The Epiphany of the Lord


Dear Friends,

Happy Feast of Epiphany! That word, in its Greek origin, refers to God’s revelation to humans. Today we focus on the wise men or magi who later legends have named as Melchior, Casper and Balthazar. They may have been of noble birth, educated, wealthy, and influential. Whether we agree or not with the non-biblical descriptions about them, one thing is certain: they had apparently studied the Hebrew Scriptures, in particular, the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. They knew the words of Balaam: “A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17). They certainly were acquainted with the prophecy of Micah: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2; see also Matthew 2:5, 6). They probably also knew and understood the time prophecy of Daniel regarding the appearance of the Messiah (see Daniel 9:25, 26). Their study of the Scriptures led them to the Messiah and they adored him.

Reading and praying the Scriptures is the surest way to know the Messiah. “The more we seek him, the more we find him…” a famous worship song declares. The wise men must be admired for their willingness to spend their time, inconveniencing themselves a lot, in order to find Jesus and worship him. Decision to read the Bible daily is an excellent New Year resolution that can still be made on this second Sunday of 2023.

May be today is the right time to ask: Did we begin the New Year in the right spirit? St. Paul gives an excellent piece of advice he practiced himself: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13). The spirit he advocates is to be forward-looking at the possibilities that we have in the call of God in Christ Jesus.
“Forgetting what lies behind” is an invitation to not dwell on the past failures, hurts and wrong choices but to learn from them in the light that Jesus brings into our lives. No doubt our desire is to be better persons, to live better lives, to make more healthy choices and to live with all in harmony and peace. “Straining forward to what lies ahead” is the promise of the fulfillment of our longings in Jesus. As we celebrate Epiphany today, let us remember that the wise men reached their goal because they strained forward to what lay ahead. Their guide was the star that led them from the beginning of their quest. We too need to keep our eyes on the star and should take care that we don’t lose focus.

It is said that New Year’s Day is “the first blank page of a 365 page book.” Obviously, we all desire to write good things in that book. As we enter the second week, can we be happy and proud of what we already wrote in the first seven pages of this book?

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


Happy New Year!

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! The New Year’s Eve Mass is an opportunity for us to thank God for the blessings we received in 2022. We usher in the New Year not only watching all the celebrations across the world including the dropping of the ball in Times Square, but also by celebrating the Eucharist in God’s house and beginning 2023 with His blessings. Many will make this first day of the New Year a time of reflecting, resolving, and beginning again.

It is only understandable that most New Year’s resolutions are about personal health like eating right, losing weight, relaxing more, avoiding smoking, drinking etc. But Christianity reminds us that we are more than our bodies. Jesus says: “Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:23). Hence our New Year resolutions should address every aspect of our self ‐ physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. I came across some simple but profound ideas that the International Catholic Stewardship Council published. I wish to share these with you:

Practice gratitude – Cultivating a grateful heart is the hallmark of a Christian steward. Every day, express thankfulness. Seeing the good in your life will allow you to keep your heart compassionate and loving. Encounter the Lord each day – Find time to be with the Lord each day, whether it be for an hour or ten minutes. Have a conversation with the Lord. Give your joys and worries to Him as well. Allow God’s love to transform them.

Be present to others – There is much celebration and mourning, joy and sorrow in peoples’ lives. What a blessing it is to be able to share those times
and not let others experience them alone. The gift of your presence to others is much more valuable than you realize.

Resist overwork – There is a pressure to produce, meet goals, be successful. But activities that lead us to overwork, constant fatigue and worry do not give glory to God. What God calls us to do, we can do well. Be mindful that life requires balance, down time and letting go of unrealistic goals.

Give more – Good stewards realize that everything they have is entrusted to them as gifts to be shared. There is no better place to begin than sharing with the community that gathers around the Lord’s table at Mass.

Make a difference in your parish community – Believe it or not, your parish community can use your talents. Offering your talents to your faith community is one of the most effective ways to feel useful and connected to others, and it is a potentially life‐changing New Year resolution.

