Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

Welcome on this Passion Sunday. We continue in our Lenten study of struggle. 

Today we consider Jesus’s struggle as He faces His impending death. We also consider the very struggles we ourselves face in our faith journey. Through struggle, we realize that the Holy Spirit is alive and working in us. The Holy Spirit moves to guide and gift us. Jesus walks with us as we journey toward the eternal life Jesus won for us.

In today’s gospel message some Greeks arrive, find Philip, and make a request, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 

It is interesting that this meeting with Jesus is not outwardly described. Rather, Jesus’ discourse is the very response to the request. If you wish to see Me, then this is what you will and must see – My suffering and death, the requirement to walk in My footsteps, a call to our willingness to sacrifice, our complete focus on God’s kingdom work, and allowing ourselves to go to Jesus crucified.

The call to all who want to see Jesus is to accept His very real presence in each aspect of our existence, in each experience of any or all of our human senses.

Sometimes the struggles we face are right there in our face, they are a very present experience that challenges us and gives us great examples of strong faith.

As you know, yesterday we went to our Seniorate Lenten Retreat. There was a lot of good accomplished in prayer and reflection. Of course we shared in a fantastic meal. Then this happened…

We got into our ‘brief’ Seniorate meeting. Everyone reported out on the activities in their parish. Then the meeting took on a negative tone. It was an awful struggle. Negativity is. The casting of blame on others or down-talking the way others find their way to Christ is no answer or help. It hurt.

That struggle may have made lesser people bitter or angry, yet brave people from those among us and others stood up and blew away the negativity. They remembered that the negativity of the ruler of the world has been driven out by Christ.

They reminded us of what is most important for believers. Problems – go to the cross with faith that God is God, that His promises are true, that we must act in all things with faith and hope – no struggle can overcome the Holy Spirit. Our call is to be there for all who struggle with exactly the hope, faith, and welcome Jesus calls us to offer. As Jesus faced His struggle so must we!

This week’s memory verse: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted

2 Timothy 3:12
  • 3/10 – John 15:18
  • 3/11 – Matthew 5:10
  • 3/12 – Matthew 5:44
  • 3/13 – Luke 6:22
  • 3/14 – Romans 12:14
  • 3/15 – 1 Peter 4:12-14
  • 3/16 – John 16:33

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may be courageous and endure amid persecution and hatred. Keep my heart and mind clear and sober so that hatred may not overcome my witness of love for that is Your Father’s command. Amen.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower… Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.

Welcome on this Solemnity of the Institution. We take a brief break from Lent yet continue in our Lenten theme – struggle. As I mentioned on Ash Wednesday, struggle is in the very motto of our Church. 

We consider the stories of struggle engaged in by our forefathers and mothers. Through today’s stories of struggle, we realize that the struggle for righteousness in our lives is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our Holy Church and in each of us. The Holy Spirit moves to guide and gifts us. Jesus walks with us as we continue in our holy journey toward victory.

In preparation, I reviewed news articles concerning the organization of our Holy Church.

Here, as in Scranton and other places the people wanted a Church where they had a say in the life and matters of the Church; where their voice mattered and where their dignity was protected. The people wanted a Church that was the society Jesus intended to establish, where their lives would be bound together in the one great mission of Christ and where we would be connected one to the other as a rule of life, not just for a Sunday occasion. We have such a Church.

We know our Church was organized on March 14, 1897. Even before that, a September 1896 news articles tells us that a third delegation went to their bishop so their ideas might be heard. They were told to wait. A protest took place subsequent because requests remained unheard (lay representation in parish management, and an end to verbal abuse from the pulpit by their pastor). They were castigated by their bishop, men and women were arrested. Their pastor excommunicated them.

June 1911 – a man shows up at an outdoor Women’s Societies meeting wearing a clown outfit mocking Bishop Hodur and blessing the women with a broom and a pail of dirty water. Other men join him and two woman and two men from the Church had their heads cut open by cobblestones. Bishop Hodur has stones thrown at him. Nineteen-year-old Helen Palinski and three other young women tell the Press. “We would die for him.”

The word Catholic could not be used because of threats. February 1912, lawsuits are used to prevent Bishop Hodur from conducting services. January 1916 George Greizor was shot and killed protecting the church in Dupont. One woman describes three men hanging across a fence dazed by club blows. November 1926, Bishops Hodur and Bonczak are attacked and beaten in Poland. May 1951 Bishop Padewski is martyred in Poland.

We have been pruned, and continue to be, so we might bear much fruit from the struggle and to the victory of the Kingdom in ourselves and in the world. Amen.

If I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.

