In the beginning was the Word.

Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you.” Elijah answered, “Go back! Have I done anything to you?”

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we celebrate the Word of God, Holy Scripture.

A little bit of catechism is helpful here: In our Holy Church the Word of God is a sacrament. The basic children’s Catechism explains that the Word of God is important because it brings us closer to God, teaches us His Divine Will, makes our faith stronger, and tells us how we can enter the Kingdom of God.

The Catechism then goes on to quote several scriptures on the importance of God’s Word. Indeed, the Word of God is the seed (Luke 8:11); and Blessed are they to hear the word and obey it (Luke 11:28).

The adult Catechism repeats much of this and adds that the Word makes us better qualified to labor for the Kingdom of God.

Today we hear God direct Elijah to anoint Elisha.

This was a bit unusual. Usually, prophets had a direct encounter with God, but not so for Elisha. Elisha received no vision; there was no cherubim and seraphim appearing to him as in Isaiah’s experience; he did not get to stand before a burning bush and hear God’s voice like Moses. In fact, the call to prophetic ministry was brought to him by Elijah alone in Elijah’s casting his cloak on him.

Then something very interesting happens. Elisha runs after Elijah who was already walking away. He asks if he can say goodbye. Elijah’s answer seems odd: Go back! Have I done anything to you?” We might think, well yeah, you did, by casting your cloak on me. But here is the key to it all. Elijah in fact did nothing. Implied here is that God chose Elisha, and he could either follow God’s will or go back. Elijah’s words were humble – I did nothing, God called you. Now is the time of choice. Elisha choses God by destroying every tie to his old life, the oxen and plow. Hear too Jesus about following Him.

After he was anointed, Elisha was marked out for service to the Lord. Elisha did not immediately replace Elijah. Once the ceremony had taken place Elisha “went after Elijah and ministered to him” 

Elisha served Elijah before succeeding him as prophet. In that time Elisha learned the loneliness of the prophetic office. He watched Elijah’s message get rejected over and over. Yet in Elisha’s ministry great miracles happened.

What will the world miss out on if we do not burn the plow and commit to God’s way and give up our own? What do we learn from the call of Elisha and our adherence to God’s word? It is that we cannot sit on the fence. When God calls in the Spirit and the proclamation of the word, we must decide. Go back to the ordinary or follow. All of us have God’s call to answer, we all hear His word, we all have a choice to make, and there is a cost to pay. Elisha never regretted his choice for God’s word and way, and neither will we.

Eat, Drink, Be Mine.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we reflect, in this Octave of Corpus Christi, on Jesus’ command to eat His body and drink His blood. We rejoice in the very reality of His self-giving that makes us His.

The Rabbi of Jerusalem once visited the pope in Rome…

My dear brothers and sisters, the funny tale about the Rabbi and the Bishop of Rome is related to place and nearness. 

God had once set His singular dwelling in the midst of Israel. In fact, He was so close to His people that we dwelt in a tent alongside them. It was not until the time of King David that it was determined Israel would build a Temple for God, a more permanent dwelling. It took around 400 years to get to that point. That work was completed by King Solomon.

What did not happen though was the thing God really wanted, which was not a physical building in which to dwell. He did not need that. David’s predecessor Saul learned that lesson by his own disobedience and that of his soldiers. In 1 Samuel 15:22 we hear: Obedience is better than sacrifice, to listen, better than the fat of rams. The prophet is telling Saul that the attitude of the heart (the whole self) in relation to God is more important than external things like sacrifices and buildings.

King David himself writes in Psalm 40 and 51 respectively: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, and You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings.

Israel knew that God desired to live completely within them, but they kept it external.

Jesus came among them, the God-man, to reveal the presence of God completely, to make His Father known, and to call people into the Kingdom. He repeats His Father’s earlier call to Israel in full reality of presence – I want to be among you, within you, and I want you to be part of me.

As St. Paul tells us, I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over… He repeats the key words of Jesus repeated by the Church all through history – This is My body, This is My blood

Jesus not only left us His words, His gospel way of living, but in His example, instruction, and command His very presence – the totality of His being body, blood, soul, and divinity – so that His singular dwelling would be in the Church – that is – in us.

