Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | November 26, 2021

Church Bulletin November 28, 2021

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Our King was one of us or we are even today.

Who or what comes first in your life? Our celebration of Jesus Christ as King today means that we place Jesus first in our lives at all times. On this last Sunday of this liturgical year before Advent begins next Sunday we celebrate publicly that Jesus is first in our lives. The meaning is clear: all of creation, in this world and beyond, is subject to Christ. No one, and nothing, is greater.

But looking around us, we wonder how many people understand that. How many of us who call ourselves Christians really believe that?  Many today we are not ruled by Christ the King. They are ruled by something else: by materialism, by fear, by mistrust. Some are even ruled, resentment, by hate, by Satan. – Those should not rule us.

The world must know: We are Christians. Our King is Christ. This feast could not come at a more important moment. This is the time for us to profess our allegiance to Jesus who says: “everyone who belongs to the truth listen to my voice”.

How do we reflect that? First, we believe the truth of what our King taught. We follow his greatest commandment: “Love one another.” We honor his teaching: “When you see a stranger, somebody who needs your help, do you attend to him?.” 

Do you have courage to comfort the one who suffers? Sometimes you only have to listen to the other person without saying much. I always remember these words: “Do not be afraid.” It is the magic phrase that I have always heard when I ask for advice on any problem. Jesus was not afraid when Pilate Questioned Him. We are not afraid, because we are Christians. Our King is Christ.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, gathered around tables laden with food and family and faith, we cannot forget those who have lost everything this year, in some cases their lives, because of illnesses, accidents, or hunger in other countries by their faith.

Many people are relegated by our society, and who look at us Christians as their only possibility to find Jesus’ love and goodness. They also have names and surnames, like we do: immigrants, drug addicts, wrongdoers, AIDS victims, unemployed, destitute… Jesus wants to heal them, to remedy their suffering, to solve their problems; and He expects our unselfish, free, efficient collaboration… for love. We are one.

Let this, then, be our prayer: that we remember what we are called to be—and that we remember The One we serve, our true King. That we strive always to do him honor. That we reflect the gospel he taught us and the example he gave us.

That we see the dignity of every human life. Our faith calls us to do no less. Our faith, put it, calls us to be more.

Secondly, in professing our loyalty to our King, we appreciate the teachings of his holy Catholic Church on earth. The greatest teachers have shown us the way. Sometimes we accept the teachings that suit us and although we pray the creed some truths of faith we do not accept them. Are we really Catholics?. Is Christ our true King?

This Sunday, on this feast, we acclaim that. But let us resolve, here and now, to acclaim that not just on this feast. We need to give witness to it every day—with how we live…and with how we love, and how we believe and in whom we believe.

Let the world know this: We stand beside Jesus, who always was beside the senior, the weak and the helpless, the persecuted and forgotten, sick, regardless of race or religion. And we do it for this reason. Jesus is not like kings of earthly kingdoms who may be remote from their people. Jesus is close to us, he walks by our side, he lifts us up when we need help, and he gives his life for us.   We are Christians. Our King is Christ.      I am the Alpha and the Omega, “says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty” And every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord”.

Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | November 19, 2021

24 Hr. Adoration at St. Florence

Starting December 1, 2021, the first week of Advent, we will have 24 hours of Adoration every week from Wednesday at 6:00pm until Thursday at 6:00pm (before Mass). We would like to have teams of 2 adorers for every hour. For safety, the church will be kept locked, and Adorers given access to unlock the doors. Resources will be provided to learn how to pray during adoration. Please sign up by emailing your requested time: StFlorenceAdoration@gmail.com. More information will be shared via email and text to those who sign up.

As a community, we will dedicate our time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament to honor, adore, converse, listen and petition our Lord to make our community a growing thriving beacon that is pleasing to God and attractive to Christians that desire a deeper relationship and participation with Christ.

Sign up for your spot soon – they are filling up fast!

Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | November 19, 2021

Church Bulletin November 21, 2021

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | November 10, 2021

Church Bulletin November 14, 2021

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | November 6, 2021

Fr. Oscar Hernandez Homily for Nov 6/7, 2021 (32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The scribes that Jesus speaks about in today’s Gospel were the very influential teachers of the Law of God. They had great authority in the Temple.  Here Jesus is telling the people, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets”. The scribes were apparently full of themselves and somewhat hypocritical. But, who doesn’t like to wear fine clothes and be treated with honor and respect?

It is Jesus’ next assertion that is the most troubling—“They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers.” One of the roles of the scribes was to write wills and deed properties. And some of them abused their position.

When a man died, the scribes would visit the widow under the guise of counseling her about settling her husband’s estate. In those days, a wife could not inherit her husband’s property or money, so it usually would be left to his sons who, of course, had the duty to care for their mother.

They would pray long prayers and advise the widow that it was God’s will that she give the entire estate to the temple for the sake of her husband’s soul in the afterlife. After taking possession of the property, they would drive the widow and her children from their home, sell it, leaving the widow and her family homeless. 

This was the practice that Jesus was condemning: “They will receive a very severe condemnation.” Of course, this wasn’t the practice of all of the scribes. Just as today we have some clergy who have done bad things. But, most clergy today are honorable and trustworthy servants of God and his people. 

Many of us take advantage of others, using our influences, social position for our personal good, we forget the suffering of most people…  The Gospel text then transitions to a different scene. 

