St. Justin & St. Michael Parishes
M E S S A G E  F R O M  T H E  P A S T O R





September 15, 2019

The people of Israel offended God by worshipping idol and God threatens to punish them. All the years of favor went unappreciated by a people whom God had made His own by a special covenant. Yet, rather than lend himself as an instrument of punishment, Moses became an instrument of mercy praying God to relent His anger. ‘For He is gracious and merciful slow to anger abounding in love’. Psalm 145:8. In the Second reading, Saint Paul acknowledges his sinfulness but much more so he acknowledges the abundant grace of God who pardons all our sins. The story of the prodigal son in today’s gospel belongs among those parables that reveal the heart of God So full of mercy, love and compassion for His own. Sin brings us to a life of shame separating us from God. It grieves the heart of the father who loves so much. One of the highlights this story however is that this lost son realizes his sinful life and makes a conscious effort to return to his father. The fathers loving response demonstrates that God is never far away from the reach of anyone in need and in search of His mercy. Loving God, we have all strayed away from your ever provident love and have become submerged in sinfulness and iniquity. Grant us the courage to arise and return to you our true home and lasting inheritance, Amen.

September 8, 2019

In His inscrutable wisdom He has made all things and He watches over them. The designs of His heart are so beyond our reach and yet so perfect for they are made in love. The Psalmist in today’s readings lauds the untiring providence of God who, from generation to generation, remains our refuge. And we are admonished: to never forget how meaningless our lives are without Him who could put an end to it at will. In his letter to Philemon, Saint Paula advocates for Onesimus his servant with a love so compassionate that it manifest all the trappings of the love that God bears for us .And yet it is only a copy and indeed a poor copy of God’s incomparable love for us. This sort of love comes with an invitation to become disciples, hence, to make sacrifices for the most sacrificial love know to humanity. The invitation to hate in order to love, as we hear in the gospel, sounds like an inconceivable paradox quite uncharacteristic of Christ. Indeed the true meaning is that everything must be loved less in order that God may be loved more. We cannot afford the cost of loving anything or anyone more than God, period. He is the highest Value, the greatest price to which we MUST all strive to gain. Loving God, teach us wisdom, teach us love for you above all else, Amen.

September 1, 2019

For the Lord exults the humble and the haughty he pulls down from their lofty heights. This statement summarizes the readings of today. In a world where the exultation of the ego is commonplace, where humility is regarded as the morality of the weak, the writer of the first reading invites us to a life of meekness: ‘my child conduct your affairs with humility and you will be loved more than the giver of gifts’. The scriptures speak of the life of Jesus as one of exemplary humility to the will of the father: even though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God’. Philippians 2:6. In His life and ministry Jesus so espoused the virtue of humility that He strongly enjoined His disciples to emulate Him: “learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart’. Matthew 11:29. As human beings pride begins to creeps in when we start believing that by our own merits alone we have accomplished all our feats. We fail to recognize the all provident God who has granted us all a share in His riches. We begin to feel like some type of god and to live under the illusion that everyone else is below us. It is grossly mistaken to think that the world revolves around us. So the sacred passages for this week invite us once again to reflect and to pray: Loving God Grant us the grace to embrace a life of humility and, to acknowledge and show gratitude to you the source of all our blessings, Amen.

August 25, 2019

Strive to enter through the narrow path! This statement is the highlight of today’s gospel being Jesus’ response to a question about who would be saved. The one who would be saved is the one who strives relentlessly, one who is willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the gospel. Entering through the narrow gate here could mean a whole lot of different things including the choice of humility over pride, generosity over selfishness, tenderness over mean spiritedness and so much more. The second reading speaks of adversities and punishments encountered by those whom God loves. These adversities, like gold purified in a furnace, become means of pruning and preparation for higher purposes. In line with the gospel, the adversities we deal with could serve as the narrow gates that lead to a glorious inheritance. In other words, what is seen as pain can become gain just as a seeming stumbling block can become a stepping stone. We have to always trust in God’s great plans for us and to see through these difficulties to the immeasurable blessing that await the faithful. Almighty God, teach to trust your will for us and to embrace it fully confident that in your will is our peace, Amen.


August 18, 2019

We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. Such witnesses are those who became so by their huge sacrifices in view of the Ultimate price. Jeremiah, in the first reading, witnessed to his faith by enduring untold hardship; including being thrown into a pit. The second reading from the letter to the Hebrews talks about the shame of the cross which Jesus endured and overcame. And, Jesus, in the gospel speaks of a baptism with which he must be baptized and which filled his heart with so much anguish. Yet, he dared to embrace it. And, through this cross came the crown. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Peter, Paul and many more are the cloud of witnesses. Above all, Christ is the ultimate witness who endured all hardships and afflictions because of what lay ahead: The crown of unfading glory. The eternal legacy of their exemplary faith and trust lies in their ability to be unyielding despite all odds and in a God who would never forsake them. Loving God, grant us the wisdom to know where the true treasure lies and the courage to seek after it with a commitment that is total and sincere, Amen.


