Results filtered by “Deacon Greg Diciaula”

Doers of the Word

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How often as children were we told: “Wash your hands before coming to the table!” We hear in the gospel, that the Pharisees questioned Jesus' apostles:  “Why do your disciples not wash their hands before eating?” There were many observances in Jewish laws which seem to be primarily hygienic in origin; distinctions between foods that were “clean” and “unclean” as well as certain foods that could be dangerous to eat, and eating with dirty hands that could be a source of disease or sickness. Attaching a religious sanction to the recommended behavior helped to insure adherence to the law. 

By the standards of the day, the disciples were indeed breaking the Jewish law, but Jesus speaks of where real uncleanness comes from. The source of uncleanness is not with any food or drink that comes from outside. Real uncleanness comes from what’s found in our hearts, from within us. Washing hands does nothing to change that! 

Jesus is challenging the Pharisees, and all of us, to be people who demonstrate our faith not by external observances, but by the depth and breadth of the love found in our hearts. In many ways, Jesus is reminding us that our religious practices, our faith, have to be better than mere externals. It’s really about an inner conversion, a transformation that calls us to a change of heart and a deepening of our personal relationship with God, Jesus, and love for one another. 

St. James tells us that we are to “be doers of the word and not hearers only.” He teaches the importance of faith in action which comes from the heart. Each week, we will have many encounters and opportunities with other people. Will I be a more loving, caring and compassionate person.…will I “become Christ, each for the sake of all”?

Epiphanies of God

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By definition, Epiphany means an appearance or manifestation, particularly of a divine being. God breaks into the everyday life of His people, manifested in the person of Jesus. 

The story of the Magi arriving in Jerusalem looking for the newborn king of the Jews is only found in the Gospel of Matthew. The term "magi" may refer to a group of astrologers from Persia or the East. They are neither referred to as kings nor being three in number. It as common belief in ancient times that a new star appeared at the birth of a great figure. We are told that the Magi brought gifts. Gold, appropriate for a king, yet given to the one who gives the kingdom "to the poor in spirit." Frankincense, an expensive perfume for the one who tells us "the meek shall inherit the earth." Myrrh, a traditional herb used in burial preparations, foretelling of Christ's suffering and death. 

Two thousand years have passed since that first Epiphany. Is the star that led the Magi still burning brightly in our lives? How does God manifest Himself to us today? We need only look to ourselves. We make God present to others. The God we cannot see shines through the love of those we can see. Sometimes that star is profound and easily recognized, while other times it may be subtle and difficult to see. In making God's love present to others, we become Epiphanies of God...shining stars that lead one another to Christ...we become Christ, each one for the sake of all.

Sacredness of Life

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Each year, the Church in the United States designates October as “Respect Life” month. 

As Catholics, we believe that all life is sacred and that life begins at the moment of conception…that all human beings have an inherent value and dignity. Sadly, there continues to be constant violations to the Christian principles of human dignity; from simple road rage and injustice to the poor and elderly, to euthanasia, and the death penalty.

Through Jesus, God blessed and sanctified all life, becoming one like us; humbling himself by sharing in our humanity. Every human being has an inherent dignity and sacredness that must be respected and never exploited, violated, or disposed of. Our dignity, our value, is not a matter of the gifts we have, the contributions we make to society, our physical beauty, or intellectual abilities, rather, our dignity comes from the God who created us, loves us, and became one like us. 

It is in that relationship, that gift, that as people of Faith, we strive to see God in one another….especially those we are most likely to overlook or dismiss. 

Caring for another person with dignity and respect as a child of God and our brother in Christ…Isn’t that what our St. Dominic mission statement is all about? “To Seek, Know and Become Christ, each for the sake of all”.