caught up in dealing with dead things, because you belong among the living. The Holy Spirit constantly brings us to life, so we, in turn, can bring life, peace and true hospitality to those on the path in front of us!

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PRAYER FOR OUR COUNTRY

Heavenly Father, send forth Your Spirit to heal our land and calm our fears. Hold in Your arms all who have been affected by senseless violence. Heal the hearts and minds of all who have been scarred by hate. Welcome into the peace of Your kingdom all those who have died. May the light of Christ shine forth through Your faithful people and become a beacon of hope. May the justice and peace that only You can bring reign in our hearts, and in our world. Amen.

Welcome to all those visiting our parish this weekend and thank you for joining us in the celebration of the Eucharist at St. Rose Parish. Enjoy the Fourth of July holiday on Thursday 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 and as we pray for our nation. May God bless you and keep you always in His Love, and may God Bless America!

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

PENTECOST SUNDAY

June 9, 2019

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

Pentecost is “The Birthday of the Church” in the sense that it marked the first public showing-forth, the celebration of the church’s amazing identity and mission for all to see. As a church, we are a diversity of cultures, backgrounds, and languages never heard of in history, but all fully united as one in the worship of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

If, by some miracle, you and I have found the grace to believe these mysteries, then it’s party time! We are blessed to know who we are, and whose we are. But Pentecost wasn’t the Opening Day of an exclusive country club…and sometimes Catholics have been guilty of leaving this impression. Do we feel even a tinge of self-satisfaction? Are we irritated or angry with “those people who play golf on a Sunday morning instead of coming to church?” If so, we’ve lost our way. We then become the haughty, arrogant phonies who drive people away from the church. We must be merciful to others, and ask the Holy Spirit to “heal our wounds, our strength renew.”

The church of Jesus Christ is his living body…and Pentecost is the day we receive our mission from Jesus: to do, through the church, the great work we cannot do on our own. We should jump with joy at receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which help us to place ourselves at the service of the world. As St. Paul says, our mission leads us from gifts to service: “…there are different forms of service, but the same Lord; there are different workings, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” Pentecost should give us a new reverence for the wild and wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit. Let’s be grateful that the Spirit “blows where it will,” to produce different results in different people.

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A Blessed and Happy Feast of Pentecost to all! May the Holy Spirit breathe new life, new joy, and a renewed desire in us to evangelize—to make the Lord Jesus, the One Savior of the world, known and loved to all we meet!

“Come, Holy Spirit!”

PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Come O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, and console me. Tell me what I must do. Inspire me with what I must say. Give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to You in all that You ask of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will, and do Your will. Amen. 

Have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love! Come, Holy Spirit!



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

Seventh Sunday of Easter

June 2, 2019

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

“The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them,’ and when he said this he fell asleep.”

Happy Anniversary, Father Chris!

On many occasions we are touched by an event. Someone does something heroic, or shows great kindness. We might not remember their name or the circumstance. Of the two individuals singled out by St. Luke in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles we remember Stephen for his heroism, and Paul for his eventual conversion.

The deacon Stephen suffered martyrdom. Saul, eventually met the Lord and became the great St. Paul. Like Jesus at Calvary, Stephen entrusted his life to the Lord and offered forgiveness for his murderers. The persecutor became the great preacher and apostle.

As we reflect on the life of the early church, may we see that Christians are persecuted in countless places today. Martyrdom continues in Syria and Iraq. St. Oscar Romero in El Salvador, and the Oklahoma priest Blessed Stephen Rother, in our own time tell us the blood of Christians is still being shed. As members of the Body of Christ, we pray for all who suffer as victims of religious oppression, and offer our own forgiveness to those who offend us.

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June is the month of the Sacred Heart. Pray this little prayer often that the nuns taught me when I was a kid: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours”! 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 of Easter

MAY 26, 2019

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

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine, but that of the Father who sent me’… ‘the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.’”

Some recall famous farewell speeches. Others refer to them as pep talks. In business we find motivational speakers. The gospel of John in Jesus’ priestly talks, offers us all three.

How special to realize that because of my dedication and commitment, I am a living dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. How special to know that the Spirit is teaching me today, as a missionary disciple of a loving God. How special, because of my many cares and distractions that I am reminded of what is of value, the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price. Jesus is not just preparing me for His departure, or entrusting His mission to me, but expects me to carry it out by what I say and do.

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“Dear friends, what an immense joy to have Mary Immaculate as our Mother! Every time we experience our frailty and the promptings of evil, we may turn to her and our hearts receive light and comfort. Even in the trials of life, in the storms that cause faith and hope to vacillate, let us recall that we are her children and that our existence is deeply rooted in the infinite grace of God. Although the Church is exposed to the negative influences of the world, she always finds in Mary the star to guide her so that she may follow the route pointed out to her by Christ” (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, December 8, 2009).

As we conclude this month of May, the month dedicated in a special way to the Blessed Virgin Mary, may we ask her to keep us close to her Son Jesus and pray the prayer she loves to hear the most: The Holy Rosary. May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!  Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!  Mary, our Mother and Queen of peace, pray for us!

Listen to my homily today:

Joyfully in the Lord,

PRAYER FOR MEMORIAL DAY

God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride. Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters. Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers)



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

Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 19, 2019

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

It is hard to remember the important things in life. Our lives are often filled with so much activity, so many distractions and attractions, that we sometimes forget what it is all about.

Well, what is it all about? Are we just living from moment to moment, being pushed from one thing to another? Sometimes it’s so sad when you hear people talk about their lives as nothing but a whole bunch of activities. There doesn’t seem to be any real content in some people’s lives. It’s just one thing after another.

So what is it all about? It’s all about love. Loving one another, as Jesus has so simply told us in today’s Gospel: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I l have loved you, so you also should love one another.”

Our lives as women and men are incomprehensible and senseless if they are not lived in love, and from love. At times, so much of life is incomprehensible. Often we just don’t understand the way things are. We don’t understand why certain terrible things happen to people.

It’s especially at times like those that we need to have the experience of love. When we are in the midst of loving and taking care of others, then life makes sense on a deeper level. We don’t have any more understanding, but we become deeply engaged in life in a way that goes beyond words.

We need to be immensely grateful that the Lord saw fit to give us such a gift. When all of us take this gift and use it every day of our lives, we will then create the new heaven and the new earth because we will all be living in love.

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“O Lord, you have given me so much; please give me one thing more: A GRATEFUL HEART” (Prayer of Gratitude). I thank you for the opportunity to be your parish priest here at St. Rose and as I celebrate my 40th Anniversary of Ordination today. I humbly ask your continued prayers for me and all priests. May Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest bless you and keep you always in His Love!

Joyfully in the Lord,



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