Abide in God!

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 10: 25-26, 34-35, 44-48

I John 4:7-10

John 15: 9-17

I am looking for something. No one move! Go up to someone holding a child and say, “This is the image we all need to come to understand of what God is telling us in our readings today!”

If we can come to understand this image, we will do well in life.

In our Gospel, Jesus commands his disciples to love one another. Our response is, “Love is a free choice. It is not a command?” In human terms, that is correct, but we need to learn what true freedom is. Jesus says it a command, because we are to remain in him. A better translation instead of “remain” is “abide in me.” Jesus is telling us, “The beginning of love is in me. Please do not see me as far away and unreachable. See the world through me, and love is reachable.”

Jesus also tells us why we need to “abide” in his love, and that is so our joy may be complete. When we abide in his love, when we see the world from the arms of God, and our joy may be complete.

To bring his point home even further, Jesus says, “I no longer call you a slave, but I call you friends!” Jesus is redefining his relationship with his disciples from their master to a friend. When you are best friends with someone and ask something of us, we gladly do whatever a friend asks of us.

My friends in Christ, if we need any more evidence of what Jesus is telling us, then come before the cross, kneel, and realize that the arms of Jesus are opened wide because he wants to wrap us up to his body.

The Eucharist we share is the living example of God’s great love for us. May we learn to love this week!

I call you friends!

Fifth Week of Easter Friday

Acts 15:22-31

John 15: 12-17

K, 1, 2, graders

Q. Who has a best friend?  

Q. Ask the children the names of the friend?

Q. What are some of the things that you like about your friend?

In our Gospel, Jesus now has some new friends as he now calls his disciples his friends. As he calls them his friends, he has moved his disciples from being just his followers to a new relationship with him. And like all of us, we like our friends because they do stuff with us that we want to do.

He loves to love others and he knows tells them to love others because he has chosen them to be his friend.

My friends in Christ, in this Eucharist, may we hear Jesus making us his friend and to love others as he loves us.

Joy to the world!

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Acts 15:7-21

John 15: 9-11

6, 7, & 8 grade at Mass

Well, how are you doing today? Oh. No, I am sensing a very low energy field on this cloudy day. How about we sing a song to raise our spirits?  Maestro play us some upbeat music to get us in the proper mood for today’s Eucharist.

Joe plays “Joy to the World,” and the words appear on the screens. Have everyone sing along!  

When do we usually sing that song? You are correct at Christmas time! We sing that song at Christmas because we are filled with great joy because the Savior of the world has come into the world.

In our Gospel, Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” Jesus tells his disciples and us the secret to living in joy. He says, “Remain in my love.” A better and closer translation would be “abide” in me. Maybe an example of what Jesus is saying to us to make his point clear to us. It is not enough to be like Jesus; he wants us to be in him. It is not enough to be seeing Jesus as out there somewhere, Jesus wants us to see the world as out there, and we see the world from his loving arms.

When we “abide” in His love, then we know that we are loved unconditionally, and we can know his joy.

It may be a cold and cloudy day outside, but we can have joy in our hearts because of Jesus Christ today.

Staying connected!

Fifth Week of Easter Wednesday

Acts 15:1-6

 John 15: 1-8

3, 4, & 5 grade

Question: Who is ready for Christmas? You know there are only 234 days before Christmas, so you can never start preparing too early.

I love Christmas, and part of making Christmas special is all the decorations that go up, especially lights. I have all these Christmas lights, and you never know if they are going to light up. I will need the help of Mr. Z.

Mr. Z, will you please plug in one string of lights?

Will you please plug in another string of lights to see if they work?

Will you please plug in the last string of lights to see if they work?   

Question: Why do some light up and some did not light up?

Answer: Because they are connected to the cord.

In the Gospel, Jesus says, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. When you stay connected to me, you will bear much fruit. If you do not bear fruit, you will be disconnected from me.” We must do everything we can to stay connected to the vine.

