Father Fernando’s Reflections

  • August 19, 2018

Jesus, the Bread of Life come down from heaven, provides true nourishment unto unperishable, eternal life. Murmurings about Jesus now turn to quarreling among the followers and listeners. “How can this man gives us his flesh to eat?” Again, they go low, but Jesus goes high. As they object, Jesus solemnly takes them further into the revelation of
the mystery. The challenge is belief in the sacrifice that will make Jesus the Bread of Life for all: in his flesh given for the world is the source and summit of the Church’s life: the Eucharist! His Blood is given for life with in us. It is true food and true drink. Jesus’ life is from God the Father. This is the bread come down from heaven for the life of the world. We shall not perish at death. As the spirit of Wisdom admonishes in the Book of Proverbs and Paul to the Ephesians, draw near to the wisdom of God, be filled and replenished! Leave behind all human foolishness for the goodness of God.
Vacation Time: July 1 – 31
Thank you for the time away! I am much refreshed and happy with what I was able to accomplish during my vacation. I gardened, did household chores, ate and slept well, went to the movies and shared a casino day-trip with a friend. Church was not far away. I was able to serve the Cathedral parish and celebrate festival masses for the Portuguese in Oakley and Newark. My brother and sister-in-law are here from Spain, so we were able to spend some
time together as well. Thank you to Fr. Malachy Theophilus, Mary Davidson, Preben Antonsen and Theresa Fenzl, and all our ministers and volunteers for their tireless work and for making Saint Jerome Parish the living Body of Christ!

  • July 08, 2018

The prophet Ezekiel, Saint Paul, and the Lord Jesus share something in  common in today’s scripture readings. They all experience obstacles to their ministry. Ezekiel is summoned to prophesy to the Israelites, who are “[h]ard of face and obstinate of heart” (Ezekiel 2:4). Saint Paul recounts how he has been given a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). The Lord Jesus is unable to perform many signs in his native place. The Gospel tells us that “[he] was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:6). We too sometimes encounter obstacles as we
travel along the journey of faith. So often we experience weakness on this journey. Let the words of the Lord to Saint Paul encourage us today: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

  • May 06, 2018
Jesus declares a complete identification with the heavenly Father’s love for the world. The moral imperative is love, love of God, and love for all humanity through the empowering presence of Jesus. Elected in Christ, we enjoy his friendship, joy and the intimate knowledge of the Father’s will. Our fruitfulness and God’s willingness to grant us all good things will be the signs of our union with God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. God is love. How else can we explain our salvation. He gave us Jesus in expiation for our sins. God spares nothing to gain us for himself. Peter himself witnesses to the universal love of God as he beholds the arrival of the Holy Spirit upon Cornelius, a Gentile! What then is there to restrain Peter from baptizing whom God in Jesus has chosen for his new people. Even the Jewish converts, who accompanied Peter, were astounded and agreed! These are the gifts of the Spirit manifest at Pentecost and still effective in the Church today. Where then is the Spirit of God leading the Church today?
  •  Apr 29, 2018
Jesus the True Vine, subject to the Father’s vine dressing, is our true source of everlasting life. Through him we bear much fruit. Without him there is no bearing good fruit for the sake of the kingdom of God. In our bearing much fruit we glory God. Though Paul’s heart was true to Jesus. Some feared him, other took offense at his words and actions. His zeal led to exile. But, this exile serves the Church among the Gentiles and all the way to Rome. Peter and Paul served unto martyrdom. John, exiled at Patmos, lived on to an old age. His Gospel and letters bearing witness to the Divine Love manifest in Jesus for all time. Close to Jesus may we always be!
  •  Apr 08, 2018

Best known as “Doubting Thomas Sunday”, this “eighth day” redoubles the sense that Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is outside of time, an eternal event. The Gospel relates the Easter evening appearance and the subsequent appearance to his disciples a week later. He returns to meet the previously absent Thomas. It is an object lesson for the Apostle and, through him, to all of us. Blessed are we who will not see, touch or hear the Lord and yet
believe! The Resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit have profound effects on the early Church and the quality of people’s lives baptized into that community. The Acts of the Apostles relates a way of life, though short-lived, that reflects beautifully the sentiments of the first letter of Saint John. With God’s grace nothing is impossible! Happy

  • Apr 01, 2018
A happy and holy Easter! The center and core belief of our faith is the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The culmination of the Paschal Mystery – His passion, death and rising to a new, glorified life – crowns the life of Jesus of Nazareth, truly God and truly human, for Him and for the salvation of humanity. The Church stands in witness to these events by our faith, hope and love. In Him we are justified before God the Father, adopted through Baptism, and constituted the Church in mission to the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. Like the Beloved Disciple, may we see and believe! My personal thanks to the staff, ministers and volunteers who made these holy days possible and dignified celebrations. Blessings!
  • Mar 25,2018

This Sunday begin our traditional Holy Week celebrations. This year we rely on the accounts of Saint Mark’s Gospel to proclaim the Paschal Mysteries surrounding the Passion of the Christ. “Palm Sunday” is a roller coaster ride from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to the depths of Christ crucified and dead. Each succeeding day, each Biblical reading, offers insights and inspiration for this most holy week in the Church Year. Thank you for making time to be a part of these celebrations.

The daily morning Masses: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday offer a view into the remaining intimate moments of Jesus’ life on earth. There are no morning Masses for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each of these days is reserved to the Paschal Triduum: Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death, and finally the The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter. Then Easter Sunday!

