Webster Dictionary defines paradise as “a place of perfect happiness”.  Eden was the garden paradise that God personally hand-crafted as a place in which we would live with Him.  But represented by Adam and Eve, the human race rebelled against the Creator’s plan and consequently paradise was lost.

On several occasions during my prayer time, I have a vision of myself walking in a garden seeing the rushing mountains streams, the brilliantly colored leaves.  The carpets of wildflowers, the graceful gliding of a swan across the lake, the lilting notes of a bird’s song, the shimmer of the dew on the grass… This is the same Creator Who has prepared this beautiful place for us.

What have we done with the works of His hands?  The earth is getting frayed and worn out.  It is being polluted, gouged, stripped, burned, and poisoned and much damage has been willfully and selfishly inflicted by man.  We are found to be capable of destroying the world.  Today, the people who love and care for this world remain just a few.  Our world is really in bad state.  Everything will get worse unless each of us commit to be responsible for God’s creation.  Paradise can be restored even if only a handful of people carefully begin to work on it.  Let us send a strong message to the government to stop destroying our natural resources and instead implement protection programs to save human civilization, a stable economic and ecological restructuring is a tall order.

We yearn for a perfect place.  But, then again, is it a place we are looking for?  When I read of overcrowded slums, of unfair labor practices, of drive-by shootings, of drug additions, of terrorist attacks, of the tremors of earthquakes, of incurable diseases, of missile strikes, of violent robberies, of financial failures, of racial hatred, of social injustice and of national corruption… Will we be able to find happiness in this world?  But there is Someone who can bring us to a state of perfect peace and happiness.  His name is Jesus.  In His presence we experience fullness of joy.  If we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him.   And with Jesus in us, we are in Paradise. 

He has left the gate opened – for us!

Home for me will always be my parents’ house.  It was synonymous with love, acceptance, comfort, and security.  It was a place where my needs were met.  It was a place where I could take my burdens and lay them down.  It was a place not only where I could find answers but where my questions no longer seem to matter.  When I felt discouraged under the pressure of responsibilities, or overwhelmed by the problems of daily life, or disappointment of shattered dreams, my heart turned toward that cozy, happy home and those whom I love who lived there.  To go home was to be refreshed in my spirit and refocused in my thoughts and renewed my strength and restored my heart.  How I love home!

When my mother knew that we were coming home, she began to prepare for us.  She knew we loved barbecued spareribs on the grill, pochero, almondigas, torta, ensalada, and a lot more from our old family recipes.  She knew I love fresh flowers and she put them on my room.  She prepared those things for us, so that when we walked through the door of the house we would know we were expected and welcomed, because that was our home!

Preparations for our children were easy, because their grandma and grandpa knew when they burst through the door with their eyes sparkling, they’re just glad to be home to grandma and grandpa.  Anything or everything suited them.  But I knew their grandparents liked lots of time so they can sit with the kids and talk and talk and talk.  They spoiled them with junk food, soda, and comic books, and a lot more.  And so they had those things waiting for them so that they also will know they were expected and welcomed, because that was their home.

Those wonderful memories went with the fire when our house was burned down to the ground.

Considering how my parents prepared for us when they knew we were coming, I love to think of the preparations God is making for our homecoming one day.  He knows the things we love, the scenery we enjoy, the things that make us happy, all the personal details that will let us know when we walk into Our Father’s House.  It is a home built to last, not just for a lifetime, but forever!

Jesus promised, “I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:3)
…it’s a home of our dreams,
…it’s a home that is safe,
…it’s a home we can never lose,
…it’s a home of lasting value,
…it’s a home that’s been paid,
…it’s a home filled with family,
And best of all, it’s a home we are invited to claim as our own!  Heaven is the inheritance of God’s children.

Do we ever ask Jesus as the Apostles did “Lord, teach us to pray?”

Do not worry about methods.  Jesus will surely teach us how to pray in all that we think, say or do.  He will give us the way of prayer that is best for us, changing it as we progress, a way that unites our will most firmly with His.

When we pray, we give ourselves to Him; all our attention, all our memory, all of our love, keeps nothing back.