Consider living more simply – We cannot find fulfilment in possessions. They add nothing to our self‐worth. Jesus blessed the “poor in spirit” in his Sermon
on the Mount; and Saint Francis of Assisi urged us to live with only what was necessary, for that is how we begin to find God.

Don’t give up – People give up their New Year resolutions because of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. So take it slow, be kind to yourself and keep trying. Resist the urge to throw your hands up and quit. You succeed through small, manageable changes over time.

May the Blessings of Baby Jesus stay with all of you for the whole of the New Year 2023.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

The Nativity of the Lord


Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas! Yes, Christmas is that magical time of the year when glittering lights and colorful decorations line the streets and homes and children are eagerly waiting to open the gifts under the tree. One word that we hear often during the Christmas season, especially from liturgical and other sources, is ‘incarnation.’ It literally means taking flesh. Christmas is the feast of God incarnating as a human being.

Incarnation is a familiar term I have been hearing from my Indian background with the Hindus. Their Scriptures describe ten incarnations of God “to restore righteousness in the world whenever there is a large-scale erosion of moral values.” But the Christian Scriptures teach only one Incarnation, and its purpose is given in John 3: 16: “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him may not die, but have eternal life.”  Thus every Christmas reminds us that we need a Savior every day, and that Savior is Emmanuel, God-with-us. That is certainly our cause for joy.

Pope Francis has written and spoken much about the joy we should have for having Emmanuel, God-with-us. Here’s a passage I liked from his Apostolic Letter (Misericordia Et Misera): “In a culture often dominated by technology, sadness and loneliness appear to be on the rise, not least among young people. This often gives rise to depression, sadness and boredom, which can gradually lead to despair. We need witnesses to hope and true joy if we are to dispel the illusions that promise quick and easy happiness through artificial paradises. We need to acknowledge the joy that rises up in a heart touched by mercy. Let us keep in mind, then, the words of the Apostle: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

It is this joy that we try to express when we wish each other  “Merry Christmas!” Let us not be cowed down by the secular progressives who want us to be ‘politically correct’ by diminishing the display of Christian greetings, traditions and practices. Let us not be caught up in the cultural war of “Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays.” Instead, let us be proud of our Christian heritage that the founding fathers and mothers of our nation envisioned. Hence, religious freedom is an essential freedom that we need to practice joyfully.

Christmas blessings to you and to your family!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


4th Sunday of Advent


The Sacrament of Penance/ Reconciliation/Confession

How long has it been since you celebrated the sacrament of Penance? You can’t remember? Maybe you have wondered like some other Catholics; does the church still teach that we have to go to confession? Or you think “I have committed too many sins, I am too embarrassed to confess my sins to a priest” Or perhaps you think “I do not know what to confess, I think I live a pretty good life”. Or it might be as simple as “I do not remember how to go to confession “

Yes, the church still urges us to use the sacrament of confession frequently. Only God can forgive sins. But Jesus willed that the church should be his instrument of forgiveness on earth. On Easter night when he appeared to his apostles he breathed on them and said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you……..receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain they are retained” Jn. 20:22. Bishops and priests continue this ministry today in the sacrament of confession. It is always God who forgives as the Catechism reminds us, “The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner. The confessor is not the master of God’s forgiveness, but its servant” CCC # 1465 The church still teaches that Catholics should celebrate this sacrament frequently ; “after having attained the age of discretion , each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year .Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion , even if he experiences deep contrition , without having first received sacramental absolution “ CCC # 1457 And the catechism goes on to say “confession of venial sins is strongly recommended by the church “ CCC # 1458

Confessing your sins to another human being (also a sinner) is not easy. But a priest, conscious of his own faults and sins is not surprised at anyone’s confession . In our Reconciliation Room we do have a screen so that your identity is hidden from the priest. The priest is not there to judge you or condemn you but to serve as the shepherd or loving father who welcomes back the repentant sinner and celebrates with him/her God’s mercy and forgiveness. The focus in confession is not so much on the penitent or on sin, but on God’s mercy. Recall the words of scripture, “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” Rom 8:39