August 11, 2019

Today’s second reading strongly reinforces what we heard last week from Ecclesiastes: All life which is not rooted in God is vanity. Faith in the things of this world alone: In the self, in wealth and riches, is faith without foundation. Abraham, our father in faith, knew this clearly enough that while he lived this material life he looked forward to an eternal destiny. Indeed his faith drew strength from hope in that other worldly inheritance with God. This faith in the Almighty was the reason for his every action and the reason for his apparently reckless sacrifices; like departing his home to live in a land he knew not just because God said so. This for him was a demonstration of faith in the eternal city, a city with unshakable foundation. Jesus reminds his disciples in today’s parable that they must live this life in view of the life to come. This life and everything in it should be at the service of the life we hope to live with God. And when we realize this, all we must do is to act like servants waiting for the return of their master .Ready at all times! Loving God, you give meaning and foundation to all we do, help us to use our every grace and every breath to love and to serve you our one true and eternal treasure, Amen.

August 4, 2019

It is indeed inaccurate to say that all of life is vain and Ecclesiastes is not saying that .What is vain, as we hear in the first reading of today, is any life, any project, any wealth or riches that exults the creature over and above the creator. We build in vain if God is not the foundation and we toil fruitlessly if He is not our ultimate goal. That would be an appropriate interpretation of the mind of Paul as expressed in the second reading of today: ‘to seek the things which are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.’ In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns against greed; which is basically living ONLY for oneself. Seeking to acquire more and more of what we already have enough of without regard or concern for the needs of others. The overflowing supply of food that filled the rich man’s barns could have filled a few empty stomachs. Certainly, his intention was to provide material security for himself except he forgot to recognize that wealth only provides a false sense of security. The Psalm accordingly reminds us of God’s Lordship over our lives. He brought us into being and can take us out of being at will. We owe Him our lives! Dear God, teach us wisdom, teach us humility, teach us generosity. And, may your love be upon us as we place all our hope in you, Amen.

July 28, 2019

Prayer is the most effective way to bring our needs to the attention of the Almighty. In our prayers we bring to God our earnest heart’s desires: Our families, children, jobs and indeed our entire life’s projects. But we also offer prayers for the needs of others as we see in the petitions of Abraham in the first reading and most importantly in the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. While it is wonderful to pray for ourselves it is extraordinary to intercede for others. For the sake of his people, Abraham would entreat God relentlessly for mercy; even though there was not much in it for him. In the Our Father, phrases like: ‘Give us, forgive us’ go to highlight the communal dimension and significance of prayer which makes it not just a petition for me individually but also, as importantly, for the needs of our neighbors. It may sound disappointing that despite Abraham’s relentlessness God still did as He pleased. The Lesson therein is that our prayers do not necessarily force God’s hands. They do well in bringing our desires to Him who knows all things and always acts in our best interests. Ultimately though, we have not started praying well until we have learnt to say ‘Thy Will Be Done’. This is the single most important article of that most extraordinary prayers that at the end of the day we are able to surrender our wills to the will of God as we say: Thy Will Be Done!


July 21, 2019

In the first reading of this Sunday, we see the generosity of Abraham and Sarah towards the messengers of God. Through this act of kindness, God who can never be outdone in generosity, rewards them with their heart’s desire, the promise of a child. Martha and Mary were also generous to Jesus although each in their own way. Abraham and Sarah provided just what the three strangers needed in the same way that Mary gave Jesus the attention he deserved and longed for. Martha, on the contrary and, out of the kindness of her heart, gave what she thought that Jesus needed. In any case, there was an abundance of benevolence and the desire to serve the need of the person on either side. The Psalm of today speaks of those who do justice. They will live in the presence of the Lord. In most cases, Biblical justice goes beyond merely the civil idea of giving to each person his or her due. It means in addition, to walk blamelessly in the ways of the Lord, to live uprightly, to avoid slandering one’s neighbors, to speak the truth at all times. It means to avoid hurting other people needlessly and to be generous, merciful and compassionate. Such is a just man or woman and whoever lives in such a manner will live in the presence of the Lord. This Psalm continues the discourse from last Sunday about what we must do to inherit eternal life, responding: Live justly and act uprightly. Such were the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Martha and Mary. That is the life we all called to live as Christians. Loving God, make us holy as you are holy, just as you are just and loving as you are love itself, Amen.

