Bulletin Article for the Thirty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time (November 12, 2017)

Hello, hello.

What a great week! I got to ride in two combines. I got to ride with Butch Bach and Neal Grover. Neal let me drive a combine for the first time in my life. I think my driving skills (or lack there of) costed him about $25 at the market. Thank you to our farm families who work 17-20 hour days to help feed not just their own families, but people all over the world. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Next weekend, Saturday, November 18, Avery Ann Davis, daughter of Michael Davis and Liza Whalen will be baptized at St. Jospeh’s. We welcome Avery to the family of God. We celebrate with her parents the removing of the stain of Original Sin from her soul. She will then be free to begin her life of saving grace. If you see them, congratulate them.

This weekend we hear Jesus tell the story of the parable of the wise virgins and the foolish virgins. The foolish virgins were foolish because they did not plan for the possibility of the bridegroom arriving late. Are we prepared for Jesus to break into our lives? Are we prepared to meet Jesus in the every-day moments of our lives? Do we miss seeing His grace working in our lives because we unprepared, because we are not expecting God to work directly in our lives? May we be like the wise virgins who are ready, ready at any time to be with Jesus and to celebrate with Him. This requires prayer and desire in our heart to be with Jesus. May God give us the grace to do this, to be ready.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Thirty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time (November 5, 2017)

Hello,

How are things going? I haven’t heard much about the yields in the farms, but hopefully harvest is going well. If there is anyone who still has stuff to harvest, I wouldn’t mind an invitation to ride in a combine.

The big school vote is this week. We pray that God’s will is done and that we are able to continue to provide our youth with the ability to grow and learn about God’s creation, both in the world around them and they themselves.

Next Saturday, November 11 is Veterans Day. We thank all of our veterans who have made it possible to live in this great nation. We thank them for the many sacrifices they and their families have made through the years. May each of us continue to grow in virtue so that our great democracy can continue and grow to be a beacon of hope in the world.

This week, one of the things Jesus says is not to call anyone father. So why do we call priests “Father”? First of all Jesus also says not to call anyone teacher, but we still call our teachers at school, even our teachers at religions ed, “teachers.” Second, Jesus says no one. So if we take Him literally, we shouldn’t let our children call their male parent “father.” So, it should be obvious that Jesus here is not speaking literally.

Then what does Jesus mean? At the beginning of the Gospel, Jesus is reprimanding the scribes and Pharisees for their proud hearts and seeking after status and prestige. Jesus uses hyperbole (exaggeration) to reveal to the scribes and Pharisees just how sinful and proud they were. They were not humble. They did not look humbly to God as the source of all authority and fatherhood and teaching. Instead they made others treat them as the ultimate authority, the ultimate father figure, the ultimate teacher. A good priest, a good biological or adopted father, a good teacher, knows that the ultimate authority is God. God has put us in a position to share in that authority for the good of others. For me that is being a spiritual father to all of you. That is why we call priests “Father.” My role as a spiritual father is that of a servant leader. My role is to help you grow in holiness as sons and daughters of God.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 29, 2017)

Hello,

How’s it going? I’m here in Okoboji for our diocesan convocation. It has been good. Usually Tuesdays we were free to play golf, but it was too windy and cold. I think my golf days might be over. Otherwise, we had a speaker come and talk to us about preaching. So hopefully that will improve in the near future.

I can’t believe it is already going to be November. With November 1st comes a Holy Day of Obligation. Wednesday, November 1st is All Saints Day. We remember and commemorate all those who have gone to the beatific vision of seeing God face to face. For all Saints Day we will have a Mass at St. Matthew Tuesday, October 1st at 6:30 PM. Then at noon I’ll have Mass at the Newman Center (which is the usual time). Then at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, November 1st, we have Mass at a 6:30 with Confirmation practice afterwards. So please consider coming. It is a great opportunity to thank the Lord for the lives of the saints. The saints show us how to live a real, but holy life. We can draw from not just their writings and teachings, but from the way they lived their lives.

On Sunday, November 5, at 3:30 PM, we have Confirmation. Please pray for our young people. I always say that Baptism is for us and Confirmation is for everyone else. By this I mean that Baptism begins our life of salvation, the life of grace, the beginning of life as a son or daughter of God. However, Confirmation, like Pentecost for the Apostles, gives us the grace and propels us to share the Gospel to those around us. Confirmation gives us the grace to be bold for Jesus. Some of us tap into this grace and some of us don’t. Just like a car, we may have fuel in the tank, but it does nothing until we turn on the ignition. At Baptism and especially Confirmation, we are given the grace to set the world on fire for Jesus Christ. However, unless we open our hearts to Jesus, unless we turn the car on, the grace, the fuel, will sit and do nothing. So please, please pray for our Confirmation students. Pray that this is not the end. This is not graduation. Pray that this is just the beginning. Pray that this is the beginning of a love relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Pray that they continue to learn more about tJesus, about God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and the Catholic Church for the rest of their lives.

May we all continue to realize we never graduate from the school of God. May we always hunger to know more about God, but even more importantly, may we continue to hunger for a deeper relationship with God.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (October 22, 2017)

Hello, hello.

Hopefully the farmers were able to harvest some crops this week. I haven’t gotten stuck behind too many tractors yet.

Our 11th graders are getting ready to be Confirmed Sunday, November 5th. So pray for them as they near the date of their last Sacrament of Initiation. Pray that they continue to grow in their love of Christ and His Church for the rest of their lives. We hope and pray that this is another step in their young faith journey and not the end. Confirmation will be at 3:30 PM in Wells.

In the Gospel today, the Parishes try to trap Jesus with more questions. This time they ask Jesus is they should pay the tax to the Roman government. If Jesus says yes, then He is seen as favoring with the Roman government which almost all Jews saw as an evil occupying foreign government. If Jesus says no, then they can have the Roman soldiers arrest Jesus for inciting others to disobey the Roman government. However, Jesus ingenious reply is, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

What belongs to God? We do. By the Cross and by virtue of our baptism, we belong to God. Jesus died on the Cross for our sins. We belong to Jesus. We belong to God. Do we act like we belong to God? Or do we act like we belong to the world? I would assume most of us would say a little of both. This week, maybe we should all try to act a little more like we belong to God and a little less like we belong to the world.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel