Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Pardon me if I have said this before. I’m always fascinated by the scientific discoveries made in other planets. I re- member watching live with my family NASA’s Pathfinder mission landing in Mars in 1997, and watching National Geographic and Discovery channel growing up. When I was deciding what I was going to study in college, astrono- my was actually one of the main options. However, the idea of staying up all night looking at the stars all the time was not as romantic as it sounded at first. Since man arrived at the moon, and other rockets getting to other planets, the possibility of finding life out of the earth became a real possibility.
When we speak of “finding life”, we mean in simple terms, anything other than rocks. Any molecular structure, or any monocellular “thing” would be considered as “alive.” As much as all that fascinates me, it also bewilders me. My confusion, if you want to call it that, is how come such beings could be considered “life” or called “alive,” while a fe- tus, which is a much more complex being, is considered by some as “not alive”. In other words, how come a mo- nocellular organism is called a “living being,” while a multicellular human being, with tissues, organs (and with a heart that beats at 5-6 weeks) would be called only a “blob or a bunch of cells” and not alive?
Now that the elections are “over,” we can speak plainly about beginning of life without being misinterpreted as sup- porting one candidate over the other. This week marks the anniversary of the decision of the Supreme Court known as “Roe v Wade” that allowed abortion in the US. We as Christians, have the right and the duty to defend life. This also includes many other social issues, especially those that recently were in the headlines: racism, sexism, and others.
However, abortion infringes the very first right of human life as stated by the United Nations. It reads, “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.” Before we can address the other issues, we must start from the very beginning. Every baby has the right to have his life protected. We hear and read everywhere about the endangered species of animals, and even recently laws were approved here in MA to protect marine life that impacted the livelihood of so many people. However, recently, the State Senate overrode Gov. Baker’s veto on the expansion of abortion which unfortunately will also impact negatively so many lives.
The Catholic Church is the leader in social justice. We have the 7 Principles of Catholic Social Teaching that guide us. Care of all creation is our responsibility as we are to be good stewards of all that God has given us. The first principle of Catholic Social Teaching is the dignity of every human being. It is first for a reason.
Let me pause here to say that this is not a judgement to those who are suffering from the aftermath of abortion. Many women and men who have made this choice were under pressure and not given all of the facts they needed to make a decision for life. They felt alone, unsupported and incapable. This is about helping others to make deci- sions to prevent further death and suffering. Although abortion may seem to be the solution to unsurmountable problems, it only leads to more serious long-term afflictions. No matter what the circumstances, the child conceived, whose life was given by God, has the right to be born.
We know by Divine Revelation that God is with us, He never abandons us, and He will always be on our side, for the good, the bad and the ugly. What a child needs is support from other people. Mom needs to feel loved, not judged. Our mission to “love one another as God has loved us” becomes more imperative in such moments. So what can we do?
There are pregnancy help centers that help those in need. Here in Marlboro we are blessed to have 2 centers, First Concern (508) 305-2493 (https://firstconcern.org) and Birthright (508) 481-2055( https://birthright.org/marlborough ). Pregnancy Help is under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Boston and there are three locations in Natick (508-651 -0753), Brighton and Brockton (https://upholdingthedignityoflife.org ) Many of our parishioners are involved in assist- ing at these centers. All inquiries and assistance is always anonymous.
For those who have had an abortion, there are healing opportunities available such as Project Rachel ( https:// projectrachelboston.com ), confession and/or spiritual counseling. Finally, and most importantly we pray. We will have our next 24hour adoration this week from Thursday 21st at 6pm to Friday 22nd at 6pm. This will conclude with Mass on 22 January 2021 at 6pm. We will have an opportunity to pray for the unborn children, for those who are suffering, for the healing of those who had either an abortion or miscarriage, and to pray for a conversion of hearts of our lawmakers to defend life from conception to natural death.
Remember all of this is not about judging or condemning. On the contrary, it is about mercy and healing. We don’t point fingers, we open our arms. Let us open our spiritual arms to welcome our brothers and sisters who may be in need of our help.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord! This marks the beginning of his public ministry, and it also marks the end of the Christmas Season and the start of Ordinary time. You might notice that next week there will be a change of scenery here in the church.