So you don’t know what sins you have committed or what to confess! Many people do live holy lives avoiding mortal sin but we do well to remember the words of Saint John , “ If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves , and the truth is not in us” 1 Jn 1 ; 8  All sin is an offense against God . To appreciate the magnitude of any sin we should recall the words of Saint Paul, “You were washed , you were sanctified , you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God “ 1 Cor 6: 11. If you are not sure what to confess I suggest you go to the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and read through the information there including several examinations of conscience for married people, singles, young people and more. Go to and type in Penance in the question box .You can also find a brochure on the book rack of our church with an examination of conscience. Also if you really want to inform yourself on the catholic teaching on this sacrament read the Catechism of the Catholic Church chapter two, The Sacraments of Healing, especially #1420 to #1470 on the sacrament of Penance.

Yes, all Catholics should celebrate this sacrament on a regular basis. Every sacrament is a sacred place where we encounter the living God. If you can, get to confession before Christmas and if not make a New Year’s resolution to return to confession as soon as possible. Saint Matthias celebrates confession every Saturday from 3.30 – 4.30 pm. in the Reconciliation Room off the front vestibule of the church. Confessions are also available every Tuesday and Friday morning during Advent and Lent, after the 8am mass. And of course you can always arrange for confession by simply calling any priest. Remember those words of Christ, “I tell you there will be more joy among the angels of God over one repentant sinner” Lk 15;10

Msgr. Brennan

3rd Sunday in Advent


Dear Friends,

The Christmas and New Year season is an exciting time but it can also be a time of frenzy. Is it going to be a wonderful time filled with fun, peace, joy, laughter, optimism, fellowship, family, friends, good food, giving, winter activities, cozy evenings, and fond memories? Or is it going to be a miserable time of stress, anxiety, sadness, frustration, hurry, loneliness, disappointment, overworking, overeating, overdrinking, and overspending? The choice is ours. Of course, we will all choose the first option. But what do we need to do for achieving that wonderful time? There are so many ideas but let me focus on just three:

1) Get enough sleep. It may sound too obvious, and even simplistic, but the fact is that too many of us get too little sleep. God gave us the night to rest and sleep. Science tells us that when we get good sleep, the body does its best repair work. We feel fully refreshed. Research has shown that those who sleep less than six hours have their cortisol levels rise. That means a higher stress level for the body, throwing our physical, psychological, and emotional health off balance. Keep the balance with enough sleep.

2) Live in the present moment. People generally live in the past (with guilt, regret, resentment etc) or in the future (planning, worrying, imagining, etc). In the process what they are doing is destroying the joy of living in the present moment. This is not any new age philosophy but straight from the gospels. For lack of space, let me give just two examples from what Jesus taught: One: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Why did Jesus include that in that most important and only prayer he taught us? Once I have the food for this day (not only the physical food but also other human needs like shelter, clothing, friendship, acceptance etc), I can be happy for today, even though there are other problems and challenges that I may have to face tomorrow. Two: Every one of the beatitudes are given in the present tense (Blessed are the poor, Blessed are those who mourn, etc). That means the blessedness God is offering is not a future promise but a present reality. So focus on the present moment.

3) Take inspiration from Bible: Selections that the Church proposes for our reflection each Sunday will have some insights that will help us. For example, in today’s 2nd Reading, St. James has very practical advice for us: “Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient.” (James 5:7-8). Precious advice we all need to practice.

4) Ponder the Christmas mystery with carols: What is the mystery? God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to us in the most vulnerable human form possible – a helpless baby. Ponder this mystery. A very practical and easy way to do this is by listening to the words of your favorite Christmas songs – at home, in the car, etc.

