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 

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

.

    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