Sunday, November 29, 2020

Advent Is Here!

Dear Parishioners,

It’s hard to believe that another liturgical year begins this weekend.  Welcome to the First Sunday of Advent!

Advent is a time of commemoration, anticipation and preparation.  We recall the Birth of Jesus Christ while the Church reminds us that Christ will come again.  When?  This has been an unanswered question for the last two thousand plus years.

Hopefully, we as Christians have not become too complacent or even indifferent towards this teaching of our faith.  What if Jesus did return in glory to judge the living and the dead tomorrow, next week or next month?

I guess some people would panic:  “When was the last time I attended Mass?”  “I haven’t been to confession in years!”  “My life is not really in order right now!”  “I never did forgive my dad!” “I haven’t spoken to my sister in years!”  “I’ve been preoccupied with so many things and never take the time to pray!”  “I really do not know Jesus Christ.”

Jesus warns us: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”  (Mark 13:33) We are told by St. Paul that the day of the Lord “will come like a thief at night. “ (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

I do not want people to become fanatical like those who run around with signs claiming that the end of the world is near.  However, as Christians we need to live continually in the presence of the Lord.  And, we should be living in the state of grace (not conscious of any unconfessed grave or mortal sin.)  Christ is aware of us and is there for us at all times.  Unfortunately, as humans we do not think about this at every moment, nor do we always live appropriately even if we believe it.

Advent is here.  Don’t waste the time by getting caught up in all of the materialism that the world is concerned about and sells us every day.  Take time for your spiritual life.  After all, we as humans are comprised of body and soul.  Take time to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. 

I find that when my spiritual priorities are in order and Christ is forefront in my life, everything else mysteriously seems to fall into place.  I may have to learn this lesson over and over again, but someday I may finally get it right.  One can only hope!

A great way to start the Advent season is to make not only a gift list, but a list of my spiritual priorities.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent - Fr. Edward Namiotka


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Meeting Tent

Dear Parishioners,

If you refer to Chapter 33: 7-11 of the Book of Exodus (the Hebrew Scriptures) you will read about Moses encountering God.  This took place in a meeting tent where Moses would talk to God face to face.

I have been fascinated by this passage since my college seminary days.  Back then, when I was reading an article about Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s daily Eucharistic Holy Hour, this reference to Moses and his personal encounter with God was mentioned.  The piece described how Moses’ face became radiant—he was visibly changed—because of his spending time conversing with God.

As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he spoke with the LORD. When Aaron, then, and the other Israelites saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him . . . When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. (Ex. 34: 29-30, 33)
Over many years, following the example of Archbishop Sheen, I have sought to spend time with the Lord before the Blessed Sacrament.  My reasoning is simple:  If we, as Catholics, truly believe that the Lord Jesus is present in the Eucharist, how could we not want to spend time with Him?  It is often an uphill battle trying to get people—sometimes even priests—to understand how precious this time alone with the Lord means to me.

Pope Saint John Paul II once wrote the following, which increased my determination to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration:

To priests the Council also recommends, in addition to the daily celebration of the Mass, personal devotion to the Holy Eucharist, and especially that "daily colloquy with Christ, a visit to and veneration of the Most Holy Eucharist" (PO 18). Faith in and love for the Eucharist cannot allow Christ's presence in the tabernacle to remain alone (cf. CCC 1418). Already in the Old Testament we read that God dwelt in a "tent" (or "tabernacle"), which was called the "meeting tent" (Ex 33:7). The meeting was desired by God. It can be said that in the tabernacle of the Eucharist too Christ is present in view of a dialogue with his new people and with individual believers. The presbyter is the first one called to enter this meeting tent, to visit Christ in the tabernacle for a "daily talk." (June 9, 1993)

The above factors led me, in this and in my two last parishes, to construct my own meeting tent in the rectory—a small, private Eucharistic chapel where I can be alone with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  There is no phone, no Internet, and minimal distractions.  I want to be disconnected from worldly matters and tuned in completely to Jesus.  Period.  Over the years, I have often tried praying in the church but inevitably I am interrupted for some reason or another.  While some may perceive this as anti-social behavior, please take some consolation in this:  your pastor takes his prayer life very seriously, believes in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and is praying for you.  

While my face may not become radiant like Moses, my disposition frequently is more pleasant!

Fr. Ed Namiotka
Pastor (wanna-be monk)

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Election Day

Dear Parishioners,

As I write today (Election Tuesday), people are going to the polls (or may have already voted, like myself) to elect various officials throughout the country.  I have no idea what the results will be by the time you read this message in the Sunday bulletin.  However, I have a few comments and observations I wish to make regarding the current state of politics in America.

First, I state clearly that I have never been affiliated with any one political party for as long as I have been eligible to vote.  While I know that this may prohibit me from voting in certain primary elections, I have found no compelling reason to make a complete allegiance to any political party as they currently stand.  My allegiance is and will always be to Almighty God and to my Catholic faith.  I publicly endorse no candidate, although I will certainly have leanings toward (and have voted for) those who clearly represent my beliefs as a Roman Catholic.  The biggest of these is the right to life issue.  We can never support an intrinsically evil action such as the killing of the innocent unborn through abortion.

I do vote regularly and I vote based on the issues, on a candidate’s observable moral character and values, on what a candidate and his/her party's platform actually stands for, on a candidate’s record of service and past voting on issues, etc.  This sometimes makes voting very difficult, considering most candidates without a major party affiliation probably do not have the money or political clout necessary to run a campaign that is actually able to win.  Is choosing the lesser of two evils—a position in which we may find ourselves all too often—ever the optimal moral position to be in?  However, in this 2020 election, the battle lines seem eminently clear to me.

This being said, I raise the following concerns:

  • Enough with the negative campaigning and political mudslinging!  If you are going to run a political ad, tell me what you are going to do, not how bad your opponent is!  I suppose that negative campaigns must produce a greater result, or they would not be used by so many.  But I am truly sick of them!  My hope is that there will be a backlash against those proponents of the negative campaigns and that your efforts will backfire.
  • Stop lying to the people!  Personally, I do not want continually to be told what you are going to do simply to pacify me or to get my vote.  If I do not see results or I see broken promises time and again, you simply will not get my vote again.  Period.  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!
  • If you are elected to public office, do your jobs!  We have a political system that was intended to have a check and balance system.  Deliver me from a plethora of executive orders, from activist judges, from a congress that does not do what it is actually elected to do—continually stuck in political gridlock from partisan loyalties rather than the good of the constituents.  Deliver me from all abuses of political power, in whatever form they may appear!
  • If you do not vote or fail to become informed on the issues, you have no one to blame but yourself!  I hope and pray that when they interview people on various TV shows, the people are not as ignorant about social and political matters as they make them out to be.  If they really are, God help our country!
  • Dear news media: please report the news and not continually slant it to meet your own political objectives!  Is there such a thing as objective journalism anymore?  Does everything have to be seen through a political pundit’s eyes?  We are intelligent enough to make good decisions if the facts are actually presented and propaganda is not spewed forth continually.
I think that I represent the average American citizen.  I did not come from wealth or privilege.  Because of my parents, I was provided an excellent education and raised with a decent work ethic. My parents struggled to raise five children, to put food on the table and to make ends meet each week.  They taught us the value of the dollar and advised us to live within our means.

Like many Americans, I think that I have become highly disillusioned with our current state of politics and don’t know exactly how we are ever going to get out of the mess that we are currently in.  May God help us!

The genuine hope that I hold comes from remembering that no matter who is elected to public office, Jesus Christ is still King!

Fr. Ed Namiotka