Father Kris' Korner
Father Kris’ Korner
February 25, 2018
Our first reading offers us horrifying story with a very happy ending; God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God, of course, had no intention of allowing harm to come to Isaac. Abraham’s complete trust in God delighted God so much that He promised to give him descendants as countless as the stars. Little did Abraham know that God was going to allow His only Son Jesus to be sacrificed for the salvation of the world. You’ve heard the saying “Give someone and inch and he’ll take a mile;” however, when we give God an inch, he gives us a mile! God always outdoes us in kindness, compassion and love.
If you felt God was asking you to do something for him, how far would you go? I’m not suggesting anything insane… but something more like: make a commitment to volunteer somewhere, spend more quality time with those you love, finally get help with an addiction, give to charity, make a conscious effort to grow closer to God, be more generous with your time and talent, or perhaps commit your whole being to following the Lord’s will. What fears and insecurities hold you back from giving God your all? What we give to God, God will not be outdone; He will give back to us a hundred fold in his way and in his own time.
February 18, 2018
We are 4 days into the 40 day season of Lent. During this season we prepare our hearts and souls by looking inward in hopes of improving our character and changing our way of life through repentance. Today, in our first reading, we listen to the ending of the “Noah’s Ark” story; the ultimate story of the consequences of people refusing to repent of their sinfulness. For most adults, Noah’s Ark is nothing more than a kiddie story of animals entering happily into the ark two-by-two. Children all over the world act out the story with their toy animals. But don’t make the mistake of romanticizing this story; many people’s lives were lost in the flood because they did not heed God’s call to repent. For the record: God does not punish us for sinning. Jesus over turned this misconception 2000 years ago. When we dabble in sin, we invite the consequences of sin. Through sinful choices, evil wreaks havoc; loved ones are hurt and lives are ruined. God never wants this to happen but he also lets us make our own choices. However, God sends us every grace to resist sin and even helps us repair the harmful effects of sin. The Father sent his own Son to die for our sins so we wouldn’t have to face the consequences of eternal separation from him. So that old line, “The Devil made me DO IT” just may have some merit. However, through God’s love and mercy we can also claim, The Father helped me UNDO IT!"
February 11, 2018
A few weeks ago, I was called to a local nursing home to provide the Anointing of the Sick for an elderly gentleman who was near death. When I entered the room, a woman was in full precaution gear with rubber gloves and a mask. There was no sign on the door for precautions, so I simply asked her why she had them on. She answered that the man was highly contagious! I was so caught off guard that I ran out of the room as fast as I could. I quickly ran to get a mask but then decided against wearing the gloves. I did not want to anoint someone through rubber gloves although it is permissible. I thought in this instance, I must touch the man with my bare finger to anoint him with the holy oil. That dying gentleman deserved my fullest respect. In today’s gospel, we encounter a leper. Lepers had to shout out “Unclean” whenever they came close to other people so that no one would touch them, even accidentally. Jesus said to the unclean leper “Be made clean” and while saying this He reached out and touched him (knowing this was quite against the law). Jesus not only saw the man’s leprosy but recognized his human dignity. As Catholics, we believe that nothing is quite as healing as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yes, you can ask for healing and forgiveness in your own private way, but in confession we hear the words of forgiveness from the priest who speaks for Christ. And as part of the sacrament, the priest raises his hand symbolically or places his hand on the head of the person during the prayer of absolution; this symbolizes Jesus’ healing touch of the leper. What sins in your life make you “unclean?” There is only one way to clean a soul – namely through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The Church asks that each Catholic receives this Sacrament twice a year: before Christmas and before Easter. Please consider going to confession during this season of Lent and “Be made clean” in anticipation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
February 4, 2018
The biblical figure Job forces us to reflect on our understanding of why suffering is in the world. Why do some people suffer so much while others seem to evade it? There are no easy answers except that the church has always taught that suffering aids in the purification of souls and of the entire world. Jesus did not promise to protect us from suffering but only that he would tie himself to us and share in our burdens. Since he endured his own horrific sufferings he is able to be completely empathetic in our pain. He shouldered the entire sin-suffering of the world upon the cross. When inflicted with suffering, asking why never leads to answers and it never invites healing. As I watched both my parents die, I realized that long suffering was part of their lives; my father suffered with his mental illness and was in excruciating physical pain during his last years. My mother raised seven children, cared for an ill husband, carries two stillborns to full term, lived in near poverty conditions and then, at the end of her life, lived with mental anguish as her memories faded from her mind. Why didn’t God ever give either of them a break? Asking this question only leads to a dead end. We must look at those who suffer as heroes, especially those who faith gives them peace and hope where there could have not been nothing but despair. My comfort, OUR COMFORT is to know that those who suffer will eventually be freed and will be at peace for all eternity; a glorious eternity that awaits us all. We can be proud to know that our sufferings have helped, in some mysterious way, to make this world a holier place.