Try doing these four ideas, and you will be amazed at how easily you get into the spirit of the season. You will be happily surprised that you are not only enjoying every moment of this season but also that you are spreading the same feeling to others.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

2nd Sunday of Advent


Dear Friends,

What a spectacular sight to see those 260-plus Christmas trees lit! They truly “Spread the Light” of this season celebrating the birth of our Savior. So many hands and hearts worked hard to make it a reality, beginning with those who sponsored each tree, dedicating it to someone special. Mary Pat Burke-Grospin, our Business Administrator, coordinated this project, with Jo-ann Piagintini and Pat Cullen. Julio Montero and Deacon John, who regularly supervised all logistics, had already fixed the rebars so that our volunteers – thanks to so many who showed up on both Saturdays – could attach the trees to the rebars and do the decorating with lights. Mr. Patrick from Franklin Electric took the lead in wiring/connecting the power. Knights of Columbus set up the manger, besides helping with trees. The parish staff – Trish Stumper, Vinnie Natale, Nathalie Godet, and Amy Hanna – helped with registration, keeping track, preparing and laminating the plaques, etc. Mr. Bill Gleason’s generous donation/seed money helped with the entire project. Thus we are grateful to a host of people (named and not named here) who made this a work of love bringing joy to all who come to see the illuminated trees or pass this way. May God bless everyone for their goodwill.

It was very gratifying to see more people attending church these past weekends, especially on the First Sunday of Advent as we entered a new Liturgical year of grace.  This year, there are four full weeks in Advent to prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of the Son of God who is the Savior of the world. Please come to worship with us each Sunday, and invite someone to come with you.

Last weekend both of us priests spoke about extra times when we will be available for Confession. Why? The Sacrament of Reconciliation figuratively wipes the slate clean in any liturgical season, but Advent provides a poignant time to experience the joy of reconciling with God and with others, being one with Christ in the here and now, while celebrating His First Coming in His birth in Bethlehem and preparing for His Second Coming and all eternity. Hence I wish to remind you that on Tuesdays and Fridays after the 8 am Mass, you can avail of this Sacrament. And, on Saturdays (Dec. 3, 10 & 17), both of us will be available for Confessions from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. Besides, the parish penance service will be on Sunday, Dec. 18, 6:30 pm. Last-minute Advent confessions are as painful as last-minute Christmas shopping!

You may have already seen the Christmas and New Year Mass schedules. We will have two Masses at 4 pm on Christmas Eve (Saturday, December 24): one in the Church, and the other in the Cafeteria, followed by a 6:30 pm Mass in the Church. The Solemn midnight Mass with carols by our great Choir beforehand will be a divine experience you do not want to miss. On Sunday—Christmas Day—Masses will be at 10:00 am & 12 noon in the Church. These will be very helpful to those who want a preview or to plan ahead.

May this Advent help us to enter more fully into the spirit of what we are preparing for: Jesus who is the reason for this season!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

1st Sunday of Advent


Dear Friends,

Today we begin Advent – our yearly pilgrimage through the events of our history of salvation starting with the preparation for the birthday celebration of Jesus and ending with the reflection on his glorious “second coming” as a judge at the end of the world. Advent means coming. We are invited to meditate on Jesus’ first coming in history as a baby in Bethlehem, his daily coming into our lives in mystery through the Sacraments, through the Bible, and through the worshipping community and finally, his Second Coming at the end of the world to reward the just and to punish the wicked. We see the traditional signs of Advent in our Church: violet vestments, violet altar linens, the Advent wreath, etc. These signs remind us that we have to prepare for the rebirth of Jesus in our hearts and lives, enabling him to radiate his love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness in and around us.

