Message from Father Langan, October 1 & 2

October 1-2

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We live in a society wherein individuals, whether they accomplish little or much, are looking for recognition. Trophies and ribbons, and awards abound. Even perhaps a little “pat on the back” is appreciated. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this, but if it should not come, a person or persons should not despair. Especially in matters of faith we do what we do for the Glory of God, the good of our neighbor, or the needs of our Church or country. Therein lies the greatest satisfaction. Sometimes the great work done can cause misunderstanding, confusion and even pain as in today’s reading from the prophet Habakuk. He despairs because no one is paying attention to him. He is doing the work of the Lord, something quite good and noble and is being ignored. Perhaps he is even asking himself: What’s the point?” But with hope and future-vision he will recognize the blessing of perseverance that will bring about conversion.

Our Lord’s words in the Gospel resound this. We go about our work, sometimes begrudgingly and without satisfaction and wonder if it’s all worth it. In God’s eyes it is all worth it and whether our tasks are great or small, when done for the love of Him.

In the past several weeks there have been many good works done for the love of God in our various fundraisers most recently being the Spaghetti Dinner. Though no one seeks recognition, we nonetheless thank all those who supported, participated, worked for and created (those beautiful baskets) for this important parish event. After a hiatus these past years it was immensely joyful to see our fellow parishioners young and old working together in such harmony and devotion. It warms a pastor’s heart. And our very smart and sharp-looking servers did an excellent job in waiting tables and cleaning up afterwards.

Much thanks to all who made this and all of our previous events and wonderful success.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

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Message from Father Langan, September 17 & 18

September 17-18

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we have another parable by which the Lord challenges us to think deeply about our future.  Whenever we consider the days ahead, especially in difficult financial situations, we hope that we have prudently planned for our security.  In these uncertain times who has not wondered about their investments for retirement or funds to sustain family and self? If we glean a lesson from the shrewd steward in today’s Gospel maybe we can rest comfortably about our future.

First it is important to recognize that we are all stewards.  When we consider our earthly possessions we must ask ourselves, “have I fashioned this out of nothing; was it my mind that brought it into being?” Perhaps we cooperated in its manufacture but when we honestly consider it was it not God Who provided the intellect, the material and the purpose?  So everything is ultimately a gift from God and we have been entrusted with it.  The Lord has indeed entrusted us with not only physical goods but spiritual as well. In both instances, we are called to be generous.  A regular practice of our faith is the giving of alms, and on the spiritual level we share our faith with family, friends and strangers.  This is the mark of a good steward.  

The fellow in the parable was preparing for his future since he was about to be sacked.  He was out to save his skin.  We, on the other hand, must be out to save our soul.  Let us admire his prudence but not his dishonesty.

Next week I shall be on my annual retreat.  Father John, a colleague of Father Dominic will be here to assist with Masses and sick calls.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, September 10-11

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

     Why do people look for substitutes for God? And in the end do they really find happiness and peace?  The answer to the second question is emphatically NO, but the answer to the primary query is much more complicated.  Both the reading form Exodus and the Gospel of the Prodigal Son invite us to ponder this dilemma.  One of the reasons may be that people look for quick and immediate answers to the problems that beset them.

    When Moses went up the mountain of Sinai he remained there for 40 days in conversation with God.  The Israelites became impatient.  They demanded an immediate response from God and in the interim, they decided to fabricate their own notion, and how ridiculous it was, of God as a grass-eating calf.   We might think that rather peculiar, but what about the “golden” idols we create for ourselves that are just as vacuous.  Wasted time and effort are sunk into similar worthless pursuits.  

    The Prodigal (extravagant spending) son in the parable also has an impatient and arrogant heart.  Basically he is saying to his father:” I wish you were dead so I can get my cut of the will.”  The living father also is extravagant more in love and mercy than in money  when he bankrolls his son and then begins his interior suffering.  He hopes that the wayward son will return.   The son soon realizes that his idols have turned to dust and reduced him to a miserable existence.  Do we ever think that our Heavenly Father may be “suffering” for the loss of His children?  Many today are pursuing idols bereft of compassion, mercy, and love and the sad emptiness of their lives are preparing them for disastrous consequences.  May the pertinence of these words from Sacred Scripture touch the hearts of the lost and speedily bring them back to the Father’s house.

      Within the past month many of our parishioners have rallied together for our very successful fund-raisers.  From golf-tournament and bake sales at St. Joseph, to penny social at St Bernard, and the flea market at St John/St. Mary Magdalen, and the upcoming Spaghetti dinner on September 24th., how good it is to see our faithful pitching-in for the love and prosperity of the parish.  Thanks to all who participated in any way and may that wonderful enthusiasm continue to flourish.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Faith Formation

Faith Formation registration is due now. Please include late fee. Faith Formation starts on Sept. 11th for the Damascus and Honesdale program at the CFCC (329 Cliff St.) from 9 – 10:10am. See you there! Registrations are available at the back of parish churches, the parish office and online at honesdalecatholic.com (faith formation tab).

Message from Father Langan, September 3-4

September 3-4

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

    Have you ever exaggerated in order to make a point or to bring attention to something of great significance?  How about a “fish tale”?  Did a ten inch mackerel become a twenty pound bass?  We call that hyperbole and it was a common way for people to express themselves in first century Jewish culture.  It was not a lie but certainly a startling way to emphasize something.  What today we would call shock-value!

