I thank my God in all my remembrance of you – Philippians 1:3

Heavenly Father, Whose care and guidance brought our forefathers to this great land, and led them through faith, courage and self-sacrifice to build the foundations of a great democratic nation, dedicated to Thy service and the rights of man, lead us, O God, in our day, as Thou didst lead our forefathers, and help us to be faithful stewards of the heritage which Thou hast entrusted to us.

Reverently, on this Memorial Day, in Thy holy presence, we pay our tribute of respect to the memory of those who gave their lives in the service of our country. We pray, that the souls of these, our heroic dead may have found perfect rest in Thee, and received the crown of an unfading life. O Thou, Eternal Lover of souls, cherish and bless them, we entreat Thee, and give unto us, the living, peace and hope as we think of them in this solemn hour.

Before Thee, O Lord God, we humbly acknowledge our debt to them, and beseech Thee to give us the strength, to go on towards the ideals for which they fought and died. Take, O Lord, the veil from their hearts, and join us in one communion with all Thy saints on earth, and in the life beyond.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. — From Memorial Day Prayers according to the Ritual of the Polish National Catholic Church

This week’s memory verse: Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Romans 12:11
  • 5/24 – Romans 10:2
  • 5/25 – Revelation 3:19
  • 5/26 – Titus 2:14
  • 5/27 – Isaiah 59:17
  • 5/28 – Philippians 1:27
  • 5/29 – John 4:34
  • 5/30 – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me zeal for Your gifts, given through the Spirit, Your model, and Your charge to carry on. I am ready Lord. Help me!

Getting us ready.

Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly

Jesus’ dialog for the long road continues today. Over the past two weeks we listened in on Jesus’ talk with His disciples. He meant to prepare them, and deep down He knew He was. It would all eventually become evident to them – Who Jesus is, what laid ahead.

The dialog approaches its conclusion with a prayer to the Father, a prayer for us, and again we listen in just as the disciples were listening in. He prays: the words You gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from You, and they have believed that You sent me. I pray for them.

The road starts with Jesus’ word, a word that conveys sacramental effect in us. We only need listen to what we have been given, accept it, and understand that the One who provided that word was sent by the Father and is God. We have God’s word and if we believe on Him we are obligated to know Him and live out all He said and did.

The road ahead continues in doing what the disciples did. They returned from the ascension and took up prayer. They prayed as one and in the One who taught them how to pray. They lived and prayed as He prayed they would. They prayed in expectancy, for the working of God’s awesome plan; worked through our witness and in accord with the promptings and action of the Holy Spirit.

The road goes on in our work. It is amazing, isn’t it – St. Peter would tell us to Rejoice to the extent that [we] share in the sufferings of Christ. These words tend to trip off the tongues of the saints – and there is a reason. They experienced Jesus. Deep down they all encountered Him. Peter and the apostles, the disciples who walked with Jesus and saw it all, understood the promise. They saw the resurrection, the new man, the promise of heaven’s open door. Paul found it on the road to Damascus, right in the middle of his sin, hate, and anger Jesus broke through. The mystics and contemplatives found Him in prayer. Francis heard Jesus voice and set to work. The martyrs knew where they were headed. They counted suffering nothing because they knew where the road led.

We have been prepared for the work so that when his glory is revealed [we]may rejoice exultantly. We have Jesus’ word, the Spirit’s gifts, the model of the Acts Church, and the charge to carry on as His witnesses. Ready? Yes, ready Lord!

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Today we celebrate the fortieth day after the resurrection, the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord. As you just saw, the symbols of the resurrection, the statue of the resurrected Christ, the victorious cross of our High priest, and the Pascal Candle have been removed from the altar. This symbolizes what the apostles factually encountered, they could no longer see Jesus in human form.

Of course, we see Jesus, in the sacrament of the altar. We see Him in each other and in all people who are formed in God’s image. Jesus remains with us, body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearances of bread and wine, and in His word, and in the forgiveness of sin.

Today, let us remember that Jesus’ leaving was actually a charging. He charged us with seven unique things. Let’s review those:

The first charge He left is: working His UNFINISHED TASK.

Jesus said in John 19:30, “…it is finished…” He was saying that the atonement for sin was finished. We might suspect from that that we can lay back. The job is done, nothing more to see, say, or do. But, it is not that simple, for Jesus is charging us with a to-do.

In Luke 19:10 we read “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” As long as there is one person who has not heard the message, the task is not finished. He left that task to be finished by us. All must hear, all must be given the opportunity to say yes. All must be given the chance to be satisfied, with nothing in their being crying out – “unfinished.” We are charged with making Him known.

The second charge He left is: have faith in a MESSAGE THAT CANNOT BE CHALLENGED.