We fulfill what Israel did not, having Jesus – God Himself – dwelling within us. He is no longer in a tent in the camp, or in one special building. We are His place, we are His. Let us celebrate that now and always rejoicing in Jesus’ precious gift of self, bearing and sharing Him with joy before all.

I say again, Rejoice!

“[The Spirit] will glorify me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine; for this reason I told you that He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you.”

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we reflect on the mystery of God.

This is one of those fun days in the life of the Church where the congregation sits back and watches the pastor as he tries to explain the unexplainable, as he invents poor analogies and repeats fanciful stories thinking they might cover his inability to really get at the core of Who God is. It is like watching a slapstick comedy, people tripping over shoelaces and tumbling about in an effort to get from one side of the stage to the other.

Besides the tumbling about, we must wonder why so many try. All of you, the members of Christ’s body, the Church, dwellers in the Kingdom, are not even looking for an explanation. You keep it simple. We adore one God in three Persons. You own this mystery. You view this mystery practically – not in its academic analysis, but in what it really is. I’ll talk about that in a moment.

First, I want us to imagine that moment we get to heaven. We’ll be standing there at the gates. We might come to the gates with an agenda – what is God like, where’s mom and dad, my best friend, those I love? Oh yes, that one thing I could never figure out… Then God will reveal Himself to us in all His majesty, His presence, as He is, and we will finally get it. Our questions and wondering will be gone. It will be so simple that a child could figure it out. It will be so beautiful we will feel its overwhelming power.

So, what is God really, what is this great but quite simple mystery? God is the totality of mutually communal love. God created us in the world to share in that communion of love.

This means that we, created in the image of God, are made to fulfill communal love in relationship one to another and to God and all His creation.

St. John captures Jesus’ intimate communion with His Father and how we would be brought into that communion, how we would share in that same relationship, through the Holy Spirit. “[The Spirit] will glorify me, because He will take from what is Mine and declare it to you. Since Jesus dwells in the totality of mutually communal love – the Spirt Who Himself dwells there takes from that and gives it to us.

That is why the Holy Spirit dwells with us, to constantly call us into the joy of mutually communal love with God and each other – just what it means to dwell in the kingdom.

So let us not reflect so much on mystery but rather rejoice and rejoice again living filled, fulfilled, and sharing in the love of God. It is that simple.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I have been thinking about joy, about that state of life where one is at ease no matter what, where one is confident and secure so we might be positive no matter what. No matter what…

This year’s celebration of Easter was perfectly joyful for me. This was a year where I seemed to connect really well with what the apostles and disciples must have felt when they encountered the risen Lord. In June we transition out of the Easter Season into Pentecost, the Solemnities of the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi, and at the very end of the month into Ordinary Time carried forward by celebrating Word of God Sunday. Further joy for sure and we revel in the wonderful presence of the Holy Spirit and God’s total giving for us. But…

It has also been a weird time for me. I suppose part of it has been my allergies. For some reason my black car is always yellow by the next morning. The pollen seems the worst it has ever been. This has me feeling tired, run down. Then too, our children are getting older and are transitioning in their lives, moving to the next stage which is a happiness, but at the same time a change which is not always easy emotionally. I suppose the worst thing – I’m turning sixty this year!

Here’s where the Word of God and the action of the Holy Spirit steps in. We have a God of hope – which was confirmed on Easter – where even death no longer holds sway. Hope actually does spring eternal. With hope eternal, the Holy Spirit in us as a people, we can take hold of joy, we can have peace no matter what we face. It comes down to this: Do we place our all in the state of life where one is at ease no matter what, where one is confident and secure so we might be positive no matter what. No matter what… or do we dwell in the But what about… If we dwell in the ‘but if only’ things we face we will never find the truth of joy that is our faith. So be filled with hope and joy and believing which overcomes all things.


Welcome to our June 2022 Newsletter. At the start of the month we are busy celebrating the Church’s birth at Pentecost where we live the Kingdom life. We will then mark the Octave of Pentecost with our reflection on the mystery of the Holy Trinity closely followed by the Solemnity of Corpus Christi (our month long discipleship focus).