     On occasion, our Blessed Lord does the same thing to get people’s attention but also to stress an important truth.  Both last Sunday’s Gospel and today’s convey the “hard sayings” of Jesus.  His language wakes people up and challenges them to make a choice.  First to recognize and believe that He is God-in-the-flesh, and secondly to make a choice in following Him as a disciple.   The choice has a cost, and that cost is putting the Lord before all other persons and/or possessions in this life.

    Always Our Lord respects our free will in the choices we make but very often those choices limit rather than expand us.  With short-sighted choices we look for immediate gratification and thus a fleeting happiness.  There is temporary satisfaction and before we know it, we are looking for the next thing to fill the emptiness.  How very self-deceptive and exhausting.  But when we make our choice to follow Christ, by putting Him first above all, there comes a freedom and joy that cannot be met by anyone or anything in this world.  Sure, there is a cost.  We give up in order to  get more than we could ever imagine.  After all, He made us.  He knows what is best for us and His plan and destiny for us exceeds the puny and sometimes destructive choices we make for ourselves.  May all your choices begin with what God wants and you will never be in want.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, August 27-28

August 27-28

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

  As the new academic year begins, we might take a step back and ask: “what is the purpose of education?”  I am sure there are many answers to be offered from different perspectives but all may converge on one: “to make a better life for oneself”.  This, of course, is an admirable aspiration but does it really reflect the purpose of opening one’s mind to the truths that surround us, or, is it merely utilitarian? In other words: “do I learn in order to succeed?  So much in life today is motivated by the desire to be recognized, to receive adulation for one’s accomplishments rather than the desire to serve.  How then, does that form a person’s character?  The answer may be found in the Scripture today from the Book of Sirach.  His teachings for the young generation are simple and straightforward: be a humble person.

    Frequently, though not always directly, Our Lord addresses the absence of humility either among His detractors or even His closest followers.  There is always the tendency to put oneself first, as we hear in the Gospel parable.  These parables are meant to draw us out of ourselves and see the bigger picture of our purpose in life.  How we answer that question is the real mark of humility because we are basically saying:”  Here I am Lord, do with me what you will”.   We come around then to understand what education is all about.  That is, I’m here to serve the Lord and follow whatever path He has destined for me.  

     To all of our students, May God show you the path to follow and be humble enough to use your learning for His glory and the building up of His Kingdom.  You will never regret it.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, August 20-21

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Do some things in life make you squirm?  Do you try to shake off something that feels uncomfortable either physically or mentally?

Perhaps even the word of God can  cause the same reaction.  Today we hear in the letter to the Hebrews and in the Holy Gospel things that can make you squirm.  When we hear those words about discipline an unease can come upon us.  Who in the world likes discipline?.  Its no accident that the words   “disciple” and “discipline” come from the same root: Latin “disciplina” meaning “teaching.”  As disciples of the Lord, we are taught through discipline.  We need that discipline when we are tempted to compromise our ethics or ignore our conscience and do something we shouldn’t or fail to do something we should.  Hebrews reminds us today that God’s discipline is given out of love, to keep our conscience strong and our feet on the narrow path.

In the holy Gospel Our Lord tells us to continue the journey of Faith by “coming through the narrow door”.  That, of course, requires discipline.  The discipline of shedding our sinful barnacles that we have allowed to attach to us and keep us from moving swiftly and unencumbered to final destiny.  Confession scrapes the hull of our souls and permits us to continue the journey.   There is always the danger of presuming the mercy of God.  Indeed He is all merciful but sometimes that mercy requires discipline.  Our heavenly Father wants only what is best for us and if at times that requires us to be disciplined then in humble surrender we trust Him to do what is best for us. Let us not try to squirm out of the discipline God may prescribe for us but be confident that we will be better as a result.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

St. John’s Flea Market

This year’s flea market dates are September 1, 2, and 3. Donations may be dropped off beginning August 19 and placed on the side porch of the Parish Office. We will not accept couches or upholstered furniture, computers, televisions, broken or chipped pieces of glass. Jewelry items will be accepted.

Message from Father Langan, August 13-14

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      Truth and goodness, evil and falsehood cannot meet.  There is no, nor can there be, compromise between them.  We hear in the Gospel today startling words from our Lord.  He, Who has come to bring healing, and put an end to the estrangement between God and  mankind speaks about division  and discord even in families.  Does the Lord want this?  Of course not. But the reality is that if we long for the truth, the truth that sets us free from self- deception and self-centeredness, then we can expect there to be controversy, rejection and division.  Our Lord, therefore, calls us to be steadfast.  There is suffering in living the truth that Christ has revealed to us.  The present faddishness of the world wants to draw us away from the paths of holiness and righteousness.  And of course it is very tempting at times, especially when it involves those who are close to us.

     Nonetheless, we are called to be witnesses of the Gospel.  We recall that the word “witness” in Greek is martyr and though we may not ever shed our blood for the sake of the Gospel we do share in the suffering that comes from being faithful to the Lord.  Let us, therefore, be of good cheer as the martyrs past and present for the Lord has asked us to share and bear the cross with the hope that others will do so as well.

 With Blessings,

 Father Langan