My friends in Christ may stay connected to the vine by coming to the Eucharist and being the light of Christ. May we always stay connected to the vine of Jesus!  

What number would we give ourselves of how peaceful we are today?

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Acts 14: 19-28

John 14: 27-31

Our readings speak to us today about being peaceful people. But how do we do become peaceful? We all seek peace in our lives, and to have peace, we may go for a walk, read a book, or stop and listen to the birds.

However, the spiritual life is about having a long lasting peace, and to obtain lasting peace, we have to ask ourselves the question, “What or whom do we fear?” We should not fear, fear because fear is the messenger of peace.

Here is a personal example of what happened to me yesterday. In my time of Morning Prayer, I was overwhelmed with God’s peace. It was wonderful! Later in the day, I talked with someone and the conversation triggered in me my greatest fear, which is the fear of disappointing someone, and I became filled with fear, and my peace was gone. Once I realized what was happening and knew I could not solve this person’s problem, my fear level went down, and peace returned.

In our Gospel today, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives but as I give you. Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus is letting us know that we cannot allow our fears to overcome us and steal away our peace.

My friends in Christ, one way to know our fears and be peaceful people is to allow the grace of the Holy Eucharist to wash over us today.       

How and why should we stay connected to the vine?

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 9: 26-31

I John 3:18-24

John 15: 1-8

I went home last Sunday to visit my 95-year-old father, and my siblings also came home. It was pure heaven!

I have given much thought to what I might say at my father’s funeral in the last couple of years. It shouldn’t be for a while, but I want to be ready. As I was driving back carrying a world of emotions, it came to me, of what I might say. Dad said at least a dozen times, “I am so grateful that we have stayed connected as a family all these years.” (Tell the story of Mr. Mig and show picture.) Our readings have a lot to do with staying connected and how do we do it well.

Our first reading is all about staying connected as Saul tries to join the other disciples in Jerusalem. Of course, they are terrified of him because he has been persecuting and killing Christians. Barnabas stands up and tells the others that Saul is now connected to the vine, just as they are, and they are no longer afraid. We are told there is peace in the Jerusalem Church.

Our Gospel is also about staying connected as Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. If branches do not bear fruit, they will be pruned away. If you stay connected, you will bear much fruit.” Well then, how do we stay connected? We remain connected to Christ by receiving Him in the Eucharist.

However, there is more to this powerful passage, and it is the part that I have never preached on because it is almost too scary or too unbelievable. At the end of this passage, Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want, and it will be given to you.” We struggle with this because of the first two things. We struggle to stay connected to Christ, and we struggle to believe that His word is true.

My friends in Christ, the truth to all that is being told to us today is making every ounce of our energy staying connected to that vine of Jesus Christ. When we stay connected to Christ in the Eucharist, we will know life in abundance!

Do we know the way?

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Acts 13:26-33

John 14:1-6

K, 1, 2, Graders

Before Mass, have 4 or 5 orange pylons and put them off to the side. Have a mask to cover the student’s eyes at the chair.  

Homily: Chose one student to be blindfolded and one student to give directions to the blindfolded student. The object is to have the student 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 where you are going; how can we know the way?” Thomas wants the mask covering his eyes to be lifted so that he can see the way to Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is telling us is we need to listen to his voice, and he will tell us where to go. Thomas is 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 hear the voice of Jesus, we need to come to the Eucharist as much as possible. May we always listen to the voice of Jesus in our hearts?

Where are our shoes leading us?

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Acts 13:13-25

John 13:16-20

Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena

What kind of footwear do you have on today?

Who is wearing sneakers? Who is wearing dress shoes? Who may be wearing sandals?

Here is my favorite pair of shoes. These shoes are a combination of tennis shoes and hiking shoes, and they are like walking on air!  

We may all have different kinds of footwear on, and the readings do have to do with footwear. However what connects our readings is footwear, and we are all called to do the same thing in our readings today.

