March 28, 2015

·         Third Quarter Oral Exams are March 31-April 2.  Students are encouraged to study; parents are encouraged to pray!
·         Students will be dismissed for Easter Vacation after the Good Friday services, on Friday, March 3, around 4:30 PM.
·         Students return after Easter Vacation on Sunday, April 12.

·         The next baseball game is Tuesday, March 31, at 3:35 PM, at Rogers/Anderson Park [4161 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, Lawndale, CA 90260]; and Wednesday, April 1, at 2:15, Cypress Park [255 Visions, Irvine, CA 92618]

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

STM Choir At Holy Family Cathedral
“And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” The Lord speaks here about judgment, a judgment that takes mainly place at the end of time—i.e., the Last or Final Judgment. But there is also an in-between, intermediate judgment that He wants us to be aware of. We were told in Sunday’s gospel: “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.” So those are the scales of judgment. We are judged every time God sends grace and truth into our lives—how do we receive it? Most especially when we receive Holy Communion. In fact one of the prayers that the priest says before Communion is: “Lord Jesus Christ, may the receiving of your Body and Blood not bring me to judgment and condemnation,” but instead may it protect and heal me. What kind of a prayer is that?

It is the Church reminding us that we are receiving our Savior and our Judge into ourselves, and that He should find in us someone who wants to be healed, restored, and protected, someone aware of their sinfulness, aware of their accountability to the Son of Man. And so with all other occasions of grace—every time God gives us an opportunity to be merciful, generous, selfless, etc. it is a moment of grace and therefore a moment of judgment on us. So the Lord wants us to be alert to His interventions in our lives, because they are real, regular, and sometimes the exact opposite of what we are expecting.

Along the highways and freeways of our country every once in a while you will see the unexpected: a sign that says “Jesus Saves,” or “Trust Jesus,” or a couple I saw just recently: “Jesus Came To Save You From Hell,” and “Repent and believe in Jesus.” Seeing the name of Jesus along the road is a pleasant surprise—like a spring of water bursting out of hard rock. And in a way it’s even more shocking than the vulgar and obscene billboards that line the freeways of the southland. Shocking because unexpected; shocking because it surprises you back to reality. Amid the vulgarity, it is light and truth.

Retired Angels' Pitcher Justin Speier And Our Baseball Team
It is a healthy reminder that our Lord is not on the sidelines of our world, but He is all through it, sometimes “breaking in” to it like a thief: “My Father is working still, and I am working.”  It’s also a healthy reminder that in the midst of our lives, Jesus very often posts signs around us. They are people, they are situations involving family, fellow religious, friends, and “enemies.” How we respond to these signs is our judgment. How many times did our Lord say: They do not have eyes to see or ears to hear? See and hear what? God at work in their midst. Or They did not recognize the time of their visitation? Who is the one visiting? God in human flesh—God in my neighbor’s flesh. Jesus could say to us: You fill your head with all kinds of useless information, you can read any code, any shorthand, but how is it that you can’t read my signs?

Flannery O’Connor has a story called “Judgment Day” where an old man who is dying has a recurrent dream. He imagines that he is in his coffin on his way to be buried in Corinth, Georgia, and he breaks out of it and sits up and shouts, “Judgment Day! Judgment Day! Don’t you idiots know today is Judgment Day?” The point is that at times and places when you least expect God, at times and places when least expect a prophet to show up, a prophet shows up and God is there. The people who challenge us to forgive, to be patient and generous, these are the prophets, these are the signs of God in our midst, and they are the tribunal set up in each of our lives for our judgment. Lord, when did we see you? But I told you: I am with you always, every day.

Throughout Lent we are urged to see each day as the day of salvation: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation”; “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Because Jesus is one of us, because Jesus identifies Himself with each one of us, and especially with those who are sick, poor, imprisoned, He has full authority to judge us: “And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” Today, will you hear the voice of the Son of Man and live? Will you see Him and do good to Him? So that in our final judgment, He may judge us good and faithful servants.

Prayer Requests
● Mr. Andy Portka, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
● Mrs. Donna Loeffler, who is fighting cancer.

● For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.


