Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (May 18, 2014)

Full Text: Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Audio: Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

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Bulletin Article for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (April 18, 2014)

We continue the glorious season of Easter. We also continue to celebrate milestones. Many of us are busy celebrating these, especially with our children and grandchildren. First Communions, graduations, last concerts, spring sports tournaments, and many more things. This past weekend I went to my first graduation open house. I have a lot more on my schedule. Unfortunately I will miss some of them. I am going on retreat this next week. So pray for me. I will be at Broom Tree Retreat Center, southwest of Sioux Falls. I will leave on Monday, May 19th and I will come back on Tuesday, May 27th. It is a silent retreat. So pray that I can be silent…and listen to what God wants to say. So during this time, there will be no daily Mass. The weekend of May 24th and 25th Father Charlie Quinn will have the Masses. Father Jim Seitz will cover so if you need anything, feel free to give him a call.

The restoration of our beautiful church has slowed down. They are finishing the cleaning and are about to transition to putting things back in.

With our church unavailable to gather as a community in a central location and with all of the busy-ness of this time of the year, it is easy to put off prayer and focus on God. However, we hear in the Gospel this weekend that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If we want to live well, we need to put Jesus at the center of our lives. Jesus wants to be a part of our daily lives; not just for an hour on Sunday morning. Does Jesus determine what we do during the rest of the week? Does Jesus determine how we spend our time, how we spend our money? Does He determine what movies and TV shows we watch? Does He influence what songs we listen to? Does He determine what books and magazines we read? It is hard to be holy if we put garbage into our minds. So I just encourage you during this busy time, to keep Jesus at the center of your lives. Good friendships affect our lives. Jesus should affect our lives more than anyone else.

Peace of Christ,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (April 11, 2014)

Hello. Again, happy Easter. Maybe now more than ever before in history, our lives are filled with voices telling us what to do to be happy. Just buy this. Just do this. Just do what you feel like. Just be yourself. Get more Facebook friends. Get more followers to your Twitter feed. We can communicate in ways our ancestors could have never dreamed possible. We are social beings. We are hard wired to seek out interaction with others. And yet, the suicide rate continues to climb. Are we happier than previous generations?

I would argue that these things are not bad in and of themselves. However, when we tie our state of being, when we tie our self worth to these things, then things quickly get off track. When we try to define our own self worth, we end up empty. It might take awhile, but eventually we are left with nothing. God created us for Himself. Only when we fill ourselves with God will we fill the emptiness. Through all the noise, we must strain to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, the voice of Christ. He is not going to shout. He meets us in the quiet, in the silence. The robbers and thieves of our souls will come with loudness and much fanfare. Jesus meets us in the silence. He meets us most fully in the silence of prayer. He is the gate to green pastures. He came so that we “might have life and have it more abundantly.”

I dare you (and myself) to spend more time in silence with God in prayer, to spend more time with family and friends face to face. Tell them (in person-face to face) that you love them, how much they mean to you. Let’s use technology appropriately; communicate superficially when we need to. (You don’t need to give directions in person. Which might be hard if they are the person you are trying to get to.) But when communicating especially with family and friends, carve out time to do it in person.

Happy Easter,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Third Sunday of Easter (April 4, 2014)

Happy Easter (still)!!! The Easter season is still going strong and will be until Pentecost. Today, we hear the story of the walk to Emmaus. Two of Jesus’ disciples are dismayed over His death. They don’t believe the stories they have heard that He was alive. Instead, they are wallowing in their grief and loss of hope. They had hoped that Jesus would be their Savior and now they thought that hope had been all for nothing. Their grief and loss of hope so blinded them that they didn’t even recognize Jesus when He joined them along the way. First Jesus gives them their hope back by explaining how all the Scriptures referred to Him and how the Christ must suffer to enter into His glory. Then He opened their eyes to His true identity in the breaking of the Bread, the Eucharist. They exclaim, “Were not our hearts burning within us?” May our hearts burn within us when we receive the Eucharist. We take it so much for granted because we receive it every Sunday. But do we really take the time with both our minds and our hearts to recognize Jesus in the Eucharist. That under the appearance of bread and wine, there really is the Christ, our Savior, body, blood, soul, and divinity. As we walk our journey of life, may we recognize Jesus in our lives, especially in the breaking of the bread, the Eucharist.

Happy Easter,

Father Vogel