Category Archives: Bulletin Reflection

  • 0

Holy Mass Explained Part 5

Part Two: Liturgy of the Word

Usually, when we gather as a family or as friends for a meal, we begin with a conversation telling our stories. Likewise, after the gathering rites during Mass, the Liturgy of the Word follows. God speaks to us in the inspired Words of the Bible and we listen to Him. Having heard him speak, we thank Him by saying “Thanks be to God”.

On Sundays, there are three readings. The first reading, except during the Easter Season, is from the Old Testament. It relates to the Gospel and so it sounds like a background and insight to understand better what Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel. After the first reading, there is a Responsorial Psalm. The second reading is, usually, from any one of the letters of St. Paul or from one of the letters by other Apostles. The third reading is from one of the four Gospels. Just before reading the Gospel, the priest bows before the altar and prays that God may grant him the grace to proclaim the Gospel.

We all remain standing while the Gospel is read because Jesus speaks to us and so we show our attentive reverence. The priest greets the people, then introduces the Gospel writer and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead, lips, and heart, in order to clean his mind, lips and heart and thus enable him to proclaim the Gospel in a worthy manner. Following the priest, the people also make the sign of the cross for cleansing them and to enable them to listen with faith. The Gospel is concluded with the response of the people, saying: “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ”, and thus praise Him for having spoken to us.

Homily follows the readings. Its purpose is for “breaking the Word of God” and applying it to our life situation today. Unlike a talk or speech given in a meeting, the homily is an interpretation and application of God’s Word to our personal life. Hence the assembly is expected to keep the heart and mind open and personalize God’s message.

To be continued

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

Holy Mass Explained Part 4

Part 1: Gathering Rites (Cont’d)

Greeting: While the entrance hymn is sung, the priest kisses the altar, which represents Christ, as a sign of surrender and adoration. Following the hymn, the Mass begins with the sign of the Cross and greeting. This greeting is significantly for wishing well, to all present, in the name of the Triune God.

Penitential Rite and Gloria: “Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy” was the instruction of Jesus to his disciples. We, as God’s children, gathered in his House to offer the Sacrifice of Christ and to receive the heavenly gifts, we need to be worthy of presenting ourselves. Hence, we pray for inner purification. Immediately after asking for pardon, we sing the “Gloria”, a traditional hymn of praise and glory to Jesus, our Redeemer.

Opening Prayer: At the close of the gathering ritual, the priest invites the assembly to join him in the prayer, summarizing the theme of that particular day. At the end of the prayer, people respond “Amen”, which is a Hebrew word for “so be it”. Part 2: The Liturgy of the Word will be continued.

God bless you

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

And I Will Give You Rest

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Jesus makes a promise to us in the passage from Mathew’s Gospel today.  Doesn’t this sound inviting to you? Which one of us doesn’t need rest? We live in a world consumed with busyness, one where we are asked to give more of ourselves to make a living, often requiring both spouses to work in order to support their families. In cases where one income would suffice a spouse still often works outside of the home because that has become the norm. Add to this the other responsibilities such as training children in the faith, teaching them the virtues and sharing time in family love. Then comes all the extras we place upon ourselves and our families; sports, music, recreation, travel, entertainment. While none of these are bad, we should take a step back and look at our lives, reflecting on what is truly the most important thing?

I say this because all too often we see this busyness overtaking lives and the outcome is typically tragic. Families torn apart from the stress of life, the burden too much to bear and everything comes crashing down. The family structure destroyed in pursuit of a “better life.” It is painful to hear of these tragedies and the aftermath; children fearful of what will happen to them, mothers struggling to feed and house their children, fathers who are angry and resentful.

It doesn’t have to be like this. This is not what God desires, and that is where taking that step back and reflecting should involve God. Reflect on the passage I quoted; how do we “come” to Jesus? Prayer and the sacraments! That is how we encounter Jesus. These are the steps needed to appraise your life with God as the center. Make the concerted effort to build into your schedule time for prayer every day. This will take work and will involve others. In order to take time for prayer something else will have to be cut out of your schedule. Mentally run through your average day and prioritize what is the most important thing. Use this as your basis; God, family, job, other things. Then cut out the item on the bottom of this list, be it TV, internet, sports or whatever it is. Now fill that free time with some time talking with God. Just tell Him what’s happening in your life, the struggles and the joy. Tell Him your hopes and dreams. Tell Him you are thankful for the countless blessings. Tell Him you love Him and want to be in union with Him. Ask Him how you can better do His Will? And now you have found rest.

