Sunday, March 25, 2007


“My eyes are ever turned toward the Lord. It is He who will pluck me from the snare (of the devil). Look upon me Lord and have mercy.” Again the Introit sets the tone of today’s liturgy. We are in mortal and constant combat with the devil. He never rests; he always is, ”Seeking whom he may devour.” During Lent, his ferocity is even greater. He seeks to counter our penance and fasting with greater temptations.

In the Collect we pray: “We beseech Thee, O Almighty God, look upon the desires of the humble and stretch forth the right hand of your Majesty and come to our defense.”

Saint Paul, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, exhorts us to: “Walk as children of Light!” Take the offensive. Do not sit by idly waiting for the next temptation. Do not let the devil have his way. Practice the virtues that Our Lord taught us. He delivered Himself up for us and will not let us be ravished by the evil one.

Saint Paul was never one to mince words. “Fornication and all impurities or covetousness should not even be mentioned among you as is becoming of the saints.” Don’t even talk about these things. These vices are not worthy of our Christian calling.

Then Paul throws down the gauntlet: “For know you this and understand it well, that no fornicator or unclean or covetous person, which is the serving of idols, has any inheritance of the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain and empty words. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the children of unbelief.” The Apostle leaves little room, if any, for the pendants and the analysts. We are responsible for our actions! “Walk then as children of the light; for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and truth.”

The Gospel portrays Our Lord’s open conflict with Satan. He disarms him and wins complete victory over him. Jesus then gives us the final challenge: “He who is not with me is against me and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”

My friends, there is no room in between. We are either with Christ by turning away from sin and putting on the virtues or we are not. Let us walk with Christ and not with the Satan. Let us truly walk as children of the light and not as sons of darkness. Have mercy on us Lord, have mercy!

Father Richard J. Rego

Monday, March 12, 2007


May is the Month of Mary. Yet, as I learned from my earliest years, we also honor Mary when we honor Joseph. The Church’s Magisterium makes this abundantly clear. March 19th is the Feast of Saint Joseph. We also begin the month of May with the feast of Saint Joseph, The Worker. Pope Leo XIII taught magisterially that, aside from Our Lady herself, Saint Joseph is the greatest saint in heaven. Pope Pius IX named Joseph The Universal Patron of the Church.

To develop a deep appreciation of the Husband of Mary, we must set aside some perceptions that stubbornly cling to him. Was Joseph an old man in his eighties with a long white beard? Had he been married previously? Some ancient historians have portrayed him in this fashion. Bear in mind however that one of their prime concerns was to safeguard belief in Mary’s Perpetual Virginity. Would it not be wise then, to portray an aged Joseph who poses no problem? Moreover, children by a previous marriage would explain easily references to Jesus’ “brothers and sisters.”

Do these perceptions of Joseph pass the test of reason or indeed, faith? Theologians of more recent vintage would argue that they do not. Would the Father have subjected the “Apple of His Eye” to the ridicule and embarrassment that inevitably would plague a sixteen-year-old maiden who married a man of eighty? How could an old man rise from his sleep and “in haste” assume the protective role of the arduous and perilous Flight into Egypt?

Was it necessary to counter references to Our Lord’s “brothers and sisters” by Joseph’s children from a prior marriage? Of course not! Joseph Most Chaste is not a title that he earned by default. The Husband of Mary, eternally selected by the Father, was a virtuous man in the full vigor of his youth. Saints Jerome and Augustine, the greatest of Scripture scholars, staunchly defend the mutual perpetual virginity of Joseph and Mary.

Joseph loved Jesus and Mary from the very depth of his soul. They returned his love profoundly! Recall the three-day loss of Child Jesus. When the Holy Couple found Him in the temple, Our Blessed Mother said: "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow." “Your father!” Jesus was the Son of God! No one knew that better than Mary. Yet, your father! Why? Our Lady’s words acknowledge the profound love and respect that they had for Joseph.

Pope Pius XII said that Joseph showed Jesus, "all the natural love and all the affectionate solicitude that a father's heart can know." No father loved a son as Joseph loved Jesus; no son loved a father as Jesus loved Joseph. When Our Lord took His first steps, Joseph held His hand. Together in the carpenter shop, they talked, worked, laughed, and prayed. The Virgin Mother was never far away. She never is! Visitors to the holy home literally breathed in the love that wafted through the air.