In the second version of the Stations of the Cross, at the Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the Cross, we pray: ‘if we ever saw this for what it truly is – a compelling demonstration of how far You would go to prove Your love for us – then we…’  

Then we would what? There are many answers to that. 

We might break down in sorrow over our sinfulness, our betrayals and failures in living up to Jesus’ gospel way. We might reform of those things. We might enter into contemplation – reflecting on the great mystery of Christ Jesus, trying to grasp the great love that propelled Him to suffer and die for us. We might rejoice in our redemption, acknowledging that Jesus’ sacrifice has freed us from sin and eternal death. We might be more thankful and faithful in our daily lives. None of these is a bad thing to do and all have value. Indeed, each of these and other faithful practices should be central in our life, not just an occasional or Lenten thing.

It is not just in the nailing to the Cross that we are reminded of all the compelling things Jesus did for us. A quick survey: He was bound that we might become free. He was crowned with thorns that we might be crowned with eternal life. He fell that we might rise. He was stripped that we might become clothed in glory. He died that we might live. He was buried to show us that the grave is not the end. In these many ways Jesus’ love is proved in its fullness. The question remains, what is the one necessary response.

In our Eleventh Station prayer we go on to say: ‘then we would be so moved and touched that we would eagerly give You our love in response.’ Jesus seeks a love response from us. Then we must declare in every moment of our eternal Easter lives, I will love as Jesus loved. Jesus says that He will draw all to Himself from His being lifted up on the Cross. If we see the Cross as what it truly is – the full-on intensity of God’s love for us, then we will live the love response Jesus seeks.


Welcome to our March 2024 Newsletter. March is racking up to be quite a whirlwind. We go from the third Sunday in Lent to Easter all within the month. Check out our Lenten offerings and our Holy Week and Easter schedule. We share the Lenten and Easter poetry of Rev. Walter Hyszko. We are preparing for our annual Basket Social (the 20th anniversary) coming up on Sunday,April 21st starting at noon. Do you get God’s Field? We offer various ways from online to subscriptions. In college or taking music lessons? Scholarships are available. All this and more in our March 2024 Newsletter. Check it out.

This week’s memory verse: God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.

Psalm 7:11
  • 3/3 – Jeremiah 3:12
  • 3/4 – 2 Kings 17:18
  • 3/5 – Mark 3:5
  • 3/6 – Exodus 34:6
  • 3/7 – Isaiah 48:9
  • 3/8 – Psalm 30:5
  • 3/9 – Romans 2:5

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that by my Lenten observances I may reform my life, fully repent, and turn aside the righteous anger I deserve for my sinfulness. Amen.

He knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

Welcome on this Third Sunday in Lent. We continue in our theme for this Lent – struggle. 

We are considering the stories of those who have struggled to the point of giving up on God. We see in these stories people who, in the end, were fortified because of their struggle. We may not see them ever fully overcoming their struggles, but still committed to overcoming as God has asked. Through these stories we realize that our struggles are evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The Holy Spirit moves in us and because of that we struggle against the things that separate us from God. We are never abandoned by Him.

Today’s gospel focuses on conflict. Jesus drives out those doing evil in His Father’s House – with a whip. Jesus is angry at the mockery and self-serving going on under those who were supposed to serve God and care for His Temple.

First, let’s allay any confusion we might have. We can all agree that Jesus was meek and humble, that He welcomed sinners, and that He cured and healed even to the point of raising three people from the dead. He was in touch with the grief others felt and He felt it with them. That said, He did not come to just leave things as they are, but to reveal His Father’s will for all of us, and the way to His Father through repentance and belief.

Today we see Jesus’ righteous anger at sin and profanity. Yes, righteous anger is a thing we are allowed to have when we see wrong. Yes, Jesus loved sinners – and so He never left them in their sin. Listen to Him saying – “go and sin no more.” Again, and again repeating – repent, turn away from your sin.

I want to relate a current struggle that one of our potential seminarians is going through. Let’s call him Jay. 

Jay comes from a Christian background and is entering into the Catholic Church with us. He is studying at a Christian college right now. He let everyone know about his desire to be Catholic and a Catholic priest. For this he is being ostracized by his fellow students and the Dean and Chief Pastor of the college went before the entire school and publicly condemned Jay. Of course, Jay was hurt, and is struggling.

Once again, the Temple is being profaned. In the struggle Jay’s solution is to remain resolute, to be a true Christian example walking in Jesus’ footsteps following God’s law and committed to prayer for God’s strengthening grace in the struggle. Pray for Jay. 