With the Thanksgiving/post-Thanksgiving rush, Advent immerses us further into the busiest season of the year. “A mad rush,” “no time,” “too many things to be done,” and “I’m not ready yet,” are some of the frequent expressions of the inability to cope with this season. In this mad rush, we lose something very precious: living and enjoying the present moment. Fr Richard Rohr, a contemporary spiritual master, writes that faith and spirituality begin with “seeing.” It is not about earning or achieving but about “paying attention”: paying attention to the presence of God in every joy and sorrow, in every pain and trauma, and in every victory and setback before us. Advent calls us to “watch,” to be “alert” to the presence of God in the love of family and friends and to find the true meaning and purpose of our lives in moments of compassion, forgiveness, and generosity.

Theologian Henri Nouwen, In A Spirituality of Waiting: Being Alert to God’s Presence in Our Lives, suggests that we focus on the ‘waiting people’ in the scriptures of this season. “If you really think about Zechariah and about Mary and about Elizabeth, you realize that they were living with a promise that nurtured them, that fed them, that made them able to stay where they are so that it could grow so that it could develop.” The waiting person, says Henri, is someone who is “very present to the moment, who believes that this moment is THE moment.”

Living in the present! Focusing on the moment! That is a tall order for most of us as our culture does not value waiting or silence.  We are constantly reminded that we need to fill our days with activity and noise, with more things than we need or can handle.  We fill our days and nights with ‘doing’ rather than ‘being.’ Hence, the challenge for us all is to slow down and be present in the moment, even while we know we need to plan and do a myriad of things.

The Advent wreath we light is not only for the Church but also for families. Many families set up an Advent wreath at home. If you don’t have one, why not get one this year and start a family tradition? This bulletin has a nice short prayer service that you can pray as a family when you light the candle each week. It will help your family to live the spirit of Advent expressed in slowing down, waiting in patience, and prayer.

Happy Advent!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe


Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, Thanksgiving Thursday is at the door! We are entering a festive season. With the unusual temperature variations this month, Thanksgiving brings lots of joy and fun with good family fellowship. The spirit of giving and sharing is around us. Beginning Thanksgiving Day, November 24th, you will see our St. Matthias Giving Tree project with traditional as well as online methods of giving to the needy. Our St. Vincent de Paul Society and our Youth group SMYLE Youth group have already collected food for the Franklin Food Bank.

In the rush for consumerism soon after Thanksgiving Day, (with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc), it is heartening to see how “Giving Tuesday” – a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration – is becoming more popular. Giving Tuesday celebrates the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Last year our School and the Parish, had two separate but ambitious goals for Giving Tuesday. The Church promoted the “Spiritual Tech Connect” campaign for updating our media capability and reached half the goal. We will continue Part Two of the same goal so that we can complete that project this year and enhance the worship experience with the help of the media. The goal of our School is also to continue the modernization of student furniture and common spaces as well as to expand our new reading and writing programs to the upper grades. See page 7 for more details.

When we recognize that God is the one who has been blessing us and preserving us in this life, our thanksgiving should be directed primarily to this loving God. So why not begin the Thanksgiving Day with the Holy Eucharist? Most welcome to join our 8 am Mass this Thursday and then we will feel the touch of God as we get busy into the hectic pace of Thanksgiving activities. Here’s a nice prayer we all can use for Thanksgiving:

“We thank and praise You, our Heavenly Father, for establishing and preserving our nation in freedom, for giving us a rich land in which to dwell, and for providing us with an abundance of the fruits of the earth. In order that we might live in peace and be good stewards of all that You provide, grant us Your grace to recognize Your gifts and to live as good citizens. We thank You for Your great love in sending Your Son Jesus to be our Savior, and in calling us out of our rebellion into fellowship with Him. We give You thanks that You have done this apart from any worthiness in us.

