Pastor's Message/Homily

Weekly message to the Parish from our Pastor, Father Michael Matveenko, pastor@saint-charles-borromeo.org., is in our  weekly bulletin.

Click Weekly Bulletin to view or download our recent bulletin  issue.

Weekend Homily will be posted in this page whenever it is available.

Easter Homily, 2016

posted Mar 31, 2016, 7:25 AM by Music Director

Copy or click on the Facebook link below for Fr. Mike's Homily on March 27, 2016.

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Homily - January 17, 2016

posted Jan 27, 2016, 10:10 AM by Music Director

2nd Sunday O.T. (C)

(Beginning of Week of Prayer For Christian Unity; Anticipation of National Holiday, Martin Luther King; Anticipation of Anniversary of Roe v. Wade)
 
When I was a child I was rather outspoken; you might even say, mouthy.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?  If something didn’t seem right to me, I had no hesitation in saying so; outside of school, that is.  I was not about to EVER take on a nun!
 
It’s one of the reasons I think the good Lord decided to call me to priesthood and the ministry of preaching.  I guess He figured He might as well try to harness this bold instrument and hopefully put it to some good use!
 
That’s why I find it pretty easy to relate to the Old Testament Prophets, who were called to proclaim God’s Word to kingdoms that were not necessarily willing to listen.  I can particularly relate to the words we hear today from Isaiah:  “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent!  For Jerusalem’s sake I will NOT be quiet!”
 
Isaiah was truly a man on a mission in one of the darkest periods of his nation’s history:  the infamous Babylonian Captivity.  That mission:  to restore hope and faith among a devastated and enslaved people who had survived the invasion of their country, the slaughter of family & friends, the sacking of its political and religious capital, and the destruction of the magnificent Temple built by King Solomon during their glory years.
 
We must not underestimate the effect this had on them.  The Temple was not just a place of worship.  To them, it was God’s earthly dwelling.  How could He, the all-powerful, allow it to be destroyed?
 
Prophets had been warning for years that God would withdraw His favor, and therefore His presence among His people, in response to their violation of His commandments.  This was their punishment for their sins of infidelity to their God and their immoral behavior toward each other.
 
Isaiah foresaw that the worst was over.  Now God would deliver them from this calamity.  “No longer shall men call you ‘forsaken’ and your land ‘desolate.’”   God was still their God; they were still His people.  They had suffered enough.
 
Now He would deliver them from their bondage and restore them to their homeland.  Their nation would be rebuilt as God’s delight; its people espoused, married, to Him forever.
 
It’s no wonder, then, that Jesus began to reveal His true self at a wedding.  He did so not simply out of concern for His hosts.  Back then wedding celebrations lasted for days, and to run out of wine would be terribly embarrassing.  But that was His Mother’s worry.
 
In changing water into wine, Jesus revealed power over creation itself, something He would do again and again.  Now His disciples could begin to understand that the man they were following was more than just another wandering holy man; more than even a prophet; more than a man.  We can almost hear them thinking to themselves as they looked in amazement at each other:  “Who is this that He can change water into wine?”
 
“Do whatever He tells you.”  This is Mary’s word not just to the headwaiter, but to His disciples, and to all of us.  It is her word to gasbag politicians, rogue cops, abusive clergy, and drug addicted youth.
 
It is her word to big bankers and wealthy financiers; to racial and religious bigots; to pregnant women, the men who fathered the life within them, and the health professionals who are paid to care for them.  It is her word to families and individuals; to the young and old alike.
 
It is her word to a society that has lost its moral compass, because like Israel before its fall it is a society that has wandered away from the Lord and His commandments; a society that like those ancient Israelites thinks it knows better, thinks it can live without those commandments, thinks it doesn’t need their God.
 
And what is it that He tells us to do?  We hear it in the words of St. Paul today:  to use the gifts we have been given as Jesus used His…Not for selfish gain, not to toot our own horns or stroke our inflated egos like obnoxious presidential contenders duking it out in public forums; but for the COMMON good, as signs that the Kingdom of God is here among us.
Many will do so on this national holiday that honors one of God’s truly devoted servants who sought to more finely tune this nation’s moral compass and extend its promise of liberty, justice and equality to those it had hypocritically denied these unalienable truths.
 
ML King Day has become a day of service, and that’s terrific.  Many will seize the opportunity and embrace that spirit.  But it’s something we need to do more than just on one day.
 
Many might ask, “Why?  What’s in it for me?”  O yes, the almighty ME!
 
