April 30, 2023 – 4th Sunday of Easter
“There are two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children: One of these is roots, the other wings.”
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
What a joyful gift to see our young people receive our Lord in their First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Thanks to our Uplift team and parish school as we pass on what is at one and the same time ever-ancient and ever-new, as we help our young people move to a future of a hopeful and happy life rooted in Jesus and his Church. Thanks to parents and guardians as you show our young people the path that will help them so in life. God bless you all!
Needless to say we live in uncertain times in which our youth need their roots more than ever! And we need the vision, energy and hope of our young people as we pray for and work for a better world, a world of peace and justice, a world with no violence and a deeper respect for all! God bless us all this beautiful Easter season, as we remember the story of Jesus that gives us all the certainty of strong roots and tradition, and the courage, enthusiasm and love to make that story alive for a world so in need!
Have a blessed week!
April 23rd, 2023 – 3rd Sunday of Easter
“You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.”
Life is a journey and, when we look back at what we have lived so far, we realize that God has been walking with us, alongside all throughout the journey.
I think, for instance of the many twists and turns that have taken me to where I am today, a priest, happily serving the East Side parishes in the city of Milwaukee. Amid joys and fears lived along the way, I am certain that God has been showing me the path to follow through his voice within me that we call “conscience.”
God is also speaking to you through your conscience! This is why it is important to become used to the voice of God within us, his tone of voice, his choice of words. God speaks to each of us in distinct and unique ways, and his voice sounds in a way that only makes sense to you or me. All of this so that we may understand and follow God’s promptings that we hear in the depths of our beings.
The Lord does not only speak, but he is also a good listener and travel companion. In the Gospel for this weekend, Jesus joins two of his disciples as they journey towards Emmaus asking them, “what are you discussing as you walk along?” It could have been the weather; it could have been the next meal they’ll have. Jesus is genuinely interested to hear where they are at in life that afternoon and decides to listen to their story before he shows them “the path to life” that leads to heaven.
Hopefully, we all have heaven as our desired destination. A couple of weeks ago, we said good-bye to a beloved parishioner at St Rita’s, Tony Zingale. I remember the last time I saw Tony at the hospital; he was awake, talking about his wish to leave the hospital and live on. When the time to end my visit came and I had to say good-bye, Tony said to me as I was exiting the room “Ci vediamo in Cielo, Padre,” Italian for “we’ll meet again in heaven, Father.” I didn’t think Tony was doing too poorly, as he was all alert and engaged in conversation that morning and, yet, he passed away two days after that visit.
I am taking Tony’s words to be a promise, that one day I will join him and all our loved ones in heaven.
It is good to walk the journey of life knowing where we are headed. We pray to God this weekend to show us the path to life. God, indeed, shows us the path and becomes our companion on the way, listening to us, speaking through our conscience, and through our brothers and sisters in Christ, like Tony.
April 16th, 2023 – Divine Mercy Sunday
“I have always found that mercy bears
richer fruits than strict justice.”
Happy Easter, everyone!
It is a blessing that the Second Sunday of Easter has been chosen to celebrate Divine Mercy, and the unique gift of the witness of St. John Paul II and St. Faustina. The unique reality of the Resurrection is that it proclaims the central victory of mercy, the mercy which prompted Jesus to forgive even his enemies at the very moment of their supposed victory.
Mercy is so often misunderstood as weakness, the end result of erroneous calculation, in which we often perceive ourselves as being cheated out of vindication. We want the strict measure of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But we all know where that leads: a blind, starving world.
Let’s all find one area in our lives where mercy may be offered like God’s mercy. Not calculating or counting the cost! It will seem strange and against the grain. The Catholic author Graham Greene put it well, “You cannot conceive, nor can I, of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”
Strange, yes, but the only way to true freedom and the sweet victory of happiness.
And that is Resurrection!
April 9, 2023 – Easter Sunday
“This is the day the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in him!”
Easter is truly the most important day of the Christian faith, and the entire Christian world rejoices at the news that the Lord is Risen!
It is great news to know that death and sin have been conquered by the Lord. As we live in a world where so many suffer because of different manifestations of evil, the Christian faithful remain hopeful because that same evil has already been defeated, and the victory of Christ over death will be fully manifested in the world when the Lord comes again, any time now.
“Deep waters cannot quench love” (Song of Songs 8:7).
It was love who conquered death! I remember one particular year of my life, some years ago, where I came to love someone very deeply. Because of the love I had for this person, I was protected from falling into certain habitual sins for that entire year. Love so saturated my life that I felt as though I could only be faithful and devoted to my heart.
Our pastor, Fr. Tim Kitzke, our wonderful staff here at the Family of Four, and I wish you a Happy Easter together with your families and loved ones! Together we pray that our world, our city and our hearts may be so overcome by the love of God this Easter, that sin and death may remain as Christ left them over two thousand years ago, defeated!
April 2, 2023 – Palm Sunday
“We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.”
(W.H. Auden, The Age of Anxiety)
As we begin this Holy Week, I thought of one of my favorite quotes from poetry. The age of anxiety we all live in, not unlike the anxiety that has always been a part of this crazy human journey, is matched by the incredible story of grace that unfolds as we remember the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
Take time this week to really listen and experience not only the daily anxieties we all face, but invite the story of Jesus into your heart. Walk with him; suffer with him; cry with him; let his story be your story.
Whatever is going on in life right now in our personal lives, our family’s life, our parishes’ life, our community’s life—Christ is calling: Walk with me; talk with me! I have a story to tell you that will change your life forever, that will turn anxiety into glory!
Christ tells us—Walk with me!
Know of the love, support, prayers from me, Fr. Carlos and our entire parish team as we walk the Way together!