Third Sunday of Lent – March 4

Sue & Ron D.

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

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

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

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

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

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Second Sunday of Lent – 02.25.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

First Sunday of Lent – 02.18.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

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

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

Sue & Ron D. with Himself

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

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

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

No Outsiders – 02.10.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

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

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

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

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

Joanne & John B.

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

Listen to my homily today: 

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

God’s love and concern – 02.04.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

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

Emma Grace

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

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

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

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“Our Father…”

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

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

What is this? – 01.28.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

01.21.18

Bob & Nancy, 37th Wedding Anniversary

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

Are you a chocoholic? Studies say that “Chocolate is the most commonly craved food in North America,” and each person consumes about 11 pounds each year. If you can understand that kind of craving, you will also understand God sending out prophets and eventually God’s own Son to call people’s attention to what is really worth craving.

Jesus came to show us the truth of how God is: “…a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, relenting from evil,” (Jon. 4:2). But we don’t seem to get it. In the gospel today, Jesus is again begging us to “Repent, and believe the good news” about how God really is, because the fullness of what God wants for us—the kingdom of God—is close at hand, if we would just recognize it.

Loving Embrace

But if God’s love is really good news, why does Jesus have to beg us to believe it? Because there is still evil in the world, so we need help to recognize what is best for us. This is the way God’s love works: when someone recognizes their faults and wrongdoing, when they sincerely ask for pardon, God’s mercy is there before they can get the words out.

God has a constant craving for us to leave our hurt feelings and anger behind, and come home to be fed lavishly at the table of love and forgiveness. In our confusion, some of us try to find a deeper fulfillment by mistakenly leaving our marriage, or our church. Mostly, we forget that God has a deep craving for our wholeness and holiness. Jesus says this simply, “The time has come: Repent—that means, turn around, come toward me—and believe the Good News, that God loves you and wants you back.”
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“From the outset, conversion is expressed in faith which is total and radical, and which neither limits nor hinders God’s gift…Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming His disciple” (St. John Paul II).

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,



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

01.14.18

Praise be Jesus Christ now and forever!

“How long does it take to fall in love?” This is a pointless question, because such huge realities as love and death are part of an eternal life process. They are woven into a huge tapestry that includes both time AND eternity.

Still, there are certain moments when God seems to interrupt everyday life to speak to us in a special way. Maybe you narrowly escape a head-on collision; or your child becomes critically ill; or your closest friend or partner dies too soon. It is as if a kaleidoscope has been shaken, and all the pieces of your life have been rearranged into a different picture. If we’re listening, God can use these moments to deepen our virtues—to increase our patience, our courage…to expand our wisdom…or to shock some part of us out of dullness and routine, and back into life. Whether we’re young or old, God is still calling us, not just into a job, or a new career, but to a constant “re-weaving” of the tapestry of our lives.

“In the name of the Father…”

How is God calling your name these days? It has nothing to do with your age or your experience. I repeat—even if you are raising four kids, or already retired after 30 years on the job—do you realize that God is still calling your name with as much love and enthusiasm and challenge as before you were born? And are you listening?

Perhaps your call is to be more honest—to quiet yourself—to be more generous, or patient…to believe more passionately…to love without judgment. As we approach the Eucharist today, try saying, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” And then really listen this week.

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

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

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

Prayer for the Sanctity of Life

Heavenly Father, through whom and for whom all things were created, we pray that your gift of human life will be protected from the instant of its natural conception until by your holy will you require that it return to you. May those who have a duty to care for life realize that it is you who cherish and sustain each unique individual human being at every moment of its existence.

Father of Christ, you sanctified life in the womb of the Blessed Virgin. You sent your only-begotten Son that all might merit to receive everlasting life. Teach us so to reverence all human life that we will dutifully safeguard and nurture each precious person until we are called to be with you forever. This we ask through Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, to him be the glory. Amen.

Joyfully in the Lord,



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

Epiphany of the Lord – 01.07.18

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

To be honest, we really know very little historical information about the three Wise Men. Most of the popular ideas about them came from stories and paintings from much earlier generations. Some recent vivid and joyful images come from the Glan Carlo Menotti operetta, “Amahl and the Night Visitor.”

Our images of Mary and Jesus also need refreshment from time to time. Before he was elected Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said, “The images of Christ and the saints are not photographs. Their whole point is to lead us beyond what we can be apprehended at the merely material level, to awaken new senses in us, and to teach us a new kind of seeing, which perceives the Invisible in the visible.”

The Quinn Family

These are indeed wise words. In today’s world, religious images don’t just hang on museum walls, but fly around from comic books to newspapers, on videos from YouTube, Facebook, on late night television, or passed around on people’s BlackBerries and cell phones. We may not like these images, but we can’t live in a fortress, trying to avoid them. We urgently have to develop what Pope Benedict XV called “a new kind of seeing,” going behind the visible to the Invisible, so that we can grab the good and helpful meanings, and leave behind whatever is vulgar, destructive, or simply stupid.

The Williams Family

Like us, the Jews of Jesus’ time had difficulty looking beyond the visible, to the Invisible: God lies here in the flesh! Christ has finally appeared as the salvation of the whole creation! The Magi symbolize those of us who have eyes to see, who rush to offer our gifts with humility. As the bumper sticker says, “Wise men and women still seek him.”

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

“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.”

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

Joyfully in the Lord,

 

 

 

 



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

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph – 12.31.17

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

“They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout waiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regards to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace.”

How often have we attended a baptism, as parent, godparent, big brother or sister, relative or friend? Some assumed the role of Joseph and Mary, others that of Simeon, or Anna who prayed. Whatever our role, we are called to recognize the special presence of the Christ as they did. Joseph protected, Mary reflected, Simeon prayed and praised. We, too.

Pope Francis in his exhortation “The Joy of Love” provides a terrific teaching as we bring one year to a close and turn the page to a new year of grace. He says, “Family prayer is a special way of expressing and strengthening this paschal faith. A few minutes can be found each day to come together before the living God to tell him our worries, to ask for the needs of our family, to pray for someone experiencing difficulty, to ask for help in showing love, to give thanks for life and for its blessings and ask Our Lady to protect us beneath her maternal mantle. With a few simple words, this moment of prayer can do immense good for our families.”

As we hear of all the new year’s resolutions may we see this is as our priority.

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A very happy and blessed new year 2018 to all! In my name, in the name of Father Walter Quiceno, Msgr. Tom Salemi, Fr. Dave Baratelli, our deacons, Sisters of St. Joseph, parish trustees and parish staff, the administrations and staffs of St. Rose Grammar School, Religious Education, and St. Rose High School, we wish you and your family a New Year rich in many blessings from God who is the source of every grace and blessing! Good health, happiness and holiness to you in this New Year. Thank you for all you do for St. Rose Parish and Schools. May God bless you and keep you always in His love today, tomorrow, and every day of this New Year!

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

Listen to my homily today:

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 my sacred path to You. Amen.

Joyfully in the Lord,



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