Chaplain’s Corner | 5th Sunday after Pentecost (July 9, 2017)

We express our gratitude to Fr. Joseph Previtali, who has written extensively for our blog’s Chaplain’s Corner since the beginning of the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco way back in 2013. Fr. Previtali is departing to Rome for a new assignment and has indicated to us the need for him to step aside as the Assistant Chaplain. We are thus grateful to the recently-ordained, Fr. Alvin Yu, who has agreed to step up to be our new Assistant Chaplain, thus continuing the work begun by Fr. Previtali.

We are now therefore pleased to share Fr. Alvin Yu’s first Chaplain’s Corner article for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost:

“If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift before the altar and go first to be reconciled to your brother; and then come and offer your gift.”

In our Gospel from St. Matthew for this 5th Sunday after Pentecost, we learn how our love of God and our love of neighbor are not two things that are separate, exclusive and distinct from one another. First of all, our love of God is something that must flow into a love of neighbor and even our enemies. This is after all what our Lord commanded us to do in the New Commandment, “To love one another as I have love you.” If we love God, than we must also love those who God loves.

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Chaplain’s Corner | June 25, 2017

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In this Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we especially contemplate Jesus’s great Love for us, which is symbolized by His Heart, opened for us as He slept the death of the Cross. We are moved by His Love for us. We are struck by this beautiful surprise in this dark world, that our God is Love, that He cares for us! We can even say that He thirsts for us, as He says on the Cross, “I thirst.”

Jesus’s thirst for us is His desire for our souls. It is a spiritual thirst for our love, as He says, “My son, give me your heart.” Jesus’s thirst for us creates in us a thirst for Him, a hunger for Him. This hunger and thirst can be satisfied only in the Eucharist, in which He feeds us with His very self, answering all our needs, as the Scriptures say. Jesus hungers for me, which creates in me a hunger for Him, which can only be fulfilled in the charity-filled reception of the Holy Eucharist. Thus, our devotion to the Sacred Heart leads us to hunger and thirst for Him, for His Love, for His Hunger and Thirst.

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Chaplain’s Corner | Trinity Sunday – June 11, 2017

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The Octave of Pentecost is one of my favorite times of the liturgical year. During the past week, the Church has been relishing the Gift of the Divine Holy Spirit. The Church has been reflecting on the marvel and power of this Gift, Who is our Consoler and Strength. Here in Half Moon Bay, where I live, we even have the beautiful Portuguese Holy Ghost Festival to celebrate His descent upon Mary, the Apostles, the disciples, and the whole Church. How blessed we are!

The Gift of the Holy Spirit makes us immediately aware of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. St. Paul writes: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” The Gift of the Holy Spirit makes us one with God the Son in His Sacred Humanity, through which we have access in one Spirit to the Father!

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Chaplain’s Corner | 2nd Sunday after Easter / Good Shepherd Sunday – April 30, 2017

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In today’s Gospel in the traditional Roman Liturgy, we meditate on the beautiful Easter figure of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, Who lays down His life for His sheep and Who has power to take up His life again. We marvel at the humility of the Shepherd Who became a Lamb, bleeding for the salvation of the sheep who had gone astray. We can never meditate enough on this solemn doctrine: that our Shepherd has loved us before we were good sheep, that while we were yet sinners He died for us.

The image of the Shepherd with His sheep comes to life if one studies the life of shepherds, so common in Jesus’s culture. I had occasion once to read a meditation on Psalm 22 from a Basque shepherd in Nevada. Among the fascinating details revealed in the shepherd’s simple work, I was most struck by the fact that each sheep personally checks in with the shepherd two times each day.

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Chaplain’s Corner | Palm Sunday – April 9, 2017

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Today the Church enters the most solemn week of her liturgical year. During Holy Week, we accompany Jesus Christ in His Passion and Death, which finally bear fruit in His most sacred Resurrection. We are not mere bystanders at these events, but they enter into our souls to the extent that we open ourselves to them.

The Sacred Liturgy is our teacher in the spirituality of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we welcome with joy into our hearts Jesus Christ our King, so that we might be filled with the hope of entering one day into the New and Heavenly Jerusalem, following where our Head has gone before us.

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Chaplain’s Corner | Last Sunday after Pentecost (November 20, 2016)

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On this final Sunday of the liturgical year, the Church turns her mind and heart to the contemplation of the end of the world. Here she accepts the teaching of Jesus that the world as we know it is passing away, that here we have no lasting city, but seek a home that is yet to come. She confesses her faith in the Last One, Who is the Lord of the Last Things, Who will come again to our earth.

At His Second Coming, our traditional Gospel today teaches us, the Lord will come openly and in glory, with the sign of His Cross in the sky for all to behold. He will come again not in the weakness and poverty of His Sacred Nativity in the manger of Bethlehem, but in the regal victory of His Resurrection and Ascension. He will come not to save us – He has done that already – but to judge us, consummating His beautiful work of salvation. In His First Coming, He came to sow; at the end of time, He comes to gather.

We have a tendency to fear the Second Coming of Jesus. For one, we know our sinfulness and how unworthy in ourselves we are of His Mercy. For another, we are attached to the pleasures of this life and wish not to lose them. The conquering of these fears is the blessed work of Jesus’s coming into our hearts by grace, which applies to us the salvation He won for us in His First Coming, so that we can be eager for His Second Coming.