March 20. 2015

·         All students and parents are required (insofar as it possible) to be present for the Parent-Teacher Conferences:  this Sunday, March 22, which begin at 6:00 PM

Arrival Times: Freshmen 6:00 pm; Sophomores 6:30 pm; Juniors 7:00 pm; Seniors 7:15 pm.
      Continue: To the following classrooms:

                  Perpetual Help:  Mr. Meschuk, Dr. Van Wye,
                  St. Norbert:  Mr. Whalen, Mr. Harnish
                  St. Joseph:  Fr. Benedict, Fr. Brendan, Frater Peter-Adrian,
                  St. John Bosco:  Fr. Bartus
                  St. Michael:  Frater Daniel, Mr. Tomescu
                  Pope Benedict:  Fr. John Henry, Fr. Maximilian
                  Science Lab:  Mr. Lieggi
                  School Office:  Fr. Charbel
                  Mobile Office:  Mr. Aguilar
                  Parking Lot:  Fr. Victor

·         Third Quarter Oral Exams are coming soon:  March 31-April 2.  Students are encouraged to study; parents are encouraged to pray!
·         Students will be dismissed for Easter Vacation after the Good Friday services, on Friday, March 3, around 4:30 PM.

·         Congratulations to Fr. Alan and the baseball team on their recent victory over TVT, 5-2.  Our team is 1-0 in league play.
·         The next baseball games are:  Thursday, March 26, at 3:15 PM, at St. Michael’s; and Friday, March 27, at 3:15 PM, on Catalina Island.

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

“Do you want to be well?”  That’s quite a question.  If it didn’t come the incarnate Wisdom of God, it would almost be ludicrous.  In all likelihood, Christ had seen the man lying there every time He came to Jerusalem since He was a child, with His hand in St. Joseph’s as they walked to the Holy City.  Year after year Jesus saw him lying there amidst all the other cripples.  Of course he wanted to be healed.
But the man’s reaction hints at how insightful Christ’s question was.  “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.”  Thanks to modern scripture scholars, the one verse which would have made that reply make any sense has been taken out.  It’s supposed to read, “In these [porticoes] lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled—waiting for the movement of the water.  For an angel of the Lord used to come down at certain times into the pool, and the water was stirred up.  And the first one to get down into the pool after the movement of the water was healed of whatever disease afflicted him.”

So, the crippled man’s reply has a degree of faith to it, for he acknowledges the power of God to work miraculous cures.  But notice that he doesn’t just say, “Yes!  I want to be cured.”  In fact, we have to wonder how much he wanted to be healed, how driven he was to receive this amazing gift of God, if he hadn’t yet managed to edge everyone out of the way, or cajole and pester all the other ill people day in and day out to let him be the first one in, since he had been there so long.  We can assume that the angel’s stirring of the water was not a totally rare event, since the Gospel says the portico was filled with a large number of people, which would have been absurd if a cure didn’t happen often enough to hold out hope that another would come.

Nevertheless, although the man believes in the power of God to work miracles, his answer really blames everyone else for his problem.  Nobody helps me.  Other people get in first.  Maybe, for all his infirmity, he was rather comfortable.  Less than a quarter-mile away was the temple treasury, in which were numerous poor boxes, and the Gospel of Mark explicitly testifies that the multitude put in money, and many rich people put in large sums.  Where would alms have been distributed if not at the Sheep Pool right outside the temple gate where the most needy gathered? 

Besides, what would he have done then?  How was he to make a living at his age?  How take care of himself and provide for his needs?  “Do you want to be well?”  Maybe not so much.

We have to wonder the same thing about ourselves.  Do we want to be well?  Do we want Jesus to heal us of our spiritual infirmities?  Do we want to conquer our most habitual sins?  We say yes, and go to confession, and rightly so.  But are we filled with that determination to overcome sin which would make someone first into the pool?  Or do we languish for thirty-eight years, comfortable in our moral weakness, even while blaming it for our spiritual stagnation?  It’s so much more convenient to say that we’re weak.  It even sounds like we have a healthy distrust of self.  But placing one’s hope in a weakness that doesn’t seek to become strong is an awful lot like counting on invincible ignorance to save people’s souls.
Yesterday Fr. Charles rightly spoke of trusting God.  Admitting our weakness is the perfect place to start trusting God; it is always the right direction from which to run into His open arms.  But do we trust that God wants us to overcome our sins more than we want to?  We cannot—literally cannot—even want to amend our lives without being moved by God’s loving grace.  St. Paul says, “God is the one Who…works in you both to desire and to work.”  If we believe this, should we not also believe that He will therefore strengthen us to face any challenge or temptation that will come our way as a result of being healed?

Prayer Requests
● Mr. Andy Portka, who has been diagnosed with cancer.
● Mrs. Donna Loeffler, who is fighting cancer.

● For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.