Tag Archives: Reverend Joseph S. Cebula

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: CLICK HERE!

17 year old Verda was the Valedictorian for her High School class from Fitchburg High School in central Massachusetts. Verda was a brilliant student who plans to study Biochemistry at Harvard, on her way to a medical career.

After her Valedictorian speech, the principal announced the recipient of the school’s annual General Excellence Award, given each year to a graduating senior. The prize includes a $10,000 scholarship, which can be renewed for up to four years. This year’s recipient was Verda.

Verda happily accepted the award to the cheers of her classmates. But when she sat down, she says, “it hit me”. This is $40,000. That’s a lot of money, obviously, I could use it. But there is definitely someone sitting in this crowd that needs it more.

So Verda, got up, and went to the podium. She apologized for interrupting the ceremony and then said in a trembling voice, “I am so grateful for this. But I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most. Knowing that my mom went to community college, and how much that was helpful, I would be so grateful if the administration would consider giving the General Excellence Scholarship to someone who is going to Community College.

Her fellow classmates and the crowd at that ceremony cheered and rose in a standing ovation. The school superintendent said later, “everybody got it. What we witnessed was the ultimate in generosity.”

Verda and her mother, Rosemary, came to Massachusetts from Ghana when Verda was 8 years old. Her mother has been an inspiration. Rosemary got her associates degree from a local community college at the age of  47 – while working full time – caring for people with disabilities and raising Verda and her three siblings.

Verga said after the graduation, “we are blessed to be a blessing”. I thought that I was in the position where God has blessed me so much, and I thought it was the right thing to do, to bless someone else.

This, my friends is what today’s reading are about.  This is what the Eucharist (Holy Communion) is about.

God’s generosity to people throughout history, continuing through so many acts of generosity, sharing, caring, loving and more. By people not only of the past, but also of today.

Like Verda, may God gives us the wisdom to live lives that are grounded in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist that not only feeds and nourishes us, but allow us to sustain others along our daily journey of life and faith as person, family and Parish.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Sixth Sunday of Easter: CLICK HERE!

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus say to his Disciples of the past and present, if you love me you will keep my Commandments…

As we know there are 10 Commandments that can be whittled down to: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS, as YOURSELF.

Every time I hear Governor Cuomo remind people to be mindful of any number of actions to not only protect oneself, but to protect others, I think of the quote, “the proof of our love of God is seen in our love for one another.”

And several times this week, the Governor was asked about people not wearing masks or bandannas when in public, he said, “the wearing of face coverings is an act of respect for the other person.”  Says the Governor, “It ain’t all about you,” it is about every one of every age.

Could it be, these surreal times are an opportunity for all of us to come to know God, in loving our neighbors in a self-offering manner that can only be demonstrated if we on some level already love God?

Opportunities that reflect our love of God thru our love of others are often all around us. Just maybe during this global pandemic, we are called to care for one another by taking extraordinary measures that include:

  • The suspension of public worship
  • Self-isolation  and/or  quarantining
  • Tending to the sick
  • Supporting first responders
  • Avoiding public places
  • Not hoarding supplies
  • Working remotely
  • Attending school remotely
  • Washing our hands
  • Social distancing
  • Wearing a mask in public
  • Even not going physically to Church buildings

Are themselves expressions of our love of God.

Just maybe, in this challenging and uncertain time, maybe we can remember the admonition of the first letter of John 4: 20, “For whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

So, for the love of God (literally), wear a mask, social distance, stay home, stay safe, keep watch and pray.

Fourth Sunday of Easter

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

Did you ever wonder why 3,000 people in one day accepted the message that Peter had to share with them that day some 2,000 years ago?

Remember Peter was someone many of them knew.  This is the guy who promised that he would never allow Jesus to suffer and who had sworn to stand firm.  And when Jesus was arrested, he hid, forgetting that he even knew Jesus.

But then came Easter and after meeting the forgiving and resurrected Jesus, Peter was a changed man!  Peter finally got it!

And now Peter was trying to help his audience to something more wonderful than they ever imagined.  Peter’s message was simply, “our God has come through in ways we never dreamed of!”

Peter was changed and the people knew it by how he not only talked but how he lived.

The message that Jesus came to offer is life and life more abundantly, was seen in the enthusiasm, the joy, the love, the care for not only this crowd of people that Peter, for the most part did not know, but for us.

A reminder, a message if you will, that we all need.

I was looking at these picture in the pews that you all sent it recently and I noticed one common denominator… Know what it is?  Everyone is smiling!  Everyone is happy!  Might I even say, most are enthusiastic about the picture taking.

That’s what Peter and the Disciples were like, smiling, happy, inviting, enthusiastic about all that Jesus did, but all that Jesus has to offer each of us and all us here on Earth as it is in heaven.

Maybe a thought to ponder this weekend is, “how is our faith in Jesus lived and shared with one another day after day after day?”  Starting with a smiling face, throughout the day today!  Continuing with actions of caring and sharing and encouragement that reflect that of the Shepard, Jesus, who offers us more than we could ever image, here on earth as it is in Heaven.

Let me end today with a story someone shared with me the other day.  They were at a big box store and as they left, at the red light was a homeless person whose sign asked for help, for food.  The person shared that they felt uncomfortable as their car idled at the light, as they drove away, they felt they had to do something…  So they drove up the road, stopped into a fast food place and got a $15 dollar gift card and then drove back to give the man the gift card, because they knew it was the thing to do.

And my guess is the person who did this felt right, felt good about their good deed but maybe more importantly, the homeless person who was helped, felt good also.  Maybe good that someone not only cared, but made the effort to care and maybe they both had a happier day because faith was put into action that day.