Father Peter's Past Sermons
Past Sermons from Father Peter's Desk
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time - October 11, 2020
Joe Invited Bill
After Mass, Joe approached his pastor: “Father, you talked about inviting people to our services. I had an experience in the army. Bill and I were buddies, both Catholics. But Bill never went to Mass. We were having a five-day mission on the base. I asked Bill to come along, but he had some kind of excuse. The second and third night more excuses. Finally, on the fourth night he came with me to the chapel. Something hit him, because from then on, he went with me to Mass and Communion regularly. That was twenty years ago. Haven’t seen him since, but he writes to me every year and thanks me for asking him to go to that mission.”
Dear friends of Saint Martin’s,
Jesus just told us the kingdom of heaven is like a king who gave a marriage feast for his son. The kingdom of heaven means the family of God here on this earth. The marriage feast is the table loaded with spiritual food.
My thought for this week is that every one of us is a servant of the great King. Christ is His Son. The heavenly Father sends us out to invite everyone to share the spiritual feast offered by His Church.
Who are the people we can invite? Practically everyone. Too many of our fellow Catholics have never attended a mission, a retreat, or a study club. Fallen-away Catholics often need but a little nudge to start them on their way back to the family of God.
We are thinking especially of the many who attend no church and of our friends of other faiths who are looking for the spiritual nourishment we have.
Where do we meet these possible guests? They could be neighbors, schoolmates, fellow workers, even relatives. They could be chance acquaintances at a game, at the store, on the bus, in the doctor’s waiting room. Do not limit your invitation to so-called respectable people. Invite the underprivileged, the outcast, the sinner. As the king commanded in today’s Gospel: “Go into the main streets and invite everyone you find… both good and bad.”
Invite them to a regular weekend Mass, or preferably to some special service – Christmas Mass, a visit to the crib, First Communion, a baptism, wedding or funeral, a parish dinner or program (not this time of COVID-19), or even a private visit to church some weekday.
You can invite groups like the Boys and Girls Scouts, 4H Clubs, fraternities and sororities, Protestant Bible classes. If possible, tell your pastor about the visitors beforehand. He may wish to acknowledge their presence and have someone show them around church. This makes them feel wanted. It helps correct the false notion that we Catholics do not want non-Catholics at our services.
Suppose they turn down your invitation. Well, you have done your duty, a duty of faith, a duty of charity. You are promoting understanding between different faiths. You are showing that your faith means something to you.
You are concerned, considerate and kind enough to want others to share the spiritual banquet we are enjoying this very hour.
God bless you and Stay Safe.
Father Peter Pham
Suggestion for the Blessing of food for Thanksgiving Day
(before Thanksgiving Dinner)
God most provident, we join all creation in raising to you a hymn of thanksgiving through Jesus Christ, your Son.
For generation upon generation, people of this land have sung of your bounty; we too offer you praise for the rich harvest we have received at hour hands.
Bless us and this food which we share with grateful hearts.
Continue to make our land fruitful and let our love for you be seen in our pursuit of peace and justice and in our generous response to those in need.
Praise and glory to you, Lord God, now and forever. Amen.
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - October 4, 2020
Pay Your Rent!
Pope Pius X was head of the Catholic Church from 1904 until 1914. We remember him for promoting Christian education, encouraging First Communion at an early age, and for his holy life. Today we honor him as St. Pius X. As a young assistant pastor at Tombolo, Italy, he noticed that many young men did not know how to read or write. As a result, they could not obtain suitable positions or work.
“We will open a night school,” declared the future Pope. “It will be divided into two groups: one of our local teachers will direct the better group, those who know at least a little. I will take care of those who are harder to teach.” The young men were delighted but one of them wanted to know: “How can we pay for this?” The saintly priest explained: “Don’t worry. The pay will consist in your keeping from swearing.”
Dear friends of St. Martin’s parish,
To show us what the Kingdom of God, is like Jesus just told us about the owner who did everything possible to make his vineyard produce grapes. Then he let it out to tenants. When the owner sent messengers to collect his share, the tenants beat them and killed them. He sent his own son. They killed him. Then Jesus declared that the owner would put those murderers to death and turn over the vineyard to tenants who would share the fruit.
The meaning was clear to His Jewish listeners. God has chosen the Jews for His own people, had given them everything possible, but they rejected and murdered God’s messengers and put His own Son to death on a cross.
God then invited the non-Jews, you, and me, to be the new tenants in His vineyard, the new citizens in the Kingdom of God. As such we are expected to produce fruit, to pay some kind of “rent,” some kind of “service,” some kind of “pay” for the privilege of belonging to God’s people.
The young men in our story felt they owed the young priest, the future St. Pius X, for making them members of his class. All he demanded was that they not use the name of God in vain. In making us a member of His Kingdom, all God asks is that we keep His laws. Really, everything the commandments demand of us already belongs to God, just as the fruits the householder demanded already belonged to him.
In the first commandment, God asks for adoration and worship. They belong to Him. We give God that worship principally in and through the celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass. The Almighty has a right to have His name honored. One day of the week belongs to God. He asks us to keep it holy, as part of our payment of belonging to His Kingdom.
God has delegated His authority to our parents and teachers. Because they represent God, they deserve our respect, obedience, and support. All life belongs to God. To kill is to take that right in our own hands. God even shares with some human beings the power of creating new human beings. The Almighty surrounds sex with certain safeguards. All property belongs to God. To steal is to take something from God.
The commandments are the payment, the rent, the tax, if you will, we must pay for belonging to God’s kingdom. Ask Him here and now to help you make that payment, to keep His commands, with gratitude and love.
God bless you and keep you safe.
Father Peter Pham