January 28, 2018
Many teachers in today’s school systems have the daunting task of keeping their students under control as basic respect is nearly nonexistent in classrooms these days. New teachers are amazed at some of the “old timers” who can walk into a room and with just their presence settle the students down. For some experienced teachers it is simply a skill that they learned; for others it is a result of years of nurturing and loving their students; thus, earning their respect. Jesus taught with this kind of authority and earned the respect and admiration of his followers. In his brilliance he knew the law – every letter of the law, but he taught and applied the law with mercy and compassion. The Scribes and Pharisees had long forgotten to be merciful and, in the process, became hardened and hypocritical. Think of someone whom you know to be hypocritical; what is it about them that turns you off? In every situation Jesus was authentic and practiced what he preached; people admired this and wanted to know more about this amazing man who had the ability to command evil spirits and restore people’s lives. Do you practice what you preach? Are you hypocritical in any way? Do you deal with others with mercy and compassion or are you quick to judge and even quicker to punish? Also, do you have the discipline to control sin and temptation in your own life or does sin have control over you? In a twelve-step program, participants are encouraged to depend on a higher power; as Catholics we believe this higher power is Jesus Christ. So, if you are a bit out of control then turn to Jesus and be amazed by all he can do for you!
January 21, 2018
The running of the Olympic torch is a time-honored tradition; it is passed from one person to another from its beginning location to its destination. When I became pastor of St. Mary’s, Fr. George was kind enough to have my name etched on a stone tablet along with the names of the previous twelve pastors. When I saw my name on the stone, it was then that I realized those pastors that came before me cared for the parish and then passed the torch on to the next successor. A year later, yet another torch was passed on to me when I became pastor of St. Augustin’s. so, not only am I now carrying two torches, I will also face unprecedented challenges with today’s growing disinterest in God; I can only pray that one day I will pass on two healthy parishes to the next pastor.
John the Baptist’s mission was to proclaim that the Kingdom of God was near and to warn everyone to repent from sin. After John was arrested and beheaded, Jesus picked up where John left off and continued to proclaim repentance from sin. John was a loner, but unlike him, Jesus gathered companions for his ministry. Even though he was the Lord of the Universe, Jesus needed the support of family and close friends. What companions have you made along your life journey? Who are the people who have supported and encouraged you? Jesus also knew that it was essential to pass on His Ministry to others. What person(s) have inspired you throughout your life? What torches (ministries, causes or callings) have been passed on to you?
January 14, 2018
One of our beloved modern day hymns is “Here I am Lord.” In fact, whenever it is played, people sing it with gusto. But have you ever stopped to think about what we are singing? Have you ever sung it like you were singing it to the Lord personally? Life has a way of asking for volunteers and so does God. Missionaries, doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, scientists and soldiers travel to all ends of the world whenever the need arises; some consciously spread the love of God with words while others choose to do it through their actions. There are others who never have to leave their own back yard to serve the Lord faithfully.
Parishioners of St. Augustin’s and St. Mary’s tell me that no one ever said no to Sr. Joseph or Fr. George when they asked you to do something. I don’t seem to have that gift; people look me right in the eye and say NO! However, some people will say yes for a specific task and then find themselves becoming involved in other ways; my own family is an example of this. We had a parish festival with carnival games and they were looking for families to run them. At age twelve, I proudly volunteered my family for the skee ball booth simply because I loved to play that game. My mother was ready to kill me for volunteering us. This is a photo that skee ball game that I built for my parish. After that first time, we continued to volunteer every year for the festival and then we slowly got involved in the larger life of our parish community.