This summer ahead is jam packed with activities including this month’s Men’s Retreat, July’s Kurs Camp, Convo, our summer picnic, the annual Golf Tourney at the start of September and so much more.

In June we doubly focus our prayer efforts on vocations – for those in discernment, those in formation, and those called that they may respond generously. We celebrate Father’s Day and the growth in our parish’s ministries including a new Women’s Group and CarePortal.

Read about all this and more in our June 2022 Newsletter.

Sing poetically.

Come, Holy Spirit, come! In our labor, rest most sweet; Grateful coolness in the heat; Solace in the midst of woe. Shine within these hearts of yours, And our inmost being fill! Heal our wounds, our strength renew; On the faithful, who adore And confess you, evermore In your sevenfold gift descend; Give them virtue’s sure reward; Give them your salvation, Lord; Give them joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia.

Today we declare: Happy Birthday Church!

Did you notice the Sequence read today, Come, Holy Spirit?

A Sequence is simply a poetic chant recited before the proclamation of the Gospel. You find Sequences on the great feasts of the Church: Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi, as a sign of our joy. There are others as well, found in some churches at Christmas or on other Feasts.

Such poetry helps us understand the beauty and significance of what God has done for us. On this very special day it is appropriate that we pay close attention and sing about the gifts we are receiving out of the sending of the Holy Spirit.

It is key for us as followers of Christ to turn again and again to God’s action about us. We must remember well that we are not alone and just buffeted about by whatever comes along. Rather we are held up high by the Holy Spirit; high enough that we should sing in poetic verse.

When we do feel buffeted, in Him we have rest most sweet. When the heat of negativity, hatred, prejudice, and war attempt to discourage us in our mission for Christ we have coolness and solace.

The Holy Spirit shines within us and that makes us very attractive as we invite people to meet Jesus with us.  Not only that, but we know the Holy Spirit is at work as we work for the kingdom. He moves hearts for us. We can trust in that. As we do the work of the gospel we are filledhealed, and renewed. Our work is not only outwardly productive, but inwardly as well exactly because we have the Holy Spirit in and about us.

Because of the Holy Spirit we all dwell within the Body of Christ which is the Holy Church. We are members and have life in the Church. We have fellowship and common cause in the work of the gospel for we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Our oneness is a testament to the Holy Spirit’s presence and work. Therefore, we should never fail to gather as one in prayer, fellowship, and worship – for that is God’s vision of our being and our kingdom work.

Think of what we have as the one faithful, who adore and confess the Holy Spirit. We have His sevenfold gift, sure reward, salvation, and joys that never end. Take a copy of the Sequence home and pray this poetry every day this week – and thank the Holy Spirit for His presence in us.

Urgent work.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let the hearer say, “Come.” Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Over the last two Sundays we discussed the intensity of love Jesus requires from us and the gifts of love and peace Jesus gives us. Jesus’ love and peace gives us the privilege of the Holy Spirit with us and teaching us; eternal life; and peace that removes all fear. Now we get to the urgent work of love, peace, and invitation.

Throughout the Easter Season we have read from the Book of Acts and Revelation. 

Both Acts and Revelation are a bit removed from the first-generation Church. Acts was likely written around 80 to 90AD. Revelation was written even later, around 99AD. Both are directed to Christians as reminders of what it means to be the Body of Christ, and the urgency of the work we must engage in.

Acts gives Christians the blueprint for who we are, how we are to live, love, sacrifice and forgive – as we are reminded today by Stephen’s witness, sacrifice and plea for forgiveness of his persecutors – and how we are to evangelize.

Revelation shows forth two things – letters from the Risen Jesus to His Churches reminding them of who they are to be – i.e., the Acts Church, and a reminder of our urgency of action. We hear about that today.

Jesus says: “Behold, I am coming quickly.” We can never miss the urgency in all Jesus says. His message is to always be ready. Ready does not mean just sitting and waiting. It means hard at work loving, sacrificing, forgiving, and evangelizing. If we are ready, we will have access to the reward Jesus will give according to our work.

To further express urgency, Jesus reminds us that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Those words used earlier in Revelation applied to God and here to Jesus alone, crowning proof of Christ’s deity. If we really know and understand Who Jesus is, we will not have any trouble being urgent in our work and ready for His return.

