Tag Archives: Rev. Joseph Cebula

The Baptism of the Lord

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for The Baptism of the Lord: CLICK HERE!

I’m glad you called.
It is really Kind of You.
You’re one of the few people I know who understand what I’m going through.
I think I get it now.
I have to keep my eye on the ball from the moment the pitcher throws it, and then swing.  Let me try it again.  Throw it Dad!
Yeah, Mom, I know I’ve been acting like a jerk.  It’s just… Can we talk about it…?
We’re so glad you could make it. You know, everyone asks about you when you’re not here. You’ve become very important to them
You know, you raised a Good Kid…
Your gift is going to make a big difference…
You ready should not have, but I am so happy that you did…
Mom, Dad… Meet your new grandchild!
Thank You
God bless you for your kindness

We hear the words… But we often miss that it is God speaking the words.  Throughout our lives, we can hear the voice of God affirming:

  • our offerings of understanding and kindness…
  • our efforts to heal and reconcile…
  • our sacrifices for those we love…

In those voices of gratitude, God speaks his word of love and care for us…

As God expresses his pleasure in his “Beloved Son” at Jesus’ Baptism in today’s Gospel… God speaks his same joy and love in our simple and ordinary attempts to imitate Jesus’ love, compassion, understanding, justice, forgiveness and so much more.

May the Holy Spirit we received at our own Baptisms continue to move us to do the work of Jesus’ Gospel, to “tear open the heavens” and give voice to the love of God in our homes, and schools, and communities and churches.

Feast of the Epiphany

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the Feast of the Epiphany: CLICK HERE!

Thousands of years ago, all humanity was considered one family…  but as time went on and generations passed, the family tree expanded to the point that division became easier to notice than unity.

And we continue to see that division, instead of unity even till our day.  In religion, in politics, among nations, among groups, even in our families.

But then comes Jesus into the world…

Jesus who invites people to come together as ONE FAMILY…  No matter our politics, nationality, differences…

Jesus invites us to come together as ONE FAMILY….

2000 years ago, Jesus welcomed people from all positions of life: the educated and uneducated, the rich and the poor, those with social status and those without, the Jew and those who were not Jewish…

(Remember Jesus was not Catholic, he was a Jew)

Let me suggest that today’s Feast asks us to put on the attitude of Christ, to welcome others – who ever they may be – into our lives.  To see others as part of ONE family.

In the mail on Saturday came the “Growing in Faith” flyer we send to our Faith Formation families each month and I might add is also made available to the Parish in the Gathering Area of Church… In that flyer there was a short article entitled, “Give the Gift of Friendship in the New Year.”

Friendship is another way of welcoming people into our lives.  Friendship allows us to grow our families, not diminish them.

Friendship was what Jesus was offering all who came into his life.  Remember the Last Supper when Jesus says, “I call you friends”.

Friend

Look for common ground, accentuate the positive, become family.

May our friendships grow and our families grow as we WELCOME others into our circle of friends, into our family, into our church, into our nation and global world as Jesus did and asks us to do today in this time and place.

Solemnity of Mary

To watch Fr. Joe’s Homily from the Solemnity of Mary: CLICK HERE!

In my New Year’s Day message to the Parish that will be sent to the Parish at noon on January 1st, I share that the first reading from Numbers has always had a special place in my life…  As a newly ordained priest, it is the custom that “first blessings” are shared.  And it was this blessing from the Book of Numbers that I used some 46 years ago.

And it seems to me that this reading is most appropriate for our world, for each of us, in the midst of a pandemic.

Appropriate that we be reminded that God cares for us, that God blesses us in good times and in times of trouble, like a pandemic…

The pain and sorrow, sickness and death, and all that is not good about a pandemic cannot be dismissed, it is real.  But not to be dismissed is the presence of God, the blessings of God, these past 12 months…

The blessing of health care workers in their care of the sick…

The blessing of the outreach to those in need, as seen in the many food distributions in the past months…

The blessing of being able to “take a breath” from the every second hecticness that seemed to be part of life before COVID…

The blessing of and appreciation of others, beginning with our families…

How were you blessed in 2020???   How were you a blessing to others in 2020???

May we continue to grow in knowing and appreciating the love, the blessings of God – for us and others in the coming year… and may we grow in being a blessing to one another in the year to come and beyond as sons and daughters of God.

Third Sunday of Advent

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the Third Sunday of Advent: CLICK HERE! 

Last Sunday at about 11:30 am I received an email from a family of the Parish, the email was not one of STRIFE, rather one of honest inquiry from the kids who had just attend Mass virtually.

The email shared that the kids are hoping I will wear rose vestments next week.  Actually one child said PINK, but the other two children corrected him!!!

So here we are:  Gaudete Sunday, in rose colored vestments.

Gaudete, rejoice, is a reminder to rejoice, to be happy that the Lord is near, the Lord has come!

But, I think there is much more to Gaudete Sunday.

Just maybe we are being reminded that the joy of 2000 years ago, is meant to be part of our world today, every day, even amidst personal struggles and even a Pandemic…

Where did we see joy this week?

  • It was surely in the smile of an infant having it’s picture taken at the mall this week
  • It was surely in the smile of the mother of that same child, not only as a proud mother but happy the picture taking was going so well.
  • It was surely in the agency workers who received some $5,000 in gift cards to assist those in need and that Joy will come Christmas.
  • It was in the virtual visit with a loved one.
  • Where did you see joy this week ?

But as Isaiah the Prophet reminds us today, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me;” … “the Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to all people.”

Glad tidings, what does that mean?  It means to bring GOOD NEWS…

The Good News that God never abandons us…

The Good News that I, we, care about you not only in words but in personal witness and actions of: Joy, Love, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, and Faithfulness.

This weekend, we are being called to not only REJOICE  in the joy of others but to also be a cause of rejoicing, a cause of joy for others by the difference we make for another or others…

So today, tomorrow, this week in the year ahead:  How can we, how will we bring a smile to another with our words, expressions, and actions (big and small) that brings people to rejoice,  to give thanks that the Lord has come into their lives and our  world everyday!

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from The Feast of the Immaculate Conception: CLICK HERE!

Mary is meant to be a model to us of cooperation with the will, the plan, of God.

But when we think of Mary, it is easy to think that she was chosen before the she was born to be the Mother of God.  How could she say anything but yes to God and God’s plan for her to be the Mother of the Savior?

Today’s feast might well get us thinking what is GOD asking of me… of us?

How am I being called to bring Christ into the world, to be a Christ bearer, a Christian, in the world of today?  Especially, when I think or feel that I am not able, or worthy, or just do not want to…

But as St. Luke reminds us today, “Nothing is impossible for God.”

When in our lives are we being asked to cooperate with the plan of God, even if we think the ask is too much or just impossible.

Like helping a neighbor or a stranger.

Like being more visible as a person of faith through the life we live daily.

Nothing is impossible with God.  God has already blessed us.  What do you think is IMPOSSIBLE for you to do, that God is asking of you?

Maybe NOW is the time to say YES to GOD and to begin to act, to be the better person of God, we are all called to be for today and tomorrow…

Mary is the model to us of doing God’s will.  May we be models as persons, families & Parish to our children and others every day as we faithfully live our “yes” to God and his Will.