In Acts 1:3 we read that Jesus showed himself alive … by many infallible proofs, being seen and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God”

Of course people have been challenging His message, His proofs, His witnesses since before His passion and death, much less after His resurrection and Ascension. Being challenged is not the problem. It is our willingness to let the challenge break our trust.

We cannot let challenges get to us. We are charged to believe by faith and by the testimony of His witnesses and to act on that.

The third charge He left us is: living in UNQUESTIONABLE LOVE.

No one can question the love exhibited by the Son of God. He gave His life that you and I might live forever, freed from the punishment due for our sins. He left His home in heaven and came to a world of sinners who rejected Him and nailed Him on a cross and then He even forgave those who killed Him. That is unquestionable love. 

In John 15:13 we read: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. St. Paul would go on to explain in Romans 5:7-8: For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. His charge is to live His example of love. His very way of loving is to be our way of loving.

The fourth charge Jesus left us is: reliance on His UNMISTAKABLE PLAN.

“…and you shall be witnesses…to the uttermost part of the earth.”

A witness is sworn to tell the truth of what they saw or experienced. Sometimes we get the plan wrong. It is an unmistakable plan. We are to be witnesses–not super salespeople, attempting to persuade the person with our ability. But by letting Christ in us work. Let us let Him use us with our neighbors, co-workers, friends, our city, state, nation and in the world. Let us follow the call within us. When we hear our conscience say – I should say something, let us do it. Trust His plan will work.

The fifth charge Jesus left us is: giving UNSHAKABLE TESTIMONY.

In Acts 1:10 we hear of the apostles looking “steadfastly toward heaven.”

We must do the same. To be steadfast means to be resolute, firm, and unwavering in our testimony. Will we get challenged at times, maybe be laughed at, thought of as silly? Certainly!. It really isn’t that bad if we remain humble enough to allow God to shine through those challenges. St. Peter says: “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” God is in control, let us be steadfast in realizing that and give witness to our hope by our solid testimony.

The sixth charge Jesus left us is: reliance on the power of an UNSTOPPABLE FORCE.

In ten days we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the unstoppable Spirit. A Spirit of power, wisdom, strength, and understanding. If we believe, if we have been endued with that power, we, like the apostles and disciples must be bold in our proclamation. Nothing and no one should stop us from  “Going into all the world.” We are a family with unstoppable force. When we wake up and realize that we are an unstoppable force and we then engage willingly in going out on the limb a little farther, then we will begin to see that the power of His unstoppable force in us. We will produce the same fruit the apostles, disciples, and saints have produced.

The seventh charge He left us is: reliance on His UNFAILING PROMISE.

2,000 years ago Jesus stood on a mountain overlooking Jerusalem and said to His disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

The angel told the apostles: Men of Galilee, why stand here gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall come in like manner.”

We know the battle gets tough, but do not be discouraged, one day soon that trumpet is going to blow. That is an unfailing promise. I am looking for Him to come now, today, Maranatha Lord Jesus, but I also know there is much more for us to do. Until He comes, we are those charged to do His work!

This week’s memory verse: “You pore over the Scriptures because you presume that by them you possess eternal life. These are the very words that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.”

John 5:39-40
  • 5/17 – Deuteronomy 29:29
  • 5/18 – Luke 24:25
  • 5/19 – John 5:46
  • 5/20 – Psalm 16:11
  • 5/21 – John 14:6
  • 5/22 – Psalm 37:23
  • 5/23 – Psalm 37:30-31

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may follow the roadmap You have established so that I may be counted among Your saints.

Getting us ready.

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.”

Last week we studied Jesus’ dialog with his disciples. He was preparing them for the long and difficult road to Jerusalem and the cross. That dialog continues today. Jesus was setting expectations for what would occur. He would go to Jerusalem, be hailed, then persecuted and killed. He would rise. And then, what’s next?

What’s next is Jesus’ description of the next two weeks of celebration. He would Ascend. This Thursday (no, it is not on a Sunday), Jesus would ascend to the Father to take up His throne in heaven. Ten days later the great gift of the Holy Spirit would descend, the Church would be born, and Jesus’ salvation, Jesus the way, truth, and life would be preached to the ends of the earth.

We often think of the world as some random series of occurrences, a daily happenstance of events. Hey, maybe today my ship will come in?

Jesus shows us how untrue that is. He has a plan, a roadmap for us. As faithful Christians we know that the randomness of sin around us is not the way things are meant to be.

Jesus laid it out simply for the disciples even though they didn’t get it at the time. As Jesus says: “On that day you will realize.” Ten days after He ascended, after ten days of prayer, they did realize, and they stepped up and followed the plan. In following the plan, they submitted to the Father and overcame randomness. In following the plan, they brought many to know, love, and serve the Lord. In following the plan, the Holy Spirit’s promptings were brought to fruition in lives one with Jesus.