In our first reading, St. Paul teaches in the synagogue, and he recalls for the people their story of salvation history, which they are all very familiar with the story. Paul wearing his PF Flyers introduces Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of God’s plan. Paul recalls how John the Baptist heralding the Good News of Jesus Christ’s coming. Paul concludes by saying, he is not worthy to untie the sandals of Jesus.  

Our Gospel takes us back to the Last Supper when Jesus took a towel and a basin of water and washed the disciple’s feet. Having washed the disciple’s feet, Jesus is trying to show them how to live in the manner he wants them to. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who understand what this means.”

My friends in Christ, we all have shoes on, and they are to lead us to others, humble ourselves, and serve others.

The chores of life!

Fourth Week of Easter Weekday Wednesday

Acts12:24–13:5

John12:44-50

Grades 3, 4, & 5

Put on the screen a list of Household Chores to be done.

What kind of chores are you assigned to do?

Who of us has been assigned this chore to do?

Put up on screen, “To live like Jesus Christ and spread his message of love and mercy!”

In our first reading, we hear of Barnabas and Saul returning from a trip to Jerusalem. As they return to Antioch, the community prays over Barnabas and Saul as they are now being sent on the first missionary trip all the way to Cyprus and Perga.

Barnabas and Paul have been assigned to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, and it is not a chore, something to complain about, but something they want to do with their whole heart.

My friends in Christ may complain a bit about doing our chores, but we should never complain about being invited to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Household Chores!

Sweep the floors

Help make your lunch

Do yard work of any kind?

Clean your bedroom (With minimal supervision)

Put away the groceries

Load/Empty the dishwasher  

Vacuum

Help with preparing dinner  

Make your snack/breakfast

Wash the table after dinner

Cleaning the dishes

Put away your laundry

Take the family dog for a walk

Empty indoor trash

Take garbage bins to street for pickup

To live like Jesus Christ and spread his message of love and mercy!

Our Good Shepherd!

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4: 8-12

I John 3:1-2

John 10: 11-18

After the ten o’clock Mass, I am leaving to drive to the Detroit area to visit my 95-year-old dad. He is doing pretty well, he can get around, but I have not visited with him for over a year and a half. To make the visit even better, all my four siblings are already there, and they are holding dinner tomorrow until I arrive. All of us are now vaccinated, and we are all looking forward to spending time with him. One of the things that have helped us as a family stay connected is having a Zoom call on Tuesday at 7:30 pm. Tuesday nights have become a “sacred time” for me as we stay connected. Here is a snapshot of the personalities of my family. My oldest brother tells the best stories, my youngest brother is the best with one-liners, he is so funny. My other brother is always late, and we tease him each week that when he tunes in at 7:45 pm, we applaud him for being early. Of course, that leaves my only sister, and she is the oldest, so we boys have to love her because she is the only girl. As I said, dad is holding his own, but as he stares at the screen, we all wait for whatever he may say next, which often may bring us to the next topic or repeat a topic we have already discussed. As hard as we try, we never get to a point where we know everything about each other, but we try. Our readings today give us a different picture as we are told that God knows everything about us. Pause for a moment and think, God knows everything about us. God every sin, every secret, and every gift, and God still loves us. What do we do with this knowledge, and how does it affect our lives.

In our second reading, we are told why God knows us so well. We are told, “God loves us so much that we are called children of God.” We are God’s children, and when we come to know that we are in an intimate relationship with God, we can become fully alive!

In our Gospel, we are told even more why God knows us so well. The first thing Jesus says, “I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.” What that means for us is, the sheep know that their total welfare depends solely on the Good Shepherd leading them to fertile pastures and protecting them from danger.

The second thing to know about Jesus knowing us so well is Jesus says, not once, not twice, but five times, “I am the Good Shepherd, and I lay down my life for my sheep.” When we are lost, not sure of what to do, we don’t know where to turn, Jesus is there to lay down his life for us. How can we go wrong?

My friends, we celebrate a God who knows everything about us and stills loves us! Do we realize this gift, and what will we do this week to know God as he knows us?    Introduction: Of all the images we have o