July 14, 2019

What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ No question could be more critical and more urgent than the above and yet so few bother to even give it a thought. If we desire to have an inheritance with God, how must we live our lives? What must I do or not do? The first reading of this Sunday reminds us that God’s precepts and ordinances are ingrained in our hearts. By nature every human being is gifted with a sense of right and wrong. In our consciences, we hear God’s silent voice constantly reminding us to avoid evil and to do good. The Sacraments, beginning with baptism, equip us even more with the grace of the Holy Spirit that helps us discern what is right and wrong. As we receive these Sacraments and encounter Him in His word we are constantly enriched with the grace to live a virtuous life. Living virtuously, a holy life, is the requirement for the Kingdom of God. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus shows us in a concrete way what virtuous living means: Not being judgmental, being charitable even to the seemingly undeserving, being self-sacrificing not self-centered, loving without measure which is the true measure of love. This parable does indeed reveal to us the true nature and character of God and exactly how God wants us to live our lives as Christians. Doing so is the highway to eternal life! Dear God, help us to live as you lived and to love as you loved, Amen

July 7, 2019

After a long period of tribulation, the prophet Isaiah in the first reading of today invites the people to rejoice. The Psalm re-echoes the theme of joy for the marvels the Lord has done just as the seventy two disciples are reminded of the right reason to delight in their missionary success: Their names are written in heaven. When we stay close to God or keep Him in view, when God becomes the center of our lives who gives meaning to all we do, no matter what challenge we may face or what trials may come our way, we shall find reason to rejoice. A God-less life is a joy-less life. Everything becomes dark and gloomy, hopeless and worthless. From the Season of Lent until now, we have experienced the celebration of such awesome mysteries of faith that should enrich our lives and fill us with joy. The most recent, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is an acknowledgement and celebration of His loving heart wounded for our salvation and which continues to reach out to us in love. It is for this reason and more that we should rejoice aware that no matter what life may bring, God never abandons his own .Loving God, may the mysteries we celebrate each day fill is with hope and confidence in your tender and unfailing love for us your children, Amen.

Sunday, June 30. 2019


Today’s second reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians makes one of the strongest statements in line with our celebration: ‘...Serve one another through love.’ The Caribbean Catholics of North America was established as an association whose aim is primarily to provide a safe environment for those who feel like strangers in a foreign land.To such people,this group is designed to afford a place where they can freely worship,interact and to commune with one another and with the world around them in a manner that is respectful of their dignity and sensitive to their cultural diversities. It is the goal of the USCCB and the church at at large that wherever people may find themselves they should be made to feel welcomed and entitled like all children of God to their freedom to worship.The above goal spells out a clear mission for all those who bear this name; all of us. While we are thankful to all those who articulated this mission and vision, some of whom are here with us today, and while we enjoy all the fanfare, the questions we must ask ourselves are: Are we in truth living according to the obligations of this mandate?As a community, are we compelled by the imperatives of unity,harmony, generosity towards one another, compassion for the stranger, the immigrant,the oppressed and the needy?Have we so far been able to make the transition from compassion to compACTION? Are there still people in our midst who feel lonely in the crowd, abandoned and uncared for? Are we truly serving one another through love?We pray that the celebration of today may once again challenge us to continue to strive relentless in order to realize our raison d’être.
May God bless all the members of CCNA and the parish family of St.Justin-St.Michael.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi reminds us of the gift of His Sacred body and blood. Jesus gives us His body as a meal of everlasting life. In celebrating this solemnity we celebrate the ultimate sacrifice of His life on the cross for the cleansing of our sins. By it we honor Him whose body was broken and His side pierced with a lance for our sakes. But we also celebrate it as a reminder that we are called to be that bread broken for others. That is what Jesus means when He invites us to: Do this in memory of Him. This solemnity memorializes His passion, death and resurrection and by it we are called to be imitators of Christ. We are called to be forgiving, compassionate, humble, self-sacrificing and loving, just like Jesus. When we received the Eucharist, we each undertake to become mobile tabernacles and Sanctuaries of holiness who through their words and deeds spread the goodness of God. On this special day, we congratulations our dear Alijah, Aliyah and Khylee, as they make their First Holy Communion and pray that their lives may be transformed by the Eucharist which they receive. And for the rest of us, we pray that the meal of the body and blood of Christ may preserve us unto life everlasting, Amen.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The church resumes the ordinary season of the year with the celebration of the Most Holy Trinity. A mystery beyond human understanding: That there are three persons in one God or one God in three divine persons. Beyond the mystery and the complex theology, the Trinity is unity and union. It is harmony. It is love, above all. God the father is the lover, God the son is the loved one and God the Holy Spirit is that love between the father and the son. The Trinitarian model of community compels us to live and act as one community united in Christ. It helps to underline the need for the church of God to live and act as one family. In an ideal family, the young are cared for, the old are honored, the weak are strengthened and loved. To live according to the Trinitarian model, we must learn to forgive rather than condemn, build up rather than tear down, see the best in each other rather than the worst, be self-sacrificing rather than self-serving. Unless we did this our worship would be worthless. And so we pray: That the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communication of the Holy Spirit be with us all, Amen


St. Justin-St. Michael Parish   230 Blue Hills Avenue Hartford, CT 06112

860 246-6897