Fathers! Saint Joseph is your model! Lead your family’s life of faith by the example of Joseph. In these days when families are under diabolical attack, seek his heavenly help. Wives! Pray to Saint Joseph! The Guardian of the Holy Family will become the guardian of all who call upon him. Children! Pray to Saint Joseph! He will teach you to be obedient to your parents, as was Jesus.

One day, the inevitable time designated by God the Father arrived. Jesus was about to begin His public ministry. Never must there be a doubt that when Our Savior invoked the name of His Father, He meant His Heavenly Father. And so God called Joseph from the happiness of his earthly home to the bliss of his eternal heavenly home.
Pope Leo XIII named Saint Joseph The Patron of a Happy Death. Let the eye of our imaginations take us back to his holy deathbed. As Pope Benedict tells us, Joseph’s silence speaks volumes. Joy filled the scene, for with the Holy Family there is always joy. Yet, they were deeply saddened. Joseph was about to leave them in this life. In still supreme peace, surrounded by heaven’s angels, embraced by the arms of Jesus and Mary, Joseph closed his eyes. Grief engulfed the hearts of Jesus and Mary. They wept!

My dear friends! Go to Saint Joseph in all of your needs! He answers every prayer. Beloved Saint Joseph! Pray for our families! Pray for our youth! Pray for our diocese and for the Universal Church! Glorious Saint Joseph, Patron of a Happy Death! Grant us that we too may die in the arms of Jesus and Mary!

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may we breathe forth our last in union with you! Amen!

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.

Friday, March 09, 2007


One this First Sunday of Lent, the liturgy turns our thoughts to Our Lord’s Temptation in the Desert. The devil! Satan! Make no mistake about it, he exists and he is man’s mortal enemy. He has one goal and one goal only - - - man’s eternal ruin in hell. Our Lord has warned us that the devil is a liar and the Father of Lies: “The truth is not in him.”

Our Divine Savior had been fasting for forty days when He allowed the evil one to tempt Him three times. The first temptation was an appeal to the social order. “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to turn to bread.” In other words, Satan wanted Jesus to be a bread king, a social worker and nothing more. Satan would have been delighted to reduce Our Divine Savior’s mission to making this a better world in a purely materialistic sense. He wanted to obscure or even obliterate Our Lord’s real mission, which was man’s redemption from sin, Satan and eternal death. Satan knew well that the Cross of Calvary would end his dreadful dominion over man, which began with the sin of our first parents. Christ’s victory would come on Calvary. Satan wanted Him to forget the Cross. “That’s not what the people want. Give them bread, fill their bellies and improve the economy! Then they will follow you. Not the Cross.” Our Lord’s answer was clear and to the point: “Scripture has it, `Not on bread alone shall man live.”

Next, Satan took Him up on a high hill and showed him all of the kingdoms of the world. “I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms.” Then he added this frightening fact: “They are mine and I give them to whomever I wish. Prostrate yourself in homage before me and it shall all be yours.” He wanted the Son of God to adore him.

Satan puts this same temptation before us in various ways. He shows us the riches of this world, the lure of money, the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, the world’s comforts, and anything else that will lure us away from the love of God. All these things can be ours. The price: Sin! This is precisely why St. John tells us that the love of God is not in the person who loves this world. Again our Blessed Savior answered Satan scripturally. In so doing, taught us an important lesson. Jesus said to him, “Scripture has it, `you shall love the Lord your God; Him alone shall you adore.’”

Then came the final temptation. Satan leads Our Lord to Jerusalem and set him on the parapet of the temple. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for Scripture has it, `He will bid the angels watch over you’; and again, `With their hands they will support you that you will never stumble on a stone.’” Notice how Satan does not hesitate to use Scripture to achieve his evil ends.
The evil one wanted to reduce Our Lord to a wonder worker. Isn’t this what the wicked Herod expected of Our Lord. He wanted Jesus to work some wonders so as to entertain him? Satan was telling Our Savior to give the people what they wanted. “Spend all of your time healing the sick. You can even raise the dead, if you wish. Work miracles! Entertain them! Then they will follow you. Give them what they want and you will be popular. You will win them over completely.” St. Matthew records that at this point Jesus said: “Be gone, Satan! Scripture has it: `you shall do homage to the Lord your God; Him alone shall you adore.”

