By the time you read this, I will be in Belize. Hopefully I will have not injured myself yet. Please pray for me and my safety. Let’s just say I am not the most handy person that ever lived. I have travelled out of the country many times, but never for a mission trip. I have done lots of mission trips within the United States, but never abroad. Please pray for me and the whole crew from the Tri-parish.
As you may have noticed, I am gone this weekend. Next weekend I will still be gone for the Saturday evening Mass, but I’ll be back for the Sunday morning Mass.
This weekend we have the call of the Apostles Peter (Simon), James, and John. Jesus takes over a fishing boat in order that He might use it to speak to the crowds. Jesus was already so popular that the crowds were too big just to stand and speak to. So He would often get in a boat so that He was a little higher up and could address a larger crowd on the shore. After speaking to the people, Jesus asks Peter to take the boat out further and put down the nets. Peter explains that they had done so all night long and caught nothing. However, Peter obeys Jesus and they catch so many fish that their nets begin to tear. They got another boat to join them and they filled the boats with so many fish, the boats were in danger of sinking. Life is always more abundant with Jesus.
After this event, Jesus tells Peter, James, and John to not be afraid. From that point on they were going to be catching people. It is not easy to share the Gospel with someone. Our society says that religion is not a subject one should speak about in public. Our society says that religion is just a matter of opinion. However, as Catholics we believe that Jesus really did live, die, and rise from the dead. Jesus really did start a Church founded on the person of Peter and his successors, the popes. We believe, we know that the Catholic Christian Church has sinful members, even sinful leaders, but still contains the fullness of truth. It is good to know the truth than to not know the truth. We believe and know that everyone will be Catholic once they die. It is not like the Buddhists go to Buddha heaven. Some Lutherans and Presbyters (and Catholics) will end up in Purgatory. Jesus tells us to not be afraid; that we are called to catch men, to invite them to a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. We believe and know that this is what is best for every single human being. We all want to be happy. Jesus is the path to happiness. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Peace of Christ,
This past week has been interesting. I spent Sunday night and Tuesday night in Mankato. MSU didn’t have classes Tuesday and Wednesday. Mapleriver hasn’t had class all week except for Friday. These are crazy times. Even the name “Polar Vortex” has a fun ring to it.
This coming week looks pretty normal. Hopefully we can find time each day to pray and make room for God. Not this week, but February 9-16, I am going with some parishioners to Belize. I have been to Kenya and some other places in the world that are not first world, but I am looking forward to the amazing things God is going to do through me and to me. What amazing opportunity to share Christ’s love with others. Please pray for everyone that is going.
This Sunday the Gospel reading is a continuation of last weekend’s Gospel. Actually the last verse from last week is repeated as the first verse this week. In it, Jesus makes the astounding proclaiming that the prophesies about the Messiah are fulfilled in Him. This is hard for people of Jesus’ home town to hear since they are so familiar with Him. How can this man that we have spent the last 30 years with be the Messiah that has been promised for hundreds of years? Jesus goes on to remind them that prophets are rarely accepted in his native place. He then cites the examples of Elijah and Elisha. He reminds them that they were not sent to help Israelites, but Gentiles, foreigners. This made the people of Jesus’ home town mad. So mad that they tried to hurl him down the hill near the town. Jesus obviously escapes.
In a society were we can insulate ourselves with people who think only like we do, in a society full of fake news, we need to make extra efforts to find the truth. The people of Jesus’ hometown were unable to receive and believe who Jesus really was. Instead they depended on their own opinion, which in this case, was wrong. Just because something is hard or maybe even improbable, doesn’t mean that it is not true. Jesus Christ needs to be our point of reference for truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
This Saturday, January 26th, we welcome Isaiah Allen Peek, son of Travis and Christine Peek, into the Family of God through Baptism. Then next Saturday, February 2nd, we welcome Hayden Solomon Quast, son of Tim and Lindsey, who will be baptized at the 5 PM Mass at St. Joseph’s. What an occasion for great joy for St. Joseph and the Tri-Parish! Children are a gift from God. In the Bible, children are always seen as a gift; never as a burden. Please congratulate Tim and Lindsey.
In today’s Gospel we hear from the very beginning of the Gospel according to St. Luke. Why did St. Luke write? Because he wanted some guy named Theophilus to “realize the certainty of the teachings” he had received. If you read the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, you realize that St. Luke wrote both of them. The Gospel is kind of like volume one and The Acts of the Apostles is volume two.
After hearing the introduction, we jump to chapter 4. Jesus returns to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” after being Baptized by John the Baptist. In Nazareth, Jesus announces that He is the Messiah. Jesus reads from a passage from Isaiah, a prophesy about the Messiah. After rolling the scroll back up, Jesus says something amazing. He says, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Imagine if someone from your high school announced that the one person Americans had been waiting for for hundreds of years. You would think they were either joking or they had gone insane.
Please pray for me as I try to serve you, God’s people, as a fallen human being.
Thanks and God bless,