Stay connected to the vine!

 

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 9: 26-31

I John 3:18-24

John 15: 1-8

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the true vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in them will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

 

This is all very humbling as it is a reminder that all we do is for the glory of God. If we are really connected to the vine all we do is work for God’s plan, not our own.

 

I wish to share with you that Bishop Walkowiak has appointed me as the new pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, Grand Rapids, affective on July 6.

 

It goes without saying how much I have enjoyed and loved my nine years here at St. Patrick’s.

 

I am pleased to share with you that Fr. Tom Cavera who is presently the Associate Pastor at St. Jude will be my successor. Fr. Tom has been assigned here because of his love for Catholic Education.

 

I am looking forward to the time we have together. 

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I am the way!

 

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Acts 13:26-33

John 14:1-6

 

Before mass have 4 or 5 orange construction cones in the middle aisle of the church.

 

Homily: Chose one student to be blindfolded and one student to give directions to the student who is blindfolded. The object is to have the student who is blindfolded to safely walk around the orange construction cones without touching the cones.

 

Question: What did the person who was blindfolded have to do to be able to not trip over the cones?

 

Answer: The person blindfolded had to listen to the voice of the one giving directions.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus says, “Where I am going you know the way.” However, Thomas speaks up and says, Master, we do not know the where you are going; how can we know the way?” Thomas wants a map. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

What Jesus means when he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” What Jesus is telling us is we need to listen to his voice, and he will tell us where to go. Thomas is absolutely correct in saying, “we do not know the way.” We say this all the time, but Jesus is there to guide us and hold us.

 

To always be able to hear the voice of Jesus we need to come to the Eucharist as much as we can. May we always hear the voice of Jesus in our hearts.

 

Make history in the name of Christ!

 

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Acts 13:13-25

John 13:16-20

 

We all have memories of events, places, and people that have affected our lives and at times changed our lives. We can recall these events, places, and people with great fondness. Our second graders are going to make a memorable event this weekend by receiving the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time. Our spiritual lives work in every same way, and our readings bring this out very well.

 

In our first reading St. Paul is given an opportunity to speak in the synagogue. This should recall for us how Jesus was given the very same opportunity. Paul recalls the many events, places, and people that have meant to so much to the Jewish people and he connects all of those things to Jesus Christ. Paul ends by saying, “ Do you see how God’s loving and guiding hand has been on all these things?”

 

In our Gospel Jesus is creating a new memory that will change their lives forever as he has just washed their feet. What a significant event as Jesus, the master, washes the feet of the servants.   

 

In our lives today, we have a chance of making history by what we say, do and think. By participating in the will of God, we can have a huge effect on someone. May this Eucharist have a lasting effect on us?

Go!

 

Feast Day of St. Mark

The Evangelist

I Peter 5:5-14

Mark 16:15-20

 

 

Of course, I love this feast day because it is my patron saint, but there are many reasons why I love this day. It is understood that the Gospel writer Mark wrote before the others and Matthew and Luke borrow from Mark. I like that the writer Mark writes in very short and powerful ways, there is not much fluff just the facts.

 

The best example of this I can tell you is in our Gospel today, which is the conclusion of the Gospel, the Gospel writer Mark has Jesus simple saying, “Go!” It is the very first word spoken to the apostles after the resurrection. Jesus continues his instructions with, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”  The mandate ‘to go’ is given to us by Jesus himself to all of us, exactly what he wants us to do, go and tell others.

 

In our reading, Peter builds on this message to “go” and gives instructions to the young new leaders that they are to be eager to serve each other, and they are to be humble and filled with humility.  They are warned to be watchful of the evil one who ‘is prowling around like a roaring lion,’ they are to resist him and be strong in their faith.

 

The good news of Jesus Christ still needs to get out to the world, and it is now left to us to do. It is more than treating people as I want to be treated. It is treating people as Jesus has treated us. As we celebrate today’s High Holy Day, may St. Mark the Evangelist Intercede to the Lord for us as well. That we too will be the best of an apostle of Jesus Christ this day.

 

 

 

Jesus makes all things new!

