Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | March 24, 2023

Church Bulletin March 26, 2023

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | March 17, 2023

Fr. Oscar Hernandez’ Homily for March 18 & 19th, 2023- Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Word of God on these Sundays of Lent, is like a Christian’s entire spiritual life: Purification in the pool of Siloam, being born into a new relationship with Christ, seeing Jesus and confessing our belief in Him just like the man born blind from birth: “I believe, Lord.” 

There is a beautiful story in today’s gospel which says: “As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents of him, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him”. 

Perhaps we are not blind from birth, but we have some flaws.  Nobody is perfect in this regard, there are flaws that are noticeable, and there are others that are not noticeable and that are hidden.  Things that we dislike and with which we spend our whole lives fighting but Jesus says: “it is so that the works of God might be made visible”. Everything that God allows is good and we have to accept God’s will even when we don’t like it, even when it hurts us, when it makes us cry or when we suffer. 

The blind man’s loss of sight led him into begging, he depended on others to live. But one day Jesus passed by and “he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva and smeared the clay on his eyes.”  The Church Fathers, those holy men from the earliest days of our Church, commented on this fact, say that Jesus was reminding us that God, our creator, made us out of clay, and that he as Man is God and that he has the power to heal us physically and spiritually.

Jesus made the mud with saliva and earth, that saliva was part of Jesus, it was part of his body. Likewise, it is because our salvation is in Jesus, in the Incarnate Word, that His blood is precious blood. Saliva as divine medicine for the blind man and the body and blood of a Savior are for us too divine medicine, the best of all medicine, as long as we are in God’s grace! 

Christ not only cures physical blindness, but blindness of the soul as well, because there are people who are spiritually blind from birth: they never see the good in life, they do not trust in God, in his mercy and in his promises.  They are among those who never confess. They deprive themselves of the great Sacrament of Confession where they would be healed. Our blindness is that we are so obsessed with glamour of evil that we cannot see or celebrate God’s wonderful actions! 

Sin not only blinds us spiritually, but it also has physical effects.   There are diseases – this was known by St. Paul and is recorded in his First Letter to the Corinthians where he warns of sickness and death resulting from the unworthy reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. Hence the need to confess is clearly seen, that is why Saint Paul invites us in the second reading: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 

Jesus told the blind man, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—. So, he went and washed, and came back able to see. He washed himself in Jesus; this is a sign of baptism, a sign of new life. 

This is what the Lord wants from us during this Season of Lent: that by the time we get to Easter we will have experienced an interior change. And hopefully we will all be able to say: I only know one thing, that before I was blind and now I see; that before I was in darkness and now I live in light; that before I did not know Jesus Christ and now I know and love him.

Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | March 17, 2023

Church Bulletin March 19, 2023

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | March 17, 2023

Mission Council Meeting Minutes from March 2023

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | March 10, 2023

Church Bulletin March 12, 2023

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | March 3, 2023

Church Bulletin March 5, 2023

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | March 3, 2023

Fr. Oscar Hernandez’ Homily for March 5th, 2023 – Second Sunday of Lent

(Note:  Msgr. Bussen is presiding March 4th and will have his own homily)

God always manifests Himself in the mountains: He appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai, He appeared to Elijah on Mount Horeb, Today on Mount Tabor. “The Mountain” is a sign of that which surpasses us. You probably have your own Mountain, that problem that you cannot overcome; it can be a disease, suffering, loneliness, etc. 

The Christian does not run away from the test, but he enters it. We have the example of the first reading where Abraham enters the test of leaving his land, his parents, his possessions to obey God: “The LORD said to Abram: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you”.

Abraham had to wait 18 years to see the promise that God offered him. We, on the other hand, choose what brings us happiness in life. And Abraham set out on his way. Where? It was a spiritual journey. A new orientation of his life. An inner change. A search for the true God. Abraham left his gods, his idols and began the beautiful adventure of meeting God.

 And he found it and believed and obeyed and was blessed and became a blessing to his children, his people and all of us. I like this phrase: “Happiness does not consist in changing places but in changing your life”.

 Someone told me: “Father, since I changed places, I changed the countryside for the city, the quiet life for the noise, the family for the work, good customs for vices, the material for the spiritual… and look where I am now, in a hospital.   We change places but not lives.

Today the Lord invites us to change our lives and to be guided, like Abraham, by the land that he prepares for us and to inherit the promises that he makes to all his children.

Abraham did not ask for assurances or guarantees; he did not say to God “show me the Money”.  

