St. Matthew

Catholic Church

Pastor's Columns

Pastor’s Column for 2/3/19

Dear Friends in Christ,

This weekend we hear what is probably the most popular wedding liturgy reading of all time from St. Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians chapter 13 concluding with the verse…I’m paraphrasing here…In the end, there are three things that last: faith, hope, and love…and the greatest of these is love. While everyone, people of faith and people of little or no faith can nod in agreement with these sentiments, the reality is that real love is so valuable that one cannot put a price on it yet it was because of real love that our Savior made the ultimate sacrifice. Our secular world today places the sports heroes of the NFL on the big stage with the 53rd Super Bowl and those who might have been asleep since the World Series of MLB back in October wonder if it will be de ja vu all over again. I’m certain that Tom Brady does not have to pay for a meal in New England given his unbelievable record of accomplishments. I can also see the love/hate sentiments towards this sports hero on a National scale as something of a microcosm or modern-day case study of what might have been unfolding in the gospel passage in Jesus’ life in antiquity. When we were in Nazareth a few weeks ago we saw the brow of the hill upon which the town had been built. We even changed our touring schedule to avoid a storm that might have taken a few of us out given the high winds that were predicted. The cheers for Jesus from the home town crowd were brief and momentary. The criticisms were many and he was unable to really work any miracles there.

Last Monday we received word in the office that Deacon Tony Kijonka passed away on Sunday after battling his illness for quite some time. I saw him at home on Friday and he was having a fairly good day. The graced moments of dealing with a terminal illness were evident in Deacon Tony’s journey whether I was able to witness them or not. “What a small world!” That was our simultaneous response when Dn. Tony and I discovered that I served my cousin’s 1st Mass of Thanksgiving in 1975 in Camden, the same Diocese where he was ordained to serve. When we further found out that he shared the same birth year as my mother, we likewise expressed our amazement. I know that Deacon Tony was very blessed by the LORD in his ministry and his heart overflowed with the desire to serve the LORD. When his body would no longer cooperate with that desire of his heart, he still demonstrated a closeness to God even in his suffering.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Tom J. Anastasia