This week’s memory verse: Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints

Ephesians 1:18
  • 2/25 – 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • 2/26 – Ezekiel 36:26
  • 2/27 – Romans 12:2
  • 2/28 – Philippians 1:6
  • 2/29 – Proverbs 3:5
  • 3/1 – 1 John 4:1
  • 3/2 – John 16:33

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, in Your Transfiguration I see reason for my hope. Continually transform me into Your image. Amid my struggles grant me confidence in the freedom and security You won for me. Amen.

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

Welcome on this Second Sunday in Lent. We continue in our theme for this Lent – struggle. 

We will consider the stories of those who have struggled to the point of giving up on God and faith in Him. We see in these stories moments where people may have given up for a time, and who, in the end, were fortified because of their struggle. We may not see these people ever overcoming their struggles, but still committed to overcoming. 

Through these stories we will realize that our struggles are evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The Holy Spirit moves in us and because of that we struggle against the things that separate us from Christ. We are not abandoned.

Let us consider our readings and gospel. 

Imagine the struggle of Abraham as he journeys to Mount Moriah to sacrifice his only son as God had asked him. Abraham’s faith is sorely tested. Each step of the journey a torture and a consideration of the ultimate loss. Imagine Isaac’s bewilderment as the realization of what is to happen sinks in. Yet they are there. They are there in a supreme act of trust. In the end, their faith is reaffirmed and rewarded – but the process of getting there impossible struggle.

Imagine the struggle of those three disciples on Mount Tabor with Jesus. They are given a glorious vision of Jesus, the Son of God. It is meant to strengthen their faith amid the impossible struggle coming up in Jesus’ arrest, torture, death, and burial. As they descend the mountain the specter of death is before them, and they live in confusion from that day forward. After Jesus’ arrest and death, they forgot the lesson of the Transfiguration including God’s voice: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” All but John went into hiding and would not stay with Jesus.

St. Paul reminds us of the power of our God amidst our struggles. He tells us what he knew by experience, by the salvation he received on the road to Damascus. If God is for us, who can be against us?

God carried out what He stopped Abraham from doing. He did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all. God gave His all for us and in that we have reassurance amidst our struggles. We can proclaim with Paul that God will give us everything else along with Jesus. Because of that we are free and secure even in our struggles.

This week’s memory verse: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105
  • 2/18 – Jeremiah 29:11
  • 2/19 – Proverbs 3:5-6
  • 2/20 – Romans 8:38-39
  • 2/21 – Psalm 121:8
  • 2/22 – Psalm 23:4
  • 2/23 – Matthew 11:28
  • 2/24 – Proverbs 16:9

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, As I journey toward heaven and full unity with Your Father and mine, grant me strength such that the struggles and adversaries along the way may not overcome me. Give me the grace of perseverance. 

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.

Welcome on this First Sunday in Lent. As many of you heard on Ash Wednesday, our theme for this Lent is struggle. 

This Lent we will consider the stories of those who have struggled to the point of giving up on God and faith in Him. We will see in these stories moments where people may have given up for a time, and who, in the end, were fortified because of their struggle. We may not see these people ever overcoming their struggles, but still committed to overcoming. 

Through these stories we will realize that our struggles are evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The Holy Spirit moves in us and because of that we struggle against the things that separate us from Christ. We are not abandoned.

We hear of Jesus’ desert journey today. He fasts and is constantly tempted – the temptations did not just come at the end. The fast and journey were a struggle for Jesus, He did not just glide through it. He was spiritually and physically hungry and tired each day of the journey, beset by the same temptations we face in struggle – you’ll never make it, you’re not strong enough, give up. That is how we know He gets us, understands what we face, and why He gives us, through the Holy Spirit, the grace of perseverance.

I have printed and left for you the poem Ithaka by Constantine Cavafy. Please take it home and read it. Use it as an opportunity for prayer.

I first encountered this poem when it was read at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ funeral by her longtime companion, Maurice Tempelsman.

Ithaka describes the journey of Odysseus, and in turn each of journeys, to our homeland. For us that homeland is heaven.

In the poem we encounter a prolonged journey. Along the way the good things in our life are increased if we keep our eye on the goal, face the struggles head on, refuse to focus on the negative, refuse to hurry, and relish each day necessary to get there. Along the way we encounter the unknown – making new discoveries about ourselves.

Each of us has their struggles on the road to our Ithaka and in Lent. In the poem’s epigram we hear: “Keep Ithaka always in your mind. / Arriving there what you’re destined for.” Let us hear that as “Keep heaven always in your mind. / Arriving there what we are destined for.”

In the end, as the poem speaks, we will understand what the struggle and journey has meant. 

Ithaka
C. P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.