Jesus reminds us that “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” The Spirit is in us, the Church. We are the bride of Christ. The Spirit prompts us to call for Jesus’ speedy return and to work at evangelizing those who do not know Him so they too come to Jesus in faith. 

People cannot come to Jesus unless they hear. They will only hear by our work at love, sacrifice, forgiveness, and evangelism. So let us be reminded of what urgent work we must do as we await Him. The gift of life-giving water is available. It is an open invitation we are called to urgently offer.

Love understood.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Last Sunday we discussed the intensity of love Jesus requires from us. He doesn’t require it as a command without substance, for He lived out the very love He asks us to live. He modeled complete committed love for us and asks us to follow in His footsteps.

If you did your homework and read Revelation 3:14-21, you saw Jesus’ attitude toward those who stand at a distance and are lukewarm. We know that non-committal love is not sufficient for Jesus and is insufficient for us who follow Him.

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we have been called to follow Jesus Who is the ultimate model of overwhelming love. Importantly, we hear today that following Jesus provides us with the incredibly beautiful promise Jesus speaks of. If we love Jesus and keep His word, the Heavenly Father holds us in His love and beautifully the Father, Son, and Spirit come to us and dwell with us: We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him.

Having God dwelling with us, and key here is that dwelling does not mean just hanging out for a bit, but rather living continually with us, gives us key privileges.

We hold the privilege of eternal life in the heavenly Jerusalem described in Revelation. As God dwells with us, so at the same time we dwell with Him not just now, but forever in the heavenly place of light and peace, of worship and praise.

We hold the privilege of God’s peace. It always fills my heart with joy when I hear people tell me that they find this place to be one of peace. The witness of so many of our parishioners and friends attests to the peace of God that is here as He dwells with us. Here with Jesus, we can let go of whatever it is that binds, worries, stresses, limits, or causes fear in our lives. We know that God is dwelling with us and no matter what fears the world may bring we overcome it. God’s peace is that which removes the weight of life which is the fear of what is next. We already know our next – eternal life.

We hold the privilege of the Holy Spirit. As we now start our approach to the Solemnity of Pentecost in these last two weeks of Easter, we are reminded of the Spirit’s presence in the Church which is in us. We know, as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is here to teach [us] everything and remind [us] of all that [Jesus] told [us].

With the privileges of God’s permeant presence and our presence with Him forever, peace that overcomes all things, and the Holy Spirit teaching us and reminding us, we come to understand and live the enormous love we are called to each day.

Love understood.

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

My dearest friends, I don’t have to tell you that love is hard, complex, difficult to grasp, and every so often so overpowering that it leaves us standing in awe. At times love is so powerful that it changes the direction of our lives.

Jesus speaks to us of that kind of love today. It is His call to us to engage in overpowering, awe inspiring, imitation calling, changing love, in the model He left us, a model of complete self-giving one-for-another.

Jesus wants us to be overpowered by His love, a love so intense, so powerful, so strong and dedicated that He offered His life for it. Jesus wants His love offering to change our life direction. He wants the intensity of His love to move us to the self-same way of loving.

His love took the weight of all our shortcomings and failings and placed it on His shoulders. He bore us broken so that we could rise with Him perfected in the happiness of freedom forever. So just as Jesus did, our love must raise others up.

Jesus calls to us to engage in overpowering, awe inspiring, imitation calling, changing love. We are to live in active love, to give our all, to sacrifice everything for love of each other.

We have much to face in the world. Hatred and antagonism are rampant. Fortresses of one against another are being built. The worldly are in love with death – the kind of death that negates sacrificial love – and calls for an end to love. We cannot let this just be, standing in silence, gathering in our little possessions, and think it cannot or will not touch me. It will. Instead, we must do as Christ’s disciples do – witness to the overpowering, awe inspiring, imitation calling, changing love of Jesus by doing as He did. It is the only antidote.