Forgive us for those times when we grew complacent and took Your gifts for granted. You are the source of all good, and we thank you for the simple things that bring us joy. We thank you not only for the good times, but also for those times of uncertainty and anxiety because they have deepened our faith in you. Thank you for bringing good out of what we considered as tragedies in our lives. Bless the food that we are sharing. May we have a good time with all. Renew our spirits and fill our hearts with your peace and joy so that we will live in true fellowship with everyone in our families and in our communities, and share with those in need. We surrender our prayers of thanksgiving and all our needs, desires and dreams into your hands through the prayer Jesus taught us, Our Father …. “


A blessed time of Thanksgiving to you with your family and all your dear ones.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time


The Four Last Things or Five

The month of November ushers in many changes in nature and in the church. The leaves have changed to bright reds, oranges, browns and yellow. Soon all those leaves will drop and as Shakespeare said the trees will become like “Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang”. All nature seems to die or at least fall asleep.

In the church November begins with the celebration of All Saints and All Souls, reminding us of our destiny and of what has traditionally been called ‘ The Four Last Things ‘, death, judgment, heaven, and hell. And for good measure the fifth is Purgatory. The scripture readings the church gives us in this season for our liturgy have a constant reminder about these important things. There is a sense of urgency about remembering them. The 32nd and 33rd Sundays of the year especially emphasize death and resurrection. The prophet Malachi gets our attention when he writes, “Lo the day is coming blazing like an oven, when all the proud and evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of Hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays. ”Malachi 3:19. Death is certain for every person. We are reminded to live with this awareness.

The teaching of the church about the Last Things is spelled out clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. On the subject of judgment, we read “Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven -through a purification or immediately, or immediate and everlasting damnation. ”(CCC 1022)

Regarding heaven we read, “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ. They are like God forever, for they ‘see him as he is’, face to face” (CCC 1023)

Today there are some who question whether the church still teaches about Purgatory and perhaps even some who question the existence of Hell. Here is what the Catechism teaches “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation, but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1031)

The fourth Last Thing is Hell and again the Catechism does not mince words: “We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves ……to die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘Hell’. (CCC 1033)

Death, judgment, heaven and hell and purgatory are all real. The church reminds us in the liturgy during November not to become complacent. As we watch the ‘death ‘of nature all around us and end the liturgical year November 20th with the celebration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, we hear the call to be awake and vigilant at all times so that we are always ready for the coming of the Day of the Lord and the Four Last Things.

Msgr. Brennan

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

This Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day – an occasion to remind ourselves of the importance to honor all those who have risked life, limb, and mind for their country because freedom isn’t free. While joining the rest of the nation in commemorating this day typically with military-themed ceremonies, we bring all of these heroes and heroines in prayer to God at all the Masses next weekend.

Last Sunday evening, we had a special Mass in memory of all those who passed away this year. We had about 75 names that were read out. A small candle was lit for each of them. Family members brought pictures of their beloved departed and you can see them on the back walls of the church. We acknowledge the sadness of their no longer being physically amongst us, and yet take hope and trust as our faith teaches. At every funeral Mass I love to use the Preface I where it says: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” St. Paul warns us that we must not be ignorant concerning the dead, nor sorrowful, “even as others who have no hope … For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven … and the dead who are in Christ shall rise.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

On All Souls Day, November 2, we prayed for all the departed souls. We know that the whole month of November is traditionally a time in which the Catholic community remembers those who have died. It is related to the fact that the end of November is the end of the Liturgical Year with a new year starting the First Sunday of Advent – the four-week period of preparation before Christmas.

The mention of Christmas reminds us how fast the time passes. In the liturgical calendar the first Sunday of Advent this year is on November 27 – earlier than usual! If you find that time is moving too quickly, and you’d like to slow it down a bit, I find the only way is to follow the method that Jesus is asking us in the beatitudes. He begins each beatitude with “Blessed are you…….” and not “Blessed you will be….” I believe Jesus was very intentional in directing us to be in the present moment. Probably you have heard this saying repeated to us: “Yesterday is history tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why we call it the present!” We have only the present moment at hand and how we deal with it will determine not only our joy and sadness but also the pace of our life. Once we live in the moment, we will be able to take one thing at a time, one day at time. No wonder Jesus included “Give us this day our daily bread” in the only prayer he taught us to pray!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal