April 21, 2019 – Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
A Blessed Easter!
“What does it mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself and that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom. God’s love can do this!” (Pope Francis)
To you, our beloved parishioners and all those seeking a home in the Church; to friends and strangers alike; to the lost and forgotten, the poor and the hungry; to those who are hurting or live in regret, fear or disappointment; to those whose lives are going pretty well and to those who feel a bit lost, lonely or confused; to the unborn and the very old and everyone in between; to the healthy and the sick; to the happy or depressed; to the grieving; to those dearest to our hearts and to those deemed less worthy of love or inclusion; to those who have many advantages and to those deprived; to our parish staff and trustees and Councils and Committees and ministries and societies;
in a word, to EVERYONE:
May Christ rise in your hearts and bring new life and hope and joy!
Sincerely, with love,
Fr. John and Fr. Tim
April 14, 2019 – Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
A blessed Palm Sunday to you! Saint John Paul II, in a homily from Palm Sunday in 2003 wrote: “The liturgy of Palm Sunday is like a formal entrance into Holy Week. It combines two contrasting moments: the welcome of Jesus in Jerusalem and the drama of the Passion; the festive ‘Hosanna’ and the repeated cry: ‘Crucify him!’; the triumphal entry and the apparent defeat through death on the Cross. The liturgy thus anticipates the ‘hour’ in which the Messiah was to suffer greatly […] and prepares us to live fully the paschal mystery”.
This week, we celebrate the three most sacred days of our liturgical year: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. If you are able, I would invite you to “go on retreat” before we celebrate the joy of the resurrection at Easter. That is, to take the opportunity to “shut things down” for these three days – to turn off e-mail and social media, avoid doing unnecessary work, and to take more time for prayer, silence, and spiritual reading. Amidst the busyness of our world at times, we all often look for time “away” or to go on retreat. If you are able, I would invite you take this opportunity to “go on retreat” and make these three days different than all the rest of the days of the year. It will be a sacrifice, but the Lord will bless that gift abundantly!
In this my first year of parish ministry as a priest, this Holy Week is yet another one of my “firsts”. More than anything else, I simply want to offer my thanks to everyone for your prayers and kindness you have shown me. I realize that I have much to learn and that I make mistakes at times, and for that I am sorry. Know of my gratitude and prayers in a particular way this week, and thank you so much for everything! A blessed Holy Week to you all.
April 7, 2019 – Fifth Sunday of Lent
Our verse before the Gospel this Sunday comes from the well-known reading that we heard on Ash Wednesday: “Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart; for I am gracious and merciful” (Joel 2:12-13).
God’s love and mercy has a difficult time moving from our head to our hearts because of what I would call these “now” moments. We know that God is allmerciful…but think that He can’t possibly forgive what we have done now. God is all-loving…but if He truly knew how we have disappointed him, we are not sure He would love me now. My friends, so often we come close to God’s love and mercy, but because we think it couldn’t apply now, we continue to put up those walls and barriers in our life.
God knows we have these “now” moments, and so He says, even now, despite anything you might have done, I am always waiting to forgive. The Prodigal Son (last week) and the woman caught in adultery (this week’s Gospel) invite us to encounter this reality that even now, despite anything we might have done, God’s love and mercy always awaits us.
My challenge for everyone this week is to get to Confession sometime before Easter, if you haven’t been already. This Wednesday, April 10th, there will be priests available for Confession all day (8 AM – 8 PM) at St. Monica’s Parish in Whitefish Bay. See our bulletin and website for other available times throughout the week. Even now, despite anything we might have ever done, the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness awaits all of us in this beautiful Sacrament.
Sincerely, with love,