Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”. (Ephesians 4:32).
Forgiving is the first step to close a painful event even if we bear the scars of the offenses, because God gives us through His son Jesus a new strength and perspective to look through. The offenses that we experienced or encountered in our life’s journey shouldn’t consume us and put us down, rather should feel that it is God given opportunity to be a better person and show our forgiveness to them by loving our offenders as Jesus our Master and Savior did. This act of forgiving will further leads us to be more virtuous and holy. It’s not always easy, but it’s the ideal step to take to move on. Even in the most difficult circumstances of our lives, we can often recognize the grace of God at work. God’s work is to bring life out of nothingness, happiness out of sorrow, healing out of pain, and hope out of defeat, companionship out of loneliness, and finally forgiveness out of offenses. On the way to forgiveness we need to learn lot of things. To be able to forgive others is a gift to ourselves! When we forgive we free ourselves. When we forgive others and ourselves we shift into a newly created space that shines with compassion and mercy, and when we forgive we grow in love and wisdom.
If I imagine forgiving my offender as an obligation, I will find it difficult to forgive others freely and generously. But if I know the forgiveness comes from God as an unmerited gift and feels that it is God’s generosity and love, I may experience within myself the same generous capacity to forgive the one who has hurt me and love him all the more. Lewis B Smedes said “to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”. So let us free ourselves by practicing this great virtue of forgiveness in our life because Forgiveness is essential to our spiritual well-being; it is the necessary outcome of loving one another as God has loved us.
I happened to read this message in one of the forwards I received this week and I thought that I must share with you all as well.
*”Walking”* is the best Exercise.
*Walk Away* from arguments that leads you to nowhere but anger.
*Walk Away* from people who deliberately put you down.
*Walk Away* from any thought that reduces your worth.
*Walk Away* from failures and fears that stifle your dreams.
*Walk Away* from people who do not care for you and who are opportunistic. The more you
*Walk Away* from things that poison your soul, the happier your life will be.
*Give Yourself A Walk* to God’s house and worship Him in Truth and in Spirit. May God help us daily to walk in the right direction, to walk towards Him and with Him.
*Give yourself A Walk* towards the sacraments you embraced and received, especially the sacrament of Eucharist and experience the very presence of Christ Jesus.
*Give Yourself A Walk* Towards love, peace, kindness and goodness
*Let’s do more walking* This is the best spiritual exercise and nourishment for your soul. Just like how you spend time Walking for your physical fitness , keep sometime to do spiritual walk for the glory of God and for your own personal sanctification.
Once again another year is passing from our life. When I look back I feel a lot of good things happened in our life and in the world and the community that we live in. As we step into a new year you may have some really good memories about the past year, but you never know what the new one is bringing for you. It’s time to be hopeful, have new dreams and make some new resolutions for the New Year in your life. It’s time to connect with each other and make New Year wishes. It’s time to move on and embrace what is new. Seemingly a time of new beginnings and fresh starts also comes with a time of reflection. Let me put some of the highlights that happened in our Linwood catholic community in 2019:
· A very generous support from all St. Joseph parishioners financially and through volunteer work. Heartfelt thanks to all of you.
· Big thanks to Maria Schirduan and Nancy Sweeney for all the office work and other works they do for the church. May god bless them.
· A full swing support from the Pastoral Council members for the wellbeing of the Catholic community in LinWood. A special thanks to them.
· Paula King , Eddie Rush, Marty Nastasia, Fred Mehrmann, Mark Rosier, Mike Iarocci, Delia Sullivan, Annie Anderson, Jane Maki, Jan Wolowski and Susan Whitman and Lisa Gutro, Denise Rush, Fred Germaine, a big thanks to all of you for all the volunteer work you do.
· Thanks to choir group under the leadership of Margaret Sweeney. You all make the liturgy something more heavenly and beautiful.
· Thanks to the parishioners and visitors for your generous support towards our Capital Campaign and Stewardship.
· Our Knights of Columbus Delaney Council 1730 participated in Laundry Basket Drive and a lot of charitable works. Thanks to all that you do for the Church and the community in LinWood.
· The poor box that is located in the church helped a lot of charitable works. Your generous support makes a difference in the life of the poor people around us. Thanks for being part of this project.
· Knights of Columbus Delaney Council did a great job on blood drive in association with American Red Cross. It was very successful every time they had this blood drive.
· We had good participation from the Eucharistic Adorers. Thank you for doing the Wednesday Eucharistic Adoration. God bless you all. A special thanks to Susan Whitman for coordinating this.
· Having a great faith formation program for the kids. A big thanks to Paula King and Annie Anderson.
· St. Patrick dinner and festivities, followed by St. Joseph feast with novena and dinner.
· Many fundraising programs in view of supporting the church. Big thanks.
· A big thanks to the Eucharistic Ministers and ushers for doing the good job and your commitment is greatly appreciated.
· Thanks to the bereavement committee for all the support you do.
· We have eleven children confirmed and became the full pledged members of the Holy catholic Church. Thanks to the parents and teachers.
· Fr. David Kneeland moved out from St. Joseph Lincoln to St. Lawrence in Goffstown. Best wishes Fr.David.
· Bishop Peter Libasci visited us and celebrated mass with us and we had a town hall meeting which was well attended. The meeting sounded so great and all were so happy to receive the answers for their questions.