Traditionally, this feast was celebrated together with the feast of the three kings under the title of Epiphany. Since the word “epiphany” means “manifestation/revelation”, it was appropriate that both celebrations would be together with the miracle of the wedding of Cana. The coming of the Three Kings marks the first revelation of the birth of Our Savior to the world. At first, only the shepherds and the people around Bethle- hem knew, therefore the Hebrews, knew about the birth of Christ. The Wise Men, coming from Orient, are the first “outsiders” and they bring to the knowledge of Christ as God to the whole world. After the birth of Christ and the flight to Egypt, there is not much about his infancy other than when the child Jesus is found at the Temple. The second revelation of Jesus’ divinity is when Jesus is baptized at the Jordan. There He is declared to be the “Beloved Son of God.” That is the first manifestation of the adult Jesus and where the Gospels begin to narrate his life. The third “initial” manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah is at the Wedding at Cana. Although the baptism of the Lord was among the people, only a few saw it and heard about it. It is only in Cana that He begins His public ministry per se. At the end of the account in the Gospel of John it is written, “This was the first of Jesus’ signs [miracles]: it was at Cana in Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” (Jn 2:11) Therefore, it is proper that the Celebration of the Baptism of the Lord should follow the feast of the Wise Men (Epiphany). Both of these feasts complement each other and it expands the mysteries of the Christmas Season.
I hope that this time will help us to be consoled by the Lord who does not abandon us. Quite the opposite. Indeed, He comes to our aid! Whatever difficulty we may face, whether due to the virus or something else, Jesus is with us!!! NO ONE IS ALONE!!! He has come to give us that which we long the most, ETERNAL LIFE! And we can receive this eternal life through the graces we received at our own baptism. Baptism is the most important sacrament we can receive. By it we receive divine nature, we are made children of God, our sins are forgiven, and eternal life becomes a real possibility for us. We become the beloved sons and daughters of God.
God Bless, Fr. Steven
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I hope you all had a beautiful Holy Christmas!!! Certainly here in the parish it was an amazing celebration with the gorgeous decorations that our volunteer team prepared for us, accompanied with our musicians, and everyone else. In sum, a word of thanks to all those who dedicated time to prepare our celebrations! I would like also to publicly acknowledge our parking lot warriors, the Roselli family and the Chisholm fami- ly, who for 33 straight Sundays have helped our parishioners to attend the parking lot mass. They have endured the heat and cold, but by the grace of God, NO RAIN!!! There was not a single day of rain while we were celebrating mass there.
As this weekend we celebrate the Epiphany and the start of 2021, I would like to give you a little gift. So many of you were kind to us bringing us gifts and cards, although just your presence is already a gift in it- self. I would like to share something that happened last week. Some of you may have seen or known Miguel Semidey attending the 11:00am mass for the last year or so. After the lockdown, he was the gentle- men sitting at the back who would help us spray the church after mass. Well, Miguel has been battling can- cer for the last couple of years, but his situation has declined tremendously in the last couple of months. As his physical body declined, his spiritual health improved greatly! St. Paul says “where sin abounds, the grace of God abounds all the more.” (Rm 5:20) In his case, where his health complications abounded, the spiritual graces abounded all the more. Since his terminal diagnosis, he began a path of conversion to make his life right in front of God, preparing himself to go to Heaven. He received the anointing of the sick, made a general confession (a confession of a person’s whole life), and the last step was marry his longtime companion in the Church. After planning to be this weekend, to honor the Blessed Mother, his health de- manded to be hurried to last week. How beautiful it was to be part of his wedding on the day of the Feast of the Holy Family. They were so happy! It was amazing to see God’s faithfulness with him. Below is a picture of him, his wife and their child. Please keep him and his family in your prayers as soon Miguel will have to be admitted in the hospital for palliative care.
God bless, Fr. Steven
Father Steven Clemence