Our reading from Acts is just one small example of a faithful person following the roadmap. The Deacon Philip preaches to Samaria and people come to the Lord. Centuries before, David sings of the great things God does for His faithful. This is something we need to focus on and sing in our times: Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”

In saying “I will not leave you orphans” Jesus is guaranteeing that He will not leave us alone. There are two ways of looking at this, and both are great. Jesus’ ascension was not the end because He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us. In that He was saying too, I will be on you, pushing you to follow the roadmap. Be on board.

This week’s memory verse: Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7
  • 5/10 – Exodus 20:12
  • 5/11 – Numbers 6:24-26
  • 5/12 – Deuteronomy 28:1-6
  • 5/13 – Proverbs 23:22
  • 5/14 – Deuteronomy 31:6
  • 5/15 – Isaiah 66:13
  • 5/16 – Psalm 119:11

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of our mothers and the strong women in our lives who teach us that You are the way, truth, and life.

One way.

“Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father.”

Last week we studied Jesus, the gate-man. The one way to enter is through Him. We enter through and by Him so that we might have life eternal. Recall that entering through Him gives us abundant life. We call ourselves Christians and we live like we got heaven for indeed we do.

This theme carries through to today’s gospel. Jesus holds a dialog with his disciples. He was preparing them for the long and difficult road to Jerusalem and the cross. In doing so He means to give them assurance. Of course, the disciples being very literal missed the literal meaning of Who Jesus is. So, He explains it in even plainer language.

Those same questions plague our minds these days. I don’t know the way! I don’t know how to go! Jesus answers succinctly – “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He truly is our One way of going. His words and example are our truth. He holds the key to real life. We put ourselves into Him, take Him into us knowing real life is in Him.

Ok, but… we can hear ourselves saying. But what about my life now, here, today? What about my worries, fears, and stuff? If we were to lose it all, if we were to be left like Lot, sick, sitting on a dung hill, with people around us trying to figure out what’s wrong with us, we would still possess the greatest gift of all, the One way to the Father. See, neither our stuff, worries and cares, nor anyone else’s promises will get us to heaven. If we have Jesus, we have the Father and eternal life.

Today we honor great figures and witnesses of faith. There is a reason.

Our moms taught us about Jesus because they got it. They cared more about our everlasting life than daily worries or stuff. They wanted us to know Jesus, to know the way, truth, and life. Their gift was not just our existence, but rather the fullness of life in and through Jesus. They wanted us to see the Father, so they helped us know Jesus. Bp. Joseph Padewski knew this, from his mother and from his Holy Mother the Church. He laid down his life under torture, refusing to reject Jesus. No secret at all. He had it all. He hung on to Jesus, the way, truth, and life and came to everlasting life. Our moms, Bp. Padewski, lived knowing they had it all in Jesus. Let us as well.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”

I am hungry.

We previously considered so much to be a part of normal routine. Much of it now fades away, and rightly so. There are certainly things in normal routine that we have learned are not all that important. We have reprioritized our cares. For each of us, church may have been another ordinary routine. Now we cannot gather as we did. We, even the servers and musicians present with me, cannot receive at the table. The Fast of Lent has carried forward, for we are deprived of the Bread of Life, the Cup of Salvation. This is a hunger pain beyond comprehension. It hurts! Jesus pointed out that the hungry would be satisfied, that those of us who really get it and weep now (you know I am emotional, but now I tend to cry at the slightest thing), will laugh. The sacrifice carries on. The mystical union is not ended, it will not end. The bread is prepared. Feel the hunger and cry now in prayer knowing that we will be satisfied and laugh. He promised!

May is here. The world is different. Our newsletter contains helpful hints for remote participation in parish activities and words of hope and encouragement so needed. In May we honor the Blessed Virgin, our moms, continue our celebration of Easter, honor the members of our parish from the former Good Shepherd parish and receive a special gift from Holy Spirit parish. We look forward with hope and continue to be the faithful church both at home and together. Check out our plans for Memorial Day as well.

Read about all it in our May 2020 Newsletter.

Memory verse for this week: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:1-2
  • 5/3 – Psalm 46:1
  • 5/4 – Psalm 61:3
  • 5/5 – Psalm 91:3-4
  • 5/6 – Matthew 7:13-14
  • 5/7 – Isaiah 25:4-5
  • 5/8 – Psalm 61:2-4
  • 5/9 – 2 Samuel 22:33

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, You are my Good Shepherd and my shelter. Lead me to life abundant. Grant that I may live Your life in my every action.