In times past, the bishop and clergy would gather on Thursday of Holy Week morning for the Chrism Mass. Clergy and laity now celebrate this Mass a few days before Holy Week at an evening service. The Holy Oils are blessed and priests renew their priestly promises before the bishop. These oils are then returned to each parish and presented at the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

Our many and varied liturgies and their rituals enrich our understanding and faith in the Resurrection of the Christ. Make as much as possible of this week to deepen your faith. Blessings!

  • Mar 18 , 2018

The appearance of Greeks – perhaps Hellenic Jews or even pagans – prompts from Jesus a spectacular teaching and a divine manifestation of God the Father. No one will be excluded from the revelation and the new covenant in the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. The law and the prophets will now be exalted and fulfilled in Jesus’ Paschal Mystery. The HOUR has come and is already here: Christ, the universal savior of the world!

God will draw near to the heart of man through Jesus and bring us salvation. Heart will teach heart beyond anything words might accomplish. This is a covenant in the Body and Blood of Christ.

  • Mar 11 , 2018

Again we are given “rich texts” from Scripture. It’s hard to choose the thread of thought for me. Perhaps, grace and mercy are from the Lord! We look to the works of God in the word of Jeremiah, to discipline but to rescue and reestablish as well. As many times as the temple was destroyed, the worship was reestablished to the glory of God. In Jesus, Nicodemus can see the light of a brighter future – one where pain and sorry are relieved in the mystery of the Son
of Man, lifted up like the bronze serpent, for all to see and be saved.

Mar 04, 2018

God’s love is relentless, He cares for his chosen ones and disciplines them beyond any other nation.  As with Israel, so with the New Israel, the Church of Christ, God places before us life and death. The stark reality of Christ crucified and immolated as a sacrificial offering for us draws us closer and closer in the Lenten readings. Though the outward signs of trouble may be evident in the life and ministry of Jesus, the deeper meaning of his pending suffering and death are not all that will be understood, evey by the disciples. Chastised a little, they and we are greatly blessed. The weight of the commandments are now born by Jesus on the cross for all of us. In him we obey, not out of fear, but for zealous love of God.

  • Feb 25, 2018

The Transfiguration of the Lord figures in Lent every year according to the cycle. This year it’s the Gospel of Mark. Tradition or Bible research tell us this Gospel is the recollections of St. Peter the Apostle as recorded or relayed by Saint Mark. Like James and John, Simon Peter is an intimate witness and key “spokesman” of the Transfiguration. Although tongue-tied and terrified, Peter managed to be hospitable, and hoping for inclusion is the august company of Jesus, Moses and Elijah. In fact, he seemed to be looking for a long visit. That was not to be. The grandeur of God’s presence and favor in our lives can prove a distraction from the “business at hand”. Like Abraham, Jesus is busy about the work of God, whatever the price. Can we say the same for ourselves?

Our ultimate hope is in the Lord’s faithfulness to his destiny. It is by his sacrifice and resurrection that we are justified before God. For, who can be against us? (St. Paul to the Romans)

  • Feb 18, 2018

Mark’s gospel is the shortest description of the Satan’s temptations in the desert. In short order they are resolved. In the wake of John the Baptist’s imprisonment, Jesus boldly appears and proclaims the kingdom of God. He calls to repentance of sins and belief in the gospel (“the good word or good news”).

Saint Paul recalls both the story of Noah (in first reading) and the significane of Jesus’ Paschal Sacrifice. It is more than just a dying and rising to new life. It is a transformation of life through death in the mystery of the glorious resurrection. It is a new gift meant for both the living and the dead. Paul gives us a glimpse into the meaning of the words in the Creed, “he descended in hell.” It is a visit, in the spirit, by Jesus “to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient”. Is there yet hope for those who turned from God in this life?

 Feb 11, 2018

The Gospel of Mark centers again on a miracle cure—leprosy! It is the curse of ages and taken very seriously in the Jewish community of the time. Jesus cuts across all barriers and cures the man from the desire of his divine heart to do good. Though Jesus would wish to remain obscure about this, the man publicizes it everywhere to everyone. How can the Gospel be contained! Alleluia! Today is our last Sunday for an “Alleluia” at Mass until Holy Saturday night. Let us approach Lent with praise and thanksgiving!

  • Feb 4, 2018

The Gospel of Mark begins with a “day in the life of” Jesus. Jesus has gathered his disciples, teaches and exorcises demons (works on the Sabbath!), amazes people, and continues his works into the late evening. Drudgery,duty or calling, Jesus leads the way. The burdens of Job, the obligations of St. Paul are ultimately the work of God in Christ Jesus. We take on our burdens and the Gospel, if not with delight, at least with the certain hope that we are doing what is right and just on behalf of the kingdom of God – with the help of Jesus. Rest will come in the end, when Jesus calls us to his side forever.

  • Jan 27, 2018

The words of Jesus are effective and relay the will of God the Father. He fulfills the prophecy of Moses as one who sent by God to speak for God and make manifest his divine kingship over all humanity (Deuteronomy). He is the Son of God! People follow him and demons defer to him (St. Mark). There is none other like Jesus. Our life in Christ should affect our entire existence, body, soul, mind and spirit (St. Paul to the Corinthians). We are to be attentive to him. “A new teaching with authority.”