Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Second Sunday of Lent – March 8, 2020

Genesis 12: 1-42 – Timothy 1: 8b-10 – Matthew 17: 1-9

 

Perhaps a good way for us, as Church, to understand the Season of Lent is to regard it as a pause from the normal busyness of our daily routines in order to reflect on the effort God makes to be reconciled with us who have wandered from our relationship with God. It is an effort to restore us to the dignity that is ours as creatures of God.

 

Thus, we first heard about Abraham today. We heard of his call and the covenant or agreement made with him by God. In this way God begins this process of reconciliation by first establishing a chosen people. They are to be the ones who will, as a people, have a special relationship with God. By their life and by their worship they will show God’s creative plan to the world. What this Chosen People, starting with Abraham, were to do then, we are to do now, in our time, in our world, in our lives.

 

In writing to his disciple and friend, Timothy, St. Paul elaborates on how we are to do this. Simply stated: we are to be holy. We are called to a peaceful wholeness in living that truly values God, all others and ourselves. Everything that is part of daily living is a part of this call. We are to be holy in our relationship with God. This is the reason why we are her and have what we have. We are to be holy in whatever circumstance we live. This we do by making use of the talents and capabilities we have. We are to be holy in recognizing how God is revealed to us, and how we reveal God to the world. We are called to live a holy life, a God-filled life, here and now.

 

It is in this context that we heard of an unusual event taking place during the ministry of Jesus. Certainly it was a significant even in the life of the Apostles as well in the life of the early Church The most apparent reason explaining this event is the support and confidence it gave to the followers of Jesus as they faced the passion and suffering of Jesus. The early Church could also recall this event in the midst of the persecution and rejection it experienced.

 

The dynamics of the event of the Transfiguration suggest some considerations. Peter wanted to seize the moment and hold on to it. Jesus was seen in a glorious way that was truly up lifting. Setting up tents was suggested so that they could stay and not face the reality of preaching, teaching and being rejected. But the moments of this glorious event quickly came to an end.

 

The call to holiness does not take place away from the real world. The call to holiness happens in the sometimes harsh reality of the day-to-day world – the world where money, possessions, power are more important than people. It happens in the world where sin and the rejection of God is seemingly a lot easier than living out God’s command of love. The call to holiness is not on some mountain in radian beauty, but down here in the reality of work, home and neighborhood. The call to holiness is involved in the pain, the suffering, the misunderstanding that are part of the human experience, that are a part of our lives.

 

It is in the holiness to which we are called as God’s chosen people today and that we are to live from day-to day in this world that we reveal and reflect our good & gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

First Sunday of Lent – March 1, 2020

Genesis 2: 7-9; 3: 1-7 – Romans 5: 12, 17-19 – Matthew 4: 1-11

 

Those who have heard me speak over the years know that I am not a story-teller. Stories, however, are an important part of the Scriptures we hear in the effort to reveal God and mankind’s relationship with God. Such is the case today with the brief passage from the Book of Genesis which we heard today. It is part of a very good story about creation and the beginnings of mankind, but it is not a literal account. Rather, it is a simple, straightforward effort to pass on an important truth.

 

What this story, recorded in the first book of the Bible seeks to teach us is that it was God’s intention, from the beginning of creation, that we, as mankind, would live in a state of perfection, in a perfect relationship with God. There would be no pain, suffering or sinfulness. There would be no jealousy, hurt, pride or envy. The dignity of all persons would be honored and respected.

 

But this plan was frustrated because of one element which God added in creating us. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, God endowed us with free will, with the ability to choose. What is told to us in the story from Genesis is that a choice was made for immediate gratification. It was in response to a temptation to be something other than what was intended. This choice was a rejection of God’s plan.

 

The amazing thing is that the Scriptures also tell us that God did not give up even though sinfulness, a distancing from God, became a part of humanity. God constantly seeks to win back creation, to win back humanity. But, again, because of the free will God has given us, God will not force us. We continue to have the ability to choose.

 

Saint Paul told us today of the ultimate effort of God our behalf. Just as sin, the rejection of God, entered the world through a man’s choice, so sin is conquered and reconciliation with God is accomplished by one man’s action in Jesus Christ. God offers all of us the opportunity to join in the redeeming action of Christ, to become part of that restoration of God’s original plan.

 

It is in recalling this that gives insight into the account of the temptations which Jesus experienced. It is important to remember that it is a very human Jesus who is gradually becoming aware in his humanity and of his mission. He is to call all of humanity back to its origins, back to the reality of God’s plan from the very beginning.

 

The question before Jesus as he begins his ministry if how he is to accomplish this. Thus, the temptations are proposed. Is he to be a political and social Messiah? Jesus rejects this because it is a limited view of a much deeper mission. Is he to force God, in some way, to protect him, to make God work according to a very human plans? He rejects this because of his confidence in God’s plan. Is he to be powerful in human terms, emphasizing humanity as more important than God? This, too, he rejects because it would only be a continuation of past failures. The response of Jesus in each instance presents an example for all of us to follow.

 

As was the case with the first man and woman, and with all persons since, there are many temptations to act contrary to God’s original design for us. The Season of Lent offers to us various symbols and reminders to make what effort each of us can to bring about a genuine renewal of creation, starting with ourselves. It offers opportunities to restore the richness of life intended for us that is achieved through an intimate union with our good and gracious God

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Seventh Sunday of the Year – February 23, 2020

Leviticus 19: 1-2, 17-18 – 1 Corinthians 3: 16-23 – Matthew 5: 38-48

 

As we anticipate the beginning of the Season of Lent this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we are also concluding the introduction to the ministry of Jesus as it is told to us in the Gospel of Saint Matthew that have heard over the past weeks.

