February 5, 2023

February 5, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear Parishioners,

 

Today we gather as a parish community to celebrate Black History Month. Throughout the month of February, we as a nation celebrate the accomplishments men and women of color have achieved and the impact they have had in our society. Every February we remember those who shed their blood fighting for peace, justice and equality. We continue to follow in their footsteps, fighting that we will be able to live together in harmony. Each year here at St. Martin de Porres, we gather as a parish community to pray that God will continue to give us the strength and courage that is needed to celebrate but to never forget that the struggle is still here and that it is a reality. I take this opportunity to thank our parish Black History Month committee who have worked tirelessly to make today’s celebration beautiful. Immediately following the Mass, there will be a reception in McGuinness Hall with light refreshments. All are welcomed to join us as we continue this celebration of Black History Month. Continue reading “February 5, 2023”

February 5, 2023

January 29, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear parishioners,

One indisputable fact in our existential struggle is that we all seek “happiness.” This explains why the great philosopher unequivocally asserts that “happiness is that which all [men] seek.” Our lives are configured around the pursuit of happiness, whether that be eating what we want, visiting friends, making money, buying things, traveling, or bearing and raising children. Interestingly, happiness is an inside job that begins with seeking the Lord. We seek the Lord because it is the Lord who gives shelter, food, children, friends, wealth/riches, or enduring pleasure and happiness. As we begin this new year, let us recalibrate our lives by seeking the Lord first in all we do and asking Him to make us happy because “happy people are blessed people.” That is what it means to get our priorities right. Unfortunately, we often fall into the trap of looking for happiness in the wrong place(s), and the result is always a short-lived or ephemeral kind of pleasure. In today’s gospel, Jesus gives us a roadmap to the kingdom and where to look for happiness and blessedness. For him, true and lasting happiness is found in 8 powerful attitudes of blessedness. In other words, anyone who is poor in spirit, mourns with others, shows meekness, thirsts for righteousness, shows mercy, is clean of heart, or is being maltreated or victimized because s/he identifies with the Lord, should hang on because enduring happiness or blessedness awaits the person. Although these attitudes appear unpopular and sound antithetical to happiness, they are, in fact, where true happiness is found. To guard against the misconception of looking for happiness in the wrong places, St. Paul advises us to shun our wisdom and choose God’s direction even if deemed as foolishness (cf. 1 Corinthian 1:25). Whatever the case; we cannot go wrong with choosing the Lord. At any rate, Jesus advises us to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness first; and all other things shall be added to us (Matthew 6:33). Continue reading “January 29, 2023”

February 5, 2023

January 22, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear Parishioners,

Today is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our scripture readings for Mass highlight the building up of the Kingdom of God. St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians that we are baptized into the mystical Body of Christ to preach the Good News. We must all be united in Christ! We live in a society where there is so much division, strife and war. St. Paul urges the people of Corinth and he urges us to not allow division to get in the way of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our gospel today shows Jesus going out preaching and proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is at hand. All throughout the Lord’s public ministry, we see how he continues to proclaim the truth that we must build up the Kingdom of God here and now. As we spiritually prepare to enter the solemn season of Lent in just a few short weeks, we are invited to look into the depths of our hearts to answer the call Christ gave James and his brother John. May we have the courage to leave behind all that weighs us down to and wholeheartedly follow Jesus. Continue reading “January 22, 2023”

February 5, 2023

January 15, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk

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We have now entered the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year. All the Christmas poinsettia plants, trees and wreaths have been taken down. Even though we are no longer singing Christmas carols, we continue to sing God’s glory here at St. Martin de Porres. How blessed we are to gather as a community to thank the Lord for all the many graces he has bestowed upon us and that he will bestow upon us in the future. In my homily last week, I made reference to the fact that Jesus is a gift that is meant to be cherished and shared with one another. Jesus is truly the center of our joy. Our gospel today shows John the Baptist having yet another encounter with the Lord. Upon seeing Jesus walk towards him, John proclaims a beautiful acclamation of faith, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” We hear those words every Sunday at Mass proclaimed by the priest before we receive the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus is the lamb who takes away all sins. He is the lamb who was sacrificed, the lamb who was slain for our salvation. In just a few weeks, we will begin the season of Lent. We pray that as we prepare to enter these most solemn of days that the presence of Christ will continue to radiate through us to others. Continue reading “January 15, 2023”