Deacon Ray


  • 0

Holy Mass Explained Part 3

The Holy Mass could be described as the ritual celebration of what Jesus fulfilled only once in history: The Last Supper on Holy Thursday, His Death on Good Friday and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The celebration of the Mass can be divided into four parts:

  1. Gathering rites
  2. Liturgy of the Word of God
  3. Liturgy of the Eucharist or Meal sharing
  4. Rite of Commissioning: sending out to live our experienced in the Mass.

Part 1: Gathering Rites:

The purpose of this part is to assemble or gather together, in order to bring the people of God into one body, to listen to His Word and to share the Body of Christ together.

Greeters/Ushers: When we usually gather for any celebration or when friends gather together for a meal, they are greeted at the door and welcomed into the house.  The Ushers, who are also called greeters are our volunteers, who do this great job in the vestibule, as you enter the Church.

Use of Holy Water: One of the first things, Catholics do when they enter the Church, is to dip their right hand in the Holy water and make the sign of the Cross. This ritual is a reminder of your Baptism; we were baptized with water and signed with the cross.

Genuflection: It has been a custom in the medieval time to go down on one knee or genuflect before a king or a person of high rank. This secular practice of honor has gradually entered the Catholic Church, in order to honor the presence of Jesus Christ present in the Tabernacle.  Today many people express their reverence by bowing as an accepted practice.

Entrance song: When the Mass begins, everyone stands up and sings. Standing is a sign of readiness to begin and much more a sign of welcoming with respect the priest/s, who is/are going to celebrate the Mass. Singing an entrance song helps us to unite our thoughts and voices for the celebration.

To be continued

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

Holy Mass Explained Part 2

On June 4th, Pentecost Sunday, I started explaining the Holy Mass for your benefit and for the benefit of your children. Through my simple effort, I would like that you may be enlightened so as to understand the value of the Holy Mass. This week I want to explain to you about the purposes of the Mass.

 

The purposes of the Mass are similar to the purposes for which Jesus offered Himself on the Cross. They are:

  • to give glory to God
  • to thank him
  • to make up for the sins
  • to pray for favor to fulfill our intentions.

 

The first purpose is to give glory to God, our creator, on whom we depend for everything. Acknowledging Him as The Lord, God, we need to praise and glorify Him.

 

What we have, what we do and what we are everything is because of God’s immense love, mercy, and kindness: our life, family, all the spiritual gifts for our eternal life, namely, sanctifying grace, faith, the sacraments and the gift of his mother. Therefore, it is good to thank God for all the natural and supernatural gifts. The person who is too proud to say “thank you” is not only ungrateful but is bound to end up being unhappy.

 

The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ, though he was without sin, he died like a sinner because he took upon himself our sins and made reparation for them on the Cross.

 

Hence, the third purpose of the Mass is to make up for our sins and those of the deceased. When we come to Mass with real sorrow for our personal sins, we

can draw strength from the love of God.

 

The fourth purpose is to make petitions for our needs. God is the giver of all gifts. Being the most loving Father, he gives us the best. Just as Jesus has taught us to ask, so that we will receive, we make prayerful petition for our various needs.

 

God bless you

Fr. Arul Joseph V


  • 0

Happy Father’s Day

Being a father calls for many challenges and hardships, which every dad bears with pride and happiness. Your dad has been your first friend who has always been with you, no matter what. He is the one person who has bestowed you with unconditional love and care, without asking for anything in return. When it comes to the relationship you share with your father, there are absolutely no strings attached. He may not show, but he is always there for you, with his unwavering support and assistance. How often do you take out time to whisper a silent prayer to God for the health and happiness of this special person in your life? Most of you would prefer not to answer the above question. This Father’s Day, take it as an opportunity to seek blessings for your father, with a special prayer of gratitude as in the following lines:

 

God our Father,

In your wisdom and love, you made all things.

Bless those fathers who have taken upon themselves,

the responsibility of parenting.

