Message from Father Langan, August 6-7

August 6-7

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Prominent in the Sacred Scriptures today, though not always specifically mentioned, are the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. And as St. Paul reminds us the greatest of these is Love.  The first two are pertinent to this world.  Faith is our response to God’s call and revelation.  In the Book of Wisdom, our first reading.  The People of Israel, who are still in captivity, place their trust and faith in the revelation from God through Moses that they will be delivered from the deadly plague.  Wisdom reflects on the “Passing over” of the angel of death as a prelude to their being set free.  They trust in the extraordinary ritual of slaughtering a lamb, marking their doorways with its blood and then hoping that they will be spared. And so they are because of their trust, faith and obedience.  They do not know what will come next but they have hope that God will fulfill His promises.  Hope, then, is the virtue of expectation.  We may not know what is to come but we trust God, have Faith in Him.  Why? Because He loves us and always wants and plans what is best for us.

In the letter to the Hebrews, written by an unknown author but nonetheless part of the canon of Sacred Scripture,  we have the example of Abraham and Sara, who in spite of what seems to be logical, place their faith and hope in God.  So often we want immediate, verifiable, concrete answers to the conundrums of life. Because of this there is little room for hope and faith.  Therein lies the tension that we all experience and it is precisely there that the Lord is calling us to trust in Him.

In the Gospel, our Lord encourages us to live the life of Hopeful expectation.  He, not we, are in control of the future.  Always He assures of His love and that should give us confidence to place our faith in Him and though we may have to “walk through the valley of death”, in the end all will be well.

This week Monday and Thursday two very important saints are celebrated, St Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers and St.Clare, who with St Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscans, Third Order.  Best wishes to all our Lay Dominicans and if there is anyone interested in joining our Dominican lay order please speak with Father Langan.  We meet the second Sunday of the month at 1 PM for prayer study and mutual spiritual support.

Remember our upcoming Golf Tournament sponsored by the parishioners of St. Joseph, Rileyville, Saturday, August 27.   Contact  Kathy and Augie Stile, 570-224-4934.

This year the Solemnity of our Blessed Mother’s Assumption is not a holy day of obligation since it falls on a Monday.  The Mass schedule will be 7:25 AM, 12:05 PM and 6 PM.  All Masses will be at St. Mary Magdalen.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, July 30-31:

July 30-31

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

     All of the readings from the Sacred Scriptures today portray the great spiritual “tug-of-war”.  Ecclesiastes, also known as Qoheleth, stress the vanity of pursuit of the passing things of this world.  St Paul’s address to the Colossians warns against the passions that so often cloud one’s judgement that leads to the using of other human beings for personal gratification.  And Our Blessed Lord reminds us of the futility of exalting self and neglecting the needs of others.  The Word of the Lord is indeed a wake up call for the world but sadly, It continues to fall on deaf ears

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    Growth in the spiritual life calls for an honest and thorough assessment of one’s life.  The guidepost  for this discernment is always the Sacred Scripture and if one is not acquainted with the Word of God through reading, hearing and reflection how can there be any progress in making the journey to our heavenly home?  In this tug-of-war then, we have to allow the love and mercy of Christ to pull us forward.  We keep our ears and hearts focused on Him and even though we sometimes may be pulled through the “mud” the grace of our Lord, which we receive from the Sacraments, will refresh and restore us. 

     In these dog days of summer pull out your Bible; sit down with the Word and let Jesus speak to you.  It’s the best cooling- off there is.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, July 23-24

July 23-24

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In both our Old Testament Reading and the Gospel, we become acquainted with the power of prayer.   Abraham is rightfully concerned about his relatives who are living amongst the wicked and fears for their lives.  God is about to bring chastisement upon the perverse and Abraham seeks to spare his kin.  What does Abraham teach us?  First, the virtue of hope.  He trusts that God will hear his prayers and answer his request for clemency, at least to a few.  Secondly, Abraham perseveres.  He does not give up even to the point of haggling with God.  While acknowledging God’s justice he implores His mercy.  The balance between justice and mercy prevails.  Sin cannot be allowed to run rampant, otherwise chaos and destruction of civil and religious society are doomed.  The corrupt cities and or nations will reap the consequences of their ignoble behavior.

This, of course, leads us to consider our duty and obligation, like that of Abraham, to pray earnestly and persistently for the conversion of hearts and souls in our own day.  The Lord Himself has given us the prayer that encompasses all prayers,  namely the Our Father or Lord’s Prayer which always pleads for forgiveness and the restoration of peace between God and humanity and neighbor to neighbor. How very blessed we are to receive from the lips of the Lord Jesus the very words He addresses to the Father.  Are we aware of this great privilege?  Surely, it is the benefit of being a son and daughter of God.  May we cherish and pray with the greatest devotion the Words our Savior gave us.

With Blessings, Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, July 16-17

July 16-17

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    Hospitality is the key to understanding today’s Word of God.  We see how Abraham, our father in Faith, welcomes three strangers offering them rest and sustenance.  Little does he know that he is welcoming the Lord and His accompanying angel.   Then in the Gospel  Martha and Mary open their home to Jesus and as we know He always travelled with the entourage of the Twelve.  Can you imagine how frazzled Martha was?  Nonetheless their home and hearts welcomed the Lord.  Some might say: “it’s too much trouble or I don’t have the time”.  Surely our lives have become very busy and hectic but look at what we are missing out on if we let hospitality slide away– the lost opportunity to entertain the Divine.