February 5, 2023

January 8, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. We hear in today’s gospel the story of the three Magi. They were sent to bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. There are many cultural customs throughout the world that considers today to be “Little Christmas”, in which gifts are exchanged amongst each other. On this Epiphany Sunday, the Lord asks us to bring only one gift, and that is ourselves! The Lord wants an undivided heart from us, allowing him to be at the center of our lives. We pray that the Holy Spirit will give us the strength and courage to give ourselves completely and totally to Jesus. One of the most beautiful images of today’s feast is light. The Magi were led by the light of a star to Jesus. We are called to be the light of Christ in this world to radiate his love and mercy. With the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord on Monday, we officially conclude the Christmas season, and we move to the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year. I hope and pray that these days of Christmas have been a time of deep spiritual renewal, as we continue to grow closer to Christ our Savior and King. Continue reading “January 8, 2023”

February 5, 2023

January 1, 2023

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear Parishioners,

I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy and blessed New Year 2023. I know that it has been the custom to have “New Year’s resolutions”, which might include spending more time with family, less indulging and maybe more time at the gym. As great as all those things are, the Lord asks us, not just on January 1 but every day of the year to continue to take care of ourselves, both spiritually and physically, but in addition, to spend more time with him. Our relationship with the Lord must be a regular part of our lives, knowing that we must go to him in good times and in bad. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. How appropriate it is to begin this new year 2023 giving thanks and praise to God through the intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Virgin God-bearer. It is my prayer that this year 2023 will be a year filled with God’s love and joy, bringing the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ here in Bedford Stuyvesant. Continue reading “January 1, 2023”

February 5, 2023

December 18, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear Parishioners,

We have come to the 4th and final Sunday of Advent. What a blessing to have 4 full weeks of Advent this year. Over these last few weeks we have been spiritually preparing for the coming of the Lord this Christmas season. We have been hearing from the prophet Isaiah to prepare the way of the Lord. Now in just a few short days, we will celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our gospel passage for Mass today gives us Joseph’s dream. The angel appears to Joseph and tells him not to divorce Mary, but that she would be the mother of the Savior. They will name him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we pray that our hearts will be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving. I know that this is the season to give gifts to others, but ultimately, the only gift Jesus wants is our complete selves. May Christ continue to radiate his light through us to others. Continue reading “December 18, 2022”

February 5, 2023

December 11, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear Parishioners,

Today is the third Sunday of Advent. It is traditionally known as “Gaudete” Sunday. The word Gaudete is Latin, which means rejoice! We rejoice that the Lord is coming soon. We rejoice that the light of the world, Jesus will come to dispel the darkness. On this third Sunday of Advent, we light the rose-colored candle on our Advent wreath. Your will also notice the priests and deacons wearing rose colored vestments. The rose color is a mixture of the Advent purple and the Christmas white, symbolizing that we are soon approaching the celebration of the Nativity. Today’s second reading from the letter of St. James speaks to us about patience. As we approach the hustle and bustle of Christmas, we need to pray for patience now more than ever! We must be patient with one another, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions. The letter goes on to say that we must not complain either! It is human nature to call out or complain about someone or something that did not line up with what we wanted or envisioned. During this Advent season, we are asked to look at the human traits that hinder us from truly embracing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. May these last few weeks of Advent prepare our minds, hearts and souls to welcome baby Jesus this Christmas. Continue reading “December 11, 2022”

February 5, 2023

December 4, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

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Dear Parishioners,

Our Advent journey continues today as we see the lighting of the second candle of our Advent wreath. As I mentioned in my homily last week at Mass, these days of Advent are important in order to celebrate with great joy the birth of Christ our Savior. Our gospel passage for Mass today introduces us to John the Baptist. John the Baptist tells us that the Messiah is coming and that we must be ready to welcome him. John echoes the words of the prophet Isaiah, “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight a highway for our God”. He is a clear reminder that all of us must be heralds of the good news of Jesus. We must have the courage and the strength to go out and tell the world about Jesus. As we continue our Advent journey, let us pray that through the intercession of St. John the Baptist, we will proclaim to the world, prepare the way, Jesus is coming! Continue reading “December 4, 2022”

February 5, 2023

November 27, 2022

From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. It is also the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Next week we will begin the season of Advent, as we prepare for the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord. Christ the King has always been one of my favorite feast days. It focuses on the reality of Christ as King of the Universe. Our gospel passage today depicts the crucifixion of our Lord on Calvary. The rulers mocked him and jeered saying, “if you are the King of the Jews save yourself”. One of the convicted criminals who was crucified with Jesus says to the Lord, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Those are our words to the Lord today on this beautiful feast, Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus is truly the King of heaven and earth. As he was nailed to the wood of the cross and placed with a crown of thorns on his head, we see Christ crowned as savior and redeemer. We pray that the Lord will continue to rule with his mighty arm until he comes again in glory and majesty. Long live Christ the King! Continue reading “November 27, 2022”