Bless those who have lost a spouse to death … or divorce

who are parenting their children alone.

Strengthen them by your love that they may be and become

the loving, caring persons they are meant to be.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen

 

May God bless all the fathers

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

We celebrate The Most Holy Trinity today. This solemnity reminds us of the triune nature of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are reminded of this every time we enter the church and bless ourselves with holy water. Our priest also gathers us together in the words of the second reading today from 2 Corinthians; “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

The beauty of the Trinity is the perfect union, communion with each of the persons. This great mystery is one of the foundations of our faith belief and what we are called to imitate. Each of us gathers together at Mass to come into union with God and each of our brothers and sisters in Christ. As indicated we gather in God’s presence recalling first this belief we share; one God, three persons. Each of us is asked to model our lives on this perfect union, not only while we are at Mass, but taking this sacred action out into the world; to our families, our schools, our workplace, in all our interactions.

This is not an easy task. We all know how hard it is to imitate perfection. We fail because we are not perfect like God, however, God desires us to keep trying, to keep perfecting our lives in an effort to be like Him. I believe God knows our hearts, He knows when we try but fail, He knows when we come to a realization of our failures and feel sorrow for them. It is at these times He sends His grace to lift us up once again, giving us His Holy Spirit to empower our very being with the seven gifts. Gifts meant to assist us, strengthen us, inspire us even when we know we have failed to imitate Him.

The community of our Church is a beautiful thing. Oh, we certainly have our warts; just listen to the media and they will tell you all the errors of our ways. Yet, in spite of all these problems we share something otherworldly; the One True God. We share His presence in our sacraments and within each of the baptized. Our job is to recognize God’s presence within our fellow man. We do this when we respectfully engage in conversation when we help them with whatever troubles them when we pray with and for them.

This week take a minute to think of the perfect Trinity of God and ask yourself; “how can I better imitate this perfect community?” Work on one action that will make you more like our perfect God. Deacon Ray

Deacon Ray


  • 0

Holy Mass Explained – Part 1

As Catholics, we know that the Holy Mass is the center of our faith and the source of divine life. Hence, the Church teaches us to participate in the Holy Mass regularly on Sundays and on Holydays of obligation and also on weekdays, whenever possible. If we understand the value of the Mass, we would certainly participate in it actively and regularly. I feel that a simple explanation on each part of the Mass may help you to recognize the value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. With this consideration, I am going to explain every part of the Mass in the forthcoming bulletins, hoping that you would read and profit by it.

Jesus offers Himself:

The Holy Mass is, first of all, a holy celebration, because it is Christ who acts in the person of a priest. Jesus Christ offers himself for us, as he offered on the Cross. Hence, we say that Mass is the same sacrifice of Jesus Christ, offered on the altar in an unbloody manner. Just like Jesus offered his body and blood on the Cross, he offers for us on the altar. The difference is that Jesus offered himself visibly on the Cross but on our altar, He offers himself invisibly and in an unbloody manner, hidden under the appearance of bread and wine.

Faith matters:

A Catholic, who says that he/she loves Christ would not fail to love the Mass. To love the Mass does not mean just being present and nothing more; it means to be present with faith and devotion and to take part actively in the Mass realizing that it is the Sacrifice of the Cross being renewed on the altar. Participation in the Mass involves basically our faith. Without faith, all that one would see on the altar is just bread and wine; just gestures, symbols and nothing more. It is only through faith, we acknowledge that at the consecration of the bread and wine, they are changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. If one would come for Mass without faith, the person would easily feel bored or get distracted. Without faith, one would fail to understand what Christ’s death on the Cross would mean for us. Hence Faith is the most required disposition when we come to participate in the Mass.

To be continued

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

Finding Time to Pray

Day after day in our busy schedule, we don’t find time to pray. For those, who ask a question within, “How can I find time to pray?”, here is a witness of a young woman, Ruth Baker, who suggests 8 ways, to find time to pray. Ruth Baker, 26, loves running, wild camping and writing. She is currently studying Creative Writing at University:

Firstly, investigate if you have the balance in your life right. If it’s a that your prayer life suffers, then start by looking at whether you have the balance right. Your personal relationship with God should come first in order that you can best share His love and mercy to others.