Jesus moves from the Court of the Gentiles where He was teaching and condemning the religious leaders who take advantage of vulnerable people to the Court of the Women where the people presented their offerings. He sits and he watches. Many well-to-do people are dropping in gold and silver coins, but his attention zooms in on one poor, nameless, and probably homeless widow who drops in two small coins, worth only a few cents.

To his disciples, Jesus says, to avoid contamination: This poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

Jesus praises her, not just for her great generosity, but for her phenomenal faith in entrusting all she had to God. Probably one of those widows who was left homeless and penniless by the crooked scribes. But, when you think about it, it’s also a hopeful sign. This widow had every right to be angry at the religious authorities.

They had robbed her; left her a homeless beggar; probably seeking shelter with resentful relatives or neighbors. She also could have been angry at God. It would have been very human for her to have issues with God, as well as with the Church. She could have blamed God for taking her husband away from her. 

Many of us, even for a time, felt God let us down when a loved one has died, especially when we had prayed for healing. 

She also could have been angry at God for her homelessness and her poverty. This happens a lot. People get angry at God for all kinds of things, great and small. Even some of the saints have gotten angry at God.

Life can sometimes be harsh, and God seems nowhere to be found. Getting angry with God is a pretty normal experience. But the amazing thing is that there are so many people who have been hurt by life or hurt by the Church who do not transfer their feelings of anger to God.

Certainly this widow in the temple that day was such a person. She stayed there. She was faithful to her commitment. She didn’t let her issues with the church get in the way of her trust in God, even literally down to her last penny. It is that faithfulness and trust that earns her the praise of Christ.

Likewise, the widow we hear of in our first reading today. Elijah calls her to trust God with the little she has so that God may multiply her supply of food and drink.

What this tells us is that when we are faithful to God, he is faithful in his promises to us. It also points out that we will never outdo God in generosity. It reminds us that though we sometimes encounter or hear of even terrible evil in the church, it is God’s to condemn and punish. Like the widow of the Gospel, we will receive the praise and the favor of God in remaining faithful in our commitment. 

And like the widow of Zarephath, our blessings will overflow as we offer truly sacrificial gifts to him, not just out of our excess, but of our very sustenance. These are the offerings that give glory to God.

Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | November 5, 2021

Church Bulletin November 7, 2021

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | October 29, 2021

Church Bulletin October 31, 2021

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | October 23, 2021

Church Bulletin October 24, 2021

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Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | October 23, 2021

Fr Oscar Hernandez Homily for Oct 23/24, 2021 (30th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

In today’s Gospel a man called Bartimaeus asks Jesus for help.   Anyone, no doubt, have thought that it must be obvious that the man wants Jesus to restore his sight but yet Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you.” And he said, “Master, I want to see,” Jesus cured  

Jesus knew everything about people: he knew Judas was going to betray him, he knew about Nathanael under the fig tree, he knew the woman in Samaria had five husbands before her present partner. Jesus knew about this blind man, he didn’t need to be told he needed his sight restored, but yet he asked him what he wanted.

Notice the way in which Bartimaeus prayed to Jesus. Firstly he said, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” It was only later that he asked, “I want to see.”  His first request was “have mercy on me.” Why did Bartimaeus ask Jesus to have mercy on him before restoring his sight?

So, why should we pray when God already knows what we want?” The response is that prayer is not about informing God what our needs are. God already knows our needs and does not need our prayer to keep him up to date on what is happening in our lives. 

Instead, prayer is for our benefit, not God’s benefit. Prayer is to prepare our heart for what God wishes to give us. Bartimaeus really knew that what he needed most was deeper than restoration of sight. His deepest need was for spiritual healing, a far deeper need than his need for physical healing. He asked for spiritual healing and no doubt he received it since he also received physical h

(In Vienna in Austria there is a church in which the former ruling family in Austria, the Habsburgs, are buried. When royal funerals arrived outside the church, the mourners knocked at the door of the church requesting to be allowed in. A priest inside would ask ‘Who is it that desires admission here?’ A guard would call out, ‘His apostolic majesty, the emperor’. 

The priest would answer, ‘I don’t know him.’ They would knock a second time, and again the priest would ask who it was. The funeral guard outside would announce, ‘The highest emperor.’ A second time the priest would say, ‘I don’t know him.’ A third time they would knock on the door and the priest would ask ‘Who is it?’ The third time the answer would be, ‘A poor sinner, your brother.’) The door was opened. 

That true story reminds us of the fact that we are all sinners no matter what our rank in society or Church. Perhaps we don’t think of ourselves very often as sinners in need of God’s mercy. Sometimes we are blind to our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy. After spiritual restoration, physical healing occurs. Would you like God to open your eyes? May we take that gift with us today, may God remove the blindfold from our eyes, these natural eyes?, and may God open our spiritual eyes to see what is happening around us. 

Many times we are here, there are people by your side, in church, at home, at your work, on the street when you walk, but they know nothing about what is happening to you, like Bartimaeus, many got used to seeing him there, but not knowing what he needed. 

There are three types of people: people who do not know what is happening around them, there are people who are seeing what is happening to another and they do nothing for him and you are one of those who are going through a problem and you feel abandoned. 

Bartimaeus heard that others were healed, but he was blind, until he was witness to what Jesus did in his life and followed him on the way. Are you a witness that God is acting in your life? Are you a witness that God is alive and that he is acting with his power?  Open your ears, listen, and find out, throw your cloak, come to Jesus as a Bartimaeus, call him, and trust him.  Jesus is still in the streets of our Jericho.

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