Some people say yes only when they are asked, while some people come forward all on their own; I am an example of this. In our parish bulletin, they were looking for a guitar player for the folk group because someone had suddenly dropped out. Without owning or knowing how to play a guitar, I volunteered! I purchased a guitar, took one lesson, and within three weeks I was playing at Mass. I often think how awful it must have sounded – at age 17-year-old I couldn’t read music, I played everything at the same fast speed and I only knew three chords. The parishioners were appreciative and supportive, and they truly inspired me to serve the Lord with gladness. Here is a photo of me at age nineteen singing for my parish’s Woman’s Society.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus calls his first disciples. None of them could have imagined what they were getting themselves into, however they were wise enough to say “Yes!” When have you said yes to the Lord? Perhaps nothing major is popping into into your head, but think long and hard, over the course of your life you must have said it in thousands of smalls ways and these small ways have shaped the course of your life. Please take some time to think this over so as to become aware of your own growth as a disciple of Christ. Then perhaps when the Lord asks you for something major, you might say, “Yes, Here I am Lord!”
January 7, 2018
Epiphany celebrates the journey of the Three Wise Men bearing gifts for a king. This Christmas season is coming to an official end; gifts that didn’t fit have been returned, gifts we didn’t like get stuffed in a closet to be re-gifted next year, and the gifts we loved will be cherished. The Wise Men expected to find a king adorned in splendor and majesty; never in their wildest dreams did they expect to find a baby born of poor parents, lying in a manger, warmed by the breath of animals. To honor the child King, they gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. At first glance, these may seem to be gifts fit for any king, however, for Jesus they were perfectly prophetic. The hymn, “We three Kings” reminds us of the meaning of each of their gifts…Gold was a symbol of Christ’s royal kingship on earth and in heaven, RRANKINCENSE (an incense used in worship) was a symbol of Jesus’ priesthood, and MYRRH (used as an embalming oil) was a foreshowing of His death. Following the example of the Three Wise Men we are reminded that each of us is expected to give a gift to the Christ Child who came for all people – the poor, the rich, the wise and the uneducated. What gift will you offer Christ this year? The only gift he truly wants is your love.
December 31, 2017
Merry Christmas to all. Today we focus on the Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Through blessings, wonders and even sufferings the Holy Family remained deeply rooted in their trust in God. Just imagine how beautifully the family showed their love for each other. However, not everything was easy for them; for years they went into hiding because Herod was trying to find the baby Jesus to murder him, and at some point, Mary became a widow after the death of her bellowed husband Joseph. I love to imagine Mary sharing memories about Jesus’ early life with the Apostles. As this year come to an end, may we all look back on what has happened in our own family’s lives. For some, 2017 might have a been a wonderful year; for others it m might have been a tough year with financial setbacks, illness or even loss of a loved one. People often thank me for sharing my stories about my own family I share my family’s sorrow and celebrations with honesty and vulnerability so that others may feel they are not alone in their own family struggles. For the Von Maluski’s, 2017 has been a year of healing after such incredible losses and we are doing our best to regain our strength. While we may still burst into tears when something reminds us of a love one, it has also been a year of many blessings. We intentionally choose to focus on hope rather than despair; to be victorious rather than defeated. As we say good-bye to 2017 please learn from the Holy Family and my humble family to rely on God, to count your blessings and carry them forward into the New Year. God bless!
December 24, 2017
Our fourth candle of the Advent Wreath is lighted for only a few hours before the arrival of Christmas Eve on Sunday evening! Church decorations have burst forth in celebration. On Saturday evening and Sunday morning we finally hear that the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary she would conceive and bear a son to be named Jesus. It was prophesied that the Savior was to be born from the lineage of King David; a prophesy that took over 1000 years to be fulfilled! Have you ever been interested in your own ancestry? With companies like ancestry.com and now DNA testing, many have become fascinated with their family trees. I recently did some investigating and couldn’t get very far with my mom or dad’s ancestors but it was still interesting. Perhaps knowing where and from whom we come gives us a sense of belonging and deep rootedness. My maternal grandparents were from Nothern Italy and someday I hope to trace my roots by hiking the very same mountain that my grandfather climbed over when courting my grandmother. We love to hear stories of our ancestors’ brave journeys that brought them to the USA. Mary and Joseph traveled bravely to Bethlehem while Mary was far along in her pregnancy. And we are in awe of their courage when accepting the challenge to give birth to and to raise the SON OF GOD! Many people who are adopted long to discover their biological roots while still cherishing their adopted roots. We are all adopted children of Mary and Joseph – all brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. During this season, may God bless you and all your loved ones including your ancestors who are still with us in spirit, and may the Christmas story remind all Christians of our common roots which began on that blessed night when Christ was born; when the Light of the World broke forth in the darkness.