The Spirit was his security and his guarantee, his guide and his peace; this is the call of the Church in this Lent, to believe God. There is good news today, Jesus goes up the Mountain and there he is transfigured. The Transfiguration is like a foretaste of his resurrection, a foretaste of the end of his life, a moment of ecstasy in the midst of each day’s battle, an announcement of the coming glory. 

Transfiguration is the triumph; it is the destiny of Jesus and all his followers. Peter said: “Lord, how good it is we are here.” Yes, those moments of immense peace that only God can give. Yes, those moments of happiness that we do not want to end but the Lord does not invite us to come down from the mountain, but rather to go out into the world of work, of children, of violence, of responsibilities, of death; and he tells us: “I am also there, waiting to transform reality, transfigure you.”

God is on the mountain and also down here. God is in extraordinary events and in ordinary ones. God sent us Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. And in Jesus’ baptism and in his transfiguration, he told us: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Jesus is speaking to us, not only in visions, but through men, the threat of wars, the tragedies in our countries; he speaks to you through your own experiences. 

On our journey with Jesus to our personal Jerusalem, listen to him. It won’t always be fun, but you will always be encouraged to face and understand the happy and sad events.

Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | February 24, 2023

Church Bulletin February 26, 2023

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | February 17, 2023

Church Bulletin February 19, 2023

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | February 11, 2023

Fr. Oscar Hernandez’ Homily for February 11 & 12, 2023 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The author of the first reading, Ben Sirach, tells us that God has given us the power to choose: “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you.  Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him”. 

We cannot blame God for our bad decisions, for the sins we commit. To “Choose life” does not mean choosing 80, 90 or 100 years; it doesn’t mean choosing luxury, laziness, doing nothing, money, or irresponsibility.  To “Choose life” means: love God, obey God, walk with God, and choose God. 

Choosing death does not mean a heart attack, a traffic accident, or a stray bullet.  Choosing death means choosing sin, idolatry in its thousand forms, to adore creatures. If you choose life, God will give it to you, God will grant you the conversion of the heart so that you can live the law of love. 

Jesus in today’s gospel sums it up in ten words, the Ten Commandment.  It says: you shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, and you will not give false testimony… “You have heard that it was said to the ancients: you shall not kill… but I tell you… “Jesus speaks in depth about our life, about what no one sees, our interior. We all see the surface, the dirt on the face of a person, the disorder of a house.  What we do not see is the hearts of people. 

Jesus, the man who fulfilled the law, said on the cross: “Everything is fulfilled”, he paid for everything, including our transgressions of the Ten Commandments. As sinners, the Ten Commandments accuse us all, but the Christian is not called to live under the weight of guilt, remorse, fear, the complex that we have inherited from our upbringing, but we are called to live under the sign of grace, forgiveness, and the mercy of God. There is salvation for all who love.

For Jesus, the most important law is obedience to divine laws and of course also to human ones. He says: I have not come to abolish the law; I have come to fulfill them. He says of the law: “You shall not kill.” Easy right? No one in his right mind kills anyone. “But I tell you, everyone who is fighting with his brother, whoever calls him an idiot will be prosecuted.”

Jesus asks his followers to go beyond the letter of the law, his law is love.  It is one thing to behave well, to be polite, to keep up appearances, and another thing altogether to have a heart like Jesus’, the compassion of Jesus; that is deeper, more valuable, and more courageous – oriented towards love, acting and living for God and for the service of others, no matter the cost and sacrifice. While human laws have their flaws which allow them to be interpreted as a person would have them to be. 

Something which is also important is that we all understand and try to comply with the Ten Commandments, since our Christian faith is governed by them. And yet it may be more difficult for us to understand and comply with the commandments of the Church. Especially if we consider them as merely human commandments, external norms that are not important.

There is a Church commandment that bothers some, especially children and young people and some adults. Why do I have to go to mass on Sunday?  Because in the beginning it was not so. For the first Christians who gathered in assembly did so to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a necessity, not an obligation. We live Sunday as a day of rest, as a day of the Lord, a day to worship God, a day to nourish faith with the Word and the Eucharist, to form as an assembly with our brothers and sisters. This, like all the commandments, our Sunday Obligation, we must believe from within, from conviction and love, never pharisaical from the outside. What our Lord wants from each one of us is true worship, pure and sincere worship. He wants us to love God with a deep interior devotion. He wants us to pray, to listen to Him, and to serve His holy will with all the powers of our soul.  

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