 

One understanding which Jesus wanted his listeners, and us, to have was that we cannot be put down or demeaned or lessened in any way, no matter what others might do. Our strength in withstanding this is found in our recognition that our real dignity comes from being creatures of God. This is basic to our faith. We are loved by God. Indeed, we are so loved by God that God shared our humanity with us in Jesus Christ. Over the centuries and even until this day in the life of the Church, there have been those4 who have responded to this message even to the point of giving their lives to those who thought that they could control and destroy them in mind and spirit, as well as in their bodies.

 

Many of us, by comparison, might consider ourselves as insignificant In a way, this might be true if we think only in terms that are measured by power or wealth. But if we understand life and the practice of our faith in Jesus Christ as important not only for us but for all the world as well, and if we hear clearly what Christ teaches us about ourselves and our relationship with God, and if we are convinced that this relationship with God affects us and the world in which we live then we can better understand Jesus. When he says to offer no resistance to one who seeks to harm us, to turn the other cheek, when he says hand over the cloak as well, and when he says to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute, the meaning and purpose of this is to affect us deeply. To act in this manner is not weakness but, rather, the true strength we have as creations of God.

 

Power and wealth, however, do not understand these ideas. They do not understand”Be holy, for the Lord your God is holy. They do not understand what it is to be temples, a “dwelling” of God. They do not understand what it means to say that the Spirit of God dwells in us. Power and wealth do not understand any of these.

 

In giving the introduction to his message and ministry, it is true freedom of mind, heart and spirit that Jesus seeks to reveal to us. It is also the challenge he makes to us to embrace what he is teaching. Our faith gives us the freedom to say: “Do what you wish, or what you think you can do, because this is not what gives me dignity and value, no matter what you are or think yourself to be.” The true measure of any one of us comes from our relationship with our loving God. This is the reason that life is not lived as an “Eye for an eye” and that love can be shown even to an enemy. The conviction of our faith that being one with Jesus Christ enables us to reveal the true and deep value and meaning in our day to day lives of being united with a truly good and gracious God.

Fr. Fedor's Homily Notes

Sixth Sunday of the Year – February 16, 2020

Sirach 15: 15-20 1 Corinthians 2: 6-10 Matthew 5: 20-22a, 27-28, 33-34a

 

However we might happen to appreciate it, we all possess the freedom to make choices. This ability is based on the “free will” that has been given to us by our Creator God. It is among the greatest gifts we receive in life.

 

A central thought found in the communication God makes to us today is this matter of making choices. Which way do we want to go? How do we want to act? What do we want to be? What do we want to become as we go through our daily lives? These are some of the significant choices we can make.

 

In this communication from our God, we heard first from the wise man, Sirach. Trusting God, he tells us, is a choice that we can make in guiding our lives. We can choose what will enhance life or what will brings death. We can choose what will be for our good, or what will lead to evil for ourselves and for others. God did not give us life so that we can act unjustly and harm the relationships we experience. At the same time, however, it is our decision how we make this choice to make even if it is not what God wants for us. A relationship with God can guide us but God does not force us in the choiceS we might make.

 

We then heard Saint Paul speak of the result of making a choice that is based on a relationship with God. It is the beginning of true wisdom. Wisdom is not just knowledge or understanding, rather, it is insight and perception and appreciation of the whole of God’s loving plan. Paul calls it a mystery, but not in the sense of something that is hidden. It is a mystery such as love is a mystery that cannot be fully explained but is both experienced by us and appreciated.

 

In the Gospel passage we heard from St. Matthew, Jesus talks about the ways of behaving that his listeners have been taught. In doing so he also offers a challenge to us to strengthen the relationship between God and ourselves. What he is seeking for us to understand is that we can choose to be, we can choose to do, more in our lives because we are loved by God. We can do more because we have been given capabilities by God that are part of our very nature as human being.

 

We can choose to abuse and manipulate others for our own purposes or choose to respect and to honor one another because in different way each of us can reflect the goodness of God. We can choose to use others for our own pleasure, whether sexual or otherwise, or choose to respect and honor the qualities that each of us possess in being images of the goodness of God. We can choose to deceive and to lie to others for our own gains, or choose to honor and to respect others with truthfulness and honesty because of the dignity we all possess as creatures of God and shared in humanity with the God-man, Jesus Christ.

 

These are choices that we can make because of the way we have been created by our loving God. These are choices we can make day after day in the way we live based on a faith we have been give, a faith that has been handed on to us.

 

It is this faith that allows us to speak and to live the true wisdom described by Saint Paul. It is a wisdom that reflects a knowledge and understanding of God and of God’s presence in our lives. It is a wisdom that appreciates the depth of God’s love for us. It is a wisdom made known to us by Jesus Christ and lived by us in response to our good and gracious God.

St Mel Parish

Welcome!

Welcome to the website for Saint Mel Parish, Cleveland, Ohio. It is a pleasure to have you visit our site and it would be a blessing to us if you could join us in worship and prayer.

Founded in a developing part of the west side of Cleveland following the Second World War and serving growing families as they were established in the area, Saint Mel parish is centrally located in the West Park area of the city of Cleveland. As this dynamic area has changed over the years, the community of Saint Mel parish now consists of primarily older adults and smaller families.

After a proud tradition of Catholic education spanning sixty years, Saint Mel school closed in 2009.

Wherever you may happen to be, please join with the Saint Mel parish family in giving thanks and praise to God for the blessings which continue to be bestowed on its members, families and graduates.