Jesus could not have sinned because His nature was divine. However, by submitting Himself to the devil’s temptations, Our Divine Savior was teaching us not to be attached to the things of this world. As he would tell Pilate: “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Next he was teaching us how to resist temptation. Do not enter into dialogue with the devil as Eve did in the garden. When we are tempted, immediately, we should repeat the words of Our Lord: “BE GONE SATAN!” As St. James says: Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” May Our Blessed Mother, the Refuge of Sinners & the Gate of Heaven, help us in our constant conflict with Satan and his evil temptations.

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


On various occasions, Our Divine Savior made it clear to His disciples that He would offer His life up to the Father on the Cross of Calvary. However, despite His painstakingly preparing them for the “Scandal of the Cross,” they remained incredulous. They persisted in their desires that Our Lord’s mission would be the restoration of Israel to its former glory. The last thing that they wanted was a suffering Messiah, one who would die on a cross.

Shortly before the Transfiguration, depicted in today’s Gospel, Our Lord warned them again regarding the Crucifixion. When, He did, Peter took Him aside and said: “This can never be.” This angered Our Lord and He rebuked Peter severely: “Get behind me you devil.” Imagine! Just a few days before, Jesus had promised to give to Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Now, He calls him a devil! Why! Peter wanted an earthy kingdom, a kingdom of this world. He was consumed with this world and not with the things of heaven.

To prepare the Apostles for “the Scandal of the Cross,” Our Lord took Peter, James and John up on a high mountain. There He allowed the glory of His Divinity to shine forth. Yes! He would allow Himself to be crucified. But He would do so of His own will. He would die in our place, accepting the punishment our sins deserved.

Jesus Christ is no mere man. He is the Son of God, who became man! Thus, on the Mount of the Transfiguration, Our Savior’s face became as radiant as the sun. Moses and Elijah then appeared with Him. They represented the Old Covenant, which was about to be replaced by the new. They were to remind us of the Law of Moses and the Prophets. God's commandments, given to Moses, reminds us that God does make moral demands and is keenly interested in man's actions.

Despite this reminder, many today fall into the foolish trap of thinking that the Lord accepts our sinful behavior. Sin can never be acceptable to God. Jesus Christ came into the world to take us out of our sins, not to confirm us in them. He is our Savior from sin, Satan and eternal death. Jesus Christ does not leave us in our sins! We, in turn, must respond to Our Lord’s redemptive act by repentance.

The role of the prophets is to call men back to the observance of God’s commandments. They did this by proclaiming the moral order. God sends the prophets to warn mankind of the consequences of sin and that God does punish the unrepentant sinner. The last of the great prophets was Our Lord Himself, who came as Priest, Prophet and King. Moses and Elijah foreshadowed the New Covenant. Our Lord instituted the New Covenant, which is the Catholic Church. In fidelity to her mandate from the Lord, the Church, in every era, exercises its prophetic role by calling men back from sin to the observance of the moral order.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the words of the Heavenly Father booming down from the heavens: “This is my beloved Son! Hear Him!” How do we hear Jesus Christ? How do we know that we are following His Gospel? The answer is clear: when we are obedient to the teachings of His Holy Church, the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church. When the Church teaches through its Magisterium, that is, its teaching Authority, it teaches us in the name of Jesus Christ and under the guide of the Holy Spirit. When we are obedient to the teachings of the Holy Father, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth, we are being obedient to Jesus. The Pope, and the Bishops who teach in union with him, teach us in the name of Jesus Christ and under the guide of the Holy Spirit.

If we are to be true followers of Our Lord, we must be obedient to the teachings of the Holy Father and the Bishops united with him. “He who hears you, hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” By dissenting from the teachings of the Pope of Rome, one separates himself from Jesus Christ and His holy Church. For, the Church is Jesus Christ is the Church and the Church is Jesus Christ! It is His Mystical Body!

THIS IS MY BELOVED SON! HEAR HIM! On the Day of Judgment, Our Lord will ask us if we obeyed that divine commandment. May God grant we are able to say, “Yes Lord, I was obedient to your Church.”

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.