December 17, 2017
On Gaudete Sunday we enter the third week of Advent, the three candles on our Advent wreath are now lighted and we’ve added a touch of pink around the altar to remind us that we are nearly there; yet so far there has been no mention of the baby Jesus. Instead, our focus is mainly on John the Baptist who tells us to prepare for the coming of someone might. Advent is the season of anticipation; anticipating the two comings of Christ – the coming of the baby Jesus – Emmanuel which means “god is with us,” as well as the second coming of Christ the King of the Universe. For thousands of years, the Israelites awaited the Savior; the one who would bring glad tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners. We get restless when we start counting down just 24 days but imagine if we had to count down 730,000 days (that’s 2000 years x 365 day a year) ‘till Christmas! Would you lose heart and eventually forget about it? Or could you stay focused your entire life based on just a promise? Today we are just 7 days away. Don’t let December 25th catch you off guard and find you spiritually unprepared! On Monday, December 18th we will be having a Reconciliation service for both St. Augustin’s and St. Mary’s. Please consider coming to receive the graces of the sacrament so that you can be prepared to receive the Christ Child. May Christ find a dwelling place of faith in your heart.
Dec 10, 2017
In today’s readings the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist urge us to “Prepare the way of the LORD.” How are you preparing for the Lord during this Advent season? Since ancient times people have prepared the inside and outside of their homes with lights and decorations. But do you know the history of these traditions? The practice of lighting the fireplace comes from the Norse tradition of the Yule log. The Yule log is a sentimental custom that links Christmases past, present and future. A log saved from last year’s fire is burned in their year’s fire and this is repeated year after year. The log reminds us of those who were with us last year but are no longer with us now. In Christianity, the Yule log came to represent Jesus as Light in the darkness. Candles in our windows are symbols which welcome Mary and Joseph after their long journey to Bethlehem. Many cultures have decorated evergreens and trees; they symbolize eternal life because they do not drop their leaves in the winter, so it makes sense that Christians adopted evergreens as a sign of Jesus’ promise of eternal life. The star on the top of our Christmas tree represents the star that guided the Wise Men. Even today’s modern Santa Claus has his roots in Saint Nicholas from the 4th century who was very wealthy and extremely generous. Obeying Jesus’ words to “see what you own and give the money to the,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. Remove the “o” from Nicholas and you get “Stain Nichlas.” However, ‘chias’ sounds like “claus”…so, over the years…Saint-Ni-claus became Sant-a-Claus! Our homes have Nativity creches of all kinds from all regions of the world. On Christmas Eve in the year 1223, St. Francis of Assisi staged the first nativity scene in a cave in Italy. It is said that St. Francis was inspired to recreate the nativity scene because he was disgusted with the greed and materialism that was rampant in Italy at that time. He felt that people had forgotten that Jesus came to us not as a rich king but as a poor child. Hopefully, all this will help you appreciate the deeper meaning of our traditions and decorations, and as you prepare your homes, remember to prepare your hearts.
December 3, 2017
Happy Church New Year everyone and may you have a blessed Advent Season! On the first day of the Liturgical year you may notice some changes at church; we have new missalettes and songbooks and the color purple adorns our altar. The candles of our Advent Wreath will help us count down the next 22 days. Our homes will be decorated beautifully; candles in your windows will let your neighbors know that your household awaits the coming the Christ child. All this reminds us that we are in a season of great expectation; the arrival of Jesus Christ our Savior. We love the wholesome image of children awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus; dozing out in front of the fireplace with the milk and cookies in place, or in their beds gazing out the window to see Santa’s sleigh. There is such innocence in their anticipation and oh, how I wish that we adults could anxiously await the arrival of the Christ Child with as much enthusiasm as children waiting for Santa. This season especially, may you prepare well for the glory of Christmas!