Trust in Jesus.

Jesus said, “I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

I am so thankful that we have joined together in worship this Sunday as we celebrate the confidence we have in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Confidence is so important to us. We think of confidence in many ways – being sure of what we are doing, choosing our words carefully, and studying various approaches so to choose the best one for the most positive outcome. We don’t like making mistakes. We don’t like being embarrassed in our interactions with others or by our decisions.

Jesus sends His seventy-two disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of God, to evangelize talking about God and the way God wants us to live. They were people just like us with the same worries, the same need for confidence. Unlike us, they had not yet seen the resurrection of Jesus in power and glory, nor had they experienced the descent of the Holy Spirit.

They were to go in trust, asking people to change their lives completely – to prepare themselves because the Messiah was about to come into their town. The Kingdom was at hand for them.

Jesus prepares the seventy-two with certain instructions, how they were to travel, where they were to lodge. In these first few instructions Jesus asks them to make a leap of faith, to put their trust in Him. He even insisted they trust so far as to leave their money, their bags, and sandals behind. They were to trust that they would be fed and housed – it was all about trust.

He also gives them the words and authority they are to use: “cure the sick and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’”

Those seventy-two went out and did as Jesus asked in complete trust. Because they did that, they were able to come back rejoicing. The rejoiced not because of who they were, nor because of their sneakers, backpacks, or money, nor because they had confidence. It was because they learned that trusting in Jesus gave them real victory over fear, doubt, hesitation, and being timid.

I began saying that we celebrate the confidence we have in Jesus today. You see, Jesus fully understands what we face if we do all He asks us to do. So, Jesus shows us that trust is enough. We don’t have to be sure of what we are doing because Jesus oversees the accomplishment. We don’t need to choose our words carefully. We have Jesus’ gospel. We don’t have to study various approaches to get the most positive outcome. All outcomes in Jesus are the best. Trusting in Jesus gives us ultimate victory, names inscribed in heaven.

Blessed Be His Name!

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

How does it feel to be 101 years old? Pretty good I think, echoing Bishop Bernard’s message at our celebratory Holy Mass of Thanksgiving this past October.

Indeed, another year is dawning as we will hear in our recessional hymn. That hymn reminds us of all we must do as we enter our second centenary. We can repeat with the hymn our very heartfelt request to the Father, that the year and century ahead will be a time of working and waiting with God. A time of learning, trusting, mercies, faithfulness, graces, gladness, progress, praise, service, and training all while leaning on our Father’s breast as we anew prove His presence right here in our community.

It is a special grace that we begin our new century with the celebration of the Solemnity of the Holy Name of Jesus which fell on the first Sunday of this new year, 2022.

Anew – that is a word we will focus on in a very particular way for years to come. We together have spent the last decade in a lot of hard work building up this parish, strengthening it, readying it. Now is the time for the next great step.

We are indeed strong and ready to undertake a great mission – making the Holy Name of Jesus known once again by our evangelistic efforts.

I can recount some of what I used to encounter growing up. The Name of Jesus was well known and was respected. In fact, we understood each other often in relationship to the church or other place of worship we attended. 

For example, walking into a Synagogue, I knew what to do. The last time I walked into one and asked for a Kippah/Yarmulka, the Rabbi was surprised, perhaps not expecting that sign of respect. In my church, people who came for special events like weddings and funerals, even if they were not Catholic, knew to stand, sit, and kneel at appropriate times. That does not happen much anymore. The Name Jesus does not elicit respect, not out of disrespect or meanness, but rather out of a lack of knowledge. So, we have work to do.