If we do whatever He tells us, and use our gifts for the common good, what’s in it for us is a world relieved of pain and fear, violence and destruction; where abundance is shared with the destitute; where the Divine Law, “Love one another” trumps (if you’ll pardon the expression) all others; where people look out for each other, help each other, nurture each other; a world where God is happy to dwell among us.
 
As in the days of Isaiah, this is the time for the world to renew its marriage to its creator.  For His sake and our own, let us not be silent!  Let us rebuild the city of God!

Homily - January 10, 2016

posted Jan 27, 2016, 10:08 AM by Music Director

BAPTISM OF THE LORD

Our celebration today begs the question:  why was Jesus baptized?
 
We know that John was baptizing to prepare the Jewish nation to receive their long-awaited Messiah, an action meant to symbolize an inner cleansing from sin so they would be worthy to receive the promised Messiah who would deliver them from evil, restore the nation to its former greatness, renew their covenant with God and usher in a new age of freedom and faithfulness.
 
But Jesus WAS the Messiah!  So why did He need to be baptized?
 
We also see in John’s baptism the foreshadowing of our own, in which we are formally united to Christ and His followers, the people we call the Church, and celebrate our liberation from the effects of sin and death.  So ok, we get why WE need baptism; but why Jesus?
 
If He’s God as well as human, and if His mother was preserved from Original Sin as we celebrated a few weeks ago on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, surely Jesus was also conceived without any trace of human imperfection.  In His very nature He was already united to God, and with God’s human creation.
 
So what gives?  I think the answer lies in Peter’s observation recorded in our reading from the Acts of the Apostles:  “I see how true it is that God shows no partiality.”
 
In other words, Jesus doesn’t ask of us anything He wouldn’t do Himself.  So if we begin to fulfill our calling to be His followers by being baptized, so He begins His own mission in the very same way.  Ever the perfect leader, Jesus leads not just by command, but by example.
 
Well, if God shows no partiality even to the point of being baptized Himself, accepting a FULL humanity including even death, what does that say about us who are baptized into Him, made a part of Him, which is why the Church is called “the Body of Christ?”
 
If He who is the “head” of the body shows no partiality, what about us, His “hands,” His “voice,” the people who reflect His presence in the world in which we live?  Can we say we are His Body, can we truly reflect His presence, is our baptism real if we continue to be biased?
 
There are some who want to build walls along our nation’s borders and keep out people who are different, in order to do what?  To protect what?  Will isolation make our country, in their words, “great again?”  I thought we were already great!  Name a country that’s greater!  Russia? China? North Korea? Iran? Saudi Arabia?
 
This country’s greatness lies in the ideals upon which is was founded, and the people who continue to struggle however imperfectly to live up to them, which when you really think about it sound an awful lot like the ideals we find in the Word of God!
 
 
This country is great because it is made up of people from every other nation, and tribe, and race and creed who all seek what every human being was created to share:  liberty, justice, equality; because we are made in the image and likeness of one who is the Ultimate Liberator; who is Justice itself; who as Father, Son and Spirit is the perfect Unity.
 
Some will try to hurt us, to destroy us.  Why not?  They did it to Jesus, what makes us think we should be immune?
 
But they can’t, as long as we don’t allow it; as long as we remain faithful to those ideals and shine them on the rest of the world that is desperate to know them.  Isn’t that what the Statue of Liberty was meant to remind us of?
 
In the end the forces of evil will NEVER win.  They will ALWAYS be defeated.  History has proved it over and over.  Even more so has Jesus Christ!
 
Pope Francis, a REAL leader because like Jesus he leads by example, is calling on us to proclaim mercy, MERCY!  What mercy is there in telling a family, “Sorry, you can’t be reunited?”  “Sorry, you can’t come here to escape poverty, injustice, terror and war.”
 
Suppose it was YOUR family?  At one time, it WAS!
 
Certainly one nation cannot take in everyone, but we cannot descend into paranoiac isolation, either.  Working together with other nations of good will we can, and with God’s help will, find solutions to make peace on earth and justice for all more of a reality throughout the world.
 
God shows no partiality.  Neither must we, if we are to be merciful, as God is merciful; if we are to be true to our baptism into the One who Himself was baptized to lead us to truth, to lead us to justice, to lead us to life.
 
Or do we prefer the kingdom of fear, the kingdom of darkness and death, to the kingdom of God?

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posted Jul 11, 2014, 10:48 AM by Music Director   [ updated Mar 17, 2016, 10:44 AM ]


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