 

Fourth Week of Easter Weekday Tuesday

Acts 11: 19-26

John 10: 22-30

 

There are times when things get too comfortable. I make piles of things on different tables around the rectory and leave them there for weeks. At times we need to shake things up a bit, get a fresh start and begin anew. Have someone turn the lights off. Now that is something new!

 

In our Gospel, the people demand with great forcefulness, “Speak plainly to us, of who you are.” They have become so stagnant that they cannot see anything new that is right in front of them. The mystery of Jesus Christ has been unfolding in his words and his actions, yet the people miss who Jesus is.

 

In our first reading, everything is beginning a new as the word of God is now being preached not just too fellow Jews but Greeks, and the “hand of God was with these disciples.” The apostles send Barnabas to Antioch to check it out, and Barnabas blesses the people with his own hands encouraging them in the faith. There are so many people coming to this new faith, that it is now a movement and they are called Christians.

 

In this Eucharist, we are given the strength to begin again and to welcome something new into our lives. God is present in these things.

 

The vioce of the Good Sheherd

 

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4: 8-12

I John 3:1-2

John 10: 11-18

 

There were a husband and wife who had coffee together every morning. The husband would prepare the coffee, he would pull his chair up, so he could look at his wife, and they would talk. Their conversation would cover many topics, and it was always good, it was their way of beginning the day. There is nothing unusual about making coffee, pulling up a chair and talking to your loved one. What makes this unusual is the wife of 64 years has been gone for over two years, and this loving husband has continued the ritual of making the coffee, pulling up a chair, and talking to his wife who is buried in our cemetery. It does not matter if it is raining, snowing, blowing, or sunshine, this man continues this morning ritual. This act of love is what being a “good shepherd” is about.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus gives us three things to do so all of us will be a “Good Shepherd.” The first thing Jesus says is, “I am the good shepherd, and I lay down my life for my sheep.” Jesus repeats this four more times because he means it. It is not to be taken lightly, and it is not for the faint of heart. The good shepherd never gives up on the sheep and is present to the sheep through all the difficult times of life.

 

Secondly, Jesus says, “I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.” Membership into the flock of Jesus is based solely on hearing the voice of the shepherd. In ancient times when possible shepherds would come together in the evening and put their sheep into a sheep gate. The sheep gate would be a wall that would be built out of stone in a circle to keep all the sheep safe from predators or thieves. In the morning the shepherds would call their sheep, and they would rejoin their shepherd.

 

The last thing Jesus tells us is this relationship that the shepherd has with his sheep, and the sheep have with their shepherd is all because there are others who will see that and want to be part of that flock.

 

The challenge for all of us is how we can be a better good shepherd to the sheep that God has given us? All you who are married. Will you lay your life down for your spouse, by listening to each other more intently? May we not forget your children are watching? Children, how can you be better shepherds by listening and obeying your mother and fathers? Anyone who is single, you also have lots of opportunities to be good shepherds by being a person who is holy and reflects the teachings of the church. 

 

My friends in Christ to be a good shepherd takes courage. Let us always hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, leading us to holiness and faithfulness! May we also be good shepherds to those God has entrusted to us!   

How will we particpate in the will of God?

 

Third Week Easter Weekday Friday

Acts 9: 1-20

John 6: 52-59

 

Invite 3 to 5 students to come forward and form a circle. I give one student the ball of string and ask them to toss it to another student while holding onto the end of the string. When that student catches the ball of string, they hang onto their end and toss the ball of string to someone else. Toss the ball of the string until every student is hanging onto the string.

When every student is hanging onto the string, have one student let go and ask the rest of the students to keep the string tight. Ask another student to drop their string, and again ask the remaining students to keep the string tight.

 

What happened as each student dropped their piece of string?

Answer – the students who remained had to step back to keep the string from falling to the ground.

 

Our little experiment shows for us that each of us has a special role in God’s plan. When we participate in God’s plan, we can do great things. When we let go of God’s plan, then others have to pick up the slack and do what we could not do.

 

In our first reading, both Saul and Ananias had to participate in God’s plan for it to come about. Ananias was afraid to go to Saul because it was Saul who was persecuting and killing people who believed in Jesus Christ. Saul had to allow someone he did not know to come to him while he was blind and heal him.

 

We gather in this Eucharist as a community to hold onto the life giving will of God. May we be strengthen to hold on and to do the will of God and great things can happen.