· We had lost few parishioners this year. Heartfelt condolence to the families and may Jesus console you in the time of your loneliness and grief.
· We had a good participation from both the parishioners and faith formation children for wreath making . Thanks to Holtzman’s farm for hosting this event.
· We had great Christmas celebration and Christmas raffle. Thank you so much to the Christmas celebration committee for all the hard works that you put behind to make this event a grant and successful one.
· Thanks to Warren Bahr and Alice Pearce for being part of the financial council and pastoral council respectively, due to their busy schedule they step down from the council.· A sincere thanks to all the volunteers and my parishioners for your great support for the St.Joseph church.
On this New Year, may you change your direction and not dates, change your commitments and not the Calendar, change your attitude and not the actions, and bring about a change in your faith, your force and your focus and not the fruit. May you live up to the promises you have made and may you create for you and your loved ones the most Happy New Year ever. I wish you all A blessed and grace filled New year and may all your dreams come true.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (LK2:14). Let me quote here our late Pope Saint John Paul II, he wrote “the mystery of the birth of Jesus that took place more than 2000 years ago must be lived today and every day. The Word that found a dwelling place in and through Mary comes to knock on our hearts this Christmas and every Christmas, today and every day.” After reflecting these words of the late Pope I feel God does not leave us alone in our human experience, with its struggles, trials, and moments of loneliness as well as its peaks and joys because he was with humanity from the very creation onwards and He is with us now (EMANUEL) and He will be with us in the future. There is nothing in our lives that we can’t share with God, nothing too insignificant or too overwhelming to bring before him in prayer. And if we do this, not only will we be comforted; we will begin to share in His divine life, and will see his favors (hope, peace, joy and love) resting on us.
Christmas is a mystery of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Christmas is a mystery of Hope because Isaiah says (9:1) “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned”. The one who has hope lives differently and is granted the gift of a new life. Christmas is a mystery of Peace because from the cave of discouragement, but sow the seed of peace. Christmas is a mystery of Joy because the shepherds described the event as “a great joy for all the people”. Christmas is a mystery of Love, because the love of the heavenly Father is seen in this event, and He has sent into the world His only-begotten Son, to bestow on us the gift of his own life so that all humanity will be saved. The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ is a revelation of true and eternal peace. Through the birth of Christ, the path of our reconciliation with God is made visible and possible. The ancient promise made to Adam and Eve, to Abraham, Jacob and Isaac and many others is fulfilled. All that was foretold by the prophets has happened. God became man and dwelt among us, and with his eternal light he removed the darkness caused by our sin. Finally he paved the way to salvation for all. Therefore, before God’s unconditional love let us stand with all humility and say THANK YOU GOD for this great opportunity to celebrate Your Son’s birth in our life again, and for all the blessings that you bestow in our life. May the Light of Christ always bless and shine in our world and fill our homes and families. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
One of the decorative plants for the Christmas season is the Poinsettia. There is a legend behind the popularity of this plant. Once a poor young Mexican girl called Pepita was heartbroken at not having the money to buy baby Jesus a present at the Christmas Eve service. She was so disturbed and sad thinking of the situation that she was in. As usual the church displayed a beautiful manger for the crowd that year which drew a lot of admirers. Pepita and her cousin Pablo could see the villagers walk miles to admire the manger, bringing lovely, expensive gifts for the Baby Jesus. As Pepita and Pablo watched the villagers place their gifts in the soft hay around the manger, they felt sad. They had no money to buy gifts for their family and no money to buy a gift for the Baby Jesus.
That evening they went for the church service, as they walked to the church, her cousin Pablo noticed how depressed Pepita was and he tried to cheer her up. He said, “Pepita, I’m sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves Jesus will make Him happy.” However the botheration haunted her as she walked towards the church. When we hear this story, may be we are also expecting to see miracles happen in our lives. So Let us place what we have during this Christmas at the manger of Baby Jesus and expect miracles to happen. Look at even a lowly weed was elevated to such a high status. God can turn everything the way He wants. So as we go through this season of Advent, let us find time to be still and to be quiet, and give what we have wholeheartedly so that we can be prepared for the unexpected pleasant surprises that Jesus wants to give us, like how the poinsettia leaves turn from green to red. He will change sadness into joy, the profane into the profound, and the secular into the sacred. Therefore, desire and preparation are necessary for something extraordinary to happen in our lives like that of Pepita because we don’t know what the next moment is going to bring into our lives. Seeing her in tears, an angel appears to Pepita and Pablo and tells them to gather a bundle of the weeds growing nearby. Then the angel told them that the weeds they place before the manger will miraculously turn into glorious red blooms. So they picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a small bouquet. They felt embarrassed because they could only give this small present to Jesus. As they walked through the church to the altar, many of the villagers turned to stare at them but Pepita remembered what the angel and Pablo had said. She began to feel better, and knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the Nativity scene, some of the villagers laughed at them and told among themselves “Why are those children putting weeds by the manger?” Pepita and Pablo began to feel ashamed of their gift to Baby Jesus, but they stood bravely near the manger, placing the weeds on the soft hay, as the angel had instructed. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red colors, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. They stopped talking about them and laughing at them which led to the pin drop silence there. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’. The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes seen as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent His purity.