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Chaplain’s Corner | October 23, 2016

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Beginning on October 31 with All Hallows’ Eve, the Church celebrates on November 1 the solemn feast of All Saints. In the month of November, the last month of the liturgical year, the Church turns her gaze to the Last Things. She delights to begin this annual month-long meditation with the superabundant glory of the feast of all the sanctity that has been communicated to angels and men.

The feast of All Saints is deeply encouraging. It teaches us that holiness is for everyone, in every state and walk of life. Contemplating all the saints, we are encouraged to learn that heroic virtue and perfect divine love are possible for us in the concrete details of our lives. We discover with joy that there are pope saints, bishop saints, priest saints, deacon saints, religious saints, married saints, widow saints, single saints; there are children saints, elderly saints, penitent saints, royal saints, wealthy saints, poor saints; there are saints of every temperament, occupation, race, language, land, nation, and time. Our celebration is a veritable symphony of sanctity!

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Chaplain’s Corner – Beheading of John the Baptist (August 28, 2016)

On August 29 the Church celebrates the Beheading of John the Baptist. This is a most poignant feast for our time, in which God’s law concerning marriage is so often broken and ignored. St. John the Baptist was martyred for defending God’s law concerning marriage and this makes him a great example and help to all in our time who undertake the same joyful task.

The story of John’s beheading begins with the sinful and invalid marriage of Herod the Tetrarch with Herodias, the lawful wife of Herod’s brother, Philip. Herod had divorced his own wife, whose name was Phasaelis. Herod, therefore, had committed adultery in entering into “marriage” with Herodias; neither he nor Herodias were free to marry. How many Catholics and non-Catholics in our time have committed this same sin and live in this same situation!
John the Baptist is the biblical model for how the Church responds pastorally – with true love – to persons who contradict Jesus’s teaching that “whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” Herod was quite fond of John and loved to hear him preach, more out of curiosity and admiration than out of a desire for the truth. John did not let this friendship with Herod compromise his love for God and so he told Herod and Herodias the plain truth of their situation: they were living in adultery and they had to separate if they wanted to stop offending God and avoid eternal damnation.
Herod was perplexed by John’s teaching because he was a weak man. We might imagine he was the kind of person who knows what the right thing is but lacks the moral courage to carry it out. Herodias, on the other hand, was full of malice and hated John. She wanted him dead because of his call to repentance. She saw him as the enemy of all her desires, especially for the power that comes with being the legal wife of the tetrarch. In her hatred for John, she prevailed upon Herod to imprison him.

Chaplain’s Corner – Octave of the Assumption of Mary (8/21/16)

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The Octave of the Assumption of Mary, which we are celebrating now, culminates tomorrow with the traditional feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (in the modern calendar, it’s the Queenship of Mary). It’s beautiful that the Church honors our Mother’s glory by venerating especially her Heart. This veneration is the reason why August is traditionally called the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This feast of Mary’s Heart is the octave feast of the feast of her Assumption into Heaven, which means the two feasts are connected in the logic of the Sacred Liturgy.

The truth of Mary’s Assumption means that her physical Heart is in Heaven, glorified in its resurrection and ascension in her Son. Mary is the first to share in her Son’s Resurrection and Ascension. She followed where He went first. Her Heart, which was always in Heaven by faith, hope, and love, is now in Heaven by glory. As we saw last Sunday, she had first suffered and died with Him in her Heart. We celebrate on August 22 that she has also risen with Him!

Each Christian is invited by grace to this same sharing in Jesus’s Resurrection and Ascension. We are all called and empowered to live, like Mary, with our hearts already in Heaven by faith, hope, and charity, so that they can one day be in Heaven in glory. This is the key to happiness even in this life: to have our treasures and hearts already in the Heavenly happiness that never passes away. We are called by Jesus to live like Mary, suffering and dying with Him so as to rise with Him.

Chaplain’s Corner | August 14, 2016 (late post)

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NB: We have been remiss in posting couple of our Assistant Chaplain’s corner articles owing to a very busy summer schedule, so our apologies for the late post:

Tomorrow the Church celebrates the great feast of the glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This celebration marks the day on which our Blessed Mother was raised from the dead and taken up in her glorified body into Heaven. This is a historical feast (meaning the event of her Assumption happened on the very date of August 15). The Church of Jerusalem commemorates Our Lady’s death on August 13 and celebrates a Marian Triduum leading up to the celebration of her resurrection on August 15. With this feast, we joyfully proclaim the truth of our Catholic faith that there are two glorified bodies in Heaven, that of Jesus and that of Mary!

The feast of the Assumption, then, is a kind of Marian Easter. It is a celebration of Blessed Mary’s sacred role as the New Eve, the Helpmate of the Redeemer, the true disciple of Jesus Christ, the one who kept His Word perfectly and did His Will always. She is our great model and example in her discipleship and she receives the reward of her fidelity in her glorious resurrection and assumption into Heaven. In her glory, she is also an example to us, for we hope to follow her in receiving our own resurrection unto glory on the Last Day.

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