     In a similar sense Christ Himself becomes the host in the celebration of Mass.  He invites, He feeds, He initiates the conversation, He welcomes all but the same excuse is offered–I’m too busy.  Who loses out?  No one but ourselves if we don’t respond to the gracious  invitation of being in the Presence of the Lord.   Jesus longs for us.  He desires to speak to us and to feed us.  What banquet could ever compare to the Table of the Lord?  May we always return the hospitality of the Lord by welcoming Him into our hearts with joy and gladness.

   Speaking of hospitality, how often have we found it such a comfort to go to grandma’s house.  Beginning today we recognize the grandmother of Jesus, the mother of Mary, as we pray the Novena to Saint Ann.  This devotion has always been a special mark of the Diocese of Scranton especially since we have the Basilica of St. Ann in our midst.  I very much encourage our parishioners, especially families, to make a pilgrimage to the Shrine in Scranton.  Many graces are to be gained in making a pilgrimage as you pray for your special needs and those of your loved ones.

With Blessings

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, July 9-10

July 9-10

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

     How do we respond to those who hate us, wish to antagonize us or, at least, marginalize us?  The Lord seems to answer this problem with His parable of the Good Samaritan.  We recall that there was great animosity between Samaritans and Jews.  Neither would have anything to do with the other.  Their views and their religions could not be further apart but when the “hated” Samaritan comes upon the beaten man he extends mercy, compassion and at his own expense cares for the unfortunate who was ignored by his own people. 

     There are a lot of people in distress these days which causes them to become concerned with their own immediate relief.  The tragedy of their own life experience blinds them to the freeing and enlightening Truth of Jesus Christ.  Though we may be perturbed by their actions, it is necessary on our part to see them as beaten individuals, hurting and in need of compassion.  Our faith demands that we be the good samaritans to those who even may reject us.  But if we approach them with the love that Jesus has for us, the transformation of their lives for the good, the true, and the beautiful is sure to come about.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, June 18-19

June 18-19

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

     Long before there was a Bible or any compilation of the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament there was and always has been, since the Last Supper, the Holy Eucharist.  Our Lord Jesus Christ ever fulfills His promise,” I will not leave you orphans.”  In other words: “I am with you until the end of time”.  Every time then that the Church has gathered, She has not only listened to and recalled the Words of the Lord but She has also celebrated His Presence in His Body and Blood, the Food of eternal life.

     As we celebrate this glorious Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we rise in gratitude for the most precious, and sadly least understood, gift that God has bestowed upon humanity.  To be absolutely clear and to the point the Most Holy Eucharist is the unbloody Sacrifice of our Savior upon the cross, the complete and total offering of the Son of God to the Father in order to reconcile humanity.  Because of the original sin of our first parents, there was a break in the intimacy that we had with our Heavenly Father.  Jesus our Savior repaired the rift caused by sin and continues to reconcile us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the re-presentation of Calvary.  No greater love has this world known than the Sacrifice of the Son of God for the redemption of us all.  And it continues to this day at every Catholic and Orthodox altar.

     With today’s Solemnity the Church in the United States begins a year of Eucharistic renewal.  Sadly, so many Catholics have drifted away from the Sunday celebration of Mass no doubt because they do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.  How is it possible that we ignore  the very words of Christ our Savior:  ” Do This in memory of Me”?  In the days ahead, we shall recall with great emphasis the Mystery that makes us one with God and with each other.  Let us devote ourselves to the renewal and greater appreciation of what God has given us in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, June 11 & 12

June 12, 2022

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ,

One of the most heart whelming actions I notice as your pastor is when a mom or dad brings a toddler into Church and teaches their child   how to bless themselves.   This simple yet profound act of faith silently speaks volumes as to what we believe and how radical that belief is evidenced in our lives.  Invoking the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a declaration of the most fundamental tenets of our Christian Faith.  We have been enlightened by Christ and the Holy Spirit to peer into the very nature of God, i.e., God is a Family.  And we, being created in the image and likeness of God, are meant to imitate Who God is in our earthly, human lives.  This can only happen by grace.   And the first instance of grace comes to us at our Baptism.  In Baptism, the power of the Cross to redeem us and the Name of God to possess us, makes us the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity.  This beautiful gesture of teaching a child to bless themselves is an outward sign of the divine reality within each Baptized soul.

Certainly, the nature of God is beyond our comprehension.  Who among us has not tried to wrap our heads around the belief that God has no beginning and no end.  And if we have the blessed fortune to live with Him forever after our earthly sojourn we will have all eternity to ponder the things that now confound us.  In the meantime we must be ever grateful to God for revealing to us through His Son Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, Who He is, One and yet Three Divine Persons in love with each other.  There is no better way then for us, His creatures to honor and glorify the Lord than to imitate our Maker.

We offer our congratulations and heartfelt best wishes to all of out recent graduates from  eighth grade, high school and college.  May their education and the virtues they have received in their Faith Formation prepare them for the next stages in their life’s journey.  May the Gospel be their North Star to guide them in all aspects of their lives.

A safe and restful summer to all.

With Blessings,

Father Langan