  1. Begin simply.!!! Commit to something each morning: Reading one psalm slowly and carefully or meditating on the day’s Gospel, just start your day with a prayer. Don’t worry if you can’t spend loads of time start small and if you do it with sincerity, your prayer time will deepen.
  2. Utilize your smartphone. Your smartphone is great, though for praying when you are busy or traveling. Using apps like “Laudate” or “Prayer” you can have all the prayers at your fingertips, including the Liturgy of the Hours. In fact, any time you use a prayer app, put your phone on airplane mode so you are not interrupted with phone calls or emails coming through.
  3. Pray a decade “on the go”. The Rosary is perfect for times when we are busy! Whether you’re driving in the car, on public transport, eating your lunch, a quick decade does not take long.
  4. Give your day and work as a gift. Everything you do is an opportunity to give to God in prayer. You can just say in your heart: “Lord, I give you this moment, this task, this job, it’s all for you.”
  5. Set a time each day very briefly, pause and put yourself in God’s presence. Create an alarm on your phone or watch so you don’t forget. Whether it’s at your desk, on the way to your next appointment, parked in your car, or a moment before a session begins, shut your eyes and simply be with Him.
  6. End your day with the “Examine”. During this time, ask God to show you where He was in each moment of your day.
  7. Schedule “longer” time for personal prayer once a week. Whether it’s an hour in Adoration or some quiet time in your room, this is your chance to give all of your weeks to God and really spend some quality time with Him.

God bless you,

Fr. Arul Joseph V.


  • 0

Taking Active Participation in the Mass

You or any of your family members may have been a little while since you last went to Mass. If you think, why to go for Mass regularly, just think that God wants you to grow in his life, which he imparts through the Body and Blood in the Mass. Here are some suggestions for participating in the Mass actively:

Prepare yourself in Advance

Preparation is very important before leaving for Church. Wear a good and decent dress, as you would prepare yourself to go for an important event. If you have time, read the Gospel either through the internet or from the Bible at home, it will help you.

Try your best to arrive at the Church with some time to spare

As you choose your place in the pew, take a Misallette and mark the page for the Readings and the parts of the Mass.

Take active participation

The Mass is a celebration wherein you are expected to take active participation. Hence instead of being a static watcher of the event, say all the responses and sing from your heart. The postures of standing, sitting and kneeling help you to focus on the importance of what is taking place on the altar. What is more important for active participation is to bring all the bad and the good of your life and lay them on the altar to be offered with the gifts of bread and wine.

Children are welcome too

Even if the children may be crying in the Church, don’t worry. Let the children be as they are. But you pay attention not to play with them and disturb others, who are participating in the Mass. I have seen some parents who bring their older children with a kids’ Bible story book. It is a great way to engage the children, while you are participating in the Mass.

Holy Communion As you are going to receive the Holy Communion, invite Jesus into your heart. Having received the Body and Blood of Christ, spend some time to thank him for all his gifts and new life. Remember to receive the Holy Communion in a state of grace. If you feel not in this state, you can either make a sincere Act of Contrition and receive the Communion and at the next

As you are going to receive the Holy Communion, invite Jesus into your heart. Having received the Body and Blood of Christ, spend some time to thank him for all his gifts and new life. Remember to receive the Holy Communion in a state of grace. If you feel not in this state, you can either make a sincere Act of Contrition and receive the Communion and at the next opportunity, you are obliged to make the Sacrament of Confession. If you still feel that you don’t want to receive Communion, you may remain in your pew in prayer.

Finally, Having received the Holy Communion, don’t just rush off out of the Church. Wait till the Mass is over with the final blessing. Finally, even if you feel that you cannot participate perfectly, don’t worry, God knows all our imperfections. You have come to Church to worship Your Lord and God and He certainly has blessed you. Leave the Church with peace of heart and mind.

Having received the Holy Communion, don’t just rush off out of the Church. Wait till the Mass is over with the final blessing. Finally, even if you feel that you cannot participate perfectly, don’t worry, God knows all our imperfections. You have come to Church to worship Your Lord and God and He certainly has blessed you. Leave the Church with peace of heart and mind.

God bless you,

Fr. Arul Joseph V