We are called to the work of the first apostles and disciples. We are asked to bring the light of Jesus’ Holy Name into every corner of our world. We are to offer hope by our witness to the Holy Name of Jesus. It really is not difficult. We have the grace of God with us; that gives us confidence. Speak of and spread Jesus’ Holy Name as a personal mission. Welcome people to experience Jesus in simple discussions. Try this key: Ask people what matters to them, then discuss how God fits into that in our lives. If we do this, we will bless His Name.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This month, along with the celebration of the Solemnity of the Christian Family, we also celebrate Heritage Sunday (October 18th). Why? Reading through the documents created in the Church’s organizing years we see so many references to humanity, established in nations, to be bearers and sharers of the gifts God has given them. In the Tenant and Aims Document it is recorded: “The most important objective of the Church… is to maintain, enrich and develop the life of God in the soul of man…” Likewise, the Confession of Faith, our Creedal Document. Familiarize yourself with these statements, for they are a call to us and to the world. We are to recognize the dignity and value of each person and nation in their contribution toward helping us know God. These documents from the early 1900’s a sure cure to the inequality we still face today. We are not called to division, but to celebrate each other in unity and equality. We celebrate heritage because God has given us gifts, attributes, and experiences that when shared adds to our collective knowledge of God. A paraphrase of the Preamble to our Constitution sums this up: “Religion is the source of life and regeneration. Religion [that] possess the character of a nation [transmits innate] moral principles from which we achieve real freedom and stature.” As we celebrate let us each experience God more fully in each other and in what we share of ourselves.

October, our next jam packed month of events and opportunities. We bless pets on Sunday, October 4th. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Christian Family, a feast unique to our Church as well as Heritage Sunday. We will pray the Rosary every Wednesday evening in church and virtually. And … Fr. Jim is in the kitchen cooking up a yummy take-out/take-away American Goulash Dinner for Sunday, October 25th. Your efforts at discipleship and evangelism are drawing people to church – keep up the good work in the ministries you each have. There are some great prayers for family and our nation and a wonderful reflection on Certainty in God.

Read about all it in our October 2020 Newsletter.

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One order of fish
for Jesus.

Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

Things were happening fast. The stories of Jesus’ appearances were coming back to the apostles. They had found the tomb empty. The apostles and disciples may have recalled Jesus’ words, that He would be raised on the third day, but could it really be true? Could they really have been traveling, praying, working with, and eating with God’s Son? Then He is standing there.

We can imagine the scene, it must have been almost a panic – disbelief coupled with worry and joy. If He was really there they had been following with and living with God’s Son.

Jesus starts slow, look at Me. I’m really here. Look at My wounds, they are real. Touch me, I am warm, living, the future of glorified humanity in flesh and bone. By the way, I’d like an order of fish. We read of Jesus’ love of fish during the Easter season when He prepares a seaside fish fry for the apostles: Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, When the [apostles] landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

These are great moments and we can imagine being there. What is the deeper meaning of these encounters? Was Jesus just looking for a good order of fish?

We are meant to know that Jesus’ resurrection is a real event. He wasn’t a ghost or a group hallucination. He was there. People saw Him on multiple occasions and in different contexts and settings. These witnesses testified to the reality of their encounter with the risen Jesus.

Jesus’ resurrection tells us that God lives among us and that He shared our life experience – from joy to sorrow, from birth to death to the resurrection we will all experience. He gets us.

Jesus’ resurrection opened His life to us and is our invitation to share in His life. He gave us a very specific model of life we are to follow. We are to live a spiritual and communal life, not an individualistic and earthly one. We are to make His name known, to be His witnesses. We are to cast His nets rather than our own, witness to His reality, and get one more order of fish for Jesus.

The latest issue of God’s Field is now available online. This edition features reports on our Year of Regeneration, a Biblical Financial Planning Workshop with Dr. Jim Ploskonka (live and on-line), the history of our Church’s martyr, Bishop Joseph Padewski, and of course the National United Choirs Music Scholarship program. Information on other upcoming programs including the national Mission & Evangelism Workshop are also included.

Articles for the February issue are being accepted now through February 1, 2015. You may E-mail items and photos or send them to:

God’s Field
Polish National Catholic Church
1006 Pittston Avenue
Scranton, PA 18505