May the light and joy of Easter fill your hearts!
This weekend is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations! There is a popular hymn by Dan Schutte called “Here I Am Lord”. This hymn gives a good summary of what the attitude and response of each Christian and Prophet referred to in Sacred Scripture has been! “Here I am Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”
Each person is singularly and uniquely created by God and endowed with special gifts. God calls everyone to use their gifts for the benefit of others and for building up his Kingdom, the community of faith. Everyone has the gift of a vocation in which they find the fulfillment of the meaning and purpose of their lives. Some are called to be priests, to preach the Word of God, to administer the Sacraments, especially Penance and the Eucharist, and to help the sick and the suffering and the poor and to give their lives in sacrificial service after Christ. Others are called to serve as Deacons, to proclaim God’s Word and serve others.
Many men and women are inspired by the Holy Spirit to serve the needs of humanity in a radical way by choosing to live the Gospel under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Their prayers are powerful as they intercede for all humanity and their lives give witness of the love and mercy of God as they serve the needs of others in charity.
Married couples are a living sign of God’s love for the human family in their mutual love for each other and their children as they lead lives of faith and teach their children to listen to God and follow the way of life that Jesus taught.
All vocations are important and form part of God’s plan for the good of the whole Church. Today, the Church needs more men and women serving as priests and religious. Please pray for an increase in Priestly and religious vocations and a generous response to God’s call!
May God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter
Peace, grace and Easter joy be with you all!
We are reminded that a great part of our witness to Jesus as The Redeemer of the Human Race is to embrace a lifestyle of conversion.
In the first reading, Peter identifies Jesus as God’s glorified servant and Author of Life whom the Jewish leaders put to death. Peter testifies that God raised Jesus from the dead as proof of his true identity and that he understands that those who promoted his death were unaware of who Jesus really was. Peter proposes to them a remedy for their sin: repent and be converted so that their sin may be wiped away!
In the Gospel, Jesus had just revealed himself to two of his disciples in Emmaus the evening before and now reveals himself to a large group of his disciples. At the end of the account, Jesus summarizes the reason for his suffering, death and resurrection was so that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name everywhere in the world by his disciples.
A key word in both readings is repentance, which is a semi-accurate translation of the original Greek word metanoia. Repent, as Websters Dictionary says, is to feel sorry or self-reproachful for what one has done or failed to do. The conscience of the person is impacted and they feel contrition, sorrow, or regret for their sins as well as penalties undertaken on their account. The Greek term, metanoia, directly signifies the change of mind and of heart that occurs in conversion. The difference in our understanding of what repentance actually means is very important. Repentance is not just something to be done on account of a sin, but is rather a way of life that focuses on becoming an image of God: a true human being. Through our baptism, we are members of the Body of Christ—Jesus is the restorer of the human person! This new life we are given calls us to the constant turn of the heart and mind toward God as an inner state of prayer with a posture of listening with deeply interested love. The focus is not sin. The focus is God’s saving love! May God fill you with peace and joy! +++ Fr. Peter
Happy Easter! May the Divine Mercy raise you up in hope and courage!
Mercy Sunday is a special day for those around the world who have made the effort to pray the Divine Mercy Novena beginning Good Friday and culminating the second Sunday of Easter. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was given to St. Maria Faustina Kowalska on Good Friday in 1935 by Jesus who wanted her to pray it as a Novena (9 days) with special intentions for each of the nine days it was prayed. St. Faustina relates in her Diary that Jesus made several promises to grant many special graces to those who would pray the Novena. This Sunday many of the faithful will begin to realize the graces and gifts that Jesus promised to those who would pray the Chaplet. Those who were included in the intentions will receive life changing graces in their lives as well! I am very happy that we include praying the Chaplet in our parishes, especially at St. Edward where it is prayed with the Rosary before all Masses. Jesus also made promises to those who would display an image of the Divine Mercy which is prominently displayed in our Churches at St. Thomas, St. Bernard and St. Edward. The rays streaming from the heart of Jesus in the image have symbolic meaning: red is for the blood of Jesus which is the life of souls and the pale color is for water and Baptism which justifies souls (diary par. 299). The whole image is symbolic of charity, divine love and forgiveness referred to as the “Fountain of Mercy.”
This Sunday the Divine Mercy devotion will begin at St. Edward at 3:00pm. All are invited to attend. There will be Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and then concluded with Solemn Benediction.
May God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter
Happy Easter! Alleluia!
It’s hard to imagine what the first Easter must have been like. There were only a small number of people who followed Jesus and they had just suffered a horrible, tragic loss in seeing him die on the cross. They were still feeling the shock waves of his death when some reported the unthinkable—He is risen! The event of the resurrection of Jesus sets Christians apart from the world in a special way. Look around you. There are more people in Church today for one reason. Jesus died, then rose again! You are here and so are they because they believe, they have faith and hope in the resurrection to eternal life. Millions of people around the world have made a special effort to get dressed up and go to Church today to celebrate what their faith means to them. Like you, I wish everyone had a strong faith and a sense of purpose about what to do with their faith. Imagine what our world could be like if everyone worked together to build societies that honored God and put the Gospel values into action! I am reminded that the followers of Jesus were few but they grew in number because they lived a sincere faith and the Lord showed his favor through them. We have the same opportunity. If the world we live in is to grow in holiness and remain a good place to live, then the faith that brings us here must go out with us into our homes, our schools, our places of work, our neighborhoods and wherever else we go. We must be glad to share with other people what our faith gives us. The tomb is empty! Not because his body was stolen but because God raised him from the dead! There are those who would roll the stone back over the entrance by covering up their faith or by denying what really happened. This is a time for us to be grateful for the new freedom Jesus has given us from our old sins and attitudes that lead to a dead end. We have been raised with him in sure and certain ways! As a people of faith, let this Easter be the time when we sincerely rededicate ourselves as baptized disciples of Jesus. He gave us the Gospel and its power! Let our words and our actions show our good will and the Good News of the resurrection! +++ Fr. Peter