The only prayer Jesus taught us is the “Our Father”.  There are also some of the prayers that are especially dear to Jesus’ heart such as the Rosary.  When we pray the Rosary or any formal prayer, do not race.  Pray calmly, meditatively, maintaining ourselves in peace and serenity.  So many of us rush through the Rosary as though it were a foreign language, full of strange words.

When in the “Hail Mary”, we ask our Mother to make our prayer her prayer.  Realize that she prays with us and for us, making up what our prayer lacks, and unite our prayer with hers.

When we pray the Rosary unite ourselves with its mysteries.  Remember that we share in whatever Jesus did as if we had done it ourselves.

This holy season of Lent, let us join ourselves to Jesus in His Agony, make it our agony.  Unite our humility with His humility when He accepted the sentence of death from Pilate.  Make His scourging our scourging, His crowning with thorns our crowning; His carrying of the cross our carrying of the cross.  Unite our humility with its humility when He fell to the ground to be beaten, kicked, and cursed, driven like an animal through the streets of Jerusalem under the eyes of His own Mother, with His humility in accepting the help of Simon and making no attempt to hide His tortured face, but gracefully receiving and consoling the holy women, with His humility in being stripped and crucified.  So, too, unite ourselves with Jesus in His Resurrection and Ascension.

Unite ourselves with the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit.  Join ourselves to Mama Mary in her acceptance of the eternal will and plan of the Father.

Let’s do all this in serenity.  Pray easily.  Calmly, not trying to force ourselves to “feel” anything, but maintaining a simple, peaceful desire to pray.

Jesus promised us, that He would teach us to pray always.  Begin the day with prayer and offer all that day to Jesus.  Participate with Him, everyday, if possible, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and join ourselves sacramentally to Him in Holy Communion.

Set aside some moments for daily meditation.  Do some spiritual reading especially the Gospels or other parts of Scripture.

Does Christ ask too much?

Let us think of the time we spend every day in idleness, useless conversation, watching television, exploring the internet and digital forum.  Are we really too busy to lift our taught to Jesus?

“Give Him our time, and He will do half and more of our work.
Give Him our thoughts, and He will return us His peace.
Give Him our love, and He will fill our day with joy.
Give Him our prayers, and He will open for us the inexhaustible treasures of heaven.”

As we look forward to the future, leading to our Golden Jubilee in 2017, our pastor, Rev. Msgr.  Dennis   Odiver   challenges   us   “to   make   all   plans   and   take   action   using   our   initiatives   and  creativities in celebration of 50 years of service of the parish.”  St. Andrew the Apostle Jubilee  Song  was launched on Sunday, February 7 at 5:00 P.M. mass.
So much blessing has flowed this Christian community over the years.  As I reminisce how God  has blessed this parish through people and events, I praise and thank our good Lord.  The word  of   God   has   been   preached, the  sacraments  have   been   administered,   the   poor,  the   sick,   the troubled   have   been   consoled.     There   were   also   wonderful   moments   of   joy  and   festivities.
Everything has been grace.  Even problems, difficulties and even conflicts and divisions turned  out to be blessings, lessons to be learned and means of growth.  The past 49 years, no doubt, has  been a sheer and tangible proof of God’s love for our community.
As I look back through the years, my heart is filled with gratitude to God who always been good  and faithful.  He has blessed this parish, people, and events.
The year 2017 will be a season of celebration in our parish.  It will also be a great opportunity to acknowledge the many persons who have contributed to the growth of our parish – the priests,  the lay leaders, and all those who have done so much to make the parish what it is today, whether they are still with us or have received their reward from God.  Without them, we would not have the parish as it is today.
As we prepare to celebrate our Golden Jubilee, we can hand in hand go in the way of God’s plan  for our community and our families.  Let us pray to St. Andrew the Apostle, that we may also find one thing necessary in life – Jesus.  And to Him may we give our trust, obedience and love.
May His will be always be done in us, and begin to see the mystery, that we are all together as  one family.

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Sunday Mass Schedule Effective March 2011

6:30am - Filipino
8:00am - English
9:30am - English
11:00am - English

12:15n.n - English

3:30pm - Filipino
5:00pm - English
6:30pm - English
8:00pm - English

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