We must be those couples that love each other – not because of infatuation or for reasons of beauty – but because love calls us to give ourselves for the other – even if we get nothing in return. We must be those parents that love their children – not with stuff, or the adding up of cost, or giving in to cultural whims or the latest you must do this and that – but with an abiding love that says I am here and always will be no matter when, no matter what, for your good, so you know God and His love by my example. Similarly, we must be brother and sister and minister to each other and our community, giving our hearts and time. Standing at a distance and being lukewarm is not sufficient (cf. Rev. 3:14-21).

Jesus is the ultimate model of overwhelming love. We must love as He did for doing so will make the true meaning of love understood to us and in understanding we will have joy.

Hearing and moving.

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.”

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday as the fourth Sunday of Easter is always known. We encounter the shortest Gospel concerning the Good Shepherd, only four verses. In other years it is either eight or ten verses. Yet in these four verses we clearly see the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd – the Shepherd Who cares for and protects us, the Good Shepherd Who lives up to His promises and speaks to us.

Last week we heard about Jesus’ feeding of His Apostles by the seaside. He also spoke a command to them, and to us, that we are to feed and tend His flock.

Now, we should take a moment to check in. Did we hear what Jesus asked of us concerning tending and feeding? This is important.

Today’s gospel contains a great promise to all followers of the Christ. Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice!” He does not say we could hear his voice, or we should hear his voice, or we might hear his voice. Rather, Jesus is exceptionally clear that we do hear His voice.

As such, we should always be alert, awake, and ready to act on what God is speaking to us. It may sound strong… but if we are not hearing anything, if all we hear is silence, or if we ignore what we hear, then we are not walking in the Lord’s will. We have placed ourselves outside the sheepfold.

Think of it this way. When our moms called out to us, or call out to us, did or do we hear them? I can tell you from personal experience, when my mom wanted her will done, I could hear her, even down the block. Jimmy, Jimmy… I wanted to bury my head in the dirt, but the call and the request for a response were real. I responded.

That is what the Good Shepherd is saying. We cannot help but hear and if we are within the sheepfold we must then act.

We easily know God’s call to us because His voice is clear, right here in Holy Scripture, in Holy Tradition, in the Holy Spirit guided teaching of the Church. We indeed know God’s will and desire for us.

On top of that, we have the voice of the Holy Spirit we have each received. He leads us to the places He wishes and asks us to carry out the work He needs done: witnessing, serving, evangelizing, and more.

When the Good Shepherd’s voice is stirred in us His words are words of life. Jimmy must get up, get going and do. We all must so we may live in His sheepfold forever.

Moving forward.

When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

This passage taken from John, Chapter 21, verses 1 through 18 is just so beautiful. It encapsulates the gospel of our Lord and Savior in all its richness, all its joy.

The first part of this passage reveals how Jesus calls us, asks us to recognize Him, moves us from where we are to where we must be, and then gives us the great grace to draw many into the Kingdom.

Here we have a group of men just doing their thing. They were fishing, trying to get by. Many were fishermen to begin with, so they were comfortable back in this lifestyle.

But as happens with Jesus, He would not let them just remain there. They had far more important things to do.

The first thing we must do, as the Apostles had to do, is recognize Him. We must see the risen Lord and hear His call to us.

Like the Apostles, Jesus desires to move us forward in our Kingdom work. He does not want to leave us alone by the seashore (or anywhere else) fishing randomly and catching nothing. He rather infuses us with His grace to bring in an abundant catch; to gather people into the Kingdom and feed them with the Bread of Life – just as Jesus fed them by the seashore.

The second part of this passage reminds us that Jesus’ love and forgiveness is so much greater than our faults, failings, unworthiness, and sinfulness.

Peter, on the night Jesus was betrayed, despite all his protestations of being a great and brave follower of Jesus, one who would die with Him, rather took the course of denying Him. ‘I do not know Him.’ he said.

Certainly, the pain of that great sin weighed on Peter. We recall that the gospels tell us that Peter wept bitterly after his betrayal. Similarly, our sins should weigh on us. We should weep, not just for the great sins we commit, but for every little betrayal of our Lord, every way we fail to measure up in living the gospel life and evangelizing.

Like with Peter, our lLike with Peter, our love response to Jesus brings forgiveness, restoration, and a deeper commitment to doing all He calls us to – the tending and